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There is an art to writing a persuasive essay. The main purpose of this assignment is to prove a point by providing your reader with arguments, facts, and a detailed overview of the situation. To write a good persuasive essay you need to employ your research skills and expertise as well as strong arguments “for” and “against”. Take into account that your readers can have certain biases. But the clear rationale of the issue gives them a chance to reflect on the situation and change their mind. Before writing this type of essay it is essential to look into the opposite opinion to gain a keen understanding of why it is incorrect. However, it is not always easy to make your essay sound solid and persuasive.
Overall, persuasive writing holds the potential to motivate people to act a particular way in the light of surrounding circumstances. Besides, it greatly contributes to developing your persuasion skills. You do not need to have a qualification in rhetoric to produce an impressive persuasive essay. But it is quite useful to apply basic principles of rhetoric to make your paper a success. What does it mean? In your essay, you should employ factual evidence, logic, and persuasive techniques to prove your point. However, sometimes we have no idea where to start.
How to write a good persuasive essay? Let’s look into the core guidelines and techniques!
Elements of a Persuasive Essay
To persuade your audience you need to be consistent while presenting your arguments. The persuasive essay should have a logical structure, a clear problem statement, and strong evidence to reinforce your point of view. At the end of your essay, you should summarize the main arguments to leave no doubt in the reader’s mind.
How to start a persuasive essay? The process of writing begins with the preparatory stage where you gather all necessary information and plan everything you are going to write.
At this stage, you should focus on the following things:
- Define your position: supposing you have the issue, now you need to choose a side you want to advocate.
- Think about your audience: you should understand who your readers are to provide effective arguments. Reflect on if they have biases or adhere to one particular side.
- Explore the theme: a persuasive essay requires bulletproof evidence. Browse through multiple sources, materials, articles, etc. Relying on a single paper is not the best strategy. Look into opposing views and take notes while reading.
- Write down the most convincing arguments and facts as well as core aspects of the opposing view.
The next step is producing a draft. The evidence should be sufficient and logically organized. If you have any specific requirements related to the structure and formatting, bring your outline into compliance with them. The persuasive essay usually has the following structure:
The main purpose of this part is to grab attention. Thus, you can start with some unusual statistics or facts, expert quotations, or debating points. Look into the core arguments and provide a clear thesis statement at the end of this part.
It typically has several paragraphs that focus on different facts and evidence to support your position. Thus, it is essential to be lavish with details. Employ statistics, real-life examples, or undeniable facts. Provide your readers with key aspects of the opposing view letting them connect the dots.
At this stage, you summarize the core arguments and draw conclusions. It is necessary to restate the thesis and provide some supporting evidence. The conclusion should encourage your audience to accept your opinion or take a particular action. Thus, you can close with some predictions on the further course of events.
Take into account, there are different ways to present your arguments. For example, you can use an analogy, illustrate them with examples, or draw comparisons. Even if you are sure your audience has a keen understanding of the issue, provide all necessary background information and define main terms. It will make your essay sound professional.
After your essay is finished, you proceed to the revision phase. At this stage, you need to refine and modify your paper to make it serve your main purpose best. This is a chance to validate your evidence, add any necessary details, or remove some irrelevant information. Thus, you need to check if the structure is logical and you focus on one point in each paragraph. Make sure the thesis statement is supported with the strongest argument. If it needs some strengthening, add facts or details. Providing you succeeded to deliver a strong introduction, the half of work is done.
The last step in writing a persuasive essay is editing and proofreading it. Make sure it is grammatically correct and has a proper style, structure, and formatting. To test your essay for strength you can ask a friend to review it providing some additional recommendations.
Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay
Well, you know the structure and basic rules for writing a persuasive essay. It is time to power it up. The following tips will help you to make it effective.
1. Your passion is the key to success
It is much easier to defend a position you truly believe in. If you have a particular interest in a topic or emotional response to an issue, there is no problem putting your thoughts into writing. Researching on the issue will contribute to your own expertise and give you a chance for further reflection. Besides, writing about something you are well-aware of implies you know where to find relevant information and bulletproof evidence.
2. Analyze both sides properly
To reinforce your arguments you have to be aware of an opposing view. There is a counterargument for every statement. So, make sure you take it into account to prove why the opposing view is incorrect or misleading. Having sufficient information about both sides, you will be able to develop a line of reasoning. While doing research on a theme, employ as many resources as possible. Academic journals, libraries, reference materials, and websites will help you understand how to present your evidence in a proper way. Apart from that, guidelines from authoritative writing centers can also be helpful to drive your writing skills. For example, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides students and writers with useful materials on where to find arguments and how to present them.
