How to Write a Hook to Captivate Your Readers
The art of the hook is a vital component in the realm of essay writing. But what is a hook?
A hook is typically the first one or two sentences of an essay or article that is designed to grab the reader’s attention. Much like a fish gets literally hooked by bait, the hook of an essay should captivate your audience and make them want to read more.
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But knowing how to write a hook for an essay is a tough skill to acquire. For one, the vast amount of content out there—tweets, blogs , articles, emails, and more—make it challenging to compete for readers’ attention.
Moreover, people get distracted easily, and if you don’t hook them quickly, you might lose them.
Knowing how to write a good hook is an essential part of effective essay writing . By exploring the most common types of essay hooks, you can learn how to best engage audiences from the very beginning and develop a hook that’s right for your paper.
5 examples of essay hooks
1 statistic hook.
The statistic hook gives your audience a true and hard fact to latch onto from the get-go. Gaining your reader’s trust through expertise early on will help reinforce the points you make in the rest of your argument. Plus, a striking statistic can make your audience instantly interested in the topic at hand, motivating them to keep reading and learn more.
For example, if you’re writing a research essay about the link between sleep and stress, you can begin with a powerful statistic from the American Psychological Association like this one:
“According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 43 percent of adults claim that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month.”
2 Quotation hook
If you choose a memorable quotation that directly connects to what you’re writing about, the words will do the attention-grabbing work for you. Just make sure to attribute and explain the quotation after you include it so that the reader isn’t confused. And most importantly, the quotation you choose should add to the credibility and richness of your argument, rather than seeming like a random or one-off statement.
If you’re writing a literary essay about resiliency in Maya Angelou’s poetry, you might start off in this way:
“Maya Angelou once said, ‘Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances.’”
3 Anecdotal hook
Depending on the nature of your essay or article, anecdotal hooks can make for an intimate opening that tells your reader more about you. Though it’s not typical to write an essay in the first person , there are some times when you can make an exception, like in a narrative essay . This type of hook can be a little longer than others; just make sure that its length is relative to the rest of your essay.
If you’re writing about the differences between British and American baking, you might discuss an experience you had on a trip to London at the start of the essay:
“ When I first arrived in London, I was ravenous. I headed to a cafe just outside of the hotel to test out some of the local flavors and ordered a pot of tea, a scone, and pudding. But when the pudding arrived, I was surprised not to find a sweet, chocolatey custard. Instead, this pudding was made from something I’d never encountered before: mutton fat.”
4 Question hook
Posing a question at the start of a piece will immediately capture the reader’s attention and leave them wanting more. Make sure the question is open-ended. You want to make sure you’re giving the reader something to explore further, rather than asking them a simple yes or no question. People are naturally inquisitive, so give them something good to chew on.
An essay about dog psychology might begin with a question similar to this:
“ What is the difference between a well-adjusted dog and an anxious one? For starters, owners that encourage their dog’s excitement can make anxiety seem like a behavior that’s rewarded.”
5 Statement hook
Kicking off your essay with a solid declaration of your argument or position is another smart way to hook the reader. Even if they don’t agree fully with your statement, they will be intrigued to see how you support your assertion. Statement hooks often make the reader either want to argue against your view or follow along as you develop your claim.
When exploring the historical value of French cinema, you could start with a strong, declarative hook like this one:
“ French cinema is the most influential genre of film in the last 100 years and has singlehandedly shaped modern cinema as we know it.”
A great hook will not only get your reader’s attention, but it will build toward your thesis and give your reader an idea of the essay they’re about to read. Any of these options, done well, can make your essay start strong and stand out.
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How to Begin a Persuasive Essay
Last Updated: January 31, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 331,323 times.
The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince your readers of a certain perspective on a topic. To do this, you'll have to get them hooked with a well-crafted, engaging introductory section that leads into a developed thesis statement. The best opening, however, will depend on the issue at hand, the argument you are trying to make about it, and the audience you are trying to persuade. Before you can write an amazing introduction, you need to do some initial research so that you can tailor your introduction to the needs of the essay, your argument, and your audience.
Brainstorming and Outlining Introduction Ideas
- For example, if you want to write about juvenile crime, choose a narrow section of it, such as the practice of trying juveniles as adults in certain cases.
- Try to choose a topic that’s really interesting to you. It will make the essay much more fun to write!
- The subject of your essay might be predetermined if, for example, you’re writing an essay for class or are sending it to a senator or a newspaper about a certain topic.
- Ask yourself what is at stake regarding the issue you are researching. Why does the issue matter and why should others care? Once you can identify that, it will be easier to frame your argument.
