Skip Nav

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

Navigation menu

❶Presenting strong evidence, such as facts and statistics, statements of expert authorities, and research findings establishes credibility. These are the 3 cornerstones of rhetoric.

What is an Argumentative Essay?

Why Persuasion?
Chat with the Rasmussen Library
per·sua·sive

However, an argumentative essay intends to make readers see both sides of the coin. It is up to them to select any of the two. In other words, an argumentative essay presents both arguments; both for and against a thing, and leaves the readers to decide.

On the other hand, a persuasive essay intends to make readers do certain things. Therefore, it presents arguments only about one aspect of the issue. First they encourage introspection, telling us that unless men examine their testicles, unless we keep a check on our cholesterol level, then we are not being responsible citizens. You are letting down yourself, your wife, your kids, everybody. We are encouraged continually to worry about our health. As a consequence, public health initiatives have become, as far as I can tell, a threat to public health.

Secondly, governments promote the value of health seeking. We are meant always to be seeking health for this or that condition. The primary effect of this, I believe, is to make us all feel more ill.

This is an excerpt from a persuasive essay of Frank Furedi. It encourages people to think about how the government is helping public health.

The average preschooler in America watches 27 hours of television a week. The average child gets more one-on-one communication from TV than from all her parents and teachers combined. The ultimate achievement for our children is to get their picture on TV. The solution is simple, and it comes straight out of the sociology literature: Time and time again, the statistics don't lie -- we need to open our doors to help refugees.

Quotations reinforce that you aren't the only one making this point. It tells people that, socially, if they want to fit in, they need to consider your viewpoint. Agitation of the Problem: Before offering solutions, show them how bad things are. Give them a reason to care about your argument. President Assad has not only stolen power, he's gassed and bombed his own citizens. He has defied the Geneva Conventions, long held as a standard of decency and basic human rights, and his people have no choice by to flee.

Be authoritative and firm. You need to sound an expert, and like you should be trustworthy. Cut out small words or wishy-washy phrase to adopt a tone of authority. It is not worth the risks environmentally or economically. This, I imagine, will be a good thing. Persuasion is about upending commonly held thoughts and forcing the reader to reevaluate. While you never want to be crass or confrontational, you need to poke into the reader's potential concerns.

Is it fair that we actively promote drinking as a legitimate alternative through Campus Socials and a lack of consequences? We all want less crime, stronger families, and fewer dangerous confrontations over drugs.

We need to ask ourselves, however, if we're willing to challenge the status quo to get those results. This policy makes us look stupid. It is not based in fact, and the people that believe it are delusional at best, and villains at worst. Acknowledge, and refute, arguments against you. While the majority of your essay should be kept to your own argument, you'll bullet-proof your case if you can see and disprove the arguments against you.

Save this for the second to last paragraph, in general. If they're going to hurt themselves, that is their right. The only obvious solution is to ban guns. There is no other argument that matters. Read the prompt carefully. In most cases, you will be given a specific assignment for your persuasive essay.

Look for language that gives you a clue as to whether you are writing a purely persuasive or an argumentative essay. If you can, make the time to craft an argument you'll enjoy writing.

Allow yourself enough time to brainstorm, write, and edit. Whenever possible, start early. Examine the rhetorical situation. All writing has a rhetorical situation, which has five basic elements: This is when you look at the facts, definition meaning of the issue or the nature of it , quality the level of seriousness of the issue , and policy plan of action for the issue. To look at the facts, try asking: What are the known facts? How did this issue begin?

What can people do to change the situation? To look at the definition, ask: What is the nature of this issue or problem? What type of problem is this? What category or class would this problem fit into best? To examine the quality, ask: Who is affected by this problem? How serious is it? What might happen if it is not resolved? To examine the policy, ask: Should someone take action?

Who should do something and what should they do? Obviously, your instructor is your primary audience, but consider who else might find your argument convincing. You might target the school administrators, in which case you could make a case about student productivity and healthy food.

Pick a topic that appeals to you. Because a persuasive essay often relies heavily on emotional appeals, you should choose to write on something about which you have a real opinion. Pick a subject about which you feel strongly and can argue convincingly. Look for a topic that has a lot of depth or complexity.

You may feel incredibly passionate about pizza, but it may be difficult to write an interesting essay on it. A subject that you're interested in but which has a lot of depth — like animal cruelty or government earmarking — will make for better subject material.

Consider opposing viewpoints when thinking about your essay. If you think it will be hard to come up with arguments against your topic, your opinion might not be controversial enough to make it into a persuasive essay.

On the other hand, if there are too many arguments against your opinion that will be hard to debunk, you might choose a topic that is easier to refute.

Make sure you can remain balanced. A good persuasive essay will consider the counterarguments and find ways to convince readers that the opinion presented in your essay is the preferable one. Keep your focus manageable. Your essay is likely to be fairly short; it may be 5 paragraphs or several pages, but you need to keep a narrow focus so that you can adequately explore your topic.

For example, an essay that attempts to persuade your readers that war is wrong is unlikely to be successful, because that topic is huge. Choosing a smaller bit of that topic -- for example, that drone strikes are wrong -- will give you more time to delve deeply into your evidence. Come up with a thesis statement. Your thesis statement presents your opinion or argument in clear language.

