How to Write a Hook for an Essay

How to Write a Hook for an Essay & Hook Examples

It shouldn’t be a surprise that coming up with the hook for this article was the most difficult part of the writing.
Kelly Spancer
min read
Mar 19, 2023

A hook for an article about hook writing needs to be good after all, otherwise, why would you trust it? It has to be attention-grabbing, interesting, and most of all, it has to compel the reader to read more. So let’s get going and learn how to write a hook for an essay!

What is a Good Hook for an Essay?

A good hook for an essay is an opening sentence that reels in the reader. If you’ve ever finished an article without even realizing it, you were probably hooked from the very beginning. A hook is the opening sentence, the first thing someone reads, the first time someone has to decide whether they want to continue reading or not. Here are a few hook examples that engage the reader and compel them to find out more:

Have you ever wondered how some people make it seem like the universe bends to their whims?
I used to believe I had a pretty good childhood because the saddest day I can remember before the age of ten is the day I lost my favorite book. 
Mother Teresa said “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love”, and that sentiment is more important than ever in today’s world of division and suspicion. 

Now that you know what is a hook for an essay, let’s move on to how to write one!

How to Write a Good Hook for an Essay?

How to write a hook for an essay can be challenging. It needs to be interesting, but it has to stay on point. Don’t worry, if you keep the following things in mind, you’ll know how to make a hook for an essay. 

Think about the type of essay you’re writing

Hooks need to fit the kind of essay you’re writing. A hook that works for a definition essay usually won’t work for a narrative essay. A joke might be the perfect hook for an article about pop culture but won’t work well for a research paper. 

Think about the audience 

You should always think about who’s going to read your writing, but it’s especially important to consider when writing a hook for an essay. Your paper might be perfect for your target audience, but if the reader doesn’t like your opening sentence, their view of the entire essay will be negatively impacted. 

Don’t start with the hook

Just because it’s the first sentence of your essay doesn’t mean it needs to be the first thing you write. Sometimes the moment you think of a topic, the perfect hook pops into your head. If that isn’t the case, make an outline before you start worrying about the details of your hook. The more you understand your paper, the better your hook will be, so if you’re stuck, write the whole thing and come back to writing a hook for an essay. 

Don’t make it complicated 

You might be tempted to fit as much information as possible into the first sentence, but long and complicated hooks have a higher chance of confusing the reader. A short hook that grabs attention and quickly transitions the reader to the meat of the essay is best.

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Ideas for Writing a Hook for an Essay

There are a lot of types of hooks you can use depending on what kind of article you’re writing and who your audience is. Here are a few different styles and hook examples for each. 

An Interesting Statistic

A surprising statistic is an excellent way of engaging your reader from the very beginning. It can work for almost any kind of paper but is generally most impactful for research and persuasive types of writing. Make sure that your statistic comes from a reliable source though and that you cite the source.

It’s likely that the clothes you are wearing right now were made by one of the over 150 million child laborers in the world today. 

A Question 

Asking an open-ended question triggers natural human curiosity. A question automatically makes the reader think about a possible response, which means that they will read more to find an answer. Don’t ask a simple yes or no question. The reader might just answer it in their heads and skip the rest of the paper. An open-ended question that triggers the imagination works well as a hook for an essay.

What would the average day of the first Mars colonists be like?

A Clear Statement

Especially useful for persuasive types of writing, a strong statement as your opening line makes the reader want to know how you defend the statement. As for any hook, the statement needs to be interesting so that reader is curious to know more. 

The rise of social media has made people less likely to live in the moment. 

An Anecdote

A funny or interesting personal experience can give your reader a sense of who you are and involve them in your story. These types of hooks are more appropriate for casual types of writing and narrative essays. 

I will never forget the first time I stepped out of a luxury 5-star hotel in Asia and the first person I saw was a barefoot child playing in the mud. 

A Quote

A powerful quote grabs the attention of your reader automatically. It shows that the topic is something that important people have thought about in the past, and it shows that you’ve done your research. Make sure that the quote you choose is relevant to the point of your essay though rather than just a random interesting statement. 

For a paper on existentialism - Carl Sagan often said, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff”.

A Description

A description that paints a picture in the mind of your reader stirs their imagination and involves them in your writing from the very start and can be a powerful hook. 

