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How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Tips and Tricks

Allison Bressmer

Allison Bressmer

How to write a persuasive essay

Most composition classes you’ll take will teach the art of persuasive writing. That’s a good thing.

Knowing where you stand on issues and knowing how to argue for or against something is a skill that will serve you well both inside and outside of the classroom.

Persuasion is the art of using logic to prompt audiences to change their mind or take action , and is generally seen as accomplishing that goal by appealing to emotions and feelings.

A persuasive essay is one that attempts to get a reader to agree with your perspective.

What is a persuasive essay?

Ready for some tips on how to produce a well-written, well-rounded, well-structured persuasive essay? Just say yes. I don’t want to have to write another essay to convince you!

How Do I Write a Persuasive Essay?

What are some good topics for a persuasive essay, how do i identify an audience for my persuasive essay, how do you create an effective persuasive essay, how should i edit my persuasive essay.

Your persuasive essay needs to have the three components required of any essay: the introduction , body , and conclusion .

That is essay structure. However, there is flexibility in that structure.

There is no rule (unless the assignment has specific rules) for how many paragraphs any of those sections need.

Although the components should be proportional; the body paragraphs will comprise most of your persuasive essay.

What should every essay include?

How Do I Start a Persuasive Essay?

As with any essay introduction, this paragraph is where you grab your audience’s attention, provide context for the topic of discussion, and present your thesis statement.

TIP 1: Some writers find it easier to write their introductions last. As long as you have your working thesis, this is a perfectly acceptable approach. From that thesis, you can plan your body paragraphs and then go back and write your introduction.

TIP 2: Avoid “announcing” your thesis. Don’t include statements like this:

  • “In my essay I will show why extinct animals should (not) be regenerated.”
  • “The purpose of my essay is to argue that extinct animals should (not) be regenerated.”

Announcements take away from the originality, authority, and sophistication of your writing.

Instead, write a convincing thesis statement that answers the question "so what?" Why is the topic important, what do you think about it, and why do you think that? Be specific.

How Many Paragraphs Should a Persuasive Essay Have?

This body of your persuasive essay is the section in which you develop the arguments that support your thesis. Consider these questions as you plan this section of your essay:

  • What arguments support your thesis?
  • What is the best order for your arguments?
  • What evidence do you have?
  • Will you address the opposing argument to your own?
  • How can you conclude convincingly?

The body of a persuasive essay

TIP: Brainstorm and do your research before you decide which arguments you’ll focus on in your discussion. Make a list of possibilities and go with the ones that are strongest, that you can discuss with the most confidence, and that help you balance your rhetorical triangle .

What Should I Put in the Conclusion of a Persuasive Essay?

The conclusion is your “mic-drop” moment. Think about how you can leave your audience with a strong final comment.

And while a conclusion often re-emphasizes the main points of a discussion, it shouldn’t simply repeat them.

TIP 1: Be careful not to introduce a new argument in the conclusion—there’s no time to develop it now that you’ve reached the end of your discussion!

TIP 2 : As with your thesis, avoid announcing your conclusion. Don’t start your conclusion with “in conclusion” or “to conclude” or “to end my essay” type statements. Your audience should be able to see that you are bringing the discussion to a close without those overused, less sophisticated signals.

The conclusion of a persuasive essay

If your instructor has assigned you a topic, then you’ve already got your issue; you’ll just have to determine where you stand on the issue. Where you stand on your topic is your position on that topic.

Your position will ultimately become the thesis of your persuasive essay: the statement the rest of the essay argues for and supports, intending to convince your audience to consider your point of view.

If you have to choose your own topic, use these guidelines to help you make your selection:

  • Choose an issue you truly care about
  • Choose an issue that is actually debatable

Simple “tastes” (likes and dislikes) can’t really be argued. No matter how many ways someone tries to convince me that milk chocolate rules, I just won’t agree.

It’s dark chocolate or nothing as far as my tastes are concerned.

Similarly, you can’t convince a person to “like” one film more than another in an essay.

You could argue that one movie has superior qualities than another: cinematography, acting, directing, etc. but you can’t convince a person that the film really appeals to them.

Debatable and non-debatable concepts

Once you’ve selected your issue, determine your position just as you would for an assigned topic. That position will ultimately become your thesis.

Until you’ve finalized your work, consider your thesis a “working thesis.”

This means that your statement represents your position, but you might change its phrasing or structure for that final version.

When you’re writing an essay for a class, it can seem strange to identify an audience—isn’t the audience the instructor?

Your instructor will read and evaluate your essay, and may be part of your greater audience, but you shouldn’t just write for your teacher.

Think about who your intended audience is.

For an argument essay, think of your audience as the people who disagree with you—the people who need convincing.

That population could be quite broad, for example, if you’re arguing a political issue, or narrow, if you’re trying to convince your parents to extend your curfew.

Once you’ve got a sense of your audience, it’s time to consult with Aristotle. Aristotle’s teaching on persuasion has shaped communication since about 330 BC. Apparently, it works.

Ethos, pathos and logos

Aristotle taught that in order to convince an audience of something, the communicator needs to balance the three elements of the rhetorical triangle to achieve the best results.

Those three elements are ethos , logos , and pathos .

Ethos relates to credibility and trustworthiness. How can you, as the writer, demonstrate your credibility as a source of information to your audience?

How will you show them you are worthy of their trust?

How to make your essay credible

  • You show you’ve done your research: you understand the issue, both sides
  • You show respect for the opposing side: if you disrespect your audience, they won’t respect you or your ideas

Logos relates to logic. How will you convince your audience that your arguments and ideas are reasonable?

How to use logic in essays

You provide facts or other supporting evidence to support your claims.

That evidence may take the form of studies or expert input or reasonable examples or a combination of all of those things, depending on the specific requirements of your assignment.

Remember: if you use someone else’s ideas or words in your essay, you need to give them credit.

ProWritingAid's Plagiarism Checker checks your work against over a billion web-pages, published works, and academic papers so you can be sure of its originality.

Find out more about ProWritingAid’s Plagiarism checks.

Pathos relates to emotion. Audiences are people and people are emotional beings. We respond to emotional prompts. How will you engage your audience with your arguments on an emotional level?

How to use emotion in essays

  • You make strategic word choices : words have denotations (dictionary meanings) and also connotations, or emotional values. Use words whose connotations will help prompt the feelings you want your audience to experience.
  • You use emotionally engaging examples to support your claims or make a point, prompting your audience to be moved by your discussion.

Be mindful as you lean into elements of the triangle. Too much pathos and your audience might end up feeling manipulated, roll their eyes and move on.

An “all logos” approach will leave your essay dry and without a sense of voice; it will probably bore your audience rather than make them care.

Once you’ve got your essay planned, start writing! Don’t worry about perfection, just get your ideas out of your head and off your list and into a rough essay format.

After you’ve written your draft, evaluate your work. What works and what doesn’t? For help with evaluating and revising your work, check out this ProWritingAid post on manuscript revision .

After you’ve evaluated your draft, revise it. Repeat that process as many times as you need to make your work the best it can be.

When you’re satisfied with the content and structure of the essay, take it through the editing process .

Grammatical or sentence-level errors can distract your audience or even detract from the ethos—the authority—of your work.

You don’t have to edit alone! ProWritingAid’s Realtime Report will find errors and make suggestions for improvements.

You can even use it on emails to your professors:

ProWritingAid's Realtime Report

Try ProWritingAid with a free account.

How Can I Improve My Persuasion Skills?

You can develop your powers of persuasion every day just by observing what’s around you.

  • How is that advertisement working to convince you to buy a product?
  • How is a political candidate arguing for you to vote for them?
  • How do you “argue” with friends about what to do over the weekend, or convince your boss to give you a raise?
  • How are your parents working to convince you to follow a certain academic or career path?

As you observe these arguments in action, evaluate them. Why are they effective or why do they fail?

How could an argument be strengthened with more (or less) emphasis on ethos, logos, and pathos?

Every argument is an opportunity to learn! Observe them, evaluate them, and use them to perfect your own powers of persuasion.

what is a personal persuasive essay

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.

Allison Bressmer is a professor of freshman composition and critical reading at a community college and a freelance writer. If she isn’t writing or teaching, you’ll likely find her reading a book or listening to a podcast while happily sipping a semi-sweet iced tea or happy-houring with friends. She lives in New York with her family. Connect at linkedin.com/in/allisonbressmer.

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what is a personal persuasive essay

Writing a Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays convince readers to accept a certain perspective. Writing a persuasive essay therefore entails making an argument that will appeal to readers, so they believe what you say has merit. This act of appealing to readers is the art of persuasion, also known as rhetoric. In classical rhetoric, persuasion involves appealing to readers using ethos, pathos, and logos.

In this tutorial, we refer to the sample persuasive draft and final paper written by fictional student Maggie Durham.

THE ART OF PERSUASION

Ethos refers to establishing yourself as a credible source of information. To convince an audience of anything, they must first trust you are being earnest and ethical. One strategy to do this is to write a balanced discussion with relevant and reliable research that supports your claims. Reliable research would include quoting or paraphrasing experts, first-hand witnesses, or authorities. Properly citing your sources, so your readers can also retrieve them, is another factor in establishing a reliable ethos. When writing for academic purposes, expressing your argument using unbiased language and a neutral tone will also indicate you are arguing fairly and with consideration of others having differing views.

When you appeal to your readers’ emotions, you are using pathos. This appeal is common in advertising that convinces consumers they lack something and buying a certain product or service will fulfill that lack. Emotional appeals are subtler in academic writing; they serve to engage a reader in the argument and inspire a change of heart or motivate readers toward a course of action. The examples you use, how you define terms, any comparisons you draw, as well as the language choices you use can draw readers in and impact their willingness to go along with your ideas.

Consider that one purpose of persuasion is to appeal to those who do not already agree with you, so it will be important to show that you understand other points of view. You will also want to avoid derogatory or insulting descriptions or remarks about the opposition. You wouldn’t want to offend the very readers you want to persuade.

