When your English language professor requires to write an essay, how do you begin your writing? Do you use any good hooks in the introductory paragraphs to grab readers' attention? Probably, you have discovered a secret, unique great hook which helps your paper stand out from other works. Different types of essay hooks exist. High school and college students along with creative writers use them to grab their readers' attention.
WHAT DO WE DEFINE AN ESSAY HOOK?
Before you learn how to write a good hook, you must learn what it is. A hook is an interesting and catchy sentence from the introduction of your high school or college essay which motivates people to read your work. Although it is a rather small element, a perfect hook is both informative and engaging. It has a deep meaning and helps a writer introduce his or her main idea.
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TIPS ON FINDING THE BEST HOOK
We decided to analyze some examples of essay openings to provide you with an idea of how effective hooks look like. First, we would like to discuss a number of important ideas you should keep in mind before you write a hook.
A common mistake is that students give a great starter...and forget that it's a part of a paper. Don't jump to discussing your paper topic without demonstrating a clear bonding between the opening lines and the rest of the paper. Words are powerful; yet, if they aren't related to your work, they can't support your argument.
Tone and style of your work mean everything. If you are working on a research paper in physics to offer it to a scientific journal, it is better not to start with a personal childhood story. The hook should be strong and appropriate. Yet, if you are writing for a magazine which is less official, then the childhood story will sound quite natural. Evaluate the situation first!
Consider your target audience. Obviously, you shouldn't write an essay for professionals in biology using teenage language. They understand the text, but they are unlikely to get the purpose of your writing.
These strategies to developing good hooks are the key because every author's main purpose is to make readers understand his or her opinion and enjoy the overall reading.
HOOKS TO USE IN ESSAYS
Mind where the good hooks come from. You might want to type in a curious fact on the topic which is unknown to most of the people. Find different facts in various sources such as:
- Textbooks and books
- Academic and scientific journals
- Official published reports
- Documentaries and films
Remember that the more recent and credible source you use, the more trustworthy your essay's hook sounds.
To help you better understand how hook sentences function in writing, we are going to discuss several really nice articles written by professional writers and journalists. We look only at the intros of our examples and describe the kind of hooks found in each one.
KEEP THEM READING BY STARTING WITH AN INTERESTING FACT
The first good example of high knowledge is the quote taken as a hook from the credible online resources that publish up-to-date information on the most critical and discussed topics within society. People find it intriguing that:
"Over 36% of mobile subscribers use iPhones or iPads to read email, and 34% of subscribers only use mobile devices to read emails."(Informz)
Such statistics help perspective business people to launch their own mobile solutions in the upcoming year. Not all teachers and professors support the active usage of internet/digital resources, so you must specify whether such way to introduce your hook and the first paragraph is OK. Then, you move to the discussion on why mobile applications are perspective products/business ideas.
"There are two distinct traditions in the literature regarding the proper analysis of predicate noun and adjective constructions..."
(John Bowers, The Syntax of Predication)
In the given example we have an official, scientific paper which cannot be humorous or start with a creative trope. On the contrary, this intro is rather straightforward. And, nevertheless, it contains a nice hook - a conflict. 'Two distinct traditions' means that we will see how the author either supports one of them or introduces the third solution to the existing problem. Presenting conflicting ideas is always an excellent way to start.
ANECDOTE OR A JOKE WOULD BE HELPFUL
ESL/EFL classroom offers many anecdotes on various subjects to help students cover any topic with a share of humor. The examples of essay hooks below catch an eye of the reader by making him laugh.
"A family of mice were surprised by a big cat. Father Mouse jumped and said, "Bow-wow!" The cat ran away. "What was that, Father?" asked Baby Mouse. "Well, son, that's why it's important to learn a second language."
Isn't it a great idea to start your paper on the importance of learning a secondary language? Mind that each country has its specific humor and forbidden jokes. Choose the hook sentences wisely!
POSING QUESTIONS IN THE BEGINNING
You may play with facts and statistics to combine them into the question. You may use rhetorical question too. It is a great way to start your writing and give an overall picture of what you'll be talking about. Make sure to provide an answer throughout your text or at the end.
