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How to Write a Good Hook for an Essay

True anglers know that there are different types of fishing hooks designed for specific bait. If we draw an analogy between fishing and academic writing, we'll understand that hook serves same purpose here and there. In the first case, you need to catch fish. And when you are writing an essay, you want to grab your reader's attention. There are also different ways to hook readers in various types of papers. 

In this article, we will describe some most popular attention-grabbing techniques. You will find out what good hooks for essays are and how to write them.

What is a Hook in Writing

First of all, let's grasp what hooks for essays are and what their purpose is. Have you ever felt that your writing lacks a highlight making readers stunned from the first line? Or maybe your teacher didn't grade a paper you've written as high as you wanted? One reason for this could be an absence of a catchy statement usually included in an introduction. So hook is a remark located in the very first paragraph that grabs readers' attention.

Why do you need it in an essay? That's easy. If you want people not to yawn when they start reading your paper but get excited right away, use hooks. Indeed, if your audience becomes indifferent, all efforts to inform, convince or entertain them with your writing might be in vain. Let's make it clear. We don't mean that your essay is worthless without an attention-grabber at the beginning. Still, it will be more complicated to appeal to the readers' curiosity, interest, or emotions if you don't use it. A hook will also ensure that your audience concentrates on your paper and dives deeper into the content.

As we mentioned before, the hook is usually an opening line of the first paragraph. Along with background information and thesis statement, it builds an introduction. Check the image below and see a typical structure of an introduction:

Hook for an Essay

How to Write a Hook

There are different ways of writing a hook. Before choosing one, always keep in mind:

  • Type of paper and its purpose (persuasive, narrative, analytical essays, and so on)
  • Writing style and tone
  • Target audience

Sometimes, it can be challenging to come up with corresponding hook from the beginning. In this case, you may write the complete introduction after you finish the entire paper. This way, you will have clearer vision of which passage correlates best with the content. Also, to help you choose the best essay hook, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Which feelings am I appealing to
  2. What new information do I want to give my readers

Any hook should reflect the intention of your writing. Therefore, do not choose one just because it sounds cool. Make sure it is closely connected with your essay topic of choice and thesis statement.

We will mention the most popular hooks to start an essay below for consideration.

1. Think of Using a Quote as a Hook

One catchy hook for essay is a quote by a well-known person or historical figure. A thematically chosen quotation may give the readers sense of what comes next in your writing. Such an approach doesn't drop piles of boring information on them right away. Instead, it prepares your readers and stirs up their interest to see your interpretation of the chosen words.

Here is an example you can use for an essay in ethics:

Example on Image: "Be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it." - Imam Ali

2. Ask a Question

A question hook is also an excellent choice to start your essay. Since the response is hidden between the lines, anyone can find it out only by reading your text. People are curious by their nature. When they see questions without answers, they need to find them. If you appeal to this trait, starting your essay with an exciting inquiry will make your readers want to know the answer. And that's exactly what you need.

Check the example of an intriguing question to start your paper with:

Example on Image: "Did you know that there are more ancient pyramids in Peru than in Egypt?"

3. Make a Powerful Statement

A strong statement as an opening line is also a good hook for an essay. It's the right choice for your argumentative or persuasive paper. Such an assertion should be relevant to your thesis statement, which you put as the closing sentence in an introduction. Both such hook and thesis work perfectly well together and show the significance of your essay. No matter whether the readers agree or disagree with your statement, they will still be curious about how you support it.

For instance:

Example on Image: Since the rise of cyberbullying, parents need to supervise their children's smartphone usage and social network activity and notify the school authorities about any cyberbullying attempts.

4. Mention a Delusion

Another option of commonly used hook strategies is starting with delusional facts. If there is something topic-relevant that people still believe is true while it's false, describe it without hesitation. It's one of many great essay hooks that will intrigue your readers.

For example:

Example on Image: "Even though the Great Wall of China is enormous, you still cannot see it from space."

5. Impress With Statistics

Another good hook is a fact supported by statistics. Such openings captivate your readers since they provide undeniable proofs of particular statements. It also helps to gain trust in further arguments you will be making in your paper. Include exciting and reliable data that will  impress your audience with your subject expertise. Make sure that your statistical facts come from credible sources.

Here is the example for an essay about technology:

Example on Image: "According to the 2021 Statista studies, an average American possesses more than 10 devices in their household."

6. Use Humor to Hook Your Reader

Humor is also one of the ways to hook a reader in an essay. People like to laugh as it makes them feel relaxed and less stressed. An anecdotal hook is something you don't want to use in a piece that discusses severe issues. It can be really out of place, and you will most likely confuse or cause dispraise among your readers. Instead, it suits best for personal narrative essays. By starting with something funny about a situation that occurred, you may let your readers know more about yourself. This way, you will make a good base for your further narration.

Here is an excellent example that can fit in a paper about nutrition:

Example on Image: There is only one thing I like more than being vegan. It's not being vegan.

7. Start With a Description

The last but not least of great hooks for essays is a descriptive one. Many people are visually oriented, so if you aim at attracting them to read your piece, describe a setting. Such scenes can be taken from real life or a fiction story. Let your readers envision themselves in that place for better effect. It will help draw parallels between your plot and their perception.

For example:

Example on Image: "Making my way deep into the forest, I felt tiny, just like an ant, as I looked up to the giant trees that looked down on me. I shivered as the cool wind swept across my face and made the falling leaves dance around me."


Now you know how to write a hook for an essay. Even though you need to captivate your readers with an eye-catching opening, it alone cannot guarantee you high grades. So always pay attention to other parts of your paper. Creating an outline and writing the whole essay first will surely help you come up with an excellent hook. Proofread your work, make sure it's clear from errors, craft a powerful opening, and you'll get handsomely rewarded with a good grade.

If you still believe that writing hooks is not what you are meant to be, ask our professional academic writers for help. They do know how to attract their readers and create a flawless paper of any type. Every time you place an order with us, be sure to receive an assignment of highest quality!
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Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a hook be in an essay?

Its length can vary from 1 to a couple of sentences. It depends on the paper and hook type, writer's intentions, and the audience. 

Can a thesis statement be a hook?

Technically no. However, both hook and thesis serve a similar purpose of influencing the readers' concentration. First, you start an introduction with a catchy phrase to capture your reader's attention. Then you continue with writing a concise remark (thesis statement) that keeps it. 

Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

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