Persuasive Essay Guide
The persuasive essay is an important part of the academic assignments you will perform in school and college, so you should make sure your persuasive essays are of sufficient quality. This guide is here to help you understand what makes a good persuasive essay, the persuasive essay definition, and what you need to know.
Definition of Persuasive Essay
A persuasive essay is an essay which uses logic, reasoning, argumentative skills and deduction to support a particular argument or 'thesis' - that forms the basis of the essay - to prove to some degree that your argument is correct and the opposing argument is incorrect. Such reasoning will be based on facts and evidence, and through such reasoning you will need to persuade the reader to adopt your side of the argument, change their opinion or take some form of action.
Good persuasion versus Bad Persuasion
A good persuasive essay will obviously use the powers of persuasion, but many students fall short of the best grades because they do not know how to correctly and effectively persuade. Common mistakes include not being persuasive enough (or being too persuasive), not using literary techniques and devices, and not being appropriate with persuasion methodologies. Persuading or trying to force the reader to adopt your deductions, arguments and reasoning will only work if the evidence you base your essay on is reasonable, and you do not force the reader to agree with you. Good persuasion should read naturally, and should not make the essay seem biased or unreasonable. Having said this, if you choose to take on a challenge and argue for an issue that most people disagree with, force is often your ally.
Writing a Persuasive Essay
Persuasive essays writing require students to plan thoroughly before writing begins. You can find many ideas for a persuasive essay online and help on the persuasive essay format, though it is always best to do your own research of a subject to find a topic of your own, and to create a format that is suitable for the topic. Once you have an idea of what subject you want to base your essay on, think of ideas for a persuasive essay topic. When thinking of topics, make sure that they are:
- Specific - Never choose a topic which is very general. It is much safer and easier to choose a topic that forms a very small section of a subject and is highly specific. This will make it easier to research the topic and know what arguments you intent to create.
- Contentious - Make sure the topic you choose has plenty of advocates and dissidents.
- Non-factual - You can't persuade a reader to agree with something that goes against fact, and likewise arguing for a known fact defeats the purpose of persuasion, because facts demand no persuasion to believe.
- Objective - The best persuasive essay ideas have room for both objectiveness and personal opinion, and while different essays will make arguments based on personal reasoning and educated opinion, it is an error to make your topic something which cannot be argued with facts, statistics, data and so on.
Structure of a Persuasive Essay
The persuasive essay structure starts with the thesis statement, which is usually formed as part of the title. The bulk of the essay begins with the introduction, follows with the main body and then ends with the conclusion. The introduction introduces the reader to the thesis statement and the subject that surrounds it, and this is where you should include all the necessary background information so the rest of the essay may be understood. Make sure the reader understands what point of view you are taking. The main body will use a number of relevant points to argue your side of the story. Base your arguments on the evidence you have gathered during your research, and use persuasive techniques to show why the evidence you have is correct, and why the point you are making is valid. Examine contrasting arguments and use persuasion to invalidate them, though make sure you have a good basis for why such contrasting arguments are not valid.
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