How to Write a Persuasive Essay
Updated August 17, 2022 • 5 min read
So you've been assigned a persuasive essay: lucky you! This is your best shot at learning to influence people in every arena of your life.
Everyone wants to have influence of some kind: in their relationships, their career, their community, or their online spaces.
Persuasion is at the heart of influence. Good persuaders know how to convince an audience and even move people to action.
Persuasion is a skill you learn by doing, and one of the best ways to learn is by writing a persuasive essay.
What Is a Persuasive Essay?
A persuasive essay — also called a position paper or argument essay — is a piece of academic writing in which you employ logic and evidence to convince a reader to accept your point of view.
Whether you go to college in person or online, at some point you're going to have to write a persuasive essay.
Here are five simple steps to get you started.
5 Simple Steps for Writing a Persusive Essay
1. know your audience.
All writing is written to someone. With that in mind, you need to begin by understanding your audience.
- Who are you trying to persuade?
- What do they care about?
- What views and opinions do they already hold?
- Are they already open to your point of view, or are they skeptical?
- What arguments will they find most compelling?
What works with one audience may not work with another.
Are you writing for middle-aged conservatives or for a cross-section of leftist Gen-Z undergrads? Write directly to that audience.
It is always a mistake to assume your audience will understand what you meant to say. In fact, it can be helpful to imagine that your readers are both lazy and uncharitable (really!).
- Lazy: They will not make special efforts to understand unclear writing
- Uncharitable: They will assume your claims are false
It is your job to overcome these deficiencies in your reader by:
- Writing clearly, and
- Providing sufficient evidence for your claims
2. State Your Position
This might seem obvious, but every persuasive argument should establish a clear claim. What exactly are you arguing for? If the audience has to guess, you've already lost their attention.
You can avoid that problem by developing a strong thesis statement right out the gate. Reference it frequently to keep your reader focused on the matter at hand as you build each part of your argument.
How Do I Write a Strong Thesis Statement?
The trick to composing a solid thesis statement that can motivate an entire essay is to do your research first . That way, you won't commit to a position you can't make a compelling case for.
A thesis statement should be:
- Easy to understand
- Focused in scope
If your thesis statement is too broad — "I argue that we should do something to combat climate change" — the argument will be both harder to establish and less interesting.
But if your thesis statement has a tight focus — "I argue that local governments can combat climate change by funding urban gardening projects" — you will be able to present specific, convincing evidence. Your argument will be much more compelling and actionable.
3. Draw a Roadmap
Once you've stated your claim, create a roadmap for your audience. Let the readers know exactly what to expect by explaining what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.
Use keywords to guide the reader, like "first" and "second." Don't do anything in the paper that you haven't outlined in your roadmap. Tangents will only confuse your audience. Aim for a coherent, logical flow that is easy for the reader to track.
Creating a good roadmap can be a lot harder than it sounds. To make it easier, draft an outline of your entire paper before writing it.
- Thesis statement/opening paragraph
- Address objections
4. Support Your Argument
However, arguments stem from opinions. That's why we construct arguments in the first place: We have opinions, and we want other people to agree with them.
It's not enough to state your opinion with rhetorical flair. This isn't Twitter. You've got to back yourself up with good evidence and research.
Here are three things that will help you do that.
Statistics can be very convincing. It's hard to object to cold, hard numbers. Of course, stats can also be manipulated or misinterpreted, so be sure to provide the full context for any data you use and credit your sources.
Good examples, including testimony and anecdotes, can strengthen your point. Examples are vivid and exciting in a way that numbers aren't, which can help your reader see things from a new perspective. Make sure your examples are specific and applicable.
Referencing an expert's knowledge, experience, or researched conclusions is a persuasive way to provide evidence for your argument. Make sure to choose a relevant expert with good credentials. Otherwise, you'll weaken your position.
One way to absolutely sink your essay is to engage in any kind of logical fallacy to support your claims. Make sure you know what logical fallacies are and how to avoid them.
5. Anticipate Objections
One of the most persuasive things you can do is raise objections to your own points.
That may seem counterintuitive — why would I highlight viewpoints that oppose the one I'm arguing for? — but this is where knowing your audience really matters.
Your points might be brilliant and dazzling, but if your argument comes off as one-sided, your efforts at persuasion are going to fail.
On the flip side, if you can anticipate the objections your audience is most likely to raise and raise them yourself, you can then swiftly refute those objections with sound logic and good evidence.
In debate, this tactic is called a "prebuttal," and it makes your position look much stronger.
As an added benefit, the reader comes away with the sense that you have been very transparent, understood their perspective, and addressed their hesitations directly.
The result? Your audience is persuaded to agree with you.
