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How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Tips and Tricks

Allison Bressmer

Allison Bressmer

How to write a persuasive essay

Most composition classes you’ll take will teach the art of persuasive writing. That’s a good thing.

Knowing where you stand on issues and knowing how to argue for or against something is a skill that will serve you well both inside and outside of the classroom.

Persuasion is the art of using logic to prompt audiences to change their mind or take action , and is generally seen as accomplishing that goal by appealing to emotions and feelings.

A persuasive essay is one that attempts to get a reader to agree with your perspective.

What is a persuasive essay?

Ready for some tips on how to produce a well-written, well-rounded, well-structured persuasive essay? Just say yes. I don’t want to have to write another essay to convince you!

How Do I Write a Persuasive Essay?

What are some good topics for a persuasive essay, how do i identify an audience for my persuasive essay, how do you create an effective persuasive essay, how should i edit my persuasive essay.

Your persuasive essay needs to have the three components required of any essay: the introduction , body , and conclusion .

That is essay structure. However, there is flexibility in that structure.

There is no rule (unless the assignment has specific rules) for how many paragraphs any of those sections need.

Although the components should be proportional; the body paragraphs will comprise most of your persuasive essay.

What should every essay include?

How Do I Start a Persuasive Essay?

As with any essay introduction, this paragraph is where you grab your audience’s attention, provide context for the topic of discussion, and present your thesis statement.

TIP 1: Some writers find it easier to write their introductions last. As long as you have your working thesis, this is a perfectly acceptable approach. From that thesis, you can plan your body paragraphs and then go back and write your introduction.

TIP 2: Avoid “announcing” your thesis. Don’t include statements like this:

  • “In my essay I will show why extinct animals should (not) be regenerated.”
  • “The purpose of my essay is to argue that extinct animals should (not) be regenerated.”

Announcements take away from the originality, authority, and sophistication of your writing.

Instead, write a convincing thesis statement that answers the question "so what?" Why is the topic important, what do you think about it, and why do you think that? Be specific.

How Many Paragraphs Should a Persuasive Essay Have?

This body of your persuasive essay is the section in which you develop the arguments that support your thesis. Consider these questions as you plan this section of your essay:

  • What arguments support your thesis?
  • What is the best order for your arguments?
  • What evidence do you have?
  • Will you address the opposing argument to your own?
  • How can you conclude convincingly?

The body of a persuasive essay

TIP: Brainstorm and do your research before you decide which arguments you’ll focus on in your discussion. Make a list of possibilities and go with the ones that are strongest, that you can discuss with the most confidence, and that help you balance your rhetorical triangle .

What Should I Put in the Conclusion of a Persuasive Essay?

The conclusion is your “mic-drop” moment. Think about how you can leave your audience with a strong final comment.

And while a conclusion often re-emphasizes the main points of a discussion, it shouldn’t simply repeat them.

TIP 1: Be careful not to introduce a new argument in the conclusion—there’s no time to develop it now that you’ve reached the end of your discussion!

TIP 2 : As with your thesis, avoid announcing your conclusion. Don’t start your conclusion with “in conclusion” or “to conclude” or “to end my essay” type statements. Your audience should be able to see that you are bringing the discussion to a close without those overused, less sophisticated signals.

The conclusion of a persuasive essay

If your instructor has assigned you a topic, then you’ve already got your issue; you’ll just have to determine where you stand on the issue. Where you stand on your topic is your position on that topic.

Your position will ultimately become the thesis of your persuasive essay: the statement the rest of the essay argues for and supports, intending to convince your audience to consider your point of view.

If you have to choose your own topic, use these guidelines to help you make your selection:

  • Choose an issue you truly care about
  • Choose an issue that is actually debatable

Simple “tastes” (likes and dislikes) can’t really be argued. No matter how many ways someone tries to convince me that milk chocolate rules, I just won’t agree.

It’s dark chocolate or nothing as far as my tastes are concerned.

Similarly, you can’t convince a person to “like” one film more than another in an essay.

You could argue that one movie has superior qualities than another: cinematography, acting, directing, etc. but you can’t convince a person that the film really appeals to them.

Debatable and non-debatable concepts

Once you’ve selected your issue, determine your position just as you would for an assigned topic. That position will ultimately become your thesis.

Until you’ve finalized your work, consider your thesis a “working thesis.”

This means that your statement represents your position, but you might change its phrasing or structure for that final version.

When you’re writing an essay for a class, it can seem strange to identify an audience—isn’t the audience the instructor?

Your instructor will read and evaluate your essay, and may be part of your greater audience, but you shouldn’t just write for your teacher.

Think about who your intended audience is.

For an argument essay, think of your audience as the people who disagree with you—the people who need convincing.

That population could be quite broad, for example, if you’re arguing a political issue, or narrow, if you’re trying to convince your parents to extend your curfew.

Once you’ve got a sense of your audience, it’s time to consult with Aristotle. Aristotle’s teaching on persuasion has shaped communication since about 330 BC. Apparently, it works.

Ethos, pathos and logos

Aristotle taught that in order to convince an audience of something, the communicator needs to balance the three elements of the rhetorical triangle to achieve the best results.

Those three elements are ethos , logos , and pathos .

Ethos relates to credibility and trustworthiness. How can you, as the writer, demonstrate your credibility as a source of information to your audience?

How will you show them you are worthy of their trust?

How to make your essay credible

  • You show you’ve done your research: you understand the issue, both sides
  • You show respect for the opposing side: if you disrespect your audience, they won’t respect you or your ideas

Logos relates to logic. How will you convince your audience that your arguments and ideas are reasonable?

How to use logic in essays

You provide facts or other supporting evidence to support your claims.

That evidence may take the form of studies or expert input or reasonable examples or a combination of all of those things, depending on the specific requirements of your assignment.

Remember: if you use someone else’s ideas or words in your essay, you need to give them credit.

ProWritingAid's Plagiarism Checker checks your work against over a billion web-pages, published works, and academic papers so you can be sure of its originality.

Find out more about ProWritingAid’s Plagiarism checks.

Pathos relates to emotion. Audiences are people and people are emotional beings. We respond to emotional prompts. How will you engage your audience with your arguments on an emotional level?

How to use emotion in essays

  • You make strategic word choices : words have denotations (dictionary meanings) and also connotations, or emotional values. Use words whose connotations will help prompt the feelings you want your audience to experience.
  • You use emotionally engaging examples to support your claims or make a point, prompting your audience to be moved by your discussion.

Be mindful as you lean into elements of the triangle. Too much pathos and your audience might end up feeling manipulated, roll their eyes and move on.

An “all logos” approach will leave your essay dry and without a sense of voice; it will probably bore your audience rather than make them care.

Once you’ve got your essay planned, start writing! Don’t worry about perfection, just get your ideas out of your head and off your list and into a rough essay format.

After you’ve written your draft, evaluate your work. What works and what doesn’t? For help with evaluating and revising your work, check out this ProWritingAid post on manuscript revision .

After you’ve evaluated your draft, revise it. Repeat that process as many times as you need to make your work the best it can be.

When you’re satisfied with the content and structure of the essay, take it through the editing process .

Grammatical or sentence-level errors can distract your audience or even detract from the ethos—the authority—of your work.

You don’t have to edit alone! ProWritingAid’s Realtime Report will find errors and make suggestions for improvements.

You can even use it on emails to your professors:

ProWritingAid's Realtime Report

Try ProWritingAid with a free account.

How Can I Improve My Persuasion Skills?

You can develop your powers of persuasion every day just by observing what’s around you.

  • How is that advertisement working to convince you to buy a product?
  • How is a political candidate arguing for you to vote for them?
  • How do you “argue” with friends about what to do over the weekend, or convince your boss to give you a raise?
  • How are your parents working to convince you to follow a certain academic or career path?

As you observe these arguments in action, evaluate them. Why are they effective or why do they fail?

How could an argument be strengthened with more (or less) emphasis on ethos, logos, and pathos?

Every argument is an opportunity to learn! Observe them, evaluate them, and use them to perfect your own powers of persuasion.

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.

Allison Bressmer is a professor of freshman composition and critical reading at a community college and a freelance writer. If she isn’t writing or teaching, you’ll likely find her reading a book or listening to a podcast while happily sipping a semi-sweet iced tea or happy-houring with friends. She lives in New York with her family. Connect at linkedin.com/in/allisonbressmer.

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10 effective techniques to master persuasive essay writing and convince any audience.

Persuasive essay writing

As a skilled communicator, your ability to persuade others is crucial in many areas of life. Whether you’re presenting an argument, advocating for a cause, or simply trying to convince someone of your point of view, your persuasive essay can be a powerful tool. However, crafting an essay that truly convinces your reader requires more than just strong opinions and eloquent language. It requires a strategic approach that combines logical reasoning, emotional appeal, and effective writing techniques.

1. Craft a Compelling Introduction: Your introduction is the first impression you make on your reader, so it’s essential to capture their attention right from the start. Consider using a captivating anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or a shocking statistic to engage your audience and set the tone for your essay. By immediately grabbing their interest, you increase the chances that they’ll continue reading and be open to your persuasive arguments.

2. Clearly Define Your Position: Before launching into the main body of your essay, make sure to clearly state your position on the topic. This will help your reader understand your stance and follow your line of reasoning throughout the essay. Use concise and assertive language to communicate your position, and consider reinforcing it with strong evidence or expert opinions that support your viewpoint.

3. Appeal to Emotions: While rational arguments are important, emotions often play a significant role in persuasive writing. Connect with your reader on an emotional level by using vivid descriptions, personal anecdotes, or powerful metaphors. By eliciting an emotional response, you can create a deeper connection with your audience and make your arguments more compelling.

Choose a compelling topic that ignites your passion

Choose a compelling topic that ignites your passion

When crafting a persuasive essay, it is crucial to select a topic that not only captivates and engages your readers but also resonates strongly with you. By choosing a compelling topic that ignites your passion, you will be able to infuse enthusiasm and conviction into your writing, making it more convincing and persuasive.

While it may be tempting to select a popular or trending topic, it is essential to choose something that you deeply care about and have a genuine interest in. Your passion for the subject matter will shine through in your writing, capturing the attention and interest of your readers.

  • Explore your hobbies and personal interests.
  • Reflect on societal issues that deeply affect you.
  • Consider topics that challenge conventional thinking.
  • Analyze current events and their impact on your community or society as a whole.
  • Look for subjects that inspire debate and differing opinions.
  • Examine topics that align with your values and beliefs.

By choosing a topic that you are not only knowledgeable about but also passionate about, you will have a stronger emotional connection to your writing. This emotional connection will allow you to effectively convey your argument, influence your readers’ perspectives, and ultimately convince them to see things from your point of view.

Remember, the key to writing a persuasive essay lies in your ability to convey your ideas convincingly. By selecting a compelling topic that ignites your passion, you will have a solid foundation for crafting a persuasive essay that will resonate with readers and leave a lasting impact. So, take the time to explore your interests and choose a topic that truly captivates you.

Conduct thorough research to gather supporting evidence

Gathering strong evidence is a vital step in writing a persuasive essay. Convincing your readers requires you to present compelling facts, statistics, expert opinions, and examples that support your arguments. To achieve this, it is crucial to conduct thorough research to collect relevant and reliable information.

Begin by determining the main points you want to convey in your essay. These points should align with your thesis statement and support your overall argument. Once you have a clear idea of what you are trying to communicate, start gathering supporting evidence.

Research various credible sources such as academic journals, books, reputable websites, and expert interviews. Look for information that directly relates to your topic and can be used to reinforce your arguments. Be sure to verify the credibility and reliability of your sources to ensure the accuracy of the information.

Take notes as you conduct your research, highlighting key points, supporting evidence, and any quotes or statistics that you may want to include in your essay. It is essential to organize your findings in a way that makes sense and flows logically in your essay.

When using statistics or data, make sure to cite the sources properly to give credit to the original authors and establish your credibility as a writer. This will also allow your readers to verify the information themselves if they wish to do so.

By conducting thorough research and gathering strong supporting evidence, you will be able to present a persuasive and well-supported argument in your essay. This will not only convince your readers but also showcase your knowledge, understanding, and dedication to the topic at hand.

Develop a clear and concise thesis statement

One of the most important aspects of writing a persuasive essay is developing a thesis statement that is clear, concise, and compelling. A thesis statement serves as the main argument or central idea of your essay. It sets the tone for the entire piece and helps to guide your reader through your argument.

When developing your thesis statement, it’s essential to choose a strong and persuasive statement that clearly states your position on the topic. Avoid vague or ambiguous language that can confuse your reader and weaken your argument. Instead, use strong and specific language that clearly conveys your main point.

Your thesis statement should be concise, meaning it should be expressed in a clear and straightforward manner. Avoid unnecessary words or phrases that can dilute your message and make it less powerful. Instead, focus on getting your point across in as few words as possible while still maintaining clarity and impact.

Additionally, your thesis statement should be compelling and persuasive. It should motivate your reader to continue reading and consider your argument. Use persuasive language and strong evidence to support your thesis statement and convince your reader of its validity.

In summary, developing a clear and concise thesis statement is crucial for writing a persuasive essay. Choose a strong statement that clearly conveys your position, use concise language to express your point, and make your statement compelling and persuasive. By doing so, you will create a strong foundation for your entire essay and increase your chances of convincing your reader.

Use persuasive language and rhetorical devices

Use persuasive language and rhetorical devices

When it comes to crafting a compelling persuasive essay, one must master the art of persuasive language and employ various rhetorical devices. The way you choose your words and structure your sentences can make all the difference in captivating and convincing your readers.

One effective technique is to use strong and powerful language that evokes emotion and creates a sense of urgency. The use of vivid and descriptive words can paint a picture in the minds of your readers, making your arguments more relatable and engaging.

Additionally, employing rhetorical devices such as metaphors, similes, and analogies can effectively convey your message and help your readers understand complex ideas. By drawing comparisons and creating associations, you can make abstract concepts more tangible and easier to grasp.

Another valuable device is repetition. By repeating key phrases or ideas throughout your essay, you can emphasize your points and reinforce your arguments. This technique can help make your arguments more memorable and leave a lasting impact on your readers.

Furthermore, using rhetorical questions can encourage your readers to think critically about your topic and consider your perspective. By posing thought-provoking questions, you can guide your readers towards your desired conclusions and make them actively engage with your essay.

Lastly, employing the use of anecdotes and personal stories can make your essay more relatable and establish a connection with your readers. By sharing real-life examples or experiences, you can offer concrete evidence to support your arguments and establish credibility.

In conclusion, mastering persuasive language and employing rhetorical devices can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your persuasive essay. By choosing your words carefully, using powerful language, and incorporating various rhetorical techniques, you can captivate your readers and present your arguments in a compelling and convincing manner.

Address counterarguments and refute them with strong evidence

When writing a persuasive essay, it is crucial to anticipate and address potential counterarguments to strengthen your argument. By acknowledging opposing viewpoints and then refuting them with strong evidence, you can demonstrate the credibility and validity of your own position.

One effective way to address counterarguments is to acknowledge them upfront and present them in an objective and unbiased manner. By doing so, you show that you have considered different perspectives and are willing to engage in a fair and balanced discussion. This approach also helps you connect with readers who may initially hold opposing views, as it shows respect for their opinions and demonstrates your willingness to engage in thoughtful debate.

To effectively refute counterarguments, it is important to use strong evidence that supports your own position. This can include data, statistics, expert opinions, research findings, and real-life examples. By providing convincing evidence, you can demonstrate the superiority of your argument and weaken the credibility of counterarguments. Be sure to cite credible sources and use persuasive language to present your evidence in a convincing way.

In addition to providing strong evidence, it is also important to anticipate and address potential weaknesses in your own argument. By acknowledging and addressing these weaknesses, you can show that you have thoroughly considered your stance and are able to respond to potential criticisms. This helps to build trust and credibility with your readers, as they can see that you are aware of the limitations of your argument and have taken steps to address them.

In conclusion, addressing counterarguments and refuting them with strong evidence is a crucial component of persuasive writing. By acknowledging opposing viewpoints and providing solid evidence to support your own position, you can strengthen your argument and convince readers to adopt your point of view. Remember to always approach counterarguments objectively, use persuasive language, and address any potential weaknesses in your own argument. By doing so, you can create a compelling and persuasive essay that will resonate with your readers.

Edit and proofread your essay for grammar and clarity

Once you’ve completed your persuasive essay, the work isn’t quite finished. It’s essential to go back and review your writing with a critical eye, focusing on grammar and clarity. This final step is crucial in ensuring that your arguments are effectively communicated and that your reader can easily understand and follow your points.

First and foremost, pay attention to grammar. Look for any errors in your sentence structure, verb tense, subject-verb agreement, and punctuation. Make sure that your sentences are clear and concise, without any unnecessary or confusing phrases. Correct any spelling mistakes or typos that may have slipped through the cracks.

Next, consider the overall clarity of your essay. Read through each paragraph and ensure that your ideas flow logically and cohesively. Are your arguments supported by evidence and examples? Are your transitions smooth and seamless? If necessary, revise or rearrange your paragraphs to strengthen the overall structure of your essay.

It’s also important to check for any ambiguous or vague language. Make sure that your words and phrases have precise meanings and can be easily understood by your reader. Consider whether there are any areas where you could provide more clarification or add further details to strengthen your points.

When editing and proofreading, it can be helpful to read your essay out loud. This can help you identify any awkward or convoluted sentences, as well as any areas where you may have used repetitive or redundant language. Reading aloud also allows you to hear the natural rhythm and flow of your writing, giving you a better sense of how your words will be perceived by the reader.

Finally, consider seeking feedback from others. Share your essay with a trusted friend, family member, or teacher and ask for their input. They may be able to offer valuable suggestions or catch any errors that you may have missed. Sometimes, a fresh set of eyes can provide a new perspective and help you improve your essay even further.

By taking the time to edit and proofread your essay for grammar and clarity, you can ensure that your persuasive arguments are presented in the most effective and compelling way possible. This attention to detail will not only demonstrate your strong writing skills, but it will also increase the chances of convincing your reader to see things from your perspective.

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Persuasive Essay Writing

Persuasive Essay Writing

Persuasive essay writing can also be referred to as an argumentative essay. This is because it uses argument and cognition to drive home a message that one idea is more valid than another one. It also tries to convince the reader to embrace a certain idea. Therefore, in persuasive essay truly persuasive are the arguments that one tries to put across in order for his or her point to be adopted. When writing a persuasive essay, you should always think about what is persuasive in the essay you are writing and always try to avoid backloading your arguments, meaning that they should be arranged in an ordered and logical way. Also, one should avoid relying on faulty logic and writing the essay without keeping your audience in mind.

What Is the Purpose of a Persuasive Essay

What Is the Purpose of a Persuasive Essay?

