What Is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay is a written kind of work, which objective is to persuade the reader of one certain idea or point of view, something you believe in yourself. You can write an essay about your opinion on anything. Some doesn’t think there is a difference between the argumentative and persuasive essay. However, argumentative papers are based on facts and persuasive essays should persuade the reader in something using opinions or emotions. Every person should be able to compose such essays because this skill is useful for writing petitions or letters to the boss about the raise in salary.

Preparation to the Process of Writing an Essay

At first, you need to thoroughly read the assignment. As a rule, these essays are composed according to the instructions of your professor. It is significant to carefully read the requirements.

  • In the assignment, you can find the words that will assist you to understand what essay you need to write. If the task says that you can apply your personal observations and experiences, it means you can use your own opinions to defend the argument.
  • If the task says that you should defend or prove something, you need to compose an argumentative paper, which will be filled with only facts.
  • If you are unsure what is needed from you, ask the instructor.

Start preparing the paper as early as possible in order to give yourself more time. If you have such an opportunity, think about all the arguments you can apply to defend your point of view far in advance. Rushing will only make your paper worse. You need extra time for brainstorm, writing, and check what you have written.

If possible, start working as early as possible. This way, you will have additional time, if something goes wrong (for instance, if your computer crashes).

Consider the rhetorical situation. There is a so-called rhetorical situation with five main elements: the text (i.e., essay), the author (you), the readers, the objective of the essay, and the environment.

  • The text must be comprehensible and reasoned (can include opinions, if not prohibited).
  • If you want your readers to believe you, you will have to study the material, clearly point out the main ideas of your statement, and support them with facts that don’t garble reality.
  • The objective of the paper is to persuade the reader that your opinion is correct.
  • The environment may be different. Most often students are asked to write an essay at school or university, and then the paper is handed in and students receive a grade for it.

Remember what should be included in your persuasive essay. If nothing else is indicated in the assignment, you will need to write an essay according to the classical scheme.

  • Essays of this kind use rhetorical tools of persuasion. You will be able to apply emotions and not only logic and proven facts.
  • Use a variety of reasoning, but very carefully. Most convincing things are accurate data, facts, and other kinds of information, which is difficult to oppose something.
  • Persuasive essays often have accurate wording and the position the author supports is unambiguous. This allows the reader to understand what you are attempting to convey to them from the very beginning.

Think about your audience. What might seem convincing to some people might not seem convincing to others. It is important to think about who your target audience is. Of course, the main reader will be your teacher, but you should think who else might consider your arguments convincing.

For example, if you write an essay in which you protest against unhealthy school lunches, you first should think who will be reading this text. You can write it to the school administration, and then you need to give an example about how students’ productivity depends on food. If you write to the parents of students, you will need to emphasize the health risks and potential costs for treatment of the diseases due to malnutrition. If you are writing to students such as yourself, focus on personal preferences.

Topics for Your Persuasive Essay

You might be given a topic by your instructor or you will be asked to choose it yourself. If you need to think of the topic yourself consider the following tips:

  • Choose the topic you like. Since in this type of essay you can refer to emotions, it is better to choose a topic which you have a personal opinion about. Write on a topic that is important to you and you are familiar with.
  • Try to find a difficult topic. Maybe you really like pizza, but it will be very difficult to write a persuasive essay about it. You will need to have a deeper topic, for example, animal abuse or misappropriation of budget funds.
  • Analyze the opposing views. If you feel that it will be difficult for you to come up with arguments, you have most likely chosen the wrong topic. Also, if your point of view is opposed to many counter-arguments that you will find difficult to refute, it is better to choose a different topic.
  • Think about whether or not you will be able to defend your point of view. You must take into account the counter argument and find a way to convince your readers that your opinion is the best. Choose a topic that you can prepare for well and consider all possible objections. (For this reason, it is better not to choose such topics as religion because it is extremely difficult to convince someone that their religious beliefs are wrong.)
  • The topic should not be too broad. Your essay should be short, only five paragraphs or a few pages, so the topic should be narrow.

Formulating Thesis Statement

Thesis statement should reflect your position or belief in simple language. It is often placed at the end of the paragraph of the introduction. It is significant to compose the thesis correctly, otherwise your audience will not know what to expect from your work.

  • Thesis should include the whole substance of your essay. You can’t list your arguments in the one order, and then start discussing them in detail in the other order.
  • Please note that there is no need to list all the sub-items in the thesis, unless otherwise specified in the assignment. You have to write about what exactly is going to be covered in your paper.

Think about all the facts and arguments. Once you select your topic, get ready for the writing process. You will need to evaluate your point of view and decide what arguments you should apply. You should also consider the possible counterarguments that can complicate you.

Try to see all the information figuratively. Circle the key topic in a circle, and all additional questions put in small circles around a big one. Connect circles with each other to understand how different aspects of the issue interact with one another.

Sketching a Plan

Your persuasive essay should be of a comprehensible structure, which will let you to submit information logically and in an interesting manner. Essays include:

  • Introduction. You have to make the readers interested in your topic and get their attention. The main objective of your paper should be inserted in this part as well.
  • Main paragraphs. In essays of five paragraphs, three paragraphs are the main ones. It is crucial to discuss in each of the paragraph one aspect of the topic and provide the necessary arguments. In these paragraphs, you can also refute counterarguments.
  • Conclusion. In conclusion, you put everything together. You can refer to the emotions, repeat again the strongest argument, or expand the original idea. Since your objective is to persuade the audience to think about something or to do something, you should finish your essay with a call to action.

Working on Persuasive Essay Format

Once you finish your essay, give a day or two to not re-read the paper. If you are going to do everything far in advance, it will be easy to do. Get back to your paper and reread it. With a clear head, you will fast notice possible errors. You can re-read difficult passages and re-think any concepts.

Read the draft. Many students don’t pay enough time to proofreading the draft. Read it from beginning to end and think about the following:

  • Is your position clearly expressed in the essay?
  • Is the position backed up with strong arguments and samples?
  • Does the text have unnecessary information? Are your thoughts clearly expressed in paragraphs?
  • Have you presented the counterarguments correctly? Do you convincingly refute them?
  • Are your paragraphs in a logical order? Are the transitions smooth between them?
  • Do you accentuate the importance of the chosen position in the conclusion and the need for the audience to do or think about something?

Check the text of the paper. It is crucial not only to correct the spelling errors but also to enhance transitions between semantic parts, change paragraphs, or even add some text, bringing stronger arguments. Be ready to make even bigger corrections.

It will be useful to ask a friend or a classmate to read your essay. If they do not understand your position or tell you that your essay is not clear, focus on problematic areas.