20 hook sentence examples which will steal your reader’s attention

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20 hook sentence examples which will steal your reader’s attention
20 hook sentence examples which will steal your reader’s attention

In traditional academia (that word makes me want to vomit), there is a writing technique called the hook sentence.

While most of the shit we learn in school is useless, this lesser-known literary maneuver is wildly powerful for the entrepreneur, marketer, writer and snow cone vendor looking to sell like hell with the written word.

Whether you’re slinging ink for your site’s landing page, a sales email sequence or a big fat SEO-powered article like the one you’re reading now… the hook sentence can be used to grab your reader by the shirt and tell him or her to listen up.

If you keep reading, not only am I going to shower you with numerous hook sentence examples, but I am going to give you a few tips and tricks on how to write some of your own.

But, first, let’s define what a hook sentence is…

What is a hook sentence?
If we are talking books, and not the good ones by Hemingway but the big clunky academic ones, a hook sentence can be defined as follows…

The first one or two sentences of an essay that serve(s) as both an introduction to the reader and an attention grabber.

While here in the real world we don’t write essays but instead blogs and articles, this definition still mostly applies for how we will be using a hook sentence.

However, instead of using up to two sentences, we will just be using one. For the remainder of this article and when crafting a hook sentence for any future business, marketing or advertising writing, please think about the following definition to define what a hook sentence is…

A sentence that grabs the reader’s attention and gives them a reason to keep reading.

If you’ve ever thumbed through any of my articles here at Honey Copy, you know how in love I am with the sentence.

I’m constantly studying them, drooling over them and collecting them (here are 81 of my favorite sentences in literature).

I believe in the sentence so much as both a marketer and writer, that about a third of my copywriting guide focuses strictly on writing killer sentences (or hook sentences rather) that can ultimately lead to selling whatever the hell it is you are selling.

Everything writing and copy and marketing related begins and ends with a single sentence. So, if you can learn to write a damn good one, you have a real chance at writing something that sells.

Before we dive into some of the best hook sentence examples I’ve seen in literature, let me first give you a few pointers on how you can write one of your own.

How to write a hook sentence?
I discuss the strategies I use to write a hook sentence in detail in my copywriting guide. So, if you’re really looking to write killer sentences (or just better copy in general), I’d highly recommend you check it out.

With that said, here are two pieces of advice you can begin applying immediately to write better hook sentences…

Keep your hook sentence short.

Readers are lazy and busy. You have less than 7 seconds to grab their attention so don’t write a hook sentence that requires 30 seconds to read. In fact, try to keep them under 10 words.

Use simple, easily-digestible language.

What article would you rather read? A comprehensive overview of the ramifications that result in avoiding psychological triggers.

Or… The psychology of selling.

If you guessed the latter, you’re correct… that headline won me a viral article that has been read by hundreds of thousands of people.

If you do these two things alone… keep things short and keep them simple… I promise you will see an immediate difference in the hook-ability of your hook sentences.

Now, if you are anything like me, you learn better by seeing what works versus simply reading a how-to guide. So, allow me to give you some examples of killer hook sentences.

63 lovely hook sentences.
Are you excited?

Because I’m shaking in my Red Wing boots with elation.

I’ve compiled the greatest, loveliest, sexiest hook sentences of all time from the most brilliant minds in literature. The reason I chose literature is because the best writers in the world exist there. And, not to mention, to get a reader to commit to reading a 100,000-word novel… you need a damn good hook sentence.

Buckle up and put your wallet in a fucking safe, because your world is about to implode…

I lost my arm on my last trip home.

–– Octavia Butler, Kindred.

A screaming comes across the sky.

–– Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.

It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel.

–– Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad.

Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.

–– George Eliot, Middlemarch.

We slept in what once had been the gymnasium.

–– Margaret Atwood, The Handmade’s Tale.

It was love at first sight.

–– Joseph Heller, Catch-22.

In my earliest memory, my grandfather is bald as a stone and he takes me to see the tigers.

–– Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife.

I’m pretty much fucked.

–– Andy Weir, Martian.

The war in Zagreb began over a pack of cigarettes.

–– Sara Nović, Girl at War

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.

–– Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man And The Sea.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

–– Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice.

All stories are love stories.

–– Robert McLiam Wilson, Eureka Street.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

–– Celeste Ng, Everything I Neveg I Neved You.

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