How to Write a Hook for an Essay
Ever hear that you never get a second chance to make a first impression? Well, that’s just as true for your writing as it is for meeting new people!
That’s because, to a reader, diving into something you have written is often the very first chance they have to discover anything about you. The first things they read help shape how they feel about you. And, of course, whether they want to keep reading at all!
To make a great impression, and to keep readers excited and engaged, you need a good hook. But what is a hook, and how can you craft an awesome one? That’s what we’ll explore below, by talking through different kinds of writing you may want to write a hook for, and then offering specific examples that you can use for inspiration.
What is a hook in an essay?
The hook is the first statement in a piece of writing. It may be composed of one sentence (generally for shorter pieces) or multiple sentences (for longer ones), but the goal of any good hook is to firmly get the reader’s attention.
This is one reason why both high school teachers and college professors often emphasize the importance of essay hooks when writing college essays (for example, with a Literary Analysis ). The title of your written work may be enough to get people to check it out, the same way you might click on an online article with an interesting title. However, an essay hook does the same thing for your essay that an exciting opening does for any article: it makes the reader excited to keep reading!
In this guide, we are mostly focusing on writing good hooks for essays. However, the general principles here extend to almost any form of audience communication. From personal statements to speeches and presentations, it’s virtually always important to strike a good impression by getting someone’s attention in an interesting way.
What are some good hooks for essays?
There are several standard approaches to writing a hook that can work well for many different types of writing:
An intriguing rhetorical question
A suprising fact or statistic
A relevant quotation
An interesting anecdote
An evocative image or description
A common misconception
But some of these approaches work better (sometimes much better) than others depending on what you’re writing. For example, a good hook for a personal narrative probably doesn’t fit with a research paper. So below, we have examples of a hook in an essay for different styles of papers. Use these sections, along with resources in our College Writing Center , to develop your own hooks for the writing tasks in front of you!
Adjusting hooks based on prompt and purpose
Creating the hook in an essay is often a difficult skill for writers to master. That’s because there is no “one size fits all” for how to create a hook for an essay. Instead, learning how to make a hook for an essay depends on your exact writing prompt as well as your exact purpose.
Below, we have important info on how to start a hook for an essay for a wide variety of different prompts and purposes. This information can help you create more dynamic essays no matter what your ultimate goal may be.
Writing a hook for an argumentative essay
“What is a hook in an essay?” This is something students usually first learn about when they are writing essays for high school classes, though sometimes students make it to college without a clear understanding of what a hook is and how to build one. And when the essay is argumentative , it’s important to learn how to create a properly argumentative hook.
A hook in an essay making a firm argument needs to do more than get the reader’s attention. Ideally, such a hook will also serve to set up and frame the argument so as to subtly get the reader on your side before they even discover your thesis. In this way, you can change the conversation before the reader even knows what you are talking about!
While not the only way to make argumentative hooks, one effective technique is to ask an interesting rhetorical question and using the word “you.” Because readers naturally want to answer questions, and because they are being directly addressed, these readers will perk up when reading your hook.
Finally, consider that because the hook is at the very beginning of your essay, this gives you creative freedom to be a tad mysterious in how you present certain ideas. In fact, the hook is basically the only part of your essay where being mysterious may be beneficial!
Example of a hook for an argumentative essay
Again, in an argumentative essay, the best hooks are the ones that both get the reader’s attention and get them to almost subconsciously take your side even before they know what that side is. For example, let’s say that you are writing a paper in which you oppose creating additional firearm legislation. Such a paper might start with a hook such as “What if your government were putting your family in danger, and you didn’t even know it?”
Here, we are deliberately playing into the mystery by not explicitly mentioning guns (but note that we probably don’t want to keep it mysterious for too long, or we might lose our reader). This makes the reader curious about the “danger” they are in, especially when we mention their family. At the same time, we are creating an oppositional view of the government, planting seeds for our eventual anti-legislation thesis.
Writing a hook for a personal statement
How to write a hook in an essay is a bit different when you are writing a personal statement . That’s because you aren’t introducing readers to an argumentative thesis. Instead, you are getting their attention in a way that also creates a positive impression of you as both a person and a writer.
In other words, a personal statement addressed to, say, a university undergraduate admissions committee has one major goal: to sell you to the reader. To clarify: most undergraduate colleges in the US admit most students who apply . But if you’re applying to competitive schools, your personal statement needs to demonstrate the kind of value you plan to bring to the institution.
Because of this, you need to craft your hook to match the rest of the statement. For example, if you are going to describe how you overcame an unforeseen challenge, a good hook might start with a moment of high tension before you present the challenge as it appeared to you at first: encompassing and insurmountable. This adds narrative weight to the part of your statement where you describe overcoming what seemed to be impossible. Or if you’re building a montage , an intriguing image might pull us in.
Long story short? You need to figure out how you want to structure your essay content . Then, you can craft a hook that perfectly leads into the rest of the work. Again, don’t underestimate how you can portray things mysteriously at the beginning of the essay to both showcase your creativity and to build reader interest!
Example of a hook for a personal statement
It’s easier said than done, but a good hook for a personal statement helps to establish tone and focus or even what kind of person you are while setting up the rest of the statement. For instance, let’s say I am writing a statement for a university application and the prompt asks the writer to describe a time when they overcame a great challenge or obstacle. The hook for such an essay might go like this: “I found myself face down on the wet mud, covered in equal parts hot shame and cold dirt. Nobody was as surprised as me, though, when I began to get back up again.”
Here, we use sensory details to capture the reader’s imagination and really put them into the moment. In this case, the moment is one of great failure and humiliation. Crucially, though, part of the hook involves quite literally rising from this failure. This shows the admission committee what kind of person you are: one who may get knocked down 10 times but will get up 11.
Writing a hook for a personal narrative
Writing a good hook for an essay may seem particularly daunting when you are writing a personal narrative. By definition, a personal narrative is a story of your life. Therefore, good essay hooks for such narratives need to both get the readers’ attention and introduce you to readers as a sympathetic character.
What does this mean in practice? Rather than touching on much (if anything) about the outside world, a personal narrative hook should usually share something about you as a person. Ideally, this shouldn’t just be basic info. Instead, it should be something that reveals more intimate information about you to your reader.
This might include writing about how you felt when a loved one died, or how it felt when you tried your best and you failed. It can be tough to write, but this level of vulnerability never fails to get the reader’s attention. And done well, such a hook instantly tells readers more about what kind of person you are. This may add some much-needed flavor and context to the rest of the narrative.
Example of a hook for a personal narrative
Writing a personal narrative involves a high degree of vulnerability. You are letting readers see past your exterior and glimpse who you really are. Therefore, a good hook for such a narrative should lean into this emotional rawness while telling us more about who you are as a person. For example, such a hook may read, “Nothing was ever the same since my grandmother died. Or at least, nothing would ever be the same about me again.”
There is obviously a kinship between the personal statement and the personal narrative. However, personal statements are generally about helping readers understand your values, insights, skills, qualities, and interests. Personal narratives, however, get more into how both the challenges and triumphs of your life have defined who you are as a person. And our hook above sets up a great personal tragedy that serves as a defining point of the writer’s life.
Writing a hook for literary analysis
Good essay hooks can be particularly difficult when you are writing a literary analysis (for an in-depth guide, head to that link). After all, when you are writing about someone else’s work, it can be daunting to try to come up with something very memorable on your own.
One possible approach to this hook is the classic: “if you can’t beat’em, join’em.” For example, you could always begin your literary analysis with a quote from the literature in question. You then follow this up with interesting commentary that helps to contextualize the rest of your intro.
You could also return to the argumentative technique of asking a rhetorical question but focusing it on something related to the literature. This helps readers think about old works in new ways and serves as a jumping off point for your own analysis.
However you begin the hook to your literary analysis essay, it’s important to demonstrate two things at the same time: one, that you know the written material very well. And two, that you know how to get the reader’s attention from the very first sentence.
Example of a hook in a literary analysis
When you write a literary analysis, it is sometimes difficult to find something new and unique to say. The last thing you want to do is just retell what happened in the story without adding anything to it! That’s why your hook needs to both get the reader’s attention and also showcase that you have something unique to say about the work you are analyzing.
One way to do this is to use a rhetorical question regarding some aspect of the work. The question needs to get the reader’s attention while simultaneously demonstrating your knowledge of the subject and the uniqueness of what you have to say. For example, in a literary analysis of The Great Gatsby , you might have a hook that begins, “What happens when you finally grasp the American dream and then feel it slip through your hands like a warm summer rain? This perfectly describes both Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway. But as you read The Great Gatsby , it’s impossible to shake the feeling that it will describe all of us sooner or later.”
This hook serves as a dynamic introduction to your paper. It also helps set the stage for analyzing how the rise and fall of these characters is mirrored by the rise and fall of America itself. Finally, that evocative first line shows that not only do you have something unique to say, but that you have a way of expressing it that is worthy of this classic work of literature.
Writing a hook for a research paper
The methods for how to write a good hook for an essay change a bit when you are writing a research paper . That’s because research essays are typically a bit more down-to-earth than, say, an argumentative essay. As such, your hooks shouldn’t swing for the fences so much as they should provide surprising insights based on the research itself.
