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How to Write a Persuasive Essay

December 11, 2017 Types of essays
How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Students all over the world are required to write argumentative academic papers for high school and college classes. Unfortunately, a majority of these students have not mastered proper literary structure. Without a clear organizational plan, one’s ideas are not worth much. However, before we get to the abstract, let's talk about the fundamentals. So, what is a persuasive essay?

Taking a look at the definition, the term itself means to influence and convince. Logically, this is a type of literary writing in which the writer uses their personal opinions to attempt and adjust the reader’s point of view about the topic. The persuader will use certain rhetoric to try and grow their appeal on the audience. Whether you’re arguing about global warming or sending a petition to a president for same-sex marriage, the persuasive essay is an important skill that everyone should know. Right now we are going to help you to find a way out.

Although all types of writing have a specific set of rules, norms, and conventions, the style is commonly used within the 5 paragraph format. The main purpose of this type of assignment is to give an argumentative analysis on a particular topic. It is used as a tool for high school and college students to develop their critical thinking skills and train them to explain their analysis in a structured format.

Table Of Contents

How To Choose A Topic

Choosing a good essay topic is crucially important. That’s why if you are not aware of the thing that you are talking about you will just kill your time, and get not as good mark as you want to. Try to choose your topic wisely and if necessary do some research about your particular theme. Most academic essay topics usually ask you to pick a side in an argument or to defend a particular side against criticism. These are some common samples of questions you might receive as assignments:

  • Should marijuana be legal for medicinal purposes?
  • Should people who download music and movies illegally be punished?
  • Should abortions be legal?
  • Should the death penalty be used to punish violent criminals?
  • Should tobacco manufacturers be allowed to advertise on television?
  • Should state colleges be free to attend?
  • Should students have to wear uniforms?
  • Should teens be allowed to buy violent video games?

Though these are just some general knowledge questions, they are effective in training the student towards writing effective persuasive essays. Most of the time, students will write about topics specific to their course or subject, but regardless the format stays the same for all essays.

Persuasive Essay Topics

8 Winning Topics For College

Unlike topics for middle school or high school, good college topics are more challenging to find. While one's primary school education may test their ability to put together a well-structured piece of writing, college tends to be a little more demanding. As most students can follow simple guidelines, an emphasis is placed on creating unique content rather than paraphrased ideas. This is why persuasive essays on topics such as abortions, gun control and cyber bullying will never earn recognition higher than a decent grade. When choosing an argument for your essay, aim for something out of the ordinary with untapped possibilities. In other words, if your college professor were to raise their eyebrows after glancing on your front page, then that is an excellent sign!

  • "Is government surveillance of personal information via Google warranted?"
  • "Should illegal immigrants with clean criminal records and work experience avoid deportation?"
  • "Does social media improve one’s people skills and overall socialization level?"
  • "Is the movie rating system rigged and or judged on incomplete criteria?"
  • "Have technological advancements decreased the value of individual skill?"
  • "Is there a correlation between cell-phone and lowered concentration?"
  • "Should college network have filters to prevent access to inappropriate materials?"
  • "Should chronic mental patients be housed in “halfway houses" in the community, rather than suffer further in mental hospitals?"

These are some of the best topics that make for a great debate. Not only are they original, but a lot of informational variety can be used to make one’s argument stronger. So, for university students looking to craft great arguments in their writing, follow these models for guaranteed success!

Developing A Title

Creating a title for a paper is one of the hardest things that student might deal with. That’s why we have created a tutorial to provide you with some of the best the best information on the internet. Let’s start with the determination of purpose. So, the main purpose of a title is to: Predict content, catch the reader’s attention, identify the tone of your piece of writing.

