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

December 12, 2016 How To Write
How to Write a Persuasive Essay:  Step-by-Step Guide

What is a persuasive essay? First and foremost, you need to understand the premise of the piece you need write. The aim is to persuade, in other words, convince the reader of the stance that you are taking on a particular subject. While presenting an argument, the writer must need use sources, research, and well-constructed ideas. A persuasive essay, also known as an argument essay, seeks to employ logic and sound reasoning to win over an audience. But before winning over an audience, the writer must first analyze who they are and cater to their worldviews.


Contents


What is Argumentative Writing?

Argumentative work bases itself on establishing a position and defending it, as well as taking the opposing argumentation into consideration. This type of style can take many forms and perform many functions ranging from plain informative pieces to mediums of attack. To make a competent claim, the writer must use evidence. The collection, analysis, and generation of pertinent evidence are fundamental. All types of informative essays require a well-structured thesis statement. The statement, usually only one sentence long, propels the composition forward and sets it into a clear direction for the audience.

How to Start a Persuasive Essay: Step-by-Step

Understanding your audience separates a good persuasive essay from an excellent one. Awareness of whether the public agrees, disagrees or is neutral to what you have to say is essential to make a compelling argument and structuring your piece around that knowledge. Along with gauging the audience, there are several important steps you need to go through before you can begin writing.

How to Start a Persuasive Essay

An easier way to think of a persuasive essay is a more “gentle” argumentative essay. An argumentative essay strives to nullify the opposing view, while the persuasive essay merely provides reliable information that mainly supports the established thesis.

    1. Deciding on a Topic
      Unless you have a particular persuasive essay prompt that you need to follow, you probably have free reign over what you write. Deciding is the hardest part, but the topic section of this post will give you plenty of ideas to fulfill your creative needs, as well as decide on an approach. Just remember, too broad of a topic will leave your argument underdeveloped. Something too specific will be lacking in argumentation.
    2. Research and enrichment
      When you have decided on a direction, it is best to start to scour the internet to make sure you are proficient in the subject. You must search every available website (that is relevant, of course) which may lead you to other sources that could potentially expand the scope of your argument.
    3. Archive potential resources
      When you think you found what you were looking for, archive it / bookmark it for later use. You will most likely need to cite it (if the instructor requires it). Be ready to pull it up at a moment’s notice because you will need every bit of information you can get.
    4. Blueprint / Outline
      Formulating a persuasive essay outline is not very difficult. Just following the provided format (if available) and establishing key checkpoints to integrate your sources into your argument is sufficient to write an effective persuasive essay.
    5. Draft
      With enough preparation, drafting becomes the easy part of the process. Putting ideas on paper with the previously prepared sources and a well-constructed blueprint should not take much time at all. Also, a strong thesis is an excellent supplement to the establishment of your argument.

The Best Persuasive Essay Topics

Since the focus of the writing is persuasion, you need to phrase everything adequately. Keep in mind that the issue must be debatable, two sides must be presented, and the opposing viewpoint must be disputed. This can only be possible if you are well informed about the subject matter. Here are a few examples of good persuasive essay topics that generate a dispute. Try to stay away from the abortion persuasive essay; It has already been done in so many different ways and shapes, there is no need to fuel the fire.

  • Is the Bible a rational source of morality and ethics in modern society?
    • Anything with religion is bound to create controversy, especially if there are two extremes debating. One side of the argument is that the holy writings are, to an extent, outdated and no longer fit into the context of the ever-evolving human race. The opposite could be from belief and history, and the importance of holy writings throughout the millennia.
  • Is a vegan lifestyle better than that of a meat-eater?
    • With the increasing evidence of global warming and overpopulation, champions of self-sustainable living try to promote a vegan diet. Pros and cons are apparent; it is just a matter of taking a side and getting a bit more precise.
  • The electoral college is flawed.
    • A very trendy topic, considering the current events. This allows for historical engagement and expansion of an argument through the use of sources and historical background.
  • The feasibility of cloning and its ethical value.
    • One of the many persuasive essay topics for high school that is considered a classic. With enough research, this example can go a long way in structuring a cohesive claim. It does require extensive research and application of an opinion in a neutral fashion.
  • Is knowledge of music theory required to create quality art?
    • There are many examples of musicians who had little to no background in theoretical music and still managed to make a career out of music. This begs the question, is it even necessary in the context of success?

Related: How to Choose Essay Topics

Persuasive Essay Format

When you picked a topic from the list of persuasive essay ideas (or molded your own), it is time to start writing. A persuasive essay format has three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. The body has an additional section of the opposing view paragraph. A brief description of the format is given below:

Introduction: the persuasive essay introduction should grab the reader's attention and provide background information about the subject. At this point, the author should introduce an overview of the argument. Then it should close with a clear statement of thesis showing the position of the author.

Body: the body of the piece is a vital part of the essay and contains paragraphs that directly support the thesis. Each paragraph should begin with a clear and concise topic sentence that focuses on one key point and provides a strong argument. The body should be composed of quotes, facts, and examples that base themselves on research that intends to clarify the writer's position. At every instance, every paragraph should end with a transitional sentence that wraps up the previous through and introduces the next section.

Another way of looking at the body is a persuasive paragraph. The basic concept of a persuasive paragraph lies in its intention. It reveals a bias and attempts to sway the reader in their favor. Explaining relevancy is also important, as well as leaving the reader with a conclusion. An apt conclusion leaves the reader with something to consider.

Opposing view: at least one part of the essay should acknowledge the opposing viewpoint. The author can choose a strong conflicting claim and present counterarguments. It should be a clear explanation of weaknesses, strengths, relevancy and anything else that would support your case. Similarly, it can cover inconsistencies in the logic and give contradictory evidence.

Conclusion: the conclusion summarizes the essay and restates the main argument and supporting reasons that compel a reader to do what the writer suggests. Most writers close their persuasive essay with a personal comment or a question that prompt the reader to think and draw their conclusions. The paragraph should enable the reader to consider the author's viewpoint seriously.

This format is similar to that of a persuasive speech. Convincing a reader through the three persuasive approaches may prove to be effective.

Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Ethos: An appeal to ethics and morals.

Pathos: An appeal to emotion.

Logos: An appeal to logic and intellect.

An excellent composition will include a combination of all to an extent. These approaches are the reason you need to know your audience. Each one has their queues to reciprocating attention.

Persuasive Essay Rubric

Most of the instructors will base their grade on a persuasive essay rubric. Here are the general guidelines to follow when synthesizing your reasoning.

  • Organization
    • The introduction pulls in attention, has a strong thesis and propels the rest of the essay in a logical order. The conclusion presents a powerful opinion.
  • Thesis implementation
    • Identifies the underlying issue.
  • Reasoning / Support
    • At least three reasons (within body paragraphs) which are aided by sources and other external support.
  • Audience
    • Consideration for audience reception and readiness for repelling counterarguments.
  • Word Choice
    • Creative in delivery. Fluent and engaging.
  • Grammar and syntax
    • No errors in grammar, mechanics or spelling.

Persuasive Essay Template

The model of the piece may range from a simple 5 paragraph essay to a very detailed exploration of the subject. In a case of expansion, body paragraphs must be divided into a coherent point of attack (or defense). Writing a persuasive essay is easiest with the help of a graphic organizer.

persuasive essay graphic organizer

Struggling with How To Write a Good Persuasive Essay?

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