Essay Hooks that Grab the Attention of any Reader

author By Mary Boies

By reading the first sentence of your essay or paper, the instructor or professor can already tell how engaging or boring it will turn out. There are some words to start an essay introduction and get the reader's attention and others that make you sound like a clown.

Not knowing how to begin an essay when you are blank can be the most intimidating encounter. It is even worse if you are sure that you are writing an essay to be marked by a strict professor or a panel of strict markers. But, not to worry, we have you covered!

Have you read an essay example, an article, or a blog post and found yourself reading it involuntarily to the end? It is possible that you felt some natural curiosity that absorbed you into your writer's world. Well, you were hooked. The first sentence in the introduction grabbed your attention, raising your curiosity and appetite to read the entire piece. That is how you should write your essay introduction to catch your readers' attention.

This guide, prepared by our best essay and research paper helpers, will expound on different ways to hook your readers, polish your essay’s introduction, and illustrate seven ways you can do it without struggling. By the end, you will be able to subsequently build an emotional attachment with your readers baiting them on and retaining their attention and alertness to the last sentence of your essay.

Although there are many ways you can write your persuasive or informative essay hooks, let's begin with the fundamentals.

What is a hook sentence in an essay?

An essay hook is the first one or two sentences in the introduction paragraph of your paper that capture your readers' attention. The opening statement in your essay helps the readers make up their minds about whether to continue reading your text.

Like the hook that fishermen use when fishing, a “hook” in an essay will differ depending on what you target and your audience. Hooks are not confused with the introduction.

A hook is the opening sentence of your introduction, and you can never substitute it. With the hook in place, you can move to the background information section of your introduction, where you expound on your topic before writing the thesis and taking a stance or mentioning your stance.

Although generating essay hooks can be intimidating and challenging, answering the following questions can help you choose the best hook:

As per our internal survey, most of our top essay writers advised that writing a hook and the introduction after finishing the body paragraphs will fit and flow with the essay.

A perfect essay introduction is a product of a good hook, a short topic description, and a thesis statement. Sometimes, including the structure of your essay at the end is good, especially if you are writing a long essay.

Why write an essay hook, anyway?

Now that we know what a hook is, we must know why we need one for an outstanding introduction. Writing a good hook is significant because:

The above reasons make it necessary to write a hook sentence that counts. We will see in a bit how you can write a good hook.

Steps to writing an Excellent Hook that Grabs the Readers’ Attention

If you are struggling to get writing essay hooks right, here are some steps you can follow to write one.

1. Understand the type of essay you are writing

Clearly, your hook statement will vary depending on the type of essay you are writing. However, you are yet to see that when we finally give examples of hook sentences for different types of essays and writing styles.

Finding an appropriate hook is not just about the message; it is about the relevance of that hook to the essay, writing process, and audience. This means that the hook for a persuasive essay will not be the same as that of an exemplification essay or personal statement.

2. Research well on the topic

Research is a vital aspect of the essay writing process. It helps you understand the topic, and facts around it and determine the scope of the entire paper. In addition, as you research, you will notice exciting facts or outstanding ideas about your topic, which can form the basis of your essay hook later as you write the introduction.

3. Decide on the purpose of your hook

There are two questions to ask yourself here:

Choose a hook sentence that will attain that purpose depending on the effect you need to achieve and the feelings you intend to evoke with the hook. For example, you might opt for a shocking statistic, a sensational anecdote, a rhetorical question, a motivating quote, or a simile.

With the purpose in mind, your hook will reflect your writing type and scope.

4. Choose a hook at the end of your writing process

We advise you to write the introduction paragraph, and thus the hook, last. Although it is your opening sentence for the introduction, writing it last will enable you to leverage your creativity and innovation juices.

The research and development of the body paragraphs have already set the agenda and scope of your essay. Therefore, choosing a hook will not be as hard as writing from top to bottom. Although sometimes it is possible to write from the introduction to the conclusion, write the hook last if you are not under pressure.