Establishing an appeal of logos is to write a sound argument, one that readers can follow and understand. To do this, the facts and evidence you use should be relevant, representative, and reliable, and the writing as a whole should be well organized, developed, and edited.

STEPS FOR WRITING PERSUASIVELY

Step one: determine the topic.

The first step in writing a persuasive essay is to establish the topic. The best topic is one that interests you. You can generate ideas for a topic by prewriting, such as by brainstorming whatever comes to mind, recording in grocery-list fashion your thoughts, or freewriting in complete sentences what you know or think about topics of interest.

Whatever topic you choose, it needs to be:

  • Interesting : The topic should appeal both to you and to your intended readers.
  • Researchable : A body of knowledge should already exist on the topic.
  • Nonfiction : The information about the topic should be factual, not based on personal opinions or conspiracy theories.
  • Important : Your reader should think the topic is relevant to them or worthy of being explored and discussed.

Our sample student Maggie Durham has selected the topic of educational technology. We will use Maggie’s sample persuasive draft and final paper as we discuss the steps for writing a persuasive essay.

Step Two: Pose a Research Question

Once you have a topic, the next step is to develop a research question along with related questions that delve further into the first question. If you do not know what to ask, start with one of the question words: What? Who? Where? When? Why? and How? The research question helps you focus or narrow the scope of your topic by identifying a problem, controversy, or aspect of the topic that is worth exploration and discussion. Some general questions about a topic would be the following:

  • Who is affected by this problem and how?
  • Have previous efforts or polices been made to address this problem? – What are they?
  • Why hasn’t this problem been solved already?

For Maggie’s topic of educational technology, potential issues or controversies range from data privacy to digital literacy to the impact of technology on learning, which is what Maggie is interested in. Maggie’s local school district has low literacy rates, so Maggie wants to know the following:

  • Are there advantages and/or disadvantages of technology within primary and secondary education?
  • Which types of technology are considered the best in terms of quality and endurance?
  • What types of technology and/or programs do students like using and why?
  • Do teachers know how to use certain technologies with curriculum design, instruction, and/or assessment?

Step Three: Draft a Thesis

A thesis is a claim that asserts your main argument about the topic. As you conduct your research and draft your paper, you may discover information that changes your mind about your thesis, so at this point in writing, the thesis is tentative. Still, it is an important step in narrowing your focus for research and writing.

The thesis should

1. be a complete sentence,

2. identify the topic, and

3. make a specific claim about that topic.

In a persuasive paper, the thesis is a claim that someone should believe or do something. For example, a persuasive thesis might assert that something is effective or ineffective. It might state that a policy should be changed or a plan should be implemented. Or a persuasive thesis might be a plea for people to change their minds about a particular issue.

Once you have figured out your research question, your thesis is simply the answer. Maggie’s thesis is “Schools should supply technology aids to all students to increase student learning and literacy rates.” Her next step is to find evidence to support her claim.

Step Four: Research

Once you have a topic, research question, and thesis, you are ready to conduct research. To find sources that would be appropriate for an academic persuasive essay, begin your search in the library. The Purdue Global Library has a number of tutorials on conducting research, choosing search teams, types of sources, and how to evaluate information to determine its reliability and usefulness. Remember that the research you use will not only provide content to prove your claim and develop your essay, but it will also help to establish your credibility as a reliable source (ethos), create a logical framework for your argument (logos), and appeal to your readers emotionally (pathos).

Step Five: Plan Your Argument; Make an Outline

Once you have located quality source information—facts, examples, definitions, knowledge, and other information that answers your research question(s), you’ll want to create an outline to organize it. The example outline below illustrates a logical organizational plan for writing a persuasive essay. The example outline begins with an introduction that presents the topic, explains the issue, and asserts the position (the thesis). The body then provides the reasoning for the position and addresses the opposing viewpoints that some readers may hold. In your paper, you could modify this organization and address the opposing viewpoints first and then give the reasoning for your viewpoints, or you can alternate and give one opposing viewpoint then counter that with your viewpoint and then give another opposing viewpoint and counter that with your viewpoint.

The outline below also considers the alternatives to the position—certainly, there are other ways to think about or address the issue or situation. Considering the alternatives can be done in conjunction with looking at the opposing viewpoints. You do not always have to disagree with other opinions, either. You can acknowledge that another solution could work or another belief is valid. However, at the end of the body section, you will want to stand by your original position and prove that in light of all the opposing viewpoints and other perspectives, your position has the most merit.

Sample Outline of a Persuasive Argument

  • 1. Introduction: Tell them what you will tell them.
  • a. Present an interesting fact or description to make the topic clear and capture the reader’s attention.
  • b. Define and narrow the topic using facts or descriptions to illustrate what the situation or issue is (and that is it important).
  • c. Assert the claim (thesis) that something should be believed or done about the issue. (Some writers also briefly state the reasons behind this claim in the thesis as Maggie does in her paper when she claims that schools should supply tablets to students to increase learning , engagement, and literacy rates ).
  • 2. Body: Tell them.
  • a. Defend the claim with logical reasons and practical examples based on research.
  • b. Anticipate objections to the claim and refute or accommodate them with research.
  • c. Consider alternate positions or solutions using examples from research.
  • d. Present a final point based on research that supports your claim in light of the objections and alternatives considered.
  • 3. Conclusion: Tell them what you told them.
  • a. Recap the main points to reinforce the importance of the issue.
  • b. Restate the thesis in new wording to reinforce your position.
  • c. Make a final remark to leave a lasting impression, so the reader will want to continue this conversation and ideally adopt the belief or take the action you are advocating.

In Maggie’s draft, she introduced the topic with facts about school ratings in Texas and then narrowed the topic using the example of her local school district’s literacy rates. She then claimed the district should provide each student a tablet in order to increase learning (and thus, literacy rates).

Maggie defends her claim with a series of examples from research that proved how access to tablets, technology-integrated curriculums, and “flipped classrooms” have improved literacy rates in other districts. She anticipates objections to her proposal due to the high cost of technology and counter argues this with expert opinions and examples that show partnerships with businesses, personalized curriculums that technology makes possible, and teacher training can balance the costs. Maggie included an alternative solution of having students check out tablets from the library, but her research showed that this still left students needing Wi-Fi at home while her proposal would include a plan for students to access Wi-Fi.

Maggie concluded her argument by pointing out the cost of not helping the students in this way and restated her thesis reaffirming the benefits, and then left the reader with a memorable quote.

Click here to see Maggie’s draft with feedback from her instructor and a peer. Sample Persuasive Draft

Feedback, Revision, and Editing

After you write a draft of your persuasive essay, the next step is to have a peer, instructor, or tutor read it and provide feedback. Without reader feedback, you cannot fully know how your readers will react to your argument. Reader feedback is meant to be constructive. Use it to better understand your readers and craft your argument to more appropriately appeal to them.

Maggie received valuable feedback on her draft from her instructor and classmate. They pointed to where her thesis needed to be even more specific, to paragraphs where a different organization would make her argument more convincing, to parts of the paper that lacked examples, sentences that needed revision and editing for greater clarity, and APA formatting that needed to be edited.

Maggie also took a critical look at her paper and looked back at her writing process. One technique she found helpful was to read her paper aloud because it let her know where her wording and organization were not clear. She did this several times as she revised and again as she edited and refined her paper for sentence level clarity and concision.

In the end, Maggie produced a convincing persuasive essay and effective argument that would appeal to readers who are also interested in the way technology can impact and improve student learning, an important topic in 2014 when this paper was written and still relevant today.

Click here to see Maggie’s final draft after revising and editing. Sample Persuasive Revised

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what is a personal persuasive essay

What is a Persuasive Essay? Full Persuasive Essay Guide

what is a personal persuasive essay

In a world where effective communication is crucial, mastering persuasive writing is essential. It transcends simply expressing opinions by enabling you to influence others and clearly articulate your message. Say goodbye to difficulties in making your point; join us as we explore how to craft persuasive essays that are both informative and genuinely compelling in our guide!

Persuasive Essay Definition

This type of essay persuades the reader to agree with your viewpoint by presenting convincing arguments, research, and ideas. You rely on logic and reason to demonstrate why your perspective is more valid than others. You must present clear arguments supported by compelling facts. Several key elements should be included in these essays:

  • A clear thesis statement or main idea that guides your essay's focus.
  • An opening paragraph that introduces your thesis statement and sets the stage for your argument.
  • Body paragraphs that use specific research evidence to support your points.
  • Smooth transitions between paragraphs that connect ideas clearly and engagingly.
  • Addressing counterarguments to acknowledge and refute opposing viewpoints.
  • A conclusion that reinforces your central idea without repeating it word for word.

Elements of a Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays rely on three key elements called modes of persuasion . These were introduced by Aristotle, a famous philosopher, to help make arguments strong and convincing.

First, there's logos , which means using evidence and logical reasoning to support your points. It's crucial to clearly state your main argument and back it up with solid evidence. Remember, what counts as convincing evidence can vary depending on who you're trying to persuade.

Next up is pathos , which involves appealing to people's emotions. Sharing personal stories can be really effective here because they help readers connect emotionally with your argument. Plus, personal anecdotes can give your essay a unique voice.

Lastly, there's ethos , which is all about building trust and credibility with your audience. The way you write your essay—whether it's serious, funny, or sincere—can affect how readers see you. Using reliable sources and showing empathy can also help establish your credibility. And when you're making claims, it's important to consider what your readers already believe and try to address any doubts they might have.

Feeling overwhelmed by all this info? Just say - ' write my paper ,' and our expert writers will jump in to assist you right away!

persuasive methods

How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 7 Steps

Writing a persuasive essay usually follows a structured format: introduction, body, conclusion . Unlike argument essays, which involve discussing and attacking alternate views, persuasive essays aim to convince the reader of your argument's validity. They're a bit more gentle and understanding in tone. To craft a solid persuasive essay, follow the 7 steps in this section. And while you're at it, don't forget to explore our guide on how to write an argumentative essay , too. These two types of assignments are the most common in school and college.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay in 7 Steps

Step 1: Topic Selection and Research

Choosing a good topic is where you start when writing a persuasive essay. Think about things that really interest you and make you feel strongly. But it's not just about what you like; you also need to think about what matters to your readers. Do some digging to learn more about your topic. Look into different parts of it by checking out reliable sources like books, websites, and academic articles.