For example, depending on your research essay topic, one or more “scary stats” can really get readers’ attention because these stats help quantify some of the things you plan to write about. It’s one thing to call something like obesity in America a “growing” concern, and this may even elicit a mild chuckle from your reader (puns!). However, a cited statistic about how nearly 72% of the country is overweight instantly makes your reader sit up and pay closer attention.
While startling facts or stats are a great fit for almost any type of research paper, they resonate particularly well if you are arguing about the need to solve a major dilemma. Because these stats help outline why the problem is so major even as they get readers’ attention, you’ll be likelier to have these readers on your side as you begin discussing the need to solve this dilemma.
Example of a hook in a research paper
In a research paper, one of your major goals should be to establish your authority and expertise. The essay itself is going to build on the research you have conducted. And fittingly enough, clever use of the right research can help you create an unforgettable hook.
For example, let’s say that you are writing on the topic of solving homelessness in America. One very evocative way of beginning your essay would be to write, “America currently has more than 17 million vacant homes, yet somehow, homelessness has never been a bigger problem.”
The eye-opening stat alone is sure to get your reader’s attention. At the same time, it helps to highlight the absurdity of this particular problem by highlighting the obvious possible solution. This helps to get the reader on your side as you passionately argue for solving the issue.
Hook vs lead-in transition to the thesis
As you can tell, writing a hook for an essay can be challenging enough on its own. However, it can be extra challenging when you confuse the hook with other important parts of your intro.
For example, some writers confuse the hook with the lead-in transition to the thesis itself. To avoid this confusion, it’s important to learn how these different intro components play very different roles in your writing.
In practice, a good hook makes a difference when it comes to whether or not someone willingly continues to read what you have written. Think of it like this: a great title makes somebody curious enough to check out your writing in the first place. If they think the essay is boring or otherwise mundane, they stop reading. But if they think you have something surprising, insightful, or just plain funny to say based on your first sentence, they’ll probably keep going.
A hook is always at the beginning of your essay. However, as a general rule, it’s best to have your thesis at the end of your introductory paragraph or section. Because of this, your lead-in transition to the thesis occurs right before the thesis itself.
How do you write a lead-in transition to your thesis? It’s helpful to think of your introduction as an upside down triangle with the following components: a title (if used/needed) that makes readers curious, a hook that gets their attention, a surface level of background info, and then deeper background info. This deeper background info should provide more context and effectively serve as a lead-in transition to your thesis. For example, in an argumentative paper, you might have a lead-in describing the different sides people have taken about this topic before providing a thesis that lets readers know exactly where you stand on the matter.
One approach: Write your hook after you’ve finished your essay
Here’s some slightly unconventional writing advice. Next time you are stressing over hooks to start an essay , consider writing your body paragraphs and conclusion first . You can then go back and create a perfectly bespoke intro, complete with engaging hook.
When you get right down to it, writing the intro first is very difficult for most writers. After all, you are introducing us to an essay you haven’t written yet. Once you write out more of the essay, you should have an easier time developing every aspect of the thesis, including crafting a killer hook.
Get that first impression “write”
With these examples of a hook in an essay, you can do more than craft a better essay. You can also create a killer first impression right out of the gate!
It’s important to remember that a good hook can make the difference between whether someone delves deeper into your writing or decides to bail out right away. By mastering the skills of getting someone’s attention in such a way, you will become a better writer, speaker, and presenter. And each day presents another chance to hone your writing skills and create hooks and entire essays better than anything you have ever written before!
Special thanks to Chris for writing this blog post
Chris Snellgrove is an English Professor at Northwest Florida State College who specializes in literature, rhetoric, and business writing. As a freelance writer, Chris specializes in sales, marketing, pop culture, and video games. He has a B.A. in English from Troy University and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Auburn University. When he’s not writing or talking to others about writing, Chris loves reading books, playing video games, watching horror movies, and disappearing into a comic book. He currently lives in Northwest Florida and would probably rather be at the beach right now.
Top values: Diversity / Equality / Social Justice
How to Write a Great Essay Hook, With Examples
When you’re writing an essay , you naturally want people to read it. Just like the baited hook on a fishing line entices fish, your essay’s hook engages readers and makes them want to keep reading your essay.
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What is an essay hook?
An essay hook is a sentence or two that piques the reader’s interest, compelling them to continue reading. In most cases, the hook is the first sentence or two, but it may be the entire opening paragraph. Hooks for essays are always in the first section because this is where the essay needs to hook its reader. If the reader isn’t engaged within the first few lines, they’ll likely stop reading.
An essay hook also sets the tone for the rest of your essay. For example, an unexpected statistic in an essay’s first line can tell the reader that the rest of the essay will dispel myths and shed light on the essay’s topic .
6 types of essay hooks
1 rhetorical questions.
Rhetorical questions are popular essay hooks because they make readers think. For example, an essay might start with the question “Is it ethical to eat animals?” Before reading the rest of the essay, the reader answers the question in their mind. As they continue to read, the writer’s arguments challenge the reader’s answer and may change their mind.
When an essay discusses scientific subjects, social issues, current events, or controversial subjects, a fact or statistic related to the essay’s topic can be a compelling hook. For example, an essay about elementary student literacy might hook readers with a statistic about the percentage of fourth graders that are proficient readers.
The hook could be a fact or statistic that’s well-known and frames the topic in a relatable way, or it could be a completely unexpected or seemingly unintuitive one that surprises the reader. In any case, they set the tone for the rest of the essay by supporting the writer’s position from the outset.
Quotes are often used as essay hooks because they’re succinct, often recognizable, and when they’re from an expert source, they can support the writer’s position.
For example, an analytical essay comparing two books might hook readers with a quote from one of the books’ authors that sets the tone for the rest of the essay and gives a glimpse into that author’s work.
Anecdotes are often used as hooks in personal essays. A personal story makes the essay relatable, creating familiarity with the reader that makes them want to read more. An example of an anecdote hook is a persuasive essay about rerouting traffic on campus that starts with a personal story of a vehicular close call.
A description focuses on specific imagery related to the essay’s subject. For example, an argumentative essay in support of new recycling policies might hook readers with a bleak description of what happens to batteries and other hazardous materials when they aren’t recycled.
6 Common misconception
Similar to an unexpected fact, a hook that dispels a common misconception surprises the reader and educates them about something they likely misunderstood. For example, a compare-and-contrast essay about different mindfulness strategies might start with a common misconception about how mindfulness works.
Creating a hook for different writing prompts
Strong hooks for essays align with the essays’ tones, types, and topics. As you start working on an essay, think about your topic and goals for the essay. Are you trying to persuade the reader? Dispelling a common misconception can be the hook you need. Are you telling an entertaining personal story with bigger themes about your life experience? Start it off with an engaging anecdote. Are you defending a position? Share an unexpected fact and let the truth speak for itself.
Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell which kind of hook your essay needs. When this is the case, it can be helpful to write the rest of your essay, then come back to your introduction and write the kind of hook that would make you want to read that whole essay. Refer to your essay outline to ensure that it fits your essay goals.
Essay hook examples
- Is it too late to save our planet from climate change?
- Before I could speak, I sang.
- “If we are truly a great nation, the truth cannot destroy us.” —Nikole Hannah-Jones
- Contrary to popular belief, rats are among the most fastidious animals.
- I can’t be late for class—this could be the most important day of my life!
Essay hook FAQs
An essay hook is a sentence or two that grabs the reader’s attention and piques their interest, enticing them to continue reading.
What are the different types of essay hooks?
- Rhetorical questions
- Common misconception
Why is it important to have a good essay hook?
It’s important that hooks for essays be well crafted, because in many cases, the reader won’t continue reading an essay if it doesn’t hold their interest. The hook grabs their attention and makes them want to read on.
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How to Write Captivating Hooks for Your Argumentative Essays
Table of contents
Are you ready to sharpen your argumentative essay writing skills? If so, then mastering the art of creating a compelling hook is a skill you can't afford to miss. The hook, a crucial component of your introductory paragraph, has the power to either grip your reader's attention or cause them to lose interest in your argument.
In the dynamic world of essay writing, the ability to write a persuasive hook for your argumentative essay is a critical skill that can set your work apart. Whether you're a student aiming to impress your professor, a professional trying to sway a critical audience, or simply a person who thrives in the realm of logical debates, this skill is invaluable.
In this guide, we aim to demystify the process of writing an enticing hook for an argumentative essay - a technique that will captivate your reader's attention, spark their curiosity, and compel them to delve deeper into your argument. Prepare to wield the power of the hook and engage your readers from the outset, maintaining their interest right through to the conclusion.
The Role of a Hook in an Argumentative Essay
In an argumentative essay, the first impression is everything. Your initial statement or question—also known as the hook—serves as the doorway inviting your reader to step into your argument. With a compelling hook, you’re not just getting their attention; you're making a promise that your essay is worth their time.
The hook's main purpose is to draw readers in and compel them to want to read more. It piques their curiosity, stirs up emotions, or provokes thought. A strong hook aligns with your essay’s topic and thesis, yet it also stands on its own as a captivating snippet of your overall argument.
Remember, an argumentative essay is not just about presenting an argument; it's about making it interesting and engaging for the reader. The hook plays an instrumental role in achieving this goal. As the saying goes, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." With an argumentative essay, the first impression begins with the hook.
