A hook is an opening statement (which is usually the first sentence) in an essay that attempts to grab the reader’s attention so that they want to read on. It can be done by using a few different types of hooks, which are a question, quote, statistic, or anecdote. Be mindful that the hook has to be related to the overall topic of the paper. Here are a few examples of each type of hook.
A question hook is when you ask the reader something that they can visualize and try to think of in their own minds. Then, the writer answers the question.
Have you ever watched the high-flying, jump shooting, slam dunking, ankle breaking players that play in the NBA? Every time I catch a game on television and I witness the thrill of the game, I can’t help but watch another one.
A quotation hook is when a quote is used and explained that has relevance to the topic at hand. Make sure this quote comes from a credible source. Also, talk about the quote’s meaning afterwards to ensure that the reader isn’t confused.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” said Michael Jordan, arguably the best player to ever play in the NBA. Here, Jordan talks about how people want, dream, wish, and pray that they will one day make it to the big stage. These are usually the people that never make it. It is only when these dreamers and wishers take matters into their own hands and strive to be the best that they actually get to play professional basketball in the NBA.
A statistic hook can be used for more informational pieces of writing. The writer uses a quote from a source that relates to the main idea of the paper, but the quote must have some type of statistics, such as numbers, decimals, or and/or percentages. The meaning and relationship of the quote to the paper needs to be explained afterwards just in case the reader does not quite understand
“Just 0.00545 percent of the 550,000 boys playing high school basketball each year in the United States become a first-round draft pick — 1 in 18,333” stated Jeff Rabjohns, a writer for The Indianapolis Star, in an article titled “Prep players face long odds of making it to NBA.” Basically, only a few high school players will make it to the NBA. Even though there are many that strive, play, train, practice, and fight to be great, a huge majority of them do not make it.
When a writer uses a short story to relate to the topic and gain the reader’s attention, they are using an anecdote. This story can be a short, personal story or one that is a figment of your imagination. Make sure that it relates to the main idea of the paper. Show the relevance that it has to the topic of the paper.
When I was in high school, I remember playing in an AAU basketball league. We had to travel to downtown Philadelphia on the weekends for basketball practice. Each and every time we had basketball practice (which was at 8 a.m.), there was a boy around my age in the gym by the time we arrived. He was always covered in sweat, throwing up shots, practicing his layups, practicing his dribbling, and running laps around the gym. He was in such great shape. One day, I mustered up the courage to ask his about his ambitions, and he told me that he gets up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the gym and practice hard until my team comes in for practice. A few years later, this guy was entering the NBA draft from high school. When I saw him get drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, I knew exactly why. All that hard work had paid off for him. This is the hard work ethics and mindset that everyone that wants to make it to the NBA should have.
As Jim Carrey once noted, “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes”. No matter what kind of reputation you have, there will always be that someone who knows who you really are and loves you for that. Also, no matter how good you might think your essay is, there will always be someone rolling their eyes. To some, it may seem too pretentious, to others too boring. There is no recipe for writing the perfect essay but essay hooks help a lot in making it more interesting. Putting a quote of someone famous at the beginning of your narrative immediately attracts the attention of readers. It makes them wonder what will come next. Using various hooks you can keep that feeling of curiosity alive in them.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Essay Hook
- How to Write an Essay Hook
- Types of Essay Hooks:
- Statistical Fact
- Meaningful Advice
- Contradictory Statement
- Strong Statement
- Famous Quote
- Interesting Fact
- First person story
What Is an Essay Hook
If you are wondering why there is so much fuss about essay hooks, we’ll give you a broad explanation. An essay hook is the first thing you see starting to read someone’s essay. It’s the moment when you decide whether to continue reading it or not. So, this first sentence should be something special. A good essay hook can help a writer attract the attention of a reader. Just imagine how much information we get every day from reading.
A century ago, people, did not have such an abundance of information. The choice of what to read was not that difficult. But now, if you do not interest a reader with the first two lines of your writing, he will not have any second thoughts about reading it further. As to the academic writing, essay hooks can make a big difference as well. An example of a well-written paper will include an exciting introduction that shows a student’s mastery.
Everything You Want to Know
Before we move on to the different types of college essay hooks, you might have some more questions about this phenomenon. Let’s discover this topic in all the details.
How do you write a hook sentence?
You need to keep in mind the main idea of your essay, its purpose. The hook you choose to use should be relevant and underline this central idea. For example, if your goal is to present some new facts on a particular topic, you might start your essay with some startling statistical data. Think about the hook you’d like to use during the research stage to find the necessary information.
How do you write an introduction?
Do not consider an introduction an optional part of an essay. Although it does not present any major findings or convincing facts, it sets the mood for the rest of a paper. The main points you have to include are essay hook and thesis statement. The former one has an aim of evoking emotions in your readers while the latter one informs them about the topic of this essay.
How do you start off an essay?
You want it to be interesting and substantial. To do so, you are going to need a clear idea of the points it will consist of. Make an outline to make sure there is nothing missing. Some of the students find it easier to write an introduction after the rest of an essay. Then, you know exactly what write and won’t have to edit it later. Use the hooks you find to be appropriate for the topic you discuss and move on to stating the main point of your paper.
What is a good hook for an essay?