- For example, if your topic is factory farming, your angle could be that factory farming releases large amounts of methane gas, which contribute to climate change and the global epidemic of unpredictable and increasingly violent weather. You could frame it as both an environmental and a public safety issue.
- Use scholarly search engines such as Google Scholar, EBSCO, or JSTOR, rather than regular searches, and try to use trustworthy sites like news agencies and .edu URLs.
- You’ll be hinting at your evidence in your introductory paragraph, so it’s important that you know what it is before you start writing.
- A piece of evidence that appeals to the reader’s ethics is one that comes from a trustworthy source . For example, if you’re writing an essay on the use of euthanasia, you could cite works or quotations from doctors or end-of-life caregivers who have direct experience working with it.
- In a paper persuading people to decrease their water use, a piece of evidence that appeals to your sense of logic could be something like, “Using more water not only wastes more of this resource, but also increases your utilities bill.”
- In a paper persuading people to adopt animals from the shelter, you could use an emotional appeal like, “Milo, a golden retriever puppy, was found on the side of the road when he was just 4 weeks old. If he’s not adopted soon from his overcrowded shelter, he’ll have to be put down.”
- For example, if you started with the angle that capital punishment should be illegal worldwide, you could expand that into a thesis like, “Capital punishment should be banned all over the world for humanitarian reasons alone, but also because of its lack of efficacy as a crime deterrent.”
- Your paper can go longer than this, but try not to go any shorter, since you won’t be able to include all of the evidence you’ll need.
- You can organize your outline with Roman numerals, regular numbers, or bullet points—whatever feels most comfortable to you.
Crafting Your Hook
- For example, in a paper persuading people to support prison reform, you could start off with something like, “The United States has the largest prison population in the entire world. The country that comes closest, China, has a prison population that is a full 25% lower.”  X Research source
- To introduce a paper about capital punishment, you could use a quote like, “When discussing capital punishment, two quotes are often brought up: ‘an eye for an eye,’ and ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
- If you use one of these approaches, remember to include a brief, 1-sentence explanation of why you’re including it. Don’t just start off with a quote or statistic, then jump straight into your background information.
- For example, in a paper on reforming the juvenile justice system, you could say something like, “Joseph Creedwell was only 14 years old when he was first sent to a juvenile detention facility. His crime? Stealing a pack of gum from the convenience store across from his school.”
- If you’re using a personal anecdote, first make sure that this format is appropriate for first-person narration. If it’s an essay for a class, ask your teacher.
- For example, in an essay about conserving water use, you could say something like, “Even before science showed just how necessary water was for human survival, people understood the crucial importance, and even sanctity, of this resource.”
- Try to avoid cliches like "Since the beginning of time," or "The dictionary defines _____ as..."
- For example, in an essay on animal protection, you could write, “Many people know that animal species are going extinct, but have you ever wondered exactly how many species have died out since you’ve been born?”
- In an essay against the use of euthanasia, for example, you could write, for example, “According to its supporters, euthanasia is a merciful and painless way to end a life that is no longer wanted, and they have a point.”
Introducing Your Topic and Thesis
- For example, in an essay against capital punishment, you could say something like, “Capital punishment directly affects a very small percentage of the population, but its ripple effects—the effects on the person’s family and friends, on the people who read about it and hear of it—are much larger. In an even greater sense, capital punishment is a statement about the society we live in.”
- For example, in a persuasive essay on gun control, you could write, “Gun control laws have a long and fraught history in the United States, and understanding the nature of their back-and-forth growth and decline is crucial for understanding the current state of weapons law.”
- Depending on your paper, your background information could take up anywhere from 2-3 sentences to a whole paragraph.
- For example, in an essay persuading people to oppose a new park project, you could write, “As much as a new park benefits a city’s residents, natural green space is vital to the environmental life of a community. Besides serving as an interesting insight into what the area was like before development, it provides crucial habitat for native plants and animals that may otherwise turn to residential space and face endangerment in urban an environment.”
- For example, in an essay supporting the use of euthanasia, you could write, “Nowhere is the efficacy of euthanasia more visible than in the cases of patients with painful, terminal diseases.” This kind of sentence could either go at the end of your introduction paragraph or at the beginning of the first body paragraph.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
- For example, in an essay against drunk driving, it’s fine to use an eye-catching statistic, like, “Every 2 minutes, one person is injured in a drunk driving crash.” But avoid analyzing that statistic with something like, “It’s likely that everyone knows at least one person affected by a drunk driving incident, meaning that the issue has wide-ranging consequences. In many places, one effect is a growing numbness towards the issue at all. Police officers report that...”  X Research source
- For example, avoid writing something like, “I am going to prove to you that…” or “This essay will show that…” These kinds of phrases are typically jarring and unnecessary.