If you want to ace that persuasive essay, dominate that debate, or learn how to effectively influence others, follow these five steps:
- Know your audience
- State your position clearly
- Draw a roadmap
- Support your arguments with evidence, including data, examples, and experts
- Anticipate and respond to objections
Also, check out your school's writing center! The folks who work there can help you master these techniques for free.
Meg Embry is a Colorado-based writer for TheBestSchools.org covering higher education. She is an award-winning journalist who has lived and worked in Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Header Image Credit: Ezra Bailey, Elke Schroeder / EyeEm | Getty Images
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How to Write a Persuasive Essay
The ancient art of rhetoric dates back to the Classical period of ancient Greece, when rhetoricians used this persuasive form of public speaking to address their fellow citizens in the Greek republics. As time went on, rhetoric remained at the center of education in the western world for nearly 2,000 years. In our modern world, rhetoric is still an integral part of human discourse, utilized by world leaders and students alike to argue their points of view.
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The definition of rhetoric is the “art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing,” where language is used to have a convincing or impressive effect on the audience being addressed.
At some point in every student’s academic career, instructors will deliver the assignment to write a persuasive essay that argues for or against a certain topic. Whether or not you’ve taken a course in rhetoric, students can apply the principles of rhetoric to write an effective persuasive essay that convinces the audience to accept a certain viewpoint.
To be as convincing as Aristotle on the stand, your persuasive essay must be based on sound logic and factual evidence that support the overall argument. As you begin to think about writing a persuasive essay, here are several tips that will help you argue your topic like a true rhetorician.
Choose a position you’re passionate about
The first step in writing a persuasive essay is choosing a topic and picking a side. If the topic is something you believe in, it will make the entire experience of researching, writing, and arguing your perspective more personal. Choosing a topic that appeals to you on an emotional or sentimental level will make its defense easier. Plus, chances are you’ll already know a good deal of information about the topic, so you won’t be left scrambling when it’s time to start your research.
Thoroughly research both sides
Every argument has a counterargument—this is one of the staples of rhetoric. To convince your reader to agree with you, you must be knowledgeable of the opposing side. As important as it is to thoroughly research your topic, identifying and studying both sides of the argument will help you develop the strongest supporting evidence possible. During the research process, gather as much information as you can about the topic at hand. Use your school’s resources like the library, academic journals, and reference materials. With a full understanding of your topic, you’ll be able to readily counter the opposition and assuage any follow-up questions that might cast doubt on your claims.
>>READ MORE: 7 Essay Writing Tips
Draft your thesis statement
One of the most important elements of your persuasive essay is your thesis statement , which should tell readers exactly what your stance encompasses. Without a forceful thesis, you won’t be able to deliver an effective argument. The construction of your thesis statement should include the “what” and the “how” of your argument—what is the argument you are trying to convince your readers to accept? And how will I convince my readers that the argument is sound? While the “how” may become clearer as your essay progresses, your thesis statement should set up the organizational pattern of your essay while presenting your position.
Create a working structure or outline
Outlining your paper will give you a clear view of your argument and the way it develops. Think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of your argument—where would it be most effective for you to introduce your strongest supporting evidence? For rhetoric’s sake, it’s probably not wise to save the best for last. Instead, use your outline to get organized from the outset, anchoring each point in evidence, analysis, and counterargument. List out all of your major claims and the research that supports each point. Creating a working structure will allow you to break down your argument in a logical and concise order, which will make the writing process more straightforward.
Write with integrity and empathy
The most successful rhetorical arguments draw on three main elements: ethos (ethical reasoning) , logos (logical reasoning) , and pathos (passionate reasoning). If amassed perfectly, these three components will make your argument so powerfully robust that nobody could disagree. However, this is easier said than done; even master rhetoricians struggle to find a balance of these three elements. Ethically, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t misleading or manipulating your argument. Logically, your points must be based in fact and progress in a way that makes sense. Passionately, you should emphasize your evidence and use strategic repetition to compel your audience. The key is to find a harmony or balance among these three elements, writing with integrity and empathy.
>>READ MORE: How to Write Better Essays
As Eben Pagan said, “You can’t convince anyone of anything. You can only give them the right information, so that they can convince themselves.” In the spirit of the ancient Greek rhetoricians, knowing how to write a persuasive essay is an essential function of human discourse—and a true art form when done correctly.
Writing a Persuasive Essay
View in pdf format, the introduction.
