Persuasive essays are one of the many types of essays that you can be tasked to write during the course of your academic career. As the name indicates, persuasive essays are written for the purpose of persuading the audience to agree or concede to a particular idea or concept.
In a persuasive essay, you have to compile and elaborate arguments in favor of your topic/idea. While doing this sounds easy and simple, it can be a bit difficult. But don’t worry. In this article, we are going to be looking at a comprehensive guide on how you can write a persuasive essay.
How to Write a Persuasive Essay?
Before we delve into the process itself, let’s outline all the steps once in the beginning.
- Choose a topic
- Do your research
- List some arguments with all their evidence
- Start with the intro
- Move on to the main body
- Wrap up with a strong conclusion
- Citations and references
- Check, edit, and perfect
Now let’s break all of these steps down:
1. Choose a Topic
The first thing that you want to do when it comes to writing a persuasive essay is choose a topic. Choosing a good topic is actually more important when writing a persuasive essay than any other. Since a persuasive essay is about persuading the other person, you need to pick a topic that you’re not only knowledgeable about but also passionate about.
If you passionately discuss your arguments and your viewpoints, you will be more likely to sway and persuade the other person.
So, to sum it up, the topic that you choose for your essay should be:
- Something you have extensive knowledge about
- Something you have a liking or inclination to
- Something that you can approach and cover with different arguments/perspectives
2. Do Your Research
If you’ve acted on our advice pertaining to the point above, then you’ve probably selected a topic that you’re already pretty knowledgeable about. But, despite that, you should still do your research.
Even if you know a lot of stuff about your topic, there could be a lot of stuff that you don’t. The purpose of the research is to make yourself familiar with all the aspects and perspectives of the topic at hand and also to garner some hard-hitting facts and figures with which to back up your arguments in the essay itself.
There are some considerations that you have to make when conducting research. First off, you have to keep in mind any guidelines or rules that your institution could have set out regarding research. For example, your institute could have prohibited the use of certain sources while obligating the use of others.
Other than the provided guidelines, you should (in general) take care to use reliable and authoritative sources. Sticking to “.edu” websites can be a good rule of thumb in this regard.
Another thing that you should be careful of is to not copy content from your sources too closely. Typically, you should make notes during your research phase and then elaborate on those notes later on when you want to write the essay itself. If you decide to take big chunks from the content and then use them as is, it could (and most probably will) lead to plagiarism issues.
3. List the Arguments with their Corroborating Evidence
This is more of an organizing phase, really. You just have to organize the stuff that you’ve researched and then form your arguments on those. Then you just have to list those arguments in the right order and mention all of their corroborating evidence next to them. This will make it easier for you to recall when and where to mention everything when it comes to writing the essay itself.
4. Start with the Intro
Once all this preamble is done, you have to move on to the writing process itself. And the first part of this process is the introduction.
The introduction is one of the most essential parts of your essay. Should you happen to mess up the intro, it would only take a dedicated reader to plow onwards. A lot of people can abandon an essay (or form a bad opinion of it) if the introduction is not up to mark. This is more or less due to the principle of “the first impression is the last impression.”
Here are some things that you should do in your introduction to make it come out nice and engaging:
- Outline all the stuff that you are going to be talking about in the essay
- Keep your writing clear and readable
- Don’t be boring – get to the point without beating around the bush
Keep in mind that the introduction of the essay is not where you want to start talking about all your arguments. Your introduction is just to tell the reader what the essay is going to be covering and how it’s going to be covering it.
5. Move on to the Main Body
After you are done writing the introduction, next up is the main body of the essay. This is the part where you have to let loose with all the arguments and points, etc.
Since this part is all about writing, there isn’t really a blow-by-blow set of tips or tricks that we can give you about how you can do the whole thing. We can’t really talk about “write the next line…press space…write the next one.”
The point is, there are some general pointers that you should keep in mind when writing the main body. Some of those include:
- Keep your arguments separate
- Keep your essay properly structured and divided using headings and subheadings
- Use bullets when enumerating something to make the list easier to understand
- Use short paragraphs and sentences
Readability and flow are important factors that you have to consider when writing the main body of your essay. A well-crafted essay, i.e., with regard to the arguments, with some nice visuals and graphics, won’t be able to score well if it is not readable.
For some people, maintaining readability can be a little difficult right from the start. Some people can, on the other hand, totally lack the skill to make their writing readable.
In these cases, using online tools can be a good way to go. There is basically a combination of tools that you can use to evaluate and improve the readability of your content. That combination includes:
- a readability checker;
- And a word paraphraser
The tricky part of this process, i.e., using tools for improving readability, is to find good, worthwhile tools. Once you have the tools, the rest of the steps are easy and simple. You just have to use the readability checker to find out the readability issues in the content and then use the word paraphraser to rephrase any hard parts that it may contain.
6. Wrap up with a Strong Conclusion
Once you are done writing the main body, you have to wrap your essay up with a strong conclusion. The conclusion has a similar effect on the quality of the essay as the introduction. Since it is one of the “terminal” elements, it is likely to be read by the reader during their skimming spree.
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when writing the conclusion:
- Summarize everything that you’ve mentioned in the essay
- Keep the length of the conclusion to a maximum of 10% of the entire essay
7. Proofread and Edit
After the writing part has been taken care of, the next thing that you have to do is proofread and edit the essay itself.
There are a few major things that you have to keep an eye out for during the proofreading phase. You have to, for one, check for:
- grammar errors;
- punctuation errors;
- spelling errors;
- missing or incorrect citations;
- improper formatting;
- And graphic labeling (if any).
Most of the things that we’ve listed above can be found and fixed with the help of the right online tools.
Writing a persuasive essay is not that difficult if you know what you’re doing. The main idea behind writing a persuasive essay is to persuade the reader. That is why you have to make sure that everything you do during the researching, writing, and proofreading phase is in line with this idea.
Your research should be rock-solid so that your reader can get convinced. Your writing should be clear and authoritative so that your reader can get persuaded. And your proofreading should be thorough so that your reader’s attention is not lost due to basic errors.