A persuasive essay is a piece of writing that can be used to express a writer's position on an issue and to convince readers to agree with the writer's opinions and ideas. A good persuasive essay makes use of in-depth research and deliberate word choice. These accentuate the main points of the writer's opinion to get the reader to agree with the writer's point of view.
What Is a Persuasive Essay?
A persuasive paper is an essay that guides readers through the essay writer's point of view by presenting logical arguments in combination with emotional appeals, and by doing so, ideally, is able to convince readers to agree with the writer.
Apart from persuasive essays, there are also other types of essays and papers which have for their goal the presentation of information. These let readers can form conclusions - these include argumentative papers and research papers. What differentiates these from persuasive papers is how the essay writing process is employed to direct readers' thought processes. Another difference is whether or not the writer seeks to guide the reader to come to a certain conclusion or to make their own.
Argumentative Essays and Research Papers vs Persuasive Essays
Where a persuasive paper, as a form of academic writing, differs from argumentative essays and research papers is in the conclusion the writer wants the reader to make. Argumentative essays and research papers allow the reader to make their own conclusions by presenting all sides of the debate on a topic. A persuasively written essay focuses on and highlights information that supports the writer's point of view.
Effective research, argumentative, and persuasive papers should include arguments for both sides. In a persuasive essay, however, counterarguments to the writer's thesis statement are identified primarily for the purpose of discrediting them. This helps to prove the correctness of the writer's stance and persuade the reader.
Persuasive Essay Format Template
For young people and essay writers new to writing persuasively, it may be helpful to follow a template. If you are finding it difficult to put down your thoughts following the outline provided above, we have provided persuasive essay samples.
Check out the template below for an example suitable for students of every academic level. This will be helpful for middle school and high school students new to essay writing, as well as for college students in need of inspiration for their more challenging college essays:
College Level Persuasive Essay Example
Snow days! There is no greater human joy than waking up to a winter wonderland that, with its frosty magic, also canceled school.
Well, not anymore because some schools are canceling snow days. Some school systems have come to a conclusion that, since distance learning has worked so well, they may as well keep those tools around for any time students are unable to come into school. This way, when there is too much snow for students to physically attend their classes, they can still mentally attend their classes.
Why? The justification is that it's for students' own good. People in charge don't want students to miss learning and claim that each and every individual day of school matters to keep kids from falling behind.
But not everyone agrees. The hashtag #SaveSnowDays protecting the tradition might even be on the way.
My take on canceling show days is that we cannot rob children of the experience of lying awake on a cold, winter's night, unable or unwilling to face the next day; then - when thin clouds appear on the horizon, giving them faint hope. And when the snow day does happen, it is the most amazing shift from low to high, combining the triple joys of snow and freedom and getting out of something that you really shouldn't have.
There are only so many days of such extravagant joy when you're a child. But some school administrators say that number of days will be zero from now until forever.
I fear this snow day cancellation trend will spread. Because the school system, with its obsession with efficient bureaucracies and committees, must have its checkboxes ticked, its percentages maxed, and its attendance cards punched. Snow days interfere with all of that.
So, the system, wielding the ultimate evil of banality, has decided to cancel snow days.
I am just going to come right out and say it: it's not always about efficiency. The importance of learning aside, I have to ask, "Do we really need to maximize children's performances?"
Those school administrators who want to cancel snow days should be forced to look into the issue from another perspective. Playing outside is as much of a learning experience as learning about what happened 300 years ago in English history. Or learning about how to conjugate verbs.
We can't subject kids to the same hyper-productive standards that exist in the corporate world. But the feeling is that by canceling school days, administrators are entering the race of who can improve school "KPIs" even if something they consider minor stands in the way. I think this cannot happen.
Writing a Persuasive Essay
Organize the majority of your essay structure by presenting your most convincing evidence first. Structure your essay around the strongest evidence in favor of your argument. This way, your readers' thought process will be focused on the best arguments for your opinion. Follow the outline below to make effective emotional and logical appeals to your reader:
Persuasive Essay Outline
- Confine the overview of your argument to a short paragraph.
- Consider opening, including an emotional appeal to allow your readers to relate to your position.
- Briefly state the thesis statement of your argument to clearly frame the proceeding segments of your essay.
- Each paragraph in this segment of your outline should focus on a single piece of evidence in support of your opinion.
- Present pieces of evidence in order of persuasiveness, starting from evidence with the most significance and/or relevance to your reader.
- Each paragraph should provide the reader with details to support the piece of evidence it highlights; this can include casual observations, statistical data, or further appeals to emotion, depending on the nature of the piece of evidence highlighted.
- You don't have to include every piece of evidence you've gathered in your research if you feel that fewer will be enough to persuade your reader. Try to include at least 3. You may then briefly mention any other pieces of significant evidence to encourage your reader to make their own inquiries.
Counterargument opposition paragraph:
- Similar to the body paragraphs in support of your argument, dedicate a paragraph each to the main arguments or pieces of evidence in opposition to your opinion.
- After making a description of an opposing view, guide your reader to an agreement with your opinion. You should refute opposing arguments using evidence that discredits the opposition. Evidence can show their argument to be a logical fallacy, statistical insignificance, or outside of common experience.
- Unlike making arguments in support of your opinion, you do not need to write an entire paragraph for each opposing piece of evidence. It is enough to dedicate a brief but accurate sentence to each opposing argument.
- Circle back to and restate the thesis statement you made in the introductory paragraph of your essay.
- Briefly - in a sentence or two - make a connection between why you are of your opinion by reiterating all of the supporting pieces of evidence.
- As you should have already definitively disproven or discounted any major opposing arguments, you do not need to restate them here.
Persuasive writing tips from an expert:
- Choose a persuasive essay topic you care about.
- Understand the audience you're writing for.
- Capture your reader's attention early.
- Counter opposing arguments.
- Relate to your audience's experiences.
- Exaggerate a little.
- Use rhetorical questions to make readers think.
We hope you found our explanations of how to write an effective persuasive essay and how it is different from other types of essays and papers helpful. If you're having difficulty structuring your essay, be sure to consider essay editing or buying. Take a look at the different persuasive writing examples we've linked to for an idea of how to present your arguments.
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