The main purpose of writing a persuasive essay is for you to be able to convince your audience to adopt your idea. It is important to keep this purpose in mind in order for you to be able to write an effective persuasive essay. Firstly, you should have a persuasive writing prompt. These are triggers for you to write your essay. For instance, you can be given a prompt that tells you to convince your manager whether the staff should put on their uniforms or not.

When choosing good persuasive essay topics, you should choose the one that you love most. Persuasive topics should be very dear and close to your heart, and it should also be a topic that you enjoy writing about. This way you will not strain much when writing the essay, that is, the content will just flow and it will be easy for you to convince your audience.

Also, many people are always confused as they do not know how to write a persuasive speech. In fact, it is more of just a debate, where you have to convince your audience that your ideas are the best and that they should adopt them. The procedures are just the same, provided that you are talking about something you are passionate about. Therefore, when faced with a dilemma on how to write a persuasive speech you are just required to follow the guidelines highlighted above.

Elements of Persuasive Writing

Elements of Persuasive Writing

Persuasive Essay Examples

For you to be able to come up with a good persuasive essay example, you should consider the following significant steps: first, identify your main ideas; secondly, identify your audience; then identify the strongest supporting points; and, finally, identify the most important opposing view. A good persuasive essay format should have an introduction, body paragraphs, opposing view and a conclusion. The persuasive essay format can take any form, providing the above mentioned is included.

Most Controversial Topics for Persuasive Essay

Most Controversial Topics for Persuasive Essay

19 Free Examples of Persuasive Essay Topics

  • Should school day hours be increased?
  • Is society too dependent on technology today?
  • Should school uniforms be mandated?
  • Should homework assigned to students be limited?
  • Do social media, for example, Facebook, create isolation?
  • Should the government increase the minimum wage?
  • Should the university offer free transportation to students?
  • Is smoking harmful to your health?
  • Should the government introduce corporal punishment in schools?
  • Is it important to exercise every day?
  • Should citizens be allowed to keep guns in their houses?
  • Do we need money in politics?
  • Is classroom education important today?
  • Are we ready for women’s leadership?
  • Should the government legalize marijuana?
  • Is it right for the government to withdraw from the World Trade Organization?
  • Is employee compensation necessary for organizational growth?
  • Should advertisements be allowed in schools?
  • Are security cameras important or are they just an invasion of our privacy?

Persuasive Writing Prompts

As mentioned earlier above, a persuasive prompt is what triggers you to write a persuasive essay, it is what triggers you to ask yourself a question; for example, you might have read or heard of some article from a magazine, stating that the government wants to legalize marijuana. This might prompt you to come up with a topic question "should the government legalize marijuana?" Another example is that you have heard the news that some parents want to limit the number of homework their children should be given. This prompt might trigger you to come up with a topic on whether the teachers should limit the number of homework they give to students.

99 Persuasive Essay Topics

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How to write a persuasive college essay.

BY BRETT CLAWSON

Whether you are in high school or college, you will need to write a persuasive essay at some point. A persuasive essay is a composition in which the writer presents a clear explanation and convincing evidence to persuade readers to share a viewpoint. Essay writing can bring either an opportunity or challenge. The goal is to write a compelling essay that perhaps convince the audience in the process.

Articulate Your Position

The only way to make the audience understand your goals and interpret the essay is to articulate your position. Writers should avoid ambiguous positions and use simple terminology, deliberate claims, and careful distinctions to cut through the confusion. You should use evidence and data to make readers understand your views.

Understand Your Audience

It’s crucial to know the interests and preferences of your audience when writing a persuasive paper. Your goal is not to prove to the teacher that you read an article or report facts to the targets. Instead, you want to persuade the teacher and readers to share your viewpoint. You might need to use different approaches for different audiences, so it’s crucial to know your target readers. Whether a writer wants to persuade a panel or class, the tone should adjust accordingly.

Organize Your Essay

The key to sticking to the crux of the argument throughout the essay is to get organized. Writers should use a thesis statement to preview the ideas they want to discuss. In short, a thesis statement helps writers to structure their subsequent paragraphs and lay out their supporting points. You could also use a thesis to lay out evidence that will backup your argument. Writers should start with making an outline that should include an introduction, thesis statement, and the body, which should incorporate the evidence gathered and a conclusion. Your conclusion should tie all the collected evidence and use insightful ways to restate the argument.

Persuade Audiences with Passion

It’s far easier to argue a topic that has a personal meaning persuasively. As such, it’s crucial to bring passion to an essay. Pick the most exciting topic if you have the freedom to make a choice. Choosing a fascinating subject matter can motivate a writer to dig deeper into the research and write with passion. It also allows writers to convey their feelings to the audience in an energetic way. In fact, readers are more likely to understand a viewpoint when writers channel their emotions into a rational argument. That makes readers receptive to the core argument of the essay.

Research Extensively

It is not enough to persuade readers with unfounded or inaccurate information. As such, writers need to familiarize themselves with all views of their chosen subject before starting to write an essay. You should research the best evidence for and against your argument. Note that only credible, legitimate sources such as peer-reviewed articles and journals can support a persuasive argument. It’s easier to write an exciting essay when one understands the strengths and weaknesses of different viewpoints. Researching will also enable authors to formulate a rational defense against scholars that will disagree with their perspective. It’s also easier to intensify an argument and prune distracting facts when one understands the subject matter well. In short, writers need to know what they will discuss before starting to write an essay.

Draw on Life Experiences

Part of the research process can and should include drawing back on life experiences. Living away from home and in a different country, for example, can be beneficial to your personal, academic, and social growth. Students could enroll in either structured or unstructured gap year programs and spend their holiday volunteering or traveling abroad. Some gap year benefits include acceleration of the transition from high school to college. It also ensures students experience life beyond school and apply real-life experiences in solving mathematical problems and writing essays. Below is a guide to writing a fantastic persuasive article.

Ideas in a persuasive essay often have consequences. Make sure you are aware of the implications of a topic that seems controversial in the public realm. You won’t worry about lawsuits if you write an essay responsibly and with integrity. Maintaining honesty and mindedness in a persuasive essay helps avoid descending into deceit and fallacy. Integrity is what distinguishes a compelling article from propaganda. As such, writers should be careful not to let their personal bias mischaracterize sound evidence or opposing views.

Brett Clawson is a writer and entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management. He enjoys researching emerging business trends and sharing their impact on business and the industry as a whole. He believes that the best way to influence others and share his knowledge with the world is through his writing.

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10.9 Persuasion

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of persuasion in writing.
  • Identify bias in writing.
  • Assess various rhetorical devices.
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion.
  • Understand the importance of visuals to strengthen arguments.
  • Write a persuasive essay.

The Purpose of Persuasive Writing

The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince, motivate, or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion. The act of trying to persuade automatically implies more than one opinion on the subject can be argued.

The idea of an argument often conjures up images of two people yelling and screaming in anger. In writing, however, an argument is very different. An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue in writing is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way. Written arguments often fail when they employ ranting rather than reasoning.

Most of us feel inclined to try to win the arguments we engage in. On some level, we all want to be right, and we want others to see the error of their ways. More times than not, however, arguments in which both sides try to win end up producing losers all around. The more productive approach is to persuade your audience to consider your opinion as a valid one, not simply the right one.

The Structure of a Persuasive Essay

The following five features make up the structure of a persuasive essay:

  • Introduction and thesis
  • Opposing and qualifying ideas
  • Strong evidence in support of claim
  • Style and tone of language
  • A compelling conclusion

Creating an Introduction and Thesis

The persuasive essay begins with an engaging introduction that presents the general topic. The thesis typically appears somewhere in the introduction and states the writer’s point of view.

Avoid forming a thesis based on a negative claim. For example, “The hourly minimum wage is not high enough for the average worker to live on.” This is probably a true statement, but persuasive arguments should make a positive case. That is, the thesis statement should focus on how the hourly minimum wage is low or insufficient.

Acknowledging Opposing Ideas and Limits to Your Argument

Because an argument implies differing points of view on the subject, you must be sure to acknowledge those opposing ideas. Avoiding ideas that conflict with your own gives the reader the impression that you may be uncertain, fearful, or unaware of opposing ideas. Thus it is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.

Try to address opposing arguments earlier rather than later in your essay. Rhetorically speaking, ordering your positive arguments last allows you to better address ideas that conflict with your own, so you can spend the rest of the essay countering those arguments. This way, you leave your reader thinking about your argument rather than someone else’s. You have the last word.

Acknowledging points of view different from your own also has the effect of fostering more credibility between you and the audience. They know from the outset that you are aware of opposing ideas and that you are not afraid to give them space.

It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish. In effect, you are conceding early on that your argument is not the ultimate authority on a given topic. Such humility can go a long way toward earning credibility and trust with an audience. Audience members will know from the beginning that you are a reasonable writer, and audience members will trust your argument as a result. For example, in the following concessionary statement, the writer advocates for stricter gun control laws, but she admits it will not solve all of our problems with crime:

Although tougher gun control laws are a powerful first step in decreasing violence in our streets, such legislation alone cannot end these problems since guns are not the only problem we face.

Such a concession will be welcome by those who might disagree with this writer’s argument in the first place. To effectively persuade their readers, writers need to be modest in their goals and humble in their approach to get readers to listen to the ideas. See Table 10.5 “Phrases of Concession” for some useful phrases of concession.

Table 10.5 Phrases of Concession

Try to form a thesis for each of the following topics. Remember the more specific your thesis, the better.

  • Foreign policy
  • Television and advertising
  • Stereotypes and prejudice
  • Gender roles and the workplace
  • Driving and cell phones

Collaboration

Please share with a classmate and compare your answers. Choose the thesis statement that most interests you and discuss why.

Bias in Writing

Everyone has various biases on any number of topics. For example, you might have a bias toward wearing black instead of brightly colored clothes or wearing jeans rather than formal wear. You might have a bias toward working at night rather than in the morning, or working by deadlines rather than getting tasks done in advance. These examples identify minor biases, of course, but they still indicate preferences and opinions.

Handling bias in writing and in daily life can be a useful skill. It will allow you to articulate your own points of view while also defending yourself against unreasonable points of view. The ideal in persuasive writing is to let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and a respectful and reasonable address of opposing sides.

The strength of a personal bias is that it can motivate you to construct a strong argument. If you are invested in the topic, you are more likely to care about the piece of writing. Similarly, the more you care, the more time and effort you are apt to put forth and the better the final product will be.

The weakness of bias is when the bias begins to take over the essay—when, for example, you neglect opposing ideas, exaggerate your points, or repeatedly insert yourself ahead of the subject by using I too often. Being aware of all three of these pitfalls will help you avoid them.

The Use of I in Writing

The use of I in writing is often a topic of debate, and the acceptance of its usage varies from instructor to instructor. It is difficult to predict the preferences for all your present and future instructors, but consider the effects it can potentially have on your writing.

Be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound overly biased. There are two primary reasons:

  • Excessive repetition of any word will eventually catch the reader’s attention—and usually not in a good way. The use of I is no different.
  • The insertion of I into a sentence alters not only the way a sentence might sound but also the composition of the sentence itself. I is often the subject of a sentence. If the subject of the essay is supposed to be, say, smoking, then by inserting yourself into the sentence, you are effectively displacing the subject of the essay into a secondary position. In the following example, the subject of the sentence is underlined:

Smoking is bad.

I think smoking is bad.

In the first sentence, the rightful subject, smoking , is in the subject position in the sentence. In the second sentence, the insertion of I and think replaces smoking as the subject, which draws attention to I and away from the topic that is supposed to be discussed. Remember to keep the message (the subject) and the messenger (the writer) separate.

Developing Sound Arguments

Does my essay contain the following elements?

  • An engaging introduction
  • A reasonable, specific thesis that is able to be supported by evidence
  • A varied range of evidence from credible sources
  • Respectful acknowledgement and explanation of opposing ideas
  • A style and tone of language that is appropriate for the subject and audience
  • Acknowledgement of the argument’s limits
  • A conclusion that will adequately summarize the essay and reinforce the thesis

Fact and Opinion

Facts are statements that can be definitely proven using objective data. The statement that is a fact is absolutely valid. In other words, the statement can be pronounced as true or false. For example, 2 + 2 = 4. This expression identifies a true statement, or a fact, because it can be proved with objective data.

Opinions are personal views, or judgments. An opinion is what an individual believes about a particular subject. However, an opinion in argumentation must have legitimate backing; adequate evidence and credibility should support the opinion. Consider the credibility of expert opinions. Experts in a given field have the knowledge and credentials to make their opinion meaningful to a larger audience.

For example, you seek the opinion of your dentist when it comes to the health of your gums, and you seek the opinion of your mechanic when it comes to the maintenance of your car. Both have knowledge and credentials in those respective fields, which is why their opinions matter to you. But the authority of your dentist may be greatly diminished should he or she offer an opinion about your car, and vice versa.

In writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions. Relying on one or the other will likely lose more of your audience than it gains.

The word prove is frequently used in the discussion of persuasive writing. Writers may claim that one piece of evidence or another proves the argument, but proving an argument is often not possible. No evidence proves a debatable topic one way or the other; that is why the topic is debatable. Facts can be proved, but opinions can only be supported, explained, and persuaded.

On a separate sheet of paper, take three of the theses you formed in Note 10.94 “Exercise 1” , and list the types of evidence you might use in support of that thesis.

Using the evidence you provided in support of the three theses in Note 10.100 “Exercise 2” , come up with at least one counterargument to each. Then write a concession statement, expressing the limits to each of your three arguments.

Using Visual Elements to Strengthen Arguments

Adding visual elements to a persuasive argument can often strengthen its persuasive effect. There are two main types of visual elements: quantitative visuals and qualitative visuals.

Quantitative visuals present data graphically. They allow the audience to see statistics spatially. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience. For example, sometimes it is easier to understand the disparity in certain statistics if you can see how the disparity looks graphically. Bar graphs, pie charts, Venn diagrams, histograms, and line graphs are all ways of presenting quantitative data in spatial dimensions.

Qualitative visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions. Photographs and pictorial images are examples of qualitative visuals. Such images often try to convey a story, and seeing an actual example can carry more power than hearing or reading about the example. For example, one image of a child suffering from malnutrition will likely have more of an emotional impact than pages dedicated to describing that same condition in writing.

Writing at Work

When making a business presentation, you typically have limited time to get across your idea. Providing visual elements for your audience can be an effective timesaving tool. Quantitative visuals in business presentations serve the same purpose as they do in persuasive writing. They should make logical appeals by showing numerical data in a spatial design. Quantitative visuals should be pictures that might appeal to your audience’s emotions. You will find that many of the rhetorical devices used in writing are the same ones used in the workplace. For more information about visuals in presentations, see Chapter 14 “Creating Presentations: Sharing Your Ideas” .

Writing a Persuasive Essay

Choose a topic that you feel passionate about. If your instructor requires you to write about a specific topic, approach the subject from an angle that interests you. Begin your essay with an engaging introduction. Your thesis should typically appear somewhere in your introduction.

Start by acknowledging and explaining points of view that may conflict with your own to build credibility and trust with your audience. Also state the limits of your argument. This too helps you sound more reasonable and honest to those who may naturally be inclined to disagree with your view. By respectfully acknowledging opposing arguments and conceding limitations to your own view, you set a measured and responsible tone for the essay.

Make your appeals in support of your thesis by using sound, credible evidence. Use a balance of facts and opinions from a wide range of sources, such as scientific studies, expert testimony, statistics, and personal anecdotes. Each piece of evidence should be fully explained and clearly stated.

Make sure that your style and tone are appropriate for your subject and audience. Tailor your language and word choice to these two factors, while still being true to your own voice.

Finally, write a conclusion that effectively summarizes the main argument and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample persuasive essay.

Choose one of the topics you have been working on throughout this section. Use the thesis, evidence, opposing argument, and concessionary statement as the basis for writing a full persuasive essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, clear explanations of all the evidence you present, and a strong conclusion.

Key Takeaways

  • The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion.
  • An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue, in writing, is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way.
  • A thesis that expresses the opinion of the writer in more specific terms is better than one that is vague.
  • It is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.
  • It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish through a concession statement.
  • To persuade a skeptical audience, you will need to use a wide range of evidence. Scientific studies, opinions from experts, historical precedent, statistics, personal anecdotes, and current events are all types of evidence that you might use in explaining your point.
  • Make sure that your word choice and writing style is appropriate for both your subject and your audience.
  • You should let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and respectfully and reasonably addressing opposing ideas.
  • You should be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound more biased than it needs to.
  • Facts are statements that can be proven using objective data.
  • Opinions are personal views, or judgments, that cannot be proven.
  • In writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions.
  • Quantitative visuals present data graphically. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience.
  • Qualitative visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Paper Types / How to Write a Persuasive Essay

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

The entire point of a persuasive essay is to persuade or convince the reader to agree with your perspective on the topic. In this type of essay, you’re not limited to facts. It’s completely acceptable to include your opinions and back them up with facts, where necessary.

Guide Overview

  • Be assertive
  • Use words that evoke emotion
  • Make it personal
  • Topic selection hints

Tricks for Writing a Persuasive Essay

In this type of writing, you’ll find it is particularly helpful to focus on the emotional side of things. Make your reader feel what you feel and bring them into your way of thinking. There are a few ways to do that.

Be Assertive

A persuasive essay doesn’t have to be gentle in how it presents your opinion. You really want people to agree with you, so focus on making that happen, even if it means pushing the envelope a little. You’ll tend to get higher grades for this, because the essay is more likely to convince the reader to agree. Consider using an Persuasive Essay Template to understand the key elements of the essay.

Use Words that Evoke Emotion

It’s easier to get people to see things your way when they feel an emotional connection. As you describe your topic, make sure to incorporate words that cause people to feel an emotion. For example, instead of saying, “children are taken from their parents” you might say, “children are torn from the loving arms of their parents, kicking and screaming.” Dramatic? Yes, but it gets the point across and helps your reader experience the

Make it Personal

By using first person, you make the reader feel like they know you. Talking about the reader in second person can help them feel included and begin to imagine themselves in your shoes. Telling someone “many people are affected by this” and telling them “you are affected by this every day” will have very different results.

While each of these tips can help improve your essay, there’s no rule that you have to actually persuade for your own point of view. If you feel the essay would be more interesting if you take the opposite stance, why not write it that way? This will require more research and thinking, but you could end up with a very unique essay that will catch the teacher’s eye.

Topic Selection Hints

A persuasive essay requires a topic that has multiple points of view. In most cases, topics like the moon being made of rock would be difficult to argue, since this is a solid fact. This means you’ll need to choose something that has more than one reasonable opinion related to it.

A good topic for a persuasive essay would be something that you could persuade for or against.