While you're doing your research, keep an eye out for different opinions and new ideas about your topic. This helps you get ready for arguments against your point of view. It's also important to see if there's enough evidence out there to back up what you believe. Having lots of evidence makes it easier to make a strong case.

For more help on picking a topic, check out our persuasive essay topics .

Step 2: Develop a Strong Thesis Statement

A well-developed thesis statement should be specific, concise, and debatable. Avoid saying things that are too vague or broad, as they won't give your essay a clear direction. Instead, try to come up with a thesis that clearly says what you believe and encourages people to think about it critically.

Make sure your thesis statement is backed up by the evidence you found in your research. Use facts, numbers, or opinions from experts to support what you're saying and make your argument stronger.

Also, think about how your thesis statement fits into your whole persuasive essay. It should not only outline your main argument but also give a hint about why it's important.

Step 3: Create an Outline

An academic persuasive essay outline typically follows the 'classical' structure, which is based on techniques used by ancient Roman rhetoricians. Here are the basic elements your outline should include:

Section Details
Introduction 1. Engaging opener
2. Providing context and necessary background information
3. Stating the writer's main argument or claim
4. Offering a preview of what will be discussed in the essay
Body Paragraphs 1. Introducing and providing evidence for each reason sequentially
2. Demonstrating how each reason aligns with values or beliefs held by the audience
Counterargument 1. Recognizing and addressing opposing viewpoints
2. Explaining why these opposing viewpoints are flawed or less persuasive
Conclusion 1. Bringing the essay to a close
2. Summarizing the main points or arguments presented
3. Leaving a lasting impression on the reader
4. Encouraging action or connecting the topic to broader societal issues

Step 4: Write the Introduction

When writing a persuasive essay introduction, it should not only give background information but also frame it as a problem or issue, known as the exigence. Presenting a clearly defined problem and proposing the thesis as a solution makes for a compelling introduction, as readers naturally want to see problems solved.

Here's a breakdown of an effective persuasive essay introduction:

  • Hook : Begin with a brief anecdote that highlights an emerging issue, capturing the reader's attention.
  • Context : Provide background information related to the topic.
  • Problem : Connect the anecdote with the emerging issue, presenting it as a problem in need of addressing.
  • Debate : Mention briefly the existing debate surrounding how to respond to the problem.
  • Claim : Conclude the introduction by hinting at how you intend to address the problem, presented in a conversational tone as part of an ongoing dialogue.

Step 5: Delve into Body Paragraphs

The core of a persuasive essay lies in presenting a claim supported by reasoning and evidence. This means that much of the essay's body is dedicated to providing supporting reasons backed by evidence. A common approach taught in schools and colleges is the PEAS formula:

  • Point : Start by explaining your reason clearly. For example, 'Another reason why we need to recycle is because...'
  • Evidence : After explaining your reason, give proof that supports it. You can mention facts or share what experts say. You might say, ' I saw in a study that.. .' or ' Scientists have found that.. .'
  • Analysis : Explain how your proof supports your reason. You can say, ' This means that.. .' or ' This shows us that... '
  • Summary/So what? : Finish by quickly summarizing everything you said before. Then, explain why it's important or what it means for your argument.

Step 6: Address Counterarguments

When you're dealing with counterarguments, pick the response strategy that matches your argument.

support essay argument

  • If you agree with some points from the counterargument, acknowledge them and explain why they're not important for your topic. 
  • If the counterargument uses different evidence, say why it's not trustworthy. 
  • If the counterargument looks at evidence in a different way, explain why their understanding is wrong. 
  • If the counterargument weakens your point with evidence, explain why it doesn't actually disprove your argument.

Use phrases like these to introduce counterarguments:

  • Some researchers say...
  • Critics argue that...
  • Others might think...
  • There's a different view that...

And transition like this from counterargument to response:

  • While some of that makes sense, I still believe...
  • Even if that's true, it doesn't change the fact that...
  • Those points are interesting, but they don't affect my argument because...
  • I see where you're coming from, but I can't agree because...

Step 7: Conclude with a Call to Action or a Memorable Closing Statement

A good persuasive conclusion should do two things:

  • Summarize the main points of your essay. If it's a longer essay, using phrases like 'I have argued that' can help, but for shorter essays, it might not be needed since the reader will remember the main ideas.
  • Address the ' So what? ' or ' Now what? ' challenge. Imagine your reader asking, 'Okay, I'm convinced by your essay, but why are these ideas important? What should I do with them? Do you expect things to change?' Depending on whether your essay aims to change how people think or act, offer brief action points or insights into the implications of your ideas.

Consider ending with an anecdote, fact, or quote that highlights the significance of your argument.

Also, take a look at our guide on how to write a synthesis essay . It's a common type of assignment you'll encounter in school and college.

Take Your Persuasive Writing to the Next Level!

Give us your task to amaze your readers with our tried-and-true methods

Persuasive Essay Examples

Here are great examples of persuasive essays to inspire you. If you like the writing style of our authors, you can buy essay paper from them, who will ensure a high-quality document specifically tailored to your needs!

5 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay

Here are some additional tips to enhance your essay from our persuasive essay writing service :

  • Start with a Captivating Hook : Grab your reader's attention from the beginning with an engaging hook. Instead of using common approaches like surprising facts or quotes, try incorporating a unique angle or a suspenseful story related to your topic.
  • Build Your Credibility : It's crucial to establish your credibility to persuade your audience to trust your argument. In addition to presenting well-researched facts and statistics, share personal experiences or insights to demonstrate your expertise. Citing lesser-known experts or studies can also provide a fresh perspective and show a thorough exploration of the topic.
  • Clearly State Your Thesis: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that effectively addresses the nuances of your argument. Take time to consider the wording of your thesis and how it aligns with your essay's direction. Provide a brief overview of the main points you'll cover to give readers a clear roadmap.
  • Use Persuasive Language : Choose words and phrases that evoke emotion and urgency, compelling the reader to take action. Experiment with rhetorical devices like parallelism or repetition to add depth to your argument. Maintain a tone that balances assertiveness with respect.
  • Appeal to Emotions and Logic : While emotional appeals can be powerful, support them with solid logic and evidence. Supplement personal anecdotes with relevant data, expert opinions, or logical reasoning for a well-rounded perspective. Anticipate and address potential counterarguments to demonstrate thorough consideration of the issue.

To bring it all together, you now understand the power of persuasion - it teaches you how to express your ideas clearly and convincingly. This means you can speak up for what you believe in, making society more active and informed. These skills are super useful not just in school but also in jobs and everyday life. And, if you want to make things easier, you can always check out our essay service . We'll save you time and give you some extra help with your writing!

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What are the 7 Tips for Persuasive Essays?

How do i make a persuasive essay.

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

what is a personal persuasive essay

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

  • Rewrote the whole article except the samples which are good and new, and FAQs section
  • Added new writing steps
  • Researched new information overall

1. Gladd, J. (2020, August 18). Tips for Writing Academic Persuasive Essays . Pressbooks. https://idaho.pressbooks.pub/write/chapter/structure-of-academic-persuasive-essays/

personal essay

How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

Table of contents

what is a personal persuasive essay

Meredith Sell

You can make your essay more persuasive by getting straight to the point.

In fact, that's exactly what we did here, and that's just the first tip of this guide. Throughout this guide, we share the steps needed to prove an argument and create a persuasive essay.

This AI tool helps you improve your essay > This AI tool helps you improve your essay >

persuasive essay

Key takeaways: - Proven process to make any argument persuasive - 5-step process to structure arguments - How to use AI to formulate and optimize your essay

Why is being persuasive so difficult?

"Write an essay that persuades the reader of your opinion on a topic of your choice."

You might be staring at an assignment description just like this 👆from your professor. Your computer is open to a blank document, the cursor blinking impatiently. Do I even have opinions?

The persuasive essay can be one of the most intimidating academic papers to write: not only do you need to identify a narrow topic and research it, but you also have to come up with a position on that topic that you can back up with research while simultaneously addressing different viewpoints.

That’s a big ask. And let’s be real: most opinion pieces in major news publications don’t fulfill these requirements.

The upside? By researching and writing your own opinion, you can learn how to better formulate not only an argument but the actual positions you decide to hold. 

Here, we break down exactly how to write a persuasive essay. We’ll start by taking a step that’s key for every piece of writing—defining the terms.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay is exactly what it sounds like: an essay that persuades . Over the course of several paragraphs or pages, you’ll use researched facts and logic to convince the reader of your opinion on a particular topic and discredit opposing opinions.

While you’ll spend some time explaining the topic or issue in question, most of your essay will flesh out your viewpoint and the evidence that supports it.

The 5 Must-Have Steps of a Persuasive Essay

If you’re intimidated by the idea of writing an argument, use this list to break your process into manageable chunks. Tackle researching and writing one element at a time, and then revise your essay so that it flows smoothly and coherently with every component in the optimal place.

1. A topic or issue to argue

This is probably the hardest step. You need to identify a topic or issue that is narrow enough to cover in the length of your piece—and is also arguable from more than one position. Your topic must call for an opinion , and not be a simple fact .

It might be helpful to walk through this process:

  • Identify a random topic
  • Ask a question about the topic that involves a value claim or analysis to answer
  • Answer the question

That answer is your opinion.

Let’s consider some examples, from silly to serious:

Topic: Dolphins and mermaids

Question: In a mythical match, who would win: a dolphin or a mermaid?

Answer/Opinion: The mermaid would win in a match against a dolphin.

Topic: Autumn

Question: Which has a better fall: New England or Colorado?

Answer/Opinion: Fall is better in New England than Colorado.