- For example, a fact you picked up about bee flight patterns might be interesting, but isn’t relevant to a paper on why the world needs to protect its bee population.
- You may also want to leave out “book report” information, such as the full title, author, or year of publication of a book you’re writing your persuasive essay about, unless that information is for a specific purpose. You’ll be able to cite your sources in full in your bibliography or works cited page.
- For example, in an essay about vegetarianism, avoid saying something like, “People have killed and eaten animals since the beginning of time.” While this may be true, it’s not catching the reader’s attention or adding anything to the essay that they didn’t already know.
- It’s OK if your introduction isn’t perfect just yet. Write out the rest of your essay, then go back to revise and polish when you’re in a fresh state of mind. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/introductions/
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baxDMu_1M0c&feature=youtu.be&t=1m19s
- ↑ https://www.georgebrown.ca/uploadedFiles/TLC/_documents/Hooks%20and%20Attention%20Grabbers.pdf
- ↑ https://education.seattlepi.com/write-good-argumentative-essay-introduction-1484.html
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baxDMu_1M0c&feature=youtu.be&t=1m44s
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baxDMu_1M0c&feature=youtu.be&t=1m59s
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baxDMu_1M0c&feature=youtu.be&t=41s
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baxDMu_1M0c&feature=youtu.be&t=47s
- ↑ https://www.madd.org/statistics/
About This Article
To begin a persuasive essay, start with a hook to catch the reader’s attention, such as a startling statistic, a question, or an intriguing anecdote. Next, briefly explain why they should care about the topic and provide some background information to help them feel comfortable with it. Then, present your thesis statement, which is a short, concise explanation of your perspective and why it’s the right one. Lastly, hint at your opening pieces of evidence before going on to your first paragraph! For tips on how to organize your essay and avoid common errors, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Start a Persuasive Essay: Best Tips and Tricks
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Here’s a dilemma: you work so hard on your persuasive essay, do in-depth research, develop strong arguments, but in the end, you get a low grade. And all this happens because your introduction isn’t convincing enough. As you can see, understanding how to start a persuasive essay in an effective manner is crucial. Fortunately, you are in the right place. Keep reading our guide to find useful tips on beginning a persuasive essay. From crafting an irresistible hook to formulating your main statement, you will find plenty of helpful suggestions. By the way, we’ve got some good examples to share. So let’s get started.
Importance of Knowing How to Start a Persuasive Essay
Before discussing how to start off a persuasive essay, you should keep in mind that you must hook your audience from the very beginning. Your reader should understand what you are going to say and why it is important. Still, you shouldn’t lay all your cards on the table and reveal your arguments. Your main thesis statement should be presented after some context. An introduction is used to convince the reader not just of your opinion, but of the entire paper being worth reading. Therefore, one should take an especially reasonable approach. Further, we will share some helpful tips on drawing up a good introduction and give real examples. But first, be sure to prepare a persuasive essay outline template .
How to Start a Good Persuasive Essay: Main Elements
Before starting a persuasive essay, you should think about its structure in detail. An introduction will be effective if you compile it based on our scheme. When drawing up an introductory part, you should include such elements:
- Background information (context)
- Main definitions (if there are any)
- Topic-related thesis.
This structure makes it possible to convey any idea in a concise way. Remember: An opening paragraph should be short while writing a persuasive essay . All you need is to present a clear idea which will potentially hook the reader. Giving some hint on the gist of writing will be enough.
Starting a Persuasive Essay with a Hook
One idea that always works is starting a persuasive essay with a hook. You should make it clear about your topic in advance. Thus, you will attract reader’s attention. You should choose a strong sentence that will hook your addressee and may give them a particular idea. You can start persuasive essays with any question related to your topic or with an interesting fact. Quite often students use statistical data or quotes of some experts in their field of knowledge. This is the first step towards persuasion. It demonstrates that the subsequent text won’t be inferior. But just having an effective hook won’t be sufficient, so you should gradually prepare your reader. And we will learn more about this in the next section. In the meantime, have you already considered hiring a persuasive essay writer ? Our writers are academic-savvy and can create a great persuasive essay quickly and efficiently.
Background Information in Persuasive Essay
In an introductory paragraph of a persuasive essay after the hook, we recommend outlining some topic’s context. Focus reader’s attention on background information. Here’s what you can include to develop your topic further:
- Historical or geographical facts
- Key characteristics.
