In a 1971 fight, Joe Frazier famously floored boxing champ Muhammad Ali with a strong left hook, leading to Ali’s first ever professional loss in the boxing ring. This is most definitely not the source of the word “hook” in writing, but the analogy is as solid as Frazier’s punch. No matter what type of writing project you’re getting into right now, you need a strong hook that knocks your readers’ socks off and gets their attention.
When I talk about good hook sentences, I’m talking about that juicy string of words that make up the first sentence (or two) of your writing project—the words that grab your readers’ attention and don’t let go.
Good hook sentences say, “Drop everything you’re doing and read me right now,” without actually coming out and just saying that.
Writing good hook sentences is critical in all types of writing disciplines from essays and marketing copy to novels and short stories. Hooks are even used in song lyrics. I’m sure, on more than one occasion, you’ve fallen victim to an earworm (a set of lyrics that you can’t get out of your head). That’s because you got hooked. I got the eye of the tiger… oh…um, sorry, I wasn’t listening to Katy Perry, I swear!
Now, here’s the catch. There’s no single, tried and true formula to writing good hook sentences. There is no specific order of nouns, verbs, and adjectives that will get the job done. But when it comes time to KO your readers, this post will give you four simple steps to help you craft your perfect hook.
Good Hook Sentences Step 1—Identify Your Audience
Your hook sentence, just like the rest of your writing project, needs to speak to your specific audience. Getting the attention of a college professor is going to be a vastly different task than getting the attention of a group of stay-at-home moms, for example. Before you write your hook, ask yourself three key questions:
Question 1: Who is my audience?
It’s important to identify your audience no matter what type of writing project you’re working on. Doing so will help you select a message that speaks to them.
If you’re trying to get the attention of a bunch of middle school girls, for example, you either need to be Justin Bieber in the flesh or write a hook that is geared toward that age group.
If, however, your writing project is geared toward the admissions counselors at a prestigious university, you had better get a haircut, Bieber, and write your sentence appropriately.
Before setting out on this writing adventure, make note of your intended audience.
Question 2: Do I have a captive audience?
This question is important because it will help you better understand the purpose of your hook.
In the case of your teacher or an admissions counselor, you pretty much have a captive audience. They are being paid to read your writing. So the intention of your hook is to keep these people from falling asleep on the job, to entice them to give you a good grade, or to convince them to admit you into their institution.
If you’re writing a blog, a book, or marketing copy, then your audience is not captive, meaning they have a choice to read your work or not. Whether your writing appears online, at the bookstore, or on a publishing agent’s desk, your work is one second away from being skipped over in favor of the next piece of writing. In this scenario, a good hook is the lifeline of your writing.
Question 3: What matters to my audience?
Finally, you need to figure out what is important to your audience. Are they interested in solving a particular problem? Are they looking for a specific type of information? Do they want to know something interesting about you? Do they want to know that you understand a particular topic? Are they looking to be entertained?
Write down what matters to your audience. This will help you craft your ultimate hook sentence.
Good Hook Sentences Step 2—Identify the Purpose of Your Writing
The next important issue to determine is the purpose behind your writing. A good hook sentence must be consistent with your writing. You can’t just write an awesome sentence because it’s awesome, and then go off onto another topic entirely. That would just make you look like a crazy person.
For example, if you are writing an argumentative essay, your hook should reflect the strength of your argument, perhaps by stating a shocking fact. On the other hand, if you’re writing a love story, you might start off writing a sweet and romantic anecdote. And if you’re writing a frightening essay on the topic of nuclear warheads, you might select to begin with a chilling statistic.
When identifying your purpose, ask yourself these two questions:
Question 1: How do I want my audience to feel?
Your answer could be that you want them to feel frightened, or motivated to action, or warm and fuzzy like they have a cute puppy on their lap, or interested in your life story.
The point is to write a hook that elicits the types of feelings you want your audience to have.
Question 2: What do I want my audience to take away?
Your answer could be that you want them to be better educated on a certain topic, or that you want them to question reality, or that you want them to believe in love again.
A good hook will reflect the purpose of your writing and set the stage for how you want your audience to feel and what you want them to take away from your work.
Good Hook Sentences Step 3—Choose Your Hook Wisely
Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat (not that I would know–I like my cats with skin and fur on them), there is more than one way to write a compelling hook that will grab your readers’ attention.
Here are a few of those ways:
1. Tell a humorous anecdote.
2. Reveal a startling fact.
3. Give an inspirational quote.
These are only three of many types of hooks. I could go on and on and on, but instead I created a resource just for you that features 14 different types of hooks plus example sentences.
