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Essay Hook Examples for Any College Essay
05 Apr 2022
❓ What to Take Into Account Writing Essay Hook
📑 Different Types of Essay Hooks
🔍 Where to Find Ideas for a Great Hook Writing
Are you looking for a way to start your essay and engage readers to discover more about your topic? Then learn how to write good essay hooks. Formulating your strong introduction and adding an element of interest greatly enhances the appeal of your work, making it worth reading.
In academic work, it is crucial to break away from conventional norms and develop compelling studies that highlight your main idea. Of course, if you have difficulties, you can buy essay online from professional writers with well-designed hook examples for argumentative essays. But first, we’ve included an all-inclusive guide with essay hook examples if you decide to try writing on your own. You can captivate your audience and showcase your exceptional writing skills by employing an attention-grabbing hook. In this article, you will discover such key points:
- Examples of hook sentences for essays and their suitable applications in various topics.
- Suggestions on where to find inspiration for good hook writing.
- The significance of practicing and experimenting with different hook examples for essays.
What to Take Into Account Writing Essay Hook
Different types of essays may require different approaches to effectively engage the reader. That is why you need to understand your target audience. Also, a well-thought-out lead should be relevant to your topic, exciting, and thought-provoking. Using sensual language or creating a sense of mystery can further enhance the hook's appeal. It's also important to strike a balance between grabbing attention and staying true to the overall tone and purpose of your expository essays.
Different Types of Essay Hooks
Here are some prototypes to inspire you to write a hook for an essay. Many are useful in certain tasks, while others may not be well served in others. Knowing how to write a hook for an essay is an acquired skill that takes practice. Let’s start with identifying the types you can use.
Thought-Provoking Question Hook: By raising compelling questions, the writer makes the audience eager to discover the insights that will follow.
Bold Statement Hook: This technique has the potential to captivate your audience by initially surprising them with how you intend to support your arguments. An argumentative essay hook might be introduced in this manner.
Fact-Based Hook: Such a hook for an essay uses verifiable information or data to engage the reader from the beginning. This type is especially commonly used in expository essays.
Figurative Language Hook: This method conveys a common property between two different things, usually by using the words "like" or "as."
Engaging Narrative Hook: This technique draws the reader in by providing a compelling narrative that sparks their curiosity.
Vivid Description Hook: This approach utilizes descriptive storytelling to engage readers' imagination before delving into the main content of expository essays.
Captivating Quote Hook: You need to choose a reference from the literature or any other relevant source. A quote hook should be used as an opening sentence or introduction.
Anecdotal Hook: Who doesn’t like a good story or a bit of humor around the context of your research? An anecdote hook is a good method to lighten the mood on otherwise heavy essay topics . Just be sure to use it in appropriate circumstances.
Argumentative Hook: It is designed to immediately present a clear argument or position.
Narrative Hook: This helps to create a sense of anticipation. Such a tool makes readers emotionally invested in the essay's content.
Rhetorical Hook: Encourages readers to think deeply about the topic and consider it from different perspectives.
Informative Hook: It provides valuable and engaging information in advance.
Catchy Hook: The purpose of it is to make the reader curious and entice them to continue reading.
As you see, there are several strategies at your disposal. It’s important to know when, where, and how to use each hook for an essay. For your convenience, this lead-in identification matrix from our essay writing company will serve as your writing assistant.
Where to Find Ideas for Great Hook Writing?
Knowing where to find inspiration can be a challenge for many students, especially if they don't have any hook examples for college essays. Our media environments hold many keys if you pay attention. Great tips for starting an essay can be found in online videos such as TED Talks, famous historians, news clips, and world leaders. You can also dive into the book of any famous person and explore databases of interesting facts to generate strong statement hook examples.
Getting the user's interest from the first sentence is a fundamental quality of a hook paragraph, but it doesn’t come easily. Use our tips above to write a hook and quickly grab your reader's attention. It's better to try creating a few opening hook examples before finalizing one for your copy. Practice and personal experience will help you to improve. If you’ve finished your hooks for essays but feel it needs an extra bump to increase quality, appeal to PapersOwl . The experts will help you to elevate your work and achieve a top-notch grade.
We have identified the main criteria for hook ideas and where to look for them. However, when writing catchy hooks, it is important to have a certain foundation that you can rely on. Below we have prepared a list of hook sentence examples for essays that you can easily adapt. Whether you're looking for provoking questions or describing stories, these sources will ignite your creativity.
Interesting Question Hook
- “Have you ever wondered why traffic backs up on roads with no stops?”
- “Why do toddlers cause so much grief for parents?”
- “What if I told you the Earth has an unlimited amount of energy resources?”
- "Ever wondered how to hook examples in essays that can captivate readers?"
- “What if you had the power to rewrite history with just one decision?”
Strong Statement/Declaration Hook
- "An engaging opening sets the stage for an unforgettable performance."
- “The effects of global warming are irreversible unless we act now.”
- “How the age of rocks has overcome the rock of ages in modern society.”
- "Draw readers in with a compelling statement that leaves them hungry for more."
- “The constitution is not a contextual document but a living document that needs to reflect contemporary America.”
- "In writing, a compelling opening sentence can make or break your plot."
- “Did you know that Space Smells Like Seared Steak?”
