"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
This quote from a world-known author of teen books is an excellent opening for your literature essay or social paper about making choices. Students face a serious dilemma when it comes to choosing the best essay hook out of the pool of great ideas. There are just too many types of essay hooks to choose from:
- Literary quote
- Sayings of famous people
- Interesting fact or statistics
- Poem lines
- Metaphor and simile
The juicy part of your introduction, its hook, consists of up to two sentences aimed to grab your reader's attention. You stress the importance of your topic or question once again in the thesis statement. A sentence which begins with a trivial, "In this paper, I am going to talk about..." does not work with most readers today. They are waiting to be impressed like they do when they go to the cinema.
You should write an academic paper according to the specific writing style and other standards. However, it does not mean that it must be too official and boring, especially if we talk about high school students. It is critical to keep an eye on every line and word when you're at university, but you can relax a bit and let your imagination flow while studying at your high school or college. Find the examples of the best essays online to use in your work.
The first couple of sentences helps to keep your audience reading your piece to the end, to its conclusion. A student should also understand what the readers are expecting to see in every introduction and hook sentence(s).
- The type of academic paper you write
- Specific paper format and tone of writer
- Whether they are really the intended audience
- Organization and structure
Believe it or not, but an introduction should give the answers to all of these questions. Besides, it has to point to the specific topic by narrowing it in the thesis statement, the last sentence of the first paragraph.
No matter what subject you're learning in your high school or college, the rules of writing a great essay are the same. Hook sentences are just one of the numerous requirements. They are less discussed than writing styles and structure, so we're going to describe the ways you catch an eye of your reader with the first line or few.
Let's focus on steps every high school and college student should mind when trying to think of the best hook.
#1. Find out Who Your Target Audience Is
You need to start your essay with the speech to your potential readers. You cannot grab the attention of professional scientists the same way you speak to your peers. While you may attract a scientific audience with the interesting fact, other students just like you would pay more attention to the anecdote or short scene description.
There are three essential questions to answer before deciding on the best eye catcher for your readers:
- People that belong to your target audience.
- Is there a captive audience? The response will help to understand the goals of your essay. People who have to read your writing no matter how good it is are your educators, admissions officers, etc. However, the majority of the public is not obligatory to read your piece from cover to cover. That is when you should try really hard choosing the best hook. It is a tough challenge if you write a blog post or magazine articles.
- Which subject or specific topic makes sense to your chosen audience? People find it interesting to read only about the most recent and relevant problems. They would spend enough time reading about the changes in some law, upcoming elections, widespread illness, recently released technology, etc.
#2. Decide on the Objectives of Your Essay
The same topic or question may have several different purposes. For example, your essay can have an educating character, informative message, comparison, call-to-action, persuasion, argumentation, and many other types of purposes. A great hook is always consistent with the writing goals.
An example might be a beginning sentence in a good essay on human relations, "You don't forget the face of the person who was your last hope." It is a citation from a world-known book by Suzanne Collins titled "Hunger Games." The fact people used to love this book and supporting movie make this quotation even more interesting and familiar to the readers. Another great one contains a type of sarcasm "Stupid people are dangerous." We can see Miss Collins knows many ways to write a great hook.
- How should people feel while reading the text?
Does your story have to motivate, give an overall picture, share personal experience, open hidden ability, or disclose more interesting facts which they wondered? Choose the mood of your text with the help of your hook sentence. An anecdote would most probably mean a humorous tone; an interesting scientific fact often results in the serious research paper. Also, decide whether it has to be a high school/college level or professional writing. In the second case, avoid quotations with slang or jargon words. ESL-EFL classes teacher may be interested in an essay which begins with the anecdote. The example is:
"Mother: "Did you enjoy your first day at school?"
Girl: "First day? Do you mean I have to go back tomorrow?"
It may be a great start for your text on modern education.
Another example is less funny:
"Real average hourly earnings of all employees increases 0.1% in April."
Isn't it an interesting start of the argumentative essay which aims to prove the government is doing its best to create better working conditions. Such statistics and facts are kindly shared by the official websites of governmental structures like The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- What should the readers take away?
A writer usually wants to describe a particular topic to the readers to inform them better on specific issues. Some writings exist just to have fun while others are trying to get attention and even support from the wide audience.
#3. Pick Your Hook Wisely
No matter whether you start with the rhetorical question or interesting fact, you must know the types of hooks.
Literary Quote from a Book or Another Source
You may use this type of quotation when you practice writing about a particular author, his personal experience in a story, literary phenomenon, or book. A literary quote gives an overall picture of the main story's topic. The example of a big literary quote from Shakespeare is below:
When he hears Cordelia's answer, Lear seems surprised, but not dumbfounded. He advises her to "mend [her] speech a little." He had expected her to praise him the most; but compared to her sisters', her remarks seem almost insulting (1.1.95).
Such hook in your text describes the personality of a character better, giving the details from the original story. This quotation allows the reader to understand that the paper will be focused on the particular story and certain personality traits.
Quotations from Known People
Famous people often tend to share personal experience, educating life story, and just something to believe in. People use to believe every word celebrities and authorities say, so it's your chance to catch an eye from the first sentence. Try to use the following examples of great hooks:
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." - Albert Einstein
You may start writing a research paper on the subject or question which seems already known to the public, but still, there are some more interesting facts to add. An example is when you describe the way a satellite works in details when it comes to studying outer space again.
"Opportunities don't happen. You create them." - Chris Grosser
A perfect essay hook on how high school or college students can come up with something new and needed just like Steve Jobs did.
Pose a Related Question
Any great example may start with the words, "Did you know...?" or "Have you ever wondered...?" Combine interesting fact or statistics with the question. You may start with the rhetorical question. The rules of writing a rhetorical analysis paper that works are described in the article. You may write about something your readers must remember one way, and explain how it changed. Keep in mind that a question which is not rhetorical has to be answered in details.
Setting a Scene
Write a hook in the shape of the small story.
"The day she was born started with the Great Tornado knocking at our door in Los Angeles, California."
Even though it is hard to guess what the topic will be about, such hooks work the best when it comes to writing personal statements or admission essays.
Find out what is wrong with some stereotypes which potential readers keep in mind and argue with it.
"Although many people believe males are more often unfaithful to their wives, the latest statistics show another side of the coin."
You can also use thesis statement, metaphor, simile, or definition as your essay's hook. The most important thing every high school and college student should keep in mind is that there is an opportunity to order a paper written "from zero to hero" with the best hook sentence ever! The process is completely safe, and there is no need to spend huge amounts of money. Try this writing service now!
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Common Core Standards for English Language Arts
Text Types and Purposes
2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Production and Distribution of Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
English-Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools
1.2–Identify and interpret figurative language and words with multiple meanings.
3.7–Explain the effects of common literary devices (e.g., symbolism, imagery, metaphor) in a variety of fictional and non-fictional texts.
1.1–Identify idioms, analogies, metaphors, and similes in prose and poetry.
1.1–Analyze idioms, analogies, metaphors, and similes to infer the literal and figurative meanings of phrases.
3.6–Identify significant literary devices (e.g., metaphor, symbolism, dialect, irony) that define a writer's style and use those elements to interpret the work.
1.1–Identify and use the literal and figurative meanings of words and understand word derivations.
2.5–Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original nalysis, evaluation, and elaboration.
3.7–Recognize and understand the significance of various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism, and explain their appeal.
Listening and Speaking
1.3–Interpret and evaluate the various ways in which events are presented and information is communicated by visual-image makers (e.g., graphic designers, documentary filmmakers, illustrators, news photographers).
National Standards for English-Language Arts
4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language. (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).