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How to write an effective Essay Hook

Last updated on April 23rd, 2018 at 05:06 am

Have you ever gone fishing and found that you forgot to pack the hook? Writing an essay without a hook is as futile as trying to fish without one. What is an essay hook? Why is it important? How can you write a good one? Can you get some examples of such essay hooks? To find the answers for these and other related questions, read on.

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What is an essay hook?

So, it is easy to see that what you tutor said about using an effective essay hook is to attract the readers to read your essay, rather than the others.

The tutors, especially, with so many essays to grade are soon bored with reading the same things again and again.

Therefore, it is up to you to attract and retain his interest in your essay by writing something unusual.

Hence, we can understand that an essay hook is nothing, but a device used by the writer to provoke the interest of the readers and make them want to continue reading your essay.

It follows that, the effective essay hook can also help you get great grades by holding the tutor’s attention to what you have written.

Where do you place the essay hook?

That said, where do you place this essay hook? The obvious answer to that is, in the very beginning, as that is what will induce your reader to carry on reading, even if it is followed by normal facts and information. Then, it follows that you start off your essay with a great essay hook.

What does the essay hook consist of?

The essay hook usually consists of three parts. To explain that, first let us consider the most important part of your essay: it is the thesis statement – or your topic, what you are writing about. We all agree that the thesis statement should always be placed in the introduction or the first part of the essay, so that the reader knows what your essay is about. But if the thesis statement is just blandly stated, it will not attract any attention to it. So, how do you showcase it? It is obviously by using a hook. The hook catches the attention and the thesis statement comes last. But there should be a transition from the hook to the thesis statement, so that there is a smooth flow of thought and writing.

How can you write an effective essay hook?

To answer this question in a more practical manner, let us take an example: Your thesis statement could be – Air pollution has an impact on the economy. This is a very ordinary and unexciting statement. Here, the hook could be something like: 200,000 early deaths are caused from air pollution in the US, says a recent MIT study. The statistic number would definitely bring out a gasp from the reader.

This is a true research, by the way.

Not just something cooked-up to create interest.

Once the hook is in, then lead the reader in with a transition – a little explanation, to connect the hook to your thesis statement. You could write: The deaths due to breathing unclean or poisonous air is only the tip of the iceberg. The effects of this type of contamination affects the whole world in its different aspects. Air pollution is known to have a negative influence on agriculture, the rain and weather patterns, the ozone hole, the materials that are used in infrastructure, the drinking water, etc.Once the transition sentences prepare the reader for what is coming next, lead him into the thesis statement: Millions of dollars are spent to counteract the effects of air pollution. Thus, air pollution has a deep impact on the economy too.

So, now you have an idea about how to write an essay hook that is creative and effective. Next you can pass on to the introduction and then the rest of the essay. If you observe carefully, the statistic number given in the hook is not really a part of the thesis statement. It has been placed in the essay merely to act as a lure to create interest in the reader. However, the hook can also be something related to the topic. There is no hard and fast rule about this.

The different types of essay hooks

Let us now see the different types of essay hooks and observe some samples of the same that can be used in different subjects.

Statistics Hook

The type of essay hook that we have seen in the above example is the use of statistics to introduce the subject. The numbers certainly serve to draw the attention of the reader, especially it is reveals some extraordinary facts. Sometimes it may be difficult to find a suitable statistical fact for the topic at hand. But never make the mistake of inventing one to suit the fact.

As seen in the example above, the given number is supported by citing the source – in this case, the MIT study. You could give more details of it later in the reference section, if you want to. writing unsubstantiated figures right at the beginning would make you lose credibility for the rest of the essay too and have an effect on your grades too. A little diligent keyword search could bring out a host of results for you to pick and choose the suitable one.

Another mistake seen often is the quoting of a number that has nothing to do with the subject at all. For instance, in the example given above, the number of human deaths can be explained later in the essay to have a direct relationship to the effect on the economy by the loss of man-hours and man-power in the industries, expenditure for health and welfare related to air pollution, and thedecrease in the family income due to the loss of its working members.So, this hook was a valid and effective choice.

Quotation Hook

Another type of essay hook is to begin with a quotation.The quotation can be from a famous author or personality, or from even a publication like a report or a news headline. The same rules apply to the quotation hooks as the statistic hook. The selected quotation should be relevant to the topic or thesis statement. The quotation should be authenticated by citing it.

Take care to put in the quotation marks or italicizing the sentence to show its distinction from the other writing. Try to avoid trite or stale quotations, adages, or picking from stock quotations. A fresh new quotation will be far more attractive as anessay hook, than an oft-repeated one that would leave the reader indifferent.

Rhetorical Question Hook

A rhetorical question is very effective as an essay hook. This is a type of question that is not expected to be answered directly. In effect, the rhetorical question incites the reader to think about the subject more deeply and thus draws the attention.

A cleverly framed question should also direct the reader’s thought process into the desired pathway. For instance, remember the rhetorical questions used by Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar – he was able to incite a whole country to take up arms against the traitors. At the same time, a question that is poorly thought out would have the effect of boring the reader.

Anecdote or Personal Experience Hook

A short anecdote or a personal experience can be a hook for a non-academic essay, like the one written for admission. It should be brief and should have a clear relationship to the subject. Humorous anecdotes may be more suitable for a speech.But can be used in non-academic and informal writing like blogs, articles etc.


Definition of the topic is a good essay hook. The definitions should be from authentic sources and referenced. It can be a simple or strong definition but can also be an argumentative one. You can also quote the definitions from two different authors with opposing views, to make it more interesting. However, it is not advisable to use dictionary definitions as they are written in a rigid format and not slated to incite the interest of the reader.

