Writing a Persuasive Essay — Expert Tips

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Writing a Persuasive Essay — Expert Tips

Regardless of your major at college or university, each student should formulate one’s thoughts and share ideas with the audience. That’s why you’ll deal with various written assignments, and, especially, the persuasive essay.

We can compare this task to when a lawyer needs to argue a case before a jury. You take a stand on a particular issue: whether you’re “for” or “against”, and develop the convincing arguments to win over readers.

Persuasive writing is critical these days since you can meet this genre everywhere. Reading newspapers, blogs, political speeches, you’ll mention that different people try to convince you and change your opinion. It is essential to define which persuasive techniques do they use and to be able to use them in your papers.

We’ve prepared an article with the most exciting expert tips you may follow in coming up with a top-notch persuasive essay.

What Is a Persuasive Essay

Once you’ve assigned a task, your first step is to understand what it is about. Let us provide you with a definition of a persuasive essay.

This is academic writing with a specific controversial topic. You should define your position on it and write the content, trying to persuade your readers that they should support you. Students may register for a particular group of people, e.g., their class, the college’s journal readers, or the general audience interested in the topic.

The format depends on the requirements of your educational institution. Each professor may have one’s preferences related to the topic, volume, citations, and so on. Sometimes the position you should protect is up to you, but there are also situations when students can’t choose the point of view they should write about. It is a beneficial task because you learn to analyze the issue from different angles, understand other people’s arguments, and communicate with various audiences.

Persuasive Essay and Argumentative Essay Where is the Difference?

If you have never dealt with persuasive essays, you may feel confused. On the one hand, its task is straightforward. But why do you need to work on the new assignment if you can just craft the argumentative paper, as many times before?

The main difference between these two papers is their purposes. Writing an argumentative essay, you develop your statements, try to prove them, using various evidence. You want to explain your point of view, but it is not your task to attract more people on your side. And this is exactly what you do when writing a persuasive paper. You may use both objective and biased arguments, appeal to feelings, emotions, etc.

Concrete strategies depend on the audience you’re writing for. For example, it makes no sense to speak about emotions when your paper will be published in a scientific journal. But if it has the format of speech or a presentation, you can play with your audience.

A Few Words About Persuasion

Persuasion can be called real art. It dates back to ancient Greece, where first philosophers and politicians used various techniques to communicate with people in republics. As centuries went on, persuasion remained at the center of any society. It is an essential part of modern discourse as well. Whatever profession you choose, you should know how to create a powerful text, how to find people’s pains and needs, and come up with words they want to read.

You may think that it is the talent given by nature. Some people are more persuasive than others. Sometimes they even don’t know what exactly they’re doing, but they always choose the right words to convey their thoughts. Such people are often called empaths. But don’t worry if you can’t say you’re one of them. Developing this skill will be a challenge; however, we have no doubt that you can decently face it.

Most Effective Persuasive Techniques

History knows a lot of compelling people. You may remember Aristotle or Cicero, but modern politicians and motivation leaders have gone far ahead. It is because the audience has also changed and methods that we use to convey our thoughts and ideas. Suppose several centuries ago, it was enough just to be smarter than other people. In that case, you need to continually understand what other people think and which techniques you should use to communicate with them.

To be as convincing as Tony Robbins on the stand, your persuasive essay should be based on sound evidence and various persuasive techniques. Below you will find several promising strategies that will help you to steal the show. You shouldn’t use all of them in one paper, but you can define which one is the closest to your thoughts. Try also to experiment, mix some of them, use techniques that look challenging, etc.

Appeal to Authority

Even the best argument may not sound convincing enough if your readers have no reason to believe you. It's quite another matter if you can find evidence that some important person or expert supports your point of view. For example, if you think that medicine should be free for all US citizens, try to find some famous person who also spoke out in defense of this opinion. Of course, it shouldn’t be just a star. Choosing Donald Trump as an authority may be the right strategy if you’re writing for his supporters. But at the same time, you may lose a considerable part of the audience who doesn’t find him a good example.

