Understand the format.
Assuming you understand the purpose of a persuasive essay, let’s talk about how to write one. First, it helps to understand the format. A persuasive essay has three parts: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
The introduction should introduce your topic and explain why it’s important or relevant (it may also define key terms). The body paragraphs should provide evidence from your research that supports your thesis statement—the main idea in your argument—and back up each claim with an example, statistic, or quote from a credible source (a book or article). Finally, in the conclusion you summarize what you’ve said and sum up your position on this issue; if appropriate, you may include some new ideas or suggestions based on what you’ve learned along the way.
Evaluate your audience.
The first step in writing a persuasive essay is to ensure that it will persuade your audience. Your goal should be to make them believe in whatever argument you are making, whether that’s a claim that there aren’t enough bees left in the world, or something more personal like “my friend is the best person I know.”
In order to do this, it’s helpful for writers to evaluate who their target audience is so they can specifically tailor their message according to those readers’ needs and wants.
Research your topic.
Before we get started, it’s important to know how to research your topic. Here are some tips:
- Research background information on the topic you’ve chosen by looking online and in library databases. Make sure to find reliable sources of information.
- Write down all the facts and statistics that are important to your essay, and organize them in an outline format.
- Use proper citation or referencing when citing your sources (this is especially important if you plan on submitting your final essay).
Develop a thesis statement.
- Re-state your thesis. Look at your outline, and choose a topic sentence that best summarizes the main point you want to make in this paragraph. Write that down as your thesis statement.
- Summarize your main arguments. This part is where you explain why the topic is significant and how it relates to other ideas or concepts (if applicable).
- Explain why the topic is significant with three to six sentences or two paragraphs maximum (more than two paragraphs is too much). In these sentences or paragraphs, use examples from research and relevant experiences to support why your argument makes sense. For example: “The issue of deforestation has been around for hundreds of years because people need wood for fuel and construction materials.” Or: “Deforestation affects many areas such as agriculture, endangered species, climate change mitigation efforts, etc.”
- End with a strong closing statement that restates the main points made in this section using different wording than used previously but keeping its original meaning intact
Develop an outline for the persuasive essay.
A persuasive essay is a written piece of work that aims to convince readers of a particular point of view. Essays may be persuasive in nature, or they may be descriptive and explanatory.
- Body paragraphs:
Each body paragraph should contain its own supporting statements or arguments. It is important to be able to back up your claims with facts and figures, as well as examples from personal experience. The main body also needs to contain an introduction and conclusion line that connects back through the other body paragraphs in order for it all to make sense together!
Construct the introduction section.
Before you begin writing, you’ll need to construct the introduction section of your paper. You can see how this is done in the following example:
- Start with a transition sentence that leads into the topic of your essay (e.g., “In this essay, I will explain how to construct an effective introductory paragraph.”).
- State your thesis statement, which should be one sentence long (e.g., “The best way for me to write an introduction section for my persuasive essay would be…”).
- Use reasons or examples from past experiences or research studies that support your thesis statement (e.g., “When I’ve written introductions before, they have been weak because… 1) ).
Introduce supporting evidence and arguments in the body section.
The body section is where you present your supporting evidence and arguments. This section should be organized in a logical sequence, beginning with the most compelling reason and ending with the least significant support.
- Don’t make generalizations. Your paper shouldn’t include any unsupported claims, like “people have always been this way” or “the world is getting better all the time.” You can only prove something with facts—not opinions or beliefs that aren’t based on evidence.
- Don’t use first-person pronouns (I, me). These words are used when talking about yourself; they’re informal language that doesn’t belong in an academic essay because it can make your writing sound less credible and objective than it should be. For example:
This is too informal: “I think…”
This sounds more professional: “It has been suggested that…”
Write concluding paragraphs that summarize the content of the persuasive essay.
The final paragraph of your essay should summarize the main points and reiterate the thesis. Be sure to conclude with a call to action that urges the reader to take some kind of action based on what you have demonstrated in your essay.
Use this guide to persuasively write your paper
To write an effective persuasive essay, follow these steps:
- Use an outline to plan your paper. Your introduction should include the title of the paper and a thesis statement that clearly states your argument. The body paragraphs should present facts and evidence to support your thesis statement. Use sources when you can to back up claims or explain ideas about how something works. In all cases, use sources as appropriate for what you’re writing about; avoid using many sources if one will suffice, and don’t stuff too much information into each paragraph with too many quotes or paraphrases. Finally, end with a conclusion that restates your main points in brief form—your final sentence should be a logical summary of what was said before it in order to close out on a strong note!
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