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How to Write a Hook: Essay Writing~Introduction

How To Write A Hook

In today’s lesson we’re going to learn how to write a hook. A hook is a sentence or group of sentences that will capture or “hook” your reader’s interest and lure him to keep reading.

The hook, also called the lead, will set the tone and mood for your essay, and engage the reader.


What is a HOOK? Essay Writing

A hook can be a single sentence or even a few paragraphs. Depending on the format of your writing (the type of essay) and the tone and mood you want to convey, you will choose your hook.

(Refer to the true story of Mike the Headless Chicken referenced in the video.)

10 Hooks to Engage Your Reader and Make Him or Her Want to Read Your Essay

  1. Onomatopoeia: buk, buk, buk, ba-gawk…whoosh… Thud (narrative)
  2. Alliteration: Miracle Mike, the chirpy chicken and famous fowl survived a botched beheading. (narrative)
  3. Anecdote or Incident: It was unusually hot that summer. My room faced the barn. As I heard the squawking, Iran to my open window. There was daddy. His arms were raised up in the air and his face was beet red. I saw the shiny glimmer of the axe. The steel blade catching the sun and shining brightly. In his other hand was Mike, Daddy’s fist tightly wrapped around Mike’s neck. I could see Daddy’s knuckles turn white. Daddy’s fist clenched tightly around Mike’s neck. Mike was fighting for his life. (narrative)

He wasn’t always Mike. He was one of many, nondescript, unimportant chickens. But after what happened, we had no choice but to give him a name, for he    deserved it. (narrative)

  1. DIALOGUE: Where’s daddy going with that axe? I asked Mama. “He’s going out to the chicken coop. We’re having company tonight.” she casually replied as she set a pot of water on the stove. (narrative)
  2.  JOKE: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the farmer who chopped his head off. (narrative)
  3. FACTUAL STATEMENT or Statistic (bizarre, interesting, unusual): Chickens possess the neurologic components necessary to respond to painful stimuli and they perceive pain in a way similar to humans. They experience REM, have a memory like that of elephants, and can even feel empathy. (expository)
  4. MISCONCEPTION: Most people think that chickens are dumb, but in fact, they are remarkably intelligent in their own right.
  5. QUOTATION: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

-Mahatma Gandhi. (persuasive/argumentative)

“The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?”

― Jeremy Bentham (An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Philosophical Classics), The Principles of Morals and Legislation (persuasive/argumentative)

  1. RHETORICAL QUESTION: Is it ethical to eat animals? If animals eat other animals why can’t humans do the same? (persuasive/argumentative)
  2. STRONG STATEMENT: The case of Mike the headless chicken was an example of cruelty and animal rights abuse. (persuasive/argumentative)


Conclusion: Remember that the hook is one of the most important components of your introduction. It lures the reader and engages him/her to want to read your writing.


Can you write your own hook? Go ahead and write a hook about Mike the Headless Chicken. Choose any hook style and write it in the comments below.


File name : How-to-Write-a-Hook-.pdf

Idioms Reading Comprehension

Figurative Language: Summer Idioms to Enrich Your Expressions

Summer Idioms

  1. Catch some rays- an idiom that comes from the surfer culture. To go outside and enjoy the sunny day.  After being cooped up inside, I’m looking forward to riding my bike and catching some rays.
  2. Soak up the sun-to enjoy the sunshine.  Children need to go outside and soak up the sun.
  3. Come rain or shine-no matter what, whatever happens nothing will stop you.  The postman delivers the mail come rain or shine.
  4. Dog days of summer–from July 3 to August 11 this idiom is based on Sirius, the dog star. The ancient Romans believed that the star gave off heat and caused  the sultry and unbearably hot days of the summer. You’ll also hear a reference to dog days. During the dog days of summer, we make sure to stay hydrated.
  5. Under the sun-this idiom references the large number of anything that exists on earth “under the sun”. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
  6. A place in the sun-is to have a successful or favorable position. After many years of struggling as a writer, Leon finally found his place in the sun.
  7. A ray of sunshine-a person or thing that brings you happiness. My grandchild is a little ray of sunshine.
  8. Make hay while the sun shines- to make the most of a favorable situation.  This idiom is very old, dating back to Medieval times. Rain would often ruin the process of making hay. So, farmers had no choice but to make hay when the sun was shining.​
  9. Take a shine to someone/something-to begin to like someone or something. After getting to know him, Sheila took a shine to her new boss.
  10. One swallow doesn’t make a summer–means that you cannot rely on a situation that is working out. Just because it’s going well or has been good, it doesn’t mean that that streak will continue. Don’t rest on your laurels and think everything will go your way. One swallow doesn’t make a summer. One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.”
  11. To shine someone on–to deceive someone on. Rick told me he would pay back the loan, but he shined me on and never did.

Summer Idioms Reading Passage

I’ve worked so hard to get this promotion that I feel like I’ve finally found my place in the sun. The new boss took a shine to me and gave me this wonderful opportunity. I know, however, that one swallow doesn’t make a summer. I have to continue to work hard and show that I’m worthy of the promotion.