Topic: Electric transportation options

Question: Would it be better for an urban dweller to buy an electric bike or an electric car?

Answer/Opinion: An electric bike is a better investment than an electric car.

Your turn: Walk through the three-step process described above to identify your topic and your tentative opinion. You may want to start by brainstorming a list of topics you find interesting and then going use the three-step process to find the opinion that would make the best essay topic.

2. An unequivocal thesis statement

If you walked through our three-step process above, you already have some semblance of a thesis—but don’t get attached too soon! 

A solid essay thesis is best developed through the research process. You shouldn’t land on an opinion before you know the facts. So press pause. Take a step back. And dive into your research.

You’ll want to learn:

  • The basic facts of your topic. How long does fall last in New England vs. Colorado? What trees do they have? What colors do those trees turn?
  • The facts specifically relevant to your question. Is there any science on how the varying colors of fall influence human brains and moods?
  • What experts or other noteworthy and valid sources say about the question you’re considering. Has a well-known arborist waxed eloquent on the beauty of New England falls?

As you learn the different viewpoints people have on your topic, pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of existing arguments. Is anyone arguing the perspective you’re leaning toward? Do you find their arguments convincing? What do you find unsatisfying about the various arguments? 

Allow the research process to change your mind and/or refine your thinking on the topic. Your opinion may change entirely or become more specific based on what you learn.

Once you’ve done enough research to feel confident in your understanding of the topic and your opinion on it, craft your thesis. 

Your thesis statement should be clear and concise. It should directly state your viewpoint on the topic, as well as the basic case for your thesis.

Thesis 1: In a mythical match, the mermaid would overcome the dolphin due to one distinct advantage: her ability to breathe underwater.

Thesis 2: The full spectrum of color displayed on New England hillsides is just one reason why fall in the northeast is better than in Colorado.

Thesis 3: In addition to not adding to vehicle traffic, electric bikes are a better investment than electric cars because they’re cheaper and require less energy to accomplish the same function of getting the rider from point A to point B.

Your turn: Dive into the research process with a radar up for the arguments your sources are making about your topic. What are the most convincing cases? Should you stick with your initial opinion or change it up? Write your fleshed-out thesis statement.

3. Evidence to back up your thesis

This is a typical place for everyone from undergrads to politicians to get stuck, but the good news is, if you developed your thesis from research, you already have a good bit of evidence to make your case.

Go back through your research notes and compile a list of every …

… or other piece of information that supports your thesis. 

This info can come from research studies you found in scholarly journals, government publications, news sources, encyclopedias, or other credible sources (as long as they fit your professor’s standards).

As you put this list together, watch for any gaps or weak points. Are you missing information on how electric cars versus electric bicycles charge or how long their batteries last? Did you verify that dolphins are, in fact, mammals and can’t breathe underwater like totally-real-and-not-at-all-fake 😉mermaids can? Track down that information.

Next, organize your list. Group the entries so that similar or closely related information is together, and as you do that, start thinking through how to articulate the individual arguments to support your case. 

Depending on the length of your essay, each argument may get only a paragraph or two of space. As you think through those specific arguments, consider what order to put them in. You’ll probably want to start with the simplest argument and work up to more complicated ones so that the arguments can build on each other. 

Your turn: Organize your evidence and write a rough draft of your arguments. Play around with the order to find the most compelling way to argue your case.

4. Rebuttals to disprove opposing theses

You can’t just present the evidence to support your case and totally ignore other viewpoints. To persuade your readers, you’ll need to address any opposing ideas they may hold about your topic. 

You probably found some holes in the opposing views during your research process. Now’s your chance to expose those holes. 

Take some time (and space) to: describe the opposing views and show why those views don’t hold up. You can accomplish this using both logic and facts.

Is a perspective based on a faulty assumption or misconception of the truth? Shoot it down by providing the facts that disprove the opinion.

Is another opinion drawn from bad or unsound reasoning? Show how that argument falls apart.

Some cases may truly be only a matter of opinion, but you still need to articulate why you don’t find the opposing perspective convincing.

Yes, a dolphin might be stronger than a mermaid, but as a mammal, the dolphin must continually return to the surface for air. A mermaid can breathe both underwater and above water, which gives her a distinct advantage in this mythical battle.

While the Rocky Mountain views are stunning, their limited colors—yellow from aspen trees and green from various evergreens—leaves the autumn-lover less than thrilled. The rich reds and oranges and yellows of the New England fall are more satisfying and awe-inspiring.

But what about longer trips that go beyond the city center into the suburbs and beyond? An electric bike wouldn’t be great for those excursions. Wouldn’t an electric car be the better choice then? 

Certainly, an electric car would be better in these cases than a gas-powered car, but if most of a person’s trips are in their hyper-local area, the electric bicycle is a more environmentally friendly option for those day-to-day outings. That person could then participate in a carshare or use public transit, a ride-sharing app, or even a gas-powered car for longer trips—and still use less energy overall than if they drove an electric car for hyper-local and longer area trips.

Your turn: Organize your rebuttal research and write a draft of each one.

5. A convincing conclusion

You have your arguments and rebuttals. You’ve proven your thesis is rock-solid. Now all you have to do is sum up your overall case and give your final word on the subject. 

Don’t repeat everything you’ve already said. Instead, your conclusion should logically draw from the arguments you’ve made to show how they coherently prove your thesis. You’re pulling everything together and zooming back out with a better understanding of the what and why of your thesis. 

A dolphin may never encounter a mermaid in the wild, but if it were to happen, we know how we’d place our bets. Long hair and fish tail, for the win.

For those of us who relish 50-degree days, sharp air, and the vibrant colors of fall, New England offers a season that’s cozier, longer-lasting, and more aesthetically pleasing than “colorful” Colorado. A leaf-peeper’s paradise.

When most of your trips from day to day are within five miles, the more energy-efficient—and yes, cost-efficient—choice is undoubtedly the electric bike. So strap on your helmet, fire up your pedals, and two-wheel away to your next destination with full confidence that you made the right decision for your wallet and the environment.

3 Quick Tips for Writing a Strong Argument

Once you have a draft to work with, use these tips to refine your argument and make sure you’re not losing readers for avoidable reasons.

1. Choose your words thoughtfully.

If you want to win people over to your side, don’t write in a way that shuts your opponents down. Avoid making abrasive or offensive statements. Instead, use a measured, reasonable tone. Appeal to shared values, and let your facts and logic do the hard work of changing people’s minds.

Choose words with AI

what is a personal persuasive essay

You can use AI to turn your general point into a readable argument. Then, you can paraphrase each sentence and choose between competing arguments generated by the AI, until your argument is well-articulated and concise.

2. Prioritize accuracy (and avoid fallacies).

Make sure the facts you use are actually factual. You don’t want to build your argument on false or disproven information. Use the most recent, respected research. Make sure you don’t misconstrue study findings. And when you’re building your case, avoid logical fallacies that undercut your argument.

A few common fallacies to watch out for:

  • Strawman: Misrepresenting or oversimplifying an opposing argument to make it easier to refute.
  • Appeal to ignorance: Arguing that a certain claim must be true because it hasn’t been proven false.
  • Bandwagon: Assumes that if a group of people, experts, etc., agree with a claim, it must be true.
  • Hasty generalization: Using a few examples, rather than substantial evidence, to make a sweeping claim.
  • Appeal to authority: Overly relying on opinions of people who have authority of some kind.

The strongest arguments rely on trustworthy information and sound logic.

Research and add citations with AI

what is a personal persuasive essay

We recently wrote a three part piece on researching using AI, so be sure to check it out . Going through an organized process of researching and noting your sources correctly will make sure your written text is more accurate.

3. Persuasive essay structure

Persuasive essay structure

If you’re building a house, you start with the foundation and go from there. It’s the same with an argument. You want to build from the ground up: provide necessary background information, then your thesis. Then, start with the simplest part of your argument and build up in terms of complexity and the aspect of your thesis that the argument is tackling.

A consistent, internal logic will make it easier for the reader to follow your argument. Plus, you’ll avoid confusing your reader and you won’t be unnecessarily redundant.

The essay structure usually includes the following parts:

  • Intro - Hook, Background information, Thesis statement
  • Topic sentence #1 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Concluding sentence
  • Topic sentence #2 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Concluding sentence Topic sentence #3 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Conclusion - Thesis and main points restated, call to action, thought provoking ending

Are You Ready to Write?

Persuasive essays are a great way to hone your research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Approach this assignment well, and you’ll learn how to form opinions based on information (not just ideas) and make arguments that—if they don’t change minds—at least win readers’ respect. ‍

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Persuasive Essay Writing

Cathy A.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

13 min read

Published on: Jan 3, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 29, 2024

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It's the night before the essay is due, and you haven't even started. Your mind is blank, and you have no idea what words will persuade your teacher. 

The good news is that some tips and tricks can make the process of writing a persuasive essay much easier.

In this blog, we'll break down the components of a persuasive essay and provide helpful tips and examples along the way. By the end, you should have all the guidelines to create a winning essay that will persuade your readers to see things your way.

Let's take a closer look at all these steps.

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What is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay presents logical arguments with emotional appeal.

Typically, persuasive essays begin with a question that the writer spends the essay arguing in favor of or opposition to. 

For example: should kids be allowed to play video games on weekdays? 

The writer would then spend the rest of the essay backing up their claim with reasons and evidence. 

Persuasive essays often include counterarguments. These arguments oppose the writer's position. 

By including counterarguments, persuasive essays become more interesting. They also force the writer to think critically about their position.

For example, an opponent of the previous argument might say that playing video games leads to poor grades. 

The original writer could deny this claim by pointing to studies that show no correlation between bad grades and playing video games.

The best persuasive essays are well-researched and use data to support their claims. 

However, persuasive essays are not just about logic. They also need to include emotional appeal. 

After all, people are more likely to be persuaded by an argument that speaks to their feelings. 

