Writing a Persuasive Essay
A persuasive essay convinces the reader to agree with your stance or point of view on an issue. A persuasive essay can be challenging as the goal is to show the reader that there is some benefit in agreeing with your point of view. A strong persuasive essay uses well-researched facts to support a persuasive thesis, and also acknowledges and responds to the most obvious objections to the thesis. Follow these steps to write a successful persuasive essay.
- Choose your issue carefully. Be sure you can support your point of view with well-researched evidence. Avoid using editorials, blogs, or other sources that express the writers’ opinions. The strength of your paper is in the credibility of your evidence.
- Establish your thesis statement based on your own opinion and the information you’ve gathered during research. A strong thesis includes two parts, the statement, and the reason. Consider following this model, “Citizens of our town should _____ because _____, _____, and _____.” Having two or three clear reasons builds the basis of your essay.
- Consider the most obvious objections to your thesis. Will it require others to make sacrifices or be inconvenienced? Is it complicated? Will it cost money? Are there potential disadvantages? List these objections, and use your research to respond with rational responses. You’ll use these notes in your essay.
- Outline your essay. Begin with your introduction, then two or three sections dedicated to the reasons you’ve established in the thesis, then the most obvious objection and your response. End with the topic sentence for your conclusion.
- Write your introductory paragraph, beginning with a “hook” that catches the reader’s attention. The hook could be an explanation of a problem or situation your persuasive essay will address, or it could be a compelling question or a statistic related to your issue. End the introduction with your thesis statement.
- Dedicate two or three paragraphs to the reasons established in your thesis. Use strong evidence from your research to support your reasons. Each reason should be expressed clearly in the topic sentence of the paragraph.
- Acknowledge and address the most obvious objection. If for example, the objection is financial, use evidence to illustrate the long-term savings of your issue. If your essay is about a controversial topic, stick to a logical appeal in your response. Facts are more convincing than emotions.
- Finally, end your essay with a conclusion that pulls together your main points and very clearly states the benefits to the reader or to the wider community of accepting your thesis. The conclusion is not something to be tacked-on at the end of the essay. Rather, it is the point at which you tie all the pieces together and leave the reader feeling that he or she would be doing the right thing by agreeing with you.
As you should do for any essay, allow yourself some time to read, revise, and edit. Be sure that every paragraph supports the thesis, and that all of your ideas are clearly stated. Double check for typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings of commonly confused words.