I have to make hay while the sun shines.I wouldn’t want my boss to think that I shined him on and am not qualified for the job. These are the dog days of summer and business is slow so I have to hustle and secure some new accounts. I’ll do everything under the sun to ensure I bring in new clients.

Once I prove myself, I’ll take a vacation. Come rain or shine, I’ll go where the sun is shining and the warm winds are blowing. Knowing that I’ll be on a plane to a tropical island where I can catch some rays and soak up the sun is the little ray of sunshine that keeps me motivated.

File name : Summer-Idioms-Figurative-Language.pdf

Grammar and Usage

Introduction to Reducing Adverb Clauses

Reducing Adverb Clauses

We know that an adverb modifies a verb, an adjective,  or another adverb. It answers the  question of when, where, how, why, to what extent or under what conditions.

In the same manner, adverb clauses add information that elaborates on when, where, why, and how by modifying or describing verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. An adverb clause is a dependent or subordinate clause that has a relationship with the independent or main clause.  The adverb clause is referred to as the dependent clause and it connects to the independent clause with a subordinating conjunction. The subordinating conjunction establishes the relationship between the two clauses: the adverb clause and the main clause.


There may be times when you will want to reduce the adverb clause to an adverbial phrase. Reduced adverb clauses are mostly used in formal writing to add variety and conciseness to your sentence structure. 

When reducing adverb clauses, we must consider four things: 

  1. Both the independent clause and the adverb clause must share the same subject. 
  2. Remove the modal or auxiliary verb in the adverb clause. (There are exceptions to this.)
  3. The reduction must not alter the relationship or time frame indicated in the original sentence.
  4. You may leave the subordinating conjunction with the exception of because, since, or as.


EXAMPLES of Reduced Adverb Clauses


  1. Although the bride was nervous, she was happy to walk down the aisle.
  • The first thing you’re going to do is check the subjects in both clauses: the bride in the adverb clause and she in the main clause.
  • Remove the subject “the bride” in the adverb clause and move it over to the main clause. The pronoun “she” is ambiguous. It could be any person, but you want to make sure your reader knows it’s “the bride”. 
  • Remove the helping verb “was”. 

Reduction: Although nervous, the bride was happy to walk down the aisle.

2.  Once the cake is done, it must cool in the refrigerator.

  • Move “the cake” over to the main clause.
  • Remove the helping verb “is”.

Reduction: Once done, the cake must cool in the refrigerator.

3. Because she did not have breakfast, Minnie was hungry and tired all morning.

  • Remove the subject in the adverb clause.
  • Remove the helping verb did and the subordinate conjunction “because”.

Reduction: Not having breakfast, Minnie was hungry and tired all morning.

4. Before Dee goes to bed, she brushes her teeth.

  • Move the subject “Dee” over to the main clause. 
  • Change the verb “goes” to the present participle “going”.

Reduction: Before going to bed, Dee brushes her teeth.


5. While Father was mowing the lawn, he whistled a tune.

  • Move “Father” over to the main clause.
  • Remove the helping verb “was”.

While mowing the lawn, Father whistled a tune.

Caution: Beware of dangling modifiers.

6. Tom was attacked by a shark when he was swimming in the beach.

  • Tom was attacked while swimming in the beach implies that the shark is the one swimming in the beach.
  • Move the clause to the beginning.

While swimming in the beach, Tom was attacked by a shark.


File name : Introduction-to-Reducing-Adverb-Clauses.pdf

Grammar and Usage

What are Modal Verbs?


A modal verb is a type of auxiliary or helping verb that helps the main verb by indicating the mood of the subject. Modal verbs indicate ability, possibility, obligation, or necessity.

The main modal verbs are can, could, may, might, will, would, must, shall, and should.

There are also quasi-modal, or semi-modal, verbs. These are a subcategory of modals, especially when they function in their negative and interrogative form.

Quasi-Modal Verbs

The main quasi-modal verbs are dare, had better, need, ought to, used to, and would rather.

Examples of Modal Verbs

Look at the examples of modal and quasi-modal verbs in the charts below.

Modal Verb Type or Mood Example
can ability/permission (informal) You can borrow my pencil.

Can I borrow your pencil?



permission, suggestion, request, past ability, future possibility He could leave early if his boss would allow him.
may probability, permission (formal) You may borrow my pencil.

May I borrow your pencil?

might probability/ possibility (future) I might ask my boss for permission to leave early.
will wish/willingness He will agree to it.
would request/past habit/possibility If I had the time, I would travel more.

Would you help me with my homework?

When I was young, I would listen to the radio all day long.

must necessity/obligation You must go out and search for a job.
shall intention/suggestion Shall you help her with her luggage?

I shall help her if you want me to.

should necessity/advice I should exercise more often.


Quasi-Modal Verb Type or Mood Example
dare ability (negation) I dare not go without permission.
had better advice/obligation You had better not go alone.
need request (negation) You need not ask again.
ought to advice/probability/obligation You ought to visit your grandmother more often.
used to previously/habitually I used to go all the time.
would rather intention/ willingness I would rather eat pizza than tacos.


Modal verbs are placed first in the verb phrase, after the subject, and are followed by a verb in the base form.

