How to Attract Readers with a Great Essay Hook?

Great Essay Hooks

In college, students often need to write different kinds of works. This can be essays for the English literature class or a psychological essay or a research paper in anthropology – professor like to make students express their ideas in a written format. Although each assignment has its own purpose, there is one important element they share – they must have a good hook which will draw readers’ attention.

Why Do We Need Great Essay Hooks?

If someone is searching for a book or article to read, he or she will decide from the very beginning whether this work is worth their attention. Ironically, the book can be an awesome piece of writing, but if the opening lines are dull, a reader will unlikely keep reading the rest. So, a hook is a catchy sentence or paragraph in the introduction of an essay which serves as an attention grabbing element. The effectiveness of the hook is defined in terms of its ability to motivate people for further reading.

Can I Use All Types of Hooks for My Essay?

Before we begin to talk about types of perfect essay hook, we want to mention several steps students should take to decide on which hook to choose.

Let’s See What Kind of Hook Are Out There

Start with an Exciting Fact

Example: “Archaeologists believe, based on marks they've seen on mummies, that human beings had tattoos between 4000 and 2000 B.C. in Egypt.” (David Shields, 36 Tattoos)

If you want to make readers read your full essay, amaze them from the very intro. Get them hooked with the help of a fact they have probably never heard and keep them interested throughout the entire work. Check out this article: don’t you want to learn more about where tattoos have come from and what they mean? This introduction looks very promising.

State a Thesis

Example: “Few aspects of the American mythos form such a complex set of relationships with the African American experience as the idea of the frontier.” (Pamela Swanigan, Much the Same on the Other Side: The Boondocks and the Symbolic Frontier)

If you have a great idea and you want to be straightforward and introduce it immediately because it is unique, do so. Why is this particular sentence so hooking? It intrigues the readers because using such a structure the author ‘promises’ she will tell us about something special. We definitely are interested in the concept of frontier now.

Use a Great Story as a Opening

Example: “In late 1979, a twenty-four-year-old entrepreneur paid a visit to a research center in Silicon Valley called Xerox PARC. He was the co-founder of a small computer startup down the road, in Cupertino. His name was Steve Jobs.” (Malcolm Gladwell, Creation Myth)

Do you need anything else to get hooked? This is a brilliant essay starter. Stories are always effective, but stories about famous people are on top. Do research, read great people’s biographies and find correlations with the theme of your writing. Give readers a nice story, and they will enjoy it.

Strike with Numbers and Statistics

Example: “According to 2008 figures from the Pew Research Center, 97% of today's K-12 students spend many hours each week playing video games.” (Keith Devlin, Learning Math with a Video Game)

Every time you want to draw the audience’s attention, start the first paragraph with large numbers and interesting statistics. This way you can demonstrate that you did extensive research and create a good basis for your further discussion.

Surprise Readers by Revealing a Common Misconception

Example: “We all know that a tongue has several sections which are exclusively responsible for a particular taste: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. In fact, this idea was disproven by further studies and research.”

What can be more intriguing than to find out that an idea you have had in mind for years happens to be wrong? This is a perfect trigger, and it definitely will get your audience hooked in a second.

Create an Image or Metaphor

Example: “To make an omelette you need not only those broken eggs but someone ‘oppressed’ to beat them…” (Joan Didion, The Women’s Movement) Obviously, this isn’t a recipe or a story about eggs. The writer starts with a very simple, everyday image, and then adds a drop of unpredictability – ‘oppressed’ ones to break the eggs. This is what we call a fantastic starter and a great hook.

Ask a Question – Give an Answer

Examples: “Why do novelists write essays? Most publishers would rather have a novel.” (Zadie Smith, The Rise of the Essay)

What a nice question! We want to know the answer now. And we keep reading and reading and realize that we have finished the entire piece. Nothing is more hooking that a question that interests lots of people. Don’t be afraid to use this trick if you want people to get interested in your writing.