In the sections that follow, we will unpack different types of hooks, provide a step-by-step guide on how to craft them, and offer real-life examples for inspiration. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!
Different Types of Hooks for an Argumentative Essay
- Question Hook
- Quotation Hook
- Statistic Hook
- Anecdotal Hook
- Declaration Hook
- Descriptive Hook
Creating an impactful hook requires choosing the right type for your argumentative essay. Each kind of hook serves a different purpose and can help establish the tone, voice, and direction of your essay. Let's walk through the most commonly used types and how they can boost your writing:
Question Hook : This type of hook poses a thought-provoking question that relates to your argument's theme. It can be a rhetorical question or one that seeks an answer. It makes your readers engage directly by prompting them to think about a possible answer or form an opinion about the question.
Quotation Hook : A well-chosen quote from a notable person or source related to your argument can be a powerful way to begin your essay. It instantly lends credibility to your argument and shows that your point of view aligns with respected opinions.
Statistic Hook : This type of hook involves beginning your essay with a surprising or compelling statistic related to your argument. It's a fantastic way to show your readers that your point is backed by evidence, and it is often a surprising piece of information that can grab their attention.
Anecdotal Hook : An anecdotal hook involves telling a short and captivating story or an incident related to your topic. A well-told anecdote can humanize your argument and help your reader connect with your topic on a more personal level.
Declaration Hook : This is a straightforward statement that declares your argument or a related point. It's bold, it's confident, and it lets your reader know exactly where you stand.
Descriptive Hook : This type of hook uses vivid imagery to draw your reader into your essay. By painting a picture with your words, you can help your reader visualize your argument and become more engaged with your essay.
REMEMBER : the best type of hook for your essay largely depends on your essay’s topic, your personal writing style, and the effect you want to have on your reader. In the next section, we’ll guide you step-by-step through the process of writing your own captivating hook.
Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Hook for Your Argumentative Essay
- Understand Your Audience
- Identify Your Essay's Purpose
- Choose the Appropriate Type of Hook
- Write Your Hook
- Revise and Refine
Now that we have a better understanding of the different types of hooks and their importance in an argumentative essay, it's time to delve into how to actually write an effective one. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you craft a compelling hook for your argumentative essay:
Understand Your Audience : Before you start writing your hook, you need to understand who your readers are. What interests them? What are their concerns? What kind of language do they understand best? Once you have this information, you can craft a hook that speaks directly to them.
Identify Your Essay's Purpose : What is the central argument or point you want to make in your essay? Your hook should tie into this and give a hint or a preview of what's to come.
Choose the Appropriate Type of Hook : Refer to the different types of hooks we discussed in the previous section. Depending on your topic and audience, one type might be more effective than the others. For instance, a serious topic might benefit more from a statistic hook, while a personal argument might be better served by an anecdotal hook.
Write Your Hook : Now comes the actual writing. Keep it concise, engaging, and relevant to your argument. Ensure that it leads naturally into your introduction and gives your readers a reason to continue reading.
Revise and Refine : First drafts aren't always perfect. Read your hook out loud, get feedback from others, and revise as necessary. It should not only grab your reader's attention but also be a seamless part of your introduction.
Now, let's put this theory into practice. In the next section, we will provide a series of examples that will demonstrate how these steps work in real-life situations. Each example will show a different type of hook, so you can see the variety of ways to engage your reader right from the start.
Examples of Hooks in Argumentative Essays
Now that we’ve explained how to write a hook, it's time to show you some examples in action. As we go through these examples, remember that your hook should be relevant to your topic and effectively engage your reader.
Statistical Hook : If you were writing an essay about the effects of climate change, you could start with a statistical hook like, "According to the United Nations, the last 20 years have seen 17 of the hottest on record."
Anecdotal Hook : For an essay on the importance of education, you could begin with an anecdotal hook: "When I first moved to the United States, I didn't know a word of English. It was in school that I discovered not only the language but a love of literature."
Question Hook : If your essay revolves around the theme of personal fitness, you could use a question hook like, "How many times have you told yourself you'd start exercising 'tomorrow'?"
Quotation Hook : For an essay about the importance of perseverance, you could use a quotation hook: "'It always seems impossible until it's done.' Nelson Mandela’s words resonate with anyone who has faced seemingly insurmountable challenges."
Factual Hook : In an essay about the dangers of plastic waste, you could use a factual hook: "Every year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans."
Personal Story Hook : If your essay is about the impact of bullying, you could start with a personal story hook: "In middle school, I was the 'new kid'. What that meant was I also became the perfect target for bullies."
Declaration Hook : If you are writing about the importance of mental health, you could start with a strong declaration: "Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it's time we treated it that way."
Descriptive Hook : For an essay on traveling, you could start with a descriptive hook: "The vibrant colors of the bustling marketplace, the distant hum of street music, and the intoxicating aroma of street food – there's nothing quite like the sensory overload of visiting a new city."
Metaphor/Simile Hook : If you're writing about time management, a metaphorical hook could work well: "Managing your time effectively is like conducting an orchestra; every task has its place and rhythm."
Dilemma Hook : For an essay on moral or ethical decision-making, you could use a dilemma hook: "You're in a lifeboat with a maximum capacity of five people, but there are six of you. What do you do?"
Remember, the goal of your hook is to captivate your reader and make them want to continue reading. We hope these examples inspire you as you craft your own hooks for your argumentative essays.
Final Thoughts on Writing an Effective Hook for an Argumentative Essay
The success of your argumentative essay can significantly hinge on your opening hook. It sets the tone, piques interest, and beckons your readers into your world of persuasion. Remember, it's not just about writing a catchy first sentence—it's about creating an entry point into your argument that your reader can't resist.
Crafting an effective hook requires some creative thinking, but remember, it should serve your argument and fit the tone of your essay. Whether you choose to start with a shocking statistic, a compelling question, or a personal anecdote, make sure your hook leads smoothly into your thesis statement.
Now that we've walked you through the process of crafting a hook for your argumentative essay, it's time to practice. Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time. Like all aspects of writing, creating compelling hooks comes easier with time and practice. The most important thing is to keep your reader in mind and aim to engage them from the first word.
Remember, your argumentative essay is a journey for your reader, and your hook is the door into that journey. Make that door as enticing as possible, and your reader will be eager to step through it and explore the argument you've laid out before them.
Delving deeper into argumentative essays and refining your writing skills can be an enriching journey. Here are a few more resources to help you navigate this path effectively:
Articles from the Writers Per Hour Blog
- How Significant Are Opposing Points of View in an Argument
- Rebuttal in Argumentative Essay
- Strong Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas
- Writing Strong Introductions for Argumentative Essays
- Strong Conclusion for Argumentative Essay
- What is a Hook for an Essay and How to Use It
- Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- Harvard College Writing Center
- University of North Carolina Writing Center
IMPORTANT : mastery in argumentative writing is a journey that requires patience, practice, and persistence. However, if you ever find yourself struggling with your essay, our team of experienced argumentative essay writers is always ready to assist you. With their expertise in crafting compelling, well-structured essays, they can provide invaluable support in your academic journey.
Last edit at Jul 16 2023
Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.
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7 Sensational Essay Hooks That Grab Readers’ Attention
by Suzanne Davis | Jul 14, 2022 | Writing Essays and Papers | 12 comments
Do you want people to feel excited when they read your essay?
The secret is to get them interested in reading your essay by making the first part of your introduction intriguing. The best way to do that is by using attention-grabbing essay hooks.
So, what is a hook? It’s a piece of writing at the beginning of your essay that engages your reading audience. Usually, a hook is a sentence or group of sentences that draw people into reading your essay or research paper. A hook sparks a person’s curiosity. You want whoever reads your essay to wonder what happens next. Hooks also make an introduction stand out (which raises your chance of getting a high grade on your essay).
If you want to see all the elements of great introductions for research papers check my post, How to Write a Strong Introduction to a Research Paper at https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/how-to-write-a-strong-introduction-to-a-research-paper/.
When you write essay hooks that make your rea ders curious, you’ve taken the first step toward making them fall in love with your writing. Let’s dive in and look at essay hooks that will elevate your writing style!
7 Types of Essay Hooks
Here are 7 writing hooks that make readers want to find out what you will say in the rest of your essay.
- Interesting Question Hook
- Strong Statement/Declaration Hook
- Fact/Statistic Hook
- Metaphor/ Simile Hook
- Description Hook
- Quotation Hook.
1. The Interesting Question Hook
An interesting question hook is when you ask a question that relates to your essay or paper. And the only way a person can know the answer to that question is by reading your writing.
People are inquisitive. When we hear or read a question we want to know the answer. If we don’t have an answer then we need to find out.
So, when you start your essay with a question hook, this signals to your readers that if they keep reading you’ll give them the answer.
Here’s an example of an interesting question hook on the topic of succeeding in college:
What is the difference between successful college students and unsuccessful college students?
The goal of this essay hook is to make you want to learn what students who succeed in college do, and what college students who don’t succeed in college do wrong.
2. The Strong Statement/Declaration Hook
A strong statement hook is a sentence that makes an assertive claim about your topic. It connects to the thesis statement and shows the importance of your essay or paper.
A strong statement is a great technique because it doesn’t matter if your reader agrees or disagrees with your statement. They will want to see how you support your statement.
This is an example of a strong statement on the topic of the vegan diet.