Elements of a Persuasive Essay 

When a persuasive essay is a task, you must keep these three greek terms in mind. They are:

  • Ethos (appeal to ethics) 
  • Pathos (appeal to emotion)
  • Logos (appeal to logic)

A good essay will use all of these elements to convince the reader that the argument presented is valid. 

Let's take a closer look at each one.

Ethos - the Credibility Element 

The persuasive power of ethos lies in the character or credibility of the person making the argument. 

For an argument to be persuasive, the person presenting it must be someone that the audience trusts. 

This could be because they are an expert on the subject or because they have first-hand experience with it. Either way, ethos establishes the speaker's credibility and makes the audience more likely to trust what they have to say.

Pathos -the Emotional Element 

While ethos deals with the character of the person making the argument, pathos has to do with the audience's emotions. A persuasive argument will tap into the audience's emotions and use them to sway their opinion.

This could be done through stories or anecdotes that evoke an emotional response or by using language that stirs certain feelings.

Logos - the Logical Element 

The final element of persuasion is logos, which appeals to logic. A persuasive argument will use sound reasoning and evidence to convince the audience that it is valid. This could be done through data or using persuasive techniques like cause and effect.

Using all these elements of a persuasive essay can make your argument much more effective. 

How To Write a Persuasive Essay

Writing persuasive essays can be challenging, but they don't have to be.

With the following simple steps, you can quickly turn an ordinary essay into one that will make a lasting impression. 

Tough Essay Due? Hire a Writer!

Tough Essay Due? Hire a Writer!

How To Start a Persuasive Essay 

Here is a complete guide on how to start a persuasive essay. Follow them to compose a perfect essay every time. 

Brainstorm All Possible Angles 

The first step in writing a persuasive essay is brainstorming. You need to develop an angle for your essay that will make it unique and interesting. 

For example, let's say you're writing about the death penalty. A lot has been said on this topic, so it might be hard to find an angle that hasn't been covered already. 

But if you think about it, there are many different ways to approach the issue. 

Maybe you could write about the personal experiences of someone affected by the death penalty. Or maybe you could write about the economic costs of the death penalty. 

There are many possibilities here - it's all about thinking creatively.

Select Your Topic

Once you've brainstormed a few ideas, it's time to choose your topic. Pick the angle you think will most effectively persuade your reader. 

Once you've chosen your topic, it's time to research. Use statistics, expert opinions, and real-life examples to support your position. 

Choose Your Side

Now that you've researched, it's time to take a side in the debate. Remember, you must take a strong stance on one side of the issue. 

After deciding your stance, research and support it with evidence.

Appeal to Human Emotions 

One of the most effective ways to persuade someone is by appealing to their emotions. 

After all, we're not robots - we're human beings and always make decisions based on our feelings. 

Make your reader feel something, whether it's anger, sadness, empathy, or even amusement. You'll be well on convincing them of your point of view. 

Anticipate Possible Objections.

Of course, not everyone will agree, and that's okay! 

The important thing is that you anticipate some of those objections and address them head-on in your essay. 

This shows that you take your reader's objections seriously and are confident in your position. 

Organize Your Evidence 

Once you have all of your evidence collected, it's time to start organizing it into an outline for your essay.  

Organizing your essay is a key step in the writing process. It helps you keep track of all the evidence you've gathered and structure your argument in an organized way.

What Are The Steps To Write Your Persuasive Essay?

Now that you have your topic essay outline, it's time to move on to the actual writing.

Here are the steps you need to take:

Step 1: Create a Compelling Introduction

You want to hook your readers with a great opening for your persuasive essay, so they'll want to keep reading.

Here are 3 tips for writing an attention-grabbing introduction for your next essay.

  • Use a strong hook statement

Your hook statement should immediately draw the reader in and make them want to learn more. 

A good hook statement will vary depending on whether you're writing for an academic or more casual audience. 

Still, some good options include a quote, an interesting statistic, or a rhetorical question.

  • Make sure your thesis statement is clear and concise

Your thesis statement is the main argument of your essay, so it needs to be stated clearly and concisely in your introduction.

 A good thesis statement will be specific and limit the scope of your argument so that it can be fully addressed in the body of your paper.

  • Use a transition

Transitions are important in writing for academic and non-academic audiences because they help guide the reader through your argument. 

A good transition will introduce the main point of your next paragraph while still maintaining the connection to the previous one.

Step 2: Write The Body Paragraphs

Here is a formula for structuring your body paragraphs in a persuasive essay. 

This formula will ensure that each body paragraph is packed with evidence and examples while still being concise and easy to read.

  • The Topic Sentence

Every body paragraph should start with a topic sentence. A topic sentence is a key sentence that sums up the paragraph's main point. 

It should be clear, concise, and direct. 

For example, if you were writing a paragraph about the importance of exercise, your topic sentence might be this:

"Regular exercise is essential for good physical and mental health."

See how that sentence gives a clear overview of what the rest of the paragraph will be about.

  • Relevant Supporting Sentences

Once your topic sentence is down, it's time to fill the rest of the paragraph with relevant supporting sentences. 

These sentences should provide evidence to support the claims made in the topic sentence. 

For the exercise example, we might use sentences like this:

"Exercise has been shown to improve heart health, reduce stress levels, and boost brain power."

"A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes."

See how each sentence ties back to the paragraph's main point. That's what you want your supporting sentences to do.

  • Closing Sentence

Last but not least, every body paragraph should end with a closing (or transition) sentence. This sentence should briefly summarize the main points of the paragraph and introduce the next point that will be discussed in the following paragraph. 

For the exercise example, the closing sentence might look like this:

"So, as you can see, there are many compelling reasons to make exercise a regular part of your routine."

How to End a Persuasive Essay

The end of your essay is just as important as the introduction. You must leave your readers with a lasting impression and ensure your argument convinces them. 

To do this, you'll want to craft a persuasive conclusion that ties together all the points you have made in the essay.

Here is a video explaining the body paragraphs in a persuasive essay. Check it out for more information. 

Step 1: Write a Persuasive Conclusion

Here are a few tips to help make sure your persuasive essay conclusion is as effective and persuasive as possible. 

  • Restate Your Thesis

Begin your essay conclusion by restating the thesis statement you began within your introduction. Doing so will remind readers of what you set out to prove and provide a sense of closure.

  • Summarize Your Arguments

 You can also use your conclusion to summarize the main points of your argument. This will help readers recall the evidence you presented and reinforce why it supports your thesis. 

  • Offer a Call to Action

Lastly, don't forget to include a call to action in your essay conclusion. This can be anything from a persuasive plea to a persuasive suggestion. 

Step 2:  Polish Up Your Essay

After you’re done with the essay, take a few minutes to read through it. Ensure that your persuasive points and evidence are clear, concise, and persuasive. 

Also, double-check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Ensure that all of your persuasive points are properly explained and make sense to the reader. 

If you’re not confident in your persuasive writing skills, you can enlist a friend or family member to read through it and provide feedback.

You can follow a proofreading checklist after completing your essay to ensure you are on track.

By following these steps, you’ll end up with a persuasive essay that will impress anyone who reads it!

Format Of A Persuasive Essay 

Once you have your persuasive essay topic, it's time to craft an essay structure. Crafting the perfect persuasive essay format is essential for ensuring your paper has maximum persuasive power.

Here are some tips for formatting an effective persuasive essay.

  • Increase the Readability of Your Text 

Ensure that you have adhered to all the paragraphing requirements of your instructor. 

Double-check that your margins are set properly. A margin of 1 inch (2.5 cm) on all sides is the standard for most written documents.

This makes it easier for readers to focus and extract important information quickly.

  • Use Easy-to-Read Font

Choose a font that is easy to read and professional. Stay away from script fonts or anything too fancy or difficult to read. Stick with basic fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri.

  • Keep a Defined Alignment

Align your persuasive essay to the left margin. This makes it easier for readers to follow along with your argument without having to do too much extra scrolling. 

By following these simple tips, you'll be able to craft the perfect persuasive essay format.

Persuasive Essay Examples

Here are some examples of persuasive essays that can help you get the gist of essay writing.

Persuasive essay on the preservation of nature

Persuasive essay examples pdf

Example of a persuasive essay about covid-19

Check out some more  persuasive essay examples  here for more inspiration.

Good Persuasive Essay Topics

The right persuasive essay topics can make or break your essay. Here are a few examples of persuasive essay topics that can help you. 

  • Should the government increase taxes on sugary foods to reduce obesity? 
  • Do standardized tests accurately measure student intelligence and aptitude? 
  • Should studying a foreign language be mandatory in schools? 
  • Should all high school students complete community service hours before graduating? 
  • Are video games affecting the concentration and cognitive development of children? 
  • Should genetically modified foods be labeled as such in stores? 
  • Are the current copyright laws protecting artists and content creators enough? 
  • Should college tuition be reduced for all students? 
  • Is the use of animals in medical research ethical? 
  • Should the use of drones be regulated by the government? 
  • Should college athletes receive payment for their performance? 
  • Should students be allowed to have cell phones in school? 
  • Is drug testing in schools an effective way to prevent substance abuse? 
  • Does social media promote a healthy lifestyle or contribute to cyber bullying? 
  • Should the voting age be lowered to 16? 

If you’re stuck with choosing topics, these are great  persuasive essay topics  to get you started! 

Pick one of these and craft an essay that will leave your readers thinking. 

Tips to Write a Compelling Persuasive Essay

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make a lasting impression on your reader:

Pick A Topic You're Passionate About

First, you need to choose a topic you're passionate about. It will be easier to write about the topic if you care about the essay. 

This will make it easier to develop persuasive arguments, and you'll be more motivated to do research.

Research Your Topic Thoroughly

After picking a persuasive essay topic, you need thorough research. This will help you gain a better understanding of the issue, which in turn will make your essay stronger. This will also ensure that you fully grasp all counterarguments on your topic.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience before writing is important. Are you writing to your classmates? Your teacher? The general public? Once you know your audience, you can tailor your argument to them. 

Knowing your audience will help determine the tone and approach of your essay.