To do this, assuming you have your thesis statement:

With the knowledge of the potential steps now comes a great responsibility to dive into the types of essay hooks you can use to start your essay.

Related Reading:

Hooks Use at the beginning of an Essay Introduction

You have probably heard your teacher insist on hooks as a great way to pin the readers down to the end of any paper. By this time, you know what hooks are, their purpose, and how to do them right but the different types.

There are seven different types of  hooks for writing, including:

  1. Quotation
  2. Anecdotes
  3. Statistics/Facts
  4. Questions
  5. Story
  6. Metaphor/simile
  7. Strong statements

These are the top 7 words you can start an essay introduction with, and be sure that you have nailed the point home right from the beginning.

Let’s look at each of them, including their features and, where possible, examples.

1. Quotation Hooks

As the name suggests, a quotation hook means an opening statement of an introduction where a famous, interesting, or literary quote is used to grab the reader's attention.

As long as a quote connects to your writing, you can quote from the person regardless of whether they are famous.

In this case, use the exact words verbatim and ensure that you choose quotes with striking, memorable, and powerful words. Such quotes allow you to assert your authority as a writer. You create a lip-smacking hook for your essay that evokes your readers' emotions.

Literary quotes are a great preference when writing a critical essay, compare and contrast essay, rhetoric essay, character essay, or expository essay. You can quote literary writers such as Shakespeare, Mark Twain, etc.

2. Anecdotal Hooks

You can begin your essay with a short but sweet story as long as it relates to your topic and can enthuse your readers. It could be some imagined, short, or personal story.

However, ensure it is relevant to your essay's main or controlling idea. Ensure that you elaborate on its relevance to the chosen essay topic.

Anecdotal hooks work best with personal statements, statements of purpose, common APP, descriptive, narrative, or profile essays.

Example: Before being drafted, I thought it was anything close to what the movies represented, only to realize that things were tough, challenging, and needed a hardened soul.

Creating some little humour can grab your readers’ attention and interest them in reading your essay. Ensure you use a short anecdote that connects to the essay’s idea or thesis. Since most assignments disallow personal pronouns or the use of first-person, check how to go around this barrier.

3. Statistics/Facts Hooks

You can open your essay using statistical data guaranteed to hook your readers with new facts they are probably not privy to. This is especially beneficial when writing persuasive or argumentative essays where facts count more than empty words.

Drawing from the evidence you have gathered in the research phase, you can write an essay beginning that makes you the essay demigod. For instance, if you are writing about child obesity in the United States, talk about the statistics of the children affected and how many children grow obese when they become adults.

Another illustration can be when writing about climate change, recounting the shocking statistics of the increase in temperature and stating how this has caused the sea level rise, tsunamis, and droughts.

Example: According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of childhood obesity is 19.3%, meaning that around 14.4 million children and adolescents are affected in the United States alone.

4. Story Hook

You can begin your essay with a short story, an episode, or a scene that connects your writers to the topic. The story can be your personal story or someone else’s. Most readers love stories, especially if the one in question is memorable. Ensure that your story hook directly connects to the essay, thesis statement or controlling idea, and the topic of your paper.

The story hooks are usually longer, which is pretty much okay. However, limit how much your hook prevents you from writing the background information and the thesis of your introduction.

5. Question Hooks

A common question teachers get is whether to begin an essay with a question. The rationale of using questions is anchored in how humans think. Our brains process facts beginning with questions, even when left unanswered.

Question hooks make your readers think about it even if they have their answers. It raises their curiosity about your point of view, making them want to read to the end.

Avoid using shared or dull questions that will otherwise be flat and have no impact on your readers. Again, avoid generalized questions. Instead, ensure the questions are intriguing enough to leave your readers yearning for more information. Besides, tailor your reader’s needs and expectations for better outcomes.

Example: Have you ever wondered how many animals are sacrificed yearly to benefit the cosmetics industry?

The question above will elicit your readers' attention to want to know more about the use of animals in testing cosmetics products. You can use this rhetorical question hook when writing a cause-and-effect, argumentative, or persuasive essay. In addition, it gives you a chance to introduce facts as part of your background statement.

