How to write a great persuasive essay: helpful tricks

A persuasive essay is one of the most enjoyable pieces of academic writing to compose. All of us feel strongly about many subjects, and we are usually, in academic writing, required to soften these opinions, and to aspire to something like objectivity. But to persuade is an art, and simply being passionate about something is not enough to produce a good argument, and can in fact damage your position. So, how to compose a convincing, measured persuasive essay?

  • Find the Right Topic
  • The same advice applies to all academic assignments; the formative and foundational, and the most important decision that you will make is what to write on. Choose a topic that is current, that divides opinion, and that you feel deeply about.

  • Think About Your Opinion
  • Even though you will feel personally involved in your topic, let’s say, for argument, the Syria conflict, you need to sit down for a period of time and think about why you feel the way you do: should we get involved? Yes, if so, why? Try to avoid overly emotional responses, as these feel irrational!

  • Think About Counter-Arguments
  • As with the above, sit down and imagine that you feel the opposite way: ‘no, we should not get involved’. Understand why people might feel that way, and develop a counter to your argument. This will demonstrate an awareness of multiple perspectives, and this is the determining factor for a very good persuasive essay!

  • Plan Plan Plan
  • Plan a balanced argument that weaves a tapestry of your opinion, interspersed with the counter arguments that you can then re-counter. Answer each possible refutation of your position. Try, in each paragraph, to express a new opinion, which develops your point, and in which you refute a counter.

  • Write with Rhetoric
  • Don’t be too afraid to use some rhetoric and style in this kind of essay. You are, after all, attempting to engage a reader and to bring them over to your way of thinking. Do not use overly emotional language, but try to be informal in some instances.

  • Open and Finish with Panache
  • Your introduction should, in short, grab the reader by the scruff of the neck and really engage their attention, then, your conclusion should put them back down precisely where you want them to be. The intro and conclusion are where you can be really persuasive!

A persuasive essay is just that: you must have an opinion, and convince your reader that you understand the issues, to such a degree that they can be persuaded to your way of thinking!

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