If you’re writing an essay, then your opening sentence is called the hook. It catches the reader’s attention and draws them in so that they want to keep reading because they know it will be interesting.
As a writer, your primary goal is to keep your readers in mind so you can appeal to their interests. In this article, we will look at some hook sentence examples to help you decide what is the best opening sentence for your audience.
What is a hook?
A hook can be a sentence or a couple of lines at the opening of your essay. It is an important tool for sparking curiosity and helps your essay stand out. The hook should be attention grabbing and directly connect to your essay topic.
How to Write a Hook Sentence
There are many different types of hooks that you can use in your essay:
- Share a famous quote
- Give advice
- Start with a bold statement
- Start with your thesis statement
- Write an anecdote
- Write a fact, statistic or definition
- Tell your personal experience
- Imagine a scenario
- Ask a question
- Surprise with a misconception
- Use humor
- Provide a setting
- Simile or metaphor
Include a quote from someone famous to attract readers. If the quote is powerful, then it will stand out. From Tolstoy: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
A quotation hook can establish your authority as a writer and it’s an effective way to support your argument or review a piece of literature in academic writing.
2. Give Advice
Try to give advice that would have a big impact on the life of a reader. Giving the reader advice gives value to the reader, which will likely make them want to read more.
For example, “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.”
3. Bold Statement
You want to make a bold claim that will get the readers’ attention and spark their curiosity. This could stand out if you have strong evidence-based facts or personal experience to support it. Example: ” Do you know why 99% of smokers don’t quit?”
4. Start with your Thesis Statement
Start your essay with your thesis statement to grab the reader’s attention. A great way to hook your readers is by giving them a glimpse into what they will find in the body of your essay.
Thesis Statement: “Technology is making it easier, faster and cheaper to have a good time.”
Hook Sentence for the Thesis: While we may think that technology has made our lives more convenient, in many ways, it’s actually doing the opposite.
Left with this hook sentence, people will want to keep reading because they’re curious about how this statement is going to be presented. Sometimes you can take your thesis statement and turn it into the opening sentence of a paragraph by writing it as a question.
The first sentence of the paragraph: Technology is making it easier, faster, and cheaper to have a good time, but does this mean we’re actually enjoying life more?
An anecdote is a short story in which you write about something that actually happened to you or someone else. An anecdotal hook is one of the most effective ways to capture your readers’ attention and should relate to the main point of your essay.
For example, “I’ve never been good at making new friends. The last time I moved cities, I didn’t make a single friend for six months.”
6. Statistics and Definitions
Statistics and definitions can often be boring. Depending on the type of essay, you might want to use creative phrasing and avoid being too dull or technical.
You want it to be easily understood by someone who doesn’t know the topic very well but is still interesting for a reader who is an expert in the subject.
If you can surprise your readers with interesting facts or statistics from a credible source then it will most likely catch their attention. It’s also a good idea to hint at the fact or statistic you want to reveal so that the reader will continue reading.
For example, “Populations of grasshoppers have increased by 300% in the last ten years.”
7. Personal Experience
Your personal experience can be a very effective hook because it directly relates what you learned to your audience’s lives. The best way to use this is to show how something in your life has a lot of parallels with other people’s lives.
For example, “It was my last year of high school, and I had just received an assignment that would affect the rest of my academic career.”
8. Imagine a Scenario
You can also write a hook as you imagine a scenario. This is especially effective if you pick a scenario that most people can relate to.
For example, “How would you feel if your boyfriend or girlfriend was cheating on you?”
9. Ask a Question
One of the best ways to write a hook is by asking a question. Even though it’s supposed to be an essay, ask yourself what questions your readers have and write an essay that addresses those questions.
A question hook example is, “Do you work hard and go after your dreams? Or do you have a fear of failure?”
10. Surprise the Readers with a Misconception
Convince the reader that there is something they believe is completely wrong and then prove to them that it’s actually right. This does not mean you should lie. It means that you could emphasize a single point in your essay instead of allowing the reader to make assumptions.
For example, “Did you know that it is possible to eat as many calories as your body burns and still gain weight?”
This is a tricky one because humor is subjective. One person may not find your joke funny, but another might absolutely love it.
You could give some advice with a humorous twist or start your essay with an anecdote to make the reader chuckle. Most of all, you want to be careful so that you don’t offend anyone by accident.
