Persuasive essays

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If you are not fond of formality in essays, a persuasive essay is something you are going to like. This writing assignment will make your reader take your position into account. A persuasive essay presupposes that you use different techniques to prove your arguments. There is no place for cold facts or statistics in this essay type.

Persuasive essays are somehow similar to argumentative essays. In both, you need to protect and prove your point by presenting some piece of supporting material. Yet, an argumentative essay is more academic, full of numbers and facts. As for the persuasive essay, you must convince the readers using your personal beliefs. Your words substitute the facts when you are preparing the paper.

Persuasive writing types

There are three persuasive writing types. These are the appeals to reason, emotion, and also character. You may better know these as Logos, Pathos, and Ethos. See below what every appeal means:

Logos — an appeal to reason

The part where you introduce an appeal to logos presents cold facts and weighty proof to make a reader take your side. All the arguments you are presenting in this part should have a strong backup. You may use various means here, starting from graphics and substantial numbers and up to charts. People believe statistical data as these are the results of some research you should do.

Pathos — an appeal to emotion

Pathos is about sharing your personal beliefs and positions based on how you perceive the subject matter. Considering that it is easier for most readers to sentimentalize, pathos is the most accessible type of persuasive essay. Often, students use pathos for such topics that presuppose human morals.

To better understand how it works, think about the following examples:

  • donation for homeless people and animals;
  • bureaucratism at the workplace;
  • death punishment ambiguousness, etc.

Ethos — appeal to character

The appeal to character presupposes some elements of personal and argumentative essays. For such an article, you should show a specific personality as a character who has certain traits and virtues to reach readers’ attention. The idea is to describe the character using available information so that your readers can judge if he or she is worth believing or not.

Writing techniques to master your essay

Students can choose among several writing techniques while working on their persuasive essay. Following a specific model, it is easier to maintain the structure of your work. The following methods will come in handy for diverse writing tasks as well. Here are some of these:

Storytelling

Stories are more effective when you want to communicate a specific message. The thing is that stories are exciting, and you can hold the readers’ attention longer by telling something coherent and compelling. A short story within the text can entertain readers and relax them. The idea is to find the right place where you can settle a piece of a story.

Repetition

Repetition is powerful. When you have a central point, you would like to remind about it from time to time — this is what people call repetition. Think about the way commercials work: you see some annoying commercial every day several times. Eventually, you will likely want that new peanut butter chocolate bar, even though you are not into sweet stuff that much. By repeating some points, you have more chances to convince the reader of what you believe.

A call to action

As you can, there are two parallels with advertising already. A call to action is a technique that you may notice on the TV or in magazines. Talking about a written assignment, a call to action is placed in the final sentences of the text. Writers use it to ask a reader to take measures, do something regarding the subject matter. For instance, you write about waste sorting, then the call to action will invite readers to separate their garbage starting from this moment.

Dealing with dissent

It is easy to ignore whatever does not correspond to your position and world perception. In your essay, however, you should take into consideration every opinion. Moreover, the paper must be honest regarding the existing arguments even if you cannot stand these. Your task is to make sure that you have enough evidence to blind any opposing view.

The art of convincing can help you to gain over any reader. Knowing your audience, it is easier to decide what technique to use and what appeal can be the most effective.

Writing steps for your persuasive essay

While there are more than five steps, for sure, the following points you will see are generalized and comprise the most critical moments you need to cover. These are the steps with hints to make the writing process less challenging:

Prewriting tips and tricks for your essay

First of all, these are not the magical tips that will give you a definitive text. However, if used wisely, these will make the whole process much more manageable. Note that the start is essential: if you do it right, you will see how easy it can be to complete your persuasive writing. Here are some points to consider:

  •  Decide on your position. Define several aspects you care about. Now filter them based on their current importance. Also, decide on your stand that you will defend in the paper.
  • Who are your readers? Think about your audience and whether you and your reader have the same views on the subject matter.
  • Carry out your research. As you understand, persuasive essays rely greatly on facts and solid evidence. For that reason, you cannot underrate the stage when you need to find some reliable material. There should be several reputable sources. If needed and you have an opportunity, you can even consult with specialists. Additionally, do not forget about the counterargument, as you must be aware of different angles of the issue.
  • Pick the most compelling evidence. You will need several undeniable pieces of evidence.

Organize your essay using the outline

The structural correctness will ensure the cohesiveness of your text. You may try to work without the outline; however, it is a failure, apriori. Thus, save your time and create a plan. Using a structure, you will highlight the texts’ parts, note the arguments, and attach the proof to every claim you make.

There should be no less than six paragraphs in your essay. Here is an approximate outline for you to get the idea:

  • The introduction. Use a hook to captivate the readers’ attention from the beginning; present a short overview of your issue, and close the paragraph with a solid thesis statement. Your thesis will explain your position.
  • Main body. The body paragraphs have a similar structure: there must be a claim per each paragraph, explanation, and sufficient proof from a reliable source.
  • A paragraph with an opposing view. The section with a counterargument is a part of the main body. Here, you should describe the major points of the opposite view and refute these.
  • Conclusion. The final paragraph will sum up everything you mention in the body part and correlate the arguments with a paraphrased thesis statement.

The draft

Your draft is a raw version of the essay. Here are some moments to consider while writing it:

  • The hook should fit into the topic. You can ask a rhetorical question, provide a famous quote of a respected figure, etc.
  • The thesis statement should give a clear understanding of your position.
  • One paragraph of the main body cannot have two claims — only one argument per paragraph. As for evidence, there must be convincing facts; you can add some personal experiences here as well.
  • Consider mixing the techniques if it seems to be appropriate for the topic.
  • If there are some terms in your work, explain these. You cannot know whether your audience is aware of their meaning. You have been working for a while with the sources and understand them, but your readers may not.

Note that revisions are essential at the stage of a draft. Here are the things to do when revising your draft:

  • Do you use the words and facts that present your firm position? Do you have enough trustworthy evidence?
  • What about your hook? Can it make a reader want to go on reading?
  • Are the body paragraphs following the structural requirements?
  • Do you refute the opposing claims effectively?
  • Does the conclusion include all your arguments and restate the thesis statement.

If you see that something is missing or some parts require changes, it is high time to fix your draft.

Editing the essay

After you have fixed your essay’s structural moments and revised the content, you can proceed with the revision. The spelling, sentence construction, grammar, and punctuation — are the things to check by default. You should pay attention to the author’s voice and style in general, see whether vocabulary corresponds to the subject matter.

The final version of your essay

The most enjoyable part of the entire journey is when you, finally, can write the variant of your essay that will reach the reader. At this point, you can reread the work to experience how it sounds. Do not forget to keep the notes you used within the process and ask for extended feedback if it was the first time when you wrote this type of essay.

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