Some examples include:

  • Should children be required to use booster seats until age 12?
  • Should schools allow the sale of sugary desserts and candy?
  • Should marijuana use be legal?
  • Should high school students be confined to school grounds during school hours?
  • Should GMO food be labeled by law?
  • Should police be required to undergo sensitivity training?
  • Should the United States withdraw troops from overseas?

Some topics are more controversial than others, but any of these could be argued from either point of view . . . some even allow for multiple points of view.

As you write your persuasive essay, remember that your goal is to get the reader to nod their head and agree with you. Each section of the essay should bring you closer to this goal. If you write the essay with this in mind, you’ll end up with a paper that will receive high grades.

Finally, if you’re ever facing writer’s block for your college paper, consider WriteWell’s template gallery to help you get started.

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III. Rhetorical Situation

3.9 Bias in Writing

Kathryn Crowther; Lauren Curtright; Nancy Gilbert; Barbara Hall; Tracienne Ravita; and Kirk Swenson

Everyone has various biases on any number of topics. For example, you might have a bias toward listening to music radio stations rather than talk radio or news programs. You might have a bias toward working at night rather than in the morning, or working by deadlines rather than getting tasks done in advance. These examples identify minor biases, of course, but they still indicate preferences and opinions.

Handling bias in writing and in daily life can be a useful skill. It will allow you to articulate your own points of view while also defending yourself against unreasonable points of view. The ideal in persuasive writing is to let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and a respectful and reasonable address of opposing sides.

The strength of a personal bias is that it can motivate you to construct a strong argument. If you are invested in the topic, you are more likely to care about the piece of writing. Similarly, the more you care, the more time and effort you will put forth and the better the final product will be. The weakness of bias is when the bias begins to take over the essay—when, for example, you neglect opposing ideas, exaggerate your points, or repeatedly insert yourself ahead of the subject by using “I” too often. Being aware of all three of these pitfalls will help you avoid them.

Practice Activity

This section contains material from:

Crowther, Kathryn, Lauren Curtright, Nancy Gilbert, Barbara Hall, Tracienne Ravita, and Kirk Swenson. Successful College Composition . 2nd edition. Book 8. Georgia: English Open Textbooks, 2016. http://oer.galileo.usg.edu/english-textbooks/8 . Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License . Archival link: https://web.archive.org/web/20230711203012/https://oer.galileo.usg.edu/english-textbooks/8/

To have a particular opinion or attitude about a subject that is based in feeling, inclination, or tendency rather than researched facts; preconceived notions.

3.9 Bias in Writing Copyright © 2023 by Kathryn Crowther; Lauren Curtright; Nancy Gilbert; Barbara Hall; Tracienne Ravita; and Kirk Swenson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 6 Steps

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A persuasive essay is defined by two purposes: to convince the audience to agree with the speaker’s position on a debatable issue and to inspire listeners to take action. In order to succeed, the speaker must forge a relationship with the audience, while appealing to their intellect and emotions. Let’s look at six steps to writing an excellent persuasive essay.

1. Choose a debatable issue about which you have strong feelings and a definite position.

A debatable issue is one that generates conflicting opinions and points of view; it also may generate strong personal or professional feelings as to how it should be addressed. A persuasive essay is likely to be more effective if you invest your time and effort in writing about an issue that is important to you, perhaps one that you relate to personally.      

2. Research all sides of the issue and take notes.

Once you have chosen an issue for your essay, research conflicting views about it. Take notes over information that supports your position on the issue: facts, examples, statistics, anecdotes, and quotations from experts and/or reliable studies. Record the sources of the information to establish its reliability. Also, take notes over information that supports the strongest argument against your position on the issue. 

3. Draft a thesis statement for your essay.

Like most essays, a persuasive essay needs a thesis statement: a sentence that clearly states what you will explain and support in the essay. Write a thesis that clearly states your position on the issue.

4. Create a working outline.

A working outline is not detailed. Referring to your notes, create a 3-part working outline that lists 2 of the strongest arguments in favor of your position and the strongest argument against it. 

5. Draft the introduction, main body, and conclusion of your essay.

In drafting your essay, keep in mind the objectives to achieve in each part. Also, incorporate rhetorical devices, imagery, and figurative language throughout the text.

Introduction: To arouse the interest of the audience, use one or more of these methods. 

  • Begin with an anecdote that relates to the subject of the essay; it can be an anecdote from your personal experience or one you have heard or read from another source.
  • Begin with historical or factual information of interest regarding the subject.
  • Begin with a quotation that relates to the subject. Quotations from history, literature, or contemporary figures can all be effective; identify the source of the quotation.

Develop the introduction by identifying the general subject of your essay and the specific issue at hand; acknowledge that the issue generates disagreement, as views regarding it often conflict. 

Conclude the introduction with your thesis, stating your position on the issue clearly and concisely.  

Main Body: Refer to your working outline while writing the main body of your essay. Draft a main body paragraph to address each of the three parts of the outline. Since the working outline includes two arguments supporting your position and one opposing it, the main body may consist of three paragraphs; however, if more than one paragraph is required to thoroughly address a part of your outline, by all means, write it. Refer to your research notes and the list of rhetorical devices while developing each paragraph. 

Conclusion: The final paragraph should indicate to listeners that your essay is reaching an end.  

  • Restate the issue and your position regarding it. 
  • Briefly sum up your two arguments in favor of your position.
  • Explain what will happen if your position is not adopted and why the resulting consequences are important to the audience.
  • Point out actions that should be taken in addressing the issue to avoid serious consequences.

The final sentence of the conclusion should leave listeners with something to think about. A powerful, thought-provoking quotation, a vivid image, or a final rhetorical question—asked and answered—will provide a sense of closure, while emphasizing the validity of your essay.  

6. Review the structure and content of the essay, and revise the text to make it more effective and convincing. 

After reviewing and revising the text of your essay, you should be able to answer “yes” to these questions:

Is there a paragraph of introduction?

  • Have you engaged the interest of the audience in some way?
  • Have you established your own voice in the essay and created a bond between you and your listeners?
  • Have you identified the topic and the specific issue of your essay?
  • Does the paragraph end with a thesis statement that clearly states your position on the issue?

Does the main body consist of at least 3 paragraphs? 

  • In the first main body paragraph, have you stated the strongest argument against your position on the issue? Have you refuted the argument with various types of specific evidence?
  • In the second main body paragraph, have you presented your first argument in favor of your position? Have you supported your argument with various types of specific evidence?
  • In the third main body paragraph, have you presented a stronger argument in favor of your position,  the best argument you can present? Have you supported it with various types of specific evidence?
  • Throughout the main body paragraphs, have you included appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos?

Is there a paragraph of conclusion?

  • Have you restated the issue and your position on it?
  • Have you summed up your two arguments in favor of your position?
  • Have you explained what will happen if your position is not adopted and why the resulting consequences are important to the audience?
  • Have you pointed out actions that should be taken in addressing the issue to avoid serious consequences?
  • Does the conclusion give listeners a sense of closure and leave them with something to think about?

Does the text of your essay employ numerous rhetorical devices?

As you read your essay aloud, have you provided transition words and phrases to move smoothly from one part of a paragraph to another and from one paragraph to the next?

Do you think your essay is persuasive and will hold the attention of the audience? (If not, why not? What would make it more persuasive and engaging?)

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

Table of contents

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

Meredith Sell

You can make your essay more persuasive by getting straight to the point.

In fact, that's exactly what we did here, and that's just the first tip of this guide. Throughout this guide, we share the steps needed to prove an argument and create a persuasive essay.

This AI tool helps you improve your essay > This AI tool helps you improve your essay >

persuasive essay

Key takeaways: - Proven process to make any argument persuasive - 5-step process to structure arguments - How to use AI to formulate and optimize your essay

Why is being persuasive so difficult?

"Write an essay that persuades the reader of your opinion on a topic of your choice."

You might be staring at an assignment description just like this 👆from your professor. Your computer is open to a blank document, the cursor blinking impatiently. Do I even have opinions?

The persuasive essay can be one of the most intimidating academic papers to write: not only do you need to identify a narrow topic and research it, but you also have to come up with a position on that topic that you can back up with research while simultaneously addressing different viewpoints.

That’s a big ask. And let’s be real: most opinion pieces in major news publications don’t fulfill these requirements.

The upside? By researching and writing your own opinion, you can learn how to better formulate not only an argument but the actual positions you decide to hold. 

Here, we break down exactly how to write a persuasive essay. We’ll start by taking a step that’s key for every piece of writing—defining the terms.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay is exactly what it sounds like: an essay that persuades . Over the course of several paragraphs or pages, you’ll use researched facts and logic to convince the reader of your opinion on a particular topic and discredit opposing opinions.

While you’ll spend some time explaining the topic or issue in question, most of your essay will flesh out your viewpoint and the evidence that supports it.

The 5 Must-Have Steps of a Persuasive Essay

If you’re intimidated by the idea of writing an argument, use this list to break your process into manageable chunks. Tackle researching and writing one element at a time, and then revise your essay so that it flows smoothly and coherently with every component in the optimal place.

1. A topic or issue to argue

This is probably the hardest step. You need to identify a topic or issue that is narrow enough to cover in the length of your piece—and is also arguable from more than one position. Your topic must call for an opinion , and not be a simple fact .

It might be helpful to walk through this process:

  • Identify a random topic
  • Ask a question about the topic that involves a value claim or analysis to answer
  • Answer the question

That answer is your opinion.

Let’s consider some examples, from silly to serious:

Topic: Dolphins and mermaids

Question: In a mythical match, who would win: a dolphin or a mermaid?

Answer/Opinion: The mermaid would win in a match against a dolphin.

Topic: Autumn

Question: Which has a better fall: New England or Colorado?

Answer/Opinion: Fall is better in New England than Colorado.

Topic: Electric transportation options

Question: Would it be better for an urban dweller to buy an electric bike or an electric car?

Answer/Opinion: An electric bike is a better investment than an electric car.

Your turn: Walk through the three-step process described above to identify your topic and your tentative opinion. You may want to start by brainstorming a list of topics you find interesting and then going use the three-step process to find the opinion that would make the best essay topic.

2. An unequivocal thesis statement

If you walked through our three-step process above, you already have some semblance of a thesis—but don’t get attached too soon! 

A solid essay thesis is best developed through the research process. You shouldn’t land on an opinion before you know the facts. So press pause. Take a step back. And dive into your research.

You’ll want to learn:

  • The basic facts of your topic. How long does fall last in New England vs. Colorado? What trees do they have? What colors do those trees turn?
  • The facts specifically relevant to your question. Is there any science on how the varying colors of fall influence human brains and moods?
  • What experts or other noteworthy and valid sources say about the question you’re considering. Has a well-known arborist waxed eloquent on the beauty of New England falls?

As you learn the different viewpoints people have on your topic, pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of existing arguments. Is anyone arguing the perspective you’re leaning toward? Do you find their arguments convincing? What do you find unsatisfying about the various arguments? 

Allow the research process to change your mind and/or refine your thinking on the topic. Your opinion may change entirely or become more specific based on what you learn.

Once you’ve done enough research to feel confident in your understanding of the topic and your opinion on it, craft your thesis. 

Your thesis statement should be clear and concise. It should directly state your viewpoint on the topic, as well as the basic case for your thesis.

Thesis 1: In a mythical match, the mermaid would overcome the dolphin due to one distinct advantage: her ability to breathe underwater.

Thesis 2: The full spectrum of color displayed on New England hillsides is just one reason why fall in the northeast is better than in Colorado.

Thesis 3: In addition to not adding to vehicle traffic, electric bikes are a better investment than electric cars because they’re cheaper and require less energy to accomplish the same function of getting the rider from point A to point B.

Your turn: Dive into the research process with a radar up for the arguments your sources are making about your topic. What are the most convincing cases? Should you stick with your initial opinion or change it up? Write your fleshed-out thesis statement.

3. Evidence to back up your thesis

This is a typical place for everyone from undergrads to politicians to get stuck, but the good news is, if you developed your thesis from research, you already have a good bit of evidence to make your case.

Go back through your research notes and compile a list of every …

… or other piece of information that supports your thesis. 

This info can come from research studies you found in scholarly journals, government publications, news sources, encyclopedias, or other credible sources (as long as they fit your professor’s standards).

As you put this list together, watch for any gaps or weak points. Are you missing information on how electric cars versus electric bicycles charge or how long their batteries last? Did you verify that dolphins are, in fact, mammals and can’t breathe underwater like totally-real-and-not-at-all-fake 😉mermaids can? Track down that information.

Next, organize your list. Group the entries so that similar or closely related information is together, and as you do that, start thinking through how to articulate the individual arguments to support your case. 

Depending on the length of your essay, each argument may get only a paragraph or two of space. As you think through those specific arguments, consider what order to put them in. You’ll probably want to start with the simplest argument and work up to more complicated ones so that the arguments can build on each other. 

Your turn: Organize your evidence and write a rough draft of your arguments. Play around with the order to find the most compelling way to argue your case.

4. Rebuttals to disprove opposing theses

You can’t just present the evidence to support your case and totally ignore other viewpoints. To persuade your readers, you’ll need to address any opposing ideas they may hold about your topic. 

You probably found some holes in the opposing views during your research process. Now’s your chance to expose those holes. 

Take some time (and space) to: describe the opposing views and show why those views don’t hold up. You can accomplish this using both logic and facts.

Is a perspective based on a faulty assumption or misconception of the truth? Shoot it down by providing the facts that disprove the opinion.

Is another opinion drawn from bad or unsound reasoning? Show how that argument falls apart.

Some cases may truly be only a matter of opinion, but you still need to articulate why you don’t find the opposing perspective convincing.

Yes, a dolphin might be stronger than a mermaid, but as a mammal, the dolphin must continually return to the surface for air. A mermaid can breathe both underwater and above water, which gives her a distinct advantage in this mythical battle.

While the Rocky Mountain views are stunning, their limited colors—yellow from aspen trees and green from various evergreens—leaves the autumn-lover less than thrilled. The rich reds and oranges and yellows of the New England fall are more satisfying and awe-inspiring.

But what about longer trips that go beyond the city center into the suburbs and beyond? An electric bike wouldn’t be great for those excursions. Wouldn’t an electric car be the better choice then? 

Certainly, an electric car would be better in these cases than a gas-powered car, but if most of a person’s trips are in their hyper-local area, the electric bicycle is a more environmentally friendly option for those day-to-day outings. That person could then participate in a carshare or use public transit, a ride-sharing app, or even a gas-powered car for longer trips—and still use less energy overall than if they drove an electric car for hyper-local and longer area trips.

Your turn: Organize your rebuttal research and write a draft of each one.

5. A convincing conclusion

You have your arguments and rebuttals. You’ve proven your thesis is rock-solid. Now all you have to do is sum up your overall case and give your final word on the subject. 

Don’t repeat everything you’ve already said. Instead, your conclusion should logically draw from the arguments you’ve made to show how they coherently prove your thesis. You’re pulling everything together and zooming back out with a better understanding of the what and why of your thesis. 

A dolphin may never encounter a mermaid in the wild, but if it were to happen, we know how we’d place our bets. Long hair and fish tail, for the win.

For those of us who relish 50-degree days, sharp air, and the vibrant colors of fall, New England offers a season that’s cozier, longer-lasting, and more aesthetically pleasing than “colorful” Colorado. A leaf-peeper’s paradise.

When most of your trips from day to day are within five miles, the more energy-efficient—and yes, cost-efficient—choice is undoubtedly the electric bike. So strap on your helmet, fire up your pedals, and two-wheel away to your next destination with full confidence that you made the right decision for your wallet and the environment.

3 Quick Tips for Writing a Strong Argument

Once you have a draft to work with, use these tips to refine your argument and make sure you’re not losing readers for avoidable reasons.

1. Choose your words thoughtfully.

If you want to win people over to your side, don’t write in a way that shuts your opponents down. Avoid making abrasive or offensive statements. Instead, use a measured, reasonable tone. Appeal to shared values, and let your facts and logic do the hard work of changing people’s minds.

Choose words with AI

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

You can use AI to turn your general point into a readable argument. Then, you can paraphrase each sentence and choose between competing arguments generated by the AI, until your argument is well-articulated and concise.

2. Prioritize accuracy (and avoid fallacies).

Make sure the facts you use are actually factual. You don’t want to build your argument on false or disproven information. Use the most recent, respected research. Make sure you don’t misconstrue study findings. And when you’re building your case, avoid logical fallacies that undercut your argument.

A few common fallacies to watch out for:

  • Strawman: Misrepresenting or oversimplifying an opposing argument to make it easier to refute.
  • Appeal to ignorance: Arguing that a certain claim must be true because it hasn’t been proven false.
  • Bandwagon: Assumes that if a group of people, experts, etc., agree with a claim, it must be true.
  • Hasty generalization: Using a few examples, rather than substantial evidence, to make a sweeping claim.
  • Appeal to authority: Overly relying on opinions of people who have authority of some kind.

The strongest arguments rely on trustworthy information and sound logic.

Research and add citations with AI

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

We recently wrote a three part piece on researching using AI, so be sure to check it out . Going through an organized process of researching and noting your sources correctly will make sure your written text is more accurate.

3. Persuasive essay structure

Persuasive essay structure

If you’re building a house, you start with the foundation and go from there. It’s the same with an argument. You want to build from the ground up: provide necessary background information, then your thesis. Then, start with the simplest part of your argument and build up in terms of complexity and the aspect of your thesis that the argument is tackling.

A consistent, internal logic will make it easier for the reader to follow your argument. Plus, you’ll avoid confusing your reader and you won’t be unnecessarily redundant.

The essay structure usually includes the following parts:

  • Intro - Hook, Background information, Thesis statement
  • Topic sentence #1 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Concluding sentence
  • Topic sentence #2 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Concluding sentence Topic sentence #3 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Conclusion - Thesis and main points restated, call to action, thought provoking ending

Are You Ready to Write?

Persuasive essays are a great way to hone your research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Approach this assignment well, and you’ll learn how to form opinions based on information (not just ideas) and make arguments that—if they don’t change minds—at least win readers’ respect. ‍

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Connecting With Readers on an Emotional Level Takes Skill and Careful Planning

  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Research Papers
  • English Grammar
  • M.A., English Literature, California State University - Sacramento
  • B.A., English, California State University - Sacramento

When writing a persuasive essay, the author's goal is to sway the reader to share his or her opinion. It can be more difficult than  making an argument , which involves using facts to prove a point. A successful persuasive essay will reach the reader on an emotional level, much the way a well-spoken politician does. Persuasive speakers aren't necessarily trying to convert the reader or listener to completely change their minds, but rather to consider an idea or a focus in a different way. While it's important to use credible arguments supported by facts, the persuasive writer wants to convince the reader or listener that his or her argument is not simply correct, but convincing as well.