Pay attention to the fact that you need to choose the right person. It depends on who you are writing for. Teens may not pay attention to a politician, scientist, or philosopher. But if you quote their favorite pop star, you will win.

Appeal to Reason

When working on the proof of any point of view, you need to pick up good facts and figures to demonstrate your logic's correctness. For example, the phrase that a 50-gram Snickers bar contains 250 calories and about 25 grams of sugar sounds much more convincing than that Snickers is not a healthy snack.

However, sometimes it is not enough to show this data. You should provide examples to demonstrate the consequences. How dangerous can an extra 25 grams of sugar per day be? Using figures, explain them. You can give real-life stories to show that it is not just a threat or even empty words. For example, in the famous That Sugar Film movie, the main character told about the Mountain Dew teeth. Such stories are very persuasive exactly when reasons support them, and vice versa.

Appeal to Emotion

This strategy can be most potent if you know how to evoke emotions in people. However, this skill can be trained, and the more attempts you make, the better results you will achieve. If you know how to make a person happy, sad, or angry, you will be able to pick up arguments that will convince one that your point of view is right. This technique is used by people collecting money for charities, opposition politicians, motivational leaders, and many others.

That’s why it is essential to understand who you are writing for. Some topics are pretty emotional in general, e.g., homeless animals, but sometimes it is not easy to predict what will please or touch your readers. The more you know about them, the easier it is to appeal to their emotions.

Appeal to Trust

Another effective way to lead your readers is to build trust. This method is similar to the first one on this list, only the authority here does not lie in some kind of fame or expertise, but in the emotions you evoke in readers.

You can make your audience feel like you can be trusted. For example, because you have already faced similar problems. Or because you're a good person who genuinely cares about the topic. Think about how you can inspire trust in your readers and use that in your persuasive essay. You may tell a story from your life, speak out against some popular opinion, explain why exactly your audience should trust you.

Rhetorical Question

Such questions are not intended to be supported with answers. You use them when you need to state something that is “obvious”. For example, who wouldn’t like to work less and earn more? You should write as if you believe that it is impossible to decline your question and answer something else but not the thought you’re trying to convey.

It is where you can understand one of the basic principles of the persuasive essay. You should be very confident. How can you convince other people if you have doubts? That’s why your professor may provide you with a particular position to defend, even if you have another point of view. You should delve deeper, understand the topic from different angles, and show your readers that you believe in your writing. Then you’ll come up with a paper that deserves the A-grade.

Repetition

Usually, you shouldn’t repeat the information in your academic paper. But the persuasive essay is an exception. It doesn’t mean you just copy and paste the same paragraph several times, but you need to make one idea the cornerstone of your paper. Mention it in the introduction, and repeat it, again and again, using other words. Readers will subconsciously become imbued with this information because their eyes and minds will get used to it.

Regardless of the technique you choose, it is essential to be polite and show your respect to other positions. You can’t win someone’s attention if you indicate that you don’t understand them and you don’t care about what they think.

Using Arguments in Persuasive Essay

Even though you’re not writing an argumentative paper, it is vital to provide arguments. It is crucial to persuade an educated audience without them. And the smarter your readers (including your professor are), the better your ideas should be.

There is a reference argument structure you may follow:

  1. Premise;
  2. Inference;
  3. Conclusion.

You start with a sentence that supports your main idea, e.g., Standardized college exams don’t define the whole level of students’ knowledge. It is your premise. You need to link this phrase with the conclusion, adding some statistical facts, real-life stories, students’ or teachers’ opinions, etc. And your last sentence is intended to conclude the argument, e.g., We should ban standardized college exams and develop a new testing system.

As you can see, your main idea is to ban the existing testing system. And you can develop other arguments for the same statement, according to your position, the issues students and teachers face, and your audience's needs.

Key Structure Elements of Persuasive Essay

Academic essays have a similar structure until your professor provides you with more detailed instructions. To write a successful persuasive essay, you need:

  • The topic;
  • The thesis statement with your position;
  • The intriguing introduction;
  • The rugged body section;
  • The inspiring conclusion;
  • The call to action.

