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Tips on Writing a Persuasive Essay

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❶Choosing a smaller bit of that topic -- for example, that drone strikes are wrong -- will give you more time to delve deeply into your evidence.

Writing a Persuasive Essay

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Choose a topic about which there can be more than one reasonable opinion. It may be possible to write a persuasive essay about the need to feed all the hungry children in the world, but it would not be a particularly interesting essay because no reasonable person would declare that all the hungry children deserve to starve. It might be more interesting to try to persuade readers that half of all American tax dollars should be earmarked to go first to all the hungry children of the world; you will probably uncover at least one or two dissenting viewpoints.

Conversely, you might suggest that it is wrong to spend American tax dollars this way, and that the hungry children should be taken care of entirely by rich private donors; again, in this you will find a difference of opinion among reasonable people. It is sometimes easier to persuade someone when you are passionate about a subject. If possible then, pick a subject about which you feel strongly. Make a list of your opinions and feelings about the subject.

Is this an urgent issue? Are the implications far-reaching and serious? Does it impact you personally? Do you feel angry about it? Are you excited that taking a particular action on this issue could do a great deal of good to many people? On the other hand, it isn't necessary to feel strongly about your topic. Sometimes you even may be asked in an assignment to take a stance opposite your beliefs. If you are asked to argue for a particular position, do some role-playing: This may be challenging, but it is also rewarding.

Learning to be persuasive on a subject you yourself do not support wholeheartedly is a valuable life skill-think of marketing, legal, education, and human resources professions, for example. The only obvious solution is to ban guns.

There is no other argument that matters. Read the prompt carefully. In most cases, you will be given a specific assignment for your persuasive essay. Look for language that gives you a clue as to whether you are writing a purely persuasive or an argumentative essay. If you can, make the time to craft an argument you'll enjoy writing.

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

To look at the facts, try asking: What are the known facts? How did this issue begin? What can people do to change the situation? To look at the definition, ask: What is the nature of this issue or problem? What type of problem is this? What category or class would this problem fit into best? To examine the quality, ask: Who is affected by this problem?

How serious is it? What might happen if it is not resolved? To examine the policy, ask: Should someone take action? Who should do something and what should they do? Obviously, your instructor is your primary audience, but consider who else might find your argument convincing. You might target the school administrators, in which case you could make a case about student productivity and healthy food.

Pick a topic that appeals to you. Because a persuasive essay often relies heavily on emotional appeals, you should choose to write on something about which you have a real opinion. Pick a subject about which you feel strongly and can argue convincingly. Look for a topic that has a lot of depth or complexity. You may feel incredibly passionate about pizza, but it may be difficult to write an interesting essay on it. A subject that you're interested in but which has a lot of depth — like animal cruelty or government earmarking — will make for better subject material.

Consider opposing viewpoints when thinking about your essay. If you think it will be hard to come up with arguments against your topic, your opinion might not be controversial enough to make it into a persuasive essay. On the other hand, if there are too many arguments against your opinion that will be hard to debunk, you might choose a topic that is easier to refute. Make sure you can remain balanced. A good persuasive essay will consider the counterarguments and find ways to convince readers that the opinion presented in your essay is the preferable one.

Keep your focus manageable. Your essay is likely to be fairly short; it may be 5 paragraphs or several pages, but you need to keep a narrow focus so that you can adequately explore your topic.

For example, an essay that attempts to persuade your readers that war is wrong is unlikely to be successful, because that topic is huge. Choosing a smaller bit of that topic -- for example, that drone strikes are wrong -- will give you more time to delve deeply into your evidence.

Come up with a thesis statement. Your thesis statement presents your opinion or argument in clear language. It is usually placed at the end of the introductory paragraph. For example, a thesis statement could look like this: It is important for schools to provide fresh, healthy meals to students, even when they cost more.

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

Then, arrange other ideas you think of in smaller bubbles around it. Connect the bubbles to reveal patterns and identify how ideas relate. Generating ideas is the most important step here. Once you have your ideas together, you may discover that some of them need research to support them.

If you have a librarian available, consult with him or her! Librarians are an excellent resource to help guide you to credible research.

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

Regardless of their number, each body paragraph needs to focus on one main idea and provide evidence to support it. Your conclusion is where you tie it all together.

It can include an appeal to emotions, reiterate the most compelling evidence, or expand the relevance of your initial idea to a broader context. Connect your focused topic to the broader world. Come up with your hook. Your hook is a first sentence that draws the reader in. Your hook can be a question or a quotation, a fact or an anecdote, a definition or a humorous sketch. As long as it makes the reader want to continue reading, or sets the stage, you've done your job.

It also encourages the reader to continue reading to learn why they should imagine this world. Many people believe that your introduction is the most important part of the essay, because it either grabs or loses the reader's attention.

A good introduction will tell the reader just enough about your essay to draw them in and make them want to continue reading. Then, proceed to move from general ideas to specific ideas until you have built up to your thesis statement. Don't slack on your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is a short summary of what you're arguing for. It's usually one sentence, and it's near the end of your introductory paragraph. Make your thesis a combination of your most persuasive arguments, or a single powerful argument, for the best effect.

Structure your body paragraphs. At a minimum, write three paragraphs for the body of the essay. Each paragraph should cover a single main point that relates back to a part of your argument. These body paragraphs are where you justify your opinions and lay out your evidence.

Remember that if you don't provide evidence, your argument might not be as persuasive. Make your evidence clear and precise. For example, don't just say: They are widely recognized as being incredibly smart. Multiple studies found that dolphins worked in tandem with humans to catch prey.

Very few, if any, species have developed mutually symbiotic relationships with humans. Agreed-upon facts from reliable sources give people something to hold onto.

If possible, use facts from different angles to support one argument. This makes a case against the death penalty working as a deterrent. A good way to test the strength of both your topic sentences and your argument as a whole is to construct an outline of your paper using only your paper's thesis statement and topic sentences. However, your conclusion should not simply be a copy of your introduction.

An effective conclusion gives the reader reasons for bothering to read your paper. One of the most important functions of this paragraph is to bring in fresh insight. Some possible questions to consider when writing your conclusion are:. While the organization and structure described in this handout are necessary components of an effective persuasive essay, keep in mind that writing itself is a fluid process.

There are no steadfast rules that you need to adhere to as you write. Simply because the introduction is the first paragraph in your essay does not mean that you must write this paragraph before any other. Think of the act of writing as an exploration of ideas, and let this sense of exploration guide you as you write your essay.

Additional Navigation About Us History. Seven Deadly Sins of Writing 1. Incorrect Punctuation of Two Independent Clauses.


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Writing a persuasive essay is like being a lawyer arguing a case before a jury. The writer takes a stand on an issue—either “for” or “against”—and builds the strongest possible argument to win over the reader.

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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.

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Writing persuasive essay is widespread assignment for high school students and common task of standardized tests at middle school level. Writing a persuasive essay at middle school for the first time can be really hard. The first step in writing an effective body paragraph is the construction of the first sentence of this paragraph, the topic sentence. Just as the thesis sentence holds together your essay, the topic sentence is the glue binding each individual body paragraph.

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Writing an persuasive essay is a part of common core standards, so it’s an important skill to have. However, beyond academic purposes, writing a persuasive essay is a skill that can help you in life. TIP Sheet WRITING A PERSUASIVE ESSAY. A persuasive essay tries to convince the reader to agree with the writer's opinion on a subject. In your persuasive essay you do three things.