How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Everyone has disagreements – whether it’s “who is the best performer of all time” or “what is the tastiest flavor of ice cream”, someone is going to have an opinion that might differ from yours. That doesn’t stop us from trying to convince each other of our perspective. This is where persuasive essays come into play. Persuasive writing is used to sway our readers to a certain viewpoint or opinion of the writer. How is that done? Today, well go over the purpose of persuasive writing and how to create an effective persuasive piece. Let’s get started!

Persuasive essays, also known as argumentative essays, are texts that are meant to convince the reader of something. There are other things besides essays that can be persuasive, such as speeches and social media posts. From politics to music to arguing why purple is the best color ever – anything can be made into a persuasive text.

But, the focus of this video is persuasive essays. When writing a persuasive essay, there is a structure you can follow to help make your argument clear and effective.

The essay is typically made up of 3 main sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. To write an effective persuasive essay, each section should contain specific points you want to discuss.

The introduction paragraph of your essay should always introduce the topic you will be discussing. A good introduction paragraph will also have a hook, which is a sentence that grabs your readers attention. Once you have your hook you will state your thesis. A thesis is the main point or argument you want to prove in your essay. Every persuasive essay must have a thesis. Lastly, you should always end each section of your essay with a concluding sentence. This is a sentence that wraps up the end of a paragraph and helps transition into the next paragraph.

Let’s look at an example of an introduction paragraph of a persuasive essay.

Long ago, ancient Egyptians worshiped cats. They believed they were godly creatures. Today, cats are still very beloved, but as household pets. Some cats aren’t so lucky; there are many cats who have yet to find their forever home. Cats are amazing animals that you should consider adopting because they are very intelligent, have an urgent need to be placed in a home, and make great companions. These are just a few reasons I’ll discuss as to why cats should be protected.

This introduction paragraph had a hook, it grabbed our attention by talking about ancient cats, and related it to cats today.

We see there is a thesis, the writer believes we need to adopt homeless cats, ideally from shelters, and gives three reasons why.

Lastly, they concluded the introduction paragraph by saying they would give more details about their reasons.

Next comes the body paragraphs. The body of a persuasive essay holds all the main points you as the writer want to argue. It’s best to separate your points by paragraphs; so, if you have three main arguments, you should have at least three body paragraphs explaining them in detail. When you argue your points in the paragraph, you must make sure to explain why these reasons support your thesis. Let’s look at an example.

Cats are very smart animals. Despite what many people think, cats do in fact know their names and will react when you call out to them. They are also great at solving problems. Cats can easily get bored, when that happens, they may act mischievous. That’s why cats have puzzle toys to stimulate their curious minds. Such a smart animal should be able to have a safe home to live and play in peace.

Secondly, cats that end up in shelters don’t always find good homes. Pet shops are popular places to get cats as pets. When you get a cat from a pet shop, it will live there until it finds a good home. In shelters however, they can become packed with cats who haven’t found a home. Unfortunately, some shelters resort to euthanizing the animals when they run out space for new ones. For people who are interested in helping a cat find a home, why not consider getting one from a shelter instead?

Lastly, despite their bad reputation, cats are very friendly. Cats of all ages are able to cuddle with their owner and other pets. Some cats, just like people, need time to get used to you, but once they do, you’ll find you have a great couch surfing buddy that keeps you company. Cats are also low maintenance pets, and are cleaner than most roommates. Just another reason to consider bringing a cat to your home.

We can see here that the author addressed the 3 main reasons that support the thesis with 3 body paragraphs. Each paragraph began with a transition word or hook, then it went into detail to support the reason, and lastly, it ended the paragraph with a concluding sentence.

The conclusion of a persuasive essay is a summary of all the points mentioned earlier that wraps up the essay and often includes a catchy ending to drive the point home.

Whether you have been thinking of adopting for a long time or just considered it, cats everywhere are in need of a home. What better way to help an intelligent animal in need and make a new friend than to adopt a shelter cat!

As we can see, conclusion paragraphs don’t need to be super long. As long as they summarize the overall thesis and arguments of the essay, it is an effective closing to a persuasive essay.

As you’re writing the essay, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to make sure your persuasion is more effective:

Repetition – Don’t say the same thing so many times that you start to sound redundant, but find ways to bring back your main argument throughout the essay. Your readers and listeners will remember your argument better if you repeat and emphasize it throughout the piece.

Real-world examples – Whether you are using data, emotions, or credibility to drive your point home, you should try to always use real-world examples to further persuade your readers.

Call to action – A good thesis in a persuasive essay is a statement that asks the reader to do something. Think hard about what you want to convince people of and narrow that action into one clear sentence. The rest of your essay should revolve around that.

Okay, let’s quickly review everything we talked about to wrap up.

The main purpose of a persuasive essay is to persuade the reader to a certain viewpoint or opinion of the writer. The essay will have an introduction paragraph that introduces the main argument, multiple body paragraphs that discuss sub-arguments that support the main argument, and a conclusion that wraps things up. And finally, if you want to make your persuasion more effective, remember to repeat your main argument throughout the paper, try to use real-world examples to support your points, and make your thesis a call to action.

That’s all for this review! Thanks for watching, and happy studying!

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 14, 2021