Vegans are the healthiest group of people in the world.
This statement either supports your point of view about the vegan diet, or it makes you want to argue against it (especially if you love meat). Either way, you are curious about what the writer says.
3. The Fact/ Statistic Hook
Facts and statistics hook your reader because they give real information about a topic. You can impress your reader with your knowledge and evidence from the very beginning of your essay. But, you need to include facts that are accurate, interesting, and reliable. Evaluate your information and make sure it comes from a credible source. Some places to visit for statistics are The Pew Research Center https://www.pewresearch.org/ , and The CIA World Fact Book, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/.
Here’s an example of a factual hook about an essay on gun ownership in the United States.
Almost two-thirds of American adults at some point in their life lived in a home with at least one gun.
The Pew Research Center, “America’s Relationship With Guns: An In-Depth Look at the Attitudes and Experiences of US Adults” http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2017/06/22/americas-complex-relationship-with-guns/
4. The Metaphor / Simile Hook
The metaphor/simile hook engages your readers because it makes them think about a topic in a different way. Your audience wonders what you mean and how you compare a topic to something that seems unconnected.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that directly compares one thing to another, but these two things seem unrelated. An example of a metaphor is: Her boyfriend is a rat. The boyfriend is not really a rat, but he behaves like one.
If your essay topic is on business blogging you could write the metaphor hook:
A business blog is a magnet pulling clients to a company.
A simile is like a metaphor. Both compare two unrelated things to each other, but a simile uses the words like or as to connect them. A simile is less strong than a comparison in a metaphor. An example of a simile is : Writing a research paper is like running a marathon when it’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
A simile hook for the essay about business blogging could be:
A business blog is like a magnet that pulls clients to a company.
5. The Story Hook
This is a hook where you begin with a short story or episode that relates to your topic. Readers love stories, especially a well-written story that is memorable. The key to a great story hook is making sure the story directly connects to your essay or paper topic. Your story can be personal or someone else’s story.
Here’s an example of a story hook for an essay about the differences between British and American English. I used my own story about a trip to England.
I got off the train and pulled my luggage behind me. A cab pulled up to the curb, and the driver got out. He lifted my luggage and said, “Miss, I’m just going to put your stuff in the boot.” I didn’t know what he meant until I saw him open the car’s trunk. Then I realized the boot means car trunk. I got in the cab, wondering how many other words would be different in England.
You’ll see this sto ry hook is longer than other types of essay hooks. That’s okay. Your hook can be longer, but it shouldn’t be a large part of your essay or paper. Compare the length of your hook to the length of the essay.
Also, consider your audience (especially an academic audience). Ask yourself, “Will a story hook be acceptable in this course?” If you’re unsure you can ask your teacher or professor or you could select a different type of hook.
6. The Description Hook
This is a hook where a vivid description of a scene draws your readers into your writing. A good description hook will make your reader want to know what comes next in your writing. It’s most popular in narrative essays, but you can use a description hook with any type of writing (yes even academic papers). But, like the story hook ask yourself, “Will this description hook be acceptable in this course?”
Here’s an example of a description hook for a personal narrative essay about saving a dog:
The dog howled in pain and limped along the side of the road. His leg was cut and blood streamed down his leg.
Doesn’t this scene make you curious about what will happen to the dog?
7. The Quotation Hook
This is a hook where you begin your essay with a quotation. The quotation could be from a famous person, but it doesn’t have to be. You can quote anyone if it connects to what you’re writing about.
If you write an essay on the topic of education you could start
Nelson Mandela said, “ Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world .”
If you want to use a quotation for a hook, make sure you quote the words exactly. Choose quotations where the words are striking, powerful, and/ or memorable.
Writing Challenge: Write 2 Essay Hooks
Essay hooks are a great way to intrigue all your readers. Select your favorite 2 types of essay hooks. Then write a hook for each kind you choose. Comment below and share your favorite one!
Have fun and be creative.
Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash
I find that switching it up makes my content better. My favorite is to start with a question or a strong statement. I love this infographic. Well done!
Thanks Joanne! Question and strong statement hooks are great for getting readers to wonder what’s in your essay. I’m so glad you liked the infographic.
This is a great article, showing the variety of openings you can use in writing. Thank you for the tips!
I’m glad you liked it. I think hooks are great for writing.
[…] For more information about essay hooks see-https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/7-sensational-types-of-essay-hooks/ […]
Very good blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
Any suggestions? Many thanks!
Hi Cindy, Those are great questions about blogging. I think the beginning point with starting a blog is determining your niche/focus, goals and your ideal readers. The next piece of advice is to really learn the style of writing blog posts. It’s a craft, so you should really start with a good grasp of the formatting, style, and techniques, etc. Since I don’t know your blog’s focus I can’t offer you more specific advice.
If you can afford it, I suggest paying for a domain name and hosting. There are free ones like WordPress.com etc. These will get you started, but if you want to use your blog for a business I really recommend starting with a paid option. I hope this helps you. Good luck blogging!
Thank you for this informative Eda’ya. My favorite hooks are question, strong statement and the fact. I think these are the best for an academic paper. Your infographic is excellent and memorable. Thank you! ??
Mehmet, Those are all great hooks! I think they would each be a great way to begin an academic paper too. I’m glad the infographic is useful to you. Thank you for the compliment.
These are great. I’ll have to file this away for my next writing student (and my next blog post!). For research papers, I used to use the fact/statistic hook a lot.
Beth, I’m glad you liked these essay hooks. I like the fact/statistic hook a lot too, and you’re right it is a great one for research papers.
I like question hooks & metaphoric ones…
I need to write to essays for tomorrow at English (preparing for Baccalaureate) & I’ll choose “success is not about luck” & “the importance of music in our lives” …
For the first one I’ll choose the first type of hook (for me it’s the easiest): “How can you be sure that when it comes to success, luck isn’t so important” or sth like this.
But for the second essay I’ll choose a metaphoric hook “music is the spot of light who makes shine in gray tones” or sth like this.
For the first one I was also thinking about sth statistically but idk not a kind of statistics about luck help in success or sth like this…
Ik, you can’t give me advices till tomorrow but I’ll be OK. Thx for this gorgeous inform. God bless you. All the best!
I think those are 2 great hooks to use with those essays. I love the metaphoric hook you came up with–it’s beautiful. I hope you do well with your essays. Good luck!
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How to Write a Hook
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- Current: How to Write a Hook
A hook is an opening statement (which is usually the first sentence) in an essay that attempts to grab the reader’s attention so that they want to read on.
It can be done by using a few different types of hooks, which are a question, quote, statistic, or anecdote. Be mindful that the hook has to be related to the overall topic of the paper. Here are a few examples of each type of hook.
A question hook is when you ask the reader something that they can visualize and try to think of in their own minds. Then, the writer answers the question.
- Example: Have you ever watched the high-flying, jump shooting, slam dunking, ankle breaking players that play in the NBA? Every time I catch a game on television and I witness the thrill of the game, I can’t help but watch another one.
A quotation hook is when a quote is used and explained that has relevance to the topic at hand. Make sure this quote comes from a credible source. Also, talk about the quote’s meaning afterwards to ensure that the reader isn’t confused.
- Example: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” said Michael Jordan, arguably the best player to ever play in the NBA. Here, Jordan talks about how people want, dream, wish, and pray that they will one day make it to the big stage. These are usually the people that never make it. It is only when these dreamers and wishers take matters into their own hands and strive to be the best that they actually get to play professional basketball in the NBA.
A statistic hook can be used for more informational pieces of writing. The writer uses a quote from a source that relates to the main idea of the paper, but the quote must have some type of statistics, such as numbers, decimals, or and/or percentages. The meaning and relationship of the quote to the paper needs to be explained afterwards just in case the reader does not quite understand
- Example: “Just 0.00545 percent of the 550,000 boys playing high school basketball each year in the United States become a first-round draft pick — 1 in 18,333” stated Jeff Rabjohns, a writer for The Indianapolis Star, in an article titled “Prep players face long odds of making it to NBA.” Basically, only a few high school players will make it to the NBA. Even though there are many that strive, play, train, practice, and fight to be great, a huge majority of them do not make it.
When a writer uses a short story to relate to the topic and gain the reader’s attention, they are using an anecdote. This story can be a short, personal story or one that is a figment of your imagination. Make sure that it relates to the main idea of the paper. Show the relevance that it has to the topic of the paper.
- Example: When I was in high school, I remember playing in an AAU basketball league. We had to travel to downtown Philadelphia on the weekends for basketball practice. Each and every time we had basketball practice (which was at 8 a.m.), there was a boy around my age in the gym by the time we arrived. He was always covered in sweat, throwing up shots, practicing his layups, practicing his dribbling, and running laps around the gym. He was in such great shape. One day, I mustered up the courage to ask his about his ambitions, and he told me that he gets up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the gym and practice hard until my team comes in for practice. A few years later, this guy was entering the NBA draft from high school. When I saw him get drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, I knew exactly why. All that hard work had paid off for him. This is the hard work ethics and mindset that everyone that wants to make it to the NBA should have.
Have more questions? Visit the Writing Studio, and we’ll be happy to help!
Essay Hook Examples That Grab Attention (Formula For Better Grades)
Have you ever read a line that caught your attention so fast, you didn’t look up until five paragraphs later? Props to whoever wrote it — they mastered the attention-grabbing hook.