The are several different ways to choose a topic for your persuasive essay . Your teacher may give you a prompt or a choice of several prompts. Or you may have to come up with a topic, based on your own experience or the texts you've been studying. If you do have some choice in the topic selection, it's helpful if you select one that interests you and about which you already feel strongly.

Another key factor to consider before you begin writing is the audience. If you're trying to persuade a roomful of teachers that homework is bad, for instance, you'll use a different set of arguments than you would if the audience was made up of high school students or parents.

Once you have the topic and have considered the audience, there are a few steps to prepare yourself before you begin writing your persuasive essay:

  • Brainstorm.  Use whatever method of brainstorming works best for you. Write down your thoughts about the topic. Make sure you know where you stand on the issue. You can even try asking yourself some questions. Ideally, you'll try to ask yourself questions that could be used to refute your argument, or that could convince a reader of the opposite point of view. If you don't think of the opposing point of view, chances are your instructor or a member of your audience will.
  • Investigate.  Talk to classmates, friends, and teachers about the topic. What do they think about it? The responses that you get from these people will give you a preview of how they would respond to your opinion. Talking out your ideas, and testing your opinions, is a good way to collect evidence. Try making your arguments out loud. Do you sound shrill and angry, or determined and self-assured? What you say is as important as how you say it.
  • Think.  It may seem obvious, but you really have to think about how you are going to persuade your audience. Use a calm, reasoning tone. While persuasive essay writing is at its most basic an exercise in emotion, try not to choose words that are belittling to the opposing viewpoint, or that rely on insults. Explain to your reader why, despite the other side of the argument, your viewpoint is the "right," most logical one.
  • Find examples.  There are many writers and speakers who offer compelling, persuasive arguments. Martin Luther King Jr.'s " I Have a Dream " speech is widely cited as one of the most persuasive arguments in American rhetoric. Eleanor Roosevelt's " The Struggle for Human Rights " is another example of a skilled writer trying to persuade an audience. But be careful: While you can emulate a certain writer's style, be careful not to stray too far into imitation. Be sure the words you're choosing are your own, not words that sound like they've come from a thesaurus (or worse, that they're someone else's words entirely).
  • Organize.  In any paper that you write you should make sure that your points are well-organized and that your supporting ideas are clear, concise, and to the point. In persuasive writing, though, it is especially important that you use specific examples to illustrate your main points. Don't give your reader the impression that you are not educated on the issues related to your topic. Choose your words carefully.
  • Stick to the script.  The best essays follow a simple set of rules: First, tell your reader what you're going to tell them. Then, tell them. Then, tell them what you've told them. Have a strong, concise thesis statement before you get past the second paragraph, because this is the clue to the reader or listener to sit up and pay attention.
  • Review and revise.  If you know you're going to have more than one opportunity to present your essay, learn from the audience or reader feedback, and continue to try to improve your work. A good argument can become a great one if properly fine-tuned.
  • 100 Persuasive Essay Topics
  • 50 Argumentative Essay Topics
  • 100 Persuasive Speech Topics for Students
  • Examples of Great Introductory Paragraphs
  • How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech
  • Persuasion and Rhetorical Definition
  • Persuasive Writing: For and Against
  • How to Write a Good Thesis Statement
  • Ethos, Logos, Pathos for Persuasion
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper
  • What Is Expository Writing?
  • 49 Opinion Writing Prompts for Students
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech
  • Writing Prompt (Composition)
  • Convince Me: A Persuasive Writing Activity

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

Writing a Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays convince readers to accept a certain perspective. Writing a persuasive essay therefore entails making an argument that will appeal to readers, so they believe what you say has merit. This act of appealing to readers is the art of persuasion, also known as rhetoric. In classical rhetoric, persuasion involves appealing to readers using ethos, pathos, and logos.

In this tutorial, we refer to the sample persuasive draft and final paper written by fictional student Maggie Durham.

THE ART OF PERSUASION

Ethos refers to establishing yourself as a credible source of information. To convince an audience of anything, they must first trust you are being earnest and ethical. One strategy to do this is to write a balanced discussion with relevant and reliable research that supports your claims. Reliable research would include quoting or paraphrasing experts, first-hand witnesses, or authorities. Properly citing your sources, so your readers can also retrieve them, is another factor in establishing a reliable ethos. When writing for academic purposes, expressing your argument using unbiased language and a neutral tone will also indicate you are arguing fairly and with consideration of others having differing views.

When you appeal to your readers’ emotions, you are using pathos. This appeal is common in advertising that convinces consumers they lack something and buying a certain product or service will fulfill that lack. Emotional appeals are subtler in academic writing; they serve to engage a reader in the argument and inspire a change of heart or motivate readers toward a course of action. The examples you use, how you define terms, any comparisons you draw, as well as the language choices you use can draw readers in and impact their willingness to go along with your ideas.

Consider that one purpose of persuasion is to appeal to those who do not already agree with you, so it will be important to show that you understand other points of view. You will also want to avoid derogatory or insulting descriptions or remarks about the opposition. You wouldn’t want to offend the very readers you want to persuade.

Establishing an appeal of logos is to write a sound argument, one that readers can follow and understand. To do this, the facts and evidence you use should be relevant, representative, and reliable, and the writing as a whole should be well organized, developed, and edited.

STEPS FOR WRITING PERSUASIVELY

Step one: determine the topic.

The first step in writing a persuasive essay is to establish the topic. The best topic is one that interests you. You can generate ideas for a topic by prewriting, such as by brainstorming whatever comes to mind, recording in grocery-list fashion your thoughts, or freewriting in complete sentences what you know or think about topics of interest.

Whatever topic you choose, it needs to be:

  • Interesting : The topic should appeal both to you and to your intended readers.
  • Researchable : A body of knowledge should already exist on the topic.
  • Nonfiction : The information about the topic should be factual, not based on personal opinions or conspiracy theories.
  • Important : Your reader should think the topic is relevant to them or worthy of being explored and discussed.

Our sample student Maggie Durham has selected the topic of educational technology. We will use Maggie’s sample persuasive draft and final paper as we discuss the steps for writing a persuasive essay.

Step Two: Pose a Research Question

Once you have a topic, the next step is to develop a research question along with related questions that delve further into the first question. If you do not know what to ask, start with one of the question words: What? Who? Where? When? Why? and How? The research question helps you focus or narrow the scope of your topic by identifying a problem, controversy, or aspect of the topic that is worth exploration and discussion. Some general questions about a topic would be the following:

  • Who is affected by this problem and how?
  • Have previous efforts or polices been made to address this problem? – What are they?
  • Why hasn’t this problem been solved already?

For Maggie’s topic of educational technology, potential issues or controversies range from data privacy to digital literacy to the impact of technology on learning, which is what Maggie is interested in. Maggie’s local school district has low literacy rates, so Maggie wants to know the following:

  • Are there advantages and/or disadvantages of technology within primary and secondary education?
  • Which types of technology are considered the best in terms of quality and endurance?
  • What types of technology and/or programs do students like using and why?
  • Do teachers know how to use certain technologies with curriculum design, instruction, and/or assessment?

Step Three: Draft a Thesis

A thesis is a claim that asserts your main argument about the topic. As you conduct your research and draft your paper, you may discover information that changes your mind about your thesis, so at this point in writing, the thesis is tentative. Still, it is an important step in narrowing your focus for research and writing.

The thesis should

1. be a complete sentence,

2. identify the topic, and

3. make a specific claim about that topic.

In a persuasive paper, the thesis is a claim that someone should believe or do something. For example, a persuasive thesis might assert that something is effective or ineffective. It might state that a policy should be changed or a plan should be implemented. Or a persuasive thesis might be a plea for people to change their minds about a particular issue.

Once you have figured out your research question, your thesis is simply the answer. Maggie’s thesis is “Schools should supply technology aids to all students to increase student learning and literacy rates.” Her next step is to find evidence to support her claim.

Step Four: Research

Once you have a topic, research question, and thesis, you are ready to conduct research. To find sources that would be appropriate for an academic persuasive essay, begin your search in the library. The Purdue Global Library has a number of tutorials on conducting research, choosing search teams, types of sources, and how to evaluate information to determine its reliability and usefulness. Remember that the research you use will not only provide content to prove your claim and develop your essay, but it will also help to establish your credibility as a reliable source (ethos), create a logical framework for your argument (logos), and appeal to your readers emotionally (pathos).

Step Five: Plan Your Argument; Make an Outline

Once you have located quality source information—facts, examples, definitions, knowledge, and other information that answers your research question(s), you’ll want to create an outline to organize it. The example outline below illustrates a logical organizational plan for writing a persuasive essay. The example outline begins with an introduction that presents the topic, explains the issue, and asserts the position (the thesis). The body then provides the reasoning for the position and addresses the opposing viewpoints that some readers may hold. In your paper, you could modify this organization and address the opposing viewpoints first and then give the reasoning for your viewpoints, or you can alternate and give one opposing viewpoint then counter that with your viewpoint and then give another opposing viewpoint and counter that with your viewpoint.

The outline below also considers the alternatives to the position—certainly, there are other ways to think about or address the issue or situation. Considering the alternatives can be done in conjunction with looking at the opposing viewpoints. You do not always have to disagree with other opinions, either. You can acknowledge that another solution could work or another belief is valid. However, at the end of the body section, you will want to stand by your original position and prove that in light of all the opposing viewpoints and other perspectives, your position has the most merit.

Sample Outline of a Persuasive Argument

  • 1. Introduction: Tell them what you will tell them.
  • a. Present an interesting fact or description to make the topic clear and capture the reader’s attention.
  • b. Define and narrow the topic using facts or descriptions to illustrate what the situation or issue is (and that is it important).
  • c. Assert the claim (thesis) that something should be believed or done about the issue. (Some writers also briefly state the reasons behind this claim in the thesis as Maggie does in her paper when she claims that schools should supply tablets to students to increase learning , engagement, and literacy rates ).
  • 2. Body: Tell them.
  • a. Defend the claim with logical reasons and practical examples based on research.
  • b. Anticipate objections to the claim and refute or accommodate them with research.
  • c. Consider alternate positions or solutions using examples from research.
  • d. Present a final point based on research that supports your claim in light of the objections and alternatives considered.
  • 3. Conclusion: Tell them what you told them.
  • a. Recap the main points to reinforce the importance of the issue.
  • b. Restate the thesis in new wording to reinforce your position.
  • c. Make a final remark to leave a lasting impression, so the reader will want to continue this conversation and ideally adopt the belief or take the action you are advocating.

In Maggie’s draft, she introduced the topic with facts about school ratings in Texas and then narrowed the topic using the example of her local school district’s literacy rates. She then claimed the district should provide each student a tablet in order to increase learning (and thus, literacy rates).

Maggie defends her claim with a series of examples from research that proved how access to tablets, technology-integrated curriculums, and “flipped classrooms” have improved literacy rates in other districts. She anticipates objections to her proposal due to the high cost of technology and counter argues this with expert opinions and examples that show partnerships with businesses, personalized curriculums that technology makes possible, and teacher training can balance the costs. Maggie included an alternative solution of having students check out tablets from the library, but her research showed that this still left students needing Wi-Fi at home while her proposal would include a plan for students to access Wi-Fi.

Maggie concluded her argument by pointing out the cost of not helping the students in this way and restated her thesis reaffirming the benefits, and then left the reader with a memorable quote.

Click here to see Maggie’s draft with feedback from her instructor and a peer. Sample Persuasive Draft

Feedback, Revision, and Editing

After you write a draft of your persuasive essay, the next step is to have a peer, instructor, or tutor read it and provide feedback. Without reader feedback, you cannot fully know how your readers will react to your argument. Reader feedback is meant to be constructive. Use it to better understand your readers and craft your argument to more appropriately appeal to them.

Maggie received valuable feedback on her draft from her instructor and classmate. They pointed to where her thesis needed to be even more specific, to paragraphs where a different organization would make her argument more convincing, to parts of the paper that lacked examples, sentences that needed revision and editing for greater clarity, and APA formatting that needed to be edited.

Maggie also took a critical look at her paper and looked back at her writing process. One technique she found helpful was to read her paper aloud because it let her know where her wording and organization were not clear. She did this several times as she revised and again as she edited and refined her paper for sentence level clarity and concision.

In the end, Maggie produced a convincing persuasive essay and effective argument that would appeal to readers who are also interested in the way technology can impact and improve student learning, an important topic in 2014 when this paper was written and still relevant today.

Click here to see Maggie’s final draft after revising and editing. Sample Persuasive Revised

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Chapter 10. Persuasion

This chapter is short in comparison to the other chapters you have read. That is because you will be expected to complete your critique this week. In the next chapter, Developing a Convincing Argument , you will need to apply this information and structures in developing your persuasive paper, the last essay form you will learn in this course.

10.1 The Purpose of Persuasion

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose of persuasion in writing

The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince, motivate, or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion. The act of trying to persuade automatically implies more than one opinion on the subject can be argued.

The idea of an argument often conjures up images of two people yelling and screaming in anger. In writing, however, an argument is very different. An argument  is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue in writing is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way. Written arguments often fail when they employ ranting rather than reasoning.

Most people have strong views on controversial topics (ones that inspire extreme points of view or opinions) and are often very willing to share those strong views. However, imagine you are having a discussion with someone who is only willing to share a particular point of view, ignoring yours, which may be in opposition. The ideas presented by that person would be very narrow, almost as if the person has tunnel vision and is merely expressing a personal opinion. If that person does provide you with facts, they may often be skewed or not from a credible source. After the discussion, there is only a slight chance you would be convinced of the other person’s point of view. You may have new ideas you had not considered before or a new perspective, but you would probably not be thoroughly convinced because that person has not made any attempt to present a well-rounded, fact-based point of view. This is why it is essential for you to not only provide your reader with strong, substantiated evidenced, but also to ensure you present an argument that looks at the topic from multiple angles.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “How can my argument be convincing if I present ideas contrary to my main point of view?” Well, while you need to concede there are other views different from your own, it is very important to show your reader you have thought about different angles and that the conclusions you have come to have been critically developed. This evidence of critical thinking will elevate your argument to a level so that your reader cannot really have any objections to. Also, when you look at the structures for persuasive writing, outlined in the next section, you will learn how you can rebut the possible objections you present, essentially smashing those contrary ideas and showing how your point of view is the convincing one.

Most of us feel inclined to try to win the arguments we engage in. On some level, we all want to be right, and we want others to see the error of their ways. More times than not, however, arguments in which both sides try to win end up producing losers all around. The more productive approach is to persuade your audience to consider your opinion as a valid one, not simply the right one.

10.2 The Structure of a Persuasive Essay

  • Determine the structure of persuasion in writing
  • Apply a formula for a classic persuasive argument

Writing a Persuasive Essay

You first need to choose a topic that you feel passionate about. If your instructor requires you to write about a specific topic, approach the subject from an angle that interests you. Begin your essay with an engaging introduction. Your thesis should typically appear somewhere in your introduction.

Next, need to acknowledge and explain points of view that may conflict with your own to build credibility and trust with your audience. You also should state the limits of your argument. This helps you sound more reasonable and honest to those who may naturally be inclined to disagree with your view. By respectfully acknowledging opposing arguments and conceding limitations to your own view, you set a measured and responsible tone for the essay.

Be sure to make your appeals in support of your thesis by using sound, credible evidence. Use a balance of facts and opinions from a wide range of sources, such as scientific studies, expert testimony, statistics, and personal anecdotes. Each piece of evidence should be fully explained and clearly stated. Also, write in a style and tone that is appropriate for your subject and audience. Tailor your language and word choice to these two factors, while still being true to your own voice. Finally, write a conclusion that effectively summarizes the main argument and reinforces your thesis.

Structur ing a Persuasive Essay

The formula below for organizing a persuasive essay may be one with which you are familiar. It will present a convincing argument to your reader because your discussion is well rounded and thorough, and you leave your audience with your point of view at the end. Remember to consider each of these components in this formula as sections instead of paragraphs because you will probably want to discuss multiple ideas backing up your point of view to make it more convincing.

When writing a persuasive essay, it is best to begin with the most important point because it immediately captivates your readers and compels them to continue reading. For example, if you were supporting your thesis that homework is detrimental to the education of high school students, you would want to present your most convincing argument first, and then move on to the less important points for your case.

Some key transitional words you should use with this method of organization are: most importantly ,  almost as importantly ,  just as importantly , and  finally .

The Formula You will need to come up with objection points, but you will also need to think of direct rebuttals to each of those ideas. Remember to consult your outline as you are writing because you may need to double-check that you have countered each of the possible opposing ideas you presented.

Section 1: Introduction

Attention getter

Thesis (showing main and controlling ideas)

Signposts (make sure you outline the structure your argument will follow: Pros Cons/Pros)

Section 2: (Multiple) Ideas in Support of Claim

Give a topic sentence introducing the point (showing main and controlling ideas)

Give explanations + evidence on first point

Make concluding statement summarizing point discussion (possibly transitioning to next supporting idea)

Repeat with multiple ideas in separate paragraphs

Section 3: Summary of ( S ome) Opposing Views

Give topic sentence explaining this paragraph will be opposing points of view to provide thorough, convincing argument

Present general summary of some opposing ideas

Present some generalized evidence

Provide brief concluding sentence for paragraph—transitioning into next rebuttal paragraph

Section 4: Response to Opposing Views

Give topic sentence explaining this paragraph/section connects to or expands on previous paragraph

[may recognize validity of some of points] then need to present how your ideas are stronger

Present evidence directly countering/refuting ideas mentioned in previous section

Give concluding statement summarizing the countering arguments

¶ Section 5 : Conclusion

Restate your thesis

Summarize your discussion points

Leave the reader with a strong impression; do not waiver here

May provide a “call for action”

In a persuasive essay, the writer’s point of view should be clearly expressed at the beginning of each paragraph in the topic sentence, which should contain the main idea of the paragraph and the writer’s controlling idea.

10.3 Being Critical

  • Explain the importance and benefits of acknowledging opposing ideas
  • Identify the importance of cautious use of tone in a persuasive essay
  • Identify bias in writing
  • Assess various rhetorical devices, including the use of I
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion
  • Understand the importance of visuals to strengthen arguments

In Chapter 7: Sources: Choosing the Right Ones , we discussed being critical when evaluating sources, the ideas presented in those sources, and how those ideas are presented. When writing a persuasive essay, you need to focus on the same elements, but you also need to ensure you are presenting an argument that considers other points of view on your topic; you need to acknowledge there are other angles, and you need to present ideas countering those objections in order to increase your chance at convincing your reader.