"Have you ever thought how many people die of pneumonia every day in the United States?"
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HOW TO WRITE A HOOK OF THE MIXED TYPE
Here we go with the mixed example:
"As children's culture arose in the 1740s, the juvenile market was suddenly awash in age-appropriate clothing, toys, and reading material..."
(Megan A. Norcia, Puzzling Empire: Early Puzzles and Dissected Maps as Imperial Heuristics)
This beginning is a good example of how a fact can be used in an intro. Readers tend to pay attention to those works which provide them with new information, and starting with a date and an interesting fact is a brilliant hooking idea.
"Why some people choke and others panic."
(Malcolm Gladwell, The Art of Failure)
We definitely love this intro. Short, clear, and very powerful. Although there is no question mark at the end, the intro above belongs to the category of 'posing a question.' We mean that the author opened the essay with a statement which promises the answer if we keep reading. We know the article is on the failure and the ways people react to it. The rhetorical question-like intro is truly hooking because the majority of readers will want to know why some people choke and other people panic.
A fact or question works well with the analysis paper. Find out how to write an analysis essay which deserves A+.
A LITERARY QUOTE AS THE WAY TO EXPRESS YOURSELF
Another great essay hook might be an original philosophical or social phrase to grab the attention. Think of any sentence or paragraph which can force your readers to think. Try to help arise necessary questions and social problems by your speech.
"Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity."
(Joan Didion, After Life)
If the style of writing allows you to be creative, look for an unusual, original way to express the main theme of your paper with the help of such good hooks for essays. Here, Joan Didion starts with her own poem which 'tunes' readers and let them know in advance what the whole text is about.
Mind the way you format quotes depends on different academic writing styles.
SET A SCENE
Try to memorize an example of a very brief story from famous people to capture the attention of your reader. Such essay's hook points to the importance of the topic or question with the help of a real-life example. The best examples include recalling the story of Helen Keller who managed to write beautiful books being blinded from her birth. You may use a story of some celebrity like Bon Jovi to stress the importance of helping disabled people financially and morally by attending them in the hospitals. When you write an essay, you are not supposed to recall only examples from your life. You are encouraged to share stories of people who figure as your role models. They don't have to be very famous, but their stories should serve as the perfect essay hook related to your chosen topic.
"After smiling brilliantly for nearly four decades, I now find myself trying to quit. Or, at the very least, seeking to lower a wattage a bit."
(Amy Cunnigham, Why Women Smile)
Reader deals with a perfect personal story. Readers want to know more about each story's main character because they try to find new emotions and new knowledge. Do you know why she has no intention to smile anymore? Is it hooking enough? We think so. Such beginnings are always attention grabbing and exciting.
In case you write an essay on such trait as jealousy, you may quote a well-known book by Shakespeare, "Othello," which is primarily focused on the problems caused by this feeling. Show how Othello is afraid of losing Desdemona, his wife, because of the color of his skin, religion, and other stereotypes.
I crave fit disposition for my wife.
Due reference of place and exhibition
With such accommodation and besort
As levels with her breeding"(Act1.Scene 3)
In Act 2, Scene 1, we discover more about the topic of jealousy from the character of Iago who has an evil mind due to his friend's Othello's success.
QUOTES FROM FAMOUS PEOPLE
Actually, many of the essay hook examples quoted above can be put into this category. However, there are phrases well-known by the entire world. Once something critical happens, famous people always have their point of view. They share it with the society via mass media. It is your chance to find another great essay hook. The first example appears below:
"The problem with environmentalists, Lynn Margulis used to say, is that they think conservation has something to do with biological reality."
(Charles C. Mann, State of the Species)
Another clever way to hook people is to use quotes from famous people. With a quote, your writing makes a certain statement and helps you establish your authority as a writer. You demonstrate your connection with the community and show great interest in the field history and respect towards people who have made a large contribution to its development.
