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How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Tips and Tricks

Allison Bressmer

Allison Bressmer

How to write a persuasive essay

Most composition classes you’ll take will teach the art of persuasive writing. That’s a good thing.

Knowing where you stand on issues and knowing how to argue for or against something is a skill that will serve you well both inside and outside of the classroom.

Persuasion is the art of using logic to prompt audiences to change their mind or take action , and is generally seen as accomplishing that goal by appealing to emotions and feelings.

A persuasive essay is one that attempts to get a reader to agree with your perspective.

What is a persuasive essay?

Ready for some tips on how to produce a well-written, well-rounded, well-structured persuasive essay? Just say yes. I don’t want to have to write another essay to convince you!

How Do I Write a Persuasive Essay?

What are some good topics for a persuasive essay, how do i identify an audience for my persuasive essay, how do you create an effective persuasive essay, how should i edit my persuasive essay.

Your persuasive essay needs to have the three components required of any essay: the introduction , body , and conclusion .

That is essay structure. However, there is flexibility in that structure.

There is no rule (unless the assignment has specific rules) for how many paragraphs any of those sections need.

Although the components should be proportional; the body paragraphs will comprise most of your persuasive essay.

What should every essay include?

How Do I Start a Persuasive Essay?

As with any essay introduction, this paragraph is where you grab your audience’s attention, provide context for the topic of discussion, and present your thesis statement.

TIP 1: Some writers find it easier to write their introductions last. As long as you have your working thesis, this is a perfectly acceptable approach. From that thesis, you can plan your body paragraphs and then go back and write your introduction.

TIP 2: Avoid “announcing” your thesis. Don’t include statements like this:

  • “In my essay I will show why extinct animals should (not) be regenerated.”
  • “The purpose of my essay is to argue that extinct animals should (not) be regenerated.”

Announcements take away from the originality, authority, and sophistication of your writing.

Instead, write a convincing thesis statement that answers the question "so what?" Why is the topic important, what do you think about it, and why do you think that? Be specific.

How Many Paragraphs Should a Persuasive Essay Have?

This body of your persuasive essay is the section in which you develop the arguments that support your thesis. Consider these questions as you plan this section of your essay:

  • What arguments support your thesis?
  • What is the best order for your arguments?
  • What evidence do you have?
  • Will you address the opposing argument to your own?
  • How can you conclude convincingly?

The body of a persuasive essay

TIP: Brainstorm and do your research before you decide which arguments you’ll focus on in your discussion. Make a list of possibilities and go with the ones that are strongest, that you can discuss with the most confidence, and that help you balance your rhetorical triangle .

What Should I Put in the Conclusion of a Persuasive Essay?

The conclusion is your “mic-drop” moment. Think about how you can leave your audience with a strong final comment.

And while a conclusion often re-emphasizes the main points of a discussion, it shouldn’t simply repeat them.

TIP 1: Be careful not to introduce a new argument in the conclusion—there’s no time to develop it now that you’ve reached the end of your discussion!

TIP 2 : As with your thesis, avoid announcing your conclusion. Don’t start your conclusion with “in conclusion” or “to conclude” or “to end my essay” type statements. Your audience should be able to see that you are bringing the discussion to a close without those overused, less sophisticated signals.

The conclusion of a persuasive essay

If your instructor has assigned you a topic, then you’ve already got your issue; you’ll just have to determine where you stand on the issue. Where you stand on your topic is your position on that topic.

Your position will ultimately become the thesis of your persuasive essay: the statement the rest of the essay argues for and supports, intending to convince your audience to consider your point of view.

If you have to choose your own topic, use these guidelines to help you make your selection:

  • Choose an issue you truly care about
  • Choose an issue that is actually debatable

Simple “tastes” (likes and dislikes) can’t really be argued. No matter how many ways someone tries to convince me that milk chocolate rules, I just won’t agree.

It’s dark chocolate or nothing as far as my tastes are concerned.

Similarly, you can’t convince a person to “like” one film more than another in an essay.

You could argue that one movie has superior qualities than another: cinematography, acting, directing, etc. but you can’t convince a person that the film really appeals to them.

Debatable and non-debatable concepts

Once you’ve selected your issue, determine your position just as you would for an assigned topic. That position will ultimately become your thesis.

Until you’ve finalized your work, consider your thesis a “working thesis.”

This means that your statement represents your position, but you might change its phrasing or structure for that final version.

When you’re writing an essay for a class, it can seem strange to identify an audience—isn’t the audience the instructor?

Your instructor will read and evaluate your essay, and may be part of your greater audience, but you shouldn’t just write for your teacher.

Think about who your intended audience is.

For an argument essay, think of your audience as the people who disagree with you—the people who need convincing.

That population could be quite broad, for example, if you’re arguing a political issue, or narrow, if you’re trying to convince your parents to extend your curfew.

Once you’ve got a sense of your audience, it’s time to consult with Aristotle. Aristotle’s teaching on persuasion has shaped communication since about 330 BC. Apparently, it works.

Ethos, pathos and logos

Aristotle taught that in order to convince an audience of something, the communicator needs to balance the three elements of the rhetorical triangle to achieve the best results.

Those three elements are ethos , logos , and pathos .

Ethos relates to credibility and trustworthiness. How can you, as the writer, demonstrate your credibility as a source of information to your audience?

How will you show them you are worthy of their trust?

How to make your essay credible

  • You show you’ve done your research: you understand the issue, both sides
  • You show respect for the opposing side: if you disrespect your audience, they won’t respect you or your ideas

Logos relates to logic. How will you convince your audience that your arguments and ideas are reasonable?

How to use logic in essays

You provide facts or other supporting evidence to support your claims.

That evidence may take the form of studies or expert input or reasonable examples or a combination of all of those things, depending on the specific requirements of your assignment.

Remember: if you use someone else’s ideas or words in your essay, you need to give them credit.

ProWritingAid's Plagiarism Checker checks your work against over a billion web-pages, published works, and academic papers so you can be sure of its originality.

Find out more about ProWritingAid’s Plagiarism checks.

Pathos relates to emotion. Audiences are people and people are emotional beings. We respond to emotional prompts. How will you engage your audience with your arguments on an emotional level?

How to use emotion in essays

  • You make strategic word choices : words have denotations (dictionary meanings) and also connotations, or emotional values. Use words whose connotations will help prompt the feelings you want your audience to experience.
  • You use emotionally engaging examples to support your claims or make a point, prompting your audience to be moved by your discussion.

Be mindful as you lean into elements of the triangle. Too much pathos and your audience might end up feeling manipulated, roll their eyes and move on.

An “all logos” approach will leave your essay dry and without a sense of voice; it will probably bore your audience rather than make them care.

Once you’ve got your essay planned, start writing! Don’t worry about perfection, just get your ideas out of your head and off your list and into a rough essay format.

After you’ve written your draft, evaluate your work. What works and what doesn’t? For help with evaluating and revising your work, check out this ProWritingAid post on manuscript revision .

After you’ve evaluated your draft, revise it. Repeat that process as many times as you need to make your work the best it can be.

When you’re satisfied with the content and structure of the essay, take it through the editing process .

Grammatical or sentence-level errors can distract your audience or even detract from the ethos—the authority—of your work.

You don’t have to edit alone! ProWritingAid’s Realtime Report will find errors and make suggestions for improvements.

You can even use it on emails to your professors:

ProWritingAid's Realtime Report

Try ProWritingAid with a free account.

How Can I Improve My Persuasion Skills?

You can develop your powers of persuasion every day just by observing what’s around you.

  • How is that advertisement working to convince you to buy a product?
  • How is a political candidate arguing for you to vote for them?
  • How do you “argue” with friends about what to do over the weekend, or convince your boss to give you a raise?
  • How are your parents working to convince you to follow a certain academic or career path?

As you observe these arguments in action, evaluate them. Why are they effective or why do they fail?

How could an argument be strengthened with more (or less) emphasis on ethos, logos, and pathos?

Every argument is an opportunity to learn! Observe them, evaluate them, and use them to perfect your own powers of persuasion.

write a persuasive essay about it

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.

Allison Bressmer is a professor of freshman composition and critical reading at a community college and a freelance writer. If she isn’t writing or teaching, you’ll likely find her reading a book or listening to a podcast while happily sipping a semi-sweet iced tea or happy-houring with friends. She lives in New York with her family. Connect at linkedin.com/in/allisonbressmer.

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Effective strategies for crafting a compelling persuasive essay.

Steps to write a persuasive essay

When it comes to making a compelling argument, a persuasive essay can be a powerful tool. Whether you’re trying to convince your audience of a certain viewpoint or persuade them to take a specific course of action, crafting a persuasive essay requires careful planning and execution.

From choosing a strong thesis statement to providing evidence to support your claims, every step in the process plays a crucial role in the overall effectiveness of your essay. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the key components of crafting an impactful persuasive essay that will leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Defining the Purpose: What Makes an Effective Persuasive Essay

Before diving into crafting a persuasive essay, it is crucial to understand the purpose and goal of this type of writing. A persuasive essay aims to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint or argument by presenting logical and well-supported evidence. The key features of an effective persuasive essay include:

  • Clear Thesis Statement: The essay should start with a clear and concise thesis statement that presents the main argument or position.
  • Focused and Organized Structure: The essay should follow a logical structure with each paragraph focusing on a specific point and supporting evidence.
  • Evidence and Examples: Supporting the argument with credible evidence, facts, statistics, and real-life examples strengthens the persuasiveness of the essay.
  • Engaging Introduction: An engaging introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and provides background information on the topic is essential.
  • Counterarguments: Acknowledging and addressing counterarguments strengthens the overall credibility of the essay.
  • Call to Action: Ending the essay with a strong call to action or a compelling conclusion to leave a lasting impact on the reader.

By defining and understanding these key components, you can craft an effective persuasive essay that not only presents a compelling argument but also persuades the reader to take action or change their viewpoint.

Researching Your Topic: Gathering Credible Information

Researching Your Topic: Gathering Credible Information

Effective persuasive essays are built on solid research. To craft a compelling argument, it’s crucial to gather credible information that supports your thesis. Here are some essential steps to research your topic effectively:

1. Define Your Topic: Start by clearly defining the specific topic or issue you want to address in your essay. This will help you narrow down your research and focus on relevant information.

2. Identify Reliable Sources: Look for reputable sources such as academic journals, books, government publications, and credible websites. Avoid relying on biased or unreliable sources that could weaken your argument.

3. Conduct Thorough Research: Dive deep into your topic by exploring a variety of sources. Take notes, highlight important facts, and analyze different perspectives to gain a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

4. Verify Information: Double-check the accuracy of the information you gather. Cross-reference data from multiple sources to ensure its credibility and reliability.

5. Organize Your Research: Keep track of your sources and organize your research materials systematically. Create an annotated bibliography or a research outline to help you structure your essay effectively.

6. Stay Objective: Approach your research with an open mind and evaluate information objectively. Consider counterarguments and opposing viewpoints to strengthen your argument and address potential objections.

By investing time and effort in thorough research, you can strengthen the credibility and persuasiveness of your essay. Remember, well-researched arguments are more compelling and convincing to your audience.

Structuring Your Argument: Organizing Your Ideas

When crafting a persuasive essay, it is crucial to have a well-structured argument that effectively conveys your point of view to the reader. Organizing your ideas in a logical and coherent manner can significantly enhance the persuasiveness of your essay. Here are some key strategies for structuring your argument:

1. Introduction: Start by introducing your topic and clearly stating your thesis. This sets the tone for the rest of your essay and gives readers a roadmap of what to expect.

2. Body Paragraphs: Develop your argument in a series of body paragraphs, each focusing on a different aspect of your topic. Make sure to provide evidence, examples, and reasoning to support your points.

3. Counterarguments: Acknowledge opposing viewpoints and address them in your essay. This shows that you have considered different perspectives and strengthens your argument.

4. Conclusion: Summarize your main points and reiterate your thesis in the conclusion. Leave readers with a strong takeaway that reinforces the importance of your argument.

By organizing your ideas in a structured and coherent manner, you can effectively convey your argument and persuade your audience to see things from your perspective.

Writing the Essay: Crafting a Compelling Narrative

When crafting a persuasive essay, it is essential to focus on creating a compelling narrative that resonates with your audience. A strong narrative can captivate readers and make your arguments more persuasive.

Start by outlining the main points you want to convey in your essay. Consider the structure of your narrative and how you will present your ideas in a logical and coherent manner. Use evidence and examples to support your arguments and make them more persuasive.

Remember to engage your audience emotionally by using storytelling techniques that evoke empathy and connect with their values and beliefs. This will help make your essay more persuasive and convincing.

As you write your persuasive essay, pay attention to the flow of your narrative and ensure that each paragraph transitions smoothly to the next. Use transitional words and phrases to guide your reader through your argument and reinforce your main points.

In conclusion, crafting a compelling narrative is essential to writing an effective persuasive essay. By engaging your audience emotionally and logically, you can create a persuasive argument that leaves a lasting impact on your readers.

Revising and Editing: Perfecting Your Persuasive Essay

After you have completed the initial draft of your persuasive essay, it is crucial to spend time revising and editing your work to ensure that it is polished and effective. The revision process allows you to refine your arguments, check for logical consistency, and strengthen your overall message.

Here are some key steps to help you perfect your persuasive essay:

  • Review your thesis statement: Ensure that your thesis statement clearly expresses your main argument and is supported by evidence throughout your essay. Make any necessary revisions to strengthen your central claim.
  • Check the organization: Review the structure of your essay to ensure that it flows logically from one point to the next. Make sure that each paragraph builds on the previous one and that your arguments are arranged in a coherent manner.
  • Examine your evidence: Verify that the evidence you have presented is accurate, relevant, and effectively supports your arguments. Make any necessary adjustments or additions to strengthen your case.
  • Evaluate your language and tone: Pay attention to the language you use in your essay and consider whether it is appropriate for your audience and purpose. Ensure that your tone is persuasive and respectful, avoiding any offensive or inflammatory language.
  • Proofread for errors: Carefully proofread your essay for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Check for any typos or inconsistencies that could undermine the credibility of your argument.

By taking the time to revise and edit your persuasive essay, you can ensure that your arguments are clear, compelling, and well-supported. Remember, the quality of your writing can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your persuasive essay, so it is important to invest the necessary time and effort into perfecting your work.

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

Table of contents

write a persuasive essay about it

Meredith Sell

You can make your essay more persuasive by getting straight to the point.

In fact, that's exactly what we did here, and that's just the first tip of this guide. Throughout this guide, we share the steps needed to prove an argument and create a persuasive essay.

This AI tool helps you improve your essay > This AI tool helps you improve your essay >

persuasive essay

Key takeaways: - Proven process to make any argument persuasive - 5-step process to structure arguments - How to use AI to formulate and optimize your essay

Why is being persuasive so difficult?

"Write an essay that persuades the reader of your opinion on a topic of your choice."

You might be staring at an assignment description just like this 👆from your professor. Your computer is open to a blank document, the cursor blinking impatiently. Do I even have opinions?

The persuasive essay can be one of the most intimidating academic papers to write: not only do you need to identify a narrow topic and research it, but you also have to come up with a position on that topic that you can back up with research while simultaneously addressing different viewpoints.

That’s a big ask. And let’s be real: most opinion pieces in major news publications don’t fulfill these requirements.

The upside? By researching and writing your own opinion, you can learn how to better formulate not only an argument but the actual positions you decide to hold. 

Here, we break down exactly how to write a persuasive essay. We’ll start by taking a step that’s key for every piece of writing—defining the terms.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay is exactly what it sounds like: an essay that persuades . Over the course of several paragraphs or pages, you’ll use researched facts and logic to convince the reader of your opinion on a particular topic and discredit opposing opinions.

While you’ll spend some time explaining the topic or issue in question, most of your essay will flesh out your viewpoint and the evidence that supports it.

The 5 Must-Have Steps of a Persuasive Essay

If you’re intimidated by the idea of writing an argument, use this list to break your process into manageable chunks. Tackle researching and writing one element at a time, and then revise your essay so that it flows smoothly and coherently with every component in the optimal place.

1. A topic or issue to argue

This is probably the hardest step. You need to identify a topic or issue that is narrow enough to cover in the length of your piece—and is also arguable from more than one position. Your topic must call for an opinion , and not be a simple fact .

It might be helpful to walk through this process:

  • Identify a random topic
  • Ask a question about the topic that involves a value claim or analysis to answer
  • Answer the question

That answer is your opinion.

Let’s consider some examples, from silly to serious:

Topic: Dolphins and mermaids

Question: In a mythical match, who would win: a dolphin or a mermaid?

Answer/Opinion: The mermaid would win in a match against a dolphin.

Topic: Autumn

Question: Which has a better fall: New England or Colorado?

Answer/Opinion: Fall is better in New England than Colorado.

Topic: Electric transportation options

Question: Would it be better for an urban dweller to buy an electric bike or an electric car?

Answer/Opinion: An electric bike is a better investment than an electric car.

Your turn: Walk through the three-step process described above to identify your topic and your tentative opinion. You may want to start by brainstorming a list of topics you find interesting and then going use the three-step process to find the opinion that would make the best essay topic.

2. An unequivocal thesis statement

If you walked through our three-step process above, you already have some semblance of a thesis—but don’t get attached too soon! 

A solid essay thesis is best developed through the research process. You shouldn’t land on an opinion before you know the facts. So press pause. Take a step back. And dive into your research.

You’ll want to learn:

  • The basic facts of your topic. How long does fall last in New England vs. Colorado? What trees do they have? What colors do those trees turn?
  • The facts specifically relevant to your question. Is there any science on how the varying colors of fall influence human brains and moods?
  • What experts or other noteworthy and valid sources say about the question you’re considering. Has a well-known arborist waxed eloquent on the beauty of New England falls?

As you learn the different viewpoints people have on your topic, pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of existing arguments. Is anyone arguing the perspective you’re leaning toward? Do you find their arguments convincing? What do you find unsatisfying about the various arguments? 

Allow the research process to change your mind and/or refine your thinking on the topic. Your opinion may change entirely or become more specific based on what you learn.

Once you’ve done enough research to feel confident in your understanding of the topic and your opinion on it, craft your thesis. 

Your thesis statement should be clear and concise. It should directly state your viewpoint on the topic, as well as the basic case for your thesis.

Thesis 1: In a mythical match, the mermaid would overcome the dolphin due to one distinct advantage: her ability to breathe underwater.

Thesis 2: The full spectrum of color displayed on New England hillsides is just one reason why fall in the northeast is better than in Colorado.

Thesis 3: In addition to not adding to vehicle traffic, electric bikes are a better investment than electric cars because they’re cheaper and require less energy to accomplish the same function of getting the rider from point A to point B.