Hook The Reader's Attention

The first few sentences of your essay are crucial - they must grab the reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. 

One way to do this is by starting with a shocking statistic or an interesting story. The reader will be instantly hooked and will be enticed to read more.

Research Both Sides 

A good persuasive essay will consider both sides of an issue and present a well-rounded view. This means researching both sides of the argument before taking a stance. 

Make sure to consider all the evidence before making up your mind - otherwise, your argument won't be as strong as it could be.

Ask Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered but rather to make the reader think about the issue. 

For example, "How can we expect our children to succeed in school if they don't have enough resources?" 

Questions like this can help engage readers and get them thinking about solutions rather than just complaining about problems.

Emphasize Your Point

It's important to reiterate your main points throughout the essay so that readers don't forget what they are supposed to argue for or against by the time they reach the end of the paper.

Persuasive essays can be difficult to write, but following simple tips can help make the process easier. 

In this blog, we've outlined the components of a persuasive essay and provided some tips on how to write one. We also shared examples of persuasive essays that scored high marks on standardized tests. 

If you are looking for an essay writing service , look no further than CollegeEssay.org! Our experienced essay writer can provide the assistance you need to produce an essay that meets the highest standards.

Let our persuasive essay writer handle the hard work and get you started on your path to success.

Try our AI essay writer and elevate your writing to new heights today!

Frequently Asked Questions About Persuasive Essays

How long should a persuasive essay be.

Generally speaking, persuasive essays should be between 500-750 words. However, the length of your essay will depend on the instructions given by your teacher or professor.

What Techniques Are Used In Persuasive Essays?

Persuasive techniques include facts and statistics, emotion and logic, personal stories, analogies and metaphors, pathos, ethos, and logos.

How Do I Make My Persuasive Essay More Convincing?

To make your essay more convincing, cite reliable sources, use persuasive language, and provide strong evidence and arguments.

How Is Persuasive Writing Different From Argumentative Writing?

The main difference between persuasive and argumentative writing is that persuasive writing seeks to convince or persuade the reader. On the other hand, argumentative writing seeks to debate an issue.

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what is a personal persuasive essay

Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Paper Types / How to Write a Persuasive Essay

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

The entire point of a persuasive essay is to persuade or convince the reader to agree with your perspective on the topic. In this type of essay, you’re not limited to facts. It’s completely acceptable to include your opinions and back them up with facts, where necessary.

Guide Overview

  • Be assertive
  • Use words that evoke emotion
  • Make it personal
  • Topic selection hints

Tricks for Writing a Persuasive Essay

In this type of writing, you’ll find it is particularly helpful to focus on the emotional side of things. Make your reader feel what you feel and bring them into your way of thinking. There are a few ways to do that.

Be Assertive

A persuasive essay doesn’t have to be gentle in how it presents your opinion. You really want people to agree with you, so focus on making that happen, even if it means pushing the envelope a little. You’ll tend to get higher grades for this, because the essay is more likely to convince the reader to agree. Consider using an Persuasive Essay Template to understand the key elements of the essay.

Use Words that Evoke Emotion

It’s easier to get people to see things your way when they feel an emotional connection. As you describe your topic, make sure to incorporate words that cause people to feel an emotion. For example, instead of saying, “children are taken from their parents” you might say, “children are torn from the loving arms of their parents, kicking and screaming.” Dramatic? Yes, but it gets the point across and helps your reader experience the

Make it Personal

By using first person, you make the reader feel like they know you. Talking about the reader in second person can help them feel included and begin to imagine themselves in your shoes. Telling someone “many people are affected by this” and telling them “you are affected by this every day” will have very different results.

While each of these tips can help improve your essay, there’s no rule that you have to actually persuade for your own point of view. If you feel the essay would be more interesting if you take the opposite stance, why not write it that way? This will require more research and thinking, but you could end up with a very unique essay that will catch the teacher’s eye.

Topic Selection Hints

A persuasive essay requires a topic that has multiple points of view. In most cases, topics like the moon being made of rock would be difficult to argue, since this is a solid fact. This means you’ll need to choose something that has more than one reasonable opinion related to it.

A good topic for a persuasive essay would be something that you could persuade for or against.

Some examples include:

  • Should children be required to use booster seats until age 12?
  • Should schools allow the sale of sugary desserts and candy?
  • Should marijuana use be legal?
  • Should high school students be confined to school grounds during school hours?
  • Should GMO food be labeled by law?
  • Should police be required to undergo sensitivity training?
  • Should the United States withdraw troops from overseas?

Some topics are more controversial than others, but any of these could be argued from either point of view . . . some even allow for multiple points of view.

As you write your persuasive essay, remember that your goal is to get the reader to nod their head and agree with you. Each section of the essay should bring you closer to this goal. If you write the essay with this in mind, you’ll end up with a paper that will receive high grades.

Finally, if you’re ever facing writer’s block for your college paper, consider WriteWell’s template gallery to help you get started.

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Last Updated: December 17, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 4,280,102 times.

A persuasive essay is an essay used to convince a reader about a particular idea or focus, usually one that you believe in. Your persuasive essay could be based on anything about which you have an opinion or that you can make a clear argument about. Whether you're arguing against junk food at school or petitioning for a raise from your boss, knowing how to write a persuasive essay is an important skill that everyone should have.

Sample Persuasive Essays

what is a personal persuasive essay

How to Lay the Groundwork

Step 1 Read the prompt carefully.

  • Look for language that gives you a clue as to whether you are writing a purely persuasive or an argumentative essay. For example, if the prompt uses words like “personal experience” or “personal observations,” you know that these things can be used to support your argument.
  • On the other hand, words like “defend” or “argue” suggest that you should be writing an argumentative essay, which may require more formal, less personal evidence.
  • If you aren’t sure about what you’re supposed to write, ask your instructor.

Step 2 Give yourself time.

  • Whenever possible, start early. This way, even if you have emergencies like a computer meltdown, you’ve given yourself enough time to complete your essay.

Step 3 Examine the rhetorical situation.

  • Try using stasis theory to help you examine the rhetorical situation. This is when you look at the facts, definition (meaning of the issue or the nature of it), quality (the level of seriousness of the issue), and policy (plan of action for the issue).
  • To look at the facts, try asking: What happened? What are the known facts? How did this issue begin? What can people do to change the situation?
  • To look at the definition, ask: What is the nature of this issue or problem? What type of problem is this? What category or class would this problem fit into best?
  • To examine the quality, ask: Who is affected by this problem? How serious is it? What might happen if it is not resolved?
  • To examine the policy, ask: Should someone take action? Who should do something and what should they do?

Step 4 Consider your audience.

  • For example, if you are arguing against unhealthy school lunches, you might take very different approaches depending on whom you want to convince. You might target the school administrators, in which case you could make a case about student productivity and healthy food. If you targeted students’ parents, you might make a case about their children’s health and the potential costs of healthcare to treat conditions caused by unhealthy food. And if you were to consider a “grassroots” movement among your fellow students, you’d probably make appeals based on personal preferences.

Step 5 Pick a topic that appeals to you.

  • It also should present the organization of your essay. Don’t list your points in one order and then discuss them in a different order.
  • For example, a thesis statement could look like this: “Although pre-prepared and highly processed foods are cheap, they aren’t good for students. It is important for schools to provide fresh, healthy meals to students, even when they cost more. Healthy school lunches can make a huge difference in students’ lives, and not offering healthy lunches fails students.”
  • Note that this thesis statement isn’t a three-prong thesis. You don’t have to state every sub-point you will make in your thesis (unless your prompt or assignment says to). You do need to convey exactly what you will argue.

Step 11 Brainstorm your evidence.

  • A mind map could be helpful. Start with your central topic and draw a box around it. Then, arrange other ideas you think of in smaller bubbles around it. Connect the bubbles to reveal patterns and identify how ideas relate. [5] X Research source
  • Don’t worry about having fully fleshed-out ideas at this stage. Generating ideas is the most important step here.

Step 12 Research, if necessary.

  • For example, if you’re arguing for healthier school lunches, you could make a point that fresh, natural food tastes better. This is a personal opinion and doesn’t need research to support it. However, if you wanted to argue that fresh food has more vitamins and nutrients than processed food, you’d need a reliable source to support that claim.
  • If you have a librarian available, consult with him or her! Librarians are an excellent resource to help guide you to credible research.

How to Draft Your Essay

Step 1 Outline your essay.

  • An introduction. You should present a “hook” here that grabs your audience’s attention. You should also provide your thesis statement, which is a clear statement of what you will argue or attempt to convince the reader of.
  • Body paragraphs. In 5-paragraph essays, you’ll have 3 body paragraphs. In other essays, you can have as many paragraphs as you need to make your argument. Regardless of their number, each body paragraph needs to focus on one main idea and provide evidence to support it. These paragraphs are also where you refute any counterpoints that you’ve discovered.
  • Conclusion. Your conclusion is where you tie it all together. It can include an appeal to emotions, reiterate the most compelling evidence, or expand the relevance of your initial idea to a broader context. Because your purpose is to persuade your readers to do/think something, end with a call to action. Connect your focused topic to the broader world.

Step 2 Come up with your hook.

  • For example, you could start an essay on the necessity of pursuing alternative energy sources like this: “Imagine a world without polar bears.” This is a vivid statement that draws on something that many readers are familiar with and enjoy (polar bears). It also encourages the reader to continue reading to learn why they should imagine this world.
  • You may find that you don’t immediately have a hook. Don’t get stuck on this step! You can always press on and come back to it after you’ve drafted your essay.

Step 3 Write an introduction....

  • Put your hook first. Then, proceed to move from general ideas to specific ideas until you have built up to your thesis statement.
  • Don't slack on your thesis statement . Your thesis statement is a short summary of what you're arguing for. It's usually one sentence, and it's near the end of your introductory paragraph. Make your thesis a combination of your most persuasive arguments, or a single powerful argument, for the best effect.

Step 4 Structure your body paragraphs.