It is a basic structure that may be added with different subsections if you feel you need them to be more persuasive. Most student essays consist just of 5 paragraphs, and in this case, you don’t have enough space for creativity. But if your professor doesn’t limit you so much, try to cover the topic as well as possible, to show all sides of the problem, and to provide your powerful decision.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

The writing process is always a challenge, sometimes even for experienced authors. But the most challenging task is to catch the flow. That’s why you shouldn’t delay your home task. The sooner you start, the easier it will go.

Get rid of any distractors, switch off the notifications on your smartphone, and try to concentrate on writing the persuasive essay. It would be a great idea to divide the task into several milestones with personal deadlines. Then you’ll see that you can complete them in real terms. This understanding is a powerful weapon against procrastination.

Define Your Position

The most crucial step in preparing a persuasive essay is choosing a topic and a specific position.

If your professor has given you clear instructions, the process can become more comfortable. On the other hand, if you genuinely believe in your topic, you will find the best arguments for your readers and bring personal experience. Both approaches are essential for learning because students should select objective opinions and write emotionally and even sentimentally.

At this stage, it is essential to know what a thesis statement is and prepare it. If it is not so easy to generate the right phrase, you can use our generator and save your time.

Study Material

Having decided on the topic and your point of view, you need to conduct research and collect as much information as possible.

Do not think that it is enough for you to find data to support your position. To interact effectively with your readers, you need to know what other points of view exist and what they are based on. Use a variety of trusted sources such as websites, books, academic journals.

Also, find out what sources of information your audience uses. You need to understand what language they use and what they pay attention to when reading.

Find the Evidence

As you explore, take notes and write down any information that may be useful to you. These are facts, figures, quotes, different cases. Even if you know how to evoke particular emotions, it is much more efficient to support your writing with real evidence. Besides, remember that you’re not a business speaker or a political leader. You’re a student who has an academic assignment and wants to get a good grade. It means you should consider not only your audience but your professor’s expectations as well.

Don’t also forget that your sources should be reliable when it goes to the academic paper. If you cite some person, provide a link with a direct quote. And make sure you have at least two sources that support some statistical data, facts, etc.

Write an Outline

Now you have everything to come up with a decent paper, but there is the last step you shouldn’t miss. You need a clear plan. It will be the same as the argumentative essay outline since they have a similar structure but different purposes.

Outlining your text will provide you with a clear understanding of your perspective and the way it develops. Analyze it critically, what are the strengths, what are the weaknesses? List out all of your essential ideas and the evidence to support each point. Having a working structure, you’ll write a paper concisely and logically without beating around the bush.

Create Your First Draft And Review the Strategy

Once you have a good plan, you may start writing. Follow the structure and develop each section according to your outline. At this moment, you should not concentrate on mistakes, typos, and other details. Your task is to write a piece of text. Make pauses, but try to finish your thought before you go to grab a coffee.

Your first draft won’t be perfect, and honestly, it even shouldn’t be. When writing, you may even understand that some ideas sounded good in your head, but they are not so persuasive as you need.

This process will take you a bit of time since you’ll return to the outline, get rid of some arguments, add new, and so on. It is very important to plan your time in advance and make sure you can deliver the paper without delays.

Proofread the Paper

Once you have finished the writing, take a breather you’ve earned it. Of course, if your deadline is in a couple of hours, you can’t wait. But even 30 minutes of rest will help your brain refresh and get back to the text with a new vision.

Now you can eliminate mistakes and typos, make sure the text suits all requirements, and format it correctly. If you want your paper to be flawless, it would be a better idea to hire a professional editor with a keen eye. We can help you along this way by writing the essay from scratch or polishing it until the result satisfies you.

Ask for The Feedback

If you plan your time well and have several days before the deadline, ask your friends or parents to read the essay and provide you with an honest opinion. It is perfect if these people belong to your target audience, but they may give you some excellent ideas even if they don't. It doesn’t mean you should make changes if you don’t like them. But several heads are better than one, and your friends may mention some details you haven’t paid enough attention to.

