Good Attention Getters for Essays With Examples
Good "Attention Getters" Are Vital for Essays
An "attention getter," also known as an "attention grabber," "hook," or "hook sentence," refers to the first 1-4 sentences of an essay and is always found in the introductory paragraph. It consists of an intriguing opening that is designed to grab your reader's attention.
Having a good attention getter for an essay is absolutely crucial. On average, people only read the first 2 sentences before deciding if your essay will be an interesting read or a chore. That doesn't give you much text to convince readers to stick around. A good attention getter will invoke your reader's curiosity and pique their interest in the rest of the essay. In this article, I will teach you how to write truly effective introductory lines, plus provide some examples of attention getters for your next essay.
Top 4 Essay Attention Getters
The top four types attention grabbing openings include asking the reader a question, telling a story, telling a joke, and making a comparison.
These four attention getters listed below can be used interchangeably in pretty much any type of essay. They are designed to be both relatable and interesting to an average person (so it's a good idea not to get too obscure when writing them). Check out the suggestions and examples and consider giving your favorite a try in your next paper.
1. Ask a Question
- Have you ever wondered why _____?
- What if ______ happened to you?
- Do you know the real story behind ____?
This simple technique will get your readers to start thinking about your question, even if it was rhetorical. You capture the reader's attention and allow him/her to make connections to real life by thinking about what the answer might be. This can be a good way to get people to care what you are talking about in your essay.
Examples of Opening an Essay With a Question
- Have you ever wondered why the city of San Francisco has such high instances of dog ownership? For decades, San Francisco has been a pet-friendly city sporting a large number of dog parks and other dog-friendly facilities and events. It is also a city that has passed many dog-friendly laws and regulations. In this essay, I will discus the history of San Francisco and how it became such a hot spot for dogs and the humans who love them.
- How would you feel if you returned from gym class, opened your locker to get changed, and found that your clothes had been stolen? What would you do? Would you wear your gym clothes for the rest of the day, even if it wasn't allowed? Would you tell a teacher and miss some of your next class in order to borrow clothes? What if this happened once a week? Every day? Not every student is a victim of bullying, but every student should care about stopping bullying. In this essay, it is my aim to show you that bullying is everyone's problem.
- Do you know the real story behind milk? You interact with it on a daily basis (if you're not lactose intolerant or vegan) in baked goods, in your cereal, in dairy products like yogurt and cheese, and you may even drink it by the glass. Most of us consume milk or milk products at least once a day, but how much do you really know about where it comes from or how it gets to your grocery store shelves? In this essay, I intend to walk you through milk's journey from dairy farms to your refrigerator.
2. Tell a Story
- She walked to the store...
- I once visited Madrid...
- The cat yawned lazily...
Guide the reader through a personal anecdote, an account of something that happened to someone else, or a fictionalized account of an event you intend to talk about in your essay. The story should be related to the essay's topic, but it should help evoke the feeling of enjoyment from reading fiction and get your reader interested in what happens next in the story.
Examples of Opening an Essay With a Story
- Queen Cleopatra sat on the throne of her opulent audience chamber. She was in full queenly regalia today, as her schedule included meetings with foreign diplomats. The room smelled of perfumed bodies and incense, and thankfully, a light breeze wafted through; it was hot. While it is impossible to know exactly what a day in the life of Queen Cleopatra would really have been like, historians and archaeologists can offer many useful clues through the study of ancient artifacts and writings.
- The jaguar padded silently across the jungle floor. She followed the scent of something small and furry, hopeful of catching her next meal. Her stomach growled with hunger as she listened for the telltale rustling that would alert her when the creature was nearby. Jaguars are the third largest cat species in the world and the largest in the Americas. This essay will discuss interesting facts and information about jaguars.
3. Tell a Joke
Funny attention getters can be very effective when used correctly. There are 2 types of jokes you can use to begin your essay:
- A very general joke that an average person would understand. Jokes can lighten the mood and allow the reader to enjoy the rest of the essay. Just make sure you tie your joke back into the subject you are writing about somehow. The reader will be wondering what other laughs you have in store, which is part of the fun, so try to incorporate at lease one other joke later in the piece if you choose this method.
- A joke about the subject of the essay. This will make the essay's material seem more relatable. Your reader will no longer feel like he/she is just reading any old paper, but rather, a paper that offers entertainment along with information, and one written by a real human person who might be just like them.