- “The longest war in the world was between the Netherlands and Sicily and was waged from 1651 to 1986.”
- “The human body is composed of more than 10 times more bacteria than cells.”
- "A powerful hook in writing boosts reader engagement by 50%."
Metaphor/ Simile Hook
- "Your life is a blank canvas where you shape the masterpiece of your own destiny."
- "Like a soaring eagle, you can reach the highest peaks of success."
- “Life's a thrilling roller coaster ride.”
- “Time slips through our fingers like a stealthy thief.”
- "Like a magnet, the first line of the story draws the reader's attention to the plot."
- “In a forgotten village, a mysterious key unlocks a world of magic.”
- “A detective races against time to unravel a killer's cryptic clues.”
- "The transformation of a small caterpillar teaches us not to underestimate hidden power."
- “Lost in an ancient graveyard, spirits share haunting tales.”
- “In a forbidden world, a rebel sparks a revolution with the power of emotions.”
- “Choosing between the tested and known to the wandering traveler paving the way to new impressions.”
- “Aromas of brewed coffee embraced the room.”
- “Systematic and prolific, how uniformity in incarceration conforms the prison population to contributing citizens.”
- “From the symbolism of overcoming nature, technology, and ourselves -- 2001 Space Odyssey is the quest to attain the 4th stage of evolution.”
- “The sun set, igniting the sky in vibrant hues.”
- “We have art in order not to die of the truth.” (F. Nietzsche)
- “Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.” (B. Gracian)
- “A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security” (H. Kissinger)
- "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." (E. Roosevelt)
- "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." (N. Maldeva)
Argumentative Essay Hook Examples
- "The education system is failing our youth, perpetuating a one-size-fits-all approach that stifles creativity."
- "By presenting powerful examples of a hook in an essay, I will convince you of its effectiveness."
- "Time to act on climate change before it's too late."
- "In the digital age, privacy is no longer a privilege but a fundamental right that is constantly under threat.”
- “The rise of online learning platforms revolutionizes education, but we must critically analyze the consequences.”
Narrative Essay Hook Examples
- "Once upon a time, in a land of mystery and enchantment, a tale unfolded that will make you continue reading."
- “In the abandoned mansion, curiosity fueled my every step.”
- “Standing at the cliff's edge, the ocean beckoned with untold adventures.”
- “Rain drummed on the roof as I daydreamed by the window, lost in imagination.”
- "As I unraveled the mysterious diary, its intriguing contents compelled me to keep reading."
Hook Examples for Opinion Essays
- "Describing the beauty of nature is subjective, but let me share my awe-inspiring experience."
- “The time has come to prioritize mental health education in schools and break the stigma surrounding it.”
- “Renewable energy is not just an option but a necessity in combating climate change and securing a sustainable future.”
- “It's high time to rethink our approach to drug policy and prioritize harm reduction strategies over punitive measures.”
- "An interesting way to approach the topic can shape insightful opinions."
Hook Examples for Literary Analysis
- “Love and tragedy intertwine in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," showcasing the timeless power of passion.”
- “In George Orwell's "1984," the concept of surveillance serves as a chilling reminder of the dangers of oppressive governments.”
- “Toni Morrison's "Beloved" exposes the haunting legacy of slavery, delving deep into the wounds of the past.”
- “F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" illuminates the illusion of the American Dream and the corrupting influence of wealth.”
- “Through vivid imagery and symbolism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" captures the cyclical nature of human existence and the blending of reality and myth.”
Hook Examples for Compare and Contrast Essay
- "Capitalism vs. socialism: contrasting ideologies shaping political landscapes."
- "Love and tragedy: exploring Shakespeare and Brontë's divergent themes."
- "Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece: contrasting civilizations shaping history."
- "Traditional education vs. online learning: the revolution of knowledge acquisition."
- "Classical beauty vs. modern abstraction: comparing artistic expressions."
Rhetorical Hook Examples
- "Can you imagine a world filled with compassion, transcending all barriers?"
- "What if embracing failure holds the key to unlocking your true potential?"
- "Is one decision all it takes to change your life?"
- "How does a small act of kindness create a ripple of positive change in society?"
- "Why do we limit ourselves to our comfort zones when growth lies beyond?"
Informative Essay Hook Examples
- "Global temperatures are reaching alarming levels, raising concerns among scientists."
- "Artificial intelligence advancements are revolutionizing industries and transforming our lives."
- "Exploring ancient civilizations reveals fascinating insights into their cultures, architecture, and myths."
- "A balanced diet and exercise contribute not only to physical health but also to mental well-being."
- "Understanding supply and demand is crucial to grasp the impact on the economy and consumer behavior."
Catchy Hook Examples
- "Embark on a thrilling journey through the Amazon rainforest and unleash your inner adventurer."
- "Learn the secrets of successful entrepreneurs and turn your passion into a thriving business empire."
- "Unveil the mysteries of the universe, from black holes to the birth of distant galaxies."
- "Step into a magical realm where wizards, witches, and mythical creatures bring fantasies to life."
- "Join the fitness revolution and sculpt your dream physique with our 30-day guaranteed workout program."
Do the hook and thesis go together?
Yes, the hook and thesis should be related and relevant to the essay topic. The effective hook serves as an attention-grabbing device that introduces the theme. It also engages the reader's interest, while the well-crafted thesis statements present the main argument or claim of the essay. The hook should create a logical and smooth transition to the thesis. It is essential to provide a context supported by a relevant fact or statistic.