To get this awesome resource and start your ideas flowing, just enter your email in the box at the bottom right of this screen. Your exclusive hook sentences will be instantly sent to your inbox.
Good Hook Sentences Step 4—Craft Your Hook
Now that you’ve considered your audience, the purpose of your work, and settled on the type of hook you want to write, it’s time to make it shine. A good hook sentence will use only the right words and will be as polished and refined as possible.
Honestly, this is how you should approach writing all of your sentences, but if you only have one absolutely perfect sentence in your work, let it be your hook.
One more note: even though your hook sentence is your very first sentence, it’s a good idea to write it last. By writing it last, you can better capture the tone and purpose of your entire writing project.
Remember, a good hook sets up expectations about your writing, establishes your credibility as a writer, grabs your readers’ attention, and makes them eager to read your work. If you need inspiration, you might check out these 400,000 example essays. If you need help polishing your hook sentence, Kibin editors can help with that!
*Cover image credit: Spray flies from the head of challenger Joe Frazier, left, as heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali connects with a right in the ninth round of their title fight in Manila. (AP Photo/Mitsunori Chigita, File)
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
In our daily life, we often compare things to make a right decision. However, most school children and college students feel puzzled when assigned to develop an essay. The stumbling block in an essay writing is a need to choose among compare and contrast essay topics. The more interesting topic you'll pick, the more chances you have to pass with flying colors. Writing a really good essay may be a piece of cake if you feel inspired.
In many spheres of human activity, there arises a need for an optimal choice. This compare and contrast essay method takes into account characteristics of the studied objects using the necessary criteria. The basic approach is quite simple: the definition and estimation of individual social, economic, political, or other phenomena with the aim of discovering distinctive features.
After that, a student is supposed to make a conclusion about a justified or supposed nature of the homogeneity of phenomena, the similarity of their content, the general orientation, etc. This makes it possible to use data from one object while studying the other. If, in the course of the research, some discrepancies were found, this allows one to point out the peculiarity, specificity, and uniqueness of one phenomenon or object in relation to another one.
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Compared to other types, this type of work is considered a difficult task as it is not just a narration. It usually takes much time since you cannot write a decent paper without any prior research. Moreover, put your thinking cap on when analyzing two objects from one category as sometimes distinctive aspects aren’t so obvious.
Recommendations to Follow when Choosing Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- When choosing an essay topic, learn more about the target audience beforehand. Look through actual topics which have a chance to hook your readers’ attention. After brainstorming ideas, find things for the effective comparison.
- Remember to choose objects belonging to one sphere. Use all pieces of advice you can find when choosing compare and contrast essay topics: first of all, analyze objects that look the same, but have at least one difference. For example, a homemade face mask and a mask produced somewhere, or foods cooked by mom and semi-finished ones found in a supermarket.
- The methods of the comparative approach lead to the fact that already established views on certain phenomena and facts can be reconsidered. Your essay should help discover features that are specific to a particular object or phenomenon. Thus, it promotes a deeper study of objects and phenomena. Also, remember to search for distinctive features at different levels of research.
- The leading principle of picking a good topic is finding some characteristic feature similar to both objects.
Have no ideas what to compare wondering “What are some good compare and contrast essay topics?” Get inspired by checking out compare and contrast essay topics below for different levels of education.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students
IT technologies and gadgets:
- iOS vs. Android.
- E-mail vs. usual post.
- Buying things online vs. shopping at malls.
- Skype vs. phone communication.
- Smart house vs. usual home.
- Samsung vs. Apple.
Easy as a Piece of Cake Topics:
- American vs. Chinese concepts of beauty.
- Rock vs. rap music.
- Flat vs. private house.
- School teacher and university professor: benefits/disadvantages.
Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics:
Topics for beginners:
- Fruit vs. vegetables.
- Linux vs. Windows.
- Tablet vs. paper textbooks.
- Classical vs. pop music.
- Movies vs. theatre.
Popular things to compare:
- Chemistry vs. physics.
- Oranges vs. tangerines.
- New Year vs. Christmas celebration.
- Summer vs. winter.
- Documentary vs. fiction.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School
Topics about Influential People:
- Hitler and Stalin
- Obama vs Donald Trump
- Ryan Reynolds vs Donald Glover.
- Volcano eruption and earthquakes: what causes more damage?
- Geology and mineralogy.