Your turn: Dive into the research process with a radar up for the arguments your sources are making about your topic. What are the most convincing cases? Should you stick with your initial opinion or change it up? Write your fleshed-out thesis statement.

3. Evidence to back up your thesis

This is a typical place for everyone from undergrads to politicians to get stuck, but the good news is, if you developed your thesis from research, you already have a good bit of evidence to make your case.

Go back through your research notes and compile a list of every …

… or other piece of information that supports your thesis. 

This info can come from research studies you found in scholarly journals, government publications, news sources, encyclopedias, or other credible sources (as long as they fit your professor’s standards).

As you put this list together, watch for any gaps or weak points. Are you missing information on how electric cars versus electric bicycles charge or how long their batteries last? Did you verify that dolphins are, in fact, mammals and can’t breathe underwater like totally-real-and-not-at-all-fake 😉mermaids can? Track down that information.

Next, organize your list. Group the entries so that similar or closely related information is together, and as you do that, start thinking through how to articulate the individual arguments to support your case. 

Depending on the length of your essay, each argument may get only a paragraph or two of space. As you think through those specific arguments, consider what order to put them in. You’ll probably want to start with the simplest argument and work up to more complicated ones so that the arguments can build on each other. 

Your turn: Organize your evidence and write a rough draft of your arguments. Play around with the order to find the most compelling way to argue your case.

4. Rebuttals to disprove opposing theses

You can’t just present the evidence to support your case and totally ignore other viewpoints. To persuade your readers, you’ll need to address any opposing ideas they may hold about your topic. 

You probably found some holes in the opposing views during your research process. Now’s your chance to expose those holes. 

Take some time (and space) to: describe the opposing views and show why those views don’t hold up. You can accomplish this using both logic and facts.

Is a perspective based on a faulty assumption or misconception of the truth? Shoot it down by providing the facts that disprove the opinion.

Is another opinion drawn from bad or unsound reasoning? Show how that argument falls apart.

Some cases may truly be only a matter of opinion, but you still need to articulate why you don’t find the opposing perspective convincing.

Yes, a dolphin might be stronger than a mermaid, but as a mammal, the dolphin must continually return to the surface for air. A mermaid can breathe both underwater and above water, which gives her a distinct advantage in this mythical battle.

While the Rocky Mountain views are stunning, their limited colors—yellow from aspen trees and green from various evergreens—leaves the autumn-lover less than thrilled. The rich reds and oranges and yellows of the New England fall are more satisfying and awe-inspiring.

But what about longer trips that go beyond the city center into the suburbs and beyond? An electric bike wouldn’t be great for those excursions. Wouldn’t an electric car be the better choice then? 

Certainly, an electric car would be better in these cases than a gas-powered car, but if most of a person’s trips are in their hyper-local area, the electric bicycle is a more environmentally friendly option for those day-to-day outings. That person could then participate in a carshare or use public transit, a ride-sharing app, or even a gas-powered car for longer trips—and still use less energy overall than if they drove an electric car for hyper-local and longer area trips.

Your turn: Organize your rebuttal research and write a draft of each one.

5. A convincing conclusion

You have your arguments and rebuttals. You’ve proven your thesis is rock-solid. Now all you have to do is sum up your overall case and give your final word on the subject. 

Don’t repeat everything you’ve already said. Instead, your conclusion should logically draw from the arguments you’ve made to show how they coherently prove your thesis. You’re pulling everything together and zooming back out with a better understanding of the what and why of your thesis. 

A dolphin may never encounter a mermaid in the wild, but if it were to happen, we know how we’d place our bets. Long hair and fish tail, for the win.

For those of us who relish 50-degree days, sharp air, and the vibrant colors of fall, New England offers a season that’s cozier, longer-lasting, and more aesthetically pleasing than “colorful” Colorado. A leaf-peeper’s paradise.

When most of your trips from day to day are within five miles, the more energy-efficient—and yes, cost-efficient—choice is undoubtedly the electric bike. So strap on your helmet, fire up your pedals, and two-wheel away to your next destination with full confidence that you made the right decision for your wallet and the environment.

3 Quick Tips for Writing a Strong Argument

Once you have a draft to work with, use these tips to refine your argument and make sure you’re not losing readers for avoidable reasons.

1. Choose your words thoughtfully.

If you want to win people over to your side, don’t write in a way that shuts your opponents down. Avoid making abrasive or offensive statements. Instead, use a measured, reasonable tone. Appeal to shared values, and let your facts and logic do the hard work of changing people’s minds.

Choose words with AI

write a persuasive essay about it

You can use AI to turn your general point into a readable argument. Then, you can paraphrase each sentence and choose between competing arguments generated by the AI, until your argument is well-articulated and concise.

2. Prioritize accuracy (and avoid fallacies).

Make sure the facts you use are actually factual. You don’t want to build your argument on false or disproven information. Use the most recent, respected research. Make sure you don’t misconstrue study findings. And when you’re building your case, avoid logical fallacies that undercut your argument.

A few common fallacies to watch out for:

  • Strawman: Misrepresenting or oversimplifying an opposing argument to make it easier to refute.
  • Appeal to ignorance: Arguing that a certain claim must be true because it hasn’t been proven false.
  • Bandwagon: Assumes that if a group of people, experts, etc., agree with a claim, it must be true.
  • Hasty generalization: Using a few examples, rather than substantial evidence, to make a sweeping claim.
  • Appeal to authority: Overly relying on opinions of people who have authority of some kind.

The strongest arguments rely on trustworthy information and sound logic.

Research and add citations with AI

write a persuasive essay about it

We recently wrote a three part piece on researching using AI, so be sure to check it out . Going through an organized process of researching and noting your sources correctly will make sure your written text is more accurate.

3. Persuasive essay structure

Persuasive essay structure

If you’re building a house, you start with the foundation and go from there. It’s the same with an argument. You want to build from the ground up: provide necessary background information, then your thesis. Then, start with the simplest part of your argument and build up in terms of complexity and the aspect of your thesis that the argument is tackling.

A consistent, internal logic will make it easier for the reader to follow your argument. Plus, you’ll avoid confusing your reader and you won’t be unnecessarily redundant.

The essay structure usually includes the following parts:

  • Intro - Hook, Background information, Thesis statement
  • Topic sentence #1 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Concluding sentence
  • Topic sentence #2 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Concluding sentence Topic sentence #3 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Conclusion - Thesis and main points restated, call to action, thought provoking ending

Are You Ready to Write?

Persuasive essays are a great way to hone your research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Approach this assignment well, and you’ll learn how to form opinions based on information (not just ideas) and make arguments that—if they don’t change minds—at least win readers’ respect. ‍

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Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Paper Types / How to Write a Persuasive Essay

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

The entire point of a persuasive essay is to persuade or convince the reader to agree with your perspective on the topic. In this type of essay, you’re not limited to facts. It’s completely acceptable to include your opinions and back them up with facts, where necessary.

Guide Overview

  • Be assertive
  • Use words that evoke emotion
  • Make it personal
  • Topic selection hints

Tricks for Writing a Persuasive Essay

In this type of writing, you’ll find it is particularly helpful to focus on the emotional side of things. Make your reader feel what you feel and bring them into your way of thinking. There are a few ways to do that.

Be Assertive

A persuasive essay doesn’t have to be gentle in how it presents your opinion. You really want people to agree with you, so focus on making that happen, even if it means pushing the envelope a little. You’ll tend to get higher grades for this, because the essay is more likely to convince the reader to agree. Consider using an Persuasive Essay Template to understand the key elements of the essay.

Use Words that Evoke Emotion

It’s easier to get people to see things your way when they feel an emotional connection. As you describe your topic, make sure to incorporate words that cause people to feel an emotion. For example, instead of saying, “children are taken from their parents” you might say, “children are torn from the loving arms of their parents, kicking and screaming.” Dramatic? Yes, but it gets the point across and helps your reader experience the

Make it Personal

By using first person, you make the reader feel like they know you. Talking about the reader in second person can help them feel included and begin to imagine themselves in your shoes. Telling someone “many people are affected by this” and telling them “you are affected by this every day” will have very different results.

While each of these tips can help improve your essay, there’s no rule that you have to actually persuade for your own point of view. If you feel the essay would be more interesting if you take the opposite stance, why not write it that way? This will require more research and thinking, but you could end up with a very unique essay that will catch the teacher’s eye.

Topic Selection Hints

A persuasive essay requires a topic that has multiple points of view. In most cases, topics like the moon being made of rock would be difficult to argue, since this is a solid fact. This means you’ll need to choose something that has more than one reasonable opinion related to it.

A good topic for a persuasive essay would be something that you could persuade for or against.

Some examples include:

  • Should children be required to use booster seats until age 12?
  • Should schools allow the sale of sugary desserts and candy?
  • Should marijuana use be legal?
  • Should high school students be confined to school grounds during school hours?
  • Should GMO food be labeled by law?
  • Should police be required to undergo sensitivity training?
  • Should the United States withdraw troops from overseas?

Some topics are more controversial than others, but any of these could be argued from either point of view . . . some even allow for multiple points of view.

As you write your persuasive essay, remember that your goal is to get the reader to nod their head and agree with you. Each section of the essay should bring you closer to this goal. If you write the essay with this in mind, you’ll end up with a paper that will receive high grades.

Finally, if you’re ever facing writer’s block for your college paper, consider WriteWell’s template gallery to help you get started.

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How to write a persuasive essay

Published September 27, 2020. Updated May 19, 2022.

Persuasive Essay Definition

A persuasive essay is a type of essay where the writer attempts to persuade the reader to agree with an opinion they feel strongly about. It uses emotions and opinions to convince the reader.

Overview of persuasive essay

Persuasive writing is made up of the three modes of persuasion. They are ethos (ethics), pathos (emotions), and logos (logic). A persuasive essay should clearly state your position in the thesis statement (your opinion on a topic). These types of essays are more like an advertisement. The main goal is to convince someone to accept your position by appealing to their emotions. In order to do that, the writer should know who the audience is. This helps to build the most effective essay possible. Researching information is not so important and does not need to consider counter-arguments.

Here is a helpful table of contents:

Key takeaways

Identifying persuasive writing, know your audience, possible topics for a persuasive essay, parts of an essay, outline example, persuasive essay template and examples, differences between persuasive and argumentative essays.

  • The three modes of persuasion are ethos (ethics), pathos (emotions), and logos (logic)
  • Persuasive writing uses emotions to convince your reader to agree with you
  • A persuasive essay should clearly state your position in the thesis statement (your opinion on a topic)
  • The body paragraphs should be reasons explaining your position
  • The conclusion should restate your position, summarize your main points, and end with a closing statement

Worried about your writing? Submit your paper for a Chegg Writing essay check , or for an Expert Check proofreading . Both can help you find and fix potential writing issues.

So, what makes persuasive writing… persuasive?

Modes of persuasion

All persuasive writing is made up from the three modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos:

  • Ethos is an appeal to ethics, or values
  • Its purpose is to demonstrate the writer’s credibility
  • If the reader feels the writer is credible, they are more likely to trust them

Look at this example:

From my experience as a neonatal nurse, newborn babies sleep for 15 to 18 hours per day, but only for short periods of two to four hours at a time.

By highlighting their relevant profession, the writer establishes credibility.

  • Pathos is an appeal to emotion
  • The writer wants to make the reader feel something, using words
  • Here is a good place to use emotive language

Although fostering a senior dog can be heartbreaking in the end, people volunteer to give old dogs love and a comfortable life in their final years.

Words like “heartbreaking” and “final years” are used to make the reader feel compassion.

  • Logos is an appeal to logic
  • It uses facts, statistics, and data to convince the reader
  • Having credible information strengthens the argument

Statistically speaking, bungee jumping, with 1 death per 500,000 jumps, is safer than hang gliding, with 1 death per 560 instances, and canoeing, with 1 death per 10,000 instances.

Presenting the actual numbers of deaths per instance, you can convince a reader that bungee jumping is not as dangerous as most people think.

Although you can use all three modes of persuasion, for a persuasive essay, focus on pathos – the use of emotions.

In a persuasive essay, your main goal is to convince someone to accept your position by appealing to their emotions. In order to do that, you need to know something about who your audience is.

It’s important to know who you are writing for so you know what types of points will appeal to them. This helps you build the most effective essay possible.

For example, say you are writing a social media post trying to convince people to visit a resort. If you were targeting families, you might focus on describing family travel packages and activities for children. If you were targeting college students, you might focus more on more adventurous activities (that are not kid-friendly) or even mention that it’s a great place for spring break.

In both cases, the target audience changes what points are focused on.

If your teacher assigns you a persuasive essay and leaves the topic wide open for you to choose, take a look at this list for some inspiration. Remember that if you strongly disagree with the topic, you could also write a persuasive essay about its opposite!

  • Government should provide safety nets for the poor
  • If a student is bullied, the bully’s parents should be fined
  • The driving age should be raised to 18
  • Instagram is bad for body image
  • Healthcare should be a basic right in the U.S., like in other countries
  • Social media is bad for developing interpersonal communication
  • Eating local food is better for the environment than eating vegetarian
  • There shouldn’t be billionaires
  • High fructose corn syrup should be eliminated from foods
  • Growing your own vegetables should be subsidized

Every essay you write will have 3 parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Think of the organization of an essay like this:

  • Intro – Tell your reader what you’re going to write about.
  • Body – Write about it.
  • Conclusion – Tell them what you wrote about.

Let’s go through each of those parts for a persuasive essay. Each part will include a sample.

Introduction

You want to begin your essay with a hook. A hook is an interesting opening that “catches” your reader and makes them want to read more. Your hook is usually the first sentence.

After you’ve hooked the reader, you want to give some context or background information. Think of each sentence in your intro as a stepping point. Each sentence brings you closer to your thesis statement.

Once you’ve given some context, write a thesis statement, which tells the reader exactly what they’re going to read about. For a persuasive essay, the thesis statement gives your position: what is your opinion about your topic? Think of it like a map to the rest of your essay.

Sample introduction

Can you identify the hook, background information, and thesis statement in this sample?

Think about your favorite class in high school. Why was this class your favorite? Who was your teacher? I’m sure you loved the subject, but I’m willing to bet the teacher had something to do with it. How many classes did you have every day? Have you ever thought about how many classes your teacher taught? How many tests did he grade? How many essays did she read through and give feedback on? How many faculty meetings did he attend? Teachers are professionals, but their salary has not kept up with the requirements school districts place on them. Teachers should be paid higher salaries.

A typical essay will have between one and three body paragraphs, although you can write as many as you need (or as many as your teacher assigns you). Regardless of how many body paragraphs you have, they will all be organized in a similar manner.

Start with a topic sentence to show your reader what is coming up. This is a general sentence that gives an overview of that paragraph. Since your thesis statement was your position on a topic, the topic sentences will be reasons for your position. Why do you believe what you believe?

The body paragraphs will explain your reasons using emotion and opinions. If you have facts, that’s okay, but remember that you are persuading using emotion more than logic.

End a body paragraph with a sentence that summarizes what you wrote or that leads into the next paragraph.

Sample body paragraphs

Can you identify the topic sentences? Is each topic sentence a reason for the writer’s position? Does the body paragraph explain that reason? Can you identify any of the modes of persuasion – ethos, pathos, logos?

Every quality teacher is both a subject matter expert and good at teaching. These are two different skills. A teacher who connects well with his students but doesn’t know the subject matter isn’t going to be an effective teacher. Conversely, a genius who know the subject matter inside out but can’t find a way to make the material accessible to her students is also not an effective teacher. A good teacher needs to be both; In a way, it’s like every teacher is doing two jobs, but only getting paid for one. Although doubling every teacher’s salary might not be possible, they should at least get a raise.

Another reason that teachers should be paid higher salaries is because their jobs go beyond teaching. They are also coaches, advisors, confidants, classroom managers, and so much more. Can you remember that one teacher who was there for you, beyond their role as an educator? Perhaps it was the history teacher who listened to you when things were tense at home. The writing teacher who encouraged you to pursue your love of short stories. The Spanish teacher who believed in you enough to convince you to apply for that scholarship. Teachers are performing duties that are not part of their contracts, and they do it because they love their job and they love their students. Doesn’t that deserve a raise?

Finally, teachers deserve a raise because their work is not just in the classroom. Teachers are in the classroom, actively teaching, for up to seven hours a day. Before you say that’s not a full work day of 8 hours, remember that teaching is only part of the job. Teachers need time to prepare their lessons. They need time to grade assignments, quizzes, and tests. They need time for administrative duties and meetings. It’s not unusual for a teacher to put in a 50 to 60-hour work week, on a regular basis. Their pay does not reflect the time actually spent working.

This is how your essay ends, and it is the last impression your reader takes away.

Conclude your essay by restating your position from your thesis statement (in the introduction). Then, summarize the main points (your reasons) from your essay.

Try to end with a closing statement: an idea that you want your reader to walk away with.

Sample conclusion

Can you identify the sentence that ties back to the thesis statement? Can you identify the summary of the main points? Can you identify a closing statement?

We all agree that teachers play an essential role in the lives of young people. Teachers know their subjects well, and they know how to share that information in a way that students can understand. Yes, teachers teach students what they need to be productive members of society, but they are also involved in their lives as mentors, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus, the hours they actually put in are not reflected in their pay. If school districts continue to demand that teachers work more, do more, and be more, the least teachers can get in return is pay that represents the importance of that work. It is time to give teachers a raise.

I. Teachers should be paid higher salaries.

II. Good teachers = good at teaching + subject knowledge. Two skills!

A. Good at teaching, bad at subject matter = ineffective

B. Genius at subject matter, bad at teaching = ineffective

C. Teacher needs to be both

  • That’s like two jobs!
  • Only 1 paycheck

Maybe not double pay, but more

III. Teachers do more than just teach

A. Coaches, advisors, confidants, classroom managers

B. Teacher who was more than just teacher

  • History teacher – listened
  • Writing teacher – encouraged
  • Spanish teacher – scholarship

C. Duties not in their contracts

  • Love their job
  • Love their students

Doesn’t that deserve a raise?

IV. Work is not just in the classroom

A. Teach for 7 hours/day

B. Prepare lessons

D. Admin and meetings

E. 50-60 hours/week is common

Pay does not reflect time spent working

V. Teachers play essential role in students’ lives. It’s time to give them a raise.

Essay template

Essay example.

Before you turn in that paper, don’t forget to cite your sources in APA format , MLA format , or a style of your choice.

Uses emotion and opinion to convince Uses logic and facts to convince
Is more like an advertisement Is more like a debate
Is written for the heart Is written for the head
Knowing the audience is important Knowing the audience is not so important
Researching information is not so important Researching information is very important
Don’t need to consider counter-arguments Need to consider and address counter-arguments

By Halina Stolar. Halina has a Master’s degree in teaching and taught English as a Second Language and writing for almost 15 years overseas. She now works as a freelance writer and geeks out over grammar for fun.