How do you connect a hook to a thesis?
To connect different creative hook examples to your thesis, it's important to establish a clear link between them. The hook should generate curiosity or intrigue in the reader. This can be done thanks to a surprising fact. It also can present a rhetorical question or a reference to a credible source.
How long should a hook be in an essay?
The length of hook essay examples can vary depending on the context and purpose. A good hook should be long enough to provide an intriguing or compelling element. But not so long that it detracts from the main content of the expository essays. In some cases, it can be a single sentence, while in others, it may consist of two or three sentences.
How to Write a Great Essay Hook, With Examples
When you’re writing an essay , you naturally want people to read it. Just like the baited hook on a fishing line entices fish, your essay’s hook engages readers and makes them want to keep reading your essay.
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What is an essay hook?
An essay hook is a sentence or two that piques the reader’s interest, compelling them to continue reading. In most cases, the hook is the first sentence or two, but it may be the entire opening paragraph. Hooks for essays are always in the first section because this is where the essay needs to hook its reader. If the reader isn’t engaged within the first few lines, they’ll likely stop reading.
An essay hook also sets the tone for the rest of your essay. For example, an unexpected statistic in an essay’s first line can tell the reader that the rest of the essay will dispel myths and shed light on the essay’s topic .
6 types of essay hooks
1 rhetorical questions.
Rhetorical questions are popular essay hooks because they make readers think. For example, an essay might start with the question “Is it ethical to eat animals?” Before reading the rest of the essay, the reader answers the question in their mind. As they continue to read, the writer’s arguments challenge the reader’s answer and may change their mind.
When an essay discusses scientific subjects, social issues, current events, or controversial subjects, a fact or statistic related to the essay’s topic can be a compelling hook. For example, an essay about elementary student literacy might hook readers with a statistic about the percentage of fourth graders that are proficient readers.
The hook could be a fact or statistic that’s well-known and frames the topic in a relatable way, or it could be a completely unexpected or seemingly unintuitive one that surprises the reader. In any case, they set the tone for the rest of the essay by supporting the writer’s position from the outset.
Quotes are often used as essay hooks because they’re succinct, often recognizable, and when they’re from an expert source, they can support the writer’s position.
For example, an analytical essay comparing two books might hook readers with a quote from one of the books’ authors that sets the tone for the rest of the essay and gives a glimpse into that author’s work.
Anecdotes are often used as hooks in personal essays. A personal story makes the essay relatable, creating familiarity with the reader that makes them want to read more. An example of an anecdote hook is a persuasive essay about rerouting traffic on campus that starts with a personal story of a vehicular close call.
A description focuses on specific imagery related to the essay’s subject. For example, an argumentative essay in support of new recycling policies might hook readers with a bleak description of what happens to batteries and other hazardous materials when they aren’t recycled.
6 Common misconception
Similar to an unexpected fact, a hook that dispels a common misconception surprises the reader and educates them about something they likely misunderstood. For example, a compare-and-contrast essay about different mindfulness strategies might start with a common misconception about how mindfulness works.
Creating a hook for different writing prompts
Strong hooks for essays align with the essays’ tones, types, and topics. As you start working on an essay, think about your topic and goals for the essay. Are you trying to persuade the reader? Dispelling a common misconception can be the hook you need. Are you telling an entertaining personal story with bigger themes about your life experience? Start it off with an engaging anecdote. Are you defending a position? Share an unexpected fact and let the truth speak for itself.
Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell which kind of hook your essay needs. When this is the case, it can be helpful to write the rest of your essay, then come back to your introduction and write the kind of hook that would make you want to read that whole essay. Refer to your essay outline to ensure that it fits your essay goals.
Essay hook examples
- Is it too late to save our planet from climate change?
- Before I could speak, I sang.
- “If we are truly a great nation, the truth cannot destroy us.” —Nikole Hannah-Jones
- Contrary to popular belief, rats are among the most fastidious animals.
- I can’t be late for class—this could be the most important day of my life!
Essay hook FAQs
An essay hook is a sentence or two that grabs the reader’s attention and piques their interest, enticing them to continue reading.
What are the different types of essay hooks?
- Rhetorical questions
- Common misconception
Why is it important to have a good essay hook?
It’s important that hooks for essays be well crafted, because in many cases, the reader won’t continue reading an essay if it doesn’t hold their interest. The hook grabs their attention and makes them want to read on.
How to Write a Hook for an Essay
Ever hear that you never get a second chance to make a first impression? Well, that’s just as true for your writing as it is for meeting new people!
That’s because, to a reader, diving into something you have written is often the very first chance they have to discover anything about you. The first things they read help shape how they feel about you. And, of course, whether they want to keep reading at all!
To make a great impression, and to keep readers excited and engaged, you need a good hook. But what is a hook, and how can you craft an awesome one? That’s what we’ll explore below, by talking through different kinds of writing you may want to write a hook for, and then offering specific examples that you can use for inspiration.
What is a hook in an essay?
The hook is the first statement in a piece of writing. It may be composed of one sentence (generally for shorter pieces) or multiple sentences (for longer ones), but the goal of any good hook is to firmly get the reader’s attention.
