What is a persuasive/argument essay?
Persuasive writing, also known as the argument essay, utilizes logic and reason to show that one idea is more legitimate than another idea. It attempts to persuade a reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action. The argument must always use sound reasoning and solid evidence by stating facts, giving logical reasons, using examples, and quoting experts.
When planning a persuasive essay, follow these steps
- Choose your position. Which side of the issue or problem are you going to write about, and what solution will you offer? Know the purpose of your essay.
- Analyze your audience. Decide if your audience agrees with you, is neutral, or disagrees with your position.
- Research your topic. A persuasive essay must provide specific and convincing evidence. Often it is necessary to go beyond your own knowledge and experience. You might need to go to the library or interview people who are experts on your topic.
- Structure your essay. Figure out what evidence you will include and in what order you will present the evidence. Remember to consider your purpose, your audience, and you topic.
The following criteria are essential to produce an effective argument
- Be well informed about your topic. To add to your knowledge of a topic, read thoroughly about it, using legitimate sources. Take notes.
- Test your thesis. Your thesis, i.e., argument, must have two sides. It must be debatable. If you can write down a thesis statement directly opposing your own, you will ensure that your own argument is debatable.
- Disprove the opposing argument. Understand the opposite viewpoint of your position and then counter it by providing contrasting evidence or by finding mistakes and inconsistencies in the logic of the opposing argument.
- Support your position with evidence. Remember that your evidence must appeal to reason.
The following are different ways to support your argument:
Facts - A powerful means of convincing, facts can come from your reading, observation, or personal experience.
Note: Do not confuse facts with truths. A "truth" is an idea believed by many people, but it cannot be proven.
Statistics - These can provide excellent support. Be sure your statistics come from responsible sources. Always cite your sources.
Quotes - Direct quotes from leading experts that support your position are invaluable.
Examples - Examples enhance your meaning and make your ideas concrete. They are the proof.
Here are some ideas of popular persuasive essay topics:
- Anorexia or model body
- Encouraged abortions
- School uniform
These essay topic examples are debatable, it is important to choose the topic that is interesting for you.
Argumentative Essay and Persuasive Essay Writing: Building a Logical Argument
The argumentative essay, also called the persuasive essay, is an essay in which you try to convince readers to accept the argument you make. Through writing facts that back up your opinion or stance, you attempt to get readers to agree with your thinking. It often involves answering a question by taking one position over another.
Writing an argumentative or persuasive essay is about selecting a topic that has two clear sides or positions. You approach the topic by investigating it and collecting, generating and evaluating supporting evidence. The actual essay lays out your position concisely.
The building blocks of a well-written argumentative essay include the following:
- Well-established facts supported through research when necessary
- Values that are both relevant and clarified to give your readers perspective
- An argument that is sequenced by the priority of facts and the level of importance
- Conclusions formed throughout the paper and stated at the end
- Persuasion that establishes facts your readers agree with and values they share
- Confidence to communicate effectively with persuasion
- Inclusion of hot-button issues that evoke an emotional response
The structure of an argumentative or persuasive essay includes the following sections:
- An introduction with a clear thesis statement
- At least two body paragraphs with supporting evidence (the five-paragraph essay format is often used)
- A conclusion the ties the evidence in with the thesis statement and concludes the argument
Argumentative essay structure
The structure of an argumentative essay is important because it lays out the specifics and evidence of your argument and allows you to conclude it effectively. Before writing, make sure you have a narrow and clearly defined thesis, a working outline and the facts to back up your argument.
The introduction of the argumentative essay should do several things:
- Provide background information and introduce your topic
- Explain your point of view to readers by highlighting the importance of the topic or the reason readers should care
- Include a well-defined, concise and clear thesis that highlights at least two main points, with three preferable
- Stay engaging to make readers want to continue reading your essay
- Contain a transition into the body paragraphs
- Create an attention-grabbing lead into the argument
The body paragraphs contain the supporting evidence that backs up your position. The opposing positions should also be clearly stated and defined. Keep the following guidelines in mind when writing your body paragraphs:
- Stick to one main point per paragraph.
- Make sure to establish a logical connection to the thesis statement in each paragraph.
- Explain the connections to the thesis with respect to how and why.
- Devote at least one paragraph to the opposing viewpoint.
- Use evidence to support your points.
- Keep in mind that sources provide authority to your position, and cite any sources used.
- Avoid summarizing information because body paragraphs develop the ideas, not conclude them.
The evidence that supports your thesis statement might include facts, personal anecdotes, statistics or logic.
The conclusion re-introduces the thesis, but it is more than a simple rewording. Instead, it involves synthesizing the evidence from the body paragraphs with the thesis statement. Never add new information in your conclusion. Review the essay as a whole while clearly concluding the argument persuasively. This is your last chance to convince someone of your position, so make it count by using sound logic.
Including the opposing view in the argumentative or persuasive essay
Including the opposing view(s) in the body paragraphs of an argumentative essay is necessary. You want readers to draw the same conclusions you do, but you cannot in good conscience expect someone to take a position without at least some understanding of the opposing viewpoint. When including this information, shy away from simply stating that the position is wrong. Instead, explain why the position does not align with your thesis. Maybe the basis of the viewpoint is outdated. Maybe it is a viewpoint that is based on misinformation.
Whatever it is, present the opposing viewpoint fairly, objectively and accurately. Let readers draw their own conclusions; if you write a strong and convincing argument that is well-written and easy to follow logically, you can persuade your readers with open minds to see your viewpoint.
After writing your first draft, always go through the revision process, including proofreading and editing. The basic premise of writing an effective argumentative essay is in writing a persuasive and logical argument, so make a complete argument. With one, your essay’s intent or argument stays clear to readers. As a final note, follow any specific instructions you receive with the assignment, including writing under official style guides.