Writing a Hook for Your Essay

Close-Up Of Metallic Hook Against Clear Sky
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You can think of the first sentence of your essay as you would a fishing hook: it grabs your reader and allows you to reel her in. The hook for your essay could be any interesting sentence that captures attention and keeps the reader reading.

The hook for your essay often appears in the very first sentence. It can be an interesting quote, a little-known fact, famous last words, or a statistic.

Types of Hooks for Your Essay

Here are a few examples of paragraphs that begin with a hook and end with a thesis sentence.

  • A quote: "A man's errors are his portals of discovery." [In the next few sentences, you will build up to the point of your thesis.]
    For the thesis: Students grow more confident and self-sufficient when parents allow them to make mistakes and experience failure.
  • Fact or generalization: Many studies show that the biological sleep pattern for teens shifts a few hours, which means teens naturally stay up later and feel alert later in the morning. [The next few sentences should introduce the concept that school days should be adjusted so that they are more in sync with the teenager's natural sleep/wake clock.]
    For the thesis: If every school day started at ten o'clock, many students would find it easier to stay focused.
  • Statistic: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, teens and young adults experience the highest rates of violent crime. [Your next few sentences should set up the argument that it's dangerous for teenagers to be on the streets at late hours.]
    For the thesis: Parents are justified in implementing a strict curfew, regardless of a student's academic performance.

    The good news about finding a hook? You can find a quote, fact, or another type of hook after you determine your thesis, with a simple Internet search.

    In fact, you can write your entire essay and have it nearly finished before you revisit the very first paragraph. Many writers polish the first paragraph after the essay is completed!

    Here's an example of the steps you can follow to find your hook: 

    • Determine your thesis.
    • Provide supporting evidence in every body paragraph.
    • Re-word your thesis and make a new assertion in your concluding paragraph.
    • Search for a quote or interesting statistic that might work as a hook for your audience. 

    Finding the Right Hook for Your Essay

    It's a good idea to find several facts or quotes that might serve well as a hook for your paper. Then play around with the first paragraph to determine which of your choices makes the most interesting beginning to your essay.