This is one reason why both high school teachers and college professors often emphasize the importance of essay hooks when writing college essays (for example, with a Literary Analysis ). The title of your written work may be enough to get people to check it out, the same way you might click on an online article with an interesting title. However, an essay hook does the same thing for your essay that an exciting opening does for any article: it makes the reader excited to keep reading!
In this guide, we are mostly focusing on writing good hooks for essays. However, the general principles here extend to almost any form of audience communication. From personal statements to speeches and presentations, it’s virtually always important to strike a good impression by getting someone’s attention in an interesting way.
What are some good hooks for essays?
There are several standard approaches to writing a hook that can work well for many different types of writing:
An intriguing rhetorical question
A suprising fact or statistic
A relevant quotation
An interesting anecdote
An evocative image or description
A common misconception
But some of these approaches work better (sometimes much better) than others depending on what you’re writing. For example, a good hook for a personal narrative probably doesn’t fit with a research paper. So below, we have examples of a hook in an essay for different styles of papers. Use these sections, along with resources in our College Writing Center , to develop your own hooks for the writing tasks in front of you!
Adjusting hooks based on prompt and purpose
Creating the hook in an essay is often a difficult skill for writers to master. That’s because there is no “one size fits all” for how to create a hook for an essay. Instead, learning how to make a hook for an essay depends on your exact writing prompt as well as your exact purpose.
Below, we have important info on how to start a hook for an essay for a wide variety of different prompts and purposes. This information can help you create more dynamic essays no matter what your ultimate goal may be.
Writing a hook for an argumentative essay
“What is a hook in an essay?” This is something students usually first learn about when they are writing essays for high school classes, though sometimes students make it to college without a clear understanding of what a hook is and how to build one. And when the essay is argumentative , it’s important to learn how to create a properly argumentative hook.
A hook in an essay making a firm argument needs to do more than get the reader’s attention. Ideally, such a hook will also serve to set up and frame the argument so as to subtly get the reader on your side before they even discover your thesis. In this way, you can change the conversation before the reader even knows what you are talking about!
While not the only way to make argumentative hooks, one effective technique is to ask an interesting rhetorical question and using the word “you.” Because readers naturally want to answer questions, and because they are being directly addressed, these readers will perk up when reading your hook.
Finally, consider that because the hook is at the very beginning of your essay, this gives you creative freedom to be a tad mysterious in how you present certain ideas. In fact, the hook is basically the only part of your essay where being mysterious may be beneficial!
Example of a hook for an argumentative essay
Again, in an argumentative essay, the best hooks are the ones that both get the reader’s attention and get them to almost subconsciously take your side even before they know what that side is. For example, let’s say that you are writing a paper in which you oppose creating additional firearm legislation. Such a paper might start with a hook such as “What if your government were putting your family in danger, and you didn’t even know it?”
Here, we are deliberately playing into the mystery by not explicitly mentioning guns (but note that we probably don’t want to keep it mysterious for too long, or we might lose our reader). This makes the reader curious about the “danger” they are in, especially when we mention their family. At the same time, we are creating an oppositional view of the government, planting seeds for our eventual anti-legislation thesis.
Writing a hook for a personal statement
How to write a hook in an essay is a bit different when you are writing a personal statement . That’s because you aren’t introducing readers to an argumentative thesis. Instead, you are getting their attention in a way that also creates a positive impression of you as both a person and a writer.
In other words, a personal statement addressed to, say, a university undergraduate admissions committee has one major goal: to sell you to the reader. To clarify: most undergraduate colleges in the US admit most students who apply . But if you’re applying to competitive schools, your personal statement needs to demonstrate the kind of value you plan to bring to the institution.
Because of this, you need to craft your hook to match the rest of the statement. For example, if you are going to describe how you overcame an unforeseen challenge, a good hook might start with a moment of high tension before you present the challenge as it appeared to you at first: encompassing and insurmountable. This adds narrative weight to the part of your statement where you describe overcoming what seemed to be impossible. Or if you’re building a montage , an intriguing image might pull us in.
Long story short? You need to figure out how you want to structure your essay content . Then, you can craft a hook that perfectly leads into the rest of the work. Again, don’t underestimate how you can portray things mysteriously at the beginning of the essay to both showcase your creativity and to build reader interest!
Example of a hook for a personal statement
It’s easier said than done, but a good hook for a personal statement helps to establish tone and focus or even what kind of person you are while setting up the rest of the statement. For instance, let’s say I am writing a statement for a university application and the prompt asks the writer to describe a time when they overcame a great challenge or obstacle. The hook for such an essay might go like this: “I found myself face down on the wet mud, covered in equal parts hot shame and cold dirt. Nobody was as surprised as me, though, when I began to get back up again.”
Here, we use sensory details to capture the reader’s imagination and really put them into the moment. In this case, the moment is one of great failure and humiliation. Crucially, though, part of the hook involves quite literally rising from this failure. This shows the admission committee what kind of person you are: one who may get knocked down 10 times but will get up 11.
Writing a hook for a personal narrative
Writing a good hook for an essay may seem particularly daunting when you are writing a personal narrative. By definition, a personal narrative is a story of your life. Therefore, good essay hooks for such narratives need to both get the readers’ attention and introduce you to readers as a sympathetic character.
