How to Write a Good Hook: Complete Guide to Writing Hooks with (a lot of) Examples

To catch a fish, you need a bait. To catch the readers’ attention, you need only a hook. A good and catchy hook for an essay is like good advertising which will make your audience want to continue reading. If you are wondering what a hook is and need a step by step instruction on how to write a catchy hook, this article will answer your questions to the full. You will also find a vast variety of types of hooks for an essay as well as a lot of examples of catchy hooks.

What is a Hook?

As a rule, a hook is the first sentence of an introduction of an essay or story. Since hook is the first element of the essay that readers see, it is critical to use the opportunity to make it engaging and catchy to make them continue reading.

Remember!  A hook is a catchy first element of an essay introduction or a story that grabs readers’ attention.

Despite that usually, a hook in writing is defined as anything used to catch people’s attention, hooks aren’t all created equal.

Here is a list of reasons why you need to create a good hook:

  • Hook will represent your main idea to readers
  • Catchy hook will immediately reveal your style of writing
  • Hook sentence will help engage and connect with readers

As you can see, a well-done hook is a useful part of the essay that will fulfill important functions, which is why you shouldn’t skip the opportunity to use its potential.

Types of Hooks for Essays with Examples

Now that we have figured out why you need a catchy hook for your essay or story, it is about time to reveal the possible options you have while designing it. Browse through these types of hooks for essays in order to determine which would suit your essay best.

1Bold statements

bold statement

Bold statement as a hook sentence is one of the strongest attention grabbers among all possible hooks. Such hook will make your essay instantly stand out and engage the readers. To create a bold statement as a hook, you need to research for not commonly or widely known facts, recent scientific discoveries, and ways to represent already available data in the completely different light.


“In 1929, a well-thought advertising campaign fooled women into thinking that smoking was a way to fight for equality and liberation. The masterful marketing plan developed by Edward Bernays and the phrase “torches of freedom” are examples of how advertising can help influence the masses.”

Remember! If you choose to come up with a bold statement as your hook sentence, make sure it is verified and true. Don’t use facts and data that can’t be verified as credible by reputable sources – it will discredit your essay.


Using a quote, saying, or an idiom as your whole hook sentence or even a part of it will demonstrate your creativity and in-depth research on the topic. There are 3 major features you need to look for in all these elements:

  1. Relevance
  2. Size
  3. Language and style

Your chosen quote, saying, or idiom should be completely relevant to the topic you write about and reflect it to an extent rather than be disconnected from the essay. In terms of size, you should be looking for a phrase that will only engage readers rather than turn their attention to the quote, saying or idiom in themselves, so up to 40 words should be sufficient.

In addition, make sure to use suitable language and style, otherwise, the hook sentence will be disconnected from the essay as a whole and will play the role of a major distraction rather than attention-grabber.


“When the Federal Reserve released the information about the Bernard Madoff scam in 2008, they let the cat out of the bag. In the midst of financial crisis of 2008-2009, the world as a whole and America in particular were deeply appalled by how long the fraud continued.”

Remember! Try to avoid widely popular quotes, sayings, and idioms and search for something unique instead. For instance, try BrainyQuote to browse quotes from famous people.

3Anecdote/Play on words

anecdote play of words

A humorous hook sentence will create a positive and informal mood for your writing. If you make the readers smile, they will instantly feel more engaged with your essay or paper, so make sure to create a funny and lighthearted pun or joke that will appeal to your audience.

Anecdotes are short stories that can be both personal and unrelated to your individual experience, however somehow relevant to your essay. Wordplay, or pun, is a joke that exploits different meanings of words.


“Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana. Surely, linguist an computer scientist Anthony Oettinger knew how to test the artificial intelligence of computers in the 1950s, when he attempted to make AI determine different meanings of words.”

Remember! Anecdotes and puns you use as hook sentences should be short and to the point.


 Using a rhetorical question as a catchy hook in an essay is a common way to engage and communicate with your audience through encouraging readers to think and ponder. While reading a question, people automatically start thinking about how to answer it, which plays the role of the attention-getting element. In order to make sure that your hook question is an effective attention grabber, focus it on a topical issue that refers to the main idea of your essay.

There are two types of question hooks that you can use: personal and impersonal.