GOOD HOOKS FOR ESSAYS IN THE SHAPE OF SIMILE OR METAPHOR
You should practice using metaphors and similes as the way to start your essay with an interesting hook. Watch out - many people do not tend to get the meaning of metaphors and similes from the first time, so it is better to add a description or explanation of what it means. Otherwise, you risk losing your audience instead of grabbing its attention. A good metaphor helps enrich one's speech and make the writing more powerful in terms of words.
As written by Dan Wakefield,
"I feel as much of a stud as... I can't come up with a metaphor. That's how lacking in studliness I am."
A simile is a literary tool often used as an essay hook. It also shows writer's ability to express feelings and ideas in many different, original ways rather than being straightforward all the time. To understand similes better, a student has to read a lot of plays, poems, song lyrics, and take part in everyday conversations.
The several examples below are helpful when writing your essay hook:
- "as cute as a puppy" (contrasting something to the adorableness of a puppy)
- "as busy as a bee" (describing very industrious people)
- "as snug as a bug in a rug" (meaning tucked up tight)
OTHER GREAT WAYS TO START YOUR SENTENCE
There are other ways to begin you writing such as stating a thesis and using statistics and numbers. You are the one to decide which option is the most effective. Don't forget to take the preparatory steps and figure out which kind of hook is the most beneficial.
Although we have added some great sentences which you can use as a topic hook, it is still not easy to grab attention to your story from the first essay's line. Thus, we would like you to remember there is an immediate solution to any academic writing problem in the shape of our website with services for high school, college, and university students. When you don't have time to type the whole paper or think of the relevant anecdote or scene to begin with, our writing services are always ready to help with your learning process. Order a custom essay or research paper with the most effective hooks you've ever seen!
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Anyone who's ever been a student will agree that writing an essay is not easy. In fact, it seems to be quite a challenging task: finding proper ideas, arranging the text according to the rules, keeping the style consistent throughout the entire work. Let us assume that you've composed a great essay but when you give it to others for editing, they literally force themselves to read till the end. Not because you lack writing skills, but because your essay is...simply boring. In short, readers don't enjoy following the flow of your thoughts. Why does it happen? Here comes an explanation.
The 20 seconds rule
The reader subconsciously estimates the value of the text during the first 20 seconds of reading it. Obviously, it is impossible to get all the worthy ideas from the text in 20 seconds, but that's how much time it takes to make your impression and decide whether you want to keep on reading or not. Sure, your college professor MUST read your essay until the end, but when it comes to online audience, you have to fight for their attention. What you need is a "hook" to grab the interest of those to whom your essay is addressed. Sounds like taking part in a competition, perhaps, but it is exactly what you should be best at in order for your works to get noticed and appreciated.
What's a hook in writing?
A hook is not merely a metaphor. Actually, this widely used tool was first mentioned by Aristotle in the context of drama. Hooks were used to involve spectators into the action, make them captivated by whatever happens on stage. Such technique can be applied to writing as well. So, here comes the hook definition in literature: a hook is a literary device in an opening sentence (-s) used in order to attract a reader's attention. That is to say, you should offer a striking beginning to motivate your readers and encourage further reading. Offer the intriguing or mysterious setting, create the right mood, allude to the theme or conflict, surprise the reader with casting him/her into the middle of an action. This is one of the features that literature and movies have in common: both of them have to capture and keep attention, both need a proper hook.
What is a hook in an essay?
As you know, each kind of essay starts with the introduction presenting a topic and posing a statement. However, the statement should be presented in a logical manner; that is why it is usually preceded by a few generalized sentences. These sentences are your hook. A pitfall here is that you may ponder on the hook words for essays for hours while generating the essay body in your mind. Therefore, get down to business: write the essay body first and then work on the hook. Having the framework in front of you eases the construction of the lacking essay parts. That is an effective "recipe" for many writers.
Not only the first sentences but also the last ones may serve as a hook for your essay. Introduce the closing hooks for essays through posing a controversial or tricky question, intriguing with unusual outlook, presenting the generally known facts as brand new ones. In short, get your audience really interested. A conclusion usually echoes the intro part, so if your essay is framed by hooks, you hit the target.
How to write a hook?
