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Hooks

 

Hooks are used to grab the reader's attention: a very important aspect of your writing!  Whether you are writing professionally or for your teacher, the last thing that you want to happen is to have your writing put your reader to sleep.

There are many different hooks which you may use:

A directly stated thesis:  This is a common type of opening.  After providing general background, narrow your focus to a thesis statement that previews the essay that will follow.
    Example:  There are many jobs that are available in the movie industry which receive little attention, but without the gaffer, the best boy, and the gopher, a movie could not be produced.

A definition:  This kind of introduction works well in a paper that deals with an unfamiliar topic.
    Example:  You may suffer from xenophobia -- a fear of strangers or anybody foreign or different.

A quotation:  A beginning quotation, particularly from an authority in the field, can effectively introduce ideas.  Make sure the quote clearly relates to the topic.
    Example:  As William Arthur Ward stated, "The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires."

An anecdote or personal experience:  As long as it clearly sets up your topic, and has a bearing on what will follow in the essay, a short tale can be effective in grabbing your reader's attention.

An arresting statement: Sometimes you can jolt the reader into attention by using content, language, or both.  This works well if your essay develops an unusual or extreme position.

Interesting details:  Use to pique curiosity and draw the reader into the paper.

A question:  A provocative question can entice the reader into the essay to find the answers.

You may also use current events, historical or biographical facts, an opposite point of view, how your own life was influenced, research findings, a plot summary, or any combination of tactics, to grab your reader's attention.
 

Examples of openings:

Everyone thinks -----, but...
Statistically, in America, ....
I remember what it was like when...
What is ---?
 
 

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