The broadness of persuasive writing is what makes it extremely valuable to learn. It is taught early on in schools. Students learn how to dissect political speeches, advertisements, and various other media. Most persuasive writing addresses contemporary issues. It challenges writers to take a stance and provide an educated opinion. So what is a persuasive essay?
The persuasive essay definition is an When writing a persuasive essay, the writer must conduct solid research and analysis to understand their subject to the fullest extent. They must be aware of their own (and the readers’) biases. Upon finishing reading a persuasive essay, the reader must be convinced that there is no other correct point of view.
Our professional essay writers have crafted this definitive guide to help you write an outstanding persuasive essay!
Table Of Contents
In schools, persuasive writing is taught using the five-paragraph essay structure. The high school persuasive essay format is usually APA. However, senior students are often tasked to write in MLA to help them transition into college.
The format of a persuasive essay . For example, a typical body paragraph is the presentation and solidification of one argument. The section opens up with an introductory sentence which leads to the argument. After the argument is presented, the writer uses sources to prove that their argument is valid. Next, the writer transitions into the next argument, and so forth. The ‘outline’ section of this article provides further insight on how to format a persuasive essay.
Persuasive Essay Topics
When thinking of persuasive essay ideas, . Broad issues such as gun control and abortion rights can spawn novel length essays. These best be avoided unless you’re writing a dissertation.
Say you want to argue in favor of space exploration. It perfectly fits the description of a widely explored contemporary subject. Creating a structure where every body paragraph explores a different planet might be a bit too much. This way, you can convince the audience of the benefits of creating a moon base, and giving them a small idea of what can be achieved from space exploration on a larger scale.
Hence, you have persuaded your reader on a small topic connected to a much broader one. This will leave them inspired with plenty of thoughts to feast on, allowing them to dive further into the world of space.
Topics For High School
Perhaps the concept of space exploration is long and tedious and makes your stomach turn. Don’t worry - you can come up with plenty simple persuasive essay topics for high school. Perhaps you have already debated on some of these with your friends:
- Should sex ed be taught in public schools?
- Should ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ be banned in school because its language makes some kids uncomfortable?
- Should cellphones be banned in classrooms?
- Should students wear uniforms in school?
- Should students influence the school curriculum?
Topics for College
Persuasive essay topics for college get a bit more complicated. Students have the opportunity to make a serious impact with their writing, fearlessly breathing new life into the old world. For college, it is best to choose controversial persuasive essay topics. They challenge the writer to engage in relevant intellectual issues. Here are some examples:
- Media marketed for teenagers advertise morally and ethically wrong messages.
- Federal courtrooms must have live cameras that televise all trials.
- Beauty contests should not be encouraged.
- With the amounts of information available online, college education should be made significantly cheaper.
- Create a prisoner rehabilitation system using music and art.
- Arguing in favor of Net Neutrality.
Crafting A Thesis Statement
The primary concern when writing a persuasive essay thesis should be the writer's position on the selected topic. The writer’s mission is to create a piece that will solidify the thesis, proving it as valid and unchallenged. Here are some examples to shed more light on how to write a thesis statement for a persuasive essay:
Bad Thesis Statements:
- Homeless people are becoming a nuisance in Chicago, and someone should take care of them.
- There are many pros of buying food from local markets.
- Life on Mars is possible if we make it so.
Good Thesis Statements:
- The government of Chicago must take the homeless problem more seriously, providing them access to services such as food donations, public restrooms, and camping facilities.
- Buying food from local markets is hugely beneficial in improving the economy of small towns and villages, and the country as a whole.
- Mars colonization might be the only hope left for humanity, as pollution levels on Earth will soon make the planet uninhabitable.
As you may have noticed, lousy thesis statements offer a generalized and neutral view. Good thesis statements take a stable position in the argument.
Persuasive Essay Outline
After getting well-versed on your topic, it is essential to craft an outline. The outline will assist you in organizing your argument. These arguments and references used will all be placed in your outline which you can always refer to when writing your essay. The end of this section contains a persuasive essay outline example to help you get it done.
There are plenty of ways how to start a persuasive essay. The introduction of the essay must blast off with a hook to grab the audience’s attention. You can start with a humorous statement to break the ice and suggest a less formal writing approach. Alternatively, you may begin with a robust controversial statement. Put the reader straight into the action!