For many writers, hooks (or ledes, as they’re referred to by journalists) are both tantalizing and infuriating. Out in the wild, we spot first lines that are startling and mind-bending and stoke our curiosity. But then we sit to write our own and all we can think of is “once upon a time” or “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” or, worse, “imagine yourself…”
The truth is: every piece of writing can’t start with an explosion or a chase scene. Especially if you’re writing an academic essay or other piece of nonfiction that needs to stick with the facts. But there are better ways to start your essay than the sleepy “A recent study observed 300 chimpanzees in 50 habitats over seven years. This is what it found.”
- How do you write a hook that grabs your reader’s attention right away?
- Is there a way to make sure the hook fits the piece you’re writing?
- How do you use AI to produce better hooks?
These are just a couple questions we’ll answer in this article.
But first, let’s talk about what you need to know before attempting to write that opening sentence.
Try our FREE essay hook generator > Try our FREE essay hook generator >
What to Know About Your Essay (and Topic) Before You Write the Hook
Whether you’re writing a research paper on economics, an argumentative essay for your college composition class, or a personal essay for that blog you’ve been plotting, there are a few things you need to nail down before you settle on a first line.
1. Gain In-Depth Knowledge of Your topic
Name one thing under the sun. You could write an essay about it.
Before you actually write your essay, though, you need to know your topic — not just in name, but in-depth. You don't have to be a subject matter expert , but you do have to research.
Your research will help you narrow your focus, build an argument, and uncover the facts to shape the flow of thought throughout your piece. What you learn in the research stage should determine how you structure your essay — and should guide your choice of hook.
Did you uncover a shocking fact? A compelling anecdote? An interesting quote? Any of those things could be your hook.
Take action: When you’ve finished your research, go through your notes and think through your essay. Mark or make a list of anything you learned that’s compelling enough to be a good lead. Then, filter that list through your essay genre.
2. Type of essay
In academic settings, there are generally three kinds of essays:
- Argumentative: Making the case for a certain stance or route of action.
- Expository: Explaining the who, what, when, where, why, and how of some phenomenon.
- Narrative: Telling a true story as a way to explore different ideas.
The type of essay you’re writing is key to choosing the best hook for your piece.
A serious argumentative essay probably shouldn’t start with a joke. And a shocking statistic may not be the best way to set the stage for a narrative story.
Take action: Go through your list of potential hooks and cross out anything that doesn’t fit the type of essay you’re writing, whether it's a persuasive , argumentative or any other essay.
3. Audience and tone
To make sure your essay is properly engaged and understood, you need to keep your audience in mind and choose a tone that fits both your subject and your audience.
For an argumentative essay, you’re trying to convince someone who doesn’t agree with you that what you’re claiming is right or, at least, reasonable. You don’t want to turn them off with snarky or offensive language — but you do want to be authoritative. Your hook should match that tone and support your effort.
A narrative essay is likely to welcome more lyrical language, so starting with a colorful description or an anecdote might make more sense than, say, a bold claim or surprising fact. Whatever tone you choose for your narrative essay — comical or gentle or bold — should be used for your hook.
Expository essays can use all sorts of tones and be written to a variety of audiences, so think carefully about the tone that best fits your subject matter. An essay explaining how the human body shuts down when overdosed will likely require a different tone than one on the lives of circus masters in the late 1800s.
Take action: Look at your list. Can you write these potential hooks in a tone that suits your subject and audience?
Are you writing a 10-page paper or a three-page reflection? Or is this your senior thesis, pushing 100 pages?
If you’re writing a shorter paper, you’ll want to keep your hook quick and snappy. Don’t wax eloquent over three paragraphs about your childhood baseball league if your research paper on Little League is only four pages long.
At the same time, a long work — like a senior thesis or a term paper — could be enhanced by a longer hook. Just make sure your hook relates to and supports the core point of your essay. You don’t want to waste space describing a scene that ultimately has nothing to do with the rest of your piece.
Take action: If you write out the items on your list, how long will they be? A sentence or paragraph? Perfect. Two to five paragraphs? Unless your essay is on the longer side, you may want to save that information for later in the piece.
Now that you know the basic facts about what you’re writing, let’s look at some approaches you could use to catch those readers — and reel them in.
5 Enticing Essay Hooks (and How to Avoid Common Mistakes)
1. shocking fact or statistic.
Your research turned up a trove of information — some of it’s boring, some of it’s downright mind-blowing. Here’s a tip: If you lead with anything, lead with the mind-blowing stuff.
Your job as the writer is to either make the mundane interesting or point out what’s not mundane at all. That starts with your first sentence.
For example, let’s say you’re writing about the color of the sky. You don’t want to start with “the sky is blue”. But you could start by explaining how the sky got its color.
Making the mundane interesting: Sunlight is clear and colorless — until it strikes earth’s atmosphere. Then, scattered by air molecules, it colors our sky blue.
Not mundane at all: In 2020, wildfires up and down North America’s West Coast sent so much smoke into the atmosphere that, in California, the sky turned orange.
Whether you’re sharing a fact or statistic, make sure it’s shocking or unexpected. And state it as directly as possible.
Produce a shocking statistic with AI
Go to Wordtune, add your headline, and click on 'Statistical fact'. You can scroll through different AI-suggested stats that relate to your subject at hand.
2. Bold claim hook
Especially fitting for argumentative essays, this approach goes from zero to 60 in two seconds (or less, depending how fast your audience reads). The idea is to get to the point ASAP. Make your claim — and then dive into your argument to back it up.
Will your claim ruffle feathers? Hopefully. If your “bold claim” makes people shrug, you haven’t succeeded either in writing it or in choosing a claim that’s actually bold.
Avoid the mistake of making a claim that people already accept as fact.
Just like “the sky is blue” won’t work as a shocking fact, it won’t work as a bold claim. We know the sky’s blue. Tell us something we don’t know. Or better: tell us something we’ve never heard before and may even find hard to believe. (As long as you can back it up.)
What could work for our sky color example?
- Denver has the blue-est sky of anywhere I’ve lived.
- Climate change is making sunsets more colorful than ever.
Generate a bold claim suggestion using AI
Go to Wordtune again, and write a statement that has general consensus. Then, choose the 'Counterargument' suggestion. This is a great way to formulate a bold claim with no effort at all.
3. Story/Anecdote hook
In an anecdote hook, you use a story to establish a connection between the topic and the reader to gain their attention. The story must be direct and concise, and relate to the main topic quite directly.
If your research turned up a wild example from a study that perfectly fits what you’re writing about, leading with that anecdote might be the best way to open your essay. Or maybe you have a personal story that relates to the topic — or permission from a friend to include their story.
The anecdotal hook is a favorite for magazine journalists and, let’s be honest, most of the writers in the room. It’s an excuse for us to play with words and work in more storytelling. As a bonus, well-told stories also have a knack for sucking in readers. Humans are storytellers . It’s like our radar is always pinging for another wild tale to first hear and then share.
But be careful you’re not wooed by a story that doesn’t fit the essay you’re writing. And if it does fit, keep it brief. The details you include need to be relevant to the essay, not just satisfying the inner gossip’s need for more juice.
A favorite writing tip that applies here: enter the scene as late as possible, leave as early as possible.
Consider these two examples:
Long and rambling: When I moved to Colorado in 2015, I’d never been here before and I didn’t know what to expect. I came from Illinois, where I thought the skies were big and the landscape was boring. I wasn’t expecting the Colorado sky to be bigger. And I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be more blue.
Direct and concise: The first thing I noticed when I moved to Colorado was the sky: it seemed bigger and more blue than the sky anywhere else I’d lived.
Either of these hooks could work fine if we were just writing a personal essay about a move to a new place, but if we’re specifically writing about the sky, the second example is better. It sticks to the point — the sky and the color of the sky — and doesn’t get bogged down in irrelevant details about where the person moved from, whether they’d been to Colorado before, or what they were expecting.
Improve your story using AI
Not all of us are natural storytellers. By using AI you can expand a short-written story, or simply phrase it better.
4. Question Hook
Do you remember the beginning of this blog? No need to scroll back up, because I just used the same hook style again: the question.
Starting your piece with a question is a great way to spark curiosity in your reader and set up what your piece is about. But there are plenty of ways to do this poorly.
Avoid any variation of “have you ever thought of…” or “have you ever wondered…” Questions like these try to put thoughts into readers’ minds that they may or may not have ever considered, and can be a major turnoff.
Instead, you’ll want to come up with a unique question that approaches your topic from a fresh angle. This means honing in on what was especially interesting or surprising from your research — and maybe even doing some brainstorming of different questions to find the most fascinating one.
What questions could you ask about the color of the sky? So glad you asked.
- Why did the sky turn orange in the middle of the day?
- If light is clear, why does the sky look blue?
- What do earth’s atmosphere and rainbow-casting suncatchers have in common?
5. Description Hook
Another favorite of the literary writers in the room, description is a prime choice for explanatory or narrative essays. But it takes some focus and intention to do well.
Like with story hooks, you want to keep descriptive hooks concise. Whatever you’re describing — historical figure, disease, sporting event, London in the 1600s — should be clearly relevant to the central purpose of your essay. Your description should either illustrate the point you’re making or serve as an introduction to your topic.