  • Personal hook question will ask the readers directly about their own experience and perceptions of the issue.
  • Impersonal hook questions will ponder about a particular issue without involving anyone’s personal opinion.

Example of a personal hook sentence is as follows:

“Have you ever wondered why, after decades and centuries of struggle, the issue of gender inequality is still highly topical? Apparently, social stereotypes and gender roles are deeply ingrained in our culture and require much more effort to reduce and eventually eliminate. ”

Example of an impersonal hook sentence is as follows:

“The hazards of smoking cigarettes have been highlighted by the media more than enough, weren’t they? And yet, people continue to smoke.”

5Your own viewpoint

Your personal opinion on an issue will make a great informal and engaging hook for an essay since it will make the readers ponder about your reasoning and arguments. If your writing style allows using the first person in an essay, you can immediately reveal your view of the topic.


“I strongly believe in diplomacy and that it is a powerful tool in global politics. The recent nuclear threat from North Korea made me wonder whether diplomacy can help prevent aggravation of this conflict.”

6Relevant fact or statistical data

Similarly to the bold statement, using a relevant fact or statistical data in the hook sentence of your essay will play the role of a “wow” factor that will instantly grab readers’ attention.

Always remember to verify your facts and make sure you use credible sources in such hook, including government websites (.gov domain name) and articles from reputable global organizations, such as the World Bank, United Nations, Greenpeace, and International Monetary Fund.


“More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity. Over the years, obesity has turned into a nationwide problem that requires effective solutions.”

7Abstract of a poem/song

 Literature and songwriting comprise a mine of information that can help you construct your hook in a creative and imaginative way. Poems and song lyrics can provide you with the inspiration you need for your essay and inspire your readers, encouraging them to continue reading.


“Amelia Earhart wrote that “Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace” in her poem “Courage”. The story of Desmond Doss is a vivid example of how outstanding courage of one man can bring peace to the hearts of many.”

8Vivid description of place/object/process

vivid description of a place

A catchy hook can not only make your readers think or feel, but it can also teleport them to a specific place or make them see whatever you describe. Use your language to make your audience use imagination and create a picture of what you talk about. This creative trick will help engage with readers and ensure that they want to find out more details.

Appeal to all five senses of our readers by referring to scents, sounds, colors, textures, and temperatures to paint an entire picture in their mind. The more specific details you mention, the more engaging your hook will be. We have a good guide on creating descriptions that appeal — you will definitely find good hook ideas there.


“Dense aroma of freshly ground and brewed coffee, dim lighting, pleasant background music, sounds of espresso machines, and quiet conversations of customers and baristas altogether create unique ambience of Starbucks coffee shops. All these elements play so well together because they are carefully designed to contribute to the outstanding customer experience.”


Finally, generalization as an essay hook can be suitable for a formal writing style. Often using common knowledge becomes the most appropriate hook sentence idea because most readers are already familiar with it, which helps create a connection.


“For many people, having a cup of coffee is a part of the morning routine. Today, a number of studies reveal both positive and negative health effects of this beverage, while moderation remains the key.”

You also can use a generalization in a hook sentence if it is a well-known fact that you are to question and prove wrong in your essay.

For instance:

“It is a widely known fact that left and right sides of the human brain are responsible for different talents. In the media, there are numerous publications stating that left side of the brain performs creative tasks, while the right side performs tasks related to science and math. However, there is no actual evidence of this thesis, meaning that the whole statement is a myth.”

How to Write a Catchy Hook that Will Fit Your Essay

The inappropriate hook is like a hat on a dog: it just looks confusing. Follow this step by step guide to determine which catchy hook sentence will fit your essay the best:

  • Determining your writing style: define whether it is formal or informal
  • Evaluating target audience: does your audience expect your personal view on the issue or a mere analysis of facts?
  • Defining the message of your essay: develop your thesis and the main idea of the essay to make sure your hook relates to both
  • Aligning hook with the overall essay tone: determine the mood of your essay and adjust the hook to it

catchy hook

These tips will help you align your hook sentence to the whole essay and make sure it is a beastly attention grabber. A catchy hook is an essential accessory for your essay and after reading this article you’ll be able to style it perfectly with the whole ensemble.

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