How to Write Good Hooks for your Essays

How would it feel having your paper in the limelight? To achieve such a milestone, you must ensure your essay has a catchy hook. Regardless of the complexity of the title, you can  craft a catchy hook for any topic.A boring introduction for any academic piece is an outright turnoff. This is because as people read papers, its easier for them to ignore your work from the start due to a dull introduction. With that in mind, it is clear that an excellent essay must have a compelling hook. Failure to do so may not draw the reader's attention.

What Is An Essay Hook?

An essay hook is the initial  sentence of an academic paper whose primary purpose is to grab a reader's attention. Although brief, your essay hook should be so interesting, intriguing, and impressive that your readers always want to delve deeper into the content. The type of hook you settle for should match the content of your essay. For example, a line from a poem is not an ideal hook for an  expository essay. Similarly, a joke is not the right choice for a serious topic such as in  persuasive essay writing. Furthermore, an essay hook should never replace the introduction. Instead, it should form the introductory part of your paper.

The basic structure is as illustrated below:

Essay Hook  ⇒  Brief description of the essay topic  ⇒  Thesis statement


Always ensure that the hook, essay description, and thesis statement demonstrate a good flow of your thoughts.


Essay Hook: Do you know that only 0.3% of solar energy from the Sahara desert is sufficient to power the  entire Europe?

Brief essay topic description: Yes, the possibilities found in such natural energy sources are awe-inspiring. But why do we not exploit them? And, when do we expect it to happen?

Thesis statement: It appears that the challenge is the inability of people to take appropriate action.


Reasons for Writing Good Hooks for Your Essay

  • The hook represents your main idea to readers

  • Your hook sentence or sentences helps you to engage and connect with readers

  • A good essay hook improves the quality of your essay

  • A catchy hook immediately reveals your style of writing

How to Write an Excellent Hook for Your Essay

Below are general guidelines to help you write a good hook for your essay.

Determine your writing style:  In this case, it is either you will choose a formal or an informal writing style. Some types of essay hooks are best suited for specific writing styles. For example, using anecdotal hooks in formal essays can be challenging. This is because the topic and the content will assume a serious tone. In such a scenario it is best to choose a different hook type.
Be mindful of your essay title:  This is the primary thing you will need to keep in mind inorder to find an appropriate essay hook. An interesting hook is not just about its message, rather its relevance. A suitable hook for a romantic novel and one for a persuasive essay will differ a lot. Therefore, be careful about the topic as you write your hook.
Craft your hook towards the end of your writing process:  Although the essay hook forms your paper's first sentence or sentences, this does not mean you should write it first. Writing an essay is not only a long process, but also calls for creativity. Therefore, if you could not craft an ideal hook at the beginning,you shouldnt paanic as you can formulate it as you continue writing your paper. If you were lucky enough to come up with a catchy essay hook at the begining of your paper, double-check the essay to ensure it fits into your context and style. Do this once you have finished writing.
Make it short:  The shorter the hook, the more apealing it is. Keeping your hook brief will ensure that readers will read it and be drawn into looking at your paper's content. Even before deciding if they wish to or do not want to read it, you will have already captured their attention. So, they will continue reading to find out more details about your essay.
Establish the purpose of your hook:  What do you intend to obtain from it? Do you want your readers to be surprised? Or, better yet, intrigued? Or even invoke some shock? Choose your hook according to the effect you want felt. Be sure to align your hook with the tone of your essay.


Types of  Essay Hooks and Their Features

Remember, a good essay hook must be in tandem with the content of your write up. Failure to do so only builds confusions and inconsistencies which negatively affect your grade. Here are hooks you can use in your essay, plus relevant examples.

  • Piece of Advice

You can write a good essay hook using Pieces of advice. This is a  is a good option because your reader will want to get more information.


Never make someone  who sees you as an option, a priority

Do not make a decision when angry.

Never make promises when happy.

Remember, you will always regret what you never did and rarely regret what you did.


  • Anecdotal Hooks (Play On Words)

An anecdote is defined as a short story about something that happened to you or someone else. For example, during a chat with friends, you remember a story related to the subject. and  narrate it as part of the conversation. In that instance, you have used an anecdote. Anecdotes are commonly used when writing informal as well as college application essays. In most cases, humorous anecdotes differ from jokes because their primary purpose is to reveal the truth rather than provoke laughter. Good anecdotal hooks are usually about famous people. A simple way to craft an excellent anecdotal essay hook is by trying to answer the following questions:

  • Who was involved?

  • What happened?

  • When did it happen? Is it relevant to your content?