Style and Tone of Language

Just as with any essay, the way you write and the tone you use is very important to consider. Think back to the earlier mention of that one-sided argument. If you are talking with a person who uses aggressive and inflammatory words, are you more or less likely to listen to the whole argument and ultimately be convinced? If someone is waving his hands and swearing or yelling, the gestures and raised voice may actually distract you from what is being said. Also, when people are extremely animated in their discussions, their audience may become defensive if they do not agree with the ideas presented. In such a case, the audience may then respond in the same way, and no one ends up really hearing other points of view and will definitely not be convinced. Consider the same discussion, but imagine the original speaker being calm and controlled. Do you think you would be more likely to listen and consider the ideas? That is what often happens; the speaker also allows you to give your input and views, and together, you can arrive at a blend of ideas. While you may not be convinced to change your mind completely, the way the speaker presents the argument (calmly and substantively) creates an environment or situation where you are more open to discussion. This is the same when you write; if you choose inflammatory language not appropriate to your audience, the overall impact is almost “bloggish”—like someone ranting on a topic and just stating his or her opinion. This becomes a bigger issue if no substantive evidence or support is given for the discussion. The writer just seems like a radical expressing views, not someone you can use for credible support. In short, remember to choose your words carefully. While you will need to use assertive language to support your ideas, you need to choose objective words. How you make your argument more convincing is by:Using strong, peer-reviewed, and reliable evidence to back up your ideasPresenting and rebuttingat least one opposing idea

Acknowledging Opposing Ideas and Limits to Your Argument

Because an argument implies differing points of view on the subject, you must be sure to acknowledge those opposing ideas. Avoiding ideas that conflict with your own gives the reader the impression that you may be uncertain, fearful, or unaware of opposing ideas. Thus, it is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.

Try to address opposing arguments earlier rather than later in your essay. Rhetorically speaking, ordering your positive arguments last allows you to better address ideas that conflict with your own, so you can spend the rest of the essay countering those arguments. This way, you leave your reader thinking about your argument rather than someone else’s. You have the last word.

Acknowledging different points of view also fosters more credibility between you and the audience. They know from the outset that you are aware of opposing ideas and that you are not afraid to give them space.

It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish. In effect, you are conceding early on that your argument is not the ultimate authority on a given topic. Such humility can go a long way toward earning credibility and trust with an audience. Your readers will know from the beginning that you are a reasonable writer, and they will trust your argument as a result. For example, in the following concessionary statement, the writer advocates for stricter gun control laws, but admits it will not solve all of our problems with crime:

Although tougher gun control laws are a powerful first step in decreasing violence in our streets, such legislation alone cannot end these problems since guns are not the only problem we face.

Such a concession will be welcome by those who might disagree with this writer’s argument in the first place. To effectively persuade their readers, writers need to be modest in their goals and humble in their approach to get readers to listen to the ideas. See  Table 10.1: Phrases of Concession  for some useful phrases of concession.

Table 10.1:   Phrases of Concession

Bias in Writing

Everyone has various biases on any number of topics. For example, you might have a bias toward wearing black instead of brightly coloured clothes, or wearing jeans rather than formal wear. You might have a bias toward working at night rather than in the morning, or working by deadlines rather than getting tasks done in advance. These examples identify minor biases, of course, but they still indicate preferences and opinions.

In your first assignment a number of weeks ago, you were asked to sit somewhere, make observations, and write both a positive and negative description of the same scene—or to show two angles of vision. The purpose of this exercise was to make it evident to you how easily bias and angles can appear even through the smallest words you choose to use in your writing. Choosing each word carefully is even more significant in a persuasive paper because, as already mentioned, you want your reader to view your presentation of ideas as logical and not just a tirade. Using objective and neutral language and evidence and acknowledging you have a possible bias will help you present a well-rounded and developed argument.

Handling bias in writing and in daily life can be a useful skill. It will allow you to articulate your own points of view while also defending yourself against unreasonable points of view. The ideal in persuasive writing is to let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and a respectful and reasonable address of opposing sides.

  • The strength of a personal bias is that it can motivate you to construct a strong argument. If you are invested in the topic, you are more likely to care about the piece of writing. Similarly, the more you care, the more time and effort you are apt to put forth and the better the final product will be.
  • The weakness of personal bias is that it can take over the essay—when, for example, you neglect opposing ideas, exaggerate your points, or repeatedly insert yourself ahead of the subject by using I too often. Being aware of all three of these pitfalls will help you avoid them.

Fact and Opinion

Facts   are statements that can be definitely proven using objective data. The statement that is a fact is absolutely valid. In other words, the statement can be pronounced as true or false. For example, 2 + 2 = 4. This expression identifies a true statement, or a fact, because it can be proved with objective data.

Opinions are personal views, or judgments. An opinion is what an individual believes about a particular subject. However, an opinion in argumentation must have legitimate backing; adequate evidence and credibility should support the opinion. Consider the credibility of expert opinions, as experts in a given field have the knowledge and credentials to make their opinion meaningful to a larger audience.

For example, you seek the opinion of your dentist when it comes to the health of your gums, and you seek the opinion of your mechanic when it comes to the maintenance of your car. Both have knowledge and credentials in those respective fields, which is why their opinions matter to you. But the authority of your dentist may be greatly diminished should he or she offer an opinion about your car, and vice versa.

In your writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions. Relying on one or the other will likely lose more of your audience than it gains.

The Use of I in Writing

The use of I in writing is often a topic of debate, and the acceptance of its usage varies from instructor to instructor. It is difficult to predict the preferences for all your present and future instructors, but consider the effects it can potentially have on your writing.

Be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound overly biased, for two primary reasons:

Excessive repetition of any word will eventually catch the reader’s attention—and usually not in a good way. The use of I is no different.

The insertion of I into a sentence alters not only the way a sentence might sound but also the composition of the sentence itself. I is often the subject of a sentence. If the subject of the essay is supposed to be, say, smoking, then by inserting yourself into the sentence, you are effectively displacing the subject of the essay into a secondary position. In the following example, the subject of the sentence is bolded and underlined:

Smoking  is bad. vs. I think smoking is bad.

In the first sentence, the rightful subject,  smoking , is in the subject position in the sentence. In the second sentence, the insertion of  I  and  think  replaces smoking  as the subject, which draws attention to  I  and away from the topic that is supposed to be discussed. Remember to keep the message (the subject) and the messenger (the writer) separate.

You can use Checklist 10.1   Developing Sound Arguments, as you work on your persuasive essay.

Checklist 10.1  Developing Sound Arguments

Does my essay contain the following elements?

An engaging introduction

A reasonable, specific thesis that is able to be supported by evidence

A varied range of evidence from credible sources

Respectful acknowledgment and explanation of opposing ideas

A style and tone of language that is appropriate for the subject and audience

Acknowledgment of the argument’s limits

A conclusion that will adequately summarize the essay and reinforce the thesis

The word  prove  is frequently used in the discussion of persuasive writing. Writers may claim that one piece of evidence or another proves the argument, but proving an argument is often not possible. No evidence proves a debatable topic one way or the other; that is why the topic is debatable. Facts can be proved, but opinions can only be supported, explained, and persuaded.

Using Visual Elements to Strengthen Arguments

Adding visual elements to a persuasive argument can often strengthen its persuasive effect. However, remember you want to use them to make a bigger impact for your reader, so you need to make sure they are:

  • Relevant and essential . They should help your reader visualize your point.
  • Easy to follow . The reader should not have to work too hard to understand.
  • A ppropriate to audience, tone, and purpose . Always keep the audience in mind.
  • A ppropriately cited and referenced . If you borrow from a source, be sure to include proper citations.
  • NOT disrespectful . You want your writing to been seen as fair and non-biased.
  • NOT used too often . They will become more of a distraction than a focal point if they are used too often

There are two main types of visual elements: quantitative visuals and qualitative visuals.

  • Quantitative  visuals present data graphically. They allow the audience to see statistics spatially. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience. For example, sometimes it is easier to understand the disparity in certain statistics if it is displayed graphically. Bar graphs, pie charts, Venn diagrams, histograms, and line graphs are all ways of presenting quantitative data in spatial dimensions.
  • Qualitative  visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions. Photographs and pictorial images are examples of qualitative visuals. Such images often try to convey a story, and seeing an actual example can carry more power than hearing or reading about the example. For example, one image of a child suffering from malnutrition will likely have more of an emotional impact than pages dedicated to describing that same condition in writing.

Writing at Work

When making a business presentation, you typically have limited time to get your idea across. Providing visual elements for your audience can be an effective timesaving tool. Quantitative visuals in business presentations serve the same purpose as they do in persuasive writing. They should make logical appeals by showing numerical data in a spatial design. Quantitative visuals should be pictures that might appeal to your audience’s emotions. You will find that many of the rhetorical devices used in writing are the same ones used in the workplace.

Key Takeaways

  • The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion.
  • An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue, in writing, is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way.
  • A thesis that expresses the opinion of the writer in more specific terms is better than one that is vague.
  • It is essential that you address counterarguments and do so respectfully.
  • It is helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish through a concession statement.
  • To persuade a skeptical audience, you need to use a wide range of evidence. Scientific studies, opinions from experts, historical precedent, statistics, personal anecdotes, and current events are all types of evidence that you might use in explaining your point.
  • Word choice and writing style should be appropriate for both your subject and your audience.
  • You should let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and respectfully and reasonably addressing opposing ideas.
  • You should be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound more biased than it needs to.
  • Facts are statements that can be proven using objective data.
  • Opinions are personal views, or judgments, that cannot be proven.
  • In writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions.
  • Quantitative visuals present data graphically. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience.
  • Qualitative visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions.

10.4 Examples: Persuasive Essay

  • Read two examples of persuasive essays on the same topic

Justice: Retribution or Restoration?

Every day when I pick up my newspaper I read about crime. What strikes me as tragic in these discussions is that the solutions which are proposed are simply more of the same: bigger threats, more punishment. Few people ask more basic questions about whether punishment ought to be our main concern. Even fewer seem genuinely concerned about victims and what they need.

Consequently, victims’ needs and wishes continue to be ignored. Prisons are massively crowded, and the call for a return to the death penalty is back with a vengeance. The costs to us as taxpayers keep soaring.

Actually, there is good reason why we ignore victims and focus instead on more punishment for offenders. It has to do with our very definitions of what constitutes crime and what justice entails.

If you have been a victim, you know something about the fear, the anger, the shame, the sense of violation that this experience generates. You know something about the needs that result: needs for repayment, for a chance to talk, for support, for involvement, for an experience that feels like justice. Unfortunately, you may also know from personal experience how little help, information and involvement you can expect from the justice process.

If you have experienced crime, you know for a fact that you yourself are the victim, and you would like to be remembered in what happens thereafter. But the legal system does not define the offence that way and does not assume that you have a central role.

Legally, the essence of the crime lies in breaking a law rather than the actual damage done. More importantly, the official victim is the state, not you. It is no accident, then, that victims and their needs are so often forgotten: they are not even part of the equation, not part of the definition of the offence!

When a crime occurs, the state as victim decides what must be done, and the process of deciding focuses primarily on two questions: “Is the person guilty? If so, how much punishment does he or she deserve?” Our definitions of crime and justice, then, might be summarized like this:

Crime is a violation of the state and its laws.

Justice establishes blame and administers pain through a contest between offender and state.

This way of viewing crime might be called “retributive justice.” It has little place for victims, uses what some scholars have called a “battle model” for settling things, and, because it is centred so heavily on establishing blame, looks primarily to the past rather than the future. It assumes that punishment or pain, usually in the form of a prison term, is the normal outcome.

This process concentrates almost exclusively on offenders, but, ironically, does not hold them accountable. To be accountable, offenders ought to be helped to understand and acknowledge the human consequences of their actions. Then they ought to be encouraged to take responsibility for what happens thereafter, including taking steps to right the wrong. Yet this rarely happens; indeed, the justice process discourages responsibility. Thus neither victim nor offender is offered the kind of opportunities that might aid healing and resolution for both.

But what is the alternative? How should we understand crime and justice?

An alternate understanding of crime and justice might look something like this:

Crime is a violation of people and their relationships.

Justice identifies needs and obligations so that things can be made right through a process which encourages dialogue and involves both victims and offenders.

A restorative approach to justice would understand that the essence of crime is a violation of people and of harmonious relations between them. Instead of asking first of all, “Who ‘done’ it? What should they get?” (and rarely going beyond this), a restorative approach to justice would ask “Who has been hurt? What can be done to make things right, and whose responsibility is it?” True justice would have as its goals restoration, reconciliation, and responsibility rather than retribution.

Restorative justice would aim to be personal. Insofar as possible, it would seek to empower victims and offenders to be involved in their own cases and, in the process, to learn something about one another. As in the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), which operates in many communities in the U.S. and Canada, when circumstances permit, justice would offer victims and offenders an opportunity to meet in order to exchange information and decide what is to be done. Understanding of one another, acceptance of responsibility, healing of injuries, and empowerment of participants would be important goals.

Is restorative approach practical? Can it work? The experience of the VORP suggests that while there are limitations and pitfalls, restoration and reconciliation can happen, even in some tough cases. Moreover, our own history points in this direction. Through most of western history, most crimes were understood to be harms done to people by other people. Such wrongs created obligations to make right, and the normal process was to negotiate some sort of restitution agreement. Only in the past several centuries did our present retributive understanding displace this more reparative approach.

If our ancestors could view crime and justice this way, why can’t we?

Adapted from: Zehr, H. (n.d.). Justice: Retribution or Restoration? Retrieved from: http://www.peaceworkmagazine.org/pwork/0499/049910.htm

Retribution

Retribution is perhaps the most intuitive—and the most questionable—aim of punishment in the criminal law. Quite contrary to the idea of rehabilitation and distinct from the utilitarian purposes of restraint and deterrence, the purpose of retribution is actively to injure criminal offenders, ideally in proportion with their injuries to society, and so expiate them of guilt.

The impulse to do harm to someone who does harm to you is older than human society, older than the human race itself (go to the zoo and watch the monkey cage for a demonstration.) It’s also one of the most powerful human impulses—so powerful that at times it can overwhelm all else. One of the hallmarks of civilization is to relinquish the personal right to act on this impulse, and transfer responsibility for retribution to some governing body that acts, presumably, on behalf of society entire. When society executes retribution on criminals by means of fines, incarceration, or death, these punishments are a social expression of the personal vengeance the criminal’s victims feel, rationally confined (it is hoped) to what is best for society as a whole.

While “it’s natural” tends not to carry much weight in the criminal law, “it’s morally right” can. Moral feelings and convictions are considered, even by the criminal law, to be some of the most powerful and binding expressions of our humanity. In binding criminal trial juries to restrict guilty verdicts to situations of the highest certainty, “beyond a reasonable doubt” is also often described as “to a moral certainty.” It is to their moral feelings of what is truly right that jury members are asked look before delivering a verdict. It’s perhaps not too much of a stretch, then, to argue that it’s morally right to make criminals suffer as their victims have suffered, if that’s the way one’s moral certainty points.

No matter what one’s moral feelings are about inflicting deliberate harm on a human being, the majority of the citizenry still holds that it’s right to exact retribution on criminal offenders. This is almost certainly true of the majority of victims, and their loved ones, for whom equanimity becomes more and more difficult depending on the severity of the crime. What rape victim does not wish to see her attacker suffer? What parent does not hate the one who killed their child? The outrage that would result from leaving these passions for revenge unsatisfied might be seen as a dramatic failure of the entire criminal justice system. It’s a good argument for retributive justice, then, that in this world public vengeance is necessary in order to avoid the chaos ensuing from individuals taking revenge into their own hands. And, until the moral certainty of a majority of society points towards compassion rather than revenge, this is the form the criminal law must take.

Adapted from: The Lectric Law Library. (n.d.). Retribution. Retrieved from: http://www.lectlaw.com/mjl/cl062.htm

Journal entry #10

Write a paragraph or two responding to the following.

Briefly describe one or two topics on which you may want to base your persuasive essay.

Why is this a good topic? What types of challenges do you think you may face in developing ideas on this topic?

Remember as mentioned in the Assessment Descriptions in your syllabus:

You will be expected to respond to the questions by reflecting on and discussing your experiences with the week’s material.

When writing your journals, you should focus on freewriting—writing without (overly) considering formal writing structures—but remember that it will be read by the instructor, who needs to be able to understand your ideas.

Your instructor will be able to see if you have completed this entry by the end of the week but not read all of the journals until week 11.

Writing for Success - 1st Canadian Edition Copyright © 2015 by Tara Horkoff; an author removed at the request of the original publisher; and Horkoff, Tara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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13.7: Writing a Persuasive Essay

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  • Amber Kinonen, Jennifer McCann, Todd McCann, & Erica Mead
  • Bay College Library

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Choose a topic that you feel passionate about. If your instructor requires you to write about a specific topic, approach the subject from an angle that interests you. Begin your essay with an engaging introduction. Your thesis should typically appear near the end of your introduction.

Make your appeals in support of your thesis by using sound, credible evidence. Use a balance of facts and opinions from a wide range of sources, such as scientific studies, expert testimony, statistics, and personal anecdotes. Each piece of evidence should be fully explained and clearly stated.

Acknowledge and explain points of view that may conflict with your own to build credibility and trust with your audience. Also state the limits of your argument. This, too, helps you sound more reasonable and honest to those who may naturally be inclined to disagree with your view. By respectfully acknowledging opposing arguments and conceding limitations to your own view, you set a measured and responsible tone for the essay.

Make sure that your style and tone are appropriate for your subject and audience. Tailor your language and word choice to these two factors, while still being true to your own voice.

Finally, write a conclusion that effectively summarizes the main argument and reinforces your thesis.

key takeaways

  • The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion.
  • An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue, in writing, is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way.
  • A thesis that expresses the opinion of the writer in more specific terms is better than one that is vague.
  • It is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.
  • It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish through a concession statement.
  • To persuade a skeptical audience, you will need to use a wide range of evidence from credible sources. Scientific studies, opinions from experts, historical precedent, statistics, personal anecdotes, and current events are all types of evidence that you might use in explaining your point.
  • Make sure that your word choice and writing style is appropriate for both your subject and your audience.
  • You should let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and respectfully and reasonably addressing opposing ideas.
  • You should be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound more biased than it needs to.
  • Facts are statements that can be proven using objective data.
  • Opinions are personal views, or judgments, that cannot be proven.
  • In writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions.
  • Quantitative visuals present data graphically. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience.
  • Qualitative visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions.

Examples of Essays

  • “The Case Against Torture,” by Alisa Solomon
  • “The Case for Torture,” by Michael Levin
  • “Supporting Family Values,” by Linda Chavez
  • “Gay ‘Marriage’: Societal Suicide,” by Charles Colson
  • “Waste Not, Want Not,” by Bill McKibben
  • “Forget Shorter Showers” by Derrick Jensen
  • “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” by Ann-Marie Slaughter
  • “Having it All?’ How About; ‘Doing the Best I Can?’” by Andrew Cohen
  • “Against Headphones” by Virgina Heffernan
  • “I Have a Dream,” by Martin Luther King Jr.