Examples of Opening an Essay With a Joke
- Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side, of course! But the reason might really be that the chicken lived in Fair Oaks, California. This little town is famous for its free range wild chickens. You might even say it's a town "for the birds!" Since the 1970s, Fair Oaks has been home to many different breeds of chickens who wander the streets freely. This essay will inform readers about the unique charm of Fair Oaks.
- There's a thin line between a numerator and a denominator. If you laughed at this fraction joke, you are definitely a math person! But did you know that people were using fractions to keep track of amounts of things as early as 1800 BCE? This essay will discuss the history of fractions.
4. Use Comparisons
Using comparisons is a good way to make complicated concepts seem more simple and easily understood. Try using something your reader is likely to know a lot about in order to show how it is similar to something he/she may not know very much about. This can be a good way to make your reader feel as though he/she will have an easy time understanding the essay, regardless of its subject.
Examples of Starting an Essay With Comparisons
- Have you ever heard of a pomelo fruit? It's a lot like a grapefruit. Both are citrus fruits, are round, and have thick peels. Both can be peeled with fingers, but are easier to eat by cutting open with a knife. Both even have a similar flavor that is bitter and sweet at the same time. If a pomelo and a grapefruit sound a lot alike, it's because they are actually related. Grapefruits are the result of crossbreeding a pomelo with an orange. This essay will discuss the fascinating pomelo fruit.
- Eating a healthy diet is a lot like building a house. Most nutritionists recommend starting with a good, sturdy foundation of fruits and vegetables. In fact, fruits and veggies should take up at least half of every meal. This will provide a solid base for your walls (protein) to rest on. Lean protein like eggs, seafood, beans, and fowl should make up the next 30% of your meal. And the roof, the next 15-20% of your meal, should be made up of whole grains like wheat, rice, barley, and quinoa. This essay will demonstrate how your diet, just like a house, should be constructed carefully for a happier, more comfortable life.
Hooks for a Persuasive or Argumentative Essays
A persuasive essay or argumentative essay is a paper where you are trying to convince your reader to engage in a particular action or adopt a particular belief system. Starting your essay out with shocking or astounding facts or statistics can help to make an impression and inspire your reader's curiosity to learn more.
This type of attention getter also works well for informative and research essays.
Example of a Persuasive Essay Hook
Humans emit 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide every single year, and the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is already higher than it's been in hundreds of years. Think climate change is no big deal? Think again. This essay will argue that climate change is a major global threat and that we all need to take action now.
Attention Getters for Descriptive Essays
A descriptive essay is an essay that describes a person, place, or thing. Descriptive essays can be about a tangible thing like a favorite toy or food. They can also be about intangible things like feelings or dreams. Good attention getters for descriptive essays will include the senses. Let the reader know what he/she should be tasting, smelling, feeling, hearing, or seeing in order to give him/her the feeling of being right there and experiencing the situation with you.
Example of a Descriptive Essay Attention Getter
The house felt warm and smelled of wood smoke, pine, and cinnamon from my dad's delicious baked apples. Christmas music played softly, complimenting the crackle of the fire in the fireplace. I ran down the stairs full of excitement. Join me in this essay where I will describe what it's like to be at my house on Christmas morning.
Attention Grabbers for a Contrast Essay
A contrast essay, also known as a comparative essay, is a paper that compares two or more different things and discusses how they are similar and how they are different. It sometimes also argues that the things being compared are more similar than different, or more different than similar. Jumping right in with a comparative/contrasting statement can be a great way to engage your reader with this type of paper.
Example of a Contrast Essay Attention Grabber
They may seem like bitter enemies at first, but believe it or not, people who don't like pineapple pizza actually have a lot in common with people who do. Pineapple pizza people often think of the anti-pineapple crew as just a bunch of restrictive haters putting arbitrary limits on a favorite dish, and the pineapple-free team tend to view pineapple people as defilers of an already sacred and perfect food. But both share something very, very important; a love of pizza.
Hook Sentences That Don't Use "You" or "I"
Some classrooms do not permit the use of first or second person in essays, and students may not always be permitted to use the words "I" and "you." Most of these catchy openings don't need to include those two words and can be easily adapted to work without them.
In fact, all of the top four listed above should still work without needing to use "I" or "you," except option #1 (asking the reader a question). While you can still write questions without "you" or "I," they don't make very good openers. Additionally, the suggestions for persuasive, descriptive, and contrast essays will still work without using those two forbidden words.
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© 2010 Alex Hills