This section should not only familiarize your readers with some background facts that you have researched. You also should smoothly lead to a thesis statement.
How to Write a Persuasive Essay Thesis
Your writing should begin with a strong persuasive essay thesis statement. Your thesis should introduce the topic and offer your viewpoint on some matter. Besides, it should list several arguments you are going to discuss in the main body. This statement will complete an introduction. Then, you will proceed to presenting the gist of an essay. Keep in mind several things that make a persuasive essay thesis stronger. First of all, a claim that you make should be debatable. This means that other people may have an opposing viewpoint. Secondly, your thesis statement should have a reasonable scope. Don’t make it too narrow, and, yet, this statement should be focused. Now that you know what elements should be included in your persuasive essay introduction, let’s discuss some writing tips.
How to Start a Strong Persuasive Essay: Main Tips
While working on your text, you will surely need tips on how to start a persuasive essay. By following our hacks, you will be able to convey important information to readers. Based on our experience in preparing academic texts, we have developed some recommendations. Our writing tips will make your persuasive essay introduction as informative and attractive as possible. Meanwhile, some of these suggestions may be applied to other types of academic writing.
Tip 1: Brainstorm Your Topic Before Starting a Persuasive Essay
Don’t rush to start writing right away – you should think about some good persuasive essay topics to begin your essay. The most effective way is to work on any topic in line with the purpose that you have set for yourself. Focus on any subject that you are genuinely interested in and do preliminary research. Make sure you have enough supporting facts that prove your opinion. Follow these steps to make your persuasive essay topic irresistible:
- Summarize well-known facts on your topic.
- Highlight controversial points.
- Prepare points for further argumentation.
This way, you will know whether you should conduct any additional research. Besides, you will know if there is enough information that can convince readers of your point of view.
Tip 2: Provide a Hook for Your Persuasive Essay Introduction
An introduction of persuasive essay won’t be complete without a hook. If you fail to include it, such paper will unlikely captivate reader’s attention. A catchy hook helps to break the ice between your writing and readers. In turn, an increased attention ensures that your audience understands your topic well. Here are several things you may include in your hook to make it more effective:
- Quotes It’s a good idea if they relate to the topic and bring readers to the main subject.
- Joke It is a great opportunity to dilute this formal environment and create some positive vibe.
- Question It is good when it’s rhetorical and makes readers think. In fact, this will help you involve readers in an action or some kind of dialogue.
- Statistics It works, if numbers are related to your research. Choose the most relevant data.
- Counterargument Starting with an opposite opinion is a great way to refute this counterargument from the very beginning. This technique helps you intrigue readers at an early stage.
These recommendations may help you create a good hook that will attract readers, so use them wisely.
Tip 3: Create a Context for Your Persuasive Essay
When working on your persuasive essay introduction, be sure that you provide some background on the topic. Put readers in some context. You are more than welcome to use any statistical facts, numbers or in-depth definition. Historical or biographical details will work as well. Your task is to set an exact direction of thoughts. But don’t reveal any arguments and proofs in this section – you will do that later. Mention why this problem should be investigated, with more precise explanations being provided in body paragraphs. With the clear context, it will be much easier to perceive any idea. On top of that, given the proper background, there should be no doubts about your argument. Consider our best college essay writing services to speed the process up.
Tip 4: Write a Thesis Statement for Your Persuasive Essay Intro
How to start a persuasive essay thesis? It is easy: just write 1-2 sentences that clearly describe your main claim. Remember that your whole essay will be based on this statement. So, when crafting the thesis statement, make sure that you will be able to prove it. Make it sound logical – your statement shouldn’t be based on some blind guesses. Readers should understand your point and what they will find in the following paragraphs. Feel free to list your arguments, but don’t overdo it with extra details. Save more room for in-depth thoughts that will be covered in body paragraphs.
Tip 5: Start Persuasive Essay Briefly
Start a persuasive essay with some brief information on what one will learn from the text. Choose the main theses, provide them in a concise way, so as not to overload the reader’s mind. Mention the importance of your topic – your reader should be convinced that this essay is worth reading. Although your opinion should be arguable, this doesn’t mean that you can write vague sentences. Refer to those facts that resonate with your central statement. Long story short, be concise and stay on point. Buy essay online that may be of help to you if anything seems too vague right now.