Literacy Ideas

How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps

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WHAT IS A PERSUASIVE ESSAY?

What is a persuasive essay?

A persuasive text presents a point of view around a topic or theme that is backed by evidence to support it.

The purpose of a persuasive text can be varied.  Maybe you intend to influence someone’s opinion on a specific topic, or you might aim to sell a product or service through an advertisement.

The challenge in writing a good persuasive text is to use a mix of emotive language and, in some cases, images that are supported by hard evidence or other people’s opinions.

In a persuasive essay or argument essay, the student strives to convince the reader of the merits of their opinion or stance on a particular issue. The student must utilise several persuasive techniques to form a coherent and logical argument to convince the reader of a point of view or to take a specific action.

Persuasive essay | persuasive essays | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

PERSUADING PEOPLE REQUIRES A CONSISTENT APPROACH…

Persuasive texts are simple in structure.  You must clearly state your opinion around a specific topic and then repeatedly reinforce your opinions with external facts or evidence.  A robust concluding summary should leave little doubt in the reader’s mind.  ( Please view our planning tool below for a detailed explanation. )

TYPES OF PERSUASIVE TEXT

We cover the broad topic of writing a general persuasive essay in this guide, there are several sub-genres of persuasive texts students will encounter as they progress through school. We have complete guides on these text types, so be sure to click the links and read these in detail if required.

  • Argumentative Essays – These are your structured “Dogs are better pets than Cats” opinion-type essays where your role is to upsell the positive elements of your opinions to your audience whilst also highlighting the negative aspects of any opposing views using a range of persuasive language and techniques.
  • Advertising – Uses persuasive techniques to sell a good or service to potential customers with a call to action.
  • Debating Speeches – A debate is a structured discussion between two teams on a specific topic that a moderator judges and scores. Your role is to state your case, sell your opinions to the audience, and counteract your opposition’s opinions.
  • Opinion Articles, Newspaper Editorials. – Editorials often use more subtle persuasive techniques that blur the lines of factual news reporting and opinions that tell a story with bias. Sometimes they may even have a call to action at the end.
  • Reviews – Reviews exist to inform others about almost any service or product, such as a film, restaurant, or product. Depending on your experiences, you may have firm opinions or not even care that much about recommending it to others. Either way, you will employ various persuasive techniques to communicate your recommendations to your audience.
  • Please note a DISCUSSION essay is not a traditional persuasive text, as even though you are comparing and contrasting elements, the role of the author is to present an unbiased account of both sides so that the reader can make a decision that works best for them. Discussions are often confused as a form of persuasive writing.

A COMPLETE TEACHING UNIT ON PERSUASIVE WRITING SKILLS

Persuasive essay | opinion writing unit 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to produce writing that  PERSUADES  and  INFLUENCES  thinking with this  HUGE  writing guide bundle covering: ⭐ Persuasive Texts / Essays ⭐ Expository Essays⭐ Argumentative Essays⭐ Discussions.

A complete 140 PAGE unit of work on persuasive texts for teachers and students. No preparation is required.

THE STRUCTURE OF A PERSUASIVE ESSAY

Persuasive essay | persuasive essay template | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

1. Introduction

In the introduction, the student will naturally introduce the topic. Controversial issues make for great topics in this writing genre. It’s a cliche in polite society to discourage discussions involving politics, sex, or religion because they can often be very divisive. While these subjects may not be the best topics of conversation for the dinner table at Thanksgiving, they can be perfect when deciding on a topic for persuasive writing. Obviously, the student’s age and abilities should be considered, as well as cultural taboos, when selecting a topic for the essay. But the point holds, the more controversial, the better.

Let’s take a look at some of the critical elements of the introduction when writing a persuasive essay:

Title: Tell your audience what they are reading.

This will often be posed as a question; for example, if the essay is on the merits of a vegetarian lifestyle, it may be called something like: To Eat Meat or Not?

Hook : Provide your audience with a reason to continue reading.

As with any genre of writing, capturing the reader’s interest from the outset is crucial. There are several methods of doing this, known as hooks. Students may open their essays with anecdotes, jokes, quotations, or relevant statistics related to the topic under discussion.

Background: Provide some context to your audience.

In this introductory section, students will provide the reader with some background on the topic. This will place the issue in context and briefly weigh some opinions on the subject.

Thesis statement: Let the audience know your stance.

After surveying the topic in the first part of the introduction, it is now time for the student writer to express their opinion and briefly preview the points they will make later in the essay.

2. Body Paragraphs

The number of paragraphs forming this essay section will depend on the number of points the writer chooses to make to support their opinion. Usually three main points will be sufficient for beginning writers to coordinate. More advanced students can increase the number of paragraphs based on the complexity of their arguments, but the overall structure will largely remain intact.

Be sure to check out our complete guide to writing perfect paragraphs here .

The TEEL acronym is valuable for students to remember how to structure their paragraphs.  Read below for a deeper understanding.

Topic Sentence:

The topic sentence states the central point of the paragraph. This will be one of the reasons supporting the thesis statement made in the introduction.

These sentences will build on the topic sentence by illustrating the point further, often by making it more specific.

These sentences’ purpose is to support the paragraph’s central point by providing supporting evidence and examples. This evidence may be statistics, quotations, or anecdotal evidence.

The final part of the paragraph links back to the initial statement of the topic sentence while also forming a bridge to the next point to be made. This part of the paragraph provides some personal analysis and interpretation of how the student arrived at their conclusions and connects the essay as a cohesive whole.

3. Conclusion

The conclusion weaves together the main points of the persuasive essay. It does not usually introduce new arguments or evidence but instead reviews the arguments made already and restates them by summing them up uniquely. It is important at this stage to tie everything back to the initial thesis statement. This is the writer’s last opportunity to drive home their point, to achieve the essay’s goal, to begin with – persuade the reader of their point of view.

Persuasive essay | 7 top 5 essay writing tips | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

Ending an essay well can be challenging, but it is essential to end strongly, especially for persuasive essays. As with the hooks of the essay’s opening, there are many tried and tested methods of leaving the reader with a strong impression. Encourage students to experiment with different endings, for example, concluding the essay with a quotation that amplifies the thesis statement.

Another method is to have the student rework their ending in simple monosyllabic words, as simple language often has the effect of being more decisive in impact. The effect they are striving for in the final sentence is the closing of the circle.

Several persuasive writing techniques can be used in the conclusion and throughout the essay to amp up the persuasive power of the writing. Let’s take a look at a few.

ETHOS, PATHOS & LOGOS TUTORIAL VIDEO (2:20)

Persuasive essay | RHETORIC | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT PERSUASIVE ESSAY

Persuasive writing template and graphic organizer

PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUES

In this article, we have outlined a basic structure that will be helpful to students in approaching the organization of their persuasive writing. It will also be helpful for the students to be introduced to a few literary techniques that will help your students to present their ideas convincingly. Here are a few of the more common ones:

Repetition: There is a reason why advertisements and commercials are so repetitive – repetition works! Students can use this knowledge to their advantage in their persuasive writing. It is challenging to get the reader to fully agree with the writer’s opinion if they don’t fully understand it. Saying the same thing in various ways ensures the reader gets many bites at the ‘understanding’ cherry.

Repetition Example: “The use of plastic bags is not only bad for the environment, but it is also bad for our economy. Plastic bags are not biodegradable, meaning they will not decompose and will continue to take up space in landfills. Plastic bags are also not recyclable, meaning they will not be reused and will instead end up in landfills. Plastic bags are not only bad for the environment, but they are also bad for our economy as they are costly to dispose of and take up valuable space in landfills.”

In this example, the phrase “not only bad for the environment but also bad for our economy” is repeated multiple times to reinforce the idea that plastic bags are not just a problem for the environment but also the economy. The repetition of the phrase emphasizes the point and makes it more persuasive.

It is also important to note that repetition could be used differently, such as repeating a word or phrase to create rhythm or emphasis.

Storytelling: Humans tend to understand things better through stories. Think of how we teach kids important values through time-tested fables like Peter and the Wolf . Whether through personal anecdotes or references to third-person experiences, stories help climb down the ladder of abstraction and reach the reader on a human level.

Storytelling Example: “Imagine you are walking down the street, and you come across a stray dog clearly in need of food and water. The dog looks up at you with big, sad eyes, and you cannot help but feel a twinge of compassion. Now, imagine that same scenario, but instead of a stray dog, it’s a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk. The person is clearly in need of food and shelter, and their eyes also look up at her with a sense of hopelessness.

The point of this story is to show that just as we feel compelled to help a stray animal in need, we should also feel compelled to help a homeless person. We should not turn a blind eye to the suffering of our fellow human beings, and we should take action to address homelessness in our community. It is important to remember that everyone deserves a roof over their head and a warm meal to eat. The story is designed to elicit an emotional response in the reader and make the argument more relatable and impactful.

By using storytelling, this passage creates an image in the reader’s mind and creates an emotional connection that can be more persuasive than just stating facts and figures.

Persuasive essay | Images play an integral part in persuading an audience in advertisements | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

Dissent: We live in a cynical age, so leaving out the opposing opinion will smack of avoidance to the reader. Encourage your students to turn to that opposing viewpoint and deal with those arguments in their essays .

Dissent Example: “Many people argue that students should not have to wear uniforms in school. They argue that uniforms stifle creativity and individuality and that students should be able to express themselves through their clothing choices. While these are valid concerns, I strongly disagree.

In fact, uniforms can actually promote individuality by levelling the playing field and removing the pressure to dress in a certain way. Furthermore, uniforms can promote a sense of community and belonging within a school. They can also provide a sense of discipline and structure, which can help to create a more focused and productive learning environment. Additionally, uniforms can save families money and eliminate the stress of deciding what to wear daily .

While some may argue that uniforms stifle creativity and individuality, the benefits of uniforms far outweigh the potential drawbacks. It is important to consider the impact of uniforms on the school as a whole, rather than focusing solely on individual expression.”

In this example, the writer presents the opposing viewpoint (uniforms stifle creativity and individuality) and then provides counterarguments to refute it. By doing so, the writer can strengthen their own argument and present a more convincing case for why uniforms should be worn in school.

A Call to Action: A staple of advertising, a call to action can also be used in persuasive writing. When employed, it usually forms part of the conclusion section of the essay and asks the reader to do something, such as recycle, donate to charity, sign a petition etc.

A quick look around reveals to us the power of persuasion, whether in product advertisements, newspaper editorials, or political electioneering; persuasion is an ever-present element in our daily lives. Logic and reason are essential in persuasion, but they are not the only techniques. The dark arts of persuasion can prey on emotion, greed, and bias. Learning to write persuasively can help our students recognize well-made arguments and help to inoculate them against the more sinister manifestations of persuasion.

Call to Action Example: “Climate change is a pressing issue that affects us all, and it’s important that we take action now to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the planet for future generations. As a society, we have the power to make a difference and it starts with small changes that we can make in our own lives.

I urge you to take the following steps to reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics
  • Use public transportation, carpool, bike or walk instead of driving alone.
  • Support clean energy sources such as solar and wind power
  • Plant trees and support conservation efforts

It’s easy to feel like one person can’t make a difference, but the truth is that every little bit helps. Together, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and for the planet.

So, let’s take action today and make a difference for a better future, it starts with minor changes, but it all adds up and can make a significant impact. We need to take responsibility for our actions and do our part to protect the planet.”

In this example, the writer gives a clear and specific call to action and encourages the reader to take action to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the planet. By doing this, the writer empowers the reader to take action and enables them to change.

Now, go persuade your students of the importance of perfecting the art of persuasive writing!

A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING FACT AND OPINION

Persuasive essay | fact and opinion unit 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

This  huge 120-page resource combines four different fact and opinion activities that you can undertake as a  WHOLE GROUP  or as  INDEPENDENT READING GROUP TASKS  in either  DIGITAL  or  PRINTABLE TASKS.

20 POPULAR PERSUASIVE ESSAY TOPICS FOR STUDENTS

Writing an effective persuasive essay demonstrates a range of skills that will be of great use in nearly all aspects of life after school.

Persuasive essay | persuasive essays | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

In essence, if you can influence a person to change their ideas or thoughts on a given topic through how you structure your words and thoughts, you possess a very powerful skill.

Be careful not to rant wildly.  Use facts and other people’s ideas who think similarly to you in your essay to strengthen your concepts.

Your biggest challenge in getting started may be choosing a suitable persuasive essay topic.  These 20 topics for a persuasive essay should make this process a little easier.

  • WHY ARE WE FASCINATED WITH CELEBRITIES AND WEALTHY PEOPLE ON TELEVISION AND SOCIAL MEDIA?
  • IS IT RIGHT FOR SCHOOLS TO RAISE MONEY BY SELLING CANDY AND UNHEALTHY FOODS TO STUDENTS?
  • SHOULD GIRLS BE ALLOWED TO PLAY ON BOYS SPORTING TEAMS?
  • IS TEACHING HANDWRITING A WASTE OF TIME IN THIS DAY AND AGE?
  • SHOULD THERE BE FAR GREATER RESTRICTIONS AROUND WHAT CAN BE POSTED ON THE INTERNET?
  • SHOULD PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES HAVE TO TAKE DRUG TESTS?
  • ARE TEENAGE PREGNANCY SHOWS A NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON VIEWERS?
  • SHOULD GAMBLING BE PROMOTED IN ANY WAY IN SPORTS EVEN THOUGH IT BRINGS IN LARGE AMOUNTS OF REVENUE?
  • SHOULD SPORTING TEAMS THAT LOSE BE REWARDED BY RECEIVING INCENTIVES SUCH AS HIGH DRAFT PICKS AND / OR FINANCIAL BENEFITS?
  • SHOULD SHARKS THAT ATTACK PEOPLE BE DESTROYED? SHOULD WE GET INVOLVED IN FOREIGN CONFLICTS AND ISSUES THAT DON’T DIRECTLY AFFECT OUR COUNTRY?
  • SHOULD WE GET INVOLVED IN FOREIGN CONFLICTS AND ISSUES THAT DON’T DIRECTLY AFFECT OUR COUNTRY?
  • COULD VIDEO GAMES BE CONSIDERED AS A PROFESSIONAL SPORT?
  • IF YOU WERE THE LEADER OF YOUR COUNTRY AND HAD A LARGE SURPLUS TO SPEND, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT?
  • WHEN SHOULD A PERSON BE CONSIDERED AND TREATED AS AN ADULT?
  • SHOULD SMOKING BECOME AN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY?
  • SHOULD THE VOTING AGE BE LOWERED?
  • DOES PROTECTIVE PADDING IN SPORTS MAKE IT MORE DANGEROUS?
  • SHOULD CELL PHONES BE ALLOWED IN THE CLASSROOM?
  • IS TEACHING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE A WASTE OF TIME?
  • SHOULD WE TEACH ETIQUETTE IN SCHOOLS?

PERSUASIVE PROMPTS FOR RELUCTANT WRITERS

If your students need a little more direction and guidance, here are some journal prompts that include aspects to consider.

  • Convince us that students would be better off having a three-day weekend .  There are many angles you could take with this, such as letting children maximize their childhood or trying to convince your audience that a four-day school week might actually be more productive.
  • Which is the best season?  And why?   You will really need to draw on the benefits of your preferred season and sell them to your audience.  Where possible, highlight the negatives of the competing seasons.  Use lots of figurative language and sensory and emotional connections for this topic.
  • Aliens do / or don’t exist?  We can see millions of stars surrounding us just by gazing into the night sky, suggesting alien life should exist, right? Many would argue that if there were aliens we would have seen tangible evidence of them by now.  The only fact is that we just don’t know the answer to this question.  It is your task to try and convince your audience through some research and logic what your point of view is and why.
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory? Do your research on this popular and divisive topic and make your position clear on where you stand and why.  Use plenty of real-world examples to support your thoughts and points of view.  
  • Should Smartphones be banned in schools?   Whilst this would be a complete nightmare for most students’ social lives, maybe it might make schools more productive places for students to focus and learn.  Pick a position, have at least three solid arguments to support your point of view, and sell them to your audience.

VISUAL JOURNAL PROMPTS FOR PERSUASIVE WRITING

Try these engaging, persuasive prompts with your students to ignite the writing process . Scroll through them.

Persuasive writing prompts

Persuasive Essay Examples (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of persuasive essay samples.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to read the persuasive texts in detail and the teacher and student guides highlight some of the critical elements of writing a persuasion.

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of persuasive text writing.

We recommend reading the example either a year above or below, as well as the grade you are currently working with, to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.

Persuasive essay | year 4 persuasive text example 1536x1536 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

VIDEO TUTORIALS FOR PERSUASIVE WRITING

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OTHER GREAT ARTICLES RELATED TO PERSUASIVE ESSAY WRITING

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Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

WHERE CAN I FIND A COMPLETE UNIT OF WORK ON HOW TO WRITE PERSUASIVE ESSAYS?

persuasive writing unit

We pride ourselves on being the web’s best resource for teaching students and teachers how to write a persuasive text. We value the fact you have taken the time to read our comprehensive guides to understand the fundamentals of writing skills.

We also understand some of you just don’t have the luxury of time or the resources to create engaging resources exactly when you need them.

If you are time-poor and looking for an in-depth solution that encompasses all of the concepts outlined in this article, I strongly recommend looking at the “ Writing to Persuade and Influence Unit. ”

Working in partnership with Innovative Teaching Ideas , we confidently recommend this resource as an all-in-one solution to teach how to write persuasively.

This unit will find over 140 pages of engaging and innovative teaching ideas.

PERSUASIVE ESSAY WRITING CHECKLIST AND RUBRIC BUNDLE

writing checklists

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Persuasive essay | 1 STUDENts love to share their opinions | The Ultimate Guide to Opinion Writing for Students and Teachers | literacyideas.com

The Ultimate Guide to Opinion Writing for Students and Teachers

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Top 5 Persuasive Writing Techniques for Students

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5 Top Persuasive Writing Lesson Plans for Students and Teachers

Persuasive essay | persuasive writing prompts | 23 Persuasive writing Topics for High School students | literacyideas.com

23 Persuasive writing Topics for High School students

Persuasive essay | 1 reading and writing persuasive advertisements | How to Write an Advertisement: A Complete Guide for Students and Teachers | literacyideas.com

How to Write an Advertisement: A Complete Guide for Students and Teachers

Persuasive essay | how to start an essay 1 | How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads | literacyideas.com

How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads

Examples

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essay generator.

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

People in general have strong opinions or have their personal stance about certain issues – be it substantial or trivial. Some advocate their stance in public like rallies or demonstrations where they deliver persuasive speeches to gain other people’s approval. Some people, on the other hand, opt to do it a subtle but poignant way, through writing. You may also see essay writings .