The setting is an element in literature that can enhance the tone of your essay, but it’s not necessary to use this as a hook.
If you’re describing a setting, you want the reader to know exactly what they are looking at and how it looks. If it sounds like something from a movie or a wilderness adventure, you’re going to capture your reader’s attention.
For example, “The van pulls up to the forest, and the killer walks down a dirt path to a small but sturdy cabin.”
13. Simile or Metaphor
You can use a simile or metaphor to create an interesting hook. This will draw the reader in by making them curious about what you mean. For example, “She was as nice as pie.”
Tips for Creating Great Hooks
Here are some tips for coming up with great hooks:
Get creative with your opening line.
For example, “Getting a good grade is important” might be a boring way to start an essay – but “Getting an A shows that you’re smarter than your peers” is better because it’s more interesting.
Think about what the reader will get out of reading your essay, and frame your opening sentence in terms of that benefit.
In other words, if the reader is going to learn something new from reading your essay, then mention that in the first sentence: “It’s important for students to take their education seriously,” might be a boring way to start an essay – but “a good education gives you an advantage over other college graduates” is better because it entices the reader with potential benefits.
Think about your writing style and the tone you want to use.
The hook sentence will set the tone for the rest of the essay.
For example, a story hook might not be acceptable if you are writing for an academic audience. Consider asking your teacher if you are unsure.
Here is a well-known story hook example that enthralls the reader:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice
By just reading this opening line alone, you can tell this is a book about marriage, gossip, irony and wordplay from the getgo.
Answer objections or address the reader directly.
This works well if you want to write an argument in an essay. The best way to counteract an opposing viewpoint is to think about what the other person might say. You can research disagreements to your argument and collect evidence.
For example, “If everyone became vegan in order to save the planet, wouldn’t that result in an overstock of livestock that would damage the planet even more?”
Rewrite the opening sentence.
Write your opening sentence. Then write another one and another one until you have a few you’re happy with. Then send your article to a friend and see which one they think is the best.
It can take quite a bit of revision to come up with an opening sentence that will get people reading on – so don’t worry if it doesn’t work right away!
Brainstorming Ideas for Hooks
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, don’t worry – it’s a lot easier than you think, and there are plenty of tools that can help you. Because the first step to creating a great hook is knowing how to brainstorm ideas!
When I was in high school, my English teacher would always assign an essay about how technology impacts our lives. This was before I knew anything about how to write hooks for essays, so I would sit down and stare at a blank page until an hourglass icon showed up in the corner of my screen. It wasn’t pretty – but that’s what happens when you try to write a paper without first brainstorming ideas!
Brainstorming is easy and fun. Just start with one word or phrase and then add to it!
Here are a few brainstorming tips:
Write down everything you can think of about the topic in question. If you’re writing an essay on how technology impacts our lives, try typing “The internet” and then try to think of every word that relates to the Internet.
Don’t worry about spelling or grammar just yet – you can change it later. Just keep writing until you run out of ideas!
If freewriting isn’t working, then try the brainstorming technique called clustering. Start with a few big categories, and then sub-categories within those. For example, you might start with “How technology impacts our lives” and then go off into subtopics like:
Technology at the office
Technology in education
Technology for entertainment
If clustering isn’t working, try this brainstorming technique called webbing. Here you just write down the main topic on a piece of paper and then draw lines that connect to other topics.
If you think about it, this is exactly how we web surf online – one link leads to another, which leads to something else. This also works for essays because each idea can lead to the next.
Ask Yourself Questions
Remember what I was saying earlier about hooking the reader with a question? Well, sometimes it helps to ask a question that you already have an answer for. Just keep asking yourself variations of the same question until you actually do come up with an answer:
“So… what do I think about how technology impacts our lives?”
“How has technology impacted our lives?”
“How has technology impacted my life?”
“How does technology impact our lives?”
In the end, you’ll find that the question doesn’t really matter – all you need is to think of how that question can be answered with your thesis statement. And once you’ve got an idea, it’s easy to come up with a fantastic hook sentence!
The hook should be relevant to the purpose of your writing. Make sure to research your topic first and outline your essay before choosing the perfect hook.
Thinking of a good hook sentence might take a bit of time but a catchy sentence that opens the introductory paragraph can make your essay worth the read.