How to Write a Perfect Hook
Do you know how to make people read your essay? The easiest way is to start it with an effective hook! As you have already seen, a question may do the trick. However, there are several types of hooks you may use to grab the attention of the reader. Thus, you may open your essay with an effective hook using one of the following approaches:
- Quote a catching and intriguing line from a literary work or a famous person.
- Debunk a popular misconception.
- Start your essay with an anecdote or a personal story (the one you are comfortable about sharing).
- Tell your reader about some interesting or surprising statistics.
- Ask the reader a thought-provoking question.
At this point, you are probably thinking “but there is no way these techniques can be used in a formal essay! Academic writing is supposed to be dry and boring.” The good news is: you are wrong! Writing a proper hook gives you an opportunity to be creative and prove that an essay can be engaging.
The place of the hook
We have already established that the hook is the claim that captures the reader’s attention. It is self-evident that it opens your essay. However, many students fail to realize that a hook, no matter how effective, is a part of the introduction rather than its replacement.
A proper introduction has the following structure
As you see, the hook and thesis statement are two key elements of any introduction while your approach towards connecting them may vary.
Things to consider while working on a hook
There are several issues you need to bear in mind when trying to create a hook for your essay that will “catch” the reader:
- The type of essay you are writing. It goes without saying that different hooks work for different essays. We will discuss the perfect matches later in this article.
- The writing style and tone you are expected to use. In other words, when deciding on a hook, you need to realize how much creative freedom you can afford in your essay. If the writing is meant to be informal and engaging, it is possible to begin it with a funny anecdote. At the same time, statistics or definitions work for large-scale research projects.
- Who will read the essay? This consideration is necessary because you need to make sure that your hook will strike the chord with the audience.
- How is your text structured? Your hook must stay in line with the rest of the paper. That is why it is a good idea to write the hook after completing the body of the essay.
Choosing a perfect hook
As mentioned above, each type of hook has its pros and cons that predetermine their usability for certain essay types. Let’s have a closer look at what does and does not work about each hook.
1) Starting with a quote
It is only natural to use a famous line as a hook for an essay on literature, culture, or even history. For example, the renowned passage “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” can be used in an essay on Shakespear’s works or analysis of the role of theater in Elizabethan England.
The spectrum of topics for which a quote of a public person can be used as a hook is even wider. However, when considering this approach, be wary that professors are sick and tired of reading the same words at the beginning of each essay. It means that you must choose an original yet relevant quote to stand out of the crowd.
2) Discussing a misconception
This approach is helpful for drawing attention of the audience. It is well applicable for persuasive essays written in a slightly informal tone since.
Examples of such hooks are:
- In fact, the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space.
- On the contrary to what we all were led to believe, chameleons change color in response to danger rather than to match their surroundings.
3) Telling an anecdote or personal story
A good choice for an admission essay or personal narrative. However, you must make sure that your assignment is informal enough and that you are allowed to use first person pronouns before resorting to this tactic.
4) Presenting statistics
This approach works best for argumentative essays. For example, you may open your paper with “The USA is the world leader of TV watching among people older than 35” and then proceed with discussing the reasons for this fact or possible negative impacts of this situation.
Always remember to cite your statistics using reliable sources.
5) Posing a question
The easiest way to make people think is to ask them something. However, to achieve this goal, you may ask the right thing. Make sure that the question you are using as a hook is:
- Relevant to the topic of your writing.
To sum it up
The hook is the claim that opens the essay and makes the reader interested. It is by no means the whole introduction. The hook does not replace the thesis statement but makes sure that the reader cares about it.
A choice on which type of hook to use depends on:
- The type of essay.
- The required style.
- The expected audience.
Bear in mind the issues outlined in this article and you will find yourself catching the readers constantly on your effective hooks!