The scent of saltwater, the refreshing breeze, the rhythmic music of waves crashing, maybe the reason why people love the beach so much is that civilization has always developed around water. 

A Literary Quote

A literary quote can be a good hook for certain types of writing like book reviews, narrative essays, and creative writing, but doesn’t fit well for expository or research-based essays. As long as you make sure the quote fits the main point of the paper it should work as a hook for an essay.

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” It might have been the fictional wizard Albus Dumbledore who said this, but it’s true for real-life problems regarding class mobility. 

A Mystery

Leaving the reader in suspense is a great way to force them to read more. Be careful though, these types of hooks work best for more informal types of writing. 

The lights turned off, the music stopped, a loud bang shot through the air, and slowly a low vibrating hum filled the silence. 

A Common Misconception

Stating a piece of surprising research that goes against common wisdom and enhances your main argument can be a great way of piquing your reader’s interest. 

Contrary to popular belief, recent studies have shown that money is not the greatest predictor of overall life satisfaction. 

A Joke

People like to be amused, so a joke can be a fantastic way of engaging your reader. Be careful though, make sure the humor matches not just the audience you’re writing for, but also the type of paper. Jokes as a hook for an essay are best used for informal types of writing. 

When the aliens come to Earth the first thing I’m going to say to them is “Eat my neighbor, not me!”

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Hooks Ideas for the Different Essay Types

Now that you know how to create a hook for an essay and about several different types of hooks, let’s see some hook examples for the most common types of essays. 

How to Write a Good Hook for an Argumentative Essay

The goal of an argumentative essay is to convince the reader that your view on an issue is correct. An effective hook for this type of essay should include some information about the main point of your essay. This can be a statement, a misconception, a question, an interesting fact, essentially anything engaging that makes the reader think about the issue at hand. 

Vaccines save over 3 million lives each year.
How is it possible to balance work and family in today’s hyper-competitive world?
Video games have changed the lives of people for the better in small towns and villages. 

How to Write a Hook for an Analytical Essay

An analytical essay is any type of essay that explores a concept in depth. This includes cause and effect essays, literary analysis, descriptive essays, article reviews, and research-oriented papers. A good hook for an analytical essay provides some engaging information to the reader so they get interested in your topic immediately. 

Every country has its unique way of electing its head of state, but the way America does it is unique in several ways. 
How can scientists confidently state that homo sapiens have existed for between 200,000 and 300,000 years?
Shoving an icepick into the brain through an eye socket isn’t medieval torture, it’s a technique used till the 1970s in psychiatric institutions. 

How to Write a Hook for a Narrative Essay

Narrative essays tell a story. They can be informal and often use the first person, so you have a lot of freedom in coming up with a creative hook. 

Coming from a village in a tropical country, I’d always thought snow was a Hollywood fabrication, a special effect conjured by the wizards of CGI. 
The room buzzed with an energy that can only be produced by humans dancing to hypnotic music. 
It was the first time I felt connected to something bigger than myself. No, it wasn’t in a church it was, of all things, alone on a mountaintop.

How to Write a Hook for a Descriptive Essay 

Descriptive essays give a vivid description of a place, thing, or idea. They pull a reader into the experience by using evocative words and describing things in detail. Hooks for descriptive essays should engage the reader’s imagination and fuel their imagination. 

Humans stare longingly at the pale blue dot in the night sky as they breathe stale, recycled air on the first moon base. 
An ache in your chest, a heightened state of awareness, heavy breathing, are you in love or having a panic attack?
Pain screamed across my body as I crawled through the rubble, desperate to reach the only pinpoint of light I could see. 

Final Thoughts

The hook is the first and only chance you get to impress your reader and make them want to read more. That’s why taking the time to craft the perfect hook is vitally important. After reading this article you should know the key ingredients of how to come up with a hook for an essay. 

Remember to match your hook to the type of essay you're writing, think about who the audience is, keep it short, and make sure the hook is relevant to the rest of your essay. Above all though, make sure that your hook is interesting!

After reading this article, you should know how to write a hook for an essay, but everybody needs help now and again. The experts at Studyfy, an art essay writing service, philosophy essay writing service, term paper writing service, and nursing essay writers, can assist you with all your college homework help needs. Whether it's coming up with a topic, creating an outline, writing the perfect hook, essay editing, proofreading, tutoring, and more, don't hesitate to reach out to them!