  • Where did it happen? Is it relevant to the context?


Tolstoy was a renowned pacifist who believed that people should be kind to animals. One day while in the lecture hall, someone asked him what they should do in the event of a bear attack in the woods. He responded by saying, "Do the best you can. It does not happen all the time."

Albert Einstein's parents were worried because of his delayed speech. One day during dinner, Albert said, "the soup is too hot." His parents were surprised. They asked him why he had never talked. Albert answered, "Because up to now, everything has been in order."


  • Bold Statements (Declaration Hooks)

Using bold statements in essay hooks is an ideal way to catch your reader's attention. Such types of hooks are meant to arouse the reader's attention and subsequent feedback.

For instance, you can use a bold statement to predict a specific outcome.  


Soon, you will be able to upload your dreams on your YouTube channel.

To craft a compelling essay hook using a bold statement, research is critical. Find the little known facts and recent scientific discoveries then be creative and represent the existing data in a different light.

Remember to use statements that can be verified from credible sources. Falsified data discredits your work. Additionally, avoid overly long hooks.


In 1929, a carefully planned advertising strategy misled women into thinking that smoking was a sure way to fight for liberation and equality. The well-thought marketing plan developed by Edward Bernays and the infamous phrase "torches of freedom" is an example of how advertising can influence the masses.

  • Use of Contradiction

You can use two disputing sentences or disagreement quotations to write a good hook for your essay.

As the reader attempts to grasp the idea presented, it makes them curious. They end up digging deeper into your paper to understand the concepts.


One thing only I know, and it is that I know nothing – Socrates

I must be cruel to be kind – William Shakespeare

Mrs. Tera's freaky dress made me feel disgusted and excited at the same time; it was a bad choice.

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others – George Orwell


  • Metaphor or Simile Essay Hooks

A metaphor is just a figure of speech that is used to compare two things. However, the subjects are usually unrelated.

For example - his girlfriend is a pig. The girlfriend is not a real pig, but she behaves like one.

On the other hand, a simile is also used to make comparisons. But, in this case the word ‘like’ is used. For example - his girlfriend is like a pig.

Metaphors and similes help to paint a picture of your content. As the reader visualizes, their interest is drawn to your paper.


Metaphor essay hooks - A business blog is a magnet that pulls clients to a company or It turned out that her promise was a delicate floret.

Simile essay hooks - A business blog is like a magnet that pulls clients to a company or The girl's eyes were like two fireflies. I was completely fascinated.


  • Use of Questions

Asking questions at the beginning of your essay compels your reader to think about your essay title. Consequently, they delve into the contents to establish your explanation.

However, you should avoid using general questions.

Do not use questions whose answers are a simple Yes or a No. For example, when writing a paper about a camera, using a hook like "do you have a camera?" cannot grab your reader's attention.

Instead, craft an ideal rhetoric question. It helps to engage your reader in critical thinking, thus compelling them to read further.


Whenever you walk into a traditional store, you have people who can assist you. But what happens once you log into an eCommerce store?

Think about it – when did your life stop being exciting and turned into an endless race that leaves you drained, and whatever you do is never enough?

What are we doing on earth?


  • Definition Hooks

These hooks require you to incorporate the definition of various terms and ideas relevant to your paper. They are best suited for scientific essays.

However, you should not use dictionary definitions like "Webster's Dictionary defines 'truth' as 'the state of being the case; factual; the body of real things, events, and facts'.". Most tutors disapprove such types of definition hooks.

Also, choose interesting or shocking facts.


Black holes are locations found in the space where the force of gravity is so high that even light cannot get out.

When writing a gun control essay, an ideal introduction can be - The USA's population is 331 million people while the number of firearms owned by Americans is 393 million [resource link] — in fact, in the US, there are more guns than people.

For a history essay topic, your hook could be something like - Based on marks they have seen on Egyptian mummies, archaeologists believe that human beings had tattoos from as early as 4000 and 2000." (David Shields, 36 Tattoos)


  • Using a Joke

A pun or a joke can be an excellent attention grabber. You can use these types of hooks for less serious essay topics.

However, using a joke at the beginning of your essay does not mean that the content should also be humorous.

Furthermore, remember to make it brief and well-aimed to achieve the best results.


For an explanatory essay, you can use something like - I stopped fighting my demons after realizing that we were on the same side.

How do make holy water? We can just boil the hell out of it!

I do not make mistakes. I believed I did once, and I was mistaken.


  • Using Dilemma

In this case, you use instances whereby someone has to choose between several options with undesirable outcomes. Your reader will probably want to find out what happened. They will therefore read the next portions of your essay.