What does this mean in practice? Rather than touching on much (if anything) about the outside world, a personal narrative hook should usually share something about you as a person. Ideally, this shouldn’t just be basic info. Instead, it should be something that reveals more intimate information about you to your reader.
This might include writing about how you felt when a loved one died, or how it felt when you tried your best and you failed. It can be tough to write, but this level of vulnerability never fails to get the reader’s attention. And done well, such a hook instantly tells readers more about what kind of person you are. This may add some much-needed flavor and context to the rest of the narrative.
Example of a hook for a personal narrative
Writing a personal narrative involves a high degree of vulnerability. You are letting readers see past your exterior and glimpse who you really are. Therefore, a good hook for such a narrative should lean into this emotional rawness while telling us more about who you are as a person. For example, such a hook may read, “Nothing was ever the same since my grandmother died. Or at least, nothing would ever be the same about me again.”
There is obviously a kinship between the personal statement and the personal narrative. However, personal statements are generally about helping readers understand your values, insights, skills, qualities, and interests. Personal narratives, however, get more into how both the challenges and triumphs of your life have defined who you are as a person. And our hook above sets up a great personal tragedy that serves as a defining point of the writer’s life.
Writing a hook for literary analysis
Good essay hooks can be particularly difficult when you are writing a literary analysis (for an in-depth guide, head to that link). After all, when you are writing about someone else’s work, it can be daunting to try to come up with something very memorable on your own.
One possible approach to this hook is the classic: “if you can’t beat’em, join’em.” For example, you could always begin your literary analysis with a quote from the literature in question. You then follow this up with interesting commentary that helps to contextualize the rest of your intro.
You could also return to the argumentative technique of asking a rhetorical question but focusing it on something related to the literature. This helps readers think about old works in new ways and serves as a jumping off point for your own analysis.
However you begin the hook to your literary analysis essay, it’s important to demonstrate two things at the same time: one, that you know the written material very well. And two, that you know how to get the reader’s attention from the very first sentence.
Example of a hook in a literary analysis
When you write a literary analysis, it is sometimes difficult to find something new and unique to say. The last thing you want to do is just retell what happened in the story without adding anything to it! That’s why your hook needs to both get the reader’s attention and also showcase that you have something unique to say about the work you are analyzing.
One way to do this is to use a rhetorical question regarding some aspect of the work. The question needs to get the reader’s attention while simultaneously demonstrating your knowledge of the subject and the uniqueness of what you have to say. For example, in a literary analysis of The Great Gatsby , you might have a hook that begins, “What happens when you finally grasp the American dream and then feel it slip through your hands like a warm summer rain? This perfectly describes both Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway. But as you read The Great Gatsby , it’s impossible to shake the feeling that it will describe all of us sooner or later.”
This hook serves as a dynamic introduction to your paper. It also helps set the stage for analyzing how the rise and fall of these characters is mirrored by the rise and fall of America itself. Finally, that evocative first line shows that not only do you have something unique to say, but that you have a way of expressing it that is worthy of this classic work of literature.
Writing a hook for a research paper
The methods for how to write a good hook for an essay change a bit when you are writing a research paper . That’s because research essays are typically a bit more down-to-earth than, say, an argumentative essay. As such, your hooks shouldn’t swing for the fences so much as they should provide surprising insights based on the research itself.
For example, depending on your research essay topic, one or more “scary stats” can really get readers’ attention because these stats help quantify some of the things you plan to write about. It’s one thing to call something like obesity in America a “growing” concern, and this may even elicit a mild chuckle from your reader (puns!). However, a cited statistic about how nearly 72% of the country is overweight instantly makes your reader sit up and pay closer attention.
While startling facts or stats are a great fit for almost any type of research paper, they resonate particularly well if you are arguing about the need to solve a major dilemma. Because these stats help outline why the problem is so major even as they get readers’ attention, you’ll be likelier to have these readers on your side as you begin discussing the need to solve this dilemma.
Example of a hook in a research paper
In a research paper, one of your major goals should be to establish your authority and expertise. The essay itself is going to build on the research you have conducted. And fittingly enough, clever use of the right research can help you create an unforgettable hook.
For example, let’s say that you are writing on the topic of solving homelessness in America. One very evocative way of beginning your essay would be to write, “America currently has more than 17 million vacant homes, yet somehow, homelessness has never been a bigger problem.”
The eye-opening stat alone is sure to get your reader’s attention. At the same time, it helps to highlight the absurdity of this particular problem by highlighting the obvious possible solution. This helps to get the reader on your side as you passionately argue for solving the issue.
Hook vs lead-in transition to the thesis
As you can tell, writing a hook for an essay can be challenging enough on its own. However, it can be extra challenging when you confuse the hook with other important parts of your intro.
For example, some writers confuse the hook with the lead-in transition to the thesis itself. To avoid this confusion, it’s important to learn how these different intro components play very different roles in your writing.
In practice, a good hook makes a difference when it comes to whether or not someone willingly continues to read what you have written. Think of it like this: a great title makes somebody curious enough to check out your writing in the first place. If they think the essay is boring or otherwise mundane, they stop reading. But if they think you have something surprising, insightful, or just plain funny to say based on your first sentence, they’ll probably keep going.
A hook is always at the beginning of your essay. However, as a general rule, it’s best to have your thesis at the end of your introductory paragraph or section. Because of this, your lead-in transition to the thesis occurs right before the thesis itself.