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Persuasive Essay Writing

Cathy A.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

13 min read

Published on: Jan 3, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 29, 2024

persuasive essay

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It's the night before the essay is due, and you haven't even started. Your mind is blank, and you have no idea what words will persuade your teacher. 

The good news is that some tips and tricks can make the process of writing a persuasive essay much easier.

In this blog, we'll break down the components of a persuasive essay and provide helpful tips and examples along the way. By the end, you should have all the guidelines to create a winning essay that will persuade your readers to see things your way.

Let's take a closer look at all these steps.

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What is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay presents logical arguments with emotional appeal.

Typically, persuasive essays begin with a question that the writer spends the essay arguing in favor of or opposition to. 

For example: should kids be allowed to play video games on weekdays? 

The writer would then spend the rest of the essay backing up their claim with reasons and evidence. 

Persuasive essays often include counterarguments. These arguments oppose the writer's position. 

By including counterarguments, persuasive essays become more interesting. They also force the writer to think critically about their position.

For example, an opponent of the previous argument might say that playing video games leads to poor grades. 

The original writer could deny this claim by pointing to studies that show no correlation between bad grades and playing video games.

The best persuasive essays are well-researched and use data to support their claims. 

However, persuasive essays are not just about logic. They also need to include emotional appeal. 

After all, people are more likely to be persuaded by an argument that speaks to their feelings. 

Elements of a Persuasive Essay 

When a persuasive essay is a task, you must keep these three greek terms in mind. They are:

  • Ethos (appeal to ethics) 
  • Pathos (appeal to emotion)
  • Logos (appeal to logic)

A good essay will use all of these elements to convince the reader that the argument presented is valid. 

Let's take a closer look at each one.

Ethos - the Credibility Element 

The persuasive power of ethos lies in the character or credibility of the person making the argument. 

For an argument to be persuasive, the person presenting it must be someone that the audience trusts. 

This could be because they are an expert on the subject or because they have first-hand experience with it. Either way, ethos establishes the speaker's credibility and makes the audience more likely to trust what they have to say.

Pathos -the Emotional Element 

While ethos deals with the character of the person making the argument, pathos has to do with the audience's emotions. A persuasive argument will tap into the audience's emotions and use them to sway their opinion.

This could be done through stories or anecdotes that evoke an emotional response or by using language that stirs certain feelings.

Logos - the Logical Element 

The final element of persuasion is logos, which appeals to logic. A persuasive argument will use sound reasoning and evidence to convince the audience that it is valid. This could be done through data or using persuasive techniques like cause and effect.

Using all these elements of a persuasive essay can make your argument much more effective. 

How To Write a Persuasive Essay

Writing persuasive essays can be challenging, but they don't have to be.

With the following simple steps, you can quickly turn an ordinary essay into one that will make a lasting impression. 

Tough Essay Due? Hire a Writer!

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How To Start a Persuasive Essay 

Here is a complete guide on how to start a persuasive essay. Follow them to compose a perfect essay every time. 

Brainstorm All Possible Angles 

The first step in writing a persuasive essay is brainstorming. You need to develop an angle for your essay that will make it unique and interesting. 

For example, let's say you're writing about the death penalty. A lot has been said on this topic, so it might be hard to find an angle that hasn't been covered already. 

But if you think about it, there are many different ways to approach the issue. 

Maybe you could write about the personal experiences of someone affected by the death penalty. Or maybe you could write about the economic costs of the death penalty. 

There are many possibilities here - it's all about thinking creatively.

Select Your Topic

Once you've brainstormed a few ideas, it's time to choose your topic. Pick the angle you think will most effectively persuade your reader. 

Once you've chosen your topic, it's time to research. Use statistics, expert opinions, and real-life examples to support your position. 

Choose Your Side

Now that you've researched, it's time to take a side in the debate. Remember, you must take a strong stance on one side of the issue. 

After deciding your stance, research and support it with evidence.

Appeal to Human Emotions 

One of the most effective ways to persuade someone is by appealing to their emotions. 

After all, we're not robots - we're human beings and always make decisions based on our feelings. 

Make your reader feel something, whether it's anger, sadness, empathy, or even amusement. You'll be well on convincing them of your point of view. 

Anticipate Possible Objections.

Of course, not everyone will agree, and that's okay! 

The important thing is that you anticipate some of those objections and address them head-on in your essay. 

This shows that you take your reader's objections seriously and are confident in your position. 

Organize Your Evidence 

Once you have all of your evidence collected, it's time to start organizing it into an outline for your essay.  

Organizing your essay is a key step in the writing process. It helps you keep track of all the evidence you've gathered and structure your argument in an organized way.

What Are The Steps To Write Your Persuasive Essay?

Now that you have your topic essay outline, it's time to move on to the actual writing.

Here are the steps you need to take:

Step 1: Create a Compelling Introduction

You want to hook your readers with a great opening for your persuasive essay, so they'll want to keep reading.

Here are 3 tips for writing an attention-grabbing introduction for your next essay.

  • Use a strong hook statement

Your hook statement should immediately draw the reader in and make them want to learn more. 

A good hook statement will vary depending on whether you're writing for an academic or more casual audience. 

Still, some good options include a quote, an interesting statistic, or a rhetorical question.

  • Make sure your thesis statement is clear and concise

Your thesis statement is the main argument of your essay, so it needs to be stated clearly and concisely in your introduction.

 A good thesis statement will be specific and limit the scope of your argument so that it can be fully addressed in the body of your paper.

  • Use a transition

Transitions are important in writing for academic and non-academic audiences because they help guide the reader through your argument. 

A good transition will introduce the main point of your next paragraph while still maintaining the connection to the previous one.

Step 2: Write The Body Paragraphs

Here is a formula for structuring your body paragraphs in a persuasive essay. 

This formula will ensure that each body paragraph is packed with evidence and examples while still being concise and easy to read.

  • The Topic Sentence

Every body paragraph should start with a topic sentence. A topic sentence is a key sentence that sums up the paragraph's main point. 

It should be clear, concise, and direct. 

For example, if you were writing a paragraph about the importance of exercise, your topic sentence might be this:

"Regular exercise is essential for good physical and mental health."

See how that sentence gives a clear overview of what the rest of the paragraph will be about.

  • Relevant Supporting Sentences

Once your topic sentence is down, it's time to fill the rest of the paragraph with relevant supporting sentences. 

These sentences should provide evidence to support the claims made in the topic sentence. 

For the exercise example, we might use sentences like this:

"Exercise has been shown to improve heart health, reduce stress levels, and boost brain power."

"A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes."

See how each sentence ties back to the paragraph's main point. That's what you want your supporting sentences to do.

  • Closing Sentence

Last but not least, every body paragraph should end with a closing (or transition) sentence. This sentence should briefly summarize the main points of the paragraph and introduce the next point that will be discussed in the following paragraph. 

For the exercise example, the closing sentence might look like this:

"So, as you can see, there are many compelling reasons to make exercise a regular part of your routine."

How to End a Persuasive Essay

The end of your essay is just as important as the introduction. You must leave your readers with a lasting impression and ensure your argument convinces them. 

To do this, you'll want to craft a persuasive conclusion that ties together all the points you have made in the essay.

Here is a video explaining the body paragraphs in a persuasive essay. Check it out for more information. 

Step 1: Write a Persuasive Conclusion

Here are a few tips to help make sure your persuasive essay conclusion is as effective and persuasive as possible. 

  • Restate Your Thesis

Begin your essay conclusion by restating the thesis statement you began within your introduction. Doing so will remind readers of what you set out to prove and provide a sense of closure.

  • Summarize Your Arguments

 You can also use your conclusion to summarize the main points of your argument. This will help readers recall the evidence you presented and reinforce why it supports your thesis. 

  • Offer a Call to Action

Lastly, don't forget to include a call to action in your essay conclusion. This can be anything from a persuasive plea to a persuasive suggestion. 

Step 2:  Polish Up Your Essay

After you’re done with the essay, take a few minutes to read through it. Ensure that your persuasive points and evidence are clear, concise, and persuasive. 

Also, double-check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Ensure that all of your persuasive points are properly explained and make sense to the reader. 

If you’re not confident in your persuasive writing skills, you can enlist a friend or family member to read through it and provide feedback.

You can follow a proofreading checklist after completing your essay to ensure you are on track.

By following these steps, you’ll end up with a persuasive essay that will impress anyone who reads it!

Format Of A Persuasive Essay 

Once you have your persuasive essay topic, it's time to craft an essay structure. Crafting the perfect persuasive essay format is essential for ensuring your paper has maximum persuasive power.

Here are some tips for formatting an effective persuasive essay.

  • Increase the Readability of Your Text 

Ensure that you have adhered to all the paragraphing requirements of your instructor. 

Double-check that your margins are set properly. A margin of 1 inch (2.5 cm) on all sides is the standard for most written documents.

This makes it easier for readers to focus and extract important information quickly.

  • Use Easy-to-Read Font

Choose a font that is easy to read and professional. Stay away from script fonts or anything too fancy or difficult to read. Stick with basic fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri.

  • Keep a Defined Alignment

Align your persuasive essay to the left margin. This makes it easier for readers to follow along with your argument without having to do too much extra scrolling. 

By following these simple tips, you'll be able to craft the perfect persuasive essay format.

Persuasive Essay Examples

Here are some examples of persuasive essays that can help you get the gist of essay writing.

Persuasive essay on the preservation of nature

Persuasive essay examples pdf

Example of a persuasive essay about covid-19

Check out some more  persuasive essay examples  here for more inspiration.

Good Persuasive Essay Topics

The right persuasive essay topics can make or break your essay. Here are a few examples of persuasive essay topics that can help you. 

  • Should the government increase taxes on sugary foods to reduce obesity? 
  • Do standardized tests accurately measure student intelligence and aptitude? 
  • Should studying a foreign language be mandatory in schools? 
  • Should all high school students complete community service hours before graduating? 
  • Are video games affecting the concentration and cognitive development of children? 
  • Should genetically modified foods be labeled as such in stores? 
  • Are the current copyright laws protecting artists and content creators enough? 
  • Should college tuition be reduced for all students? 
  • Is the use of animals in medical research ethical? 
  • Should the use of drones be regulated by the government? 
  • Should college athletes receive payment for their performance? 
  • Should students be allowed to have cell phones in school? 
  • Is drug testing in schools an effective way to prevent substance abuse? 
  • Does social media promote a healthy lifestyle or contribute to cyber bullying? 
  • Should the voting age be lowered to 16? 

If you’re stuck with choosing topics, these are great  persuasive essay topics  to get you started! 

Pick one of these and craft an essay that will leave your readers thinking. 

Tips to Write a Compelling Persuasive Essay

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make a lasting impression on your reader:

Pick A Topic You're Passionate About

First, you need to choose a topic you're passionate about. It will be easier to write about the topic if you care about the essay. 

This will make it easier to develop persuasive arguments, and you'll be more motivated to do research.

Research Your Topic Thoroughly

After picking a persuasive essay topic, you need thorough research. This will help you gain a better understanding of the issue, which in turn will make your essay stronger. This will also ensure that you fully grasp all counterarguments on your topic.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience before writing is important. Are you writing to your classmates? Your teacher? The general public? Once you know your audience, you can tailor your argument to them. 

Knowing your audience will help determine the tone and approach of your essay.

Hook The Reader's Attention

The first few sentences of your essay are crucial - they must grab the reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. 

One way to do this is by starting with a shocking statistic or an interesting story. The reader will be instantly hooked and will be enticed to read more.

Research Both Sides 

A good persuasive essay will consider both sides of an issue and present a well-rounded view. This means researching both sides of the argument before taking a stance. 

Make sure to consider all the evidence before making up your mind - otherwise, your argument won't be as strong as it could be.

Ask Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered but rather to make the reader think about the issue. 

For example, "How can we expect our children to succeed in school if they don't have enough resources?" 

Questions like this can help engage readers and get them thinking about solutions rather than just complaining about problems.

Emphasize Your Point

It's important to reiterate your main points throughout the essay so that readers don't forget what they are supposed to argue for or against by the time they reach the end of the paper.

Persuasive essays can be difficult to write, but following simple tips can help make the process easier. 

In this blog, we've outlined the components of a persuasive essay and provided some tips on how to write one. We also shared examples of persuasive essays that scored high marks on standardized tests. 

If you are looking for an essay writing service , look no further than CollegeEssay.org! Our experienced essay writer can provide the assistance you need to produce an essay that meets the highest standards.

Let our persuasive essay writer handle the hard work and get you started on your path to success.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Persuasive Essays

How long should a persuasive essay be.

Generally speaking, persuasive essays should be between 500-750 words. However, the length of your essay will depend on the instructions given by your teacher or professor.

What Techniques Are Used In Persuasive Essays?

Persuasive techniques include facts and statistics, emotion and logic, personal stories, analogies and metaphors, pathos, ethos, and logos.

How Do I Make My Persuasive Essay More Convincing?

To make your essay more convincing, cite reliable sources, use persuasive language, and provide strong evidence and arguments.

How Is Persuasive Writing Different From Argumentative Writing?

The main difference between persuasive and argumentative writing is that persuasive writing seeks to convince or persuade the reader. On the other hand, argumentative writing seeks to debate an issue.

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay

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Helpful tips for writing a successful persuasive essay

Last updated: May 19, 2016

A persuasive essay uses reason to demonstrate that certain ideas are more valid than others in academic writing . The purpose of such an essay is to encourage readers to accept a particular viewpoint or act in a particular way. A persuasive essay must be based on sound logic and must contain factual evidence to support the argument.

How to write a persuasive essay

Take a stance. What do you think about the issue? What side will you take? Be aware of any prejudices you might have that could color your argument. What resolution will you suggest?

Know your audience. Determine if your audience will agree with your position and why they may not. You must be able to understand both sides of the issue in order to successfully argue your point of view.

Thoroughly research your topic. The point of a persuasive essay is to provide detailed and compelling evidence—you should be able to disprove the opposing argument. It will likely be necessary to undertake library-based research in order to accomplish this.

Think about the structure of your essay. Determine what evidence you will include and the order in which you will present it. Remember, it must be logical.

Support your argument . Use hard facts . You can gather these from your research, observations, or personal experiences. But be careful! In order to avoid plagiarism , you must cite your sources. You should always use verifiable statistics. It is important to be able to back up your argument with data. In order to further strengthen the argument in your persuasive essay, try using one or two direct quotes from experts on the topic. Finally, provide meaningful examples to enhance and clearly illustrate your argument.

How to organize your persuasive essay

A male student points to a persuasive essay on his laptop; he is trying to persuade a female student to see his argument.

The introduction. The introduction in your persuasive essay should grab the readers' attention and provide background information about your subject. It should end with a clear statement of your thesis.

The body. The body should consist of all the arguments that support your thesis. Each paragraph should focus on one particular point. Next, include one or two paragraphs to succinctly explain and refute the most compelling opposing argument.

The conclusion. The conclusion should restate the main argument and supporting points. After all, the point of a persuasive essay is to convert your readers to your point of view.

Take a breather

Take a day or two off. Let your essay sit and your mind rest. Then, read your persuasive essay with fresh eyes. Ask yourself if your essay is logical and convincing. Will your readers be persuaded by your argument? Did you provide enough evidence in the way of facts, statistics, quotes, and examples?

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Have you ever tried to get somebody round to your way of thinking? Then you should know how daunting the task is. Still, if your persuasion is successful, the result is emotionally rewarding.

A persuasive essay is a type of writing that uses facts and logic to argument and substantiate such or another point of view. The purpose is to assure the reader that the author’s position is viable. In this article by Custom-writing experts, you can find a guide on persuasive writing, compelling examples, and outline structure. Continue reading and learn how to write a persuasive essay!

⚖️ Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essay

  • 🐾 Step-by-Step Writing Guide

🔗 References

An argumentative essay intends to attack the opposing point of view, discussing its drawbacks and inconsistencies. A persuasive essay describes only the writer’s opinion, explaining why it is a believable one. In other words, you are not an opponent; you are an advocate.

Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essays: in what Points Are They Similar and Different?

A persuasive essay primarily resorts to emotions and personal ideas on a deeper level of meaning, while an argumentative one invokes logic reasoning. Despite the superficial similarity of these two genres, argumentative speech presupposes intense research of the subject, while persuasive speech requires a good knowledge of the audience.

🐾 How to Write a Persuasive Essay Step by Step

These nine steps are the closest thing you will find to a shortcut for writing to persuade. With practice, you may get through these steps quickly—or even figure out new techniques in persuasive writing.

This approach gives you two tremendous advantages. First, you will already have an opinion and an understanding of the arguments for and against your perspective. Second, you can go through the writing process more quickly.
The more research you can do, the better. A great idea is to set a deadline for stopping research. Immerse yourself until then. This way, you can stay on pace to finish before your final deadline. By the end of this research process, you should crystalize your position on the topic.
Here, you are going to want to read at least one or two expert persuasive essay samples that agree with your position. They will show you good ways to structure your argument. Simultaneously, it can reveal any apparent holes in your position. Take notes on the most convincing lines of support. And always cite your sources correctly.
If Step 3 didn’t reveal flaws in your position, this step certainly will. Look for examples of persuasive essays that defend a point of view opposite to yours. Study them carefully. Use this knowledge to strengthen your research and essay.
Many writers skip outlining. And then spend hours staring at a blank page. Don’t do that! Make your persuasive essay outline! Professional writers will tell you that it is easier to make an outline than it is to “just start writing.” Note that the next section of this article contains detailed instructions on how to make a persuasive essay outline.
Since you have your persuasive essay structure now, this should be the easiest step of all. At this point, don’t think—just write! You’ve already thought a lot. Furthermore, you’ll do plenty more thinking. Don’t waste time deciding what to write. Just turn each of your ideas into grammatical sentences.
When you complete a rough draft, give yourself a break before rereading your essay. Later, read your draft, correcting typos, and making small improvements as you go. If you like your essay, great! If you dislike your essay, take notes. Use those notes as you begin the of revising and editing your essay. Repeat this as many times as necessary.
Asking for help is not easy. But still, if you have the opportunity, give your essay to a friend and ask for feedback. Good feedback can greatly improve your text.
You’ll most likely make minimal (if any) edits to your content on this stage. Now it’s time to take care of the format. Make your persuasive essay shine!

📑 Persuasive Essay Outline

Below you’ll find an example of a persuasive essay outline . Remember: papers in this genre are more flexible than argumentative essays are. You don’t need to build a perfectly logical structure here. Your goal is to persuade your reader.

