How to Write a Hook for an Essay: 5 Tricks to Know

What if we tell you essay writing can be interesting?

This statement may be hard to believe for college students with academic overload, poor time management, or those disliking the writing process. Once such students get a task from educators to write an essay, they anticipate boredom and torment. They procrastinate, postpone writing tasks until the last minute, or look for someone to delegate their assignments.

But:

College students who love writing know that essays aren’t about boredom or a teacher’s attempt to ban their creativity. They are an extra opportunity to grab attention and communicate to a broader audience. For an academic paper to rock, students and professional essay writers who process “write my essay” like those from FastEssay master specific writing techniques. One of them is an essay hook, a must-have element of an essay introduction: Its role is to engage the readers and make them want to continue investigating your writing piece.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to write a hook for an essay. After reading it, you’ll understand the magic of opening lines in literary and academic works and quit the team of essay-writing haters. (If, of course, you were one of them.)

What is an Essay Hook?

An essay hook is an opening sentence or two of your academic paper. Its purpose is to grab attention and motivate the audience to keep reading.

Important! A hook is NOT the first paragraph or the introduction of your essay. It’s a catchy sentence opening your introduction. Once you’ve hooked readers with this sentence, you’ll introduce your essay topic and thesis statement.

Look:

An essay introduction = a hook + a topic + a thesis.

  • A hook is an opening sentence to engage readers.
  • A topic is the focus of your essay. (What will you write about?)
  • A thesis is your claim (argument) on the subject.

Why Writing a Hook for an Essay

When writing a hook for an essay, your task is to make readers want to continue investigating it. Some writers call essay hooks “a grabber” because they capture interest and evoke curiosity. In today’s world of content shock (when we have more content than we can consume) and a short attention span (we scan online texts rather than read them), hooks give people a reason to read your writings.

Hooks work in many content types, not essays only. Book writers, bloggers, sales copywriters, and others writing to gain our interest use this instrument. Writing hooks come in many forms, so keep reading to learn more and see the examples.

5 Strategies to Write a Good Hook for an Essay Fast

Essay hooks are more formal than grabbers in blog posts or fiction books. The reason is simple: Academic works have strict rules for structure, format, and writing style an author uses to craft a text. A hook idea you can choose also depends on the essay type: 

Thus, hooks like questions or misconceptions will work for argumentative essays. Stories and quotes will better fit informative essays, and statistics are perfect if writing research papers.

Also, consider the target audience. Who will read your essay? Will it be a teacher alone, or will you publish this writing piece online for a broader audience? It also helps to know the writing style and tone you can use in your essay. Some hooks sound better in less formal essays (narrative or application), while others serve for analytical or rhetorical papers.

Below are five strategies to write a good hook for an essay. We’ve added examples and essay types for each so that you have a better idea of how this writing instrument works.

1. Use a Quote

Start your essay with a quote from a book or a famous person. The former works when you write a paper about literary work, a writer, or anything related to the literature world. The latter is perfect for works about notable individuals or if you write about concepts or phenomena related to them. Be careful:

If you want to use a quote, ensure you choose a rare one; avoid those we’ve heard thousands of times already). Also, it should be compelling, relevant to your essay topic, and come from credible sources. Check the authorship before using the quote; otherwise, you risk getting into the trap of those internet memes about Jason Statham telling the things he has no idea about.

Where to use quotes: argumentative, rhetorical, and informative essays; book/movie reviews

Example:

  • “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Nick Carraway perfectly describes…

2. Ask a Question

This one is among the most popular essay hooks because it grabs attention immediately: People are curious, and they will continue reading, expecting to see the answer. Important: Not all questions can be a hook for an essay. Choose those open-ended, involving further exploration of your issue.

Where to use questions: rhetorical, analytical, compare and contrast, and argumentative essays; research papers

Example:

  • “What would you do if you could play God for a day? That’s what the leaders of Guam…”

3. Share Intriguing Fact or Statistics

This hook works without a question in more formal academic papers. Surprising numbers or percentages boost intrigue, making readers want to know what hides behind them. Again, use facts related to your research and ensure you provide the source. Where did you get those statistics? Be honest with your audience.

Where to use facts: research papers, analysis, critical thinking papers, argumentative essays

Example:

  • People lie in every fifth conversation that lasts more than 10 minutes. This finding by Allison Komet from…”

4. Tell a Short Story

This hook is a great option when writing narratives, blog posts, or social media captions. You can tell a story about yourself or make up an episode that will fit your essay topic. Stories create connections between readers and writers, evoking emotional responses; that is why they are an efficient instrument to gain attention and readers’ reflection.

Where to stories: informative essays, blog posts, compare and contrast essays, creative writing

Example:

  • “As a child, I spent hours listening to the stories of my father working at a coal mine. For 25 years, he made it his way to scrape and claw into the earth. On April 10, 2015…”

5. Bust a Misconception

Write a hook sentence revealing the truth about a commonly accepted statement. It’s your chance to evoke curiosity and motivate readers to learn more. Sure thing, it should be a misconception about something related to your essay topic.

Where to use misconceptions: informative essays, research papers, discussions, case studies

Example:

  • “While coffee addicts may insist their favorite drink comes from beans, it’s not. Coffee is…”

Which One Would You Choose for Your Essay?

Now that you know how to write a good hook for an essay, it’s time to practice. Take your assigned paper and think which opening line would fit it best. Ensure it’s short, relevant to your thesis, and intriguing enough for the audience to get caught up and read your essay till the end.

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