How to Write a Persuasive (Argumentative) Essay

how to write a persuasive essay

A persuasive essay is a form of academic writing that is built around a central argument. These essays are sometimes called argumentative essays because of this. In this category of composition, the writer aims to persuade the reader to accept their point of view.

Steps for Writing a Persuasive Essay

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Make 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.
  7. Thoroughly proofread your essay.

Topic Selection

There are limitless opportunities for great topics, since there are many debated issues you can discuss in your persuasive essay. Here are just a few examples of topics for your argumentative essay:

  • Is a boarding school a reasonable idea for your child?
  • Should there be a division between male and female sports?
  • The death penalty should be abolished.
  • People should not be allowed to keep guns at home.
  • It is inappropriate to let a gay couple adopt a child of the same gender.
  • The only difference between organic and non-organic food is its cost.
  • If we want to stop the global warming process, we need to stop driving cars.
  • Is wearing school uniforms a sound idea?
  • Children should not be allowed to play computer games.
  • Introducing cell phones to children under the age of fifteen is an imprudent idea.
  • Should all children under the age of 18 have a 10pm curfew?
  • Is bullying really a serious problem in American schools today?

Key Points to Consider

  1. There are various persuasion techniques that have been proven to be the most effective in an 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.
  2. 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.
  3. An approach to persuasion is when a writer is aware of the point of view of an opposing side, and then argues about its weakness. Use parenthetical clauses like however, nevertheless, despite the fact that, on the other hand, and so on to link the two opposing points together.
  4. Combine the 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.
  5. Using rhetorical questions and appealing to common truths is always a sound way to make a point.

Do and Don’t


  • Do always prove your point with factual data. Stating without factual basis is considered a weak point, so a successful essay should have statistics and quotes that serve as supporting evidence.
  • Do be certain about your position.
  • Do appeal to the emotions of your readers. This can have more of an effect than raw facts.
  • Do make sure to review the points of both sides of the argument before you start making your outline.
  • Do remain tolerant of other people’s opinions, even if you strongly disagree with them.

  • Don’t be too flat and determined in trying to prove your point. Recognizing the fact that a lot of people might not agree does not mean that you expose your argument’s weak side.
  • Don’t choose a topic that you are hesitant about which side to take. You should be solid and steady in what you are trying to prove, otherwise it will be almost impossible to persuade your reader.
  • Don’t try to introduce another argument in the conclusion. The conclusion should be about summarizing and making the final point.
  • Don’t appeal to subjective personal or religious beliefs – this is crossing the line. Try to remain objective and focus on facts.

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 persuasive essay should be thoroughly based on cold-hearted arguments, even though it may apply to emotions as well.

- 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.

- 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.

Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic persuasive essay writing tips and rules, you can check out our persuasive and argumentative essay samples to link theory with practice.


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