From Gerald R. Lucas
📝 English Composition Writing FAQ 11011102📖

Hook ’Em: How to Engage Your Reader from the First Sentence

Writing a college essay can be a daunting task, and one of the biggest challenges is capturing the reader’s attention. This is where the hook comes in. A hook is a trope used to grab the reader’s attention and make her want to keep reading. It’s an essential tool for any writer who wants to make an impact with his essay. But how do you create a hook that is both effective and appropriate for a college essay?

A hook is a sentence or a few sentences at the beginning of your essay that grab your readers’ attention and make them want to keep reading. A strong hook can help to engage readers and create interest in your {{compFAQ/Topic|topic]]. Here are some tips for writing a strong hook:

  • Use a quotation: A quote from a famous person or a well-known source can be an effective way to start your essay. Make sure the quote is relevant to your topic and supports your thesis.
  • Start with a question: Asking a question can encourage your reader to think about your topic and create interest in what you have to say. Make sure your question is relevant to your topic and not too vague.
  • Use a statistic: A startling statistic can be an effective way to grab your reader’s attention and create interest in your topic. Make sure the statistic is accurate and relevant to your topic.
  • Tell a story: A story or anecdote can be a great way to introduce your topic and create interest in your essay. Make sure the story is relevant to your topic and supports your thesis.
  • Use descriptive language: Using descriptive language can help to create a vivid picture in your reader’s mind and create interest in your topic. Use sensory details to help your reader imagine what you are describing.

Remember that your hook should be relevant to your topic and support your thesis. It should be brief and to the point, ideally no more than a sentence or two.


Here are some examples of opening sentences for an essay on climate change:

  • As the world grapples with the devastating effects of climate change, it’s time to take a closer look at our own actions and their impact on the planet.
  • From rising sea levels to extreme weather events, the evidence of climate change is all around us. But are we doing enough to stop it?
  • Picture this: the year is 2050, and the effects of climate change have left our planet unrecognizable. How did we get here, and what can we do to prevent it?
  • In the face of mounting evidence and urgent warnings from scientists, it’s time for us to confront the reality of climate change and take action before it's too late.
  • The effects of climate change may seem like a distant threat, but the truth is that they’re already impacting our daily lives. We must wake up and take action.

Hook Versus Lede

A lede (or lead) is the opening sentence or paragraph of an article, essay, or other piece of writing that delivers a succinct overview of the most important parts of an article. Like a hook, it is intended to grab the reader’s attention and draw them into the rest of the piece. It often provides some background information or sets the tone for what’s to come.

A hook is a specific type of lede that is designed to be especially attention-grabbing. It might be a surprising fact, a provocative question, a striking image, or a compelling anecdote. The goal of a hook is to capture the reader’s interest immediately and keep them reading.

So, while a hook is a type of lede, not all ledes are hooks. A lede can be a more straightforward opening that still engages the reader, while a hook is always intended to be attention-grabbing in a more dramatic way.

Written: 2002, 2022; Revised: 04-10-2023; Version: Beta 0.7 💬