  • Samples of Formal Essays
  • Academic Essay Examples

Through the course of history, writing was used to start a revolution. Writing has its immense power of uniting the people to a specific cause. It can educate, entertain and persuade the readers. However, writing has many types, styles, techniques. etc. It is a very diverse field. You may also see short essay .

One of the most common types of writing is essay writing. According to Harvard University, “Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. ”

In other words, essay writing has been classified as a formal and informal form of writing. It gives the writer the avenue to give his/her own argument regarding a certain topic. However, it only topples one topic at a time and it is centered around a main topic. You may also see  Basic Guide on Essay Writing .

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

What is a Persuasive Essay?

Persuasive writing or also known as argument essay , explains a specific topic and attempts to persuade the readers that the writer’s stance is right or a certain idea is more valid than the other. It uses logic and reason to present that one idea is more correct than the other. Through persuasive writing , the reader must be able to discern and adapt a certain point of view and take a course of action.

The writer must take a position whether he/she is FOR or AGAINST an issue. He/she must do intensive research in order to provide evidences based on facts. The argument in the essay must always use rational reasoning and well-founded evidences by presenting facts, valid reasons, analytical examples and quoting experts. You may also see  argumentative essay

A persuasive essay could be about anything  you have an opinion of. As long as you can present compelling evidences that support your argument. People that have strong opinions about your stance should be persuaded or even accept the evidences you present as valid. You may also see persuasive speech .

Elements of a Persuasive Essay

A clear thesis or controlling idea.

This is the main focus of your essay. The flow of your paper revolves around your thesis. This establishes and sustains the focus of your paper. The thesis of your essay must be solid and distinct and avoid a vague and unsure thesis that you clearly have no background information about. You may also see free essay .

Opening paragraph

This is the introduction of your essay. It opens your whole paper to the readers and it introduces the topic of your paper. The introduction gives a short background about your essay. It gives a first impression, establishes credibility and prepares your readers to the content of your paper. It should immediately make your readers curious and interested. You may also see high school essay .

Body paragraphs

Your information or arguments are presented in the body of your essay. The body of your essay should be supported by research evidence you were able to gather. The body should contain all the information or argument you intend to convey to your readers. Do not leave room for unanswered questions in your body as it can make your essay inadequate or simply unclear. The body of your essay can be one or more than one paragraph long, depending on the length you would want to breakdown and organize your essay. Also see  Content Outline Writing Tips and Examples

Smooth transitions

The flow of your essay should be polished and refined. It should go from one point to another without breaking its coherence from each other. Your readers must be able to clearly understand that you are done explaining one point and you’re going onward with another. You may also see analytical essay .

Use of counterarguments

Using counterarguments are necessary in a persuasive essay. You use counterarguments to summarize and rebut opposing positions. It helps give emphasis on the position you have taken. It also helps make your essay a well-rounded and well-versed output. Also see  Debate Speech Examples

Your conclusion emphasizes the main point of your essay without being repetitive. Your conclusion must wrap up the main point of your essay with the help of the arguments you have presented beforehand. Although it is a ‘wrap up’ of your whole essay, you must avoid repeating words and thoughts you have already pointed out while presenting your idea. You may also see essay examples .

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

1. Take a stance

The stance you take, whether your FOR or AGAINST about an issue will dictate the direction of your essay. The information and arguments you will present in your essay will revolve around the stance you have chosen. Although it is subjective, avoid prejudice and logically explain your stance instead. Remember that your stance are to be supported by legitimate facts and evidences. You may also see scholarship essay .

2. Know your audience

Your readers have opinions of their own about a certain issue. Determine whether your audience may agree with your position and why they may not. In order to successfully contest your point of view, especially when trying to explain why a certain idea is more valid than the other, you must be able to understand both sides of the issue. You may also see student council speech .

3. Research

Thoroughly research about your topic. The point of a persuasive essay is to disprove the opposing argument through providing detailed and compelling evidences. It will likely be necessary to undertake library-based research, intensive hunt for legitimate references and thorough examination of various examples. You may also see  How to Write Definition Essay and Examples

4. Structure your essay

Organize the structure of your essay by determining the logical sequence of presenting your evidences. In order for your readers to fully understand the essence of your essay, determine the information you need to include and arrange them according to the hierarchy of its importance and/or relevance to your topic and stance. You may also see literacy essay .

5. Support your stance

As you may have done your research regarding your topic, avoid simply copy-pasting or plagiarizing supporting details. Follow proper citations in your evidences. Use hard-hitting facts that are not easily rebutted. Provide meaningful examples, verifiable statistics and one or two direct quotations from experts in order to strengthen your argument. You may also see reflective essay .

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

Without any confusion, your persuasive essay should be able to smoothly merge the following tasks:

1. First, define your key terms or ideas. It should clear up unnecessary confusion about other topics.

2. Second, describe and analyze specific examples used in your essay. It should be able to clearly explain the examples in a level the readers can easily comprehend. You may also see expository essay .

3. Third, it should be able to summarize   and evaluate   the opposing opinions on your topic; meaning, your essay should be able to weigh in on the essence of the opposing argument without invalidating it. It should just be presented but logically rebutted. You may also see comparative essay .

4. Fourth, it should compare   and contrast   your examples and their relation to your thesis. Analyze and state the correlation of your examples with your thesis.You may also see descriptive essay .

5. Lastly, your essay must be able to connect   your examples explicitly to your central idea and to each other. Directly connect the relationship of your examples with the thesis or central idea of your essay in order to prove their coherence. You may also see synthesis essay .

Persuasive Essay Example

writing persuasive essay samples 2 01

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How to Support your Arguments

Do not confuse facts with truths. A “truth” is an idea many people believe but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. A fact, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a piece of information presented as having an objective reality. Facts have evidences that prove them to be true. It can easily be obtained through research on scholarly materials, observation or actual experience. You may also see informative essay .

2. Statistics

These provide excellent support to your argument. Statistics are a collection of quantitative data gathered or combined after intensive research and/or experiments. They provide numerical and visual evidences to your argument. Always make sure you get statistics from reliable resources and you cite your sources properly. You may also see descriptive essay .

A direct quote reproduces the words of another writer verbatim and is displayed in quotation marks. Although it is not recommended, paraphrasing the quote into your essay is a good way to support your argument. Find legitimate quotes from experts. Quotes can be found in published research papers, scholarly articles and books, and other research materials. You may also see travel essay .

4. Examples

Examples are closely similar cases that serves as a precedent or model, it illustrates what the idea is trying to convey. They add and improve your the meaning of the idea and at the same time, makes your idea actual and concrete. You may also see photo essay .

when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

General Guidelines

Bear in mind that the main goal of a persuasive essay is persuade readers that the position you are going for is the most relevant position. You must have a firm opinion about an issue that you want your readers to accept. Before you start to write your persuasive essay, you must already have an opinion or a stance of your own. It is much better to have background information about certain topics before you choose what to write about. You may also see evaluation essay examples .

Always aim to grab the readers attention. You can start your essay with a grabber or hook. It can either be hard, cold facts or quotations from a reliable person that directly relates to your cause. You may also see college essay .

As it has been mentioned, a persuasive essay can be subjective, nevertheless, it still has to be objective. As much as it is about your opinion or position about the issue, it needs facts and evidences. Readers will claim your stance as false if they don’t see/read a credible source backing up your opinion. And lastly, conclude your essay with a restatement of what you want your readers to believe. Reaffirm that the statements you have presented are more valid than the other. You may also see personal narrative essay .

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Text prompt

  • Instructive
  • Professional

Write a Persuasive Essay arguing for the adoption of renewable energy sources.

Convince your readers of the importance of maintaining biodiversity in a Persuasive Essay.

Chapter 10 Rhetorical Modes

10.9 persuasion, learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of persuasion in writing.
  • Identify bias in writing.
  • Assess various rhetorical devices.
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion.
  • Understand the importance of visuals to strengthen arguments.
  • Write a persuasive essay.

The Purpose of Persuasive Writing

The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince, motivate, or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion. The act of trying to persuade automatically implies more than one opinion on the subject can be argued.

The idea of an argument often conjures up images of two people yelling and screaming in anger. In writing, however, an argument is very different. An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue in writing is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way. Written arguments often fail when they employ ranting rather than reasoning.

Most of us feel inclined to try to win the arguments we engage in. On some level, we all want to be right, and we want others to see the error of their ways. More times than not, however, arguments in which both sides try to win end up producing losers all around. The more productive approach is to persuade your audience to consider your opinion as a valid one, not simply the right one.

The Structure of a Persuasive Essay

The following five features make up the structure of a persuasive essay:

  • Introduction and thesis
  • Opposing and qualifying ideas
  • Strong evidence in support of claim
  • Style and tone of language
  • A compelling conclusion

Creating an Introduction and Thesis

The persuasive essay begins with an engaging introduction that presents the general topic. The thesis typically appears somewhere in the introduction and states the writer’s point of view.

Avoid forming a thesis based on a negative claim. For example, “The hourly minimum wage is not high enough for the average worker to live on.” This is probably a true statement, but persuasive arguments should make a positive case. That is, the thesis statement should focus on how the hourly minimum wage is low or insufficient.

Acknowledging Opposing Ideas and Limits to Your Argument

Because an argument implies differing points of view on the subject, you must be sure to acknowledge those opposing ideas. Avoiding ideas that conflict with your own gives the reader the impression that you may be uncertain, fearful, or unaware of opposing ideas. Thus it is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.

Try to address opposing arguments earlier rather than later in your essay. Rhetorically speaking, ordering your positive arguments last allows you to better address ideas that conflict with your own, so you can spend the rest of the essay countering those arguments. This way, you leave your reader thinking about your argument rather than someone else’s. You have the last word.

Acknowledging points of view different from your own also has the effect of fostering more credibility between you and the audience. They know from the outset that you are aware of opposing ideas and that you are not afraid to give them space.

It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish. In effect, you are conceding early on that your argument is not the ultimate authority on a given topic. Such humility can go a long way toward earning credibility and trust with an audience. Audience members will know from the beginning that you are a reasonable writer, and audience members will trust your argument as a result. For example, in the following concessionary statement, the writer advocates for stricter gun control laws, but she admits it will not solve all of our problems with crime:

Although tougher gun control laws are a powerful first step in decreasing violence in our streets, such legislation alone cannot end these problems since guns are not the only problem we face.

Such a concession will be welcome by those who might disagree with this writer’s argument in the first place. To effectively persuade their readers, writers need to be modest in their goals and humble in their approach to get readers to listen to the ideas. See Table 10.5 “Phrases of Concession” for some useful phrases of concession.

Table 10.5 Phrases of Concession

  • Foreign policy
  • Television and advertising
  • Stereotypes and prejudice
  • Gender roles and the workplace
  • Driving and cell phones

Collaboration

Please share with a classmate and compare your answers. Choose the thesis statement that most interests you and discuss why.

Bias in Writing

Everyone has various biases on any number of topics. For example, you might have a bias toward wearing black instead of brightly colored clothes or wearing jeans rather than formal wear. You might have a bias toward working at night rather than in the morning, or working by deadlines rather than getting tasks done in advance. These examples identify minor biases, of course, but they still indicate preferences and opinions.

Handling bias in writing and in daily life can be a useful skill. It will allow you to articulate your own points of view while also defending yourself against unreasonable points of view. The ideal in persuasive writing is to let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and a respectful and reasonable address of opposing sides.

The strength of a personal bias is that it can motivate you to construct a strong argument. If you are invested in the topic, you are more likely to care about the piece of writing. Similarly, the more you care, the more time and effort you are apt to put forth and the better the final product will be.

The weakness of bias is when the bias begins to take over the essay—when, for example, you neglect opposing ideas, exaggerate your points, or repeatedly insert yourself ahead of the subject by using I too often. Being aware of all three of these pitfalls will help you avoid them.

The Use of I in Writing

The use of I in writing is often a topic of debate, and the acceptance of its usage varies from instructor to instructor. It is difficult to predict the preferences for all your present and future instructors, but consider the effects it can potentially have on your writing.

Be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound overly biased. There are two primary reasons:

  • Excessive repetition of any word will eventually catch the reader’s attention—and usually not in a good way. The use of I is no different.
  • The insertion of I into a sentence alters not only the way a sentence might sound but also the composition of the sentence itself. I is often the subject of a sentence. If the subject of the essay is supposed to be, say, smoking, then by inserting yourself into the sentence, you are effectively displacing the subject of the essay into a secondary position. In the following example, the subject of the sentence is underlined:

Smoking is bad.

I think smoking is bad.

In the first sentence, the rightful subject, smoking , is in the subject position in the sentence. In the second sentence, the insertion of I and think replaces smoking as the subject, which draws attention to I and away from the topic that is supposed to be discussed. Remember to keep the message (the subject) and the messenger (the writer) separate.

Developing Sound Arguments

Does my essay contain the following elements?

  • An engaging introduction
  • A reasonable, specific thesis that is able to be supported by evidence
  • A varied range of evidence from credible sources
  • Respectful acknowledgement and explanation of opposing ideas
  • A style and tone of language that is appropriate for the subject and audience
  • Acknowledgement of the argument’s limits
  • A conclusion that will adequately summarize the essay and reinforce the thesis

Fact and Opinion

Facts are statements that can be definitely proven using objective data. The statement that is a fact is absolutely valid. In other words, the statement can be pronounced as true or false. For example, 2 + 2 = 4. This expression identifies a true statement, or a fact, because it can be proved with objective data.

Opinions are personal views, or judgments. An opinion is what an individual believes about a particular subject. However, an opinion in argumentation must have legitimate backing; adequate evidence and credibility should support the opinion. Consider the credibility of expert opinions. Experts in a given field have the knowledge and credentials to make their opinion meaningful to a larger audience.

For example, you seek the opinion of your dentist when it comes to the health of your gums, and you seek the opinion of your mechanic when it comes to the maintenance of your car. Both have knowledge and credentials in those respective fields, which is why their opinions matter to you. But the authority of your dentist may be greatly diminished should he or she offer an opinion about your car, and vice versa.

In writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions. Relying on one or the other will likely lose more of your audience than it gains.

The word prove is frequently used in the discussion of persuasive writing. Writers may claim that one piece of evidence or another proves the argument, but proving an argument is often not possible. No evidence proves a debatable topic one way or the other; that is why the topic is debatable. Facts can be proved, but opinions can only be supported, explained, and persuaded.

On a separate sheet of paper, take three of the theses you formed in Note 10.94 “Exercise 1”, and list the types of evidence you might use in support of that thesis.

Using the evidence you provided in support of the three theses in Note 10.100 “Exercise 2”, come up with at least one counterargument to each. Then write a concession statement, expressing the limits to each of your three arguments.

Using Visual Elements to Strengthen Arguments

Adding visual elements to a persuasive argument can often strengthen its persuasive effect. There are two main types of visual elements: quantitative visuals and qualitative visuals.

Quantitative visuals present data graphically. They allow the audience to see statistics spatially. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience. For example, sometimes it is easier to understand the disparity in certain statistics if you can see how the disparity looks graphically. Bar graphs, pie charts, Venn diagrams, histograms, and line graphs are all ways of presenting quantitative data in spatial dimensions.

Qualitative visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions. Photographs and pictorial images are examples of qualitative visuals. Such images often try to convey a story, and seeing an actual example can carry more power than hearing or reading about the example. For example, one image of a child suffering from malnutrition will likely have more of an emotional impact than pages dedicated to describing that same condition in writing.

Writing at Work

Writing a persuasive essay.

Choose a topic that you feel passionate about. If your instructor requires you to write about a specific topic, approach the subject from an angle that interests you. Begin your essay with an engaging introduction. Your thesis should typically appear somewhere in your introduction.

Start by acknowledging and explaining points of view that may conflict with your own to build credibility and trust with your audience. Also state the limits of your argument. This too helps you sound more reasonable and honest to those who may naturally be inclined to disagree with your view. By respectfully acknowledging opposing arguments and conceding limitations to your own view, you set a measured and responsible tone for the essay.

Make your appeals in support of your thesis by using sound, credible evidence. Use a balance of facts and opinions from a wide range of sources, such as scientific studies, expert testimony, statistics, and personal anecdotes. Each piece of evidence should be fully explained and clearly stated.

Make sure that your style and tone are appropriate for your subject and audience. Tailor your language and word choice to these two factors, while still being true to your own voice.

Finally, write a conclusion that effectively summarizes the main argument and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample persuasive essay.

Choose one of the topics you have been working on throughout this section. Use the thesis, evidence, opposing argument, and concessionary statement as the basis for writing a full persuasive essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, clear explanations of all the evidence you present, and a strong conclusion.

Key Takeaways

  • The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion.
  • An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue, in writing, is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way.
  • A thesis that expresses the opinion of the writer in more specific terms is better than one that is vague.
  • It is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.
  • It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish through a concession statement.
  • To persuade a skeptical audience, you will need to use a wide range of evidence. Scientific studies, opinions from experts, historical precedent, statistics, personal anecdotes, and current events are all types of evidence that you might use in explaining your point.
  • Make sure that your word choice and writing style is appropriate for both your subject and your audience.
  • You should let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and respectfully and reasonably addressing opposing ideas.
  • You should be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound more biased than it needs to.
  • Facts are statements that can be proven using objective data.
  • Opinions are personal views, or judgments, that cannot be proven.
  • In writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions.
  • Quantitative visuals present data graphically. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience.
  • Qualitative visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions.
  • Successful Writing. Authored by : Anonymous. Provided by : Anonymous. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/ . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

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Home — Blog — AI Hacks and Tips — How to Cite ChatGPT: Popular Citation Styles with Examples

How to Cite ChatGPT: Popular Citation Styles with Examples

how to cite chatgpt

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming various aspects of our lives, including education. Tools like ChatGPT are becoming increasingly popular among students for generating ideas, answering questions, and even drafting parts of assignments. However, as with any source of information, it's crucial to how to cite ChatGPT to maintain academic integrity and avoid plagiarism. This article will guide you through the process of citing ChatGPT, ensuring you adhere to ethical standards and give credit where it's due.

Why Cite ChatGPT?

Ethical Considerations: Using AI tools like ChatGPT in your academic work comes with ethical responsibilities. Proper citation is not just about following rules; it's about respecting the intellectual contributions of others, even if they are generated by a machine. By citing ChatGPT, you acknowledge the source of your information and contribute to a culture of honesty and integrity in academia.

Avoiding Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that can have severe consequences. It involves presenting someone else's work or ideas as your own without proper acknowledgment. When you use ChatGPT to generate content, failing to cite it appropriately can be considered plagiarism. Proper citation helps you avoid this pitfall by clearly indicating which parts of your work were assisted by AI.

Acknowledging Sources: Just as you would cite a book, article, or website, citing ChatGPT is a way to acknowledge the tools and resources that contributed to your work. This not only adds credibility to your work but also helps others understand the origins of your ideas and findings.