Like lists in an essay, you should use question hooks in informal essays or sparingly in formal essays. 

Examples of Question Hooks

  1. Why would a teenager who has little responsibility commit suicide?
  2. Is it even possible to use forensic science to solve some of the world’s shocking cold cases?
  3. Does getting a college education guarantee success in life or otherwise?
  4. Is love a real or imagined feeling among human beings?
  5. Are cats better pets than dogs?
  6. What would someone who has achieved so much do when humiliated by a failure?
  7. Do you know that humans should not even be consuming animal milk?
  8. Are you aware of the consequences of abortion for teenagers?
  9. Have stricter gun laws turned America into a safer society?
  10. Are activities of daily living important for elders?
  11. Does online learning promise better results than traditional classroom learning?
  12. Are criminals bound to be criminals by birth?
  13. How much television should you allow your kid to watch?
  14. Have you imagined the benefits of commuting to work on bikes?
  15. Are processed meats the leading cause of cancer in society?
  16. Has Big Pharma finally taken over food, sanitation, and agriculture?
  17. Are governments from developing nations accountable for corruption in those nations?

6. Metaphor/Simile Hooks

Yes, you are allowed to start your essay using a simile or a metaphor to interest your readers in your essay. A metaphor, as a figure of speech, compares two unrelated things. A simile also compares unrelated things to one another but uses “like” and “as” as connectors. Although a simile is less potent than a metaphor, they play a significant role in opening sentences for essay introductions.

For instance, if writing an essay about business growth, you can use the metaphor hook: A business's growth is a journey with challenges and wins. If you use a simile hook, it will read, “The growth of a business is like a journey that has challenges and wins.”

Example: Obesity is a monster reaping resources of America's already strained healthcare system.

7. Declaration or Strong Statement Hook

A declaration or strong statement is also a perfect way to start an essay. It is a great way to interest your readers, highlight the importance of the topic and show the relevance of the topic in the context of your essay.

You can make an assertive claim about your topic, which must connect to the thesis. A strong statement matters significantly because the readers must not agree or disagree with your statement. Instead, it elicits the readers' interest to see how you support your ideas.

For example, when writing about bike commuting being better than carpooling, you can write: Although both carpooling and bike commuting save money and the environment, the latter is better.

The statement above supports the view that bike commuting is more significant in impact than carpooling.

Rules for writing a Hook sentence for any essay

We insist that your first paragraph determines the marks you will get for an essay. The first sentence, your hook, should captivate your readers and make them stick around long enough to the end of your essay.

For a better beginning, ensure that you adhere to the rules that we highlight below:

1. Write the hook last

Writing a hook sentence ensures you capture the information reflected in the body paragraphs supporting the final thesis. You are guaranteed to grab the attention of the readers comprehensively.

2. Avoid using cliches

Avoid using cliché words or facts when writing an essay hook. Instead, use unique words that interest your readers, making them see sense in your essays. As you do so, ensure your ideas are as original as possible. Avoid using hyperbole or too many emotions.

3. Drop too much philosophy

Although logic, reasoning, and critical thinking demonstrate writing prowess, avoid too much philosophical reasoning. Although philosophy separates good writers from poor writers and average A-students, overdoing it is perilous. You are good to go as long as your essay hook is direct to the point.

4. Keep it short

Overly long hook statements can be bland, confusing your readers instead of being interested in reading your essay. Therefore, the best should be one or two sentences maximum, which captures the attention span of your readers.

5. Make them relevant

Let the essay hook match your essay. An ideal essay hook must touch on the main ideas of your essay but not just everything. It is the first line that reflects your entire paper. Therefore, make it dynamic as your essay is and reflect the data you present in the essay. Its sole purpose is to avoid ambushing the readers with points. Instead, hooks help you begin from general to specific (the thesis statement).

