How to Write a Good Persuasive Essay: Guide from Experts
Students should all learn how to persuade people if they want to become successful one day. Building a professional career without the ability to convince people is impossible. This skill is as essential as time management or leadership. Teachers often assign persuasive essays to help students train these critical skills. Writing a persuasive essay requires plenty of time as well as in-depth research & analysis. In this post, we will discuss the definition, writing process, structure, and other useful tips that will help you to compose a good essay. We will also give a hint where you can get help with your academic assignments.
What is a Persuasive Essay?
A persuasive essay is the type of academic paper which has to convince the audience of the author’s truth. It has a lot in common with an argumentative essay with the only difference. While in an argumentative essay a student should simply state and prove their position, in a persuasive paper it is critical to make the readers support your position.
To understand the topic to the fullest extent, students have to collect valuable information from credible sources and study the question from all aspects. A writer should consider personal and audience’s biases. Thus, in such paper, students should include both personal position as well as what others think about the subject. Still, a writer should insist on a personal point of view as the only correct one.
Here is how to write a persuasive essay step-by-step.
How to Write a Persuasive Essay Step by Step: Choosing a Topic
In many cases, the process of writing a persuasive paper starts from choosing the topic as not all tutors assign one. It should be related to the subject you study. Selecting a topic is a process made of these critical stages:
- Brainstorming (thinking about possible ideas with friends)
- Searching (scanning various online sources to find what’s in trend)
- Researching (checking the availability of sources on different topics)
- Evaluating (deciding which topic is the best one based on the student’s knowledge and interest)
- Consulting (asking your teacher whether the topic you would like to cover is acceptable)
Here are some of the topic examples you may consider:
- Should teachers wear uniforms like their students?
- Does it make sense to include gender studies in the school program?
- Will legalization of marijuana improve the health of the nation?
- What is the best punishment for school bullying?
- Reasons why more and more teens today commit suicide and how to stop it
Still, try to avoid sensitive topics like discrimination or racism. At the same time, you should pick something relevant and intersecting to discuss. We recommend selecting an idea with many contrasting opinions to make it exciting to read. It’s like taking part in some kind of a debate.
Choosing a topic is just the first step. Read the rest of our persuasive essay guide if you want to learn more.
Steps to Writing a Persuasive Essay after Choosing Your Topic
After choosing the topic, a student has to conduct research to gather credible information from various sources. From books to scholarly articles and videos, observe as many related and up-to-date sources as possible to sound more convincing to your readers. Put down quotations that you plan to include in your paper. Also, create the list of references while researching to save time later.
Once you’re done with research, develop an outline to follow. It will serve as the action plan that all prevent you from facing a writer’s block while writing. An outline will show the right path.
An outline is the structure of your essay, and here is the way it should look like.
How to Structure a Persuasive Essay?
An essay must have an introduction, body, and conclusion. A persuasive paper is not an exception. Find out how you should write your work step-by-step starting from the introduction.
How to Start a Persuasive Essay?
A persuasive essay introduction is the most important part of your writing. It should motivate the audience to read the paper from A to Z. The primary goal of any intro is to catch an eye using various hooks and powerful thesis statement.
As a hook, you may choose one of the given ideas:
- A quote from the famous person
- Literary quote
- Fact or statistics
- Rhetorical question
- Joke or anecdote
- Metaphor or simile
All of these are great hooks, but you have to come up with only one in your introduction. Depending on the tone and mood of your paper, choose the most suitable one. For instance, while discussing the problem of obesity in the United States, you may start with a shocking fact or statistics to prove that it is a critical issue. If you write about the impact of comedy shows on the mood of an average American watcher, you can start with something funny.
After the hook sentence, a student should add background information explaining why the topic should be discussed. Why should the problem matter to the society?
Finish your paper with a solid thesis. It is the main argument of the entire writing that you will have to prove throughout the piece, so create it wisely. A thesis should be valid and unchallenged. Avoid generalized and neutral opinions if you don’t want your thesis to sound lousy. For example, while a sentence like, “Gun control is no longer an effective prevention measure” may sound like a good topic or even title, it’s a weak thesis. A better idea is to craft a thesis this way, “As statistics show, new gun control measures helped to reduce the criminal activity only by 2% during last year, so it is not as effective as the US government thought. It’s just one of the reasons to think about other approaches to minimizing crime in this country.”
After your thesis, move smoothly to the body paragraphs.
Crafting Body Paragraphs for Your Paper
Each body paragraph should have three critical elements:
- Claim (topic sentence)
- Evidence (supporting points and examples)
- Conclusion + transition to the next paragraph
So, you should start each body paragraph with the point to support the thesis. As evidence to prove each topic sentence, insert in-text citations, examples, and other facts. Do not forget to mention the opposing views as well. It will show your objectivity.
Provide the paragraph’s summary in 1-2 concussing sentence, and move to the next paragraph with the help of transition words. Begin every new paragraph with transitions as well to show the logical flow of thoughts and connection between all parts of your writing. Those words are “in addition,” “as mentioned before,” “according to,” “therefore,” etc.
Writing a Strong Conclusion
The last paragraph of your essay is a conclusion. It has to leave a strong impression on your reader. Your audience has to accept your point of view and support it finally. It’s like winning a debate.
Start your conclusion with a restated thesis. Do not copy-paste it from the first paragraph! Then, provide a summary of the entire text. The last paragraph should not be long, so we recommend summarizing only the topic sentence of every paragraph in the body. Finally, finish your work with another hook like a rhetorical question. Never introduce new ideas at the end of your paper and do not leave the readers without an answer to every single question you raise.
After the conclusion, add the list of references to the sources that contributed to your paper on a separate page.
Final Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay
To sum up, everything mentioned above, use this checklist while writing a persuasive paper:
Select the topic
- Collect sources
- Prepare an outline
- Craft an introduction
- Write the body
- Conclude your work
- Proofread and edit
Persuasive Essay Example
Persuasive Essay on Prayer in School
Prayer in school must not be a definite given. Rather the emphasis should be on paying homage and respect so that students from different religions, castes and creeds are able to think together and come on a common platform. If there is prayer in school, it would mean that one of the many groups is being given the point of an advantage as others would be asked to comply with the same. A moment of silence is a much better idea, and should thus be implemented.
The religions beliefs that have come to the fore negate the same. They believe that the prayer in school phenomenon is a good one and should thus be made compulsory (Author Unknown, 2001). What they seem to forget is the fact that other students who might not be from the same religious tilt are also asked to do the same, which is unbecoming of them in a very subtle manner.
The non-religious perspective does not pay much importance to the same. And hence there is absolutely no importance on this subject at hand. Perhaps it is their lack of significance that does more harm than good towards this prayer in school phenomenon which has grown above and beyond proportions.
The atheists are good with either of these perspectives because they do not believe in God and hence the discussion of having a moment of silence or prayer just does not come about for them. They would much rather do something to satisfy others than to relieve themselves of a moral pressure which comes from within.
When one discusses the moment of silence, the aspect that could be understood here is whether it is a silent individual prayer that a child offers or it is a silent contemplation that he indulges within. If it is silent individual prayer, it is important that he understands what exactly this moment of silence would mean for him and how he is paying homage to the cause or the deceased in his own respective way.
The silent contemplation is for the sake of a collective effort that people undertake in order to show their respect and homage to a cause or a deceased person. It could either be a prayer that they committing into through the moment of silence or by way of getting together in a group and thus offering a moment of silence.
The religion has a great amount of role to play within the prayer in a school concept. If the school primarily comprises of Christian students with minorities reserved for Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, then the prayer ought to be in Christianity, which is just not acceptable (Malone, 2011). A much better and explainable understanding can be reached if the moment of silence is exercised which is the same in all religions of the world.
Hence the respect in all beliefs would be attained as a result of the same. If the prayer in school ideology is dropped, the minorities would heave a sigh of relief and they would better understand the dictum behind paying a moment of silence rather than indulging in a prayer about which they have either no clue or little knowledge about.
In the end, it would be sound to state that the schools have a huge role to play under such settings (Simon, 1994). They have to make sure that the moment of silence is exercised with a uniform approach rather than any other religious connotations attached with the same. It would be for the collective good of the society in the long run.
Author Unknown, 2001. A “Moment of Silence” in place of prayer in US Public Schools.
Found Online at: http://www.religioustolerance.org/ps_pra6.htm
Malone, T., 2011. ‘Moment of silence‘ in schools off to quiet start.
Found Online at: http://articles.chicagobreakingnews.com/2011-01- 18/news/28532987_1_silent-reflection-student-prayer-act- silent-prayer
Simon, B., 1994. Moment of Silence in Public Schools.
Found Online at: http://www.publiceye.org/ifas/fw/9412/silence.html