This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor. Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
A persuasive essay is an essay used to convince a reader about a particular idea or focus, usually one that you believe in. Your persuasive essay could be based on anything about which you have an opinion or that you can make a clear argument about. Whether you’re arguing against junk food at school or petitioning for a raise from your boss, knowing how to write a persuasive essay is an important skill that everyone should have. In most cases, you will be given a specific assignment for your persuasive essay. It’s important to read the prompt carefully and thoroughly.
Look for language that gives you a clue as to whether you are writing a purely persuasive persuasive an argumentative essay. If you aren’t sure about what you’re supposed to write, ask your instructor. If you can, make the time to craft an article you’ll enjoy writing. A rushed essay isn’t likely to persuade anyone.
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Allow yourself enough time to brainstorm, write, and edit. This way, even if you have emergencies like a computer meltdown, you’ve given yourself enough time to complete your essay. Try using stasis theory to help you examine the rhetorical situation. To look at the facts, try asking: What happened? What can people do to change the situation?
To look at the definition, ask: What is the nature of this issue or problem? What type of problem is this? What category or class would this problem fit into best? To examine the quality, ask: Who is affected by this problem? What might happen if it is not resolved?
To examine the policy, ask: Should someone take action? Who should do something and what should they do? What’s persuasive to one person may not be persuasive to another. For this reason, it’s crucial to consider to whom you are targeting your essay. Obviously, your instructor is your primary audience, but consider who else might find your argument convincing. Pick a topic that appeals to you. Because a persuasive essay often relies heavily on emotional appeals, you should choose to write on something about which you have a real opinion.
Pick a subject about which you feel strongly and can argue convincingly. Look for a topic that has a lot of depth or complexity. You may feel incredibly passionate about pizza, but it may be difficult to write an interesting essay on it. A subject that you’re interested in but which has a lot of depth — like animal cruelty or government earmarking — will make for better subject material. Consider opposing viewpoints when thinking about your essay.
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