  • He could leave early. (Could is the modal and leave is the main verb.)
  • I should exercise more often. (Should is the modal and exercise is the main verb.)
  • You may borrow my car. (May is the modal and borrow is the main verb.)
  • I must help my friend. (Must is the modal and help is the main verb.)

The verb following the modal may be a main verb or an auxiliary verb like be or have.

  • He might be late tomorrow. (Might is the modal and be is the auxiliary.)
  • She should have studied more. (Should is the modal, have is the auxiliary, and studied is the main verb.)

Modal verbs are used in conditional sentences.

  • If I had the time, I would travel more. (If I had the time is the if clause in a conditional, would is the modal and travel is the main verb.)

Modal verbs are used in inverted sentences, especially in interrogative sentences. (Verb before subject)

  • May I take your car tonight? (May is the modal. Notice it comes before the subject, I. Take is the main verb.)
  • Would you help me with my homework? (Would is the modal. It comes before the subject, you. Help is the main verb.)

Modal verbs appear in negative form by adding the adverb “not” after the modal verb.

  • I dare not ask for permission. (Dare is a quasi-modal, not is an adverb of negation, and ask is the main verb.)
  • We would rather not eat at the restaurant again. (Would rather is a quasi-modal, not is an adverb of negation, and eat is the main verb.)
  • Shouldn’t you call before you go? (Should is the modal, not is an adverb of negation in the contracted form, call is the main verb. This sentence is in inverted order because the modal shouldn’t comes before the subject, you.)



Modal verbs only have one form.

  1. They have no infinitives using the “to” form. (INCORRECT: to can, to could, to may, to might, etc.)
  2. They have no –ing form, present participle. (INCORRECT: canning, coulding, maying, mighting, etc.)
  3. They have no past tense form. (INCORRECT: canned, coulded, mayed, mighted, etc.)
  4. They do not change form for person. (INCORRECT: he cans, she cans, it cans, he coulds, she coulds, it coulds, etc.)
  5. They cannot be used with another modal. (INCORRECT: Had I known, things may would have been different.)

Remember that a modal verb helps the main verb by indicating the mood of the subject.

Download the handout on modals.






Grammar and Usage

What are Linking Verbs? | Auxiliary Verbs

What are Linking Verbs?

A linking verb is a type of auxiliary verb that links the subject of a sentence to the subject complement.

In today’s lesson we will learn about linking verbs. A linking verb does not show any action. It just links, or joins, the subject of a sentence to a word that identifies or describes the subject, also called the subject complement.

The forms of the verbs to be, to become, and to seem are common linking verbs, but there are many others, including all the sense verbs: look, smell, touch, appear, sound, taste, and feel

Examples of Linking Verbs

Let’s look at some examples of linking verbs.

I am a lawyer. (Identifies)

The teacher is mean. (Describes)

Bill was a magician. (Identifies)

Bill is tired. (Describes)

The children are quiet. (Describes)

They were very sleepy. (Describes)

The baby became tired and fussy. (Describes )

Marcia has become the town gossip. (Identifies)

Ophelia seems distracted. (Describes.)

Linking Verbs are not Action Verbs

One thing to remember is that linking verbs do not express action. They simply link the subject with the subject complement to show their relationship. So when you are unsure is a verb is a linking verb or an action verb, simply substitute a form of the verb to be for the original verb.

Let’s take a look.

Ron tasted the corn chowder.

Ron is the corn chowder? No way. In this example, tasted is an action verb, not a linking verb.

The corn chowder tasted good.

The corn chowder is good. Yes! In this example the substitution makes sense so tasted is used as a linking verb.

Sylvia appears lost.

Sylvia is lost. Yes

Sylvia appears before the court.

Sylvia is the court? No, action verb.

Marlie touched the hot stove.

Marlie is the hot stove? No, action verb.

The bread smells delicious.

The bread is delicious.

Carli smells the wet grass.

Carli is the wet grass? No, action verb

You get the idea.

A linking verb does not show any action. The forms of the verbs to be, to become, and to seem are common linking verbs, but there are many others, including all the sense verbs: look, smell, touch, appear, sound, taste, and feel. When you are unsure if a verb is a linking verb or an action verb, simply substitute a form of the verb to be for the original verb.

Grammar and Usage

Common Irregular Verbs: Past Tense and Past Participle

For most verbs, in order to form the past tense, you simply add the suffix -ed to the main form of the verb called the infinitive. And to form the regular past participle which can be a verb form or an adjective, you usually keep the past tense form of the verb, that is the infinitive plus the suffix -ed. 

This means that the regular simple past and the participle forms of the verb are the same.

Like in this example: 

Love (main verb in the present)

loved (simple past formed by adding ed suffix) and

has/have loved ( past participle formed by adding the helping verb has/have and keeping the past tense form of the verb.


However, there are irregular verbs that do not follow the common structure of adding ed when making the past and past participle.

Download the PDF to see the most common irregular past tense verbs and their verb forms, or past participles.


Tricky Verbs: Lay and Lie

Many people confuse lay and lie and with good reason. In this video, we will look at the differences between lay and lie, provide many examples, give you tips to remember the differences, and practice exercises.