A Figure of Speech Hook

Figures of speech like metaphors, similes, irony or sarcasm etc. can be effective hooks if they are framed carefully. The topic can be compared to a similar fact or information by using a simile or metaphor. To be really successful, the comparisons should be carefully chosen to convey the desired effect. For example: Like the Cheshire cat said to Alice: if you walk long enough, you will reach there eventually. The cat says this because Alice wants to know how to go there, without knowing where she wants to go. This example could be used in an essay to illustrate a company that does not have firm goals or direction.

Strong Pronouncement

This is nothing but a bold statement that has the ‘stun’ effect on the reader because it is unexpected and intriguing at the same time. This hook can be developed by linking the statement to the research statement gradually using good transition sentence/s. An example of this could be: The new mantra is – Hashtags are the entryways to branding. This great hook could lead to a thesis statement about branding through social media.

Some examples of hooks that are relevant to different subjects

Here some great hooks can be effective provocateurs in the different subject you study:

  • Marketing: Clicks or Bricks?The juxtaposition of e-retailing versus the brick and mortar marketing strategy
  • Economics: Good-bye Financial Repression, Hello Financial Crash! (Diaz-Alejandro, C., 1985)
  • Operations Management: Recalls of automobiles, eggs, produce, toys, and otherproducts; major oil spills; and even dysfunctional statelegislatures are all examples of operations failures.They underscore the need for effective operations management.
  • Change Management: Machiavelli (The Prince, 1513) stated that “…. there is nothing more difficult and dangerous, or more doubtful of success, than an attempt to introduce a new order of things…for the innovator has for enemies all those who derived advantages from the old order of things, whilst those who expect to be benefitted by the new…will be but lukewarm defenders.”
  • Leadership: Good Leaders set the direction, great leaders enroll people to go to some place worthwhile.
  • Law: Law is a body of rules prescribed by the state and is subject to sanctions or consequences (Black’s Law Dictionary, 1979).
  • Education: The development of the personality of a child especially in the early years has the ultimate outcome on the destiny of nations.
  • Cross-Culture Communication: A Danish entrepreneur demonstrated to his Japanese counterpart –Do not say there is not, or you cannot’ by squeezing a drop of liquid out of an apparently empty bottle.
  • Ethical Business Practices: The energy drink on its own was shown to be one of the causes of hospitalisation of its consumers due to its toxicity, as even 50 mg of caffeine induces tachycardia and agitation and energy drinks such as Red Bull contain 300 mg of caffeine or even more (Gupta & Brown, 2012).
  • Entertainment: Television programmes are meant to inform, educate and entertain. But most people watch these programmes only for recreation and relaxation.
  • Should we equip school teachers with guns to fight attacks? What would you do if a rodent enters your home? Would you start breeding snakes? Providing guns to school teachers is much like breeding snakes to get rid of rodents because it would then come with its own set of problems. Read on to find out how it would be nothing short of catastrophic if Trump had his way. 
  • Is Trump the worst president ever?  Trump would never admit being one of the worst presidents just like Clinton repeatedly denied having an affair with Monica Lewinsky or when Ronald Reagan never thought breaking international agreements to supply weapons to Iran was a bad move or when Thomas Jefferson had an intimate relationship with his slave and also had children with her and kept denying it throughout. Read on to know some really impractical moves by Trump that could make us all pay in the future.
  • Is gun control an effective method for the reduction of crime?  “A 11-year-old student may face charges after he said his parents encouraged him to bring a gun to school for protection. Fox Salt Lake City reports that the boy said his parents’ suggestion came after the devastating Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on Friday. The student allegedly pulled the .22-caliber pistol out of his backpack during recess Monday morning and pointed it at one of his classmates.”(The Huffington Post dated Dec. 18, 2012). This proves that the easy access to guns is one of the incentives to make use of it to commit a crime, even for the most trivial reasons and even by children.
  • Should nuclear weapons be outlawed worldwide? The post WWII has seen the increase of the world’s nuclear arsenal from the two dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to more than 20,000 and still counting. If those two precursors killed 150,0000 people and innumerable other living things in the blink of an eye, what would the destruction be now?
  • Should same sex marriages be legalized? While 29 countries around the world have joined the bandwagon to legalize same sex marriages, other countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Sudan, consider the same not only illegal but punishable by death.
  • Can video games be a useful learning tool? Video games are already in use in many universities around the country for learning practical aspects of varied subjects like medicine, nursing, teaching, business, language, management and so on. The interactive video games have the advantages of being a cheap alternative, less wasteful, more experiential, and easily adaptable to the requirements of the learner.
  • Does social media create isolation? Social media isolation -a classic paradox, is the sad aftermath of the massive invasion of social media and virtual relationships in our lives. Studies suggest that if an individual is logged on to these online portals for more than 2 hours everyday, he/she is more likely to suffer from social isolation. Social isolation is no longer a generic term used to describe a socially aloof person, but a medically recognized term that includes manifestation of depression and chronic illnesses too.
  • Should parenting classes be compulsory You need to pass a test and get a license to drive. You also need a license to get married. But anybody can have children, whether they are ready to become a parent or not. The nuclear family norm has also erased the buffer influence of the extended family on the growing children. But is parenting classes the answer to today’s family woes?
  • At what age should children be allowed to have a cell phone? On one side of the balance are factors like convenience, safety, learning opportunities, and expansion of social life, while on the other side are the aspects like probable impact onhealth from harmful radiation, addiction to cellphones and the social media, distraction when concentration is important, like when walking outside or driving, or in classrooms and other activity areas. What is the minimum age for a child to have a cell phone?

With all this information on how to write effective essay hooks, I am sure you will write great essays. Remember, we are always there to help you out when you are stuck.

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