Well, knowing how to use essay hooks is undoubtedly a must for every writer. Below there are some tips that will help you write effective hooks for all essay types. Consider different kinds of hooks and choose the optimal one for writing either an introduction or a conclusion. Since it's the introduction that goes first, let us start off with hook introduction examples.
Quote of a well-known person
Indicating the author is obligatory. Quoting the acknowledged personality not only grabs attention immediately but also brings a sense of credibility to your writing. Check out the following quotes, and you will see that they are all well-suited to be followed by a thesis:
- "Never say more than is necessary." ― Richard Brinsley Sheridan;
- "Be a worthy worker and work will come." ― Amit Kalantri;
- "Great losses are great lessons." ― Amit Kalantri;
- "The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today." ― H. Jackson Brown;
- "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." ― Benjamin Franklin;
- "Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship." ― Buddha.
Click on the links below to find plenty of wise sayings worth being used as hook sentences for essays:
2. A piece of advice:
- "Never reply when you are angry. Never make a promise when you are happy. Never make a decision when you are sad";
- "When you say yes to others make sure you are not saying no to yourself." ― Paulo Coehlo;
- "Don't ever dumb yourself down just to make someone else feel comfortable";
- "Best advice in two lines: Silence is the best answer for all questions. Smiling is the best reaction in all situations";
- "Listen to advice from people who have been there and done that. It is so hard to believe that when you are young, but parents, mentors, teachers, they can all be so valuable when it comes to advice";
3. Contradictory statement:
- "The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves." ― Oscar Wilde;
- "Everybody sets out to do something, and everybody does something, but no one does what he sets out to do." ― George A. Moore;
- "I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred." ― Tom Robbins;
4. Surprising and interesting fact:
- "Bill Gates' first business was Traf-O-Data, a company involved in producing machines that recorded the number of cars passing a given point on a road"
- "Ketchup was being sold in the 1830s as medicine";
- "Celery has negative calories: it takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. It's the same with apples";
- "If you were to remove all of the empty space from the atoms that make up every human on earth, the entire world population could fit into an apple."
5. Rhetorical question:
- Why bother about...?
- What if...?
- How come...?
- What does it mean to...?
- What should be done if...?
6. Humorous statement:
- "Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive." ― Elbert Hubbard;
- "There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments." ― Chris Rock;
- "They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning." ― Clint Eastwood;
- "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." ― Charles Dudley Warner;
- "Two wrongs don't make a right, but they make a good excuse." ― Thomas Szasz.
7. Describing the setting
Choose the book or story your essay will be based on and use its first lines in your introduction. It should set the mood, introduce characters, hint towards the historical or cultural background. Such hooks to start an essay take the reader straightforwardly into the action, without long preambles.
- "The number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018";
- "70% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile";
- "100 million Internet users watch online video each day";
- "Only 12% of businesses feel that they are using social media effectively, and yet approximately 60% of businesses have their profiles on various social media channels".
9. Unusual comparison
- "Life is like a bar of soap, once you think you've got a hold of it, it slips away";
- "Life is like a 1,000-page book. You want to quit halfway through, but then you realize you have a lot left to look forward to";
- "Life is like a party. You invite a lot of people; some go, some join you, some laugh with you, some didn't come. But in the end, after the fun, there would be a few who would clean up the mess with you. And most of the time, those were the uninvited ones".
Closing hooks for essays: really needed?
The hook examples listed above may serve as hooks for a conclusion as well. Don't underestimate the importance of the concluding part of your essay: it should not be just a summary of each body paragraph. It's like putting a cherry on top of the cake: conclusion has to leave your audience satisfied, but at the same time intrigue them to investigate the topic more. Rewriting the thesis doesn't fit: better do it in an interesting, innovative way. Try to step into your potential readers' shoes and read your essay again. Now, what questions are left unanswered? Write them down as rhetorical ones. What saying comes to your mind after reading an essay? Include it in your conclusion in the shape of a quote. Or just offer a humorous, sarcastic idea. Get your audience hooked for the second time while reading your essay.
Well, confess: having read all the tips, do you feel inspired, especially now that you know exactly how to begin an essay and finish it? Do not waste time then, get down to writing!