Simply enough, the introductory paragraph introduces the argument of your paper. A well-constructed introductory paragraph immediately captures a reader’s interest and gives appropriate background information about the paper’s topic. Such a paragraph might include a brief summary of the ideas to be discussed in body of the paper as well as other information relevant to your paper’s argument. The most important function of the introductory paragraph, however, is to present a clear statement of the paper’s argument. This sentence is your paper’s thesis. Without a thesis, it is impossible for you to present an effective argument. The thesis sentence should reflect both the position that you will argue and the organizational pattern with which you will present and support your argument. A useful way to think about the construction of a thesis sentence is to view it in terms of stating both the “what” and the “how” of the paper’s argument. The “what” is simply the basic argument in your paper: what exactly are you arguing? The “how” is the strategy you will use to present this argument. The following are helpful questions for you to consider when formulating a thesis sentence:
- What is the argument that I am trying to convince the reader to accept?
- How exactly do I expect to convince the reader that this argument is sound?
Once you have answered these questions, the next step is to synthesize these answers into a single thesis sentence, or, if necessary, two thesis sentences.
For example: You want to convince your reader that the forces of industry did not shape American foreign policy from the late 19th century through 1914, and you plan to do this by showing that there were other factors which were much more influential in shaping American foreign policy. Both of these elements can be synthesized into a thesis sentence:
Fear of foreign influence in the Western hemisphere, national pride, and contemporary popular ideas concerning both expansion and foreign peoples had significantly more influence on American foreign policy than did the voices of industrialists.
This sentence shows the position you will argue and also sets up the organizational pattern of your paper's body.
The body of your paper contains the actual development of your paper’s argument. Each body paragraph presents a single idea or set of related ideas that provides support for your paper’s argument. Each body paragraph addresses one key aspect of your paper’s thesis and brings the reader closer to accepting the validity of your paper’s argument. Because each body paragraph should be a step in your argument, you should be mindful of the overall organization of your body paragraphs. The first step in writing an effective body paragraph is the construction of the first sentence of this paragraph, the topic sentence. Just as the thesis sentence holds together your essay, the topic sentence is the glue binding each individual body paragraph. A body paragraph’s topic sentence serves two main purposes: introducing the content of the paragraph and introducing the next step of your argument. It is important to keep in mind that the goal of the topic sentence is to advance your paper's argument, not just to describe the content of the paragraph. For example: The first part in your thesis on page two states that fear of foreign influence in the Western Hemisphere had more influence on American foreign policy than did industry. Thus, you need to elaborate on this point in your body paragraphs. An effective topic sentence for one of these paragraphs could be:
American fear of foreign influence was a key factor in the United States’ actions in the Spanish-American War. Subsequent body paragraphs might offer further evidence for the idea presented in this body paragraph.
A good way to test the strength of both your topic sentences and your argument as a whole is to construct an outline of your paper using only your paper's thesis statement and topic sentences. This outline should be a logical overview of your paper's argument; all of your paper’s topic sentences should work together to support your thesis statement.
A basic purpose of your paper’s concluding paragraph is both to restate the paper’s argument and to restate how you have supported this argument in the body of the paper. However, your conclusion should not simply be a copy of your introduction. The conclusion draws together the threads of the paper’s argument and shows where the argument of your paper has gone. An effective conclusion gives the reader reasons for bothering to read your paper. One of the most important functions of this paragraph is to bring in fresh insight. Some possible questions to consider when writing your conclusion are:
- What are some real world applications of this paper’s argument?
- Why is what I am writing about important?
- What are some of the questions that this paper’s argument raises?
- What are the implications of this paper’s argument?
While the organization and structure described in this handout are necessary components of an effective persuasive essay, keep in mind that writing itself is a fluid process. There are no steadfast rules that you need to adhere to as you write. Simply because the introduction is the first paragraph in your essay does not mean that you must write this paragraph before any other. Think of the act of writing as an exploration of ideas, and let this sense of exploration guide you as you write your essay.
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How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps
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.
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.
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A complete 140 PAGE unit of work on persuasive texts for teachers and students. No preparation is required.
THE STRUCTURE OF A PERSUASIVE ESSAY
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.
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.
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.
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.
TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT PERSUASIVE ESSAY
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.
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!
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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.
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 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.
VIDEO TUTORIALS FOR PERSUASIVE WRITING
OTHER GREAT ARTICLES RELATED TO PERSUASIVE ESSAY WRITING
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?
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
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The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh. A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here. Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.
NO PREP REQUIRED A ready-made unit on Persuasive Writing awaits you.
How to Write a Persuasive Essay
Everyone has disagreements – whether it’s “who is the best performer of all time” or “what is the tastiest flavor of ice cream”, someone is going to have an opinion that might differ from yours. That doesn’t stop us from trying to convince each other of our perspective. This is where persuasive essays come into play. Persuasive writing is used to sway our readers to a certain viewpoint or opinion of the writer. How is that done? Today, well go over the purpose of persuasive writing and how to create an effective persuasive piece. Let’s get started!
