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5 Tips for Creating a Catchy and Clever Hook in Your Essays

April 24, 2015 - Posted toSales and Promo

Students who begin their essays with a hook are ten times more likely to win the lottery!

The previous statement is untrue, but it happens to be a good example of an essay hook. When you use a hook to start an essay, you begin your introductory paragraph in a way that grabs the attention of your readers and makes them want to continue reading your essay. There are many ways to use a hook in the opening sentences of your essays. Here are 5 tried and true methods:

  • You can use a quote in the beginning of your essay as a hook.

A quote from an individual who is well known and well respected adds an immediate air of legitimacy to your essay. Depending on the source of your quote, it can also let your reader know what to expect in the coming paragraphs. For example, if you include a quote from a well-known humorist, your reader is going to expect that your essay will contain elements of comedy. In any case, your readers will be intrigued. Suppose, for example, you are writing an essay on the need for reform of the tax code. You might start with a quote from Bill Vaughan, “The tax collector must love poor people, he’s creating so many of them.”

  • Another way to 'hook' your readers is to include a short story at the beginning of your introductory paragraph.

The story you include can be humorous, touching, or even disconcerting. What is important is that your story ties into the subject matter you will be covering in your essay. One way to use a story or an anecdote in an essay about problems with education in poor cities, for example, would be to write a few sentences about a child who is struggling in school because his family cannot afford a computer. This is a great lead into an essay that will cover the impact of poverty on education.

  • An interesting fact or statistic is a great way to get your readers to pay attention.

When you are doing research for your essay, look for an attention grabbing piece of information that you can include at the start of your paper. If your readers are surprised or intrigued by that piece of information, they will be interested in reading further. For example, “The current college dropout rate is 49%.” That’s a pretty startling statistic in comparison to students in colleges in other countries!

  • Don't be afraid of humor.

A funny hook is sometimes the best way to get your peers and instructor interested in what you have to say. Just remember to be appropriate in the humor that you use. It is also usually a good idea to use humor that is geared towards a general audience. After all, you don't want to begin your essay with a joke that nobody gets. For example, “I would rather have a root canal than go on a camping trip.”

  • Don't force it.

If you are unable to find a hook that fits in with your essay topic, don't force it. It is perfectly acceptable to write a great essay without a hook. Besides, if you use a hook that comes off as being awkward or poorly constructed, you will lose the attention of your reader. The one thing you do not want to do, above all else is begin an essay with, “This essay is about…..” – that is so elementary school!

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