Persuasive Essay - A Complete Writing Guide

Written by

Tom Lewis

7 mins read
persuasive essay

In order to write an effective persuasive essay, you need to understand your audience and craft a message that speaks to them.

Do you know what it takes to write a persuasive essay? Some people think it's all about coming up with a good argument, but that's only part of the puzzle. In order to be persuasive, you need to make your argument strong and clear, but you also need to appeal to your audience's emotions.

Do you feel like you have to write a persuasive essay but don't know where to start? This comprehensive guide walks you through the entire process, from brainstorming all the way to polishing your final product.

Our guide will help you write an essay that is sure to persuade your readers.

What is a Persuasive Essay?

According to the persuasive essay definition, in a persuasive essay, you use logic and arguments to convince the reader of your point of view. This is done by providing evidence for your arguments, such as research, facts, examples, quotes from experts, and logical reasons.

In order to write a persuasive essay, you need to take a stand on an issue and argue for or against it. You then need to build the strongest argument possible to win over the reader. This is like being a lawyer who is trying to win over a jury.

Difference Between an Argumentative Essay and a Persuasive Essay

Although mostly used interchangeably, argumentative and persuasive essays are two different types of essays. Here is how they differ from each other:

  • Argumentative Essay: In argumentative essays, you present both sides of an issue to readers. You describe all the arguments for and against an issue, even if you don't agree with some of them. It's up to readers to decide which side makes the most sense.
  • Persuasive Essay: In persuasive essays, you choose a side and only include arguments that support this position in order to convince readers of its truth.

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Essential Elements of a Persuasive Essay

There are three essential components of a good persuasive essay, which were first identified by philosopher Aristotle himself. These elements work together to create a strong, convincing argument that tries to persuade others to see things your way.

  • 1. Ethos: Ethos is a way to establish your credibility with your readers. You can do this by showing that you have knowledge on the subject, that you have personal experience, or that you are part of the community. When you include ethos in your writing, it makes it easier for readers to trust what you are saying.
  • 2. Pathos: Pathos is an appeal to your audience's emotions in order to make them feel something. When you can get your audience to feel something, they will connect with you as a narrator and be more interested in what you have to say. This will make your writing more interesting and keep them engaged.
  • 3. Logos: Logos is a persuasive technique that uses logic to appeal to an audience. Good persuasive writing provides a series of logical reasons for the reader to believe the writer's argument.

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How to Start a Persuasive Essay?

When writing a persuasive essay, the prewriting phase is very important. During this phase, students should plan every aspect of the essay. Here is how you can start a persuasive essay through the prewriting phase:

  • 1. Select a Position: Pick a side. You need to think about the issue and choose the side you wish to advocate for.
  • 2. Read the Audience: To write an effective persuasive essay, you must understand the reader's perspective. You need to know and understand if the reader is undecided or inclined to favor one side or the other.
  • 3. Conduct Research: You need to do research before you write your persuasive essay. This is important so that your essay will be convincing. You should get information from different websites and from experts in the community. You should also read about the issue, and take notes.
  • 4. Point Out the Strongest Evidence: You need to identify the most convincing evidence for your argument, as well as the key points for the opposing view.

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay?

There are different ways for writing a persuasive essay, but there are some general steps to follow, that are given below:

  • 1. Pick an Interesting Topic: Pick a topic you're interested in. It will be easier to persuade people if you're arguing for something you believe in. If you have the option to pick a topic, choose one that is interesting to you.
  • You'll need to do research no matter what, but it will be easier if you already have a strong opinion about the subject.

  • 2. Draft an Outline for Your Essay: Before you start writing your essay, it can be helpful to outline your thoughts and organize your research. Make a list of all the main points you want to make and find evidence to support each one.
  • “What are the 3 main parts of a persuasive essay?”

    The persuasive essay structure includes three main sections, highlighted in the outline given below:

    Persuasive Essay Outline

    • 1. Introduction
      1. Compelling Hook
      2. Overview of the Argument
      3. Thesis Statement Stating your Argument
    • 2. Body Paragraphs
      1. Argument 1
        1. Evidence
        2. Supporting Details
      2. Argument 2
        1. Evidence
        2. Supporting Details
      3. Argument 3
        1. Evidence
        2. Supporting Details
    • 3. Conclusion
      1. Reinforce your Argument
      2. Summary of the Essay
  • 3. Write the Persuasive Essay Introduction

    The introduction is the first paragraph of your persuasive essay. It should introduce the topic of your essay, provide any necessary background information, and capture the reader's attention. You can do this with a personal anecdote or information from your research.

    Your introductory paragraph should also present the thesis statement for your essay. This is a statement that states your main point in one or two sentences. The rest of the paper will serve to reinforce that point.

  • 4. Write the Body Paragraphs of the Essay

    The body of your persuasive essay will contain data and evidence to support your thesis. This will be organized into three sections: a topic sentence, relevant supporting sentences, and a closing sentence. This structure will help to keep your paragraph focused on the main idea while providing clear and concise information.

    Make sure that any claims you make in your essay can be supported with credible or relevant information. You can also use transition words for a persuasive essay to shift from one argument or paragraph to another. You should also discuss any opposing opinions and why they should be discredited.

  • 5. Write the Essay Conclusion

    The conclusion is the last paragraph of a research paper, essay, or article. In this paragraph, you summarize the main points of your work. You might also want to restate your thesis and give your final thoughts on the issue. If you are trying to persuade your readers to take action, this is where you would include your call to action.

  • 6. Format Your Essay

    The specific requirements for the format of your persuasive essay depend on your teacher's instructions. Be sure to read and follow the assignment carefully, paying attention to details such as word count, font type and size, spacing, and alignment.

    A general persuasive essay format is as follows:

    • Word count: 500, 1500, or 2000
    • Font Style: Times New Roman
    • Font Size: 12-point
    • Spacing: Double-spaced or 1.5
    • Alignment: Justified
  • 7. Proofread and Revise to Create the Final Draft

    Always proofread your writing a few times before submitting or presenting it. A few missed words, grammatical errors, or sentence structure problems can make you look bad to the reader.

    If you find any mistakes, revise the essay to omit those mistakes and create the final draft.

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Great Persuasive Essay Examples

Go through the following examples to have a better idea of how a good persuasive essay should look like:

Persuasive Essay Examples pdf

Persuasive Essay Examples pdf

Middle School Persuasive Essay About Recess Time

Middle School Persuasive Essay About Recess Time

Persuasive Essay Examples College

Persuasive Essay Examples College

Example of Persuasive Essay About Covid-19

Example of Persuasive Essay About Covid-19

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Simple and Catchy Persuasive Essay Topics

Here are simple yet catchy and good persuasive essay topics that can get you started:

  • Dreams do harm.
  • People can’t eat animals.
  • Classical works are outdated.
  • Money spoils people.
  • Racial insults should be illegal.
  • Freedom of speech should be restricted.
  • Kids under 10 shouldn’t use social media.
  • There is no equality in friendship.
  • Being selfish is good.
  • Robots should displace teachers.

So, what is a persuasive essay? A persuasive essay is an essay that tries to convince the reader to agree with the writer's point of view.

In order to be successful, a persuasive essay must have strong evidence to back up its argument, and it must be well-organized. The essential elements of a persuasive essay and the steps for writing it have been explained in this blog to ease your writing process.

If you're looking for more help with your persuasive essay for high school or college, we've got you covered. Our team of talented writers can help you write an outstanding paper from scratch. Let our essay writer help you get your message across loud and clear!