Persuasive Essay. For this essay you will use all of the tools we’ve been examining to persuade your reader of a specific position. A persuasive essay seeks to convince its audience with a combination of sympathetic emotion and well-founded logic. In fact, all three persuasive techniques, from ethos to pathos, are essential in persuasion. To write a persuasive essay be sure to: 1) Identify your audience. Who are you speaking to? Name them and speak to them.
Say things like, “As parents you certainly want what’s best for your child” or “Students like us need to schedule our sleep.” By addressing the audience you get their attention and bring them into the issue. This is perhaps the most important aspect of a persuasive essay. In persuasion we don’t want to talk about our audience but rather we want to talk to our audience. See the Audience, Purpose, Thesis video in the Canvas Videos module. Have a clear ask. Tell your audience what you want them to do, consider, change.
It’s a persuasive essay, so be sure it’s clear what you are persuading people to do. From trying a new way of eating to supporting the homeless, the audience needs to know what you want. Support your claims. Most essays have 3-5 supporting arguments in the body. Support them so the argument doesn’t come across as opinion only. Be passionate about your stance A persuasive essay should be opinionated, and is free to use a variety of methods to achieve its end. Unlike an argument essay, where facts are the focus, in a persuasive essay you are allowed more freedom with your opinion. This does not mean you can state your opinion alone and be done with it.
You have to be convincing, and that requires detail (and again – talk directly to your audience). The following is a brief outline for how to approach this essay: Write a hook – all good essays begin with a strong introduction. An example of such a hook might be – “With the advent and growth of social media today, more and more people are becoming isolated, lonely, and depressed.” From here you might build toward the thesis that Facebook, above all other platforms, is primarily responsible for this isolation. Be sure to define your audience – this is important no matter what kind of essay you write.
In the above example you are probably writing to lonely Facebook users and those considering Facebook as an option for social interaction. Don’t be afraid of the “you” pronoun here. Usually we want to avoid it, but in persuasion you can use it to great effect. Note: the audience is almost never “everyone” and the audience is not “the teacher.” The audience is those people that most need to hear the message and take action, usually because they have the authority to make the change. Present your thesis – in all academic essays you must take a stand.
Stick to your point and defend it relentlessly. This is no time to be indecisive. After your introduction, build the body of your essay by giving reasons and supporting those reasons with facts and examples. Remember to have a minimum of three anchor points. Your facts and reasons can be anecdotal (stories based on unverified experiences of yourself or others), but you want to balance anecdote with some real factual information. Be sure to properly cite any research sources. In your conclusion be sure to 1. rephrase the thesis statement, 2. summarize your supporting arguments, and 3. call your readers to action to make a change. If your are convincing and persuasive, your essay will be a success.