6. Polish the hook to flow with the introduction

A hook being the first impression after the title, should be well-polished. Do not leave any grammar, punctuation, or linguistic errors on it. Instead, after writing the entire essay, check the flow right from the first sentence and tweak it as necessary. It is a window into your creative world and deserves to be clean.

Examples of Hooks for Essays you can consider

Pro Tip: A hook will vary from one essay to the other depending on the type of essay. The list below includes general thoughts about making a good hook for essays in different categories.

We have written these examples to illustrate how to write ideal hooks. Depending on your topic, these hooks can be a good foundation for getting fresh ideas for your hooks.

Essay Hooks for Personal Essays

  1. Who would have thought an ordinary McDonald’s worker could be a hero? (Rhetorical question)
  2. I proved everyone wrong when I swung into action and rescued the otherwise perilous situation. (statement)
  3. I am a 31-year-old woman of color, proud of what I have achieved and deliberate enough to know the direction I want my future to take. (statement)
  4. Is it even possible to combine work and studies? (Rhetorical question) I mastered how to juggle work, life, and studies until success was no longer an abstract fact but something I lived to achieve.
  5. As the blessed sons and daughters rode on buses and bikes to school, I would give thanks for affording meals off-campus and even getting somewhere to lay my head. (a story)
  6. Netflix, a platform where people watch movies, became a cornerstone for me to learn and master English. (Fact)

Argumentative Essay Hooks Examples

When assigned to write an essay on an argumentative essay topic, your opening sentence (s) should be a persuasive claim, just like in a trial. In addition, it should be logical enough to set the pace for the rest of your introduction.

  1. When does “Black Lives Matter” really strike the most? (Question)
  2. The impacts of microplastics on the environment are dire unless proper actions are taken. (Strong statement or declaration)
  3. Smoking affects the health and quality of life of the smoker and those around them. (Fact)
  4. Whaling for oil only kills the harmless and already extinct whale population. (Fact)
  5. Crimes must have a motive that drives the criminals. (Statement)
  6. Many old people are unproductive in workplace environments. (Statement)
  7. According to the CDC, children who exercise less are likely to become obese and turn into obese adults, like those who do not watch their diets. (Statement)

Narrative Essay Hooks

In a narrative essay, you are telling a story. Therefore, ensure that you begin the introduction paragraph with an appealing hook that can be anything we have discussed among the seven types of hooks for essays. It should be interesting enough to attract the attention of your readers.

  1. I was a child who never interacted with others because I was born differently. (Story)
  2. People with low self-esteem issues can cause pain to others. (Statement)
  3. No parent wants to see their kids drown in drugs. (Statement)
  4. I was young, reckless, determined, and distracted, and every opportunity was for me to explore myself only to discover that I was harming my future. I partied, did drugs, took alcohol, and became untamable, yet I was a superstar in the face of others; they all cheered me in the wrong direction. (Story)
  5. Brothers and sisters are the immediate close people we share secrets with (Statement). I had none.
  6. My usual was no other people's normal. I spent so much time studying, revising, and mastering concepts, then later taught my peers at a fee. It opened room for me to finally develop a tutorship app that connects students with tutors at a fee. (Story)

Parting shot!

There are different types of essay hooks. You can find inspiration from our quick guide that has helpful tips. Then, as you start your essay assignment, begin it with a bang. Our intention here is not to keep you for long. After that, you are good to go with essay hook writing.

If you still cannot begin your essay with a resounding hook, you can get help here. First, hire an expert essay writer to write an essay with the best attention grabber. Otherwise, keep revising and polishing your skills until you get them right. You can also find extra attention-grabber examples online to polish yours.

We wish you the best of luck!

Need a Discount to Order?

15% OFF First Order!

What you get from us


Plagiarism-free papers

Our papers are 100% original and unique to pass online plagiarism checkers.


Well-researched academic papers

Even when we say essays for sale, they meet academic writing conventions.

24/7 support

24/7 online support

Hit us up on live chat or Messenger for continuous help with your essays.


Easy communication with writers

Order essays and begin communicating with your writer directly and anonymously.