Tips on Writing a Persuasive Essay

Tips on Writing a Persuasive Essay

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.

In a persuasive essay, it’s the writer’s job to coax the reader to accept a particular point of view or take a specific activity. Persuasive essays require good research, awareness of the reader’s biases, and a solid understanding of both sides of the issue. A good persuasive essay demonstrates not only why the writer’s opinion is correct, but also why the opposing view is incorrect.

Persuasive writing is a fixture of modern life—found in advertising, newspaper editorials, blogs, and political speeches. Often persuasive writing assignments and test prompts concern contemporary issues, for example: “The school board is debating on whether or not to ban cell phone use in school. Write an essay persuading the board to adopt your position.” As shown in this persuasive writing prompt, the main purpose is not to inform, but to “persuade” or “convince” an audience (the school board) to think or act a certain way.

The Five-Step Writing Process for Persuasive Essays

At Time4Writing, we believe the five-step writing process is the best treatment to learning how to write a persuasive essay. Here are persuasive essay tips for each phase of the writing process.

1. Prewriting for the Persuasive Essay

The prewriting phase of writing a persuasive essay is enormously significant. During this phase, students should plan every aspect of the essay:

  • Choose a position. Students should think about the issue and pick the side they wish to advocate.
  • Understand the audience. In order to write an effective persuasive essay, the writer must understand the reader’s perspective. Is the reader undecided or inclined to favor one side or the other?
  • Do the research. A persuasive essay depends upon solid, wooing evidence. Don’t rely on a single source. Go to the library and enlist the help of the librarian. Speak with community experts and teachers. Read and take notes. There is no substitute for skill of both sides of the issue.
  • Identify the most persuading evidence, as well as the key points for the opposing view.

Organizing the Persuasive Essay: Outline and Structure

Next, create an outline. Organize the evidence to build the strongest possible argument. If the teacher has specified an essay structure, incorporate it into the outline. Typically, the persuasive essay comprises five or six paragraphs:

Persuasive Essay Outline

Introductory Paragraph

  • Grab the reader’s attention by using a “hook.”
  • Give an overview of the argument.
  • Close with a thesis statement that exposes the position to be argued.
  • Bod Paragraphs

  • Each assets paragraph should concentrate on one lump of evidence.
  • Within each paragraph, provide sufficient supporting detail.
  • Opposing View Paragraph

  • Describe and then refute the key points of the opposing view.
  • Concluding Paragraph

  • Restate and reinforce the thesis and supporting evidence.
  • Two. Drafting the Persuasive Essay

    When writing the initial draft of a persuasive essay, consider the following suggestions:

  • The introductory paragraph should have a strong “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention. Open with an unusual fact or statistic, a question or quotation, or an emphatic statement. For example: “Driving while talking on a cell phone, even hands-free, is the equivalent of driving toasted.”
  • The thesis statement should leave no doubts about the writer’s position.
  • Each figure paragraph should cover a separate point, and the sentences of each paragraph should suggest strong evidence in the form of facts, statistics, quotes from experts, and real-life examples.
  • Consider various ways to make the argument, including using an analogy, drawing comparisons, or illustrating with hypothetical situation (e.g. what if, suppose that…).
  • Don’t assume the audience has in-depth skill of the issue. Define terms and give background information.
  • The concluding paragraph should summarize the most significant evidence and encourage the reader to adopt the position or take act. The closing sentence can be a dramatic prayer, a prediction that implies urgent act is needed, a question that provokes readers to think gravely about the issue, or a recommendation that gives readers specific ideas on what they can do.

    Three. Revising the Persuasive Essay

    In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the aim of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Does the essay present a rock-hard position on the issue, supported by relevant facts, statistics, quotes, and examples?
  • Does the essay open with an effective “hook” that intrigues readers and keeps them reading?
  • Does each paragraph suggest compelling evidence focused on a single supporting point?
  • Is the opposing point of view introduced and convincingly refuted?
  • Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise? Do the transitions inbetween sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
  • Does the concluding paragraph convey the value of the writer’s position and urge the reader to think and act?
  • If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look the thesis. Does it present the strongest argument? Test it by writing a thesis statement for the opposing viewpoint. In comparison, does the original thesis need strengthening? Once the thesis presents a well-built argument with a clear adversarial viewpoint, the rest of the essay should fall into place more lightly.

    Four. Editing the Persuasive Essay

    Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.

    Five. Publishing the Persuasive Essay

    Sharing a persuasive essay with the rest of the class can be both titillating and intimidating. Learn from the practice and use the feedback to make the next essay even better.

    Time4Writing Trains Persuasive Essay Writing

    Time4Writing essay writing courses suggest a very effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. These online writing classes for elementary, middle school, and high school students, break down the writing process into manageable chunks, lightly digested by youthfull writers. Students steadily build writing abilities and confidence with each online writing course, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher. Our middle school online writing courses, Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay . train students the fundamentals of writing essays, including the persuasive essay. The high school online writing class, Titillating Essay Writing . concentrates in depth on the essay writing process with prep for college as the objective. The online writing classes for kids also cover how to interpret writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are telling about their children’s progress with Time4Writing’s online writing courses.

    Tips on Writing a Persuasive Essay

    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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