Persuasive essays, also known as argumentative essays, are texts that are meant to convince the reader of something. There are other things besides essays that can be persuasive, such as speeches and social media posts. From politics to music to arguing why purple is the best color ever – anything can be made into a persuasive text.
But, the focus of this video is persuasive essays. When writing a persuasive essay, there is a structure you can follow to help make your argument clear and effective.
The essay is typically made up of 3 main sections: the introduction , the body , and the conclusion. To write an effective persuasive essay, each section should contain specific points you want to discuss.
The introduction paragraph of your essay should always introduce the topic you will be discussing. A good introduction paragraph will also have a hook, which is a sentence that grabs your readers attention. Once you have your hook, you will state your thesis. A thesis is the main point or argument you want to prove in your essay. Every persuasive essay must have a thesis. Lastly, you should always end each section of your essay with a concluding sentence. This is a sentence that wraps up the end of a paragraph and helps transition into the next paragraph.
Let’s look at an example of an introduction paragraph of a persuasive essay.
Long ago, ancient Egyptians worshiped cats. They believed they were godly creatures. Today, cats are still very beloved, but as household pets. Some cats aren’t so lucky; there are many cats who have yet to find their forever home. Cats are amazing animals that you should consider adopting because they are very intelligent, have an urgent need to be placed in a home, and make great companions. These are just a few reasons I’ll discuss as to why cats should be protected.
This introduction paragraph had a hook, it grabbed our attention by talking about ancient cats, and related it to cats today.
We see there is a thesis, the writer believes we need to adopt homeless cats, ideally from shelters, and gives three reasons why.
Lastly, they concluded the introduction paragraph by saying they would give more details about their reasons.
Next comes the body paragraphs. The body of a persuasive essay holds all the main points you as the writer want to argue. It’s best to separate your points by paragraphs; so, if you have three main arguments, you should have at least three body paragraphs explaining them in detail. When you argue your points in the paragraph, you must make sure to explain why these reasons support your thesis. Let’s look at an example.
Cats are very smart animals. Despite what many people think, cats do in fact know their names and will react when you call out to them. They are also great at solving problems. Cats can easily get bored, when that happens, they may act mischievous. That’s why cats have puzzle toys to stimulate their curious minds. Such a smart animal should be able to have a safe home to live and play in peace.
Secondly, cats that end up in shelters don’t always find good homes. Pet shops are popular places to get cats as pets. When you get a cat from a pet shop, it will live there until it finds a good home. In shelters however, they can become packed with cats who haven’t found a home. Unfortunately, some shelters resort to euthanizing the animals when they run out space for new ones. For people who are interested in helping a cat find a home, why not consider getting one from a shelter instead?
Lastly, despite their bad reputation, cats are very friendly. Cats of all ages are able to cuddle with their owner and other pets. Some cats, just like people, need time to get used to you, but once they do, you’ll find you have a great couch-surfing buddy that keeps you company. Cats are also low maintenance pets, and are cleaner than most roommates. Just another reason to consider bringing a cat to your home.
We can see here that the author addressed the 3 main reasons that support the thesis with 3 body paragraphs. Each paragraph began with a transition word or hook, then it went into detail to support the reason, and lastly, it ended the paragraph with a concluding sentence.
The conclusion of a persuasive essay is a summary of all the points mentioned earlier that wraps up the essay and often includes a catchy ending to drive the point home.
Whether you have been thinking of adopting for a long time or just considered it, cats everywhere are in need of a home. What better way to help an intelligent animal in need and make a new friend than to adopt a shelter cat!
As we can see, conclusion paragraphs don’t need to be super long. As long as they summarize the overall thesis and arguments of the essay, it is an effective closing to a persuasive essay.
As you’re writing the essay, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to make sure your persuasion is more effective:
Repetition – Don’t say the same thing so many times that you start to sound redundant, but find ways to bring back your main argument throughout the essay. Your readers and listeners will remember your argument better if you repeat and emphasize it throughout the piece.
Real-world examples – Whether you are using data, emotions, or credibility to drive your point home, you should try to always use real-world examples to further persuade your readers.
Call to action – A good thesis in a persuasive essay is a statement that asks the reader to do something. Think hard about what you want to convince people of and narrow that action into one clear sentence. The rest of your essay should revolve around that.
Okay, let’s quickly review everything we talked about to wrap up.
The main purpose of a persuasive essay is to persuade the reader to a certain viewpoint or opinion of the writer. The essay will have an introduction paragraph that introduces the main argument, multiple body paragraphs that discuss sub-arguments that support the main argument, and a conclusion that wraps things up. And finally, if you want to make your persuasion more effective, remember to repeat your main argument throughout the paper, try to use real-world examples to support your points, and make your thesis a call to action.
That’s all for this review! Thanks for watching, and happy studying!
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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: February 17, 2023
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