Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hooks for Persuasive and Argumentative Writing

This is from
In persuasive writing, a writer takes a position FOR or AGAINST an issue and writes to convince the reader (or audience with a speech) to believe or do something.

Not all of these are appropriate for a formal essay, but the ideas could be adapted. 

The introduction should have a HOOK that certain something that grabs or catches the reader’s attention. Here are a few examples:
  1. Open with an unusual detail or statistic, startling or striking fact from an authoritative source – Thirteen teachers, two students and one police officer killed in a Munich, Germany high school; thirteen students killed and dozens wounded in Littleton, Colorado at Columbine High School…
  2. Open with a strong statement – Cigarettes are the number one cause of lighter sales in Canada!
  3. Open with a quotation – Elbert Hubbard once said, “Truth is stronger than fiction.”
  4. Open with an anecdote (Anecdotes are stories, from your own experience or someone else's, told to make a point.) – When I studied education before becoming a teacher in the early 90s, my professors were dead set against lecturing, worksheets and memorizing facts for the test, but those were still the methods they employed, and the ones I saw in use during my practicum. We as teachers know that education must be engaging and relevant to be effective, and that the learner must be actively involved in the construction of knowledge for anything to stick. I know of no study that shows standardized testing to increase student learning. What I know is that there is no multiple-choice question that can measure the kind of learning that really changes people.
  5. Open with an engaging question – Have you ever considered how many books we’d read if it weren’t for television?  [ Be careful, though, about questions, since some of them may not be engaging.  If it's a question your reader would immediately respond to with a "No!" you may have lost that reader. -- Ms. D]
  6. Open with an exaggeration or outrageous statement - Hey! Do you hear a kind of groaning sound? Could it be ...? Yes, it's millions of kids marching off to take some standardized tests!

See also

And don't forget to add necessary background information: 


An introduction in an argumentative essay should provide the reader with background information to help set up and explain the issue. However, it should be only an overview of the most important information. For example, if you are writing about the motivation behind the creation of the Declaration of Independence, you don't want to recount all of history from 1492 to the American Revolution. Be discerning and select just enough material to provide a platform for your main argument.

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