Persuasive Essays

In persuasive writing, we try to convince others to agree with our facts, share our values, accept our argument and conclusions, and adopt our way of thinking.

Elements toward building a good persuasive essay include

Here are some strategies to complete a persuasive writing assignment:

Write out the questions in your own words.

Start writing a draft!(refer to: Writing essays, the basics)
Start as close as possible to your reading/research
Do not concern yourself with grammar or spelling

Edit, correct, and re-write as necessary

Check spelling and grammar!

Have a friend read it and respond to your argument. Were they convinced?

Revise if necessary

Turn in the paper

Celebrate a job well done, with the confidence that you have done your best.

How to respond to criticism: 
Consider criticism as a test of developing your powers of persuasion. 
Try not to take it personally.

If your facts are criticized, double check them, and then cite your sources.

If your values are criticized, sometimes we need agree "to disagree".
Remember: your success in persuading others assumes that the other person is open to being persuaded!

Fear:  If you are not used to communicating, especially in writing, you may need to overcome fear on several levels.  Writing, unlike unrecorded speech, is a permanent record for all to see, and the "context" is not as important as in speech where context "colors" the words.  For example:  your readers do not see you, only your words.  They do not know what you look like, where you live, who you are.

Hopefully in school, and class, we have a safe place to practice both the art of writing and of persuasion.  Then later, when we are in our communities, whether work, church, neighborhoods, and even families, we can benefit from this practice.

Persuasion also has another dimension:  it is built with facts, which illustrate conclusions.  Of course, this means you need to know what you are talking about, and cannot be lazy with your facts, or you will not succeed in convincing anyone.  This shows another level of fear:  Fear of making a mistake that will make your argument or persuasion meaningless.  Since you are writing, and the words are on paper for all to see (or on a web site!), you need to work to make sure your facts are in order.

Study Guides and Strategies was created and is maintained by Joe Landsberger, Supervisor, ISS/Learning Center, University of St.Thomas (UST), St. Paul, MN.  Permission is granted to freely copy, adapt, print, transmit, and distribute Study Guides in educational, non-commerical, settings to benefit learners.Additional translations are warmly received.