The Ultimate Guide To Writing Great Hooks For Essays

Essay paper writing

Academic writing


What is a Hook in Writing?

Anyone who has ever written any academic paper knows that writing a strong introduction is the key to success. A good hook immediately creates a bond between the author and the audience. But how to write a good hook sentence? Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to seize the reader’s attention. However, there are some tips on how to get better at creative writing in general and composing catchy hooks in particular.

What is a hook in an essay?

Good hooks to start an essay typically consist of 1 or 2 sentences. A hook can be compared to an appetizer, which would make the reader hungry for more and devour the rest of the text with great pleasure. Since the main audience of the essays is college professors who are highly educated people, writing interesting hooks for essays can be way harder than for many other types of texts. Moreover, college professors are probably reading dozens of essays, if not hundreds, on a regular basis, and thus, in order to impress them, yours should be really extraordinary.

How to write a hook for an essay?

There are different types of hooks for essays, and it is important to distinguish where each of them would be appropriate. Quotes, anecdotes, curious facts, striking statistics, rhetorical questions are some of the helpful tools to use as hooks and prepare your audience to catch every next word. Yet, regardless of the method you will choose to start your writing, it is essential for your hook to be relevant to your overall topic.

How to start a hook in an essay?

Writing a striking introduction can be quite challenging and stressful, especially when the main part of work is still ahead. A good idea would be to spend some time on planning the essay writing process carefully. Also, a substantial question that you need to ask yourself is how do you want to make your audience feel. And one more important thing is what you would want the audience to take from what they are going to read: a better grasp of a certain subject, some new knowledge, or strong intentions to change something in their lives.

How to write a good hook for an essay?

In order to write effective hooks for essays, one should have some insights into human psychology of perception. As you probably know, first impressions are the ones that last the longest. At times, you only have about five seconds before a person decides if he or she likes you or not. Such principle applies not only to interpersonal interactions but to the written word as well. If you bore your readers with a long and monotonous foreword, you may lose their attention for the rest of the text, even if it is far more interesting than the introduction.

What is a good hook for an essay: general guidelines

People generally like hearing (or reading) something they are likely to agree with. If the opening statement claims something that the audience can relate to, there is a high chance that the readers will find the author smart and will be favorably inclined towards the whole piece of writing. This fact can be used when writing strong hooks for essays. However, this hack should not be misused, since putting forward something way too obvious in an opening statement can cause an opposite effect.

Another effective advice on how to write great hooks for essays is appealing to the audience’s need to argue. If you have ever found yourself yelling at a TV, you know the feeling. Starting your essay with a controversial statement will not make people immediately yell and argue with you, yet will certainly get them involved in further reading. However, you should keep in mind that your hook should sound thought-provoking, but not offensive.

One more way of writing amazing hooks for essays is poking on the human need to solve puzzles and the itch to knowing the answer. When the audience senses a mystery, two things happen: first, people become more alert, trying to find the answer to it, and second, they become extremely attentive towards everything they are going to read further, hoping to find the right answer there. Puzzles can be used as a part of different hooks for essays. For example, you can try starting with a paradox, a statement that seems absurd or contradictory but is actually true or at least makes sense. It is also effective to start an essay with a metaphor or an unexpected comparison. And, of course, you can start with posing a question or a riddle. As long as the audience is waiting for the correct answer, it will catch every word of your essay.

When listing the ways to hook a reader in an essay, it is essential to mention one more psychological whim: people like familiar things. If you have ever clicked through the channels of your TV trying to find something interesting to watch, and then stopped in favor of a movie you have already watched several times, you must know that the feeling of recognition can often be mistaken for gladness and satisfaction. This feature is often used in marketing technologies and much less often when it comes to writing, but it will work just as fine. All you have to do is describe a situation that a reader can relate to, and provide some details to make it more plausible.

If you want to write creative hooks for essays, you should pay attention to the fact that most people love stories. For example, the best and the most successful TV commercials are the ones that tell a vivid story. Naturally, it is next to impossible to write a thrilling story in a few sentences, however, there are some methods that you can use. For instance, you start with a bright description of a scene or situation, depict an action, or write a short dialogue.

