"As a teen, Bill Gates used to go dumpster diving at his workplace, seeking information. That is how he got his hands on some impressive source codes."
Do you know how to start A+ essay? You can make the readers laugh or even cry from the very beginning. The right words for an essay are easy to be found once you discover the introductory statement which triggers the entire process. Essays are extremely challenging assignments for college students and professional writers. When you write essays, you commit your thoughts and make readers believe you through explaining your viewpoint. Your mission is to get your readers excited from the first sentence, and to a good hook is exactly what you need. Great hooks must be catchy, interesting, and attention grabbing. All you need to understand is how to write a good hook based on the type, purpose, and target audience of your project.
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What Is a Hook Sentence?
It is important to define what a great introduction is before learning how to write a good hook. The hook is one or several sentences of essays or research papers that serve as an introduction. It is meant to attract the reader and create a specific writing tone. As you see, it is crucial to begin academic papers with powerful opening paragraphs which contain hooking words and phrases. Although finding perfect persuasive strategies might seem difficult, there are several types of hook sentences which you may use as excellent, engaging starters.
Check out why hook sentences play an important role in the essay's introduction/conclusion.
Working on Introduction and Conclusion
You may include good hooks for essays twice in your article. The first time you do it in the introduction; then, you do it in the final part of your project which is a conclusion. It is a good method to remind the readers of what your initial purpose was. Read other writing tips to make your academic paper excellent.
To understand what would be the most suitable hook to keep your audience interested all the time, it is important to know the structure and purposes of essay introduction/conclusion.
There are six approaches to writing introduction/conclusion parts. Try to follow all of them.
|Introduction Hints||Conclusion Hints|
|Base on a true story.||Think about what will happen if proposed solution is implemented (the audience accepts your argument).|
|The scenario is when the writer makes up a story to explain the problem.||Revise the scenario by pointing to the outcomes in case target audience adopts your suggestions.|
|Opening quote, joke, fact, or statistic serve as good hooks. You may even quote a poem.||Use a real-life example of how your idea functions.|
|Describe the problem.||Share what your readers are expected to think, do, feel or believe.|
|Interpret issue vividly.||Appeal to emotions, personality, or reason.|
|Frame story/flashback.||Finish the frame story.|
You have already noticed four types of essay hook sentences. This article covers much more different types of grabbing sentences you may use to attract a greater audience.
View a detailed guideline on how to write an essay from A to Z.
Follow These Tips to Pick Good Hooks for Essays
Your opening sentence must complement the entire text instead of living its own life.
To make your essay both interesting and informative, keep in mind several general tips concerning the hook sentences.
There are times when students are free to choose a topic. The best idea is to check recently published articles to pick a good subject. Television and social networks are two other treasuries of ideas. High school students may find this information on selecting research paper topics helpful.
- Pick good hooks that best reflect your topic. A joke/anecdote won’t work if you write a paper on some serious healthcare issues (disability or cancer). However, this type of hook is a good start for the essay on modern TV shows.
- Pose a question to make your reader want to learn the answer. It is one of the most effective methods used to grab attention: the audience becomes curious. Curiosity is what makes people read the information from cover to cover, but it is important to answer the main question at the end. Never leave any questions without answers unless they are rhetorical.
- Apply transition words/phrases such as "moreover," "on the contrary," "at the same time," "in contrast," and others to connect ideas and entire sentences. Transitions will help to build a bridge between the hook sentences and the rest of your text.
- Your paper should be written in formal language, so no slang/jargon is ever allowed in professional academic writing. There are times when writers can use slang or jargon if they add several good hooks. Don't change your hook's original text even if it uses the informal English language.
- Another good idea is to have a look at the example of essay with a great hook. Some professional academic websites offer free examples of papers that may help to decide on a hook sentence. Such papers usually have the best hooks. Study them to understand the aspects of formatting plus obtain great ideas for your hook.
Now that you know the principles of using hooks in academic writing, please take some time to learn the process of writing a strong capturing sentence.
How to Write a Hook Step-by-Step
It is necessary to understand that the ways of getting readers hooked are different and don't work with every kind of essay. Should your text be creative or formal? Is it an argumentative, definition, narrative, or analytical essay? The clever idea is to take the following steps before you begin writing an introductory paragraph.
- Decide on the type of paper you are working on.It is crucial that a writer sees what he or she is writing about and what the purpose of this paper is.
- Choose the writing style and stick to it.Any fluctuations will make an author look unprofessional as professionalism is associated with stability in human mind.
