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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tutorial 2 - Engaging Your Reader's Interest

TUTORIAL 2 - Engaging Your Reader's Interest

Like the fiction essay, the non-fiction essay comes in several paragraphs. You should have an introductory paragraph, a minimum of two body paragraphs (for exam purposes, there should ideally be three or four body paragraphs) and a concluding paragraph. Today's lesson will be focused on the first part of the introductory paragraph.

The introductory paragraph comes in three parts:
1. The hook
2. Background information
3. Thesis Statement

What is a 'hook'?

A hook is a sentence that engages your readers' attention. It is the first sentence of your essay and a very important one because your reader will either quickly lose interest or get 'hooked'. If your 'hook' is effective, your reader will want to know more and read on.

There are several ways to write a hook:

1. A question or a series of questions
2. An anecdote or a personal story
3. An unusual fact or statistic
4. Quotation/Proverb
5. Definition

1. Question

If you were writing about the disadvantages of eating out, for example, you may want to start your essay with a question - eg. What do you think would happen to you if you ate at McDonalds every day?

2. Personal Story

If your essay is about how to lose weight, you may want to start your essay with a short personal story about how you (or someone else) successfully lost a lot of weight in a short period of time.

3. Statistic

If you were writing about the causes of poverty, you may want to startle your reader with a heart-wrenching statistic - eg. Almost half the world - over 3 billion people - live on less than $2.50 a day.

4. Quotation

If you were writing about the importance of work, you may want to use a quote or proverb about work - eg. Joseph Conrad once said, "I don't like work ... but I like what is in the work - the chance to find yourself."

5. Definition

If you were writing about a more technical or ambiguous topic, it sometimes helps your reader to understand the topic if you first define the terms - eg. According to, 'greenhouse effect' is the increase in temperature of a planet as heat energy from sunlight is trapped by the gaseous atmosphere.


Write a hook for the following topics. Try to use a different kind of hook for each of them:

1. What are the causes of obesity?

2. Should capital punishment be abolished?

3. How do you know if you are in love?

4. If you could have three wishes, what would they be?

5. Describe someone you dislike.

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