Note that the next section contains a sample written in accordance with this outline.

Persuasive Essay Introduction

  • Hook: start with an intriguing sentence.
  • Background: describe the context of the discussed issue and familiarize the reader with the argument.
  • Definitions: if your essay dwells upon a theoretical subject matter, be sure to explain the complicated terms.
  • Thesis statement: state the purpose of your piece of writing clearly and concisely. This is the most substantial sentence of the entire essay, so take your time formulating it.

Persuasive Essay Body

Use the following template for each paragraph.

  • Topic sentence: linking each new idea to the thesis, it introduces a paragraph. Use only one separate argument for each section, stating it in the topic sentence.
  • Evidence: substantiate the previous sentence with reliable information. If it is your personal opinion, give the reasons why you think so.
  • Analysis: build the argument, explaining how the evidence supports your thesis.

Persuasive Essay Conclusion

  • Summary: briefly list the main points of the essay in a couple of sentences.
  • Significance: connect your essay to a broader idea.
  • Future: how can your argument be developed?

⭐ Persuasive Essay Examples

In this section, there are three great persuasive essay examples. The first one is written in accordance with the outline above, will the components indicated. Two others are downloadable.

Example #1: Being a Millionaire is a Bad Thing

Introduction.

Could a glass of good wine on a private airplane have a bitter taste?
People tend to idealize the life they do not have. Money resolves many issues: leisure, education, and often even health problems. But when basic needs are met, new and more exquisite desires appear. Wealth does not guarantee happiness. Moreover, it can become a malediction.
A millionaire is a person whose fortune makes up a million dollars or more, but the word is used for any wealthy individual for the purpose of the essay.
This text intends to prove that being a millionaire is a dubious pleasure through objective reasons.

Paragraph #1

Millionaires spend the first part of their lives accumulating the assets, and the second half trying to keep them.
It may sound motivating only for those who have never lived it through. People who have spent their lifetime running for a fortune admit in their old days that life has passed by, and they did not engage in really important activities. Instead of intensive work, meetings, and interviews, they would have spent time with their families and friends.
Thus, no money can buy back the lost time for earning it.

Paragraph #2

Moreover, the continuous striving for fortune and fear of losing it provokes high stress.
Running a business is always a risk, and being rich and famous attracts much attention to the family and lifestyle. Being wealthy is also a full-time job that can drain the emotional and physical forces. Even if a millionaire in question is a workaholic and enjoys round-the-clock attention, such a way of life undermines their health, forcing them to spend much time and monetary resources on medical treatment. Personal relationships are also harmed because wealthy people cannot spend much time with their families.
Nothing comes without cost, and it happens that the cost is more valuable than the gain.

Paragraph #3

Finally, large fortune imposes responsibility.
It may seem that money can buy you the possibility to do whatever you want, and sometimes it is really so. A millionaire can afford a month-long vacation if their business runs smoothly, and they have trusted deputies. However, practice shows that success requires supervision. Furthermore, employees, business investors, and family depend on business owners. Besides, people expect a wealthy person to share with the poor and sick.
A wrong decision can ruin many lives, making a millionaire’s life even more stressful.
Having considered everything mentioned above, the life of a wealthy person is anything but easy. They have to waste years earning a fortune, and then suffer stress in fear of losing it. They cannot give up to their discretion because many people depend on them. This pressure undermines their health and relationships.
This information is not intended to demotivate the reader from striving to earn more. Instead, the idea is that nothing comes without a price.
Therefore, knowing the outcomes and the stakes you have the choice of what to dedicate your life to.

Example #2: Teachers or Doctors?

The importance of doctors in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to overstate. The well-being of the nation depends on how well doctors can fulfill their duties before society. The US society acknowledges the importance of doctors and healthcare, as it is ready to pay large sums of money to cure the diseases. However, during the lockdown, students and parents all around the world began to understand the importance of teachers.

Before lockdown, everyone took the presence of teachers for granted, as they were always available free of charge. In this country, it has always been the case that while doctors received praises and monetary benefits, teachers remained humble, even though they play the most important role for humanity: passing the knowledge through generations. How fair is that? The present paper claims that even in the period of the pandemic, teachers contribute more to modern society than doctors do.

Example #3: Is Online or Homeschool More Effective?

The learning process can be divided into traditional education in an educational institution and distance learning. The latter form has recently become widely popular due to the development of technology. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving the increased interest in distance learning. However, there is controversy about whether this form of training is sufficient enough. This essay aims to examine online and homeschooling in a historical and contemporary context and to confirm the thesis that such activity is at least equivalent to a standard type of education.

Persuasive Essay Topics

  • Why do managers hate the performance evaluation?
  • Why human cloning should be prohibited.
  • Social media have negative physical and psychological effect on teenagers.
  • Using cell phones while driving should be completely forbidden.  
  • Why is business ethics important?
  • Media should change its negative representation of ageing and older people.
  • What is going on with the world? 
  • Good communication skills are critical for successful business.
  • Why capitalism is the best economic system.  
  • Sleep is extremely important for human health and wellbeing.
  • Face-to-face education is more effective than online education.
  • Why video games can be beneficial for teenagers.
  • Bullies should be expelled from school as they encroach on the school safety.
  • Why accountancy is a great occupation and more people should consider it as a future career.
  • The reasons art and music therapy should be included in basic health insurance.
  • Impact of climate change on the indoor environment.
  • Parents should vaccinate their children to prevent the spread of deadly diseases.
  • Why celebrities should pay more attention to the values they promote.
  • What is wrong with realism? 
  • Why water recycling should be every government’s priority.
  • Media spreads fear and panic among people.
  • Why e-business is very important for modern organizations.
  • People should own guns for self-protection.  
  • The neccessity of container deposit legislation.
  • We must save crocodiles to protect ecological balance.
  • Why we should pay more attention to renewable energy projects.
  • Anthropology is a critically relevant science.  
  • Why it’s important to create a new global financial order.
  • Why biodiversity is crucial for the environment?
  • Why process safety management is crucial for every organization.
  • Speed limits must not be increased.
  • What’s wrong with grades at school ?
  • Why tattoos should be considered as a form of fine art.  
  • Using all-natural bath and body products is the best choice for human health and safety.
  • What is cancel culture?
  • Why the Internet has become a problem of modern society.
  • Illegal immigrants should be provided with basic social services.
  • Smoking in public places must be banned for people’s safety and comfort.
  • Why it is essential to control our nutrition.
  • How to stimulate economic growth? 
  • Why exercise is beneficial for people.  
  • Studying history is decisive for the modern world.
  • We must decrease fuel consumption to stop global warming.
  • Why fighting social inequality is necessary.
  • Why should businesses welcome remote work? 
  • Social media harms communication within families.
  • College athletes should be paid for their achievements.
  • Electronic books should replace print books.
  • People should stop cutting down rainforest.  
  • Why every company should have a web page.
  • Tips To Write An Effective Persuasive Essay: The College Puzzle, Stanford University
  • 31 Powerful Persuasive Writing Techniques: Writtent
  • Persuasive Essay Outline: Houston Community College System
  • Essays that Worked: Hamilton College
  • Argumentative Essays // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Persuasion – Writing for Success (University of Minnesota)
  • Persuasive Writing (Manitoba Education)
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Do you need to write a persuasive essay but aren’t sure what topic to focus on? Were you thrilled when your teacher said you could write about whatever you wanted but are now overwhelmed by the possibilities? We’re here to help!

Read on for a list of 113 top-notch persuasive essay topics, organized into ten categories. To help get you started, we also discuss what a persuasive essay is, how to choose a great topic, and what tips to keep in mind as you write your persuasive essay.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

In a persuasive essay, you attempt to convince readers to agree with your point of view on an argument. For example, an essay analyzing changes in Italian art during the Renaissance wouldn’t be a persuasive essay, because there’s no argument, but an essay where you argue that Italian art reached its peak during the Renaissance would be a persuasive essay because you’re trying to get your audience to agree with your viewpoint.

Persuasive and argumentative essays both try to convince readers to agree with the author, but the two essay types have key differences. Argumentative essays show a more balanced view of the issue and discuss both sides. Persuasive essays focus more heavily on the side the author agrees with. They also often include more of the author’s opinion than argumentative essays, which tend to use only facts and data to support their argument.

All persuasive essays have the following:

  • Introduction: Introduces the topic, explains why it’s important, and ends with the thesis.
  • Thesis: A sentence that sums up what the essay be discussing and what your stance on the issue is.
  • Reasons you believe your side of the argument: Why do you support the side you do? Typically each main point will have its own body paragraph.
  • Evidence supporting your argument: Facts or examples to back up your main points. Even though your opinion is allowed in persuasive essays more than most other essays, having concrete examples will make a stronger argument than relying on your opinion alone.
  • Conclusion: Restatement of thesis, summary of main points, and a recap of why the issue is important.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Essay Topic?

Theoretically, you could write a persuasive essay about any subject under the sun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Certain topics are easier to write a strong persuasive essay on, and below are tips to follow when deciding what you should write about.

It’s a Topic You Care About

Obviously, it’s possible to write an essay about a topic you find completely boring. You’ve probably done it! However, if possible, it’s always better to choose a topic that you care about and are interested in. When this is the case, you’ll find doing the research more enjoyable, writing the essay easier, and your writing will likely be better because you’ll be more passionate about and informed on the topic.

You Have Enough Evidence to Support Your Argument

Just being passionate about a subject isn’t enough to make it a good persuasive essay topic, though. You need to make sure your argument is complex enough to have at least two potential sides to root for, and you need to be able to back up your side with evidence and examples. Even though persuasive essays allow your opinion to feature more than many other essays, you still need concrete evidence to back up your claims, or you’ll end up with a weak essay.

For example, you may passionately believe that mint chocolate chip ice cream is the best ice cream flavor (I agree!), but could you really write an entire essay on this? What would be your reasons for believing mint chocolate chip is the best (besides the fact that it’s delicious)? How would you support your belief? Have enough studies been done on preferred ice cream flavors to support an entire essay? When choosing a persuasive essay idea, you want to find the right balance between something you care about (so you can write well on it) and something the rest of the world cares about (so you can reference evidence to strengthen your position).

It’s a Manageable Topic

Bigger isn’t always better, especially with essay topics. While it may seem like a great idea to choose a huge, complex topic to write about, you’ll likely struggle to sift through all the information and different sides of the issue and winnow them down to one streamlined essay. For example, choosing to write an essay about how WWII impacted American life more than WWI wouldn’t be a great idea because you’d need to analyze all the impacts of both the wars in numerous areas of American life. It’d be a huge undertaking. A better idea would be to choose one impact on American life the wars had (such as changes in female employment) and focus on that. Doing so will make researching and writing your persuasive essay much more feasible.

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List of 113 Good Persuasive Essay Topics

Below are over 100 persuasive essay ideas, organized into ten categories. When you find an idea that piques your interest, you’ll choose one side of it to argue for in your essay. For example, if you choose the topic, “should fracking be legal?” you’d decide whether you believe fracking should be legal or illegal, then you’d write an essay arguing all the reasons why your audience should agree with you.

Arts/Culture

  • Should students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Did the end of Game of Thrones fit with the rest of the series?
  • Can music be an effective way to treat mental illness?
  • With e-readers so popular, have libraries become obsolete?
  • Are the Harry Potter books more popular than they deserve to be?
  • Should music with offensive language come with a warning label?
  • What’s the best way for museums to get more people to visit?
  • Should students be able to substitute an art or music class for a PE class in school?
  • Are the Kardashians good or bad role models for young people?
  • Should people in higher income brackets pay more taxes?
  • Should all high school students be required to take a class on financial literacy?
  • Is it possible to achieve the American dream, or is it only a myth?
  • Is it better to spend a summer as an unpaid intern at a prestigious company or as a paid worker at a local store/restaurant?
  • Should the United States impose more or fewer tariffs?
  • Should college graduates have their student loans forgiven?
  • Should restaurants eliminate tipping and raise staff wages instead?
  • Should students learn cursive writing in school?
  • Which is more important: PE class or music class?
  • Is it better to have year-round school with shorter breaks throughout the year?
  • Should class rank be abolished in schools?
  • Should students be taught sex education in school?
  • Should students be able to attend public universities for free?
  • What’s the most effective way to change the behavior of school bullies?
  • Are the SAT and ACT accurate ways to measure intelligence?
  • Should students be able to learn sign language instead of a foreign language?
  • Do the benefits of Greek life at colleges outweigh the negatives?
  • Does doing homework actually help students learn more?
  • Why do students in many other countries score higher than American students on math exams?
  • Should parents/teachers be able to ban certain books from schools?
  • What’s the best way to reduce cheating in school?
  • Should colleges take a student’s race into account when making admissions decisions?
  • Should there be limits to free speech?
  • Should students be required to perform community service to graduate high school?
  • Should convicted felons who have completed their sentence be allowed to vote?
  • Should gun ownership be more tightly regulated?
  • Should recycling be made mandatory?
  • Should employers be required to offer paid leave to new parents?
  • Are there any circumstances where torture should be allowed?
  • Should children under the age of 18 be able to get plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons?
  • Should white supremacy groups be allowed to hold rallies in public places?
  • Does making abortion illegal make women more or less safe?
  • Does foreign aid actually help developing countries?
  • Are there times a person’s freedom of speech should be curtailed?
  • Should people over a certain age not be allowed to adopt children?

Government/Politics

  • Should the minimum voting age be raised/lowered/kept the same?
  • Should Puerto Rico be granted statehood?
  • Should the United States build a border wall with Mexico?
  • Who should be the next person printed on American banknotes?
  • Should the United States’ military budget be reduced?
  • Did China’s one child policy have overall positive or negative impacts on the country?
  • Should DREAMers be granted US citizenship?
  • Is national security more important than individual privacy?
  • What responsibility does the government have to help homeless people?
  • Should the electoral college be abolished?
  • Should the US increase or decrease the number of refugees it allows in each year?
  • Should privately-run prisons be abolished?
  • Who was the most/least effective US president?
  • Will Brexit end up helping or harming the UK?

body-sparkler-us-flag

  • What’s the best way to reduce the spread of Ebola?
  • Is the Keto diet a safe and effective way to lose weight?
  • Should the FDA regulate vitamins and supplements more strictly?
  • Should public schools require all students who attend to be vaccinated?
  • Is eating genetically modified food safe?
  • What’s the best way to make health insurance more affordable?
  • What’s the best way to lower the teen pregnancy rate?
  • Should recreational marijuana be legalized nationwide?
  • Should birth control pills be available without a prescription?
  • Should pregnant women be forbidden from buying cigarettes and alcohol?
  • Why has anxiety increased in adolescents?
  • Are low-carb or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
  • What caused the destruction of the USS Maine?
  • Was King Arthur a mythical legend or actual Dark Ages king?
  • Was the US justified in dropping atomic bombs during WWII?
  • What was the primary cause of the Rwandan genocide?
  • What happened to the settlers of the Roanoke colony?
  • Was disagreement over slavery the primary cause of the US Civil War?
  • What has caused the numerous disappearances in the Bermuda triangle?
  • Should nuclear power be banned?
  • Is scientific testing on animals necessary?
  • Do zoos help or harm animals?
  • Should scientists be allowed to clone humans?
  • Should animals in circuses be banned?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets?
  • What’s the best way to reduce illegal poaching in Africa?
  • What is the best way to reduce the impact of global warming?
  • Should euthanasia be legalized?
  • Is there legitimate evidence of extraterrestrial life?
  • Should people be banned from owning aggressive dog breeds?
  • Should the United States devote more money towards space exploration?
  • Should the government subsidize renewable forms of energy?
  • Is solar energy worth the cost?
  • Should stem cells be used in medicine?
  • Is it right for the US to leave the Paris Climate Agreement?
  • Should athletes who fail a drug test receive a lifetime ban from the sport?
  • Should college athletes receive a salary?
  • Should the NFL do more to prevent concussions in players?
  • Do PE classes help students stay in shape?
  • Should horse racing be banned?
  • Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
  • Should children younger than 18 be allowed to play tackle football?
  • Are the costs of hosting an Olympic Games worth it?
  • Can online schools be as effective as traditional schools?
  • Do violent video games encourage players to be violent in real life?
  • Should facial recognition technology be banned?
  • Does excessive social media use lead to depression/anxiety?
  • Has the rise of translation technology made knowing multiple languages obsolete?
  • Was Steve Jobs a visionary or just a great marketer?
  • Should social media be banned for children younger than a certain age?
  • Which 21st-century invention has had the largest impact on society?
  • Are ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft good or bad for society?
  • Should Facebook have done more to protect the privacy of its users?
  • Will technology end up increasing or decreasing inequality worldwide?

feature_information_technology

Tips for Writing a Strong Persuasive Essay

After you’ve chosen the perfect topic for your persuasive essay, your work isn’t over. Follow the three tips below to create a top-notch essay.

Do Your Research

Your argument will fall apart if you don’t fully understand the issue you’re discussing or you overlook an important piece of it. Readers won’t be convinced by someone who doesn’t know the subject, and you likely won’t persuade any of them to begin supporting your viewpoint. Before you begin writing a single word of your essay, research your topic thoroughly. Study different sources, learn about the different sides of the argument, ask anyone who’s an expert on the topic what their opinion is, etc. You might be tempted to start writing right away, but by doing your research, you’ll make the writing process much easier when the time comes.

Make Your Thesis Perfect

Your thesis is the most important sentence in your persuasive essay. Just by reading that single sentence, your audience should know exactly what topic you’ll be discussing and where you stand on the issue. You want your thesis to be crystal clear and to accurately set up the rest of your essay. Asking classmates or your teacher to look it over before you begin writing the rest of your essay can be a big help if you’re not entirely confident in your thesis.

Consider the Other Side

You’ll spend most of your essay focusing on your side of the argument since that’s what you want readers to come away believing. However, don’t think that means you can ignore other sides of the issue. In your essay, be sure to discuss the other side’s argument, as well as why you believe this view is weak or untrue. Researching all the different viewpoints and including them in your essay will increase the quality of your writing by making your essay more complete and nuanced.

Summary: Persuasive Essay Ideas

Good persuasive essay topics can be difficult to come up with, but in this guide we’ve created a list of 113 excellent essay topics for you to browse. The best persuasive essay ideas will be those that you are interested in, have enough evidence to support your argument, and aren’t too complicated to be summarized in an essay.

After you’ve chosen your essay topic, keep these three tips in mind when you begin writing:

  • Do your research
  • Make your thesis perfect
  • Consider the other side

What's Next?

Need ideas for a research paper topic as well? Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you.

Thinking about taking an AP English class? Read our guide on AP English classes to learn whether you should take AP English Language or AP English Literature (or both!)

