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Step-By-Step Guide: How to Write the Perfect Persuasive Essay

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay, also known as an argumentative essay, is a piece of academic writing where you use logic and reason to show that your point of view is more legitimate than any other. You must expose clear arguments and support them by convincing facts and logical reasons.

Persuasive Essay Topics

Do you know what the biggest problem with these types of assignments is? Students don’t get enough instructions. Sure, they might ask the professor for the persuasive essay definition, but the instructions won’t go much further than that. You’ll be left with a general theme and a requirement to complete the essay by a specific deadline.

With such lack of information, it’s difficult for you to get ideas that would spark your inspiration for academic writing. You don’t even have a precise topic, so you have to start from that step.

What title do you set? We’ll suggest few college persuasive essay topics from different areas of study. This list will help you understand how good persuasive essay topics look like, and it will get you inspired to start writing the project.

You’ll notice that most of these topics are set in the format of a question, so they give you a good foundation to express and defend your opinion.

  1. Should aggressive dogs be euthanized or resocialized?
  2. Should gambling be banned in the USA?
  3. Are cats better pets than dogs?
  4. Should every family have a detailed survival plan for natural-disaster situations?
  5. Should children get payment from their parents for doing home chores?
  6. Are biological weapons ethical?
  7. Should gay couples be allowed to adopt children?
  8. Should abortion be banned?
  9. Are good-looking people being underestimated because they look good?
  10. Is fashion a good or a bad thing for society?
  11. If God doesn’t exist, is everything allowed?
  12. Are there such things as good and evil?
  13. Are all people selfish?
  14. Is truth universal?
  15. Is human behavior determined by genetics?
  16. Should child molesters be euthanized?
  17. Should the government be spending so much of our money on the Olympic Games?
  18. Should psychiatrists and priests break their vows when asked to testify in court?
  19. Should people go through psychological testing before being allowed to have children?
  20. Should people with disabilities be advised not to have children?
  21. Should football teams be mixed in terms of gender equality?
  22. Should governments be using cyber-attacks to spy on other countries?
  23. Should there be borders between countries?
  24. Is nationality a justified concept when the world is moving towards globalization?
  25. Should same-sex marriages be allowed or banned in the USA?
  26. Is euthanasia cruel?
  27. Is sex orientation determined in childhood?

Now that was a pretty long list of persuasive essay ideas, wasn’t it? The more options you have, the easier it will be for you to understand what this type of assignment calls for. You probably noticed that all topics above required your straightforward opinion and left space for a discussion.

You should choose a topic that inspires you to write, but also gives you tons of materials to research. This type of paper is heavily based on research data, so don’t go for a topic that doesn’t give you access to tons of resources.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Now that we got the type of assignment explained and we inspired you with some topics, it’s time for the real lesson: how do you write a persuasive paper? Before we start with the step-by-step guide, let’s go through few general tips that will help you complete the project:

  • Set your position straight from the beginning, and maintain it throughout the paper. If, for example, you’re writing a persuasive paper on the woman’s right to abortion and you decide to support the pro-choice movement, you’ll have to make that position clear from the introduction, and you should keep it strong throughout the paper.
  • This is a type of paper that demands facts. Find data in the form of statistics, scientific experiments, and research materials that support your arguments.
  • Build the arguments in progression, so you’ll move from the least important to the most important one. This gradation will keep the reader’s attention and will convince them that you’re standing your ground by the end of the paper.
  • Your professor is the audience for your persuasive essay. However, you should still write this paper as if you were explaining things to a beginner. Assume the reader doesn’t know anything about this issue. Throughout the body of the essay, you’ll defend your point of view, but you’ll also provide information on the opposing positions, so the reader will know what you’re arguing against.
  • Disproving the opposing claim is one of the most effective ways to prove your viewpoint. Thus, you’ll be searching for resources not only to support your point of view, but to refute the opposing positions as well. In academic writing, this approach is called refutation.
  • Specific, relevant, and realistic examples can make your position stronger. Although persuasive writing is all about actual facts, you may also use well-known or less-known examples to prove your viewpoint.
  • There are three main elements of persuasive writing to remember:
  • Logos – the appeal to reason and logic. You express it by using facts presented in logical manner.
  • Ethos – the appeal to ethics. In persuasive writing, you must convince the reader that you’re right from an ethical point of view.
  • Pathos – the appeal to emotion. You have to awaken the reader’s sympathy, sadness, anger, or any other kind of emotion, so you’ll make your main argument more convincing.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay Outline

Your persuasive paper should achieve the perfect balance between logos, ethos, and pathos. That’s how it will convince the reader to consider and even adopt your point of view. But how do you achieve such an impression? How exactly do you write a persuasive paper?

Once you pick your topic and you do enough research, you’ll be ready to think about the structure of your paper. In the outline, you’ll write brief points on what you intend to include in each section of the paper.

Let’s say that you’re writing an essay on the topic “Is feminism justified today?”, you may plan to include the following points throughout the content:

  • Introduction:
  • Some background: why did feminism start and what did the movement stand against?
  • Yes, feminism is justified (main argument)
  • Thesis statement: Feminism is justified because although women in Western cultures have more freedom than ever, some women from all over the world are still being oppressed.
  • Body:
  • First paragraph: the lifestyle of women in Western societies is not what feminists were initially fighting for.
  • Second paragraph: women in many cultures are still being oppressed.
  • Third paragraph: argue the opposing viewpoint that feminism is redundant in today’s societies.
  • Conclusion
  • Restate the thesis statement and show how you proved it.

What Are the Parts of a Persuasive Essay?

As you may see from the example of a persuasive essay outline above, this looks like a pretty standard essay with these main parts:

  • Introduction, where you’ll introduce the topic and expose your thesis statement.
  • Body, where you’ll state your facts and prove your thesis with arguments, and disprove the arguments of your opponents.
  • Conclusion, where you’ll bring all points down to a logical ending.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay Introduction

When you have your outline ready, it will be easy to start with the actual writing process. Still, the introduction might give you some trouble.

The most important part of the introduction is the clear and concise thesis statements, which defines your point of view, as well as the direction that the entire essay is going to take. Before that thesis statement, you should “hook” the reader. You may do that with a fact related to your topic, an anecdote, a quote, or even a definition. Think of something that would keep the reader interested in your paper.

A solid introduction will seamlessly flow towards the body paragraphs, which will prove the thesis statement with strong arguments.

How to Write a Conclusion for a Persuasive Essay

It’s strange to see how many students write the main parts of the persuasive paper and then get stuck with the introduction. You must pay great attention to this element of the paper. It’s not there just because your professor said so; it’s there because it has to balance out the essay and lead the reader towards a logical conclusion.

It’s a good idea to restate the main arguments and show how they prove the thesis statement. Don’t just paraphrase what you already wrote. Show exactly how your point of view is the right stance to have on this matter, and invite your reader to take action.

Conclusion

It’s no wonder why the persuasive paper is one of the most common assignments you get at college. This type of essay strengthens your skills of persuasive thinking, speaking, and writing. When you master those skills, you’ll be more prepared to tackle any professional challenge in the future, regardless of the profession you choose.

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  • Alice Perry 20 years, student

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  • Alice Perry 20 years, student

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    Robin Scott 20 years, student

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