The same goes for a persuasive essay introduction. While it seems like a small structural element without any reliable info, the opening is crucial to capturing and maintaining the reader’s interest. It is best to write the introduction in the end. Knowing the content that follows will help you lead into it.
Here’s where the heavy artillery comes into play. Good persuasive writers know the topic inside out. They can anticipate any opposing views and provide counter-arguments. Here are ways you could support an argument in a persuasive essay body paragraph.
- Use Facts. Factual information will come from reading and observation, as well as personal experience. These facts always have to be backed up by sources to make them credible.
- Quotes. “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” It is highly likely that there have been writers who already tackled your topic. Referring to them, and solidifying your argument with quotes can have a tremendous impact.
- Statistics. Some things just can’t be argued with. Always have statistics from a reliable scientific source to make your argument solid.
- Examples. These can include all of the above. Painting a specific scenario as an example could also work - depending on how it’s written. A good essay writer can persuade on just about any point.
- Concessions. An excellent way to prove your expertise in the field is by accepting part of your opponent's argument as valid. Creating a concession will put you in a right place from an ethical perspective. It will help you find common ground with your opponent. “True, building a border wall will help keep drugs out of the country. However, people who fully rely on it are missing the point…”
It is precious to know how to end a persuasive essay efficiently. The persuasive essay conclusion does not delve far from the introduction. However, certain elements are exclusive for conclusions. Restating the thesis and summarizing main points is the obvious first thing to do.
To make a conclusion effective, one must write a meaningful personal comment. This could be a call for action to leave the reader with something to ponder about. This can be a prediction based on the information presented in the essay. It could be a quote that you believe perfectly summarizes the piece and its main points. Perhaps you’ve already found the solution to the problem, and you want to use the conclusion to suggest a way to solve it?
The final version of your outline should look something like this.
There are specific things instructors will look for in your essay. Following this persuasive essay rubric will help you win the praise of your professors.
- Focus: The thesis statement, as with the whole paper, must state a concrete point of view instead of being neutral. Every piece of writing in the paper exists to defend that thesis statement.
- Supporting the thesis: The thesis is well defined through solid arguments and references to credible sources. There is a minimum of 3 supporting points, which are organized in the essay outline.
- Organization: Every transition from one idea to the next is executed smoothly. There are transitional sentences which help the essay flow. Arguments are presented in the most suitable order.
- Conclusion: After reading the essay - the reader must have understood the writer’s point of view. The point of view is unbiased and educated and presented in a way that challenges the writer to take part in the argument.
- Conventions: Punctuation and grammar rules are supported. The essay isn’t hard to read due to a balance between short and long sentences.
Having ticked off these points, you can rest assured you’ve done everything correctly.
With all being said, here are some final tips for writing a persuasive essay.
- Avoid fancy vocabulary: Having some variety when it comes to vocabulary is fine - but don’t expect your grade to go up because of some fancy synonyms. Find your style and write in a way that makes sense.
- Search for different persuasion techniques. There are plenty of them in countless different mediums. Perhaps doing some research on persuasion might help you with your essay.
- Triple check your work! Practice makes perfect, and so does proofreading. Check the essay for readability. Make sure that everything flows in harmony with the thesis. Get a second pair of eyes by giving your essay to a friend for reading!
- Every paragraph is a mini-essay: This is the best out of all the persuasive essay tips you will find. Take the essay outline, compress it, and apply it to every paragraph. This way, every section has an introduction with a hook, a mini-thesis, a sustained argument, and final concluding sentence. The structure is everything!
Check out any persuasive essay example to help get those creative juices flowing!
Are Women Weaker Than Men Today?
Have Human Been Too Dependent On Technology
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This type of essay is one of the most common types of papers assigned in your early high school years. Their main purpose is to teach a beginner writer how to present and structure an argument. From my years of experience writing such essays, I’ve learned that the most important thing to do is to always, always, always present the counter argument. If your paper just talks about your side of the argument, then you didn’t do a good job writing. The way you win over a person who doesn’t share your point of view is not by blindly forcing them to accept your argument, but instead explaining to them why their argument is invalid. My advice for writing persuasive essays is: when you’re toward the end of your essay, include a paragraph of the counter argument and explain why that point of view is invalid. This strategy will make your essay infinitely stronger.