It is usually placed at the end of the introductory paragraph. For example, a thesis statement could look like this: It is important for schools to provide fresh, healthy meals to students, even when they cost more.

You do need to convey exactly what you will argue. Once you have chosen your topic, do as much preparation as you can before you write your essay. This means you need to examine why you have your opinion and what evidence you find most compelling.

Start with your central topic and draw a box around it. Then, arrange other ideas you think of in smaller bubbles around it. Connect the bubbles to reveal patterns and identify how ideas relate. Generating ideas is the most important step here. Once you have your ideas together, you may discover that some of them need research to support them. If you have a librarian available, consult with him or her!

Librarians are an excellent resource to help guide you to credible research. Persuasive essays generally have a very clear format, which helps you present your argument in a clear and compelling way. Here are the elements of persuasive essays: You should also provide your thesis statement, which is a clear statement of what you will argue or attempt to convince the reader of. In other essays, you can have as many paragraphs as you need to make your argument.

Regardless of their number, each body paragraph needs to focus on one main idea and provide evidence to support it. Your conclusion is where you tie it all together. It can include an appeal to emotions, reiterate the most compelling evidence, or expand the relevance of your initial idea to a broader context.

Connect your focused topic to the broader world. Come up with your hook. Your hook is a first sentence that draws the reader in. Your hook can be a question or a quotation, a fact or an anecdote, a definition or a humorous sketch.

As long as it makes the reader want to continue reading, or sets the stage, you've done your job. It also encourages the reader to continue reading to learn why they should imagine this world. Many people believe that your introduction is the most important part of the essay, because it either grabs or loses the reader's attention. A good introduction will tell the reader just enough about your essay to draw them in and make them want to continue reading.

Then, proceed to move from general ideas to specific ideas until you have built up to your thesis statement. Don't slack on your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is a short summary of what you're arguing for. It's usually one sentence, and it's near the end of your introductory paragraph.

Make your thesis a combination of your most persuasive arguments, or a single powerful argument, for the best effect. Structure your body paragraphs.

At a minimum, write three paragraphs for the body of the essay. Each paragraph should cover a single main point that relates back to a part of your argument. These body paragraphs are where you justify your opinions and lay out your evidence. Remember that if you don't provide evidence, your argument might not be as persuasive.

Make your evidence clear and precise. For example, don't just say: They are widely recognized as being incredibly smart. Multiple studies found that dolphins worked in tandem with humans to catch prey. Very few, if any, species have developed mutually symbiotic relationships with humans. Agreed-upon facts from reliable sources give people something to hold onto.

If possible, use facts from different angles to support one argument. This makes a case against the death penalty working as a deterrent. If the death penalty were indeed a deterrent, why wouldn't we see an increase in murders in states without the death penalty?

You want to make sure that your argument feels like it's building, one point upon another, rather than feeling scattered. Use the last sentence of each body paragraph to transition to the next paragraph. In order to establish flow in your essay, you want there to be a natural transition from the end of one paragraph to the beginning of the next.

Here is one example: Add a rebuttal or counterargument. You might not be required to do this, but it makes your essay stronger. Imagine you have an opponent who's arguing the exact opposite of what you're arguing.

Think of one or two of their strongest arguments and come up with a counterargument to rebut it. However, consider the fact that middle schoolers are growing at an incredible rate. Their bodies need energy, and their minds may become fatigued if they go for long periods without eating. Write your conclusion at the very end of your essay. As a general rule, it's a good idea to restate each of your main points and end the whole paper with a probing thought. If it's something your reader won't easily forget, your essay will have a more lasting impression.

Why does this argument or opinion mean something to me? What further questions has my argument raised? What action could readers take after reading my essay? Give yourself a day or two without looking at the essay. If you've planned ahead, this won't be hard. Then, come back to the essay after a day or two and look it over. The rest will give you a fresh set of eyes and help you spot errors. Any tricky language or ideas that needed time might be revisited then.

Submit a Question

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

A persuasive essay is one in which you attempt to get the reader to agree with your point of view. You are trying to present arguments, research, and ideas in order to sway the reader one way or the other. There are a couple of databases that are helpful for persuasive essays - Points of View and CQ Researcher.

Privacy FAQs

Definition of Persuasive Essay. The term “persuasive” is an adjective derived from verb “persuade,” which means “to convince somebody.” A persuasive essay is full of all the convincing techniques a writer can employ.

About Our Ads

Persuasive definition, able, fitted, or intended to persuade: a very persuasive argument. See more. What does persuasive writing mean? Definitions for persuasive writing Persuasive writers employ many techniques to improve their argument and show support for their claim. Simply put, persuasive writing is "an essay that offers and supports an opinion". This type of writing is often used for advertising copy, which is written in an attempt.

Cookie Info

A persuasive essay, also known as an argumentative essay, argues the writer's position on a controversial topic with an intention to persuade the reader to agree with the writer's stance. Persuasive essays include an introductory paragraph that establishes the writer's purpose and position, body. Define persuasive. persuasive synonyms, persuasive pronunciation, persuasive translation, English dictionary definition of persuasive. adj. Tending or having the power to persuade: a persuasive argument. per·sua′sive·ly adv. per·sua′sive·ness n. adj having the power or ability to persuade;.