Mistakes to avoid:
- Relying on passive voice
- Choosing bland words
- Describing a scene that’s common to the reader
As with all hooks, your description needs to be specific and unexpected .
So what would make a good descriptive hook for an essay on the sky?
Describing a sunset is too cliche, so cross that one off the list. Describing the sky as it is on a normal day wouldn’t be shocking or unexpected. To reach something unique, you’d have to either zoom in on the air molecules (like we did in our shocking fact example) or take a totally different approach:
Only an artist, the kind that memorized the colors in the crayon box as a kid and uses words like cerulean and violet , could name the difference between the blue of Colorado’s sky and the blue of Indiana’s sky. But she saw the difference, first in photos and then in person. That richer Colorful Colorado blue reflected in her eyes. Not baby blue or sapphire or azure — or even sky blue. Blue bird, perhaps? That’s what Coloradans called it. We’re closer to the sky, they say, that’s why it’s blue-er here. Believe it or not, they’re right.
Create a description hook with AI
By now, you know the process. You write the main topic of your essay, and click 'Explain'. You can also try the 'Emphasize' suggestion, which rather that adding an explanation, reiterates the message more deeply.
3 Approaches to Avoid
Every type of hook can be done poorly, but avoid these at all costs. These hooks are tired and overdone. They may help you start your first draft, but please — for the sake of your readers — do not submit an essay with any of these leads.
Abraham Lincoln probably didn’t even say that quote the internet attributed to him, but even if he did, people probably already know it. It’s not shocking or unique or unexpected. Leave it out.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines hook as “a thing designed to catch people’s attention.”
This approach doesn’t catch anyone’s attention — unless you’re defining a particularly unusual word. But even if you are defining an unusual word, there’s probably a more interesting way to start your essay than relying on someone else’s definition.
3. “Imagine this”
Here’s a hint: Cut “imagine this” and keep the rest. The hook will either work (and be an enticing description) or be painfully boring. Either way, you’ll at least avoid the most cliched approach to starting any piece of writing.
Our Go-To Trick for Writing Catchy Hooks
If you want a surefire way to write compelling openings , do this:
Go through your notes and either outline your essay or write the whole thing. This way, you’ll know the central thread (or throughline) that runs throughout your piece.
Once your essay or outline is complete, go back through and identify a particularly compelling fact, claim, or example that relates to that central thread.
Write up that fact, claim, or example as the hook for your essay using any of the methods we’ve covered. Then revise or write your essay so the hook leads smoothly into the rest of the piece and you don’t repeat that information elsewhere.
Does your hook spark curiosity in you? Did that fact surprise you in the research stage? Chances are, your readers will have the same reaction. And that’s exactly what you want.
P.S. This article was co-written with Wordtune . Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.
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Good writing starts with a good first sentence. The first sentence of an essay is an important one. It is an opportunity to grab the reader's attention and make them want to read more. This is called the hook. A good hook for an essay catches the reader's attention and gets them interested in your topic. Let's go over the different types of hooks and the helpful ways to write them.
Essay Hook Definition
The hook is the first thing the reader sees in an essay. But what is it?
A hook i s an attention-grabbing opening sentence of an essay. The hook catches the reader's attention with an interesting question, statement, or quote.
The hook catches the reader's attention by making them want to read more. There are many ways to "hook" the reader's attention. It all depends on your essay.
A good hook is important to get the reader interested in what you have to say!
A Good Hook for an Essay
A good hook is attention-grabbing, relevant to the essay's topic, and appropriate for the writer's purpose. Let's take a close look at the different features of a good hook.
A Good Hook Is Attention-grabbing
Imagine you are scrolling through your email inbox. The "preview" feature shows the first sentence of each email. Why? Because the first sentence of the email is an important one! It shows you whether the email is worth reading. You use these "previews" to decide whether you want to open that email.
Think of the hook as that preview. The reader will use it to decide whether they want to read more.
A good Hook Is Relevant
Have you ever clicked on an article with an intriguing title only to learn that title was misleading? Misleading openers frustrate readers. Sure, it gets them interested. But it doesn't get them interested in the right thing.
A good hook gets the reader interested in the subject of YOUR essay. Therefore, the hook should be relevant to your topic.
A Good Hook Suits Your Purpose
What type of hook you use depends on the purpose of your essay.
Purpose in an essay is the effect the writer intends to have on the reader.
A good hook puts the reader in the right mindset to receive your ideas.
How do you want the reader to feel about your subject? What do you want them to care about?
5 Types of Hooks For Writing an Essay
The five types of hooks are questions, facts or statistics, strong statements, stories or scenes, and questions .
Four of them are as follows. The final one, "quotes," deserves its own spot! Examples are provided.
Questions for an Essay Hook
Another way to get a reader's attention is to ask an interesting question. This could be a rhetorical question or a question you answer in the essay.
A rhetorical questio n is a question with no real answer. Rhetorical questions are used to get a reader thinking about a subject or experience.
Rhetorical questions help the reader personally connect to your topic. Here's an example.
What would a world without war be like?
You can also ask a question you will answer in the essay. This type of question interests the reader because they want to know the answer. They have to read the rest of your essay to get it! Here's an example of that.
Why can't we watch anything without commercials anymore?
Facts for an Essay Hook
Did you know we create data every second of every day? By searching the web and using social media, we generate facts and statistics. Did that opener grab your attention? That's because it included a surprising fact.
A surprising fact or statistic can shock the reader into paying attention. It can also make them want to know more.
When writing a hook, you can use a fact or statistic that is:
- Relevant to your topic.
- Shocking enough to get the reader's attention.
- A good demonstration of your topic's importance.
1. Each year, people waste about 1 billion metric tons of food across the world.
2. We might think of computers as a modern invention, but the first computer was invented in the 1940s.
3. Children are always learning, and ask over 300 questions a day on average.
Stories for an Essay Hook
What better way to catch someone's attention than with a good story? Stories are great for getting the reader to think about an experience. Stories can come from anywhere!
Some places you might find stories for hooks are:
- Your personal experiences.
- Experiences of your friends and family members.
- Stories from books, tv, and film.
- Stories of famous people.
Which type of story you choose depends on your essay. What story would help the reader care about your subject? Here's an example of a story hook for an essay.
When my brother was 8 years old, he was diagnosed with Autism. After struggling with school and social situations for 25 years, I was also diagnosed with Autism. Why was I not tested in childhood like my brother? According to recent studies, it might be because I was a girl.
Note how the personal story of the writer highlights the point of their essay: gender differences in Autism diagnoses. This story gets the reader interested in the subject.
Sometimes a whole story is too much for a hook. In this case, you may find it helpful to simply describe one scene from a story. A vivid description of a scene can be very powerful. When describing a scene, paint a picture of what the scene is like for the reader. Make them feel as if they are there.
Here's an example of a great scene to start an essay.
I feel like I'm going to throw up. This is my third time taking the SAT exams. The words swim in front of my eyes, and everything I studied suddenly leaves my brain. I know I'm going to fail a third time.
Imagine this example is the hook for an essay about issues with standardized testing in schools. This scene is described in a way that shows how test anxiety is one of the big issues with standardized testing. It reminds the reader of what it's like for some students.
Strong Statements for an Essay Hook
Sometimes it's best to say what you mean upfront. A strong statement is a statement that takes a strong stance on an issue. Strong statements are particularly effective to argue a position or persuade.
The reader will either agree or disagree with your statement. That's okay! If the reader disagrees, they will at least be interested to see how you support your statement.
Online courses are the future of college.
Would the first example be as interesting if it said "Online courses are a promising avenue of teaching at the college level that we should explore in the future"? No! When writing a strong statement , use strong words. Keep it strong. Keep it direct. Keep it simple.
Quotes For an Essay Hook
The fifth and final way to write a hook way is to use a quote.
A quote is a direct copy of someone else's words. As an essay hook, a quote is a memorable sentence or phrase that gets the reader interested in your subject.
When to Use a Quote Hook
Use a quote for a hook in the following situations:
- When your topic or argument makes you think of a quote
- When someone else has already summed up your main idea perfectly
- When an example from a text you are analyzing perfectly sums up your analysis
Quotes seem like an easy choice for a hook. After all, using a quote means you don't have to come up with a sentence! But quotes are not always the best choice for a hook. Make sure the quote is relevant to your topic.
Examples of Quote Hooks
There are a few types of quotes you can use for a hook. Let's look at some examples of the different types of quotes in the table below:
Ways to Write an Essay Hook
To write a hook for an essay, consider your purpose, look for what's out there, and try different things. When writing a hook, there are a lot of options. Don't get overwhelmed! Take the following approaches:
Consider Your Essay's Purpose
What effect do you want to have on the reader? What do you want the reader to think or feel about your subject? Choose a hook that will give you that effect.
For example, if you want the reader to understand what an experience is like, tell a story. If you want the reader to feel the urgency of an issue, start with a surprising fact or statistic that demonstrates how important the topic is.
Look for What's Out There
Sometimes the perfect quote or story instantly comes to mind. Sometimes it does not. Don't be afraid to look! Use the internet, books, and friends to find ideas for hooks.
For example, let's say you are writing an essay arguing that teachers need better pay. You could look for stories of teachers who pay for their own supplies. Or if you are explaining the effects of hallucinogens, look for quotes from people who have experienced them.
