Writing a persuasive essay involves writing that attempts to convince the readers that the author's way of thinking is the only correct way. These essays are generally written about a topic that has more than one side to it, allowing the other side to be shown as the incorrect way. For some excellent essay writing tips, read on!
- Choose a topic. The topic of a persuasive essay must be very specific so that the audience can easily identify your argument as well as the counterarguments. There are plenty of subjects for persuasive essay topics, but chances are your teacher or professor may have given you some general theme to stick to. Try to pick a persuasive essay topic that you're passionate about because not only will you have pre-existing knowledge about the topic, you will also learn new things that interest you in your research.
- Use third person. In a persuasive essay, you need a lot of annotated research to back up your position. Using first person only weakens that research, as it can sound like just an opinion. Third person with adequate references will make the strongest impact.
- Do your research. Start with a debate topic of which you have a solid understanding, and use at least three sources of reference. Not only will you strengthen your argument through research, but you will also develop a greater understanding of what directions the counter-arguments may take. Having plenty of annotated references will also help persuade the reader by showing that your facts can be verified outside the essay. No persuasive essay should be written with only one source.
- Use an active voice. The most persuasive language is active, so avoid too much passive voice. It is difficult to eliminate passive language completely, and would probably sound unnatural anyway, but try to limit the amount of passive language that you use per paragraph. "Our principles should not be abandoned." is an example of a sentence written in passive voice. You can change this to an active voice and strengthen the statement by saying, "we should not abandon our principles."
- Arrange the essay. Good persuasive essays are often structured with an introductory paragraph that illustrates the main point, and a few reasons why the point is valid. The next few paragraphs will explore those reasons. Each paragraph should take one reason from the introduction and offer proof that the reason is valid. Annotating the information, putting a parenthetical reference after it, helps to drive home the message that it is fact rather than just an opinion.
- Dissect the counter-arguments. These body paragraphs should also mention the counter argument to each reason, and then spell out why that counter-argument is wrong, annotating as always for maximum persuasive power. The counter-arguments should be firmly shot down with persuasive, rational arguments rather than emotional ones. Use facts to dissuade the readers from the counter-argument, just as you used them in support of your argument.
- Be clear. Write your persuasive essay in concise, clear language. Unnecessary wordiness will detract from the clarity of the argument and will not be as persuasive.
- Build a solid conclusion. The last paragraph should be a conclusion that ties the entire essay together, driving home the main argument one last time. You may also want to remind the reader of your strongest, most recognizable sources, such as a famous person or a heralded work of non-fiction. After reading the conclusion, there should be little doubt left in the reader's mind that your position is valid and supported by facts.