How To Hook The Reader In A Persuasive Essay

"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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

"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.

EXAMPLE:

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.

Writing effective hooks is a big deal many students and young writers face. Our best offer is a professional academic writing/editing service full of paper samples, talented writers, and discounts for loyal customers. Order one of the cheapest academic services online! We guarantee no risk to your grades and educational image.

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In a 1971 fight, Joe Frazier famously floored boxing champ Muhammad Ali with a strong left hook, leading to Ali’s first ever professional loss in the boxing ring. This is most definitely not the source of the word “hook” in writing, but the analogy is as solid as Frazier’s punch. No matter what type of writing project you’re getting into right now, you need a strong hook that knocks your readers’ socks off and gets their attention.

When I talk about good hook sentences, I’m talking about that juicy string of words that make up the first sentence (or two) of your writing project—the words that grab your readers’ attention and don’t let go.

Good hook sentences say, “Drop everything you’re doing and read me right now,” without actually coming out and just saying that.

Writing good hook sentences is critical in all types of writing disciplines from essays and marketing copy to novels and short stories. Hooks are even used in song lyrics.  I’m sure, on more than one occasion, you’ve fallen victim to an earworm (a set of lyrics that you can’t get out of your head). That’s because you got hooked. I got the eye of the tiger… oh…um, sorry, I wasn’t listening to Katy Perry, I swear!

Now, here’s the catch. There’s no single, tried and true formula to writing good hook sentences. There is no specific order of nouns, verbs, and adjectives that will get the job done. But when it comes time to KO your readers, this post will give you four simple steps to help you craft your perfect hook.

Good Hook Sentences Step 1—Identify Your Audience

Your hook sentence, just like the rest of your writing project, needs to speak to your specific audience. Getting the attention of a college professor is going to be a vastly different task than getting the attention of a group of stay-at-home moms, for example. Before you write your hook, ask yourself three key questions:

Question 1: Who is my audience?

It’s important to identify your audience no matter what type of writing project you’re working on. Doing so will help you select a message that speaks to them.

If you’re trying to get the attention of a bunch of middle school girls, for example, you either need to be Justin Bieber in the flesh or write a hook that is geared toward that age group.

If, however, your writing project is geared toward the admissions counselors at a prestigious university, you had better get a haircut, Bieber, and write your sentence appropriately.

Before setting out on this writing adventure, make note of your intended audience.

Question 2: Do I have a captive audience?

This question is important because it will help you better understand the purpose of your hook.

In the case of your teacher or an admissions counselor, you pretty much have a captive audience. They are being paid to read your writing. So the intention of your hook is to keep these people from falling asleep on the job, to entice them to give you a good grade, or to convince them to admit you into their institution.

If you’re writing a blog, a book, or marketing copy, then your audience is not captive, meaning they have a choice to read your work or not. Whether your writing appears online, at the bookstore, or on a publishing agent’s desk, your work is one second away from being skipped over in favor of the next piece of writing. In this scenario, a good hook is the lifeline of your writing.

Question 3: What matters to my audience?

Finally, you need to figure out what is important to your audience. Are they interested in solving a particular problem? Are they looking for a specific type of information? Do they want to know something interesting about you? Do they want to know that you understand a particular topic? Are they looking to be entertained?

Write down what matters to your audience.  This will help you craft your ultimate hook sentence.

Good Hook Sentences Step 2—Identify the Purpose of Your Writing

The next important issue to determine is the purpose behind your writing. A good hook sentence must be consistent with your writing. You can’t just write an awesome sentence because it’s awesome, and then go off onto another topic entirely. That would just make you look like a crazy person.

For example, if you are writing an argumentative essay, your hook should reflect the strength of your argument, perhaps by stating a shocking fact.  On the other hand, if you’re writing a love story, you might start off writing a sweet and romantic anecdote. And if you’re writing a frightening essay on the topic of nuclear warheads, you might select to begin with a chilling statistic.

When identifying your purpose, ask yourself these two questions:

Question 1: How do I want my audience to feel?

Your answer could be that you want them to feel frightened, or motivated to action, or warm and fuzzy like they have a cute puppy on their lap, or interested in your life story.

The point is to write a hook that elicits the types of feelings you want your audience to have.

Question 2: What do I want my audience to take away?

Your answer could be that you want them to be better educated on a certain topic, or that you want them to question reality, or that you want them to believe in love again.

A good hook will reflect the purpose of your writing and set the stage for how you want your audience to feel and what you want them to take away from your work.

Good Hook Sentences Step 3—Choose Your Hook Wisely

Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat  (not that I would know–I like my cats with skin and fur on them), there is more than one way to write a compelling hook that will grab your readers’ attention.

Here are a few of those ways:

1. Tell a humorous anecdote.

2. Reveal a startling fact.

3. Give an inspirational quote.

These are only three of many types of hooks. I could go on and on and on, but instead I created a resource just for you that features 14 different types of hooks plus example sentences.

To get this awesome resource and start your ideas flowing, just enter your email in the box at the bottom right of this screen. Your exclusive hook sentences will be instantly sent to your inbox.

Good Hook Sentences Step 4—Craft Your Hook

Now that you’ve considered your audience, the purpose of your work, and settled on the type of hook you want to write, it’s time to make it shine. A good hook sentence will use only the right words and will be as polished and refined as possible.

Honestly, this is how you should approach writing all of your sentences, but if you only have one absolutely perfect sentence in your work, let it be your hook.

One more note: even though your hook sentence is your very first sentence, it’s a good idea to write it last. By writing it last, you can better capture the tone and purpose of your entire writing project.

Remember, a good hook sets up expectations about your writing, establishes your credibility as a writer, grabs your readers’ attention, and makes them eager to read your work. If you need inspiration, you might check out these 400,000 example essays. If you need help polishing your hook sentence, Kibin editors can help with that!

Good luck!

*Cover image credit: Spray flies from the head of challenger Joe Frazier, left, as heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali connects with a right in the ninth round of their title fight in Manila. (AP Photo/Mitsunori Chigita, File)

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