Try Different Things
Can't decide what to do? Try out different types of hooks! See what works best. Remember, the best writing comes from trial and error. Here's an example.
You are writing an essay about the impacts of oil drilling on marine life. You look for a quote from a marine biologist. But all the quotes you find are inspirational! You wanted the reader to be outraged, not inspired. So, you tell a story to bring up those emotions. But your story is too long, and it doesn't really fit. Finally, you find a surprising fact about the death rates of whales that fits just right. Perfect!
Essay Hook - Key Takeaways
- A hook is an attention-grabbing opening sentence of an essay. The hook catches the reader's attention with an interesting question, statement , or quote.
- A good hook is attention-grabbing, relevant to the essay's topic, and appropriate for the writer's purpose.
- The five types of hooks are quotes, questions, facts or statistics, strong statements, and stories or scenes.
- To write a hook for an essay, consider your purpose, look for what's out there, and try different things.
1 Elie Weisel. “One Must Not Forget.” US News & World Report. 1986.
2 Carrie Underwood. "Carrie Underwood: What I've Learned," Esquire. 2009.
3 American Civil Liberties Union. "The Case Against the Death Penalty." 2012.
Frequently Asked Questions about A Hook for an Essay
--> how do i write a hook for an essay.
To write a hook for an essay: consider your purpose; look for quotes, stories, or facts about your topic; and try different things to start the essay in an interesting way.
--> What is a good hook for an essay?
A good hook for an essay might be a quote, question, fact or statistic, strong statement, or story that relates to the topic.
--> How do I write a hook for an argumentative essay?
To write a hook for an argumentative essay, start off with a strong statement about your topic. The reader will be interested to see how you support your topic. Or you could start with a surprising fact or statistic, relevant quote, or story to get the reader interested in learning more.
--> How do I start a hook for an essay?
To start a hook for an essay, consider the effect you want to have on the reader and select a type of hook that will have that effect.
--> How do I come up with a hook for an essay?
To come up with a hook for an essay, consider your purpose, look for what's out there, and try different types of hooks to see what works best.
Final A Hook for an Essay Quiz
A hook for an essay quiz - teste dein wissen.
What is a hook for an essay?
A hook is an attention-grabbing opening sentence of an essay. The hook catches the reader's attention with an interesting question, statement, or quote.
What are the features of a good hook?
What is purpose in an essay?
True or false:
A quote for a hook has to come from someone famous.
False. A good quote can come from anywhere.
What is a quote ?
A quote is a direct copy of someone else's words. As an essay hook, a quote is a memorable sentence or phrase that gets the reader interested in your subject.
When should one use a quote for a hook?
When the topic or argument makes them think of a quote
What are the different types of quotes one can use for a hook?
What is a rhetorical question ?
A rhetorical question is a question with no real answer. Rhetorical questions are used to get a reader thinking about a subject or experience.
A writer wants to get the reader thinking about their argument. What type of question can they use to encourage the reader to want to learn the answer?
a question answered in the essay
When writing a fact or statistic for a hook, it should be:
relevant to the topic
Where are some places one can look for stories to use as a hook?
If a story is too much for a hook, what else can a writer do to get the reader interested in an experience?
describe one scene from a story
Which type of hook is particularly effective for arguing a position or persuading?
a strong statement
True or false:
It's okay if the reader doesn't agree with a strong statement used for a hook.
True! Even if the reader doesn't agree with the statement, they will be interested in seeing how the writer supports that statement.
What are some ways to write a hook when you're stuck?
consider the purpose of the essay
Relevancy is less important for a hook.
It is the effect the writer intends to have on the reader.
It does not intend for you to provide an answer. Rather, creates emphasis.
A fact or statistic should or could:
Be relevant to your topic
Aim for an essay hook description to be:
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How to Write a Hook: Start Off Your Essay Strong with This 2023 Guide
What is a Hook for an Essay: Importance and Purpose
Which section of your essay can make your readers dip their toes into your writing? Is it the body paragraphs where all the analysis is laid out? Or maybe the introduction, where you present your thesis statement and voice your perspective on the subject? Well, if you think it is the latter, then we must agree with your decision. However, let's get more specific; if we take the introductory paragraph to pieces, which piece gets the most recognition? You must have guessed from the article's title that we're talking about a hook. But first, let's define what is a hook for an essay before we walk you through the reasons why it deserves our pat on the back.
The hook is the initial sentence in a written work. Whether you're asking how to write a hook for a song, blog post, or term paper, know that the purpose of any effective hook is to seize the reader's attention. It can be one sentence long, often for shorter pieces, or composed of several lines - usually for larger pieces. Making the reader want to keep reading is what an essay hook accomplishes for your paper, just as an intriguing introduction does for any piece.
Our main emphasis in this guide is on creating a good hook for an essay. Nonetheless, these fundamental guidelines apply to nearly every format for communicating with your audience. Whether writing a personal statement, a speech, or a presentation, making a solid first impression is crucial to spur your readers into action.
How to Write a Hook for Different Kinds of Writing
Although it is a tough skill to master, understanding how to write a hook is crucial for academic writing success. By reviewing the most prevalent kinds of essay hooks, you can discover how to effectively captivate readers from the start and generate a hook that is ideal for your article. To do so, let's head over to the following sections prepared by our dissertation writers .
How to Write a Hook for a College Essay?
By mastering how to write a hook for a college essay, you have the opportunity to stand out from the hundreds of applicants with identical academic portfolios to yours in your college essay. It should shed light on who you are, represent your true nature, and show your individuality. But first, you need an attention-grabbing start if you want the admissions committee to read more of yours than theirs. For this, you'll require a strong hook.
Set the Scene
When wondering how to write a good hook for an essay, consider setting the scene. Open in the middle of a key moment, plunge in with vivid details and conversation to keep your essay flowing and attract the reader. Make the reader feel like they are seeing a moment from your life and have just tuned in.
Open with an Example
Starting with a specific example is also a great idea if you're explaining how you acquired a particular skill or unique accomplishment. Then, similar to how you established the scenario above, you may return to this point later and discuss its significance throughout the remaining sections.
Open with an Anecdote
Using an anecdotal hook doesn't necessarily mean that your essay should also be humorous. The joke should be short and well-aimed to achieve the best results. To assist the reader in visualizing the situation and understanding what you are up against when tackling a task or overcoming a challenge, you might also use a funny irony. And if this sounds too overwhelming to compose, buy an essay on our platform and let our expert writers convey your unmatched story!
How to Write a Hook for an Argumentative Essay?
If you write a strong hook, your instructor will be compelled to read your argument in the following paragraphs. So, put your creative thinking cap on while crafting the hook, and write in a way that entices readers to continue reading the essay.
Statistics serve as a useful hook because they encourage research. When used in argumentative writing, statistics can introduce readers to previously undiscovered details and data. That can greatly increase their desire to read your article from start to finish. You can also consider this advice when unsure how to write a good hook for a research paper. Especially if you're conducting a quantitative study, a statistic hook can be a solid start.
Use a Common Misconception
Another answer to your 'how to write a hook for an argumentative essay' question is to use a common misconception. What could be a better way to construct an interesting hook, which should grab readers' attention, than to incorporate a widely held misconception? A widespread false belief is one that many people hold to be true. When you create a hook with a misinterpretation, you startle your readers and immediately capture their interest.
How to Write a Hook for a Persuasive Essay?
The finest hooks for a persuasive essay capture the reader's interest while leading them to almost unconsciously support your position even before they are aware of it. You can accomplish this by employing the following hook ideas for an essay:
Ask a Rhetorical Question
By posing a query at the outset of your essay, you may engage the reader's critical thinking and whet their appetite for the solution you won't provide until later. Try to formulate a question wide enough for them to not immediately know the answer and detailed enough to avoid becoming a generic hook.
Use an Emotional Appeal
This is a fantastic approach to arouse sympathy and draw the reader into your cause. By appealing to the reader's emotions, you may establish a bond that encourages them to read more and get invested in the subject you cover.
Using these strategies, you won't have to wonder how to write a hook for a persuasive essay anymore!
How to Write a Hook for a Literary Analysis Essay?
Finding strong essay openers might be particularly challenging when writing a literary analysis. Coming up with something very remarkable on your own while writing about someone else's work is no easy feat. But we have some expert solutions below:
Use Literary Quotes
Using a literary quote sounds like the best option when unsure how to write a hook for a literary analysis essay. Nonetheless, its use is not restricted to that and is mostly determined by the style and meaning of the quotes. Still, when employing literary quotes, it's crucial to show two things at once: first, how well you understand the textual information. And second, you know how to capture the reader's interest right away.
Employ Quotes from Famous People
This is another style of hook that is frequently employed in literary analysis. But if you wonder how to write a good essay hook without sounding boring, choose a historical person with notable accomplishments and keep your readers intrigued and inspired to read more.
How to Write a Hook for an Informative Essay?
In an informative essay, your ultimate goal is to not only educate your audience but also engage and keep them interested from the very beginning. For this, consider the following:
Start with a Fact or Definition
You might begin your essay with an interesting fact or by giving a definition related to your subject. The same standard applies here for most types mentioned above: it must be intriguing, surprising, and/or alarming.