  • Read your assignment instructions carefully. Were there any specific requirements related to the essay title? If yes, just follow them. Does the essay assignment ask any questions? Asking a question in a title is a good way to arouse the curiosity of readers.
  • Write an essay first, title last. If you need to create a title by yourself, the first thing you need to do is to write an essay, and just then develop a title. If you write a title first, your essay will have to be based on your title, but it should be vice versa.
  • Consider your audience. Keep your target audience in mind before and while writing an essay. Spend some time thinking about who will be reading your essay when choosing a title.
  • Use a quote or main idea of your essay as a title. Read through the quotes used in your work for ones that seem exceptionally strong or powerful. Find some quotes or phrases that sum up your essay as a whole or highlight a central theme or idea in your essay.
  • Search for the title in the introduction or body. Your introduction should include your thesis and the general ideas of your essay. Your conclusion should also restate your thesis and sum up your analysis. Both sections may be good places to find keywords that could lead to a strong title for your essay.
  • Sum up your essay. Sum up your essay in few words; try to put commas between them and if after this everything sounds good, it might become your title.

Understanding The Format

As mentioned before, the persuasive structure is in the classic 5 paragraph style. Many high school students are trained to write their paper in the five paragraph format to follow national standards, especially in the USA. However, several topics simply cannot be analyzed and explained in a mere five 5 paragraphs, which is why the persuasive essay has flexibility in this scenario. In most high school settings, you will be tested on your ability to write one of these assignments in the classroom, and this assessment will take 30 minutes to an hour. However, in several college courses, this standard style is rarely ever used, and the type of content you must research and analyze becomes much longer and way more in depth. To put it in simpler terms, the outline is very much dependent on the topic and the sort of question you are asked to respond about.

Persuasive Paper Template

Persuasion Techniques

  • As was mentioned in the beginning, the term “persuasive essay” means to influence and convince. It supposed to be hard to persuade someone in something without any knowledge. That is why we have gathered some techniques which you can use in your writing.
  • Focus on your best audience. Don’t try to persuade everyone, it is simply impossible. Focus on the audience which is more likely to benefit from your content and write for them; that will bring you more results.
  • Use the right tone of voice. Of course, it is important what you say, but how do you say it is vital as well. Tone determines how audience understands the message, so pick yours and use it consistently.
  • Put yourself in reader’s shoes. Decide what would grab your attention if you were the reader. When you are writing this type of essay, you have to become the reader to understand what allures them.
  • YES, YES, YES. Concentrate and create a situation in which the reader will not be able to answer anything except yes. At first sight, it seems to be hard, but actually, it is not. All you need to do is make general statements or ask questions that are difficult to challenge:
  • Do you want to be healthy?
  • Do you want to study better?
  • Do you want to earn good money?
  • Touch the emotions. Arouse emotions in the reader. Everybody knows that emotions stand behind making a purchase or making a deal. Remember that emotions arouse desire.

How To Outline Your Paper (Template)

The structure looks like some variation of this:

  • Introduction
  • Emphasis on a strong introduction;
  • Brief presentation of both parts;
  • Present your side of the argument;
  • Thesis statement expressing the validity of your whole argument.
  • Body
  • Paragraph 1:
    • An informative topic sentence that gets to the point (stating 1st reason);
    • Provide evidence that is logical and applicable;
    • Connection of evidence with explanation;
    • Closing statement about the overall paragraph.
  • Paragraph 2:
    • An informative topic sentence that gets to the 2nd point (stating 2nd reason);
    • Provide evidence that is logical and applicable;
    • Connection of evidence with explanation;
    • Closing statement about the overall paragraph.
  • Paragraph 3:
    • An informative topic sentence that gets to the point (stating 3rd reason);
    • Provide evidence that is logical and applicable;
    • Connection of evidence with explanation;
    • Closing statement about the overall paragraph.
  • Conclusion
  • Restatement of thesis;
  • Summed up explanation of each argument;
  • Give the text an overall conclusion that calls to action.

Follow the link to learn more about
How To Create A Winning Outline


  • Hook Statement: Need some help starting your argumentative essay? Well, there is no better way than with the trusty hook statement: a sentence that excites the reader about your essay, and must in some way relate to your topic of persuasion.
  • Brief Intro/Background: The length of this varies based on how much content and analysis you will provide. Each subject of analysis should have about one sentence of the introduction.
  • Thesis Statement: The core argument/point of persuasion that the entire essay is based around. It is recommended to write your body paragraphs first, and then create your thesis after seeing what your content is truly about.

