What is the use of having something to say if no one is interested in hearing it? When setting out to communicate in written form, start with a "hook" or "attention grabber" that does just that - grabs the attention of your audience. According to Professor Johnie H. Scott, of California State University, there are several tactics to use when developing an opening that will intrigue your reader.

Start with a broad statement related to your more specific thesis. Continue to narrow the focus of your topic throughout your introduction, until you reach your thesis statement. For example, if your essay is on koala bears, start your introduction talking about the animal kingdom, then mammals, then mammals in Australia, finally discussing the koala bear.

Begin with a question to involve the reader in your writing. Answer the question through your thesis statement. If your thesis is that humans yearn for love, open with, "Did you know that 75% of Americans are married at least once in their lifetime?"

Quote an authority on your topic or use a well-known, though-provoking quote. If you are writing about obesity in adolescents, quote a reputable pediatrician on the topic.

Tell a story. Begin with an anecdote about a time you went camping and slept under the stars in an informational essay on constellations.

Give statistics, data and other factual information that is intriguing and though-provoking. Start with statistics on how many plastic water bottles are thrown away each day when writing an essay about the importance of recycling,

Use a combination of two or three of the above techniques. For example, combine the technique of asking questions with the technique of providing factual information: "Did you know that one in five people will experience a heart attack in their lifetime?" Or, combine the technique of telling an anecdote with providing factual information: "When I was five years old, my parents got divorced. I felt as though no one could understand what I was going through. Little did I know that two in three children come from divorced families."


  • Follow the guidelines and preferences set forth by the assigning teacher or professor. If such information has not been communicated, ask.