How to create a hook for an essay: tried-and-true methods


Catchy hooks for essays are similar to earworms. They stick and seize the reader’s attention, and they are likely to be remembered long after the essay is read. There are different types of hooks, and it is necessary to use them appropriately.

  1. Pose a question. A question immediately provokes the process of critical thinking in a reader. But you should try to avoid simple questions that require a “yes” or “no” answer.

You can also ask a rhetorical question, or the one that implies a positive answer, in order to make your audience agree with you.

  1. Use quotes of famous people. The audience is likely to agree with an influential person, and thus, there is a high enough chance that your readers will agree with your words as well.
  2. Use literary quotes. This type of hook is most pertinent when the subject of your writing is a work of literature. A literary quote can be taken from a novel, a poem, a short story, or an article.
  3. Open with a joke. Funny hooks for essays are good to break the ice and make the audience more relaxed. However, an appropriate joke at the beginning of an essay does not necessarily mean that the rest of the writing should be fun too.
  4. Start with a peculiar fact. If you surprise the readers with a catching piece of information at the beginning, they will be eager to know more.
  5. Impress the audience with statistics. People are more likely to take your writing seriously if your assumptions are supported with numbers and precise data, so you can easily win their attention if you find the statistical data that are relevant to your topic.
  6. Reveal a misconception. This is a strong tool to hook your audience and a good strategy to get your audience interested in further reading.

What is a hook sentence, and why should you use it?

It is widely known that human ability to actively perceive information gradually declines within a short period of time. Thus, no matter how dazzling your introduction is, you will have to make an effort to heat up the audience’s attention throughout the whole essay. Some authors advise using hook sentences to start every paragraph of your writing. This may sound challenging and even absurd at first, but it is actually an effective strategy to keep your readers interested and focused on your topic. Moreover, it is a great gimmick to make sure that you do not switch topics unintentionally, and your writing supports the main idea without any contradiction.

David Ogilvy, a world known expert in public relations, once composed a list of the most effective words for advertisement. But what does advertisement have to do with presenting your essay to the public? In fact, the process is quite similar, as you are promoting yourself as an author, and advertising your ideas as a product of your intellectual labor. In this attempt to make as much sense as possible in a relatively short piece of writing, hook words for essays often help authors and readers slide smoother from one point to another, making the essay more cohesive and logical. These words help in summarizing data, comparing and viewing similarities or contrasts, as well as illustrating and exemplifying the main points.

How to write a good hook for an argumentative essay?

writing an essay

Argumentative essays require thorough and consistent research of a given topic, a strongly built line of reasoning, and a distinct position regarding the subject. This type of writing involves a lot of prior investigation of different resources in order to formulate one’s thesis and argumentation. It is essential to substantiate your claims with facts without getting emotional. A strong argumentative essay should also have a logical structure.

Good hooks for an argumentative essay are the ones that actually make the readers be eager to explore the suggested topic more. The first paragraph of an argumentative essay should provide some insight into the chosen topic and contain a hook written well enough for the readers to start caring about the main problem that your essay explores. Edgy rhetorical questions, quirky puzzles, and powerful quotes of famous people are all among the effective argumentative essay hook examples. It is crucial to provide the main thesis in this section and give the readers some general idea of what the essay is going to be about. In the body paragraphs the topic should be examined from different perspectives, so omitting points that are contrary to the thesis is an ineffective strategy. In order to write a comprehensive essay, one should mention and discuss multiple points of view on a given topic. Good hook sentences for argumentative essays can also be used as transitions between different opinions, and make the writing more coherent.

A general approach to writing argumentative essays typically implies a five-paragraph structure. Nevertheless, some topics and assignments require deeper research and, therefore, bigger volume.

How to write a hook for an expository essay?