Deciding between the SAT or ACT? Find out for sure which you will do the best on . Also read a detailed comparison between the two tests .

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Last Updated: December 17, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 4,279,947 times.

A persuasive essay is an essay used to convince a reader about a particular idea or focus, usually one that you believe in. Your persuasive essay could be based on anything about which you have an opinion or that you can make a clear argument about. Whether you're arguing against junk food at school or petitioning for a raise from your boss, knowing how to write a persuasive essay is an important skill that everyone should have.

Sample Persuasive Essays

write a persuasive essay about it

How to Lay the Groundwork

Step 1 Read the prompt carefully.

  • Look for language that gives you a clue as to whether you are writing a purely persuasive or an argumentative essay. For example, if the prompt uses words like “personal experience” or “personal observations,” you know that these things can be used to support your argument.
  • On the other hand, words like “defend” or “argue” suggest that you should be writing an argumentative essay, which may require more formal, less personal evidence.
  • If you aren’t sure about what you’re supposed to write, ask your instructor.

Step 2 Give yourself time.

  • Whenever possible, start early. This way, even if you have emergencies like a computer meltdown, you’ve given yourself enough time to complete your essay.

Step 3 Examine the rhetorical situation.

  • Try using stasis theory to help you examine the rhetorical situation. 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 happened? 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?

Step 4 Consider your audience.

  • For example, if you are arguing against unhealthy school lunches, you might take very different approaches depending on whom you want to convince. You might target the school administrators, in which case you could make a case about student productivity and healthy food. If you targeted students’ parents, you might make a case about their children’s health and the potential costs of healthcare to treat conditions caused by unhealthy food. And if you were to consider a “grassroots” movement among your fellow students, you’d probably make appeals based on personal preferences.

Step 5 Pick a topic that appeals to you.

  • It also should present the organization of your essay. Don’t list your points in one order and then discuss them in a different order.
  • For example, a thesis statement could look like this: “Although pre-prepared and highly processed foods are cheap, they aren’t good for students. It is important for schools to provide fresh, healthy meals to students, even when they cost more. Healthy school lunches can make a huge difference in students’ lives, and not offering healthy lunches fails students.”
  • Note that this thesis statement isn’t a three-prong thesis. You don’t have to state every sub-point you will make in your thesis (unless your prompt or assignment says to). You do need to convey exactly what you will argue.

Step 11 Brainstorm your evidence.

  • A mind map could be helpful. 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. [5] X Research source
  • Don’t worry about having fully fleshed-out ideas at this stage. Generating ideas is the most important step here.

Step 12 Research, if necessary.

  • For example, if you’re arguing for healthier school lunches, you could make a point that fresh, natural food tastes better. This is a personal opinion and doesn’t need research to support it. However, if you wanted to argue that fresh food has more vitamins and nutrients than processed food, you’d need a reliable source to support that claim.
  • If you have a librarian available, consult with him or her! Librarians are an excellent resource to help guide you to credible research.

How to Draft Your Essay

Step 1 Outline your essay.

  • An introduction. You should present a “hook” here that grabs your audience’s attention. You should also provide your thesis statement, which is a clear statement of what you will argue or attempt to convince the reader of.
  • Body paragraphs. In 5-paragraph essays, you’ll have 3 body paragraphs. 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. These paragraphs are also where you refute any counterpoints that you’ve discovered.
  • Conclusion. 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. Because your purpose is to persuade your readers to do/think something, end with a call to action. Connect your focused topic to the broader world.

Step 2 Come up with your hook.

  • For example, you could start an essay on the necessity of pursuing alternative energy sources like this: “Imagine a world without polar bears.” This is a vivid statement that draws on something that many readers are familiar with and enjoy (polar bears). It also encourages the reader to continue reading to learn why they should imagine this world.
  • You may find that you don’t immediately have a hook. Don’t get stuck on this step! You can always press on and come back to it after you’ve drafted your essay.

Step 3 Write an introduction....

  • Put your hook first. 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.

Step 4 Structure your body paragraphs.

  • Start with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point of your paragraph.
  • Make your evidence clear and precise. For example, don't just say: "Dolphins are very smart animals. They are widely recognized as being incredibly smart." Instead, say: "Dolphins are very smart animals. 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."
  • "The South, which accounts for 80% of all executions in the United States, still has the country's highest murder rate. This makes a case against the death penalty working as a deterrent."
  • "Additionally, states without the death penalty have fewer murders. If the death penalty were indeed a deterrent, why wouldn't we see an increase in murders in states without the death penalty?"
  • Consider how your body paragraphs flow together. You want to make sure that your argument feels like it's building, one point upon another, rather than feeling scattered.

Step 5 Use the last sentence of each body paragraph to transition to the next paragraph.

  • End of the first paragraph: "If the death penalty consistently fails to deter crime, and crime is at an all-time high, what happens when someone is wrongfully convicted?"
  • Beginning of the second paragraph: "Over 100 wrongfully convicted death row inmates have been acquitted of their crimes, some just minutes before their would-be death."

Step 6 Add a rebuttal or counterargument.

  • Example: "Critics of a policy allowing students to bring snacks into the classroom say that it would create too much distraction, reducing students’ ability to learn. 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. Allowing snacks in the classroom will actually increase students’ ability to focus by taking away the distraction of hunger.”
  • You may even find it effective to begin your paragraph with the counterargument, then follow by refuting it and offering your own argument.

Step 7 Write your conclusion at the very end of your essay.

  • How could this argument be applied to a broader context?
  • 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?

How to Write Persuasively

Step 1 Understand the conventions of a persuasive essay.

  • Persuasive essays, like argumentative essays, use rhetorical devices to persuade their readers. In persuasive essays, you generally have more freedom to make appeals to emotion (pathos), in addition to logic and data (logos) and credibility (ethos). [13] X Trustworthy Source Read Write Think Online collection of reading and writing resources for teachers and students. Go to source
  • You should use multiple types of evidence carefully when writing a persuasive essay. Logical appeals such as presenting data, facts, and other types of “hard” evidence are often very convincing to readers.
  • Persuasive essays generally have very clear thesis statements that make your opinion or chosen “side” known upfront. This helps your reader know exactly what you are arguing. [14] X Research source
  • Bad: The United States was not an educated nation, since education was considered the right of the wealthy, and so in the early 1800s Horace Mann decided to try and rectify the situation.

Step 2 Use a variety of persuasion techniques to hook your readers.

  • For example, you could tell an anecdote about a family torn apart by the current situation in Syria to incorporate pathos, make use of logic to argue for allowing Syrian refugees as your logos, and then provide reputable sources to back up your quotes for ethos.
  • Example: Time and time again, the statistics don't lie -- we need to open our doors to help refugees.
  • Example: "Let us not forget the words etched on our grandest national monument, the Statue of Liberty, which asks that we "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There is no reason why Syrians are not included in this.
  • Example: "Over 100 million refugees have been displaced. 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 but to flee."

Step 3 Be authoritative and firm.

  • Good: "Time and time again, science has shown that arctic drilling is dangerous. It is not worth the risks environmentally or economically."
  • Good: "Without pushing ourselves to energy independence, in the arctic and elsewhere, we open ourselves up to the dangerous dependency that spiked gas prices in the 80's."
  • Bad: "Arctic drilling may not be perfect, but it will probably help us stop using foreign oil at some point. This, I imagine, will be a good thing."

Step 4 Challenge your readers.

  • Good: Does anyone think that ruining someone’s semester, or, at least, the chance to go abroad, should be the result of a victimless crime? Is it fair that we actively promote drinking as a legitimate alternative through Campus Socials and a lack of consequences? How long can we use the excuse that “just because it’s safer than alcohol doesn’t mean we should make it legal,” disregarding the fact that the worst effects of the drug are not physical or chemical, but institutional?
  • Good: 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.
  • Bad: 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.

Step 5 Acknowledge, and refute, arguments against you.

  • Good: While people do have accidents with guns in their homes, it is not the government’s responsibility to police people from themselves. If they're going to hurt themselves, that is their right.
  • Bad: The only obvious solution is to ban guns. There is no other argument that matters.

How to Polish Your Essay

Step 1 Give yourself a day or two without looking at the essay.

  • Does the essay state its position clearly?
  • Is this position supported throughout with evidence and examples?
  • Are paragraphs bogged down by extraneous information? Do paragraphs focus on one main idea?
  • Are any counterarguments presented fairly, without misrepresentation? Are they convincingly dismissed?
  • Are the paragraphs in an order that flows logically and builds an argument step-by-step?
  • Does the conclusion convey the importance of the position and urge the reader to do/think something?

Step 3 Revise where necessary.

  • You may find it helpful to ask a trusted friend or classmate to look at your essay. If s/he has trouble understanding your argument or finds things unclear, focus your revision on those spots.

Step 4 Proofread carefully.

  • You may find it helpful to print out your draft and mark it up with a pen or pencil. When you write on the computer, your eyes may become so used to reading what you think you’ve written that they skip over errors. Working with a physical copy forces you to pay attention in a new way.
  • Make sure to also format your essay correctly. For example, many instructors stipulate the margin width and font type you should use.

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

You Might Also Like

Write an Essay

  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-a-persuasive-essay/
  • ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/persuasive-essays
  • ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/writing/writing-resources/persuasive-essays
  • ↑ https://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/sites/default/files/docs/learningguide-mindmapping.pdf
  • ↑ https://examples.yourdictionary.com/20-compelling-hook-examples-for-essays.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/transitions/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/argument_papers/rebuttal_sections.html
  • ↑ http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson56/strategy-definition.pdf
  • ↑ https://stlcc.edu/student-support/academic-success-and-tutoring/writing-center/writing-resources/pathos-logos-and-ethos.aspx
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/proofreading_suggestions.html

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a persuasive essay, start with an attention-grabbing introduction that introduces your thesis statement or main argument. Then, break the body of your essay up into multiple paragraphs and focus on one main idea in each paragraph. Make sure you present evidence in each paragraph that supports the main idea so your essay is more persuasive. Finally, conclude your essay by restating the most compelling, important evidence so you can make your case one last time. To learn how to make your writing more persuasive, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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write a persuasive essay about it

Writing a Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays convince readers to accept a certain perspective. Writing a persuasive essay therefore entails making an argument that will appeal to readers, so they believe what you say has merit. This act of appealing to readers is the art of persuasion, also known as rhetoric. In classical rhetoric, persuasion involves appealing to readers using ethos, pathos, and logos.

In this tutorial, we refer to the sample persuasive draft and final paper written by fictional student Maggie Durham.

THE ART OF PERSUASION

Ethos refers to establishing yourself as a credible source of information. To convince an audience of anything, they must first trust you are being earnest and ethical. One strategy to do this is to write a balanced discussion with relevant and reliable research that supports your claims. Reliable research would include quoting or paraphrasing experts, first-hand witnesses, or authorities. Properly citing your sources, so your readers can also retrieve them, is another factor in establishing a reliable ethos. When writing for academic purposes, expressing your argument using unbiased language and a neutral tone will also indicate you are arguing fairly and with consideration of others having differing views.

When you appeal to your readers’ emotions, you are using pathos. This appeal is common in advertising that convinces consumers they lack something and buying a certain product or service will fulfill that lack. Emotional appeals are subtler in academic writing; they serve to engage a reader in the argument and inspire a change of heart or motivate readers toward a course of action. The examples you use, how you define terms, any comparisons you draw, as well as the language choices you use can draw readers in and impact their willingness to go along with your ideas.

Consider that one purpose of persuasion is to appeal to those who do not already agree with you, so it will be important to show that you understand other points of view. You will also want to avoid derogatory or insulting descriptions or remarks about the opposition. You wouldn’t want to offend the very readers you want to persuade.

Establishing an appeal of logos is to write a sound argument, one that readers can follow and understand. To do this, the facts and evidence you use should be relevant, representative, and reliable, and the writing as a whole should be well organized, developed, and edited.

STEPS FOR WRITING PERSUASIVELY

Step one: determine the topic.

The first step in writing a persuasive essay is to establish the topic. The best topic is one that interests you. You can generate ideas for a topic by prewriting, such as by brainstorming whatever comes to mind, recording in grocery-list fashion your thoughts, or freewriting in complete sentences what you know or think about topics of interest.

Whatever topic you choose, it needs to be:

  • Interesting : The topic should appeal both to you and to your intended readers.
  • Researchable : A body of knowledge should already exist on the topic.
  • Nonfiction : The information about the topic should be factual, not based on personal opinions or conspiracy theories.
  • Important : Your reader should think the topic is relevant to them or worthy of being explored and discussed.

Our sample student Maggie Durham has selected the topic of educational technology. We will use Maggie’s sample persuasive draft and final paper as we discuss the steps for writing a persuasive essay.

Step Two: Pose a Research Question

Once you have a topic, the next step is to develop a research question along with related questions that delve further into the first question. If you do not know what to ask, start with one of the question words: What? Who? Where? When? Why? and How? The research question helps you focus or narrow the scope of your topic by identifying a problem, controversy, or aspect of the topic that is worth exploration and discussion. Some general questions about a topic would be the following:

  • Who is affected by this problem and how?
  • Have previous efforts or polices been made to address this problem? – What are they?
  • Why hasn’t this problem been solved already?

For Maggie’s topic of educational technology, potential issues or controversies range from data privacy to digital literacy to the impact of technology on learning, which is what Maggie is interested in. Maggie’s local school district has low literacy rates, so Maggie wants to know the following:

  • Are there advantages and/or disadvantages of technology within primary and secondary education?
  • Which types of technology are considered the best in terms of quality and endurance?
  • What types of technology and/or programs do students like using and why?
  • Do teachers know how to use certain technologies with curriculum design, instruction, and/or assessment?

Step Three: Draft a Thesis

A thesis is a claim that asserts your main argument about the topic. As you conduct your research and draft your paper, you may discover information that changes your mind about your thesis, so at this point in writing, the thesis is tentative. Still, it is an important step in narrowing your focus for research and writing.

The thesis should

1. be a complete sentence,

2. identify the topic, and

3. make a specific claim about that topic.

In a persuasive paper, the thesis is a claim that someone should believe or do something. For example, a persuasive thesis might assert that something is effective or ineffective. It might state that a policy should be changed or a plan should be implemented. Or a persuasive thesis might be a plea for people to change their minds about a particular issue.

Once you have figured out your research question, your thesis is simply the answer. Maggie’s thesis is “Schools should supply technology aids to all students to increase student learning and literacy rates.” Her next step is to find evidence to support her claim.

Step Four: Research

Once you have a topic, research question, and thesis, you are ready to conduct research. To find sources that would be appropriate for an academic persuasive essay, begin your search in the library. The Purdue Global Library has a number of tutorials on conducting research, choosing search teams, types of sources, and how to evaluate information to determine its reliability and usefulness. Remember that the research you use will not only provide content to prove your claim and develop your essay, but it will also help to establish your credibility as a reliable source (ethos), create a logical framework for your argument (logos), and appeal to your readers emotionally (pathos).

Step Five: Plan Your Argument; Make an Outline

Once you have located quality source information—facts, examples, definitions, knowledge, and other information that answers your research question(s), you’ll want to create an outline to organize it. The example outline below illustrates a logical organizational plan for writing a persuasive essay. The example outline begins with an introduction that presents the topic, explains the issue, and asserts the position (the thesis). The body then provides the reasoning for the position and addresses the opposing viewpoints that some readers may hold. In your paper, you could modify this organization and address the opposing viewpoints first and then give the reasoning for your viewpoints, or you can alternate and give one opposing viewpoint then counter that with your viewpoint and then give another opposing viewpoint and counter that with your viewpoint.

The outline below also considers the alternatives to the position—certainly, there are other ways to think about or address the issue or situation. Considering the alternatives can be done in conjunction with looking at the opposing viewpoints. You do not always have to disagree with other opinions, either. You can acknowledge that another solution could work or another belief is valid. However, at the end of the body section, you will want to stand by your original position and prove that in light of all the opposing viewpoints and other perspectives, your position has the most merit.

Sample Outline of a Persuasive Argument

  • 1. Introduction: Tell them what you will tell them.
  • a. Present an interesting fact or description to make the topic clear and capture the reader’s attention.
  • b. Define and narrow the topic using facts or descriptions to illustrate what the situation or issue is (and that is it important).
  • c. Assert the claim (thesis) that something should be believed or done about the issue. (Some writers also briefly state the reasons behind this claim in the thesis as Maggie does in her paper when she claims that schools should supply tablets to students to increase learning , engagement, and literacy rates ).
  • 2. Body: Tell them.
  • a. Defend the claim with logical reasons and practical examples based on research.
  • b. Anticipate objections to the claim and refute or accommodate them with research.
  • c. Consider alternate positions or solutions using examples from research.
  • d. Present a final point based on research that supports your claim in light of the objections and alternatives considered.
  • 3. Conclusion: Tell them what you told them.
  • a. Recap the main points to reinforce the importance of the issue.
  • b. Restate the thesis in new wording to reinforce your position.
  • c. Make a final remark to leave a lasting impression, so the reader will want to continue this conversation and ideally adopt the belief or take the action you are advocating.

In Maggie’s draft, she introduced the topic with facts about school ratings in Texas and then narrowed the topic using the example of her local school district’s literacy rates. She then claimed the district should provide each student a tablet in order to increase learning (and thus, literacy rates).

Maggie defends her claim with a series of examples from research that proved how access to tablets, technology-integrated curriculums, and “flipped classrooms” have improved literacy rates in other districts. She anticipates objections to her proposal due to the high cost of technology and counter argues this with expert opinions and examples that show partnerships with businesses, personalized curriculums that technology makes possible, and teacher training can balance the costs. Maggie included an alternative solution of having students check out tablets from the library, but her research showed that this still left students needing Wi-Fi at home while her proposal would include a plan for students to access Wi-Fi.

Maggie concluded her argument by pointing out the cost of not helping the students in this way and restated her thesis reaffirming the benefits, and then left the reader with a memorable quote.

Click here to see Maggie’s draft with feedback from her instructor and a peer. Sample Persuasive Draft

Feedback, Revision, and Editing

After you write a draft of your persuasive essay, the next step is to have a peer, instructor, or tutor read it and provide feedback. Without reader feedback, you cannot fully know how your readers will react to your argument. Reader feedback is meant to be constructive. Use it to better understand your readers and craft your argument to more appropriately appeal to them.

Maggie received valuable feedback on her draft from her instructor and classmate. They pointed to where her thesis needed to be even more specific, to paragraphs where a different organization would make her argument more convincing, to parts of the paper that lacked examples, sentences that needed revision and editing for greater clarity, and APA formatting that needed to be edited.

Maggie also took a critical look at her paper and looked back at her writing process. One technique she found helpful was to read her paper aloud because it let her know where her wording and organization were not clear. She did this several times as she revised and again as she edited and refined her paper for sentence level clarity and concision.