Good Persuasive Essay Topics to Choose

Choosing persuasive essay topics is another challenge for college students. You need something contradictory that is interesting to you and other people related to the themes you discuss in the class, and so on. Your professor may instruct you with some terms, e.g., to write a persuasive paper on economic issues. It is easier to decide on the topic when you have some frames. But if not, you can be as creative as possible.

We have prepared a list of engaging topics for you to choose from. You may use options from the list or get inspired to generate your brilliant idea.

 Topics For Beginners

  • Should fast food be offered in school cafeterias?
  • Are sexuality education lessons important in modern schools?
  • Why do teens need the basics of financial literacy?
  • Is college a must for a career?
  • Do foreign languages help you succeed?
  • Should euthanasia be legalized?
  • Should you allow same-sex marriage once and for all?
  • How can the United States be made politically united again?
  • What do you think about the interaction between church and state?
  • The right to vote or the obligation to vote?
  • How can we reduce teen crime?
  • Why are student loans a losing strategy for youth?
  • Is marijuana becoming a conduit for harder drugs?
  • Can criminals get back to normal life?
  • Who is to blame if a self-driving car is involved in an accident?
  • What should be parental leave for men and women?
  • Should the government fight obesity in the United States?
  • Is it strange if a person is not registered in any social network today?
  • Does paper books make sense when many people read from Kindle?
  • Is it possible to ban music with offensive lyrics?

Topics For Intermediate Level

  • How to make oil companies accountable for oil spills?
  • Can we say that natural disasters are the result of human behavior?
  • Why do minorities suffer even under the current legal system in the United States?
  • Gun control legislation has drawbacks that override advantages.
  • Can famous people claim the inviolability of their lives?
  • Animal testing is cruel but necessary.
  • Children's beauty contests don't make our world a better place.
  • Developed country buyers should reject goods from countries where child labor is encouraged.
  • Theists may be less moral than atheists.
  • Why do young teens get cosmetic surgery?
  • The US should grant citizenship to anyone who wants it.
  • People who don't eat meat live healthier and longer.
  • Why should the death penalty be abolished in the 21st century?
  • At what age can you show cartoons to children?
  • Unpopular opinion: There is nothing special about Marvel comics.
  • The format of relationships between people has changed over the past few decades.

Topics For Advanced Students

  • Should obese people pay for two seats on a plane or movie theater?
  • Was the strategy to limit the number of children in Chinese families effective?
  • Passengers should be held responsible if they get into a car with a drunk driver.
  • Why should older people not be allowed to use free transport?
  • The US must adopt the metric system and join the rest of the world.
  • A person who didn't keep his promise doesn't deserve a second chance.
  • Life in the village is better than in the city.
  • It should not be allowed to choose the president without the political background.
  • Why should people have an open mind nowadays?
  • Should gambling be completely banned?
  • The decision to have an abortion should be made exclusively by the pregnant woman.
  • Is teen bullying a real crime?
  • The current immigration law is unfair.
  • Crimes in which no one has been harmed should not be punished.
  • Political parties can accept financial donations from large companies.
  • People aged over 70 years old should not be allowed to vote.

Persuasive Writing Prompts

Writing your paper, you’ll have a temptation to read and follow some college essay examples. This coin has two sides. You may find a sample for your inspiration to understand which techniques other students and professional writers use and whether they succeed with their goals. However, this approach doesn’t work for everyone. Once you’ve finished reading some examples, you may find yourself a bit distracted. With someone else’s ideas in the head, it is challenging to develop a new and unique text. It is better to work on your paper and to create something new.

However, if you don’t have enough time or desire to complete this task, you can just send us your “write my essay” message. We have an experienced team of writers who know how to exceed your professor’s expectations. Let our experts help you and provide you with a flawless A-level paper!

Originally published Feb 03, 2021, updated Feb 17, 2021

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