5 hook sentences to compress your ideas

Compression is the new creation. 

These sentence structures enable you to frame your point in a clear, powerful, and interesting way that “hooks” readers in. 

1. [X] is the [Y] to [Z].


“Writing is the antidote to confusion.” — James Clear

2. “We [X] our [Y], and then our [Y] [X] us.” 

Modification: “We [X] our [Y] [for B amount of time], then our [Y] [X] us [for the next ABC amount of time.”


“We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” — Winston Churchill

“You care for your stomach for the first 50 years, then your stomach cares for you for the next 50 years.”

3. “[X] is the new [Y].” 

Modification: “[X] is the ultimate [Y.]”

This works best when [X] and [Y] are extreme opposites in the reader’s mind.


“Sitting is the new smoking.” 

“Orange is the new black.” — the famous TV show!

Modification: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Apple

(Note: Ahem, the lede of this post!)

4. People don’t [X] [Y] [Z], they [X] [A] [Z].


 “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” — Simon Sinek

5. “We don’t rise to [X]; we fall to [Y].”


“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” — James Clear

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” — Archilocus

Books are great places to find these and try them out. So is Twitter, of course. That’s part of the fun of tweeting—finding more of these power sentences and trying to fit my ideas into them, or through the story of someone more relevant

Inspired by James Clear’s interview with Every, Clay Hebert’s portable stories, and DHH’s appreciation for answers that fit on greeting cards.

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