How to Create a Hook for an Essay

Even if you have an outstanding writing talent and can find the right words to compose a great essay, it is not always guaranteed that a fastidious reader will stay on your paper and read at least the first paragraph or the first page. It’s not because readers themselves do not know what they want; rather, they subconsciously wait for the information or what they see in the first lines of text to “hook” their attention.

Hooks are designed to attract the attention of the readers and keep them on the page for at least a few moments. Usually, that is enough to catch their attention and make them curious to know what the rest of the text is about.

hook for an essay

What is a hook in an essay? A hook can be a simple word or a phrase, sometimes a question or a citation of a famous person. There are many types of hooks and different techniques for creating them. Below we will review some of the most simple, yet very powerful techniques of how to write a hook for an essay.

Compose a Catchy Title

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of a title to attract the attention of a reader. This is the first thing that catches the eye and what people pay attention to, so the headline or title is of paramount importance. It should be bright and memorable; otherwise, readers will see a more interesting title elsewhere and leave your essay unread.

Some quick tips on how to write a hook for an essay in the form of a catchy title:

  • Use the interrogative form, starting with the word “How …”, for example: “How to attract the attention of the reader”
  • Use thematic questions, for example: “Do you want to write a catchy headline?”
  • Use warning information, such as: “Attention: the COVID epidemic is in full swing!”
  • You can attract attention with news, for example: “New secrets in the field of network marketing”;
  • You can specify a reason, for example: “5 reasons why you should buy articles from us.”

Use Powerful Quotes

What is a hook in an essay? Most people will say that it is a powerful quote. We all keep hundreds of quotes in our heads and know who said them and under what circumstances. When we read a quote in a text, we immediately (consciously and subconsciously) relate to the famous person or an event.

Try to visually highlight an important quote at the beginning of your essay (in the form of an insert in a different color, large font, etc.). It will attract attention when scrolling and is more likely to interest the reader.

After reading the quote, the reader may become curious in knowing who and on what occasion expressed it. Remember, by quoting experts or celebrities, you gain additional trust from readers.

Appeal to Emotions

Targeting readers’ emotions is a very powerful technique for how to write a hook for an essay. With curiosity and tenderness (puppy cats), everything is clear enough, so let’s look at a few less obvious examples. Let’s take fear, doubt, and outrage.


Emotions make us act, and fear is one of the most motivating emotions. When frightened, we are doomed to act, i.e. to keep reading.

What is a hook in an essay in such a case? You can build the text according to the following scheme:

  1. Define fear
  2. Illustrate it (for example, with a specific story)
  3. Suggest a solution

Doubt and outrage

Aim to make a provocative statement in the introduction. This feeling of “someone outrageous is going on” will force the audience to continue reading in order to understand your point.

You can also include an element in the text that will make the reader doubt the validity of the statement. Most likely, readers will want to know how you arrived at such a justification. Of course, in this case, you must have an ace in your sleeve, which will prove you are right.

how to write hook for an essay

The Inverted Pyramid Technique

Research by behavioral scientists shows that readers pay attention to the first three paragraphs, and then their engagement plummets.

Your task is to structure your essay in such a way that the most interesting text appears at the beginning of the material. So you will have a good chance to hook the reader.

To keep the reader’s attention, try to build your essay’s text on the principle of an inverted pyramid:

  • The most important: what, where, when
  • Details/explanations
  • Additional Information

To better understand how to write a hook for an essay, use the inverted pyramid technique at multiple levels:

  1. At the level of the entire text: your job is to hook the reader
  2. At the paragraph level: state the main idea in the first sentence, and then explain how you arrived at it
  3. At the sentence level: place the most important words as close to the beginning of the sentence as possible.

Examples and Stories from Life

People remember examples much better than abstract concepts, formulas, rules, etc. Life stories make content more interesting and will help you understand how to write a hook for an essay.

For example, an essay about a healthy lifestyle can be built on the basis of a story about a person who gradually came to a healthy lifestyle, what he did, how it changed him, etc. In that case, answering the question of “what is a hook in an essay” will inevitably lead to the art of storytelling.