How do you write a lead-in transition to your thesis? It’s helpful to think of your introduction as an upside down triangle with the following components: a title (if used/needed) that makes readers curious, a hook that gets their attention, a surface level of background info, and then deeper background info. This deeper background info should provide more context and effectively serve as a lead-in transition to your thesis. For example, in an argumentative paper, you might have a lead-in describing the different sides people have taken about this topic before providing a thesis that lets readers know exactly where you stand on the matter.
One approach: Write your hook after you’ve finished your essay
Here’s some slightly unconventional writing advice. Next time you are stressing over hooks to start an essay , consider writing your body paragraphs and conclusion first . You can then go back and create a perfectly bespoke intro, complete with engaging hook.
When you get right down to it, writing the intro first is very difficult for most writers. After all, you are introducing us to an essay you haven’t written yet. Once you write out more of the essay, you should have an easier time developing every aspect of the thesis, including crafting a killer hook.
Get that first impression “write”
With these examples of a hook in an essay, you can do more than craft a better essay. You can also create a killer first impression right out of the gate!
It’s important to remember that a good hook can make the difference between whether someone delves deeper into your writing or decides to bail out right away. By mastering the skills of getting someone’s attention in such a way, you will become a better writer, speaker, and presenter. And each day presents another chance to hone your writing skills and create hooks and entire essays better than anything you have ever written before!
Special thanks to Chris for writing this blog post
Chris Snellgrove is an English Professor at Northwest Florida State College who specializes in literature, rhetoric, and business writing. As a freelance writer, Chris specializes in sales, marketing, pop culture, and video games. He has a B.A. in English from Troy University and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Auburn University. When he’s not writing or talking to others about writing, Chris loves reading books, playing video games, watching horror movies, and disappearing into a comic book. He currently lives in Northwest Florida and would probably rather be at the beach right now.
Top values: Diversity / Equality / Social Justice
73 Essay Hook Examples
An essay hook is the first one or two sentences of your essay that are used to grab the reader’s attention and draw them into your discussion.
It is called a hook because it “grabs” the reader and doesn’t let them go! It should have something in there that makes the reader feel curious and intrigued, compelling them to continue reading.
Techniques for Good Essay Hooks
Here are a few techniques that you can use to write a good essay hook:
- Use a Quotation : Sometimes, a relevant quotation from a well-known author or expert can help establish the context or theme of your essay. Next time you’re conducting research for an essay, keep an eye out for a really compelling quote that you could use as your hook for that essay.
- Start with a Statement that is Surprising or Unusual: A surprising or unusually statement will draw a reader in, making them want to know more about that topic. It’s good if the statement contradicts common knowledge or reveals an insight about your topic that isn’t immediately obvious. These can be particularly good for argumentative essays where you’re putting forward a controversial or compelling argument as your thesis statement .
- Tell a Brief Anecdote : A short, interesting story related to your topic can personaize the story, making it more than just a dry essay, and turning it into a compelling narrative that’s worth reading.
- Use Statistics or Facts: Interesting, surprising, or shocking facts or statistics work similarly to surprising statements: they make us want to know more about a topic. Statistics and facts in your introductions are particularly useful for analytical, expository, and argumentative essays.
- Start with a Question: Questions that make the reader think deeply about an issue, or pose a question that the reader themselves has considered, can be really effecitve. But remember, questions tend to be better for informal and personal essays, and are generally not allowed in formal argumentative essays. If you’re not sure if you’re allowed to use questions in your essays, check with your teacher first.
Below, I’ll present some examples of hooks that you could use as inspiration when writing your own essay hook.
Essay Hook Examples
These examples might help stimulate your thinking. However, keep in mind that your essay hook needs to be unique to your essay, so use these as inspiration but write your own essay hook that’s perfect for your own essay.
1. For an Essay About Yourself
An essay about yourself can be personal, use “I” statements, and include memories or thoughts that are deeply personal to you.
- Question: “Have you ever met someone who could turn even the most mundane events into a thrilling adventure? Let me introduce myself.”
- Anecdote: “The smell of freshly baked cookies always takes me back to the day when I accidentally started a baking business at the age of nine.”
- Intriguing Statement: “I’ve always believed that you haven’t truly lived until you’ve read a book upside down, danced in the rain, or taught a parrot to say ‘I love pizza.'”
- Quotation: “As Mark Twain once said, ‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started.’ That’s a philosophy I’ve embraced in every aspect of my life.”
- Humorous Statement: “I’m a self-proclaimed ‘professional chocolate tester’ – a title that’s not only delicious but also requires extreme dedication.”
- Start with your Mission Statement : “My life motto is simple but powerful: be the person who decided to go for it.
- Fact or Statistic: “According to a study, people who speak more than one language tend to be better at multitasking . As a polyglot, I certainly live up to that statistic.”
- Comparison or Metaphor: “If my life were a book, it would be a blend of an adventurous novel, a suspense thriller, and a pinch of romantic comedy.”
- Personal Revelation: “Ever since I was a child, I’ve had an uncanny ability to communicate with animals. It’s an unusual skill, but one that has shaped my life in many ways.”
- Narrative: “The day everything changed for me was an ordinary Tuesday. Little did I know, a single conversation would lead me to discover my true passion.”