In the end, Maggie produced a convincing persuasive essay and effective argument that would appeal to readers who are also interested in the way technology can impact and improve student learning, an important topic in 2014 when this paper was written and still relevant today.

Click here to see Maggie’s final draft after revising and editing. Sample Persuasive Revised

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What is a Persuasive Essay? Full Persuasive Essay Guide

write a persuasive essay about it

In a world where effective communication is crucial, mastering persuasive writing is essential. It transcends simply expressing opinions by enabling you to influence others and clearly articulate your message. Say goodbye to difficulties in making your point; join us as we explore how to craft persuasive essays that are both informative and genuinely compelling in our guide!

Persuasive Essay Definition

This type of essay persuades the reader to agree with your viewpoint by presenting convincing arguments, research, and ideas. You rely on logic and reason to demonstrate why your perspective is more valid than others. You must present clear arguments supported by compelling facts. Several key elements should be included in these essays:

  • A clear thesis statement or main idea that guides your essay's focus.
  • An opening paragraph that introduces your thesis statement and sets the stage for your argument.
  • Body paragraphs that use specific research evidence to support your points.
  • Smooth transitions between paragraphs that connect ideas clearly and engagingly.
  • Addressing counterarguments to acknowledge and refute opposing viewpoints.
  • A conclusion that reinforces your central idea without repeating it word for word.

Elements of a Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays rely on three key elements called modes of persuasion . These were introduced by Aristotle, a famous philosopher, to help make arguments strong and convincing.

First, there's logos , which means using evidence and logical reasoning to support your points. It's crucial to clearly state your main argument and back it up with solid evidence. Remember, what counts as convincing evidence can vary depending on who you're trying to persuade.

Next up is pathos , which involves appealing to people's emotions. Sharing personal stories can be really effective here because they help readers connect emotionally with your argument. Plus, personal anecdotes can give your essay a unique voice.

Lastly, there's ethos , which is all about building trust and credibility with your audience. The way you write your essay—whether it's serious, funny, or sincere—can affect how readers see you. Using reliable sources and showing empathy can also help establish your credibility. And when you're making claims, it's important to consider what your readers already believe and try to address any doubts they might have.

Feeling overwhelmed by all this info? Just say - ' write my paper ,' and our expert writers will jump in to assist you right away!

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 7 Steps

Writing a persuasive essay usually follows a structured format: introduction, body, conclusion . Unlike argument essays, which involve discussing and attacking alternate views, persuasive essays aim to convince the reader of your argument's validity. They're a bit more gentle and understanding in tone. To craft a solid persuasive essay, follow the 7 steps in this section. And while you're at it, don't forget to explore our guide on how to write an argumentative essay , too. These two types of assignments are the most common in school and college.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 7 Steps

Step 1: Topic Selection and Research

Choosing a good topic is where you start when writing a persuasive essay. Think about things that really interest you and make you feel strongly. But it's not just about what you like; you also need to think about what matters to your readers. Do some digging to learn more about your topic. Look into different parts of it by checking out reliable sources like books, websites, and academic articles.

While you're doing your research, keep an eye out for different opinions and new ideas about your topic. This helps you get ready for arguments against your point of view. It's also important to see if there's enough evidence out there to back up what you believe. Having lots of evidence makes it easier to make a strong case.

For more help on picking a topic, check out our persuasive essay topics .

Step 2: Develop a Strong Thesis Statement

A well-developed thesis statement should be specific, concise, and debatable. Avoid saying things that are too vague or broad, as they won't give your essay a clear direction. Instead, try to come up with a thesis that clearly says what you believe and encourages people to think about it critically.

Make sure your thesis statement is backed up by the evidence you found in your research. Use facts, numbers, or opinions from experts to support what you're saying and make your argument stronger.

Also, think about how your thesis statement fits into your whole persuasive essay. It should not only outline your main argument but also give a hint about why it's important.

Step 3: Create an Outline

An academic persuasive essay outline typically follows the 'classical' structure, which is based on techniques used by ancient Roman rhetoricians. Here are the basic elements your outline should include:

Section Details
Introduction 1. Engaging opener
2. Providing context and necessary background information
3. Stating the writer's main argument or claim
4. Offering a preview of what will be discussed in the essay
Body Paragraphs 1. Introducing and providing evidence for each reason sequentially
2. Demonstrating how each reason aligns with values or beliefs held by the audience
Counterargument 1. Recognizing and addressing opposing viewpoints
2. Explaining why these opposing viewpoints are flawed or less persuasive
Conclusion 1. Bringing the essay to a close
2. Summarizing the main points or arguments presented
3. Leaving a lasting impression on the reader
4. Encouraging action or connecting the topic to broader societal issues

Step 4: Write the Introduction

When writing a persuasive essay introduction, it should not only give background information but also frame it as a problem or issue, known as the exigence. Presenting a clearly defined problem and proposing the thesis as a solution makes for a compelling introduction, as readers naturally want to see problems solved.

Here's a breakdown of an effective persuasive essay introduction:

  • Hook : Begin with a brief anecdote that highlights an emerging issue, capturing the reader's attention.
  • Context : Provide background information related to the topic.
  • Problem : Connect the anecdote with the emerging issue, presenting it as a problem in need of addressing.
  • Debate : Mention briefly the existing debate surrounding how to respond to the problem.
  • Claim : Conclude the introduction by hinting at how you intend to address the problem, presented in a conversational tone as part of an ongoing dialogue.

Step 5: Delve into Body Paragraphs

The core of a persuasive essay lies in presenting a claim supported by reasoning and evidence. This means that much of the essay's body is dedicated to providing supporting reasons backed by evidence. A common approach taught in schools and colleges is the PEAS formula:

  • Point : Start by explaining your reason clearly. For example, 'Another reason why we need to recycle is because...'
  • Evidence : After explaining your reason, give proof that supports it. You can mention facts or share what experts say. You might say, ' I saw in a study that.. .' or ' Scientists have found that.. .'
  • Analysis : Explain how your proof supports your reason. You can say, ' This means that.. .' or ' This shows us that... '
  • Summary/So what? : Finish by quickly summarizing everything you said before. Then, explain why it's important or what it means for your argument.

Step 6: Address Counterarguments

When you're dealing with counterarguments, pick the response strategy that matches your argument.

support essay argument

  • If you agree with some points from the counterargument, acknowledge them and explain why they're not important for your topic. 
  • If the counterargument uses different evidence, say why it's not trustworthy. 
  • If the counterargument looks at evidence in a different way, explain why their understanding is wrong. 
  • If the counterargument weakens your point with evidence, explain why it doesn't actually disprove your argument.

Use phrases like these to introduce counterarguments:

  • Some researchers say...
  • Critics argue that...
  • Others might think...
  • There's a different view that...

And transition like this from counterargument to response:

  • While some of that makes sense, I still believe...
  • Even if that's true, it doesn't change the fact that...
  • Those points are interesting, but they don't affect my argument because...
  • I see where you're coming from, but I can't agree because...

Step 7: Conclude with a Call to Action or a Memorable Closing Statement

A good persuasive conclusion should do two things:

  • Summarize the main points of your essay. If it's a longer essay, using phrases like 'I have argued that' can help, but for shorter essays, it might not be needed since the reader will remember the main ideas.
  • Address the ' So what? ' or ' Now what? ' challenge. Imagine your reader asking, 'Okay, I'm convinced by your essay, but why are these ideas important? What should I do with them? Do you expect things to change?' Depending on whether your essay aims to change how people think or act, offer brief action points or insights into the implications of your ideas.

Consider ending with an anecdote, fact, or quote that highlights the significance of your argument.

Also, take a look at our guide on how to write a synthesis essay . It's a common type of assignment you'll encounter in school and college.

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Persuasive Essay Examples

Here are great examples of persuasive essays to inspire you. If you like the writing style of our authors, you can buy essay paper from them, who will ensure a high-quality document specifically tailored to your needs!

5 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay

Here are some additional tips to enhance your essay from our persuasive essay writing service :

  • Start with a Captivating Hook : Grab your reader's attention from the beginning with an engaging hook. Instead of using common approaches like surprising facts or quotes, try incorporating a unique angle or a suspenseful story related to your topic.
  • Build Your Credibility : It's crucial to establish your credibility to persuade your audience to trust your argument. In addition to presenting well-researched facts and statistics, share personal experiences or insights to demonstrate your expertise. Citing lesser-known experts or studies can also provide a fresh perspective and show a thorough exploration of the topic.
  • Clearly State Your Thesis: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that effectively addresses the nuances of your argument. Take time to consider the wording of your thesis and how it aligns with your essay's direction. Provide a brief overview of the main points you'll cover to give readers a clear roadmap.
  • Use Persuasive Language : Choose words and phrases that evoke emotion and urgency, compelling the reader to take action. Experiment with rhetorical devices like parallelism or repetition to add depth to your argument. Maintain a tone that balances assertiveness with respect.
  • Appeal to Emotions and Logic : While emotional appeals can be powerful, support them with solid logic and evidence. Supplement personal anecdotes with relevant data, expert opinions, or logical reasoning for a well-rounded perspective. Anticipate and address potential counterarguments to demonstrate thorough consideration of the issue.

To bring it all together, you now understand the power of persuasion - it teaches you how to express your ideas clearly and convincingly. This means you can speak up for what you believe in, making society more active and informed. These skills are super useful not just in school but also in jobs and everyday life. And, if you want to make things easier, you can always check out our essay service . We'll save you time and give you some extra help with your writing!

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What are the 7 Tips for Persuasive Essays?

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Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

write a persuasive essay about it

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

  • Rewrote the whole article except the samples which are good and new, and FAQs section
  • Added new writing steps
  • Researched new information overall

1. Gladd, J. (2020, August 18). Tips for Writing Academic Persuasive Essays . Pressbooks. https://idaho.pressbooks.pub/write/chapter/structure-of-academic-persuasive-essays/

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Connecting With Readers on an Emotional Level Takes Skill and Careful Planning

  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Research Papers
  • English Grammar
  • M.A., English Literature, California State University - Sacramento
  • B.A., English, California State University - Sacramento

When writing a persuasive essay, the author's goal is to sway the reader to share his or her opinion. It can be more difficult than  making an argument , which involves using facts to prove a point. A successful persuasive essay will reach the reader on an emotional level, much the way a well-spoken politician does. Persuasive speakers aren't necessarily trying to convert the reader or listener to completely change their minds, but rather to consider an idea or a focus in a different way. While it's important to use credible arguments supported by facts, the persuasive writer wants to convince the reader or listener that his or her argument is not simply correct, but convincing as well.

The are several different ways to choose a topic for your persuasive essay . Your teacher may give you a prompt or a choice of several prompts. Or you may have to come up with a topic, based on your own experience or the texts you've been studying. If you do have some choice in the topic selection, it's helpful if you select one that interests you and about which you already feel strongly.

Another key factor to consider before you begin writing is the audience. If you're trying to persuade a roomful of teachers that homework is bad, for instance, you'll use a different set of arguments than you would if the audience was made up of high school students or parents.

Once you have the topic and have considered the audience, there are a few steps to prepare yourself before you begin writing your persuasive essay:

  • Brainstorm.  Use whatever method of brainstorming works best for you. Write down your thoughts about the topic. Make sure you know where you stand on the issue. You can even try asking yourself some questions. Ideally, you'll try to ask yourself questions that could be used to refute your argument, or that could convince a reader of the opposite point of view. If you don't think of the opposing point of view, chances are your instructor or a member of your audience will.
  • Investigate.  Talk to classmates, friends, and teachers about the topic. What do they think about it? The responses that you get from these people will give you a preview of how they would respond to your opinion. Talking out your ideas, and testing your opinions, is a good way to collect evidence. Try making your arguments out loud. Do you sound shrill and angry, or determined and self-assured? What you say is as important as how you say it.
  • Think.  It may seem obvious, but you really have to think about how you are going to persuade your audience. Use a calm, reasoning tone. While persuasive essay writing is at its most basic an exercise in emotion, try not to choose words that are belittling to the opposing viewpoint, or that rely on insults. Explain to your reader why, despite the other side of the argument, your viewpoint is the "right," most logical one.
  • Find examples.  There are many writers and speakers who offer compelling, persuasive arguments. Martin Luther King Jr.'s " I Have a Dream " speech is widely cited as one of the most persuasive arguments in American rhetoric. Eleanor Roosevelt's " The Struggle for Human Rights " is another example of a skilled writer trying to persuade an audience. But be careful: While you can emulate a certain writer's style, be careful not to stray too far into imitation. Be sure the words you're choosing are your own, not words that sound like they've come from a thesaurus (or worse, that they're someone else's words entirely).
  • Organize.  In any paper that you write you should make sure that your points are well-organized and that your supporting ideas are clear, concise, and to the point. In persuasive writing, though, it is especially important that you use specific examples to illustrate your main points. Don't give your reader the impression that you are not educated on the issues related to your topic. Choose your words carefully.
  • Stick to the script.  The best essays follow a simple set of rules: First, tell your reader what you're going to tell them. Then, tell them. Then, tell them what you've told them. Have a strong, concise thesis statement before you get past the second paragraph, because this is the clue to the reader or listener to sit up and pay attention.
  • Review and revise.  If you know you're going to have more than one opportunity to present your essay, learn from the audience or reader feedback, and continue to try to improve your work. A good argument can become a great one if properly fine-tuned.
  • 100 Persuasive Essay Topics
  • 50 Argumentative Essay Topics
  • 100 Persuasive Speech Topics for Students
  • Examples of Great Introductory Paragraphs
  • How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech
  • Persuasion and Rhetorical Definition
  • Persuasive Writing: For and Against
  • How to Write a Good Thesis Statement
  • Ethos, Logos, Pathos for Persuasion
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper
  • What Is Expository Writing?
  • 49 Opinion Writing Prompts for Students
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech
  • Convince Me: A Persuasive Writing Activity
  • Writing Prompt (Composition)

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How to write a persuasive college essay.

BY BRETT CLAWSON

Whether you are in high school or college, you will need to write a persuasive essay at some point. A persuasive essay is a composition in which the writer presents a clear explanation and convincing evidence to persuade readers to share a viewpoint. Essay writing can bring either an opportunity or challenge. The goal is to write a compelling essay that perhaps convince the audience in the process.

Articulate Your Position

The only way to make the audience understand your goals and interpret the essay is to articulate your position. Writers should avoid ambiguous positions and use simple terminology, deliberate claims, and careful distinctions to cut through the confusion. You should use evidence and data to make readers understand your views.

Understand Your Audience

It’s crucial to know the interests and preferences of your audience when writing a persuasive paper. Your goal is not to prove to the teacher that you read an article or report facts to the targets. Instead, you want to persuade the teacher and readers to share your viewpoint. You might need to use different approaches for different audiences, so it’s crucial to know your target readers. Whether a writer wants to persuade a panel or class, the tone should adjust accordingly.

Organize Your Essay

The key to sticking to the crux of the argument throughout the essay is to get organized. Writers should use a thesis statement to preview the ideas they want to discuss. In short, a thesis statement helps writers to structure their subsequent paragraphs and lay out their supporting points. You could also use a thesis to lay out evidence that will backup your argument. Writers should start with making an outline that should include an introduction, thesis statement, and the body, which should incorporate the evidence gathered and a conclusion. Your conclusion should tie all the collected evidence and use insightful ways to restate the argument.

Persuade Audiences with Passion

It’s far easier to argue a topic that has a personal meaning persuasively. As such, it’s crucial to bring passion to an essay. Pick the most exciting topic if you have the freedom to make a choice. Choosing a fascinating subject matter can motivate a writer to dig deeper into the research and write with passion. It also allows writers to convey their feelings to the audience in an energetic way. In fact, readers are more likely to understand a viewpoint when writers channel their emotions into a rational argument. That makes readers receptive to the core argument of the essay.

Research Extensively

It is not enough to persuade readers with unfounded or inaccurate information. As such, writers need to familiarize themselves with all views of their chosen subject before starting to write an essay. You should research the best evidence for and against your argument. Note that only credible, legitimate sources such as peer-reviewed articles and journals can support a persuasive argument. It’s easier to write an exciting essay when one understands the strengths and weaknesses of different viewpoints. Researching will also enable authors to formulate a rational defense against scholars that will disagree with their perspective. It’s also easier to intensify an argument and prune distracting facts when one understands the subject matter well. In short, writers need to know what they will discuss before starting to write an essay.

Draw on Life Experiences

Part of the research process can and should include drawing back on life experiences. Living away from home and in a different country, for example, can be beneficial to your personal, academic, and social growth. Students could enroll in either structured or unstructured gap year programs and spend their holiday volunteering or traveling abroad. Some gap year benefits include acceleration of the transition from high school to college. It also ensures students experience life beyond school and apply real-life experiences in solving mathematical problems and writing essays. Below is a guide to writing a fantastic persuasive article.

Ideas in a persuasive essay often have consequences. Make sure you are aware of the implications of a topic that seems controversial in the public realm. You won’t worry about lawsuits if you write an essay responsibly and with integrity. Maintaining honesty and mindedness in a persuasive essay helps avoid descending into deceit and fallacy. Integrity is what distinguishes a compelling article from propaganda. As such, writers should be careful not to let their personal bias mischaracterize sound evidence or opposing views.

Brett Clawson is a writer and entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management. He enjoys researching emerging business trends and sharing their impact on business and the industry as a whole. He believes that the best way to influence others and share his knowledge with the world is through his writing.

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 6 Steps

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A persuasive essay is defined by two purposes: to convince the audience to agree with the speaker’s position on a debatable issue and to inspire listeners to take action. In order to succeed, the speaker must forge a relationship with the audience, while appealing to their intellect and emotions. Let’s look at six steps to writing an excellent persuasive essay.

1. Choose a debatable issue about which you have strong feelings and a definite position.

A debatable issue is one that generates conflicting opinions and points of view; it also may generate strong personal or professional feelings as to how it should be addressed. A persuasive essay is likely to be more effective if you invest your time and effort in writing about an issue that is important to you, perhaps one that you relate to personally.      

2. Research all sides of the issue and take notes.

Once you have chosen an issue for your essay, research conflicting views about it. Take notes over information that supports your position on the issue: facts, examples, statistics, anecdotes, and quotations from experts and/or reliable studies. Record the sources of the information to establish its reliability. Also, take notes over information that supports the strongest argument against your position on the issue. 

3. Draft a thesis statement for your essay.

Like most essays, a persuasive essay needs a thesis statement: a sentence that clearly states what you will explain and support in the essay. Write a thesis that clearly states your position on the issue.

