Next time you watch a TV commercial, or see an ad attached to a website, or even remember a jingle you heard on the radio, be conscious of the fact that the reason the message made an impact on you was that it pulled you in with some sort of hooks.
Good writing can do that same thing, and ideally have the same impact. Either on the person evaluating it for a grade, or the audience you want to enlighten with what you have to present.
Where is the hook in an essay?
No one reads a paper from back to front, or jumps right into the middle. The good hook in an essay has to become part of the introduction. But that doesn’t mean you have to write it first. Many times it is after the body of the essay has taken shape, after it has been re-organized and developed, that a central theme comes to mind to build the introduction around. If you don’t have a hook already in mind as you begin your preliminary work, push past this roadblock. A great essay hook may evolve out of your notes or present itself at a later stage in the process.
Who is the essay hook for?
The answer to this is easy – know your audience. If you are using a biblical quote for an opener and your readers are atheists, it’s not going to work. If you are presenting a historical paper, storytelling works well because it is always about the past. If you need something to leave a strong, perhaps political statement, use shocking facts or alarming statistics to generate a call to action in your writing. Keep in mind that your professors and teachers read hundred of papers year after year and they have likely seen everything. Be as current or fresh as you can.
Why essay hook?
The good hook for an essay is the gateway, the door if you will that will allow your reader through. Likewise, a weak hook can prevent the reader from getting into your paper. You are the navigator of the writing and you will steer your reader through the paper, paragraph by paragraph after they are hooked. Without a hook, all the research and information you are presenting can be merely skimmed over and disregarded as drivel if it has nothing binding to keep it united.
What hooks make the great hooks for essays?
Luckily there are many proven techniques that work for effectives hooks for essays. Here are some of the best that work across different disciplines.
Anecdotes – Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication and one of the first we engage in as young learners. Using an anecdote, a short story or narrative personalizes your words, and actually subliminally “hooks” the reader. A story in an essay needs to be authentic or taken from true facts. The right descriptions can evoke emotions that may be critical to leading the reader through the body of the paper.
Incidents – Pulling true events out of the headlines, or relating a real episode can be an effective hook for an essay as it makes an emotional connection to the reader. When you relate these incidents to suggestions or changes you discuss in the subsequent paragraphs, your reader will feel connected.
Shocking figures – Presenting statistics or startling findings can be a dry way to start an essay, but it may make the reader sit up and take notice, especially if it is something that can be changed, not just should be changed. If you were writing for example, about bullying and its connection to teen suicides, the data can be saddening. But if you were to use it as a means to discuss increased spending and education at crisis intervention centers, the reader would sense that some help towards solving a problem could become apparent. Readers don’t want just an exposé about problems.
Pose a question or hypothesize – “What if Hitler won the war?” “What if bees became extinct?” “What if children weren’t immunized?” A thought provoking scenario can be a great lead into an essay if the body followed, an eventually answered the thoughts it presents. Sometimes a teacher will provide a question for dilemma to be addressed in a paper, but often a good leading question can spur a valid discussion. “What if Catholic priests were allowed to marry?”
Rely on words of others – Using famous quotations, or the profound thoughts of others can be a good hook for a paper, particularly if you plan to dispute the position of the author with your research or findings. In some cases a person whom is well known may be more authoritative and influential and providing a quote of their thoughts can set your paper with the right tone.
Writing a hook for an essay is a truly complicated and responsible task. It creates the first impression, so you need to do your best to make it catchy. If you are not confident about yourself you can always order it at one of the writing companies.
Like a strong introduction with an effective hook, a conclusion that does not leave the reader with unanswered questions or unproven facts can be critical to your paper. Let the hook escort them in, the body will let them visit a while and the conclusion will send them off satisfied and better than they came.