2. For a Reflective Essay
A reflective essay often explores personal experiences, feelings, and thoughts. So, your hooks for reflective essays can usually be more personal, intriguing, and engaging than other types of essays. Here are some examples for inspiration:
- Question: “Have you ever felt as though a single moment could change your entire life? This essay is going to explore that moment for me.”
- Anecdote: “I was standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking at the vast emptiness, and for the first time, I truly understood the word ‘perspective’.”
- Bold Statement: “There is a part of me that is still trapped in that room, on that rainy afternoon, holding the letter that would change everything.”
- Personal Revelation: “The first time I truly felt a sense of belonging wasn’t in a crowded room full of friends, but in the quiet solitude of a forest.”
- Intriguing Statement: “In my life, silence has been a teacher more profound than any words could ever be.”
- Quotation: “Einstein once said, ‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’ Now, looking back, I realize how profound that statement truly is.”
- Comparison or Metaphor: “If my life is a tapestry, then that summer was the vibrant thread that changed the entire pattern.”
- Narrative: “As the train pulled out of the station, I realized I wasn’t just leaving my hometown, I was leaving my old self behind.”
- Philosophical Statement: “In the theater of life, we are both the actor and the audience, playing our part and watching ourselves simultaneously.”
- Emotive Statement: “There is a sort of sweet sorrow in remembering, a joy tinged with a hint of sadness, like the last notes of a beautiful song.”
For an Argumentative Essay
Essay hooks for argumentative essays are often the hardest. This type of essay tends to require the most formal type of academic writing, meaning your hook shouldn’t use first person, and should be more based on fact and objectivity, often at the expense of creativity. Here are some examples.
- Quotation: “Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.’ If Jefferson were alive today, he would likely feel that this meed for a well-informed citizenry is falling well short of where he would aspire.”
- Provocative Statement: “Despite what romantic films may portray, love at first sight is merely a myth perpetuated by society. This essay will prosecute the argument that love at first sight is a myth.”
- Statistical Fact: “According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading psychological disability worldwide. Yet, mental health is still stigmatized and often overlooked. This essay will argue that depression should be seen as a health issue, and stigmatization of depression causes serious harm to society.”
- Comparison: “Much like an unchecked infection, climate change, if left ignored, can spread far beyond what it is today, causing long-term economic and social problems that may even threaten the longevity of humanity itself.”
- Contradiction : “While we live in an era of unprecedented technological advancements, millions around the world are still denied basic internet access.”
- Bold Declaration: “Animal testing is not only ethically unacceptable, but it also undermines the progress of medical research.”
- Challenging Belief: “Despite popular belief, the automation of jobs is not a threat but an opportunity for society to evolve.”
- Quotation: “George Orwell wrote in ‘1984’, ‘Big Brother is Watching You.’ In our modern society, with the advancement of technology, this is becoming more of a reality than fiction.”
- Intriguing Statement: “Despite countless diet fads and fitness trends, obesity rates continue to rise. This argumentative essay will argue that this is because medical practitioners’ approaches to health and weight loss are fundamentally flawed.”
- Statistical Fact: “Research reveals that over 90% of the world’s plastic waste is not recycled. This alarming figure calls for a drastic change in social attitudes towards consumption and waste management.”
- Challenging Assumption: “Society often assumes that progress and growth are intrinsically good, but this is not always the case in the realm of economic development.”
- Contradiction: “Western society upholds the value of freedom, yet every day, members of society cede personal liberties in the name of convenience and security.”
- Analogy: “Like an overplayed song, when a news story is repeated too often, it loses its impact. In the era of digital media, society is becoming desensitized to critical issues.”
- Relevant Anecdote: “In a village in India, the arrival of a single computer transformed the lives of the residents. This small anecdote underscores the importance of digital inclusion in today’s world.”
- Call to Rethink: “In a world where success is often equated with financial wealth, it is time for society to reconsidered what truly constitutes a successful life.”
For a Compare and Contrast Essay
A compare and contrast essay examines two issues, looking at both the similarities and differences between them. A good hook for a compare and contrast essay will immediately signal to the reader the subjects that are being compared and why they’re being compared. Here are sine ideas for hooks for a compare and contrast essay:
- Quotation: “As Charles Dickens wrote in his novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. This could equally apply to the contrasting dynamics of urban and rural living.”
- Provocative Statement: “Despite popular belief, cats and dogs have more in common than society tends to think.”
- Comparison: “Comparing being an only child to growing up with siblings is like contrasting a solo performance with an orchestral symphony.”
- Contradiction: “While many view classic literature and contemporary fiction as worlds apart, they are more akin to two sides of the same coin.”
- Bold Declaration: “Android and iPhone may compete in the same market, but their philosophies could not be more different.”
- Statistical Fact: “Statistics show that children who grow up reading books tend to perform better academically than those who do not. But, the jury is out on how reading traditional books compares to reading e-books on screens.”
- Quotation: “As Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote, ‘Sooner or later, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.’ This statement can be used to frame a comparison between short-term and long-term thinking.”
- Provocative Statement: “Democracy and dictatorship are often seen as polar opposites, but are they are not as different as they seem.”
- Comparison: “Climate change and plastic pollution are two major environmental issues, yet they demand different approaches and solutions.”
