How to Write a Persuasive (Argumentative) Essay
A persuasive essay is a form of academic writing that is built around a certain argument. Persuasive essays are sometimes called argumentative essays because of this. In this category of composition, the writer aims to persuade the reader to accept the author’s point. A successful persuasive essay requires following certain rules and omitting common mistakes that students often make when writing their persuasive essays:
Steps for Writing a Persuasive Essay
- Decide upon the issue you will discuss. It needs to be a topic you have a solid opinion on, and also a topic people disagree about.
- Research the issue to be aware of how to best prove your point. Consider what your possible opponents can object to with every point you make.
- Make an outline, listing your strongest arguments that will help you prove your point. Look for statistics, factual data and quotes of famous people to support your arguments.
- Write an introduction, stating how debated the issue is and why it is important to reach consensus on the matter. Finish the introduction with a thesis statement, indicating your personal position on the discussed subject.
- Argue your point, introducing a new reason or fact in every paragraph. There should be no less than three strong arguments to support your point of view.
- Draw a conclusion. Here you may express your understanding as to why the matter is so difficult to agree on, but conclude that the position you support is the best possible (or most likely to be true) variant based on the evidence you provided earlier in the essay.
- Thoroughly proofread your essay.
There are limitless opportunities for good topics, since there are a lot of debated issues you can discuss in your persuasive essay. Here are just a few examples of good topics for your argumentative essay:
- Is a boarding school a good idea for your child?
- Should there be a division between male and female sports?
- Death penalty should be abolished
- People should not be allowed to keep guns at home
- It is a bad idea to let a gay couple adopt a child of the same gender
- The only difference between organic and regular food is its cost
- If we want to stop the global warming process, we need to stop driving cars
- Is wearing school uniforms a good idea?
- Children should not be allowed to play computer games
- Introducing cell phones to children under the age of fifteen is a bad idea
- Should all children under the age of 18 have a 10 pm curfew?
- Is bullying really a serious problem in American schools today?
Key Points to Consider
- There are various persuasion techniques that have been proven to be the most effective in a good argumentative essay. Three basic persuasion techniques are: appeal to emotions, appeal to facts and evidence and appeal to logic. Try to combine and mix them to make a stronger point.
- Always build your argument based on your audience and its qualities. Think of whom you are appealing to, envision your audience’s main characteristics and build your arguments based on what your audience most values.
- A good approach to persuasion is when the writer is aware of the point of view of an opposing side, and then argues about its weakness. Use parenthesis clauses like “however”, “nevertheless”, “despite the fact that”, “on the other hand”, etc. to link the two opposing points together.
- Combine main points with minor points that also contribute to the general idea. Start each paragraph with the major point, then go on to explain it, and introduce a minor point closer to the end of the paragraph to support your initial major point.
- Using rhetorical questions and appealing to common truths is always a good way to make a point.
Dos and Don’ts
Common Mistakes When Writing a Persuasive Essay
- Building a whole essay based on just the disproof of your opponents’ arguments. You need to introduce your own points as well in order to show the alternative perspective.
- Becoming too aggressive while trying to prove your point only shows weakness. A good persuasive essay should be thoroughly based on cold-hearted arguments, even though it may apply to emotions as well. It is important to stay within the boundaries of academic writing and not approach the discussion the way you would in a real-life conversation.
- Changing your mind as you develop your arguments. This is why you need to get acquainted with both sides of the issue you are planning to discuss. Do not rush into writing. Research all of the arguments of the opposing side and make sure that you disagree with them; otherwise, your hesitation will weaken the argument you present.
- Overloading your essay with facts and arguments without a clear structure or a general logical idea. This is why you need to make a plan or an outline for your persuasive essay before you start writing it. If you just randomly list arguments and quote relevant data, but fail to organize your essay, then the paper will not be effective in persuading your readers, no matter how good your evidence is.
Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic persuasive essay writing tips and rules, you can check best persuasive and argumentative essay samples to link theory with practice.