3. Develop a strong thesis statement
A good thesis statement is a key to success for every persuasive essay. This is the first thing that communicates your position. So, readers should have no doubt about it. Without a good thesis statement, you risk failing to deliver strong arguments in the body. The thesis consists of two main parts. In the first part, you answer the question “what is the core argument your readers should accept?”. While the second part defines the organizational pattern of your paper or how you are going to convince your readers to adopt your position.
4. Make the outline
Referring to the previous tip you need a clear structure to follow while writing your essay. The outline is meant to develop this structure and understand how to present your arguments. Some pieces of evidence may be more persuasive than others. Thus, make sure you put them in the relevant part of an essay where they serve your purpose best. Saving the best for the last is not a good idea for a persuasive essay. It is recommended to bring the strongest argument to the forefront employing others to reinforce it. Working out the outline will help you to organize the main points logically and make your essay consistent.
5. Find the balance between logic, ethics, and passion
There are three types of the most powerful arguments from the rhetorical perspective. The first one is based on ethics, the second draw on logic and the third refer to passion. If you find the balance between these elements, your essay is well-positioned to become truly persuasive. Employing ethical arguments demonstrates you do not manipulate evidence misleading your readers. Logical reasoning is based on facts and statistics. Passionate reasoning deals with the strategic repetition of the main statement.
6. Edit and proofread your essay
Editing and proofreading are the cornerstones of every successful assignment. After you have finished your paper, take a break before proofreading it. If you are tied after extensive work, you risk missing some mistakes. Apart from that, you can ask a peer or tutor to review your essay. The fresh angle can give food for thought and a chance to refine your paper.
To make your essay sound convincing is a challenging task. However, there are some persuasive techniques to help you.
- Storytelling: this technique not only helps to grab the reader’s attention but also makes it easier to understand a point. People learn things better when you tell them stories. But if you think it is impossible to integrate storytelling elements in your essay, you are wrong. You can refer to real events, situations, or a third person experience. Storytelling is more than a technique, it is rather a manner of writing to get your audience engaged.
- A call to action: this technique is typically used in advertising, but it serves the purpose of your persuasive essay as well. As your paper is meant to convince your audience or make them take an action, the call to action can be used in the conclusion. For example, you can pose a question referring to your thesis statement, and ask your reader to reflect on it.
- Repetition: this technique is effectively applied to persuasive writing. Explaining your opinion for once does not guarantee that your audience will understand it. Thus, it is recommended to present your point of view in various ways to make sure readers have no doubt about it. It increases the chances that they will accept it by the end of your essay.
- Dealing with dissent: as aforementioned, it is important to look into the opposing view to understand why it is incorrect. And you can look into some counterarguments and test them for strength. Show your readers why they are invalid or misleading relying on facts, evidence, and examples.
A persuasive essay is one of the most challenging types of essays. It brings to light the question if it is actually possible to convince people of anything. On the one hand, your essay can be truly persuasive and motivating readers to reflect on the issue you discuss. In the end, they can adopt your position thanks to your reasoning. But on the other hand, it is not a universal solution that can make every single reader change his/her mind. Yet, you cannot convince everyone, but you can provide them with the right information and a reason for further reflection on an issue. And this is basically the main purpose of a persuasive essay.
Students often face difficulty with starting to write an essay. So, they keep putting it off till the deadline is near. To avoid this situation you can also check this article – Advice for Overcoming Writing Paper Procrastination.
In wrapping up, there are some additional recommendations on writing a persuasive essay. First of all, pay attention to sentence structure, style, and manner you communicate what is on your mind. If you think something should be refined or removed, do not hesitate to do it. Secondly, avoid empty words that are not supported with facts or evidence. It can affect the effectiveness of your essay. Thirdly, do not hesitate to ask for advice if you are not sure your paper is good enough. Keeping in mind that nothing is perfect you still can consult your peers or a tutor to get some tips and power up your paper.
A persuasive essay is the type of assignment where you choose a controversial issue and explain your position about it. The main purpose of this essay is to convince your readers to accept your point of view or to take a particular action. Thus, you need to employ analysis and reasoning based on facts and evidence.
The structure of a persuasive essay includes the introduction, body, and conclusion. In the introduction, you make a thesis statement. In the body, you provide a strong line of reasoning. The conclusion requires summarizing core arguments and restatement of your position.
Overall, the process of writing has 4 main stages. First, you need to research a topic and find out arguments and counterarguments. Second, you should make a draft organizing your points and arguments into relevant sections of the essay. Third, you write the paper according to the plan. Fourth, you revise and refine your essay removing unnecessary details and fixing mistakes.