Updated 04.28.2019

Your essay might be extremely well-written but what is the point if it doesn’t manage to grab the reader’s attention in the first go? In a heap of essays, how do you ensure yours truly stands out and draws the reader in?

Let’s face it – attention spans are getting shorter with time which makes it all the more important to use a powerful essay hook.

What are essay hooks? As the name suggests, essay hook refers to the first one or two sentences of your essay that ‘hooks’ your reader instantly and generates interest right from the beginning. The first sentence of your essay has the power to make or break it so ensure you choose the ‘hook’ well. As per our academic writing experts, essay hooks should be limited to 1-2 sentences.

Here are Few Tips on How to Write a Catchy Hook

Starting your essay with a sentence that is interesting, informative and attention grabbing sounds like a mammoth task, doesn’t it? To make things simpler, here is an approach you can follow to craft the perfect essay hook.

Determine you readers

As a writer, you need to first establish who you are writing for and what is expected out of your essay. You need to put yourself in the reader’s shoes and brainstorm about what would interest them and keep them hooked. Even though college essays have a captive audience, the challenge is drafting a unique essay and making it stand out in order to get good grades.

Objective behind essay

You cannot just include an essay hook for the sake of it. It needs to be in line with the overall format of writing. Whether you’re writing an argumentative, descriptive or narrative essay – your essay hook needs to vary accordingly.

For example, if you are writing a narrative essay, it is a good idea to start with an engaging anecdote that creates a personal connection with your reader at the very beginning.

Meet the Types of Essay Hooks you Can Use to Grab your Reader's Attention

Now that you have established your audience and the objective of your writing, you can get down to crafting your essay hook. From using humor to posing a rhetorical question, there are several ways to begin your essay on an engaging and interesting note. Here are the types of hooks you can consider using for your essay.

1. Famous Quote

A common way to begin your essay is with a famous quote. The quote you choose needs to be in line with your essay topic. You cannot be inserting a random quote that has no connection with the rest of your essay.

Quotes reaffirm your essay topic and give it a compelling start. However, make sure you don’t include vague and cliché quotes or phrases such as ‘Practice makes perfect’ or ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ – they add no value to your essay because they are so over-used.


If you are writing an essay on public relations and reputation management, you can start with this famous quote by Warren Buffet

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

Similarly, if your topic revolves around success and leadership, you can begin by quoting Bill Gates

Success is a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they cannot lose.

2. Rhetorical question

It is also a good idea to start your essay with a rhetorical question that compels readers to think about the topic and generates interest to read further. Rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered, they are instead used to deliver a point.

Make sure the question isn’t too obvious, and the answer certainly shouldn’t be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. From highlighting a pain point/problem to striking an emotional connection or stating a startling fact – you can hook readers with various kinds of rhetorical questions.


When you walk into a brick-and-mortar store, you have people around you to reach out for assistance but what happens when you log onto an e-commerce site?

Think about it - when did life stop being fun and exciting, when did it turn into a relentless race that just leaves you exhausted and whatever you do just does not seem to be enough?

3. Interesting Statistics

Shocking or unusual facts or statistics always manage to grab the reader’s attention and validate the point you are trying to make in your essay. It is a powerful way to set the tone of the essay and keeps your audience intrigued. Spend quality time doing research about your topic and gather interesting data that you could begin your piece of writing with. Make sure you pick data from credible sources and remember to reference its source.


With around 3 billion active social media users in the world, this platform poses to be one of the biggest marketing tools to reach and engage with your target audience.

According to a Gallup research, 75% of employees in the U.S leave managers and not companies.

4. Anecdote

People love stories, especially those that stem from personal experiences. The best part about anecdotes are the personal touch they bring to your essay. The perfect college essay anecdotes are those that are engaging, concise and relevant. However, make sure the anecdote is followed by a strong transition statement that links the story to the rest of your essay, so it doesn’t seem to end abruptly.


As I stood in the metro and looked at the city pass by, I realized how much this place has given me. I came here as a shy, anxious woman in her early 20s and today, the transformation I see in myself is phenomenal.

Just when I was getting ready for a long, relaxing weekend, the unthinkable happened – I fractured my leg. What followed was weeks of bedrest and little did I know that those 6 weeks were going to be such an eye opener.

5. Challenge Misconceptions

Debunking myths and challenging common misconceptions can prove to essay hooks that evoke surprise or interest in readers. By challenging the reader’s understanding, you are more likely to grip their attention and keep them wanting to read further.


Not all weight loss diets actually work. Did you know that studies showed that people who go on a diet are actually the ones most likely to gain weight in the future?

We have all heard about goldfish having a 3-second memory span. Truth is, they actually have very good memories for fish, with a memory span of 5 months.


Even though essay hook is just the first sentence, it is worth spending time over and crafting a compelling one to grab your reader’s attention. After all, the first impression is the last impression, so you better make it work for you.

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