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How to Write a Hook for an Essay: Catchy Ideas with Examples

How to Write a Hook for an Essay: Catchy Ideas with Examples

By StudentShare Release Year: 2017

You might ask what is the secret of a good writing work? Is there some special-magic-never-known-to-mere-mortals trick of a breath-taking text? I’ll give you a hint and say that yes, it’s not all about your perfect grammar or an amazing number of facts and arguments. The writing is always about impressions and attention-getting. And if you want to amaze your teacher and get the A+ grade you need to come up with some hooks for your essay.

Consider your teacher simply as a reader. It gets obvious that if your essay doesn’t catch the reader’s attention from the start, no way a teacher would give you the highest grade for a boring narrative. Which is why you should have a set of special hooks that would engage a reader to swallow your information as a cake with a secret ingredient. I’ve prepared some bits of advice on how to write a good hook for an essay and add the examples. You can always apply any of them to essays of different types without withdrawing from the main idea of your work.

How to Write a Good Hook and What is its Purpose?

An essay hook(attention getter) is an introductory line that arouses readers’ interest and makes them read the text ‘from cover to cover’. At the same time, a hook in an essay serves as the laconic version of the main idea you want to share. Such attention getters create intrigue and induce a reader to deep down into your arguments. Essay hooks must be so irresistibly funny, interesting or controversial that a reader wanted to proceed with studying your main points.

We chose a common essay topic, to give you an exact illustration on how to write a hook sentence. The topic is Stereotypes Towards Millennials Formed In Our Society And Social Media Networks: Causes. Let’s consider some hook examples you could compose on the topic like this.

Hook examples

Example #1. A question

This is the most widespread type of a hook. By using a question, you drive attention to the message only with its form. The human mind got used to the understanding of an interrogative form as something highly important. Our mind is almost scared to miss any important information and even the laziest person will pay a look to the question.

  • Do you consider yourself a narcissistic Instagram addict? No? But what about those bias towards our millennial generation?
  • I envy the Millennials. Do you? If your answer is no, you are hardly being honest to yourself.  


Example #2. A literary quote

A quote works not only for the reader's’ first impression but also makes your position seem more credible. How so? The thing is that reference to the authoritative source is one of the basic argumentative tricks. It supports your own words with the quotes of somebody famous. And the reader expects to find some wisdom and experience in those words. However, it can be difficult to tie the meaning of a quote to the main idea of your essay. Which is why a quote should reflect, explain or contrast to your main thesis statement.

  • “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” Saying this George Orwell wanted us to think twice before starting some habitual criticism regarding Millennials.
  • “To be happy we must not be too concerned with others.” From the perspective of Albert Camus’s version of existentialism, we should teach all the Millennials to stay selfish. It is the only way to have a society of independent and strong people.
  • “The only people to whose opinions I listen now with any respect are people much younger than myself. They seem in front of me. Life has revealed to them her latest wonder.” The words belonged to Oscar Wilde make me think that our traditionally critical perception of the youth is somehow distorted.

Yet, it’s not all you need to know about how to use a quote as a hook.


Example #3. Public person’s quote

You can not only quote a famous author but also take a citation from an interview of some famous person that fits into the context of your message. It can either refer to your essay directly or just show an impact it has made on you.

  • Contrary to popular belief, we (the Millennials) can't be won back with hipper worship bands, fancy coffee shops, or pastors who wear skinny jeans. © Rachel Held Evans
  • You can also combine different types of hooks. For instance, a question + a citation:
  • ‘I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly, all youth are reckless beyond words’. These words seem quite present-day but belong to Hesiod, who lived between 750 and 650 BC. Don’t you think we should move forward a bit and stop blaming the Millennials by default?


Example #4. A refutation

It might seem strange to begin with a refutation that eventually leads to your viewpoint. However, it makes a reader stumble upon at the beginning and seek for the reason of such a concession.

  • We all hear it from the cradle: the elders should be respected. Well, I have a little remark. Everybody should be respected, regardless of their age. What I see is that young people are always treated like they owe something to the elders. The latter keep saying that the young generation is spoiled and lazy, while they (seniors) are nearly the living saints. This is an illusion.  
  • Perhaps the author of The Me Me Me generation (2013 Time magazine article) doesn’t chase down the likes and shares. However, his article’s tone proves exactly the opposite. He provokes to get an attention and, I must admit, he succeeds.


Example #5. Interesting statistics

People trust facts and authoritative resources. Hence, if you use some data and the names of reliable sources you not only attract the reader’s attention but also build trust to your research and arguments.

  • 78 percent of the people defined as Millennials would rather spend money to get some experience rather than buy something they want. So in a contrast to the popular belief, they are not only about buying things.
  • When we say ‘Millennials’ we refer to the people between 34 and 18 years old, who are in fact differ from each other a lot within this group. When 97% of 18-19-years-old share the place with the parents, 90% of the oldest Millennials have their own home and families.


Example #6. Funny or sad short story

This is a perfect hook for both narrative and admission essays. Nothing touches a reader better than a story from the author’s own experience. Unlike factual hook where attention is driven to numbers and reputable sources, this is rather an emotional hook. It aims to make a reader smile or invokes sympathy in a compassionate human heart.

  • I’ve never been lucky with the next-door neighbors. When I first moved to my own apartment I had a considerably old lady living behind the wall. She belonged to those people who are never satisfied with anything. She suspiciously spied on all my friends coming over and kept saying that I’m ill-mannered young lady. One day I responded that she was the ill-mannered old lady. Now I think, maybe she was right.


Example #7. Provocation

A truly trouble-free method to make people read your piece to the end is to provoke them. And it’s better to do it right from the first sentence and shoot them right in the heart. Yet, this way can bring you to the dead end. To avoid such unpleasant lot, you need to think your argumentation through really well. Remember that your provoking hook is the culmination of your attack, then you need to back off a little.

  • The main thing I can wish as a Millennial is not to turn into the malicious flopper as most of the X-generation people have done. All they do now is scolding the youngers. All I can feel in response is a pity. However, I must admit that not all the elder people are acting this way.



These are not all the types of hooks you can use to bring some color to your thoughts. A hook is not obviously something of a special form, like question or citation. You can shape an essay hook by stating your opinion right away or by disclosing of the common misinterpretation of some topic. Don’t stick to forms but rather to the creative engine that provokes your thoughts. The main trick of writing a good essay hook is to not to be indifferent to the topic. Try to take it personally.

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