In a persuasive essay, you want to convince the reader to align with your viewpoint on an issue. You will need to develop a series of arguments in which you provide specific evidence to support your claim.
Writing a persuasive essay is much like talking to a friend and trying to convince them to see things your way. By putting it all in writing, you are attempting to sway the thoughts of anyone who is reading the essay. When writing a persuasive essay, you should be very strongly opinionated in one particular direction, whether positive or negative. You can be for or against an issue, but not in between. Sitting on the fence will only cause problems when it comes to trying to persuade people.
Preparing for the Essay
Before you even start writing, you have a lot of work to do on a persuasive essay. You can’t write one without some excellent points to make and it’s essential to include evidence to support those points. This means you’ll need to spend some time doing research and investigation before writing.
Start with a handful of points you want to make. If you’re not sure which points you will be using in the essay, write down as many ideas as possible, then start to research them. Only the most convincing ones will be used in the end.
Decide on your thesis statement, or the point you are trying to convince people of. Every main point in the essay will need to support this, so knowing what you want to convince them of will help you choose the top three arguments to use. Each point should have at least one or two pieces of evidence that will back it up.
Creating the Outline
Once you have your evidence, complete with reputable sources, it’s time to create an outline. Many people prefer to just write the essay flat out, but an outline will help you keep it structured and will make the writing flow.
An outline should include your main points, along with the supporting evidence below them. With a good outline, you can simply fill in the information for each section and you will have an amazing persuasive essay.
Create a Killer Introduction
The intro to your essay will be where you state your viewpoint. Catch the reader's attention with a well-crafted intro sentence and then explain the issue at hand. You will want to provide some context, so have background information that you can present. This is where the research you did prior to writing the essay will come in handy.
Within this first paragraph, share your thesis sentence, or what you want to convince the reader of in the essay. This will set the tone for the entire paper, so be concise and clear. There should be no doubt about what the essay is going to cover. Take a strong position for or against the subject and stick to it.
Remember that the intro paragraph should not be too long, so condense everything into 3-4 sentences if possible. You want to give the reader a reason to keep reading, rather than reveal everything right from the start.
Add Supporting Paragraphs
The body of the essay will contain information to support your thesis statement. Each paragraph should give the reader a reason to believe what you're saying and to show the reason behind what you are stating.
Most academic essays are created using the five paragraph essay format. This includes the introduction, conclusion and three main body paragraphs. It’s an easy format to follow and generally works very well for a persuasive essay.
Every paragraph should start with sentence that supports the thesis and provides an argument for your point of view. The remainder of the paragraph should offer evidence that will support the first sentence. Use quotes, scientific or educational studies, and news sources that are reputable to give wings to your argument. Your paragraphs should be made up of sentences that are short and stick to the main point. Going off on a tangent is never a good idea when you're trying to convince someone of something.
Wrap It Up in the Conclusion
The final paragraph of your essay should be a summary of everything you've covered in the body. Restate your thesis and the biggest supporting evidence to drive your point home. While this section should be relatively short, it is your last chance to make an impression and to convince people to see things your way.
Tips to Help Persuade
There are certain methods to help incline people to believe you. These include:
Social proof, where you use quotes from people, can help your readers feel that they need to consider your side of things to fit in socially. It's similar to peer pressure and very useful for an persuasive essay.
Repetition is also a time-honored method of convincing people to pay attention. When you repeat the same information over and over again (in this case, your thesis), it will eventually sink in.
Exposing the problem and then going into great detail about how bad it can be is another method of persuasion. Once you have gone beyond the usual and shown people how horrible the issue can become, you will be able to offer them a solution and your point of view. More will be interested in seeing the end result when they realize just how terrible things can get.
The final step in writing your essay is to proofread it. Let it sit for a day or two so you can look at it with fresh eyes or have a friend take a look at it. It's easier to catch mistakes when you haven't been working on the essay non-stop.
Writing an persuasive essay is a part of common core standards, so it’s an important skill to have. However, beyond academic purposes, writing a persuasive essay is a skill that can help you in life. When it comes to making a sale, asking for a raise, or even just suggesting an improvement in your workplace, a little persuasive writing can go a long way.