A good hook immediately makes you want to keep reading. Try to remember some of your favorite pieces of writing and the way they begin. What kind of a hook did the authors use? The art of choosing the information correctly and turning it into a fascinating story is something you will have to learn. Just think what you as a reader would find to be interesting about the topic of your essay.
Types of Essay Hooks
Now we finally can discuss the types of essay hooks. There are 14 we can think of but there might be more. You are free to invent a new one as long as it is as effective as the ones we present here.
1. Statistical Fact
Shocking facts on the topic of an essay your audience might not be aware of.
Around 25% of dreams blind people have are nightmares compared to only 6% of nightmares others have.
According to the National Soft Drink Association, the annual consumption of soda by the U.S. citizens is 600 cans.
Even though we live in the 21st century, there still are around 3 billions of people living in poverty.
2. Meaningful Advice
Giving your readers a piece of advice is always beneficial. You get their attention and they get some useful information.
Don’t make decisions when you’re angry. Don’t make promises when you’re happy.
Remember you’ll always regret what you didn’t do rather than what you did.
Never make someone a priority who only makes you an option.
3. Contradictory Statement
Writing two facts that contradict each other will definitely attract the attention of your readers.
“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.
“I must be cruel to be kind.”
Hamlet, William Shakespeare
I know one thing; that I know nothing.
This hook is widely used in scientific papers. You simply give the definition of a term or concept.
A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out.
Oxymoron is a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (such as cruel kindness).
Altruism is the willingness to do things that bring advantages to others, even if it results in disadvantage for yourself.
5. Strong Statement
Surprise your audience with something they don’t know yet.
In just 10 years we all will be able to have a pet bot with an artificial intelligence.
In the future, the artificial intelligence will learn to write fiction novels and creative posts that will lead to people losing their jobs.
There is a chance that by 2050 human and robot marriages will become quite widespread and legal.
Start with a short funny story to break the ice. You can rely on your personal experience or that of someone famous.
It is very helpful when you don’t speak English and call the support department just to hear: “If you understand English, press 1. If you do not understand English, press 2.”
Tolstoy was a great pacifist. He believed that people should not demonstrate any kind of violence towards animals. Once during a lecture, he was asked what one should do if a tiger attacked him on the woods. Tolstoy said, “Do the best you can. It doesn’t happen very often.”
Albert Einstein’s parents were concerned about him not starting to talk when other kids of his age already did. One day, during having a supper, Albert said: “The soup is too hot.” His parents then asked him why had he kept silence up until then. He replied: “Because up to now everything was in order.”
You present two options that are both not quite desirable.
What would you choose to do if your best friend was about to marry someone you definitely know is not loyal? Would you ruin the happiness of your friend revealing the infidelity or let them marry a liar?
You see a man robbing a bank and then donating everything to an orphanage. You have the options of going to police and remaining silent.
If there is a way to save the lives of 4 people by not helping 1 individual to save his, would you do it?
8. Famous Quote
It’s simple. Just paste the quote of a famous person that fits the context.
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein
9. Interesting Fact
If there is an exciting piece of information you’ve found during the research stage, turn it into a good hook.
There are more lifeforms on a human skin than there people on the planet.
Otters sleep holding hands.
One of Leonardo da Vinci’s talents was that he could write with one hand and paint with the other simultaneously.
10. First person story
If there is something from your personal life that is relevant to the topic and you would like others to know, make it your essay hook.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to have a telescope more than anything. My family could not afford it so I had to become a scientist and get a job in an observatory.
My grandmother died when I was 21. She was the one who raised me as my parents died in a car accident when I was 6.
I’ve worked in multinational companies and can say that they do not value their employees as much as they should.
A joke or a pun can be a nice introductory sentence.
How do you make holy water? You boil the hell out of it.
Why the storm trooper had to buy an iPhone? Because he could not find the droid he was looking for.
I never make mistakes. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
Ask a rhetorical question that fits your topic. It should be one that makes people think and reflect.
What are we all living for on this planet?
What is love?
What is the real meaning of kindness?
To paint a picture for a reader, use a metaphor.
Her eyes were like two fireflies mesmerizing me completely.
As it turned out, her promise was a delicate flower.
He was so funny as an abandoned house in the woods with no one around at night.
Describe the surroundings of the place you are going to write about to paint a vivid picture in a reader’s mind.
“The public-houses, with gas-lights burning inside, were already open. By degrees, other shops began to be unclosed, and a few scattered people were met with. Then, came straggling groups of labourers going to their work; then, men and women with fish-baskets on their heads; donkey-carts laden with vegetables; chaise-carts filled with livestock or whole carcasses of meat; milk-women with pails; an unbroken concourse of people trudging out with various supplies to the eastern suburbs of the town.”
Charles Dickens, “Oliver Twist”
“It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and black … It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of building full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness.”
Charles Dickens, “Hard Times”
“The first den was a rock cavity in a lichen-covered sandstone outcrop near the top of a slope, a couple of hundred yards from a road in Hawley. It was on posted property of the Scrub Oak Hunting Club – dry hardwood forest underlain by laurel and patches of snow – in the northern Pocono woods. Up in the sky was Buck Alt. Not long ago, he was a dairy farmer, and now he was working for the Keystone State, with directional antennae on his wing struts angled in the direction of bears.”
John McPhee, “Under the Snow” in “Table of Contents”