4. Create a working outline.

A working outline is not detailed. Referring to your notes, create a 3-part working outline that lists 2 of the strongest arguments in favor of your position and the strongest argument against it. 

5. Draft the introduction, main body, and conclusion of your essay.

In drafting your essay, keep in mind the objectives to achieve in each part. Also, incorporate rhetorical devices, imagery, and figurative language throughout the text.

Introduction: To arouse the interest of the audience, use one or more of these methods. 

  • Begin with an anecdote that relates to the subject of the essay; it can be an anecdote from your personal experience or one you have heard or read from another source.
  • Begin with historical or factual information of interest regarding the subject.
  • Begin with a quotation that relates to the subject. Quotations from history, literature, or contemporary figures can all be effective; identify the source of the quotation.

Develop the introduction by identifying the general subject of your essay and the specific issue at hand; acknowledge that the issue generates disagreement, as views regarding it often conflict. 

Conclude the introduction with your thesis, stating your position on the issue clearly and concisely.  

Main Body: Refer to your working outline while writing the main body of your essay. Draft a main body paragraph to address each of the three parts of the outline. Since the working outline includes two arguments supporting your position and one opposing it, the main body may consist of three paragraphs; however, if more than one paragraph is required to thoroughly address a part of your outline, by all means, write it. Refer to your research notes and the list of rhetorical devices while developing each paragraph. 

Conclusion: The final paragraph should indicate to listeners that your essay is reaching an end.  

  • Restate the issue and your position regarding it. 
  • Briefly sum up your two arguments in favor of your position.
  • Explain what will happen if your position is not adopted and why the resulting consequences are important to the audience.
  • Point out actions that should be taken in addressing the issue to avoid serious consequences.

The final sentence of the conclusion should leave listeners with something to think about. A powerful, thought-provoking quotation, a vivid image, or a final rhetorical question—asked and answered—will provide a sense of closure, while emphasizing the validity of your essay.  

6. Review the structure and content of the essay, and revise the text to make it more effective and convincing. 

After reviewing and revising the text of your essay, you should be able to answer “yes” to these questions:

Is there a paragraph of introduction?

  • Have you engaged the interest of the audience in some way?
  • Have you established your own voice in the essay and created a bond between you and your listeners?
  • Have you identified the topic and the specific issue of your essay?
  • Does the paragraph end with a thesis statement that clearly states your position on the issue?

Does the main body consist of at least 3 paragraphs? 

  • In the first main body paragraph, have you stated the strongest argument against your position on the issue? Have you refuted the argument with various types of specific evidence?
  • In the second main body paragraph, have you presented your first argument in favor of your position? Have you supported your argument with various types of specific evidence?
  • In the third main body paragraph, have you presented a stronger argument in favor of your position,  the best argument you can present? Have you supported it with various types of specific evidence?
  • Throughout the main body paragraphs, have you included appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos?

Is there a paragraph of conclusion?

  • Have you restated the issue and your position on it?
  • Have you summed up your two arguments in favor of your position?
  • Have you explained what will happen if your position is not adopted and why the resulting consequences are important to the audience?
  • Have you pointed out actions that should be taken in addressing the issue to avoid serious consequences?
  • Does the conclusion give listeners a sense of closure and leave them with something to think about?

Does the text of your essay employ numerous rhetorical devices?

As you read your essay aloud, have you provided transition words and phrases to move smoothly from one part of a paragraph to another and from one paragraph to the next?

Do you think your essay is persuasive and will hold the attention of the audience? (If not, why not? What would make it more persuasive and engaging?)

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  • How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips

How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

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When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

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9.4: Persuasion

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  • Ann Inoshita, Karyl Garland, Kate Sims, Jeanne K. Tsutsui Keuma, and Tasha Williams
  • University of Hawaii via University of Hawaiʻi OER

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Writers of persuasive essays take a stand on a controversial issue and give well-researched arguments to support this position. This section will help students define the persuasive essay as well as understand its purpose and structure.

What is an Argument?

In today’s society, arguments are all around us, in our every waking moment throughout the day, whether in online ads or in the messages one reads on one’s favorite box of cereal. The ability to think critically in terms of deciding what to believe is highly important due to the fact that individuals are bombarded by arguments, on the internet and elsewhere, on a daily basis. Deciding what arguments to accept or reject not only makes for a good essay, but has implications for success in life and for one’s future career.

Understanding the nature of argument is essential to writing a good persuasive essay. So, what is argument? It is not the act of proving who is right or wrong. Television and social media convey argument as a means of proving one’s point for the sake of arguing. This is not argument. Ancient rhetoricians such as Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates understood argument in terms of truth-seeking, and conceptualized it as a means of preventing war. In this vein, good writers engage in truth-seeking to find out what is valid so that they may communicate truths to others. Sometimes in this process of truth-seeking, the writers themselves may change their minds on a given topic. Leaders such as Queen Lili‘uokalani and Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. demonstrate argument as a means of engaging in truth-seeking. See A Letter of Protest (Queen Lili‘uokalani of Hawai‘i, 1898) and Letter from a Birmingham Jail (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., AU, University of Alabama, April 16, 1963).

Structure of a Persuasive Essay

Before students begin creating persuasive essays, they should engage in preliminary research. Persuasive essays often include quotes or paraphrases from experts or statistics from academic studies. These essays must also demonstrate the writer’s ability to think critically and to avoid logical errors.

Note: Persuasive essays often require research, so students should see the Research and Plagiarism chapter of this text before drafting the essay.

After writers have conducted some preliminary research to enter the conversation, they will be ready to begin writing. Drafting should include at least four aspects:

  • Introduction and thesis
  • Strong arguments and evidence in support of thesis
  • Opposing and qualifying ideas
  • A compelling and satisfying conclusion

Creating an Introduction and Thesis

The persuasive essay begins with an engaging introduction that presents the general issue. The role of this paragraph is to do the following:

  • Create interest.
  • Introduce a controversial topic.
  • Include a thesis statement that clearly presents the writer’s position on the chosen issue, and the major points to be discussed. Instructors will give students further guidelines on where the thesis should appear, but it is usually located at the very end of the introduction.

Strong Arguments and Evidence in Support of the Thesis

The body of the persuasive essay presents the reasons for the writer’s position on the issue. Writers should provide at least three solid reasons for their position.

When developing arguments and evidence, a writer would be wise to do the following:

  • Provide at least one paragraph for each reason that is presented (though some reasons may require more than one paragraph). Clearly state each reason in a topic sentence.
  • Provide sufficient evidence for each reason. Much of the evidence will come from research, though writers can effectively integrate their own knowledge as evidence.
  • Explain ideas thoroughly and carefully, connecting one’s sources together smoothly and logically.
  • Provide follow-up discussion or explanation for the researched information one has provided.
  • Remember that arguments are usually “won” or “lost” on the quantity and quality of the evidence.

Ways to Persuade

There are three primary ways to appeal to the emotion and response of readers: ethos, logos, and pathos.

Ethos is the appeal to what is right, fair and trustworthy. For example, if Aaron is arguing for more access to parks in Hawai‘i for individuals who are disabled, he could do so by pointing out that many citizens who happen to have some sort of disability pay taxes that support these parks and yet are denied access simply due to design. The unfairness of this situation would appeal to the readers’ sense of what is right or fair.

Logos appeals to the reader’s logic and reason. If Aaron is arguing for the need to make college tuition more affordable or even free, such as is the case in Norway, Sweden, and Germany, among other countries, and he uses statistics about the number of students who would not be able to obtain a college degree without some country-wide assistance, he is appealing to his reader’s logic.

An argument with pathos appeals to the reader’s emotions. In his essay in favor of students joining a sports team in high school, he could highlight his own experience of overcoming fears and physical challenges while running in high school. Such an approach would pull the heartstrings of his readers who are touched by his success due to the self-discipline, social connections, and physical strength he developed through running on a team.

Addressing Opposing Ideas and the Author’s Position

Any good argument anticipates the opposing arguments and attempts to answer or refute its main points. In refuting the opposing point, writers do the following:

  • Address at least one major opposing point. Writers briefly summarize viewpoints on the other side of the argument.
  • Provide reasons and evidence showing the weaknesses in this opposing idea. They may address more than one opposing viewpoint.

Conclusion: Call to Action

The conclusion should provide insight into the significance of the issue. Most important is the fact that such a conclusion would do well not to use the word “should” as in the following. “In order for the United States to increase college attendance, encourage young people to seek out higher education and advanced knowledge to be used within the professional world, and truly support the process of learning, making college tuition more affordable or even free is key.”

If writers have proven their stance within the body paragraphs using examples and quoted, paraphrased, or summarized information from professionals within the given community, a “should” isn’t needed because the reader has already been convinced.

  • What facts (logos) does the advertiser provide?
  • What emotions do you feel after viewing the advertisement?
  • What occurred in the advertisement to cause these emotions (pathos)?
  • What occurred in the advertisement that appealed to your sense of morals and ethics (ethos)?
  • Overall, was the advertisement effective to persuade you to purchase their product? Why or why not?

Further Resources

  • Read more about writing a thesis statement in the handout by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Thesis Statements , The Writing Center.
  • Watch the following video to learn more about persuasive appeals: Ethos, Pathos, Logos
  • Read more about counterarguments and the language used to signal the counterargument and refutation in this handout by Harvard College Writing Center: Counterargument , Writing Resources.
  • See sample persuasive essays in “Chapter 15: Introduction to Sample Essays,” Writing for Success.
  • Other sample persuasive essays are “Online Monitoring: A Threat to Employee Privacy in the Wired Workplace“; (Hacker), and “ Performance Enhancement through Biotechnology Has No Place in Sports “; (Hacker). These essays are excellent references because they contain notes in the margins that explain the components of the essays and MLA format.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). “ Transitional Devices ,” The Purdue OWL.

Works Cited

Hacker, Diana. Writer’s Reference . Bedford/St. Martins, 2007.

King, Jr., Martin Luther. “ Letter from a Birmingham Jail ,” AU, University of Alabama , April 16, 1963.

Lili`uokalani (Queen of Hawai`i). Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives (protesting U.S. assertion of ownership of Hawai`i), U.S. National Archives, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, Record Group 233, Record HR 55A-H28.3, 19 December 1898.

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What is a Persuasive Essay?

Parts of a persuasive essay, from the library.

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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 to sway the reader one way or the other.  

  • Thesis statement: The argument or the point you are trying to make is found in your introduction.
  • Introduction:   This paragraph describes the problem, why the audience should care, and the point you are trying to make (your thesis statement). 
  • Counterargument:   The counterargument or the argument opponents of your point of view will hold, should be included early in your essay.  It is important to present the argument fairly.  Be sure to refute the counterargument with your main objections to it.
  • Body paragraphs :  These paragraphs support your thesis with evidence from credible resources.
  • Conclusion:   This paragraph summarizes your essay's main points and restates the thesis.
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100 Thought-Provoking Argumentative Writing Prompts for Kids and Teens

Practice making well-reasoned arguments using research and facts.

Parents should be punished for their minor children’s crimes.

Writing a strong argumentative essay teaches students to make a case for their own point of view without relying on emotion or passion. These argumentative essay topics provide options for kids of all ages, including controversial subjects and some that are just for fun.

School and Education Argumentative Essay Topics

Science and history argumentative essay topics, life and ethics argumentative essay topics, social justice and civics argumentative essay topics, more argumentative essay topics, what’s the difference between argumentative and persuasive essays.

These two types of essays are similar, but there are some subtle and important differences .

  • Author’s purpose: In an argumentative essay, your job is to simply convince the reader that the point of view you’re presenting is valid, even if it doesn’t change their mind. Persuasive essays seek to sway the reader to adopt your point of view over any others.
  • Method: Argumentative essays rely heavily on well-researched facts and logical assertions. In a persuasive essay, the writer may use a blend of emotion and facts to win over the reader.
  • Audience: Persuasive essays require a specific audience, since the writer must acknowledge and attempt to overcome their potential objections. The writer of an argumentative essay is simply making a statement, so knowing their audience is less important.
  • Viewpoint: A persuasive essay writer should believe their point of view is the only correct one, and try to persuade the reader to agree. Argumentative essays acknowledge other points of view, but use reason and logic to argue that the writer’s point of view is best.

Persuasive and argumentative essay topics often overlap. The difference is in how the writer approaches the topic. When you assign one of the topics below as an argumentative essay, remind students to use research, reason, and logic to make a strong but dispassionate argument.

  • Should physical education be part of the standard high school curriculum?
  • Schools should require recommended vaccines for all students, with very limited exceptions.
  • Should all students have the ability to attend college for free?
  • What one class should all high schools students be required to take and pass in order to graduate?

What one class should all high schools students be required to take and pass in order to graduate?

  • Do you think homework should be required, optional, or not given at all?
  • Students should/should not be able to use their phones during the school day.
  • Should schools have dress codes?
  • If I could change one school rule, it would be …
  • Is year-round school a good idea?
  • Which is better, private schools or public schools?
  • Should every student have to participate in athletics?
  • Do you think schools should ban junk food from their cafeterias?
  • Should students be required to volunteer in their communities?
  • What is the most important school subject?
  • Are letter grades helpful, or should we replace them with something else?

Are letter grades helpful, or should we replace them with something else?

  • Should schools be allowed to ban some books from their libraries?
  • Which is better, book smarts or street smarts?
  • Are single-gender schools better or worse for students?
  • Are computers making teachers obsolete?
  • Students who fail a test should be given a chance to take it again.
  • Is it acceptable to use animals for experiments and research?
  • Vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco.
  • Do we really learn anything from history, or does it just repeat itself over and over?
  • Is it OK to keep animals in zoos?
  • Should we ban plastic bags and bottles?
  • Should we still consider Pluto a planet?

Should we still consider Pluto a planet?

  • It’s important to spend tax dollars exploring space, instead of on other things.
  • Is there life on other planets?
  • Who was the best/worst American president?
  • Should vaccines be mandatory?
  • Are GMOs more helpful than harmful?
  • Is animal cloning ethical?
  • Should human cloning be legal?
  • Should we use stem cells from human embryos for scientific research?
  • Is it better to provide drug addicts with treatment instead of punishment?

Is it better to provide drug addicts with treatment instead of punishment?

  • Should we ban the use of fossil fuels?
  • Can we truly do anything about human-caused global warming?
  • Are electric vehicles better than gas-powered ones?
  • Was life really better “back in the day”?
  • Choose a foreign conflict (e.g., Vietnam or Afghanistan) and argue whether or not the United States was justified in getting involved.
  • The most important challenge our country is currently facing is … (e.g., immigration, gun control, economy)
  • Does social media do more harm than good?
  • The best country in the world is …
  • Are men and women treated equally?
  • Is it better to be vegetarian/vegan than to eat meat?
  • Should little kids be allowed to play competitive sports?
  • Who faces more peer pressure, girls or boys?
  • Should kids have set bedtimes or just go to bed whenever they’re sleepy?

Should kids have set bedtimes or just go to bed whenever they’re sleepy?

  • Which is better, artificial Christmas trees or real ones?
  • Playing violent video games is bad for kids and teens.
  • Parents should track their kids using their cell phones.
  • Are paper books better than e-books?
  • All kids should play on the same sports teams, regardless of gender.
  • All paper documents should be replaced with electronic versions.
  • Is conflict necessary for change?
  • Is war ever justified?
  • A strong middle class is vital to the economy.

A strong middle class is vital to the economy.

  • Is the local minimum wage truly a living wage?
  • Should we do away with gender-specific public bathrooms?
  • Is a progressive income tax better than a flat tax?
  • Capital punishment does/does not deter crime.
  • Would it be better to legalize, tax, and regulate all drugs (including alcohol and cigarettes) instead of banning them?
  • Parents should be punished for their minor children’s crimes.

Parents should be punished for their minor children’s crimes.

  • The government should provide free internet access for every citizen.
  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Is capitalism the best form of economy?
  • Should all Americans be required to vote?
  • Should we change the minimum driving age in the United States?
  • Do you think the government should find a way to provide free health care for everyone?
  • School-age children should be allowed to vote.
  • We should/should not abolish the electoral college.
  • Are “Stand Your Ground” laws effective?
  • Supreme Court judges should be appointed for fixed terms.

Supreme Court judges should be appointed for fixed terms.

  • Does segregation still exist in the United States?
  • We should/should not continue building a wall between the United States and Mexico.
  • Will stricter gun control laws help control mass shootings?
  • Should we make the path to American citizenship easier?
  • Is the American justice system inherently racist?
  • Should we redirect some or all police force funding to social services?
  • Should the United States implement a universal basic income?
  • Choose a fictional character and explain why they should be the next president.
  • What animal makes the best pet?
  • Who is the world’s best athlete, present or past?
  • Which is better, reading books or watching TV?
  • Is a taco a sandwich?
  • Should kids be allowed to stay up as late as they want?

Should kids be allowed to stay up as late as they want?

  • What’s the best video game system?
  • Kids shouldn’t have to go to school on their birthdays.
  • Is video gaming a sport?
  • Are beauty pageants sexist?
  • Should kids get participation trophies for sports?
  • Are stereotypes ever right?
  • Is there any benefit to teaching proper grammar and spelling, or should we allow language to be descriptive instead of prescriptive?
  • All teenagers should have part-time jobs.
  • Should kids have limits on screen time?
  • Is it better to read fiction or nonfiction?
  • Should kids have to eat everything on their plate, even if they really don’t like something?

Should kids have to eat everything on their plate, even if they really don't like something?

  • Is it better to spend an hour a day reading or exercising?
  • Is graffiti an act of vandalism or an art form?
  • Should society hold celebrities to a high moral standard?

What are your favorite argumentative writing prompts? Come share your thoughts in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Also check out 100 intriguing cause and effect essay topics for students ..

Use these thought-provoking argumentative essay topics to teach students to write well-researched and convincing compositions.

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Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

Gain critical communication skills in writing and public speaking with this introduction to American political rhetoric.

A speech bubble.

Associated Schools

Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences

Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences

What you'll learn.

When and how to employ a variety of rhetorical devices in writing and speaking

How to differentiate between argument and rhetorical technique

How to write a persuasive opinion editorial and short speech

How to evaluate the strength of an argument

How to identify logical fallacies in arguments

Course description

We are living in a contentious time in history. Fundamental disagreements on critical political issues make it essential to learn how to make an argument and analyze the arguments of others. This ability will help you engage in civil discourse and make effective changes in society. Even outside the political sphere, conveying a convincing message can benefit you throughout your personal, public, and professional lives.

This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of rhetoric, the art of persuasive writing and speech. In it, you will learn to construct and defend compelling arguments, an essential skill in many settings. We will be using selected addresses from prominent twentieth-century Americans — including Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Margaret Chase Smith, Ronald Reagan, and more — to explore and analyze rhetorical structure and style. Through this analysis, you will learn how speakers and writers persuade an audience to adopt their point of view.