General Guidelines for Citing AI Tools

Citing AI tools like ChatGPT is slightly different from citing traditional sources. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Identify the Tool: Clearly mention that you used ChatGPT, specifying the version if possible.
  • Include the Source: Indicate that the tool is developed by OpenAI.
  • Mention the Date: Provide the date when you accessed or generated the content using ChatGPT.
  • Detail the Interaction: Briefly describe how you used ChatGPT in your work.

These elements ensure that your citation is clear and comprehensive, giving proper credit to the AI tool.

How to Cite Chat GPT as a Source : Citation Styles

Different academic disciplines follow different citation styles, and it's important to understand how to properly cite ChatGPT to maintain academic integrity. Here’s a guide on ChatGPT citation in the most commonly used styles: APA, MLA, and Chicago. Each style has specific guidelines for citing sources, including AI tools like ChatGPT. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you properly credit ChatGPT as a source in your academic work, thereby avoiding plagiarism and adhering to the ethical standards of your discipline. Let's explore how to cite ChatGPT in each of these citation styles.

How to Cite ChatGPT in APA

When learning how to cite AI in APA, it's essential to include all the necessary details to ensure your citation is complete and accurate. In APA style, the citation for ChatGPT should include the author, which is OpenAI, the year of publication, the name of the tool, and a retrieval statement that includes the URL. Properly citing AI tools like ChatGPT is crucial for maintaining academic integrity and giving appropriate credit to the sources that contribute to your work. Here’s an example to guide you on how to cite ChatGPT in APA style:

  • Author : OpenAI
  • Year : 2023
  • Tool's Name: ChatGPT
  • Version: May 24 version
  • Retrieval Statement: URL where the tool can be accessed

How to Cite ChatGPT in MLA

When formatting a ChatGPT citation in MLA style, it’s important to include specific details to ensure your citation is complete and accurate. In MLA style, the citation should mention the author, which is OpenAI, the name of the tool, the publisher, and the date of access. Proper citation of AI tools like ChatGPT is essential for maintaining academic integrity and providing clear acknowledgment of the sources used in your work. Here’s how to cite ChatGPT in MLA style:

  • Author: OpenAI
  • Publisher: OpenAI
  • Date of Access: 24 May 2023
  • URL: The link to the tool

Chicago Style ChatGPT Citation

When citing ChatGPT in Chicago style, the citation can be included either in a footnote or in a bibliography. Properly citing ChatGPT is essential to maintaining academic integrity and ensuring that the contributions of AI tools are appropriately credited. Here’s how you can format a citing ChatGPT entry in Chicago style:

Example (footnote):

Example (bibliography):

  • Date: May 24, 2023

Citing ChatGPT: P ractical Tips for Students

You should cite ChatGPT whenever you use it to generate significant content, ideas, or data that contribute to your work. This includes direct quotes, paraphrased information, and any substantial assistance in shaping your arguments or research.

How to integrate AI-generated content into your work:

  • Direct Quotes: Use quotation marks and a citation when directly quoting text generated by ChatGPT.
  • Paraphrasing: Even when paraphrasing, you must still provide a citation.
  • Summarizing: If you summarize information from ChatGPT, make sure to cite it.

Best practices for using AI tools in academic writing:

  • Verify Information: Always cross-check the information generated by AI tools for accuracy.
  • Use Responsibly: AI should complement your own research and writing efforts, not replace them.
  • Understand Limitations: Be aware of the limitations and potential biases in AI-generated content.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Misrepresenting AI-Generated Content as Original Thought: Always clarify which parts of your work were assisted by AI to avoid giving a false impression of originality.

Incomplete or Incorrect Citations: Ensure your citations are complete and follow the correct format for your citation style. Incomplete or incorrect citations can lead to confusion and reduce the credibility of your work.

Over-Reliance on AI Tools: While AI tools are helpful, relying too heavily on them can undermine your learning and critical thinking skills. Use them as a supplement to your efforts, not a substitute.

Understanding how to cite ChatGPT and other AI tools is crucial for maintaining academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism. Proper citation not only acknowledges the use of these advanced technologies but also upholds the standards of ethical academic practices. By following the guidelines and examples provided in this article, you can ensure that you properly credit the contributions of AI in your work. This includes understanding how to cite ChatGPT in different citation styles such as APA, MLA, and Chicago. Remember to use these tools responsibly, verify the information they provide, and integrate their contributions transparently into your research. Happy writing!

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when writing a persuasive essay you should avoid

Best Ways To Increase Word Count in an Essay

Best Ways To Increase Word Count in an Essay

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Published: May 23, 2024

Are you writing a homework essay and struggling to meet the minimum word count requirements? Or maybe you’re finding it challenging to add substance without sacrificing quality.

In this guide, we’ll cover simple strategies to increase word count in an essay while also improving the quality of your writing. These methods include using AI tools like Smodin, refining your paraphrasing, and mastering sentences.

1. Use AI Writing Tools

Using AI writing tools can help make your essay longer. These tools can provide assistants in various ways:

  • AI tools like Smodin can analyze your text. They suggest alternatives, letting you expand on ideas without harming your writing.
  • AI tools can help you find chances to break up or combine sentences. This will increase the required word count while keeping things clear and flowing.
  • These tools can recommend synonyms. They replace generic terms, adding depth to your essay.
  • AI writing assistants, like Smodin Writer , can give tailored suggestions based on your essay’s topic and tone. They ensure your desired word count increases and fits your writing goals.

Adding AI writing tools to your essay-crafting process can be a powerful way to boost your word count easily. They can also improve the quality of your work.

2. Write Short Stories

Adding stories to your essay is a compelling way to add words and engage your readers, especially when it comes to creative writing. Here’s how you can effectively utilize storytelling:

  • Add anecdotes : They give context and detail to your points while adding extra words.
  • Develop vivid characters and scenarios : Use them to illustrate your ideas and add depth to your writing.
  • Use vivid language to paint a picture for your readers : It will immerse readers in the story while increasing your word count.
  • Use emotional appeal : Connect with your reader through stories. The stories should evoke feelings and resonate with their experiences.

Weaving stories into your essay boosts word count. It also makes your content more engaging and memorable. Consider using AI tools like Smodin. They can refine your storytelling and improve your narrative flow.

3. Expand Paragraphs

Expanding paragraphs is a strategic approach. It will increase the word count and improve the depth and coherence of your essay. Here are key tactics to effectively expand your paragraphs:

  • Add detail and explanation to your main points : This will make your writing more substantial and longer.
  • Eliminate filler words : As you expand, watch for words that do not add meaning which will negatively affect your essay length.
  • Strengthen body paragraphs : Develop your body paragraphs by connecting ideas logically and cohesively.
  • Use transitional phrases : These help you move between ideas and paragraphs. They keep your essay flowing and positively increase the word count.

By expanding your paragraphs carefully, you can boost your word count. This will enrich your writing’s quality and structure. AI tools, like Smodin, can help here, too. They will streamline and improve how you expand paragraphs.

4. Add Examples

Adding examples to your essay is a powerful way to support your arguments. It also makes your writing more engaging. Here are some strategies for effectively incorporating examples into your writing:

  • Use relevant examples : They must relate to the topic and support your arguments. Avoid using examples that are unrelated or confusing.
  • Use many examples : They can emphasize different parts of your argument and make your writing more complete.
  • Use examples from different sources : They give a full view of the topic. They show your skill at analyzing and evaluating diverse views.
  • Use examples to contrast and compare : Using examples to contrast and compare ideas can highlight their strengths and weaknesses. It can provide a more nuanced understanding of the topic.
  • Use examples to clarify complex concepts : They can make concepts easier to understand.

Adding examples to your essay provides evidence to back your arguments. It also makes your writing more engaging and persuasive.

5. Clarify Sentences

When aiming to increase your essay’s word count, clear sentences are crucial. They add substance and depth to your writing. Here are key strategies to enhance clarity and expand your content effectively:

  • Provide more detail : Elaborate on key points by adding more detail and examples to enrich your explanations.
  • Use descriptive language : It illustrates concepts and engages readers deeply.
  • Clarify your statements : Make them clear and short. Avoid ambiguity and complexity.
  • Emphasize the key points : Do this to reinforce your arguments and provide a full understanding.
  • Add more depth : Dive deeper into topics by exploring various angles and perspectives to enrich your analysis and clarify statements.
  • Avoid unnecessary information : Trim away details that do not matter or add to the main ideas. This keeps your writing clear.

These strategies will help you clarify your sentences and add depth to your content. They will also increase the word count while keeping your essay relevant and coherent.

6. Use Quotations

Using quotes in your essay can boost word count and add credibility and depth to your arguments. Here are some effective ways to use quotations in your writing:

  • Use quotes from quality sources : They will give solid evidence for your claims.
  • Adding authority : Quotes from experts or well-known figures can add a sense of authority to your writing and boost the validity of your arguments.
  • Emphasizing key points: Similar to using examples, quotations can be used to highlight key ideas or perspectives that align with your argument.
  • Provide different viewpoints : Integrate quotes with diverse viewpoints. They enrich the discussion and show a complete understanding of the topic.
  • Use quotes strategically : They will strengthen your argument and persuade your readers.
  • Cite relevant quotes : Remember to cite quotes correctly as per your school or university’s guidelines.

By skillfully using quotes, you can improve your writing, increase your word count, and enrich your essay with valuable insights and perspectives.

7. Expand the Introduction and Conclusion

The intro and conclusion of your essay are crucial. By expanding these sections, you can boost your word count and strengthen the coherence and impact of your writing.

Expanding the introduction:

  • Provide more detail : Start your essay with a more detailed and engaging hook to capture your reader’s attention.
  • Introduce the topic thoroughly : Spend more time setting the context and giving background on it.
  • Connect ideas : Make clear connections between your introduction and the body of your essay. This ensures a smooth transition.
  • Show off your writing : The introduction sets the tone for the whole essay. Aim to showcase your writing skills from the very first sentence well.
  • Write the introduction last : While this may seem like a backward approach, it’s the best way to ensure you include all the necessary details in your intro.

Expanding the conclusion:

  • Revisit key points : Summarize the main arguments and ideas from your essay. Give a full recap for your readers.
  • Offer more insights : Explore the broader meaning of your topic. Or suggest new research and discussion topics.
  • Tie your conclusion to the introduction : This will create a cohesive essay.
  • Write with intention : Invest time crafting a thoughtful conclusion. Make it impactful to leave a lasting impression on your professor or teacher.

By adding to your introduction and conclusion, you can increase your essay’s word count. You will also improve the structure, coherence, and impact of your writing.

8. Add Transition Phrases

As mentioned, adding transition phrases to your school or college essay is a strategic way to increase your word count. It also improves the flow and coherence of your writing. These phrases act as bridges between ideas. They help your readers navigate your essay smoothly.

Here are some effective ways to utilize transition phrases to boost your word count:

  • Use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas. Do this for both paragraphs and sections. It will make your essay cohesive and well-structured.
  • Use a variety of transitions. Try a range of phrases, such as “in addition,” “furthermore,” “on the other hand,” and “in conclusion.” They will add depth and complexity to your writing.
  • Ensure the phrases you use are right for the context. They should guide your readers through your arguments well.

By adding transition phrases to your essay, you can increase your word count. This will also improve the clarity, flow, and coherence of your writing.

Let Smodin Boost Your Word Count

Learning to increase word count in essays is not just about quantity. It’s also about improving the quality and impact of your writing.

These techniques will change your own writing process and help you write essays and research papers that resonate with your professors and teachers, no matter how many words you need.

Platforms like Smodin use AI to offer a simple solution to essay writing. They help you increase your word count easily. Here’s how Smodin can help you:

  • Smodin uses AI to analyze your text and suggests ways to add words in addition to removing unnecessary words.
  • Smodin can help with paraphrasing. It can also add depth and length to sentences.
  • Use Smodin to improve your writing. It gives suggestions on grammar and style.
  • Tailored recommendations to suit your specific writing needs and goals.

Explore Smodin’s services today to improve your writing.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Tips and Tricks

    TIP 1: Be careful not to introduce a new argument in the conclusion—there's no time to develop it now that you've reached the end of your discussion! TIP 2: As with your thesis, avoid announcing your conclusion. Don't start your conclusion with "in conclusion" or "to conclude" or "to end my essay" type statements.

  2. 10 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay That Will Convince Any Reader

    1. Craft a Compelling Introduction: Your introduction is the first impression you make on your reader, so it's essential to capture their attention right from the start. Consider using a captivating anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or a shocking statistic to engage your audience and set the tone for your essay.

  3. 8.7: Tips for Writing Academic Persuasive Essays

    The entire essay should use rhetorical appeals strategically; Argument Outline Exercise; The previous chapters in this section offer an overview of what it means to formulate an argument in an academic situation. The purpose of this chapter is to offer more concrete, actionable tips for drafting an academic persuasive essay.

  4. Persuasive Essay Writing

    When writing a persuasive essay, you should always think about what is persuasive in the essay you are writing and always try to avoid backloading your arguments, meaning that they should be arranged in an ordered and logical way. ... one should avoid relying on faulty logic and writing the essay without keeping your audience in mind. 100% ...

  5. How To Write A Persuasive College Essay

    A persuasive essay is a composition in which the writer presents a clear explanation and convincing evidence to persuade readers to share a viewpoint. Essay writing can bring either an opportunity or challenge. The goal is to write a compelling essay that perhaps convince the audience in the process. Articulate Your Position.

  6. 10.9 Persuasion

    The Purpose of Persuasive Writing. The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince, motivate, or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion. The act of trying to persuade automatically implies more than one opinion on the subject can be argued. The idea of an argument often conjures up images of two people yelling and screaming ...

  7. Persuasive Essay Guide: How to Write a Persuasive Essay

    The last time you wrote a persuasive essay may have been in high school or college, but the skill of writing a strong persuasive argument is always a useful one to have. Persuasive writing begins with a writer forming their own opinion on a topic, which they then attempt to convince their reader of this opinion by walking them through a number of logical and ethical arguments.

  8. How to Write a Persuasive Essay

    As you write your persuasive essay, remember that your goal is to get the reader to nod their head and agree with you. Each section of the essay should bring you closer to this goal. If you write the essay with this in mind, you'll end up with a paper that will receive high grades. Finally, if you're ever facing writer's block for your ...

  9. 3.9 Bias in Writing

    3.9 Bias in Writing. Everyone has various biases on any number of topics. For example, you might have a bias toward listening to music radio stations rather than talk radio or news programs. You might have a bias toward working at night rather than in the morning, or working by deadlines rather than getting tasks done in advance.

  10. 8 Persuasive Writing Tips and Techniques

    Persuasive writing is utilized by writers to take a stance on an issue, convincing readers to agree with a certain opinion or idea. Persuasive writing appears across media in many different forms, such as op-eds, reviews, and advertisements. A good persuasive argument uses a combination of thorough research and careful word choice in order to present the writer's opinion strongly and get the ...

  11. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    you write an essay should not be only to show readers what you know, but to learn more about something that you're genuinely curious about. For some assignments, you'll be given a specific question or problem to address that will guide your thought process. For other assignments, you'll be asked to identify your

  12. How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 6 Steps

    Let's look at six steps to writing an excellent persuasive essay. 1. Choose a debatable issue about which you have strong feelings and a definite position. A debatable issue is one that generates conflicting opinions and points of view; it also may generate strong personal or professional feelings as to how it should be addressed.

  13. PDF The Don'ts of Persuasive Writing 1. Don't be negative. State your

    1. Write one paragraph for each of your main ideas. If you have three main ideas, include three paragraphs in the body of your essay. 2. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that supports the thesis and states the main idea of that paragraph. 3. The remaining sentences in the paragraph should include facts and examples that support your ...

  14. How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

    The 5 Must-Have Steps of a Persuasive Essay. If you're intimidated by the idea of writing an argument, use this list to break your process into manageable chunks. Tackle researching and writing one element at a time, and then revise your essay so that it flows smoothly and coherently with every component in the optimal place. 1.

  15. How to Write a Persuasive Essay

    Use a calm, reasoning tone. While persuasive essay writing is at its most basic an exercise in emotion, try not to choose words that are belittling to the opposing viewpoint, or that rely on insults. Explain to your reader why, despite the other side of the argument, your viewpoint is the "right," most logical one. Find examples.

  16. Writing a Persuasive Essay

    The thesis should. 1. be a complete sentence, 2. identify the topic, and. 3. make a specific claim about that topic. In a persuasive paper, the thesis is a claim that someone should believe or do something. For example, a persuasive thesis might assert that something is effective or ineffective.

  17. Chapter 10. Persuasion

    Chapter 10. Persuasion. This chapter is short in comparison to the other chapters you have read. That is because you will be expected to complete your critique this week. In the next chapter, Developing a Convincing Argument, you will need to apply this information and structures in developing your persuasive paper, the last essay form you will ...

  18. 13.7: Writing a Persuasive Essay

    13.7: Writing a Persuasive Essay. Choose a topic that you feel passionate about. If your instructor requires you to write about a specific topic, approach the subject from an angle that interests you. Begin your essay with an engaging introduction. Your thesis should typically appear near the end of your introduction.

  19. A Comprehensive Guide on How to Write a Persuasive Essay

    How to Write a Persuasive Essay: The Main Components. 1. Introduction: Capturing Attention and Stating the Thesis. The introduction serves as the gateway to your persuasive essay. Begin by grabbing the reader's attention with a compelling hook—an anecdote, a surprising fact, or a thought-provoking question.

  20. How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps

    Thesis statement: Let the audience know your stance. After surveying the topic in the first part of the introduction, it is now time for the student writer to express their opinion and briefly preview the points they will make later in the essay. 2. Body Paragraphs.

  21. How to Write a Persuasive Essay

    1. Take a stance. The stance you take, whether your FOR or AGAINST about an issue will dictate the direction of your essay. The information and arguments you will present in your essay will revolve around the stance you have chosen. Although it is subjective, avoid prejudice and logically explain your stance instead.

  22. 10.9 Persuasion

    The Purpose of Persuasive Writing. The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince, motivate, or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion. The act of trying to persuade automatically implies more than one opinion on the subject can be argued. The idea of an argument often conjures up images of two people yelling and screaming ...

  23. How to Cite ChatGPT for Students by GradesFixer

    Summarizing: If you summarize information from ChatGPT, make sure to cite it. Best practices for using AI tools in academic writing: Verify Information: Always cross-check the information generated by AI tools for accuracy. Use Responsibly: AI should complement your own research and writing efforts, not replace them.

  24. Best Ways To Increase Word Count in an Essay

    This keeps your writing clear. These strategies will help you clarify your sentences and add depth to your content. They will also increase the word count while keeping your essay relevant and coherent. 6. Use Quotations. Using quotes in your essay can boost word count and add credibility and depth to your arguments.