“When I was twenty years old, I became a kind of apprentice to a man named Andrew Lytle, whom pretty much no one apart from his negligibly less ancient sister, Polly, had addressed except as Mister Lytle in at least a decade”
Are you Struggling to Think of Hooks for Essays?
Your professors teach you a thing or two about the essay structure. They give you broad guidelines and you feel confident in your ability to complete the assignment. Then, you start writing and you realize: you don’t know how to write a hook for an essay. When you go through samples of great papers, you get the impression that you do need a hook for an essay. Without it, you can’t awaken the reader’s interest to find out what follows.
Did you read the quote in the introduction of this guide? It’s an example of a hook, which we took from Mister Lytle: An Essay, a famous piece by John Jeremiah Sullivan. The author says a lot in that first sentence. We immediately know he is going to share an experience. We understand that experience will have something to do with Andrew Lytle, a very unusual person. And we want to know more.
What’s the most important thing to do in the essay’s introduction? You want to grab and keep the attention of your reader. That’s what hooks for essays are all about.
Using the Right Hook for Essay
The hook for an essay comes at the beginning. You hook the reader with the first one or two sentences of the introduction. If this is your professor we’re talking about, they have a responsibility to read the paper. That doesn’t make the hook any less important.
You have no idea how to write hook sentences for essays? That’s what XpertWriters is here for. We are always ready to give you the guidelines that turn you into a better academic writer. Here are few tips and examples that will help you out:
1. A Literary Quote as a Hook
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
This sentence is one of the most famous hooks ever. Isn’t it a great way to start a personal essay about your family?
The hook in the form of a quote is quite common in academic writing. We can see it in Self-Reliance, one of the most famous pieces by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many other examples of brilliant essays.
2. An Anecdote
This is one of the most common types of hooks for essays. It’s great for narrative and personal papers. The first example we used in the introduction, the one from John Jeremiah Sullivan’s essay, is in the form of an anecdote.
Are you wondering why the anecdote is effective? One word: storytelling. The reader gets the impression that they are not about to read an essay full of dry facts and pointless arguments. They encounter compelling and engaging narrative. That’s a great way to start an essay.
3. A Quote from an Expert or a Famous Person
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson
An intriguing quote from an influential and authoritative person can make a great entrance. Remember: the quote has to be related to the theme of your essay, and you need to refer to it in the introduction. Stay relevant!
4. A Bold Statement as a Hook
“There is no such thing as morality, and I can prove it.”
This is an example of a bold statement that makes you think: “Oh really? Let’s see what you’ve got!” Think of such an unusual opening, and you’ll definitely have the reader’s attention.
5. A Question as a Hook
Have you noticed how many bloggers start their posts with a question? That approach works because it brings the reader into the process. A question makes your writing interactive. It makes the reader think of an answer, and then they may agree or disagree with you as they continue reading the essay.
This should be a simple yes/no question. For example, it’s not wise to start the essay with something like “Do you believe in God?” You need a better hook; something that will make the reader think. Here’s a good example, inspired by Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov: “If there is no God, is everything permitted?”
6. A Shocking Fact
“During the Battle of Stalingrad, a local railway station changed hands from Soviet to German control 14 times in 6 hours.”
Isn’t that a nice way to start an essay related to the Battle of Stalingrad? The hook is a striking fact that’s unbelievable but true. If you can find such a fact on the topic you’re exploring, use it!
7. A Rhetorical Question
This kind of question is straightforward and doesn’t make the reader think too much. Still, it’s effective because it grasps your point of view in an unusual way.
For example: “Who wouldn’t like to live in clean environment?”
You can catch onto that hook with another question: “Are we doing enough to preserve it?”
Why not brag with the research you conducted right at the beginning of your essay? You can turn striking stats into a powerful opening.
If for example, you’re writing on a topic related to anxiety, you can use a hook similar to this one: “Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States.”
Needless to say, you’ll have to provide a reference, so the professor will know your information comes from an authoritative source. The statistics we used in the example above come from the National Institute of Mental Health.
9. Paint a Scene
“Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running – that’s the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach by the sigh of the sea out there…”
That’s a quote from The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, and we’ll use it as an example of a powerful scene. When you read these words, you imagine the author living the life he described. He paints a picture through words. That’s works great as a hook for an essay.
10. Expose a Misconception
“Most teachers will tell you that social media platforms are a huge distraction for the students. However, when used properly, social media boosts the memory, interest, and productivity of a student.”
When you say that a commonly accepted belief is actually false, you’ll definitely hook the reader. They will want to see how you prove your point.
Are You Ready to Come Up with a Good Hook for an Essay?
When you’re writing an essay, the entrance is everything! Think about it: your professor has to go through dozens of papers in a single day. Do you think they enjoy that activity? No. They get bored by most of those papers, but it’s their job to read and grade them. If you make your paper the bright moment of their day, you’ll definitely get a high grade.
The good hook for essay is crucial. It’s your chance to wow the teacher and promises them to have a good time reading your essay. The best thing is that when you have a good hook, the writing will go smoothly for you. It inspires not only the reader to keep reading, but the writer to keep writing, too.
Hopefully, the examples and tips above will give you a good starting point. Try them out and tell us what you think. Here at XpertWriters.com, we always welcome your questions and opinions.