  • Start with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point of your paragraph.
  • Make your evidence clear and precise. For example, don't just say: "Dolphins are very smart animals. They are widely recognized as being incredibly smart." Instead, say: "Dolphins are very smart animals. Multiple studies found that dolphins worked in tandem with humans to catch prey. Very few, if any, species have developed mutually symbiotic relationships with humans."
  • "The South, which accounts for 80% of all executions in the United States, still has the country's highest murder rate. This makes a case against the death penalty working as a deterrent."
  • "Additionally, states without the death penalty have fewer murders. If the death penalty were indeed a deterrent, why wouldn't we see an increase in murders in states without the death penalty?"
  • Consider how your body paragraphs flow together. You want to make sure that your argument feels like it's building, one point upon another, rather than feeling scattered.

Step 5 Use the last sentence of each body paragraph to transition to the next paragraph.

  • End of the first paragraph: "If the death penalty consistently fails to deter crime, and crime is at an all-time high, what happens when someone is wrongfully convicted?"
  • Beginning of the second paragraph: "Over 100 wrongfully convicted death row inmates have been acquitted of their crimes, some just minutes before their would-be death."

Step 6 Add a rebuttal or counterargument.

  • Example: "Critics of a policy allowing students to bring snacks into the classroom say that it would create too much distraction, reducing students’ ability to learn. However, consider the fact that middle schoolers are growing at an incredible rate. Their bodies need energy, and their minds may become fatigued if they go for long periods without eating. Allowing snacks in the classroom will actually increase students’ ability to focus by taking away the distraction of hunger.”
  • You may even find it effective to begin your paragraph with the counterargument, then follow by refuting it and offering your own argument.

Step 7 Write your conclusion at the very end of your essay.

  • How could this argument be applied to a broader context?
  • Why does this argument or opinion mean something to me?
  • What further questions has my argument raised?
  • What action could readers take after reading my essay?

How to Write Persuasively

Step 1 Understand the conventions of a persuasive essay.

  • Persuasive essays, like argumentative essays, use rhetorical devices to persuade their readers. In persuasive essays, you generally have more freedom to make appeals to emotion (pathos), in addition to logic and data (logos) and credibility (ethos). [13] X Trustworthy Source Read Write Think Online collection of reading and writing resources for teachers and students. Go to source
  • You should use multiple types of evidence carefully when writing a persuasive essay. Logical appeals such as presenting data, facts, and other types of “hard” evidence are often very convincing to readers.
  • Persuasive essays generally have very clear thesis statements that make your opinion or chosen “side” known upfront. This helps your reader know exactly what you are arguing. [14] X Research source
  • Bad: The United States was not an educated nation, since education was considered the right of the wealthy, and so in the early 1800s Horace Mann decided to try and rectify the situation.

Step 2 Use a variety of persuasion techniques to hook your readers.

  • For example, you could tell an anecdote about a family torn apart by the current situation in Syria to incorporate pathos, make use of logic to argue for allowing Syrian refugees as your logos, and then provide reputable sources to back up your quotes for ethos.
  • Example: Time and time again, the statistics don't lie -- we need to open our doors to help refugees.
  • Example: "Let us not forget the words etched on our grandest national monument, the Statue of Liberty, which asks that we "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There is no reason why Syrians are not included in this.
  • Example: "Over 100 million refugees have been displaced. President Assad has not only stolen power, he's gassed and bombed his own citizens. He has defied the Geneva Conventions, long held as a standard of decency and basic human rights, and his people have no choice but to flee."

Step 3 Be authoritative and firm.

  • Good: "Time and time again, science has shown that arctic drilling is dangerous. It is not worth the risks environmentally or economically."
  • Good: "Without pushing ourselves to energy independence, in the arctic and elsewhere, we open ourselves up to the dangerous dependency that spiked gas prices in the 80's."
  • Bad: "Arctic drilling may not be perfect, but it will probably help us stop using foreign oil at some point. This, I imagine, will be a good thing."

Step 4 Challenge your readers.

  • Good: Does anyone think that ruining someone’s semester, or, at least, the chance to go abroad, should be the result of a victimless crime? Is it fair that we actively promote drinking as a legitimate alternative through Campus Socials and a lack of consequences? How long can we use the excuse that “just because it’s safer than alcohol doesn’t mean we should make it legal,” disregarding the fact that the worst effects of the drug are not physical or chemical, but institutional?
  • Good: We all want less crime, stronger families, and fewer dangerous confrontations over drugs. We need to ask ourselves, however, if we're willing to challenge the status quo to get those results.
  • Bad: This policy makes us look stupid. It is not based in fact, and the people that believe it are delusional at best, and villains at worst.

Step 5 Acknowledge, and refute, arguments against you.

  • Good: While people do have accidents with guns in their homes, it is not the government’s responsibility to police people from themselves. If they're going to hurt themselves, that is their right.
  • Bad: The only obvious solution is to ban guns. There is no other argument that matters.

How to Polish Your Essay

Step 1 Give yourself a day or two without looking at the essay.

  • Does the essay state its position clearly?
  • Is this position supported throughout with evidence and examples?
  • Are paragraphs bogged down by extraneous information? Do paragraphs focus on one main idea?
  • Are any counterarguments presented fairly, without misrepresentation? Are they convincingly dismissed?
  • Are the paragraphs in an order that flows logically and builds an argument step-by-step?
  • Does the conclusion convey the importance of the position and urge the reader to do/think something?

Step 3 Revise where necessary.

  • You may find it helpful to ask a trusted friend or classmate to look at your essay. If s/he has trouble understanding your argument or finds things unclear, focus your revision on those spots.

Step 4 Proofread carefully.

  • You may find it helpful to print out your draft and mark it up with a pen or pencil. When you write on the computer, your eyes may become so used to reading what you think you’ve written that they skip over errors. Working with a physical copy forces you to pay attention in a new way.
  • Make sure to also format your essay correctly. For example, many instructors stipulate the margin width and font type you should use.

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

You Might Also Like

Write an Essay

  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-a-persuasive-essay/
  • ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/persuasive-essays
  • ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/writing/writing-resources/persuasive-essays
  • ↑ https://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/sites/default/files/docs/learningguide-mindmapping.pdf
  • ↑ https://examples.yourdictionary.com/20-compelling-hook-examples-for-essays.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/transitions/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/argument_papers/rebuttal_sections.html
  • ↑ http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson56/strategy-definition.pdf
  • ↑ https://stlcc.edu/student-support/academic-success-and-tutoring/writing-center/writing-resources/pathos-logos-and-ethos.aspx
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/proofreading_suggestions.html

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a persuasive essay, start with an attention-grabbing introduction that introduces your thesis statement or main argument. Then, break the body of your essay up into multiple paragraphs and focus on one main idea in each paragraph. Make sure you present evidence in each paragraph that supports the main idea so your essay is more persuasive. Finally, conclude your essay by restating the most compelling, important evidence so you can make your case one last time. To learn how to make your writing more persuasive, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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what is a personal persuasive essay

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Write a Persuasive Essay

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A persuasive essay is a potent literary tool designed to sway the reader's opinion and evoke a response. Unlike other types of essays , the primary goal here is not merely to inform or entertain but to persuade. In this guide, we'll explore what exactly a persuasive essay is, delve into its main components, and provide practical tips on how to write a persuasive essay that leaves a lasting impression.

What is a Persuasive Essay?

At its core, a persuasive essay aims to convince the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a specific action. It's an artful blend of logical reasoning and emotional appeal, carefully crafted to sway opinions and inspire action. Whether addressing a controversial social issue, advocating for a change in policy, or expressing an individual opinion, the persuasive essay is a vehicle for influencing minds.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay: The Main Components

1. Introduction: Capturing Attention and Stating the Thesis The introduction serves as the gateway to your persuasive essay. Begin by grabbing the reader's attention with a compelling hook—an anecdote, a surprising fact, or a thought-provoking question. After capturing their interest, clearly state your thesis, which should encapsulate the main argument you'll be advocating throughout the essay. Make sure it's concise, focused, and sets the stage for what follows.

2. Body Paragraphs: Building the Argument The body of your persuasive essay is where you present your case in detail. Each paragraph should focus on a single point that supports your thesis. Begin with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph, followed by supporting evidence, examples, and logical reasoning. Be sure to anticipate counterarguments and address them in a respectful manner. This not only strengthens your position but also demonstrates a thorough understanding of the topic.

3. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos: The Triad of Persuasion A persuasive essay is most effective when it appeals to the audience's emotions, ethics, and logic. Ethos involves establishing credibility and showcasing your expertise or authority on the subject. Pathos appeals to the reader's emotions, invoking empathy or stirring passions. Logos relies on logical reasoning, presenting evidence and sound arguments to support your claims. Striking a balance between these three elements ensures a well-rounded and convincing essay.

4. Counterarguments and Rebuttal: Strengthening Your Position Acknowledge opposing viewpoints to demonstrate fairness and open-mindedness. Addressing counterarguments head-on not only strengthens your position but also shows that you've thoroughly considered different perspectives. Craft a persuasive rebuttal by presenting additional evidence or showcasing flaws in the opposing argument. This not only reinforces your stance but also reinforces your credibility as a thoughtful and informed writer.

5. Conclusion: Leaving a Lasting Impression End your essay with a powerful conclusion that backs your thesis and leaves a lasting impression. Summarise the key points from the body paragraphs and restate your thesis in a compelling way. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion; instead, focus on leaving the reader with a clear understanding of your perspective and a sense of urgency or importance regarding your argument.

Writing a Persuasive Essay: Practical Tips

Know Your Audience: Tailor Your Approach Understanding your audience is crucial when crafting a persuasive essay. Consider their values, beliefs, and potential biases. Tailor your language and arguments to resonate with your target audience, making your persuasive efforts more effective.

Thorough Research: The Foundation of Persuasion Before diving into writing, conduct thorough research on your chosen topic. Familiarise yourself with relevant facts, statistics, and expert opinions. A well-researched essay not only strengthens your argument but also enhances your credibility as a writer.