Suppose you found out that your closest friend is dating a liar? Would you reveal the fiancé's character, or would you let them marry?

You see a man robbing a bank. He then donates everything to an orphanage. Would you report to the relevant authorities?


  • Using Facts

Facts are best suited for persuasive essays. Interestingly, many people find current, verified facts intriguing.

Research is critical when using facts to write a good hook for your essay. Remember to continuously note down the interesting facts relevant to your essay topic. Once you have finished writing your paper, choose the best fit from the list and use it as your hook.

Also, it is always a good idea to cite your source.


In the winter of 1769, Captain James Cook - a British explorer - received from a Polynesian priest named Tupaia an astonishing gift — a map. (David Dobbs, Restless Genes)

Leonardo da Vinci had a unique talent for writing with one hand and painting with the other simultaneously.


  • Quotation Hooks

Quoting famous people at the beginning of your essay is another way to grab your reader's attention.

When using quotations for a hook, ensure that you quote the words exactly. 

More also choose quotations with words that are powerful, striking and/ or memorable.

Tip: Make your work easier by simply copy-pasting the quote.


Noam Chomsky once said, "The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organization, and participation in a meaningful society.

Mandela Nelson said, "Education is one of the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world," 

Albert Einstein once said, "Strive not to be a success, but to be of value."


  • Using a First-Person Story

You are allowed to use a personal experience to craft a good hook for your essay. You can use them in college application or personal narrative essays.

Be sure to consult with your tutor if you wish to use third person stories like your relatives' and friends' experiences.

Remember, the rule of thumb is that the story should be relevant.


When I was young, I wanted to own a laptop. My parents could not afford it. I had to work hard and buy it myself.

In 1998, Clinton, an impeached American president, had an affair. The affair was not an impeachable offense. However, the truth came out, and Clinton was impeached because he had lied about it under oath.

My grandmother passed on when I was 22. She had been my guardian for 16 years since my parents died in a car accident when I was 4.


Examples of Good Hooks for Essays

  • Even though capital punishment is taking a person's life, most people support the decision.

  • Does playing too many video games or watching television produce violence in teenagers?

  • "A recent research revealed that people who are satisfied with their work-life balance work 21% harder and are 33% more likely to stay at the same company."

  • People cannot live without enough water, yet one-third of the world’s population does not have access to clean drinking water.

  • Although research shows that cigarette smoking causes cancer, millions are still addicted to the habit.

  • Abortion should be a personal decision. However, most people feel it is ethically wrong.

  • Though not a literary juggernaut, Spain translates more books every year than the entire Arab world has in the past one thousand years.

  • Will we see a record-breaking voter turnout during this year's presidential election?

  • Suppose commercially processed food is not available, will your family still have enough food after an extended period?

  • Are online lessons effective options for K-12 education?

  • The development of a child’s personality, and especially during their early years, determines the ultimate destiny of nations.

  • Do jobs that require a Master's degree really have better remuneration than skilled trades?

  • Did you know that a woman is two times more likelyto experience clinical stress than a man?

  • Are your evening habits preventing you from getting quality sleep?

  • Just how difficult would your daily routine be if you had chronic, never-ending joint pain?

  • Creating great family memories that can last a lifetime is more of spending quality time together than spending money.

  • Good-bye Financial Repression, Hello Financial Crash!(Diaz-Alejandro, C., 1985)

  • With a daily average of 25 teaspoons per person, the United States leads the world in per capita consumption of added sugar.

  • Visiting different parts of the world provides people with insights on various cultural differences and a deep appreciation of the ways of life other than their own.

  • For many foster children, their everyday reality includes nearly constant transitions as they are moved from home to home and family to family in a seemingly endless cycle.

  • Good Leaders will set the direction while great leaders enroll people to go to some place.

  • Television programs are meant to inform, entertain, and educate. However, most people watch TV programs only for recreation and relaxation.

  • Owning a dog is said to have a positive impact on your health, safety, and happiness.

Over to You

Writing a good hook for your essay helps compel a reader to read your paper. However, your hook and the rest of your essay should have relevant and accurate information. With this in mind, you should provide the factual basis for assertions made or statistics cited.

Do not just write a good hook. Ensure you present an effective paper by reviewing different essays before working on yours. Doing so will help you access invaluable information and inspiration to help you write a strong introduction paragraph, body, and conclusion.

With all this information, I have no doubt you are now empowered to write a winning essay.










Happy users

Published on: 21, Dec 2020
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