- Einstein theories.
- Civil World War I and II.
- Two famous historical leaders.
- Politics in America now and twenty years ago.
Fresh essay topic ideas:
- Sports or diets: what is more effective for weight loss?
- Audio books or paper books.
- Fashion today and twenty years before.
- Silver and gold.
- Chocolate and marmalade candies.
- Autumn vs spring.
- Love vs. friendship.
- Cars vs. bikes.
Compare and Contrast Topics for Middle School
- Playing computer games and reading: which is the pastime you give preference to and why?
Facebook vs Twitter:
- Instagram vs printed photographs.
- Messaging vs real communication.
Easy as ABC topics:
- Black vs. white: best color for formal meetings.
- Apple vs. pear.
- Getting vs. presenting gifts: what is more pleasant?
- Sunbathing at the seaside vs go sightseeing.
- Short vs. long hair.
- Your lifestyle and your favorite celebrity.
- Coffee vs. tea.
- Cinnamon vs. sugar.
- Cats vs. dogs.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for 6th Grade
Topics for beginners:
- Active vs. passive rest.
- Playing inside vs. outside.
- Is your character similar to your parents’?
- Doctor vs. teacher.
- Swimming vs. flying.
- Tennis vs. badminton.
- Football vs. basketball.
- American soccer vs. basketball.
- Ballet vs. break dance.
- Two plays of Shakespeare.
- Quotes of the well-known personalities.
- Two books of the classical writers.
Ap World History Compare and Contrast Essay
- European History and US history.
- Paleolithic and Neolithic periods.
- Two public people.
- Economic development of America and China.
- Two personalities who contributed to the history of England.
Brilliant Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Watching horror films on TV vs. on the large cinema screen.
- New branded clothes vs. second-hand clothes.
- Diets vs. drugs for weight loss.
- Cooking video recipes vs. traditional cookery books.
- Money vs. gift for a birthday.
- Jeans or dresses for a party.
Great Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Literature
- Two writers of prose.
- Prose vs. poetry.
- Russian vs English writers: choose two most famous in the same genre.
- Jane Austen vs. Charlotte Bronte.
- Two works of Oscar Wilde.
- Romeo and Juliet vs. Macbeth of Shakespeare.
- Tolkien vs Joan Rolling.
- Two characters from the Harry Potter books.
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Effective Tips How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
Are you stuck in front of an empty word document and have no idea how to write a compare and contrast essay? First, go through the basics. This piece of writing is a genre aimed at setting objects, people, places, events, etc. side by side and defining similarities and differences.
After you have sorted out things, hit books searching for relevant information. Most themes will require some specific knowledge, which means that the search for facts and statistics and additional details will take much time. Brainstorm ideas and make notes. Make up a list of common features, characteristics, qualities. Don’t miss details that can play a significant role.
You shouldn’t necessarily talk about all features if there are too many. Just choose things that really matter and start writing following a certain structure format.
Your work will be well-organized if it consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. An effective structure should include five paragraphs. Each paragraph is written to perform its own function. A short introductory part familiarizes your reader with the topic and makes it clear what will be next.
Remember how important it is to use eye-catchy first sentences to attract the audience attention. Think that you are ready with the effective beginning? Then don’t waste time and proceed to the text body revealing major aspects with your findings concerning common things and different features. Finally, summarize and let your reader see the goal you wanted to achieve. Your audience shouldn’t doubt the usefulness of time spent on reading your paper.
Compare and Contrast Essay Example
Compare and contrast essay example: “Winter vs Summer”
Historic essay sample: Napoleon and Kutuzov
Interesting Things to Compare and Contrast
Check out fresh ideas about things to compare and contrast below.
- Virus vs. infection.
- Vitamins from foods vs. vitamins from complexes: which are better for health?
- People DNA vs. animals.
- Samsung vs. Apple computers.
- Hardware vs. software.
- iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X.
- Women vs. men occupying managerial positions: who is more successful?
- Two most profitable goods and services markets.
- Cola and Pepsi: management techniques.
Advice from Expert
Don’t know how to write a compare and contrast essay? Consider successful samples first. If reading an example you have a wish to find out more about the objects’ comparison, then its author has done a proper job. To say that the theme must be interesting is like saying nothing. It should be inspiring. Moving forward think about the obvious similarities and differences. The crucial reason why many writers fail is that they don’t go further. However, it is a must to study objects thoroughly so that no hidden edges are left. Use critical thinking and look at the familiar thing at a completely new angle.
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