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The Hook


A hook may be one of the most important sentences in your essay. It should be a powerful statistic, quote or anecdote to "hook" your reader.

Whatever you use, it has to be powerful, unique and unexpected. Some example of hooks, with what I consider the best first:

Anecdote:
If you use an anecdote, it must be extremely specific. If I say, "Thousands of people were starving in Calcutta," it's less powerful than if I say, "On the sidewalk in front of my apartment in a middle-class section of Calcutta lay a young woman curled in a fetal position, slowly starving to death."

Readers want to know: Who is this woman? How did she get there? Why isn't she eating?

Statistics:
A powerful statistic often makes a good hook, something like:"The suicide rate of Korean teenagers is higher than that of any other nationality, with more than 15 suicides every minute.."

Why? The readers wants to know.

Quote:
A quote from a historical figure can also be used, but it needs to be unique and powerful, such as: "The leading cause of death is birth" -- Lewis Lapham.

The reader will wonder where this essay is taking him or her. But the essay has to be related somehow. For instance, this might be on an essay about irrational fears about lethal diseases.

Questions:
I believe question "hooks" are overrated, a bit lazy and should be avoided.

Nonetheless, all hooks must raise questions. For instance, if I write, I like to visit New York for three reason," you wonder what the reasons are. If I start, "Wouldn't you like to visit New York," the answer might be, "No," so that's not a very effective hook.

Now, let's move on to the transition.