Craft a Strong Thesis Statement: The Heart of Your Essay Your thesis statement is the focal point of your persuasive essay. Ensure it is clear, concise, and debatable. A strong thesis sets the tone for the entire essay and provides a roadmap for both the writer and the reader.

Use Persuasive Language: Engage and Convince Choose your words carefully to create a persuasive impact. Employ strong, vivid language that evokes emotion and captivates the reader. Be mindful of your tone, striking a balance between confidence and humility.

Revise and Edit: Polish Your Persuasive Gem The final step in crafting a persuasive essay is thorough revision and editing. Review your essay for clarity, coherence, and consistency. Check for grammatical errors, ensure a smooth flow of ideas, and confirm that your arguments are well-supported by evidence.

The refinement of your work is just as crucial as its creation. Let our team of skilled editors meticulously edit and proofread your essay , providing valuable insights to elevate your writing to its highest potential.

Writing a Persuasive Essay: A Skill That Goes Beyond Academia

Mastering the art of persuasion through essay writing is a valuable skill that extends beyond academia. Whether advocating for social change or expressing a personal viewpoint, a persuasive essay equips you to articulate your ideas effectively and influence others. By understanding the main components and following practical tips, you can confidently navigate the terrain of persuasive writing, leaving a lasting impact on your readers.

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10.9 Persuasion

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of persuasion in writing.
  • Identify bias in writing.
  • Assess various rhetorical devices.
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion.
  • Understand the importance of visuals to strengthen arguments.
  • Write a persuasive essay.

The Purpose of Persuasive Writing

The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince, motivate, or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion. The act of trying to persuade automatically implies more than one opinion on the subject can be argued.

The idea of an argument often conjures up images of two people yelling and screaming in anger. In writing, however, an argument is very different. An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue in writing is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way. Written arguments often fail when they employ ranting rather than reasoning.

Most of us feel inclined to try to win the arguments we engage in. On some level, we all want to be right, and we want others to see the error of their ways. More times than not, however, arguments in which both sides try to win end up producing losers all around. The more productive approach is to persuade your audience to consider your opinion as a valid one, not simply the right one.

The Structure of a Persuasive Essay

The following five features make up the structure of a persuasive essay:

  • Introduction and thesis
  • Opposing and qualifying ideas
  • Strong evidence in support of claim
  • Style and tone of language
  • A compelling conclusion

Creating an Introduction and Thesis

The persuasive essay begins with an engaging introduction that presents the general topic. The thesis typically appears somewhere in the introduction and states the writer’s point of view.

Avoid forming a thesis based on a negative claim. For example, “The hourly minimum wage is not high enough for the average worker to live on.” This is probably a true statement, but persuasive arguments should make a positive case. That is, the thesis statement should focus on how the hourly minimum wage is low or insufficient.

Acknowledging Opposing Ideas and Limits to Your Argument

Because an argument implies differing points of view on the subject, you must be sure to acknowledge those opposing ideas. Avoiding ideas that conflict with your own gives the reader the impression that you may be uncertain, fearful, or unaware of opposing ideas. Thus it is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.

Try to address opposing arguments earlier rather than later in your essay. Rhetorically speaking, ordering your positive arguments last allows you to better address ideas that conflict with your own, so you can spend the rest of the essay countering those arguments. This way, you leave your reader thinking about your argument rather than someone else’s. You have the last word.

Acknowledging points of view different from your own also has the effect of fostering more credibility between you and the audience. They know from the outset that you are aware of opposing ideas and that you are not afraid to give them space.

It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish. In effect, you are conceding early on that your argument is not the ultimate authority on a given topic. Such humility can go a long way toward earning credibility and trust with an audience. Audience members will know from the beginning that you are a reasonable writer, and audience members will trust your argument as a result. For example, in the following concessionary statement, the writer advocates for stricter gun control laws, but she admits it will not solve all of our problems with crime:

Although tougher gun control laws are a powerful first step in decreasing violence in our streets, such legislation alone cannot end these problems since guns are not the only problem we face.

Such a concession will be welcome by those who might disagree with this writer’s argument in the first place. To effectively persuade their readers, writers need to be modest in their goals and humble in their approach to get readers to listen to the ideas. See Table 10.5 “Phrases of Concession” for some useful phrases of concession.

Table 10.5 Phrases of Concession

although granted that
of course still
though yet

Try to form a thesis for each of the following topics. Remember the more specific your thesis, the better.

  • Foreign policy
  • Television and advertising
  • Stereotypes and prejudice
  • Gender roles and the workplace
  • Driving and cell phones

Collaboration

Please share with a classmate and compare your answers. Choose the thesis statement that most interests you and discuss why.

Bias in Writing

Everyone has various biases on any number of topics. For example, you might have a bias toward wearing black instead of brightly colored clothes or wearing jeans rather than formal wear. You might have a bias toward working at night rather than in the morning, or working by deadlines rather than getting tasks done in advance. These examples identify minor biases, of course, but they still indicate preferences and opinions.

Handling bias in writing and in daily life can be a useful skill. It will allow you to articulate your own points of view while also defending yourself against unreasonable points of view. The ideal in persuasive writing is to let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and a respectful and reasonable address of opposing sides.

The strength of a personal bias is that it can motivate you to construct a strong argument. If you are invested in the topic, you are more likely to care about the piece of writing. Similarly, the more you care, the more time and effort you are apt to put forth and the better the final product will be.

The weakness of bias is when the bias begins to take over the essay—when, for example, you neglect opposing ideas, exaggerate your points, or repeatedly insert yourself ahead of the subject by using I too often. Being aware of all three of these pitfalls will help you avoid them.

The Use of I in Writing

The use of I in writing is often a topic of debate, and the acceptance of its usage varies from instructor to instructor. It is difficult to predict the preferences for all your present and future instructors, but consider the effects it can potentially have on your writing.

Be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound overly biased. There are two primary reasons:

  • Excessive repetition of any word will eventually catch the reader’s attention—and usually not in a good way. The use of I is no different.
  • The insertion of I into a sentence alters not only the way a sentence might sound but also the composition of the sentence itself. I is often the subject of a sentence. If the subject of the essay is supposed to be, say, smoking, then by inserting yourself into the sentence, you are effectively displacing the subject of the essay into a secondary position. In the following example, the subject of the sentence is underlined:

Smoking is bad.

I think smoking is bad.

In the first sentence, the rightful subject, smoking , is in the subject position in the sentence. In the second sentence, the insertion of I and think replaces smoking as the subject, which draws attention to I and away from the topic that is supposed to be discussed. Remember to keep the message (the subject) and the messenger (the writer) separate.

Developing Sound Arguments

Does my essay contain the following elements?

  • An engaging introduction
  • A reasonable, specific thesis that is able to be supported by evidence
  • A varied range of evidence from credible sources
  • Respectful acknowledgement and explanation of opposing ideas
  • A style and tone of language that is appropriate for the subject and audience
  • Acknowledgement of the argument’s limits
  • A conclusion that will adequately summarize the essay and reinforce the thesis

Fact and Opinion

Facts are statements that can be definitely proven using objective data. The statement that is a fact is absolutely valid. In other words, the statement can be pronounced as true or false. For example, 2 + 2 = 4. This expression identifies a true statement, or a fact, because it can be proved with objective data.

Opinions are personal views, or judgments. An opinion is what an individual believes about a particular subject. However, an opinion in argumentation must have legitimate backing; adequate evidence and credibility should support the opinion. Consider the credibility of expert opinions. Experts in a given field have the knowledge and credentials to make their opinion meaningful to a larger audience.

For example, you seek the opinion of your dentist when it comes to the health of your gums, and you seek the opinion of your mechanic when it comes to the maintenance of your car. Both have knowledge and credentials in those respective fields, which is why their opinions matter to you. But the authority of your dentist may be greatly diminished should he or she offer an opinion about your car, and vice versa.

In writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions. Relying on one or the other will likely lose more of your audience than it gains.

The word prove is frequently used in the discussion of persuasive writing. Writers may claim that one piece of evidence or another proves the argument, but proving an argument is often not possible. No evidence proves a debatable topic one way or the other; that is why the topic is debatable. Facts can be proved, but opinions can only be supported, explained, and persuaded.

On a separate sheet of paper, take three of the theses you formed in Note 10.94 “Exercise 1” , and list the types of evidence you might use in support of that thesis.

Using the evidence you provided in support of the three theses in Note 10.100 “Exercise 2” , come up with at least one counterargument to each. Then write a concession statement, expressing the limits to each of your three arguments.

Using Visual Elements to Strengthen Arguments

Adding visual elements to a persuasive argument can often strengthen its persuasive effect. There are two main types of visual elements: quantitative visuals and qualitative visuals.

Quantitative visuals present data graphically. They allow the audience to see statistics spatially. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience. For example, sometimes it is easier to understand the disparity in certain statistics if you can see how the disparity looks graphically. Bar graphs, pie charts, Venn diagrams, histograms, and line graphs are all ways of presenting quantitative data in spatial dimensions.

Qualitative visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions. Photographs and pictorial images are examples of qualitative visuals. Such images often try to convey a story, and seeing an actual example can carry more power than hearing or reading about the example. For example, one image of a child suffering from malnutrition will likely have more of an emotional impact than pages dedicated to describing that same condition in writing.

Writing at Work

When making a business presentation, you typically have limited time to get across your idea. Providing visual elements for your audience can be an effective timesaving tool. Quantitative visuals in business presentations serve the same purpose as they do in persuasive writing. They should make logical appeals by showing numerical data in a spatial design. Quantitative visuals should be pictures that might appeal to your audience’s emotions. You will find that many of the rhetorical devices used in writing are the same ones used in the workplace. For more information about visuals in presentations, see Chapter 14 “Creating Presentations: Sharing Your Ideas” .

Writing a Persuasive Essay

Choose a topic that you feel passionate about. If your instructor requires you to write about a specific topic, approach the subject from an angle that interests you. Begin your essay with an engaging introduