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Writing Persuasive Essays

Great Tips on Writing Persuasive Essays

What are Persuasive or Argumentative Essays?

A persuasive essay, also called an argument or argumentative essay, uses reason or logic to demonstrate how one viewpoint, idea, or opinion is more valid than another one. Its aim is to try to persuade or convince readers to agree with the writer’s viewpoint or to take some action or other. The main argument in such an essay should always be based on sound evidence and flawless reasoning. Therefore, the writer should provide logically constructed reasons and indisputable facts, for which they would usually use good examples and quotations from experts.

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The following are the steps required to plan a persuasive essay:

  1. Decide on your stance. Work out which aspect of the problem or issue you should write about, what side you will take, and what sort of solution you will offer. Understand your essay’s purpose.
  2. Know your readers. Figure out if your readers are likely to agree with your stance, or are they likely to disagree or remain neutral?
  3. Your topic will need researching. There must be convincing and specific evidence in a persuasive essay. To achieve this, you may often need to reach beyond any personal experience or knowledge you have. It may be necessary to visit your library or speak to experts in your subject matter area.
  4. Your essay will need to be structured properly. Decide which pieces of evidence you want to include and the order of presentation. Do not forget to keep your readers, purpose, and topic in mind.

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Essential criteria for building a strong argument

  • Know your topic well. To improve your subject matter knowledge, read as much as you can from credible sources. Make notes as you go.
  • Your thesis will need to be tested. It is essential the thesis you build– your main argument– should be two-sided and able to be debated. If you want to check that an argument can be debated, write a thesis statement that directly opposes yours.
  • Any opposing viewpoints or arguments will need to be disproved. To do this, you will need to understand any opposing viewpoints and be able to counter them with contrasting proof or by identifying inconsistencies or mistakes in them.
  • Your position will need to be supported with strong evidence. Do not forget that evidence should be based on reason and logic.
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Ways of supporting an argument

  • Use examples: Good examples are a form of proof. They are a great way of enhancing meaning and making ideas more solid.
  • Use facts: These come from a writer’s own experience, observation and reading material. They are a powerful means of persuasion.

NB: Facts should not be confused with truths, which are ideas that many people believe but are not proven.

  • Use quotes: Appropriate quotes taken directly from the texts of experts to support your stance are of great value.

Use statistics: Make sure you take statistics from respected sources, which you must cite. These are an excellent method for supporting an argument.

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The following are some popular topic ideas for persuasive essays:

  • Should school uniforms be compulsory or not?
  • The perfect body or anorexia?
  • To allow abortion or not?

The above topic ideas are all debatable and remember it is essential the topic you choose is interesting to you.

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