It’s much easier to create a thesis at the end, rather than align your statements towards your thesis because most of the time this harms the quality of your analysis and the strength of your sentences.

Read more about how to write a great INTRODUCTION

Body Paragraphs

  • Topic Sentence: Sentence that introduces your argument; needs to include words of emphasis. These are strong and supportive words that defend your statement.
  • Argument: This is the meat of your paper, the statements that really serve the purpose of audience persuasion.
  • Explanation/Evidence: These statements are either facts or data analysis and serve to defend your main argument and prove its authenticity.
  • Concluding Sentence: After fully explaining your defending argument, the concluding sentence is used to sum up your point with the most effective words possible. Think of it as a short but efficient summary! Depending on the subject of analysis, thesis, or the requirements such as word length or page length, the number of body paragraphs in your persuasive essay will vary! However, this is the general structure of the paper.


  • Restatement of Thesis: After proving your thesis throughout the essay, it’s important to make it known in the conclusion. Rephrase it and start making conclusion points.
  • Summarize Key Points: Briefly explain how your main arguments defended your thesis statement and show that these explanations are reasonable and logical.
  • Overall Concluding Statement: Make sure the reader understands the value and importance of your essay and the argument that you portrayed throughout the paper. If the reader has taken your persuasive argument into serious consideration, that’s when you know that you have written an awesome piece of work.

General Tips

  • MLA and Chicago style formats are usually used for persuasive and argumentative writings. They provided the physical alignments, margins, titles and other similar aspects of the essay.
  • Avoid overusing vocabulary: try to provide some variety but don’t go overboard either. If you are trying to become the young Shakespeare, do it cleverly.
  • Use different persuasion techniques. You can surf the web and find a couple of techniques which suit your style.
  • Show why your point of view is more credible than the opposing. It’s good to defend your side, it’s even better if you can counterattack afterward.
  • Double-check to make sure that your essay has proved the thesis. If the paper has proved something slightly different, then edit the thesis accordingly.
  • Use clear and directed sentences to start each paragraph. Make the beginning of each paragraph as a mini-thesis statement.
  • Get a second pair of eyes: have a friend read it from a fresh perspective to make sure it makes sense to others.

Formatting Checklist

Persuasive Essay Rubric

When being graded on the quality of work presented, the instructors will usually base the final grade around certain criterion. Although each piece of criteria follows its own instructions, the combination of them being accurately fulfilled is what really makes for a high ranking paper!

  • Focus: Does the thesis statement state a concrete point of view instead of being neutral? Is the writing on-track and continuously defending the thesis statement?
  • Positional Support: How well is the thesis statement defended? Is there a minimum of 3 supporting points presented? Does the arguments idea decisively confirm the validity of the thesis?
  • Organization: How smoothly does the writer transition from one idea to the next? Do transitional sentences really fill the gap between ideas? Were the arguments presented in the most suitable order?
  • Conclusion: After reading the essay, does the reader feel that they have fully understood the writer’s point of view? Is it stated well enough to make the reader possibly sway their opinion towards the writer’s?
  • Conventions: Are there little to no grammatical errors? Is there a good mix of short and long sentences? Is punctuation appropriately placed?


Here are some good persuasive essay examples:


Persuasive Essay Example


Persuasive Essay Example

Advice From Our Professional Writer

This type of essay is one of the most common types of papers assigned in your early high school years. Their main purpose is to teach a beginner writer how to present and structure an argument. From my years of experience writing such essays, I’ve learned that the most important thing to do is to always, always, always present the counter argument. If your paper just talks about your side of the argument, then you didn’t do a good job writing. The way you win over a person who doesn’t share your point of view is not by blindly forcing them to accept your argument, but instead explaining to them why their argument is invalid. My advice for writing persuasive essays is: when you’re toward the end of your essay, include a paragraph of the counter argument and explain why that point of view is invalid. This strategy will make your essay infinitely stronger.

Writer Natalie, online essay writer from EssayPro

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