Built around Harvard Professor James Engell’s on-campus course, “Elements of Rhetoric,” this course will help you analyze and apply rhetorical structure and style, appreciate the relevance of persuasive communication in your own life, and understand how to persuade and recognize when someone is trying to persuade you. You will be inspired to share your viewpoint and discover the most powerful ways to convince others to champion your cause. Join us to find your voice!

Course Outline

Introduction to Rhetoric

  • Define the term "rhetoric."
  • Articulate the importance of effective communication.
  • Summarize the history of rhetorical study, from the ancient Greeks to the modern-day.
  • Identify the parts of discourse.
  • Define the three modes of appeal.
  • Identify tropes and schemes, and explain their use in composition.
  • Compose an opinion editorial on a topic of your choice.

Civil Rights - Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Analyze Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream…” speech
  • Define inductive reasoning and some of its associated topics
  • Identify instances of inductive reasoning in writing and speech
  • Define deductive reasoning and some of its associated topics
  • Identify instances of deductive reasoning in writing and speech
  • Recognize and evaluate the strength of an argument's refutation
  • Apply the elements of rhetoric you have learned so far into the final draft of your op-ed

Gun Control - Sarah Brady and Charlton Heston

  • Analyze Sarah Brady’s Democratic National Convention Keynote Speech.
  • Analyze Charlton Heston’s speech on the Second Amendment.
  • Define “inductive reasoning” and some of its associated topics
  • Define “deductive reasoning” and some of its associated topics
  • Recognize and evaluate the strength of an argument’s refutation
  • Apply the elements of rhetoric you have learned so far in the final draft of your op-ed

Introduction to Oratory

  • Describe the origins of the practice of oratory.
  • Recognize ways in which orators tailor their writing for the spoken word.
  • Describe techniques for effective public speaking, both prepared and extemporaneous.
  • Brainstorm ideas for your own short speech.

The Red Scare - Joseph McCarthy and Margaret Chase Smith

  • Analyze Joseph McCarthy’s “Enemies Within” speech.
  • Analyze Margaret Chase Smith’s "A Declaration of Conscience" speech.
  • Identify the modes of appeal and the logical reasoning of the featured speeches.
  • Identify both common and special topics used in these speeches, like cause and effect, testimony, justice and injustice, and comparison, and begin to recognize their use in other speeches.
  • Identify examples from these speeches of logical fallacies including the either/or fallacy, the fallacy of affirming the consequent, the argument ad hominem, the argument ad populum, begging the question, the complex question, and the use of imprecise language.
  • Discuss the importance of winning and keeping an audience’s trust and the pros and cons of attempting to tear down their confidence in an opponent.
  • Define for yourself the definition of "extremist rhetoric," debate its use as a political tool.
  • Consider the moral responsibilities of those who would seek to persuade others through language.

Presidential Rhetoric - John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan

  • Discuss how the audience and the desired tone for a speech can influence diction (word choice).
  • Compare the effects of using passive vs. active voice, and first-person vs. other tenses in a speech.
  • Discuss the effectiveness of the use of symbolism in writing and speech.
  • Define hyperbole, antimetabole, and polysyndeton, and identify when these devices might be appropriate and useful in terms of persuasion.
  • Describe techniques for connecting with your audience, including storytelling and drawing on shared experience.

Instructors

James Engell

James Engell

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Persuasive Strategies in The Allstate "Mayhem" AD Campaign

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Published: Jun 13, 2024

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Ethos: establishing credibility and trust, pathos: evoking emotional responses, logos: logical appeal and practicality.

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Amy Coney Barrett Sounds Fed Up with Clarence Thomas’ Sloppy Originalism

This is part of  Opinionpalooza , Slate’s coverage of the major decisions from the Supreme Court this June. Alongside  Amicus , we kicked things off this year by explaining  How Originalism Ate the Law . The best way to support our work is by joining  Slate Plus . (If you are already a member, consider a  donation  or  merch !)

A minor dispute over a trademark registration erupted into a heated battle over originalism at the Supreme Court last week, splintering the justices into warring camps over the value and practicality of history in constitutional analysis. No surprise there—as the term accelerates toward a contentious finale, the tensions roiling major cases are bound to spill over into littler ones. What’s remarkable is who seized on this squabble over intellectual property to launch a scathing salvo against the conservative majority’s “laser-like focus” on “supposed history and tradition”: Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative who presented as a true believer in originalism when joining the Supreme Court four years ago. Barrett’s latest opinion exudes disenchantment with the methodology, at least as it’s used by this court; it also suggests she has buyer’s remorse about signing on to Bruen , a significant expansion of the Second Amendment that’s arguably the most radical and unworkable “originalist” opinion she’s joined so far.

We will know soon enough. Last week’s squabble reads like shadowboxing over a much bigger decision to come: U.S. v. Rahimi , a follow-up to the Bruen decision. Rahimi gives the court an opportunity to walk back the most disastrous and lethal aspects of its Second Amendment extremism. Barrett now seems like she may be eager to take it.

Vidal v. Elster , last Thursday’s decision, is not the kind of case that usually makes headlines. Steve Elster is a labor lawyer who wanted to trademark the phrase “Trump too small,” inspired by Sen. Marco Rubio’s crude debate joke about Donald Trump’s hands in 2016. The Patent and Trademark Office, however, refused to register the trademark, citing a law that bars trademarks made up of a name “identifying a particular living individual except by his written consent.” (Needless to say, the former president did not give his consent.) Elster sued, alleging a violation of the First Amendment. He pointed out that the Supreme Court has held that two similar provisions of federal law violate free speech, one that bars disparaging trademarks and another that bars “ immoral or scandalous ” trademarks. So, he argued, the prohibition against trademarks that use other people’s names—the so-called names clause—should also be declared unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Elster, upholding the statute. But the justices fractured badly on the reason why, dividing more or less into a 5–4 split. Writing for the five men, Justice Clarence Thomas relied exclusively upon history (or his version of it) to resolve the case. Typically, he explained, laws that discriminate on the basis of content—that is, their “topic,” “idea,” or “message”—are subject to heightened scrutiny under the First Amendment. And by targeting trademarks that reference other people, the “names clause” is a “content-based regulation of speech.” But Thomas then declared that the law is not constitutionally suspect because it aligns with the “history and tradition” of the nation “since the founding.” Trademark restrictions “have always turned on a mark’s content” yet “have always coexisted with the First Amendment,” so they represent an exception to the usual constitutional limitations. Embarking upon a grand journey from the 1700s through today, Thomas presented a smattering of comparable laws from the past to demonstrate this “historical rule.” In short, he concluded, it has always been done, so it always may be done. Case closed.

In a separate opinion, Barrett agreed with Thomas’ bottom line but sharply disagreed with pretty much everything else. His history-only approach, she wrote, was “wrong twice over”: Thomas both botched the relevant history and failed to make a persuasive case for its use in the first place. Start with “the court’s evidence.” Thomas’ law-office history , Barrett explained, consists of “loosely related cases from the late-19th and early-20th centuries” that do not “establish a historical analogue for the names clause.” His analysis of these cases is shallow and often dubious; Barrett highlighted unfounded inferences in Thomas’ skim of the historical record, questioning his generalizations from a handful of archaic decisions. She also noted that Thomas declined to “fully grapple with countervailing evidence,” citing old decisions that cut against his conclusory assertions.

Clearly, Barrett is growing tired of her colleague’s bogus originalism: She also criticized his highly selective frolic through the archives in last term’s Samia v. U.S. , questioning his reliance on a somewhat random “snapshot” of history to cut back protections of the Sixth Amendment. “The court overclaims,” the justice wrote then, risking “undermining the force of historical arguments when they matter most.”

But this time, Barrett’s critique cuts much deeper: Thomas, she wrote, “never explains why hunting for historical forebears on a restriction-by-restriction basis is the right way to analyze the constitutional question.” The majority “presents tradition itself as the constitutional argument,” as though it is “dispositive of the First Amendment issue,” without any “theoretical justification.” In a passage that must have made the liberal justices proud, Barrett continued: “Relying exclusively on history and tradition may seem like a way of avoiding judge-made tests. But a rule rendering tradition dispositive is itself a judge-made test. And I do not see a good reason to resolve this case using that approach rather than by adopting a generally applicable principle.” Plucking out historical anecdotes, ad libbing some connective tissue, then presenting the result as a constitutional principle “misses the forest for the trees.” When applying “broadly worded” constitutional text, “courts must inevitably articulate principles to resolve individual cases.” This approach brings sorely needed “clarity to the law.”

Barrett sketched out a better path: assessing the “names clause” within a framework “grounded in both trademark law and First Amendment precedent.” When the government “opens its property to speech,” she wrote, restrictions are permissible so long as they aren’t cover for the “official suppression of ideas.” Thus, courts should uphold trademark laws if they “are reasonable in light of the trademark system’s purpose.”

Why did Barrett spill so much ink repudiating Thomas’ opinion when the two justices landed in the same place? Her opinion reads like a rebuttal of Bruen , Thomas’ 2022 decision establishing a novel right to carry guns in public—which Barrett joined in full. Bruen marked a sea change because it upended the way courts looked at firearm restrictions. Previously, the courts of appeals applied heightened scrutiny to gun laws, asking whether the regulation was carefully drawn to further public safety. SCOTUS applies this test in countless other contexts, including the First Amendment and equal protection. It requires judges to balance the interests on both sides, a well-worn tool of judicial review. Yet Thomas spurned this “means-ends scrutiny,” demanding that courts rely exclusively on the nation’s “history and tradition”: A gun restriction, he wrote, is only constitutional if it has a sufficient number of “historical analogues” from the distant past.

This brand-new test has flummoxed the lower courts and led to ludicrous outcomes —partly because judges are not historians and have no reliable way to produce a complete historical record, and also because American society has evolved to the point that a great deal of “tradition” now looks barbaric . This term, the Supreme Court has been confronted with the fallout from Bruen in a follow-up called Rahimi , which asks whether domestic abusers have a right to bear arms . During oral arguments in Rahimi , Barrett sounded deeply uncomfortable with what her court had wrought. Rahimi has not yet been decided. But Barrett’s concurrence in Elster reads like a preview of her opinion in that case. The justice seems to have second thoughts about pinning constitutional interpretation entirely on a court’s amateur historical analysis; she now seems to see the immense value in “adopting a generally applicable principle” that courts can apply across cases.

The liberal justices were right there alongside Barrett in Elster , gladly signing on to her more sensible approach to the case. Justice Sonia Sotomayor also wrote a separate concurrence raising many of Barrett’s objections, taking more explicit aim at Bruen and the “confusion” it has caused. And some of Barrett’s Elster concurrence echoes a recent opinion by Justice Elena Kagan—which Barrett notably joined—that offered an alternative to Thomas’ rigid focus on founding-era history in a case upholding the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This shadowboxing foreshadows a bitter split in Rahimi , though with Barrett and the liberals appear poised to wind up on the winning side. There’s no doubt that Barrett is still a Second Amendment enthusiast , but with one more vote, this bloc is well positioned to walk back the excesses of Bruen . What’s certain right now is that the justice, at a minimum, has serious doubts about the legitimacy and workability of this Supreme Court’s sloppy, results-oriented originalism . That doesn’t mean Barrett has abandoned her broader commitment to the conservative legal movement’s cause. But it does signal a disillusionment with conservative orthodoxies that could put her vote up for grabs in cases much more important than a trademark dispute.

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COMMENTS

  1. 10 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay That Will Convince Any Reader

    1. Craft a Compelling Introduction: Your introduction is the first impression you make on your reader, so it's essential to capture their attention right from the start. Consider using a captivating anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or a shocking statistic to engage your audience and set the tone for your essay.

  2. How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Tips and Tricks

    TIP 1: Some writers find it easier to write their introductions last. As long as you have your working thesis, this is a perfectly acceptable approach. From that thesis, you can plan your body paragraphs and then go back and write your introduction. TIP 2: Avoid "announcing" your thesis.

  3. How to Craft an Effective Persuasive Essay: Step-by-Step Guide

    2. Body Paragraphs: Develop your argument in a series of body paragraphs, each focusing on a different aspect of your topic. Make sure to provide evidence, examples, and reasoning to support your points. 3. Counterarguments: Acknowledge opposing viewpoints and address them in your essay.

  4. 40 Persuasive Writing Examples (Essays, Speeches, and More)

    Teaching students to write strong persuasive essays should always start with reading some top-notch models. This round-up of persuasive writing examples includes famous speeches, influential ad campaigns, contemporary reviews of famous books, and more. Use them to inspire your students to write their own essays.

  5. 8.7: Tips for Writing Academic Persuasive Essays

    Classical structure of an argument essay. Persuasive introductions should move from context to thesis. Define key terms, as needed. Use P-E-A-S or M-E-A-L to support your claim. Use "they say / i say" strategies for Counterarguments and rebuttals. Common Types of counterarguments. Responding to counterarguments.

  6. How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

    The 5 Must-Have Steps of a Persuasive Essay. If you're intimidated by the idea of writing an argument, use this list to break your process into manageable chunks. Tackle researching and writing one element at a time, and then revise your essay so that it flows smoothly and coherently with every component in the optimal place. 1.

  7. Persuasive Essay Guide: How to Write a Persuasive Essay

    The last time you wrote a persuasive essay may have been in high school or college, but the skill of writing a strong persuasive argument is always a useful one to have. Persuasive writing begins with a writer forming their own opinion on a topic, which they then attempt to convince their reader of this opinion by walking them through a number of logical and ethical arguments.

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    As you write your persuasive essay, remember that your goal is to get the reader to nod their head and agree with you. Each section of the essay should bring you closer to this goal. If you write the essay with this in mind, you'll end up with a paper that will receive high grades. Finally, if you're ever facing writer's block for your ...

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    Every essay you write will have 3 parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Think of the organization of an essay like this: Intro - Tell your reader what you're going to write about. Body - Write about it. Conclusion - Tell them what you wrote about. Let's go through each of those parts for a persuasive essay.

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    Here are the steps you need to take: Step 1: Create a Compelling Introduction. You want to hook your readers with a great opening for your persuasive essay, so they'll want to keep reading. Here are 3 tips for writing an attention-grabbing introduction for your next essay. Use a strong hook statement.

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    The introduction in your persuasive essay should grab the readers' attention and provide background information about your subject. It should end with a clear statement of your thesis. The body. The body should consist of all the arguments that support your thesis. Each paragraph should focus on one particular point.

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    Note that the next section contains a sample written in accordance with this outline. Persuasive Essay Introduction. Hook: start with an intriguing sentence. Background: describe the context of the discussed issue and familiarize the reader with the argument. Definitions: if your essay dwells upon a theoretical subject matter, be sure to explain the complicated terms.

  13. 113 Perfect Persuasive Essay Topics for Any Assignment

    Doing so will make researching and writing your persuasive essay much more feasible. List of 113 Good Persuasive Essay Topics. Below are over 100 persuasive essay ideas, organized into ten categories. When you find an idea that piques your interest, you'll choose one side of it to argue for in your essay.

  14. How to Write a Persuasive Essay (with Pictures)

    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. [3] 6. Look for a topic that has a lot of depth or complexity.

  15. Writing a Persuasive Essay

    The thesis should. 1. be a complete sentence, 2. identify the topic, and. 3. make a specific claim about that topic. In a persuasive paper, the thesis is a claim that someone should believe or do something. For example, a persuasive thesis might assert that something is effective or ineffective.

  16. EssayPro Blog

    How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 7 Steps. Writing a persuasive essay usually follows a structured format: introduction, body, conclusion. Unlike argument essays, which involve discussing and attacking alternate views, persuasive essays aim to convince the reader of your argument's validity. They're a bit more gentle and understanding in tone.

  17. 6.4: Persuasive Essays

    Writing a Persuasive Essay. Choose a topic that you feel passionate about. If your instructor requires you to write about a specific topic, approach the subject from an angle that interests you. Begin your essay with an engaging introduction. Your thesis should typically appear somewhere in your introduction. Be sure to have a clear thesis that ...

  18. How to Write a Persuasive Essay

    When writing a persuasive essay, the author's goal is to sway the reader to share his or her opinion. It can be more difficult than making an argument, which involves using facts to prove a point.A successful persuasive essay will reach the reader on an emotional level, much the way a well-spoken politician does. Persuasive speakers aren't necessarily trying to convert the reader or listener ...

  19. How To Write A Persuasive College Essay

    A persuasive essay is a composition in which the writer presents a clear explanation and convincing evidence to persuade readers to share a viewpoint. Essay writing can bring either an opportunity or challenge. The goal is to write a compelling essay that perhaps convince the audience in the process. Articulate Your Position.

  20. How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 6 Steps

    Record the sources of the information to establish its reliability. Also, take notes over information that supports the strongest argument against your position on the issue. 3. Draft a thesis statement for your essay. Like most essays, a persuasive essay needs a thesis statement: a sentence that clearly states what you will explain and support ...

  21. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Make a claim. Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim. Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim) Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives. The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays.

  22. 9.4: Persuasion

    Structure of a Persuasive Essay. Before students begin creating persuasive essays, they should engage in preliminary research. Persuasive essays often include quotes or paraphrases from experts or statistics from academic studies. These essays must also demonstrate the writer's ability to think critically and to avoid logical errors.

  23. Persuasive Essay

    Thesis statement: The argument or the point you are trying to make is found in your introduction. Introduction: This paragraph describes the problem, why the audience should care, and the point you are trying to make (your thesis statement). Counterargument: The counterargument or the argument opponents of your point of view will hold, should be included early in your essay.

  24. 100 Compelling Argumentative Essay Topics for Kids and Teens

    Method: Argumentative essays rely heavily on well-researched facts and logical assertions. In a persuasive essay, the writer may use a blend of emotion and facts to win over the reader. Audience: Persuasive essays require a specific audience, since the writer must acknowledge and attempt to overcome their potential objections.

  25. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

    This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of rhetoric, the art of persuasive writing and speech. In it, you will learn to construct and defend compelling arguments, an essential skill in many settings. We will be using selected addresses from prominent twentieth-century Americans — including Martin Luther King Jr., John F ...

  26. Persuasive Strategies in the Allstate "Mayhem" Ad Campaign: [Essay

    Advertising has always been an art form that combines creativity with persuasive techniques to influence consumer behavior. Among the plethora of advertising campaigns, Allstate's "Mayhem" series stands out for its unique blend of humor, fear, and practicality.

  27. Amy Coney Barrett fed up with Clarence Thomas' sloppy originalism?

    The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Elster, upholding the statute. But the justices fractured badly on the reason why, dividing more or less into a 5-4 split. Writing for the five men ...