- Contradiction: “While traditional classrooms and online learning are seen as separate modes of education, they can often blend into a cohesive learning experience.”
- Bold Declaration: “Though both based on merit, the structures of capitalism and socialism lead to vastly different societal outcomes.”
- Imagery: “The painting styles of Van Gogh and Monet can be contrasted as a stormy sea versus a tranquil pond.”
- Historical Reference: “The philosophies of the Cold War-era – capitalism and communism – provide a lens to contrast economic systems.”
- Literary Comparison: “The dystopian societies portrayed in George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ serve as contrasting visions of the future.”
- Philosophical Question: “Individualism and collectivism shape societies in distinct ways, but neither one can truly exist without the other.”
See Here for my Guide on Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay
For a Psychology Essay
Writing an engaging hook for a psychology essay involves sparking the reader’s interest in the human mind, behavior, or the specific psychology topic you’re discussing. Here are some stimulating hooks for a psychology essay:
- Rhetorical Question: “How much control do we truly have over our own actions?”
- Quotation: “Sigmund Freud once said, ‘Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.’ This essay will explore whether this is universally true.”
- Provocative Statement: “Contrary to popular belief, ‘venting out’ anger might actually be fueling the fire of fury.”
- Comparison: “Just as an iceberg reveals only a fraction of its bulk above water, conscious minds may only be a small piece of who humans truly are.”
- Contradiction: “While it may seem counterintuitive, studies show that individuals who are more intelligent are also more likely to suffer from mental health issues.”
- Bold Declaration: “Despite advances in technology, understanding the human brain remains one of the final frontiers in science.”
- Statistical Fact: “According to a study by the American Psychological Association, nearly one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. Yet, mental health continues to be a topic shrouded in stigma.”
For a Sociology Essay
Writing an engaging hook for a sociology essay involves sparking the reader’s interest in social behaviors, cultural phenomena, or the specific sociology topic you’re discussing. Here are ideas for hooks for a sociology essay:
- Quotation: “As Karl Marx once noted, ‘Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex.’ Sadly, society has not made much progress in gender equality.”
- Provocative Statement: “Social media, initially created to connect people, is ironically leading society into an era of unprecedented isolation.”
- Comparison: “Comparing society to a theater, where each individual plays a role, it is possible to start to see patterns and scripts embedded in daily interactions.”
- Contradiction: “While people often believe that technology is bringing society closer together, evidence suggests that it’s actually driving a wedge between people, creating ‘digital divides’.”
- Bold Declaration: “Human societies are constructed on deeply ingrained systems of inequality, often invisible to those benefiting from them.”
- Statistical Fact: “A recent study found that women still earn only 81 cents for every dollar earned by men. This stark wage gap raises questions about equality in the workforce.”
For a College Application Essay
A college essay is a personal statement where you can showcase who you are beyond your grades and resume. It’s your chance to tell your unique story. Here are ten potential hooks for a college essay:
- Anecdote: “At the age of seven, with a wooden spoon as my baton, I confidently conducted an orchestra of pots and pans in my grandmother’s kitchen.”
- Provocative Statement: “I believe that life is like a game of chess. The king might be the most important piece, but it’s the pawns that can change the entire course of the game.”
- Personal Revelation: “It wasn’t until I was lost in a foreign city, armed with nothing but a map in a language I didn’t understand, that I truly discovered my love for adventure.”
- Intriguing Question: “Have you ever wondered how it feels to be part of two completely different cultures, yet wholly belong to neither?”
- Bold Declaration: “Breaking a bone can be a painful experience. Breaking stereotypes, however, is an entirely different kind of challenge.”
- Unusual Fact: “I can recite the periodic table backwards while juggling three tennis balls. It’s a strange talent, but it’s a perfect metaphor for how I tackle challenges.”
- Quotation: “As Albert Einstein once said, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ This quote has defined my approach to learning.”
- Narrative: “It was a cold winter’s day when I first discovered the magic of turning a blank page into a world full of characters, stories, and ideas.”
- Metaphor: “Like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, my high school years have been a period of profound metamorphosis.”
- Humorous Statement: “Being the youngest of five siblings, I quickly learned that the best way to be heard was to become the family’s unofficial lawyer.”
Conclusion: The Qualities of a Good Essay Hook
As I wrap up this article, I want to share a few last tips on qualities that a good essay hook should have. Keep these tips in mind when writing your essay hook and using the above essay hook examples:
First, relevance . A good hook should be directly relevant to the topic or theme of your essay. The hook should provide a preview of what’s to come without giving too much away.
Second, Intrigue. A great hook should make the reader want to continue reading. It should create a question in the reader’s mind or present a fascinating idea that they want to know more about.
Third, uniqueness. An effective hook should be original and unique. It should stand out from the many other essays that the reader might be going through.
Fourth, clarity. Even though a hook should be captivating and original, it should also be clear and easy to understand. Avoid complex sentences and jargon that might confuse the reader.
Fifth, genre conventions. Too often, my students try to be so creative in their essay hooks that they forget genre conventions . The more formal an essay, the harder it is to write the hook. My general approach is to focus on statistics and facts, and avoid rhetorical questions , with more formal essay hooks.
Keep in mind that you should run your essay hook by your teacher by showing them your first draft before you submit your essay for grading. This will help you to make sure it follows genre conventions and is well-written.
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
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