Expository and argumentative essays are quite similar and can often be confused with each other. The only difference is that expository essays are generally shorter and require less research and factual information. An expository essay usually consists of an introduction, several short body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

The aim of expository essays is to show the author’s vision of a given problem or topic and provide evidence to support it. Thus, the main thesis should be introduced at the very beginning of the writing. The recommendations on hooks for expository writing are generally the same as for argumentative essays, yet if you are working on an expository essay in class, it can be difficult to recall a quote or a relevant fact, therefore, you will have to rely on your creativity. Rhetorical questions, jokes, and catchy phrases are good hooks for expository essays.

In the body paragraphs you should support the main thesis with reliable argumentation, provide a thorough description of every new idea, and consider multiple points of view. It can be quite challenging to create a balanced view of a given topic, especially within a limited timeframe, so it is handy to use expository hooks at the beginning of every paragraph and transitional words to switch from one idea to another without infringing upon the overall logic of the essay. It is important to check that the provided substantiation is not biased, the examples and the evidence are relevant, and the narrative is coherent. One of the difficulties of writing an expository essay hook can be related to a changing flow of the author’s thoughts. In other words, it can be hard to estimate the complexity of the further argumentation, and the hook that seemed appropriate at first, can lose its pertinence after the essay is ready. For this reason, some authors prefer writing hook sentences for essays after the draft version of the essay itself is completed.

How to write a hook for a persuasive essay?

The main purpose of writing a persuasive essay is to convince the audience that the author’s point of view is valid while also acknowledging other opinions. This type of writing requires deep immersion into the subject matter and investigation of numerous resources. One of the key elements of a successful essay is a debatable thesis. An ambiguous thesis of a persuasive essay hooks the readers right away and makes them hold an internal debate with the author.

A thorough and effective introduction consists of an attention-grabber, a thesis, and a preview. Good hooks for persuasive essays are designed to warm up the audience’s interest, to put a fresh idea into their minds, and to boost their critical thinking before introducing them to a controversial thesis. In this part of writing, it is vital to avoid clichés and any obvious phrases or questions. 

Persuasive essay hook examples and rules

The body paragraphs, regardless of their number and size, should relate to the main idea of the text. Good hook sentences for persuasive essays used as openings for each new paragraph will hammer home the point that the author is trying to deliver. This type of essays calls for explaining and commenting on every piece of evidence, as there is a potential risk that it will be interpreted by the audience some other way than the author intended it. In order to convince the readers to become devotees of the author’s point of view, one should be aware of the opposing viewpoints, and disprove them in a consistent manner, identify mistakes, inconsistencies, and flaws in their logic. At the same time, the author’s standpoint should be supported by information and examples from various credible resources. An effective way of revising a persuasive essay is reading through the paragraphs and determining whether each of them is related to the main thesis.

What is a good hook for an essay and where can you get one

Regardless of the type of essay you are writing and the type of hook you are willing to use, there are few more guidelines to follow:

  • Never write a hook that has no connection to the topic of your writing, and thereby, always check if the hook is still relevant after the whole paper is done. Writing an inappropriate hook just for the sake of having one in the text will lead to an opposite effect: confusion between what was expected by the audience and what is actually presented to it can seriously undermine the authority of the writer.
  • No matter how tempting it can be, do not skip the introduction. Even the most dazzling argumentation, the brightest and the most creative ideas, represented with sophisticated language and flawless logic, can be neglected by the readers if you don’t prepare them to comprehend the suggested information.
  • Good hooks for college essays should be written in the same tone and style as the rest of the essay so that not to distract the audience’s attention from the main points that the author is trying to make.
  • A good hook should be catchy, thought-provoking, and as laconic as possible. A start that is too pretentious can make the readers more judgmental than they would have been if the hook was written in a natural manner. 

Sometimes it can be quite hard to come up with hook ideas for essays; it requires some practice and a lot of diligence. You can surrender to the temptation of delegating the whole work to an essay writing service or research the given topic a little bit more in search for inspiration. Try writing an outline for the whole essay and determine the weak spots that require further investigation and research. This preparatory step may lead you to a new insight on the topic and grant a fresh vision of what your essay should look like. And better understanding of the topic will allow you to write distinctive and captivating hooks that will catch and keep the audience’s attention from the start to the very end.



Essay paper writing

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