Ask Questions that Relate to Your Topic
Another solution to 'How to write a hook for an informative essay?' is to introduce your essay with a relevant question. This hook lets you pique a reader's interest in your essay and urge them to keep reading as they ponder the answer.
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Expert-Approved Tips for Writing an Essay Hook
Are you still struggling with the ideal opening sentence for your essay? Check out some advice from our essay helper on how to write a hook sentence and make your opening stand out.
- Keep your essay type in mind . Remember to keep your hook relevant. An effective hook for an argumentative or descriptive essay format will differ greatly. Therefore, the relevancy of the hook might be even more important than the content it conveys.
- Decide on the purpose of your hook . When unsure how to write a hook for an essay, try asking the following questions: What result are you hoping to get from it? Would you like your readers to be curious? Or, even better, surprised? Perhaps even somewhat caught off guard? Determine the effect you wish to accomplish before selecting a hook.
- Choose a hook at the end of the writing process. Even though it should be the first sentence of your paper, it doesn't mean you should write your hook first. Writing an essay is a long and creative process. So, if you can't think of an effective hook at the beginning, just keep writing according to your plan, and it will eventually come into your head. If you were lucky enough to concoct your hook immediately, double-check your writing to see if it still fits into the whole text and its style once you've finished writing.
- Make it short . The shorter, the better – this rule works for essay hooks. Keeping your hook to a minimum size will ensure that readers will read it at the same moment they start looking at your essay. Even before thinking if they want or don't want to read it, their attention will be captured, and their curiosity will get the best of them. So, they will continue reading the entire text to discover as much as possible.
Now you know how to write a good hook and understand that a solid hook is the difference between someone delving further into your work or abandoning it immediately. With our hook examples for an essay, you can do more than just write a great paper. We do not doubt that you can even write a winning term paper example right away!
Try to become an even better writer with the help of our paper writing service . Give them the freedom to write superior hooks and full essays for you so you may learn from them!
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Attention Grabbing Hook Examples For Essays
Streamline your essay writing process with AI-generated hooks. Learn how to create powerful and engaging hooks that will keep your audience reading.
Aug 7, 2023
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The most challenging assignment you will encounter in your academic life is essay writing. You need powerful hooks to keep your essays engaging and to keep the audience reading.
However, writing these powerful essay hooks is as challenging and time-consuming as writing an essay.
With the help of AI-generated hooks for essays, students can streamline the essay writing process and ensure that their essay hooks are high-quality and engaging.
In this article, we will guide you in generating powerful and engaging hooks that will add value to your essays. We will also provide examples of attention-grabbing essay hooks.
- Essay writing can be challenging, especially when it comes to creating engaging hooks that keep readers interested.
- To write attention-grabbing hooks for different types of essays (persuasive, reflective, informative, or argumentative), researching the topic is crucial for gathering reliable data and inspiration.
- Also, we recommend you to read and analyse hooks written by others.
- AI tools can also assist with research, generating essay hooks, and outlining essays.
- When it comes to writing tasks, including hook sentences, TextCortex AI is the way to go because of its unmatched features and templates.
How do I Write Attention Grabbing Hook for Essays?
A high-quality and powerful hook is necessary to increase the attractiveness of each essay type, such as persuasive, reflective, informative, or argumentative. If you want to write attention-grabbing hooks for your essay to shine, we will guide you!
Research Your Topic
We recommend that you research your essay topic in detail, both to ensure the quality of your essay's content and to find powerful inspiration for your hook. You can collect reliable data about your topic by reading peer-reviewed articles. If you don't want to waste time checking each article individually, you can use AI tools such as ZenoChat, which has a feature to generate output using scholarly data.
Read Other Contents
If you want to write more creative hooks, we recommend that you read and review the hooks written by others. The more hook sentences you read, the more writing options you have. Moreover, you can increase your knowledge by reading essays and research papers about your topic.
Focus on Main Points
A hook sentence should be both interesting and informative, letting readers know what to expect from the essay. Therefore, it is important to keep the main points in mind when crafting the hook sentence, ensuring it is relevant to the topic at hand. Remember, although the essay hook's primary goal is to capture the reader, the overall purpose of your essay is to explain a topic to the reader.
Utilize AI Tools
The biggest blessing after the electricity and internet provided by the developing technology to humanity is AI tools. Using AI tools, you can speed up your research process, generate example hooks, and build an outline to work on. But be sure to use AI tools with high-performance large language models, as not all AI tools are created equal.
AI-Generated Attention-Grabbing Hook Examples for Essay
Now that you are familiar with the steps to create engaging essay hooks, we would like to provide you with a few AI-generated (ZenoChat) examples for specific essay types:
Prompt: Write an argumentative essay hook about "Do school uniforms help educational attainment?". Consider both view of points and add a quote.
Output: "School uniforms: a necessary tool for academic success or a hindrance to individuality? As the debate rages on, one thing is clear: 'When students dress alike, it's easier to see the unity and identify with the school,' says former U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. But is this sense of unity worth sacrificing students' freedom of expression?"
Prompt: Create a catchy essay hook about "What was the best decade for music?". Argue that the decade of 1950 was the best and add a question.
Output: "If you could go back in time to witness the birth of rock 'n' roll and the explosion of jazz, which decade would you choose? While the 60s and 70s may get all the glory, the 1950s were truly the golden age of music. From Elvis Presley to Chuck Berry, the decade was a time of innovation and creativity that changed music forever. But don't just take my word for it, ask yourself: what would your Spotify playlist look like without the 50s?"
Prompt: Write a descriptive essay hook in story format about "My love-hate relationship with my alarm clock"
Output: "As the sun peeks through my window, I'm jolted awake by the piercing sound of my alarm clock. It's a sound that I both love and hate. Love, because it's the only thing that can force me out of bed. Hate, because it's a reminder that the day has begun, and with it, the endless list of responsibilities. But as I hit the snooze button for the third time, I can't help but wonder: is my alarm clock really my enemy, or my savior?"
Prompt: Create an anecdote hook for a compare and contrast essay about "Psychologist vs psychiatrist: What’s the difference?"
Output: "When I first started therapy, I didn't know the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. All I knew was that I needed help. But as I began my search for the right mental health professional, I realized that the choice between the two was like choosing between apples and oranges. Both were fruit, but each had its own unique flavor. And so, I set out to discover the differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, and what I found was surprising."
Prompt: Write a persuasive essay hook about "E-books or textbooks", defend textbooks.
Output: "Are e-books really the future of learning, or are they just a passing fad? While digital technology has transformed many aspects of our lives, there is one area where the traditional approach still reigns supreme: textbooks. For centuries, textbooks have been the cornerstone of education, and for good reason. From their durability to their ease of use, textbooks offer a wealth of benefits that e-books simply can't match. So the next time you're faced with the choice between a hardcover book and a digital download, ask yourself: which one will truly stand the test of time?"
Prompt: Create a definition essay hook with a statistic about "What is the meaning of optimism?"
Output: "Did you know that optimistic people are 23% less likely to die from heart disease than their pessimistic counterparts? It's true, and it's just one example of the power of optimism. But what exactly is optimism? To some, it's a blind faith in the universe. To others, it's a practical approach to problem-solving. But at its core, optimism is the belief that things will get better, even in the face of adversity. So join me as we explore the meaning of optimism, and discover why it's more important now than ever before."
Generate Catchy Essay Hooks with TextCortex AI
Writing powerful essay hooks that grab the reader's attention quickly can be a challenging and time-consuming task, but TextCortex offers a solution to this problem. Thanks to TextCortex, you can complete all of your writing tasks with its 100+ templates , including generating essay hooks, quickly and efficiently. Moreover, TextCortex is available as a web application and browser extension that is integrated with 4000+ websites and apps.
ZenoChat – Conversational AI of Your Dreams
TextCortex comes with a fully customizable conversational AI called ZenoChat . Using ZenoChat, you can generate engaging hooks for any essay type in the tone of voice you want. ZenoChat offers a web search feature. You can select specific data sources such as Scholar, News, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Reddit in the search section at the bottom left of the tool. If you are going to generate essay hooks, we recommend you try the Scholar option.
ZenoChat has 12 different personas designed for various purposes. You can also build your own digital persona using the " Individual Personas " feature and use it in your specific tasks.
Our “ Knowledge Bases ” will allow you to upload or connect your documents and generate output using their data with ZenoChat.
To activate this feature, students can follow these steps:
- Head to the TextCortex web application
- Select the "Knowledge Bases" option from the left menu.
- Upload your previous or current essays or connect your datasets such as Google Drive and Notion.
- Enable your Knowledge Base for ZenoChat by selecting the option on the left below.
By doing so, you can generate related hook sentences for your essays.
TextCortex offers Zeno Assistant which has all the features you might need for essay writing.
Thanks to Zeno Assistant, you can check the grammar & spelling of your essays, generate continuation sentences, create outlines for your essay and do much more. Zeno Assistant's features include:
- Fix Spelling and Grammar
- Make Texts Longer/Shorter
- Simplify the Language of Your Text
- Create Essays/Outlines/Paragraphs
- Find Action Items
- Summarize/Break Down/Rewrite
- Continue Writing
After installing our browser extension , simply use the “Alt/Opt + Enter” shortcut to activate Zeno Assistant in any textbox on 4000+ websites.
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