Tip 6: Be Convincing in Your Persuasive Essay Introduction
When you try to start a persuasive essay, chances are that you will come across advice to use credible references. While this is all good and well, we suggest focusing more on the convincing arguments – your personal opinion. Indicate that your paper has been written based on personal experience and resulted from your own research. With this approach, the fact that it includes your thoughts won’t surprise anyone. You shouldn’t write about the truths known to everyone interested in this topic. You should better provide your ideas on why your thesis is correct. Explain why you have decided on this position. This is a polemical style that will trigger a number of debates.
Persuasive Essay Introduction Examples
If you don’t know how to start a persuasive essay, examples will surely be useful for you. After all, this is a good opportunity to get acquainted with successful patterns and include the best of them in your text. For instance, you can see ways of structuring arguments in an actual example and use it as the basis for your own essay. Still, you should choose your own arguments related to the topic. It all may sound complicated. For this reason, we will introduce an example of what a convincing introduction structure may be like.
How to Start a Persuasive Essay About a Book: Example
Before finding out how to start a persuasive essay about a book, decide on the literature. However, regardless of any genre and author, your topic will be dedicated to providing your opinion. Focus on your position and provide 3 arguments that you will discuss further. Our example will help you make it clear.
Persuasive Essay Introduction on Gun Control: Example
Your opinion on such an important topic as gun control should sound convincing. Before deciding on how to start a persuasive essay on gun control, make readers believe you have chosen some weighty thesis to develop further. Let’s look at an example.
How to Start Off a Persuasive Essay About Debates: Example
It is not difficult to work out the topic of debates. But before you find out how to start off a persuasive essay about debates, highlight the thesis that you support. You should specify the purpose of an essay in an introduction and avoid unsupported value judgments.
Starting a Persuasive Essay on Too Much Homework: Example
Before deciding on how to write a persuasive essay on too much homework, you should keep in mind that this topic is quite unusual. To define your position, you should prepare strong arguments; statistics will make an especially good hook.
Writing a Persuasive Essay on Starting a Colony: Template
To write an introduction of a persuasive essay on starting a colony, you should take on a strong stance on this matter. Be clear and convey the need for this action. Give general arguments, referring to historical practice – this will convince an audience to accept your point.
An introduction of a persuasive essay should be effective. After all, it’s the first thing that the readers will see. So, to make a persuasive essay introduction informative and convincing, you should make arguments clear and prepare your arguments. Include such elements in your introduction:
- Hook to attract the readers’ attention
- Personal opinion and proprietary research
- Thesis statement.
By using the above-listed recommendations, you will create a really high-quality introduction for an essay, where you will specify your position and convince readers of the topic's importance. BTW, a free essay maker might help you generate a persuasive essay. Use it to simplify the process.
If you are struggling with your persuasive essay, entrust this task to our academic writers. Share your requirements and our experts will work miracles in a timely manner.
FAQ About Persuasive Essay Introductions
1. what comes first in a persuasive essay.
When writing a persuasive essay introduction, you should indicate the problem you are going to cover. Specify some types and characters that are important to readers. Don’t forget about presenting your personal achievements and opinions. But make sure that you don’t dilute your first paragraph. An introduction should be to the point, just like the rest of writing.
2. How to start a persuasive essay about littering?
Before deciding on how to start a persuasive essay about littering, you should outline the issue. In our case, this is litter that pollutes our planet, with its influence having already been proven by hundreds of studies. Highlight the fact that litter doesn’t only harm our planet in general, but also does affect us directly. Prove it by an argument that it accumulates in the environment. These can be the places we work, live and have fun in, which is harmful to our health.
3. How can I create a hook for an essay about refugees?
Many people ask how to start a persuasive essay with a hook when it comes to writing a paper about refugees. We recommend describing some feelings and loneliness that this category of people experiences. Make an emotional hook to evoke the readers’ moral side. This will work, and you will get readers interested. After all, this is the most important aspect of any type of writing.
Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.
A hook is typically the first one or two sentences of an essay or article that is designed to grab the reader’s attention. Much like a fish gets literally hooked by bait, the hook of an essay should captivate your audience and make them want to read more. Catch your reader's eye Grammarly can help make your writing shine Write with Grammarly
All you need is to present a clear idea which will potentially hook the reader. Giving some hint on the gist of writing will be enough. Starting a Persuasive Essay with a Hook One idea that always works is starting a persuasive essay with a hook. You should make it clear about your topic in advance. Thus, you will attract reader’s attention.
A hook for any paper should be relevant to the topic or main idea the paper is written. Practice creating different sentences to start your work. Think about significant details you know about your topic that could be used as a hook such as an interesting fact or quote.