- Think about your target audience.If you read several literary works about the same topic written for doctors and engineers, you will notice how the language of these books changes. Define your audience carefully.
- Create an outline of the essayThis way you will structure your writing and see which parts need to be emphasized. Keep in mind that you can find a professional writer online to complete the entire paper or just part of it.
With all these in mind, decide on a nice, strong introduction. It must be appropriate for your writing style and effective enough to make your audience interested. Below we listed amazing examples of the hooks one can incorporate.
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Tell a Good Story
People love stories since childhood. Today they are looking for opportunities to hear more and more amazing stories to brighten up their lives. Storytelling has become a major technique in creative writing and advertising/marketing. Nobody wants boring discussions anymore: we want to meet real characters with awesome stories which will convince us to pay for a product or service.
"The two boys - Eric and Curt - grew up together, dreamers on a dead-end street. Overweight and unathletic, they shied away from rough sports and played with GJ. Joes in their back yards, preferring to conduct their wars in miniature." (Tom Junod, Surviving High School).
Use Jokes as Interesting Openings
Humor is the best technique to make people get relaxed and feel they want to keep reading. If your paper's theme and the style allow you to start with a joke, take advantage of this opportunity. Good jokes or anecdotes from personal life are almighty if appropriate. Unusual, ironic comments work perfectly if you want to make your readers smile and love your piece of art.
"Scientists say that the brain chemistry of infatuation is akin to mental illness - which gives new meaning to "madly in love." (Lauren Slater, Love)
Give a Quote from Famous People at the Beginning
Wise men say wise things. Why not use one of these wise statements to introduce your work to the readers? This hook is the best way to demonstrate your belonging to the greatest people who ever lived. Show the bond between your and their ideas. The tricky part is that you must build this connection between the used quote and your essay to justify your choice and make it look a natural part of your work.
"Noam Chomsky once said, "The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organization and participation in a meaningful society."
Ask a Question
This hook always works impeccably. It is in humans' nature to look for answers to various questions and posing a question as a starter motivates readers to finish the reading to get the answer. Don't neglect this hook - your paper will become more appealing and interesting with it.
"Is there a formula - some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation - for a good life?" (Joshua Wolf Shenk, What Makes Us Happy?)
What about Contradictions?
Contradictions are not always good, but they make the readers want to continue the discussion. Add a few concepts that don't fit together to confuse your audience so that it will motivate the readers to make it to the end.
"It was the best time in my life yet I felt really bad."
The Power of Statistics
Don't be lazy to do research and explore the world of scientific literature in search of unique facts and statistics. People love numbers because they make the news less abstract and more comprehensible. If you manage to discover these shocking numbers, make sure you include them into your piece of writing. This hook is helpful and powerful.
"Averting planetary disaster will mean forcing fossil fuel companies to give up at least $10 trillion in wealth." (Christopher Hayes, The New Abolitionism)
Make Definition Your Introduction
If you deal with an essay which has an interesting central term, it would be a good idea to start with its definition. Pick one from the official glossary. You may use the definition of the term offered by famous people like scientists or artists. Don't simply quote the dictionary - you must avoid plagiarism! Choose a concept/term/phrase carefully: your essay may have just one hook sentence in the introductory paragraph.
Theology refers to the field of study that treats of God and God's features and relations to the world of humans; the science which explores divine things or religious dogmas; divinity itself.
Share Useful Advice
People tend to have a lot of questions. Many of them keep looking for a consultation on the disturbing problem. As an essay usually aims to provide effective solutions to some problems, the good idea is to start with advice. You may find interesting recommendations from the primary sources like journal articles or secondary sources (e.g. expert interviews). Words of advice have a great impact on readers.
"One should be able to put the needs of others before his personal to have meaningful relationships like love or friendship."
Use Example of Simile or Metaphor
Both these terms mean a comparison of two things that are unrelated to each other.
"My granny's cuisine was like a holy place: no one could wear the shoes. All family members and guests had to sit there at a certain time, and occasionally they'd pray."
Find a Cool Bold Statement
A bold statement is the one which induces an opinion or reaction from your audience.
"They say soon people will be able to create clones to send them to work."
Begin with an Interesting Fact
Just like people love quotes from famous people, they love learning new facts from famous people’s lives. If you need to write a persuasive essay, this method is the card up your sleeve.
In the winter of 1769, the British explorer Captain James Cook... received from a Polynesian priest named Tupaia an astonishing gift - a map..." (David Dobbs, Restless Genes) Certainly, this list is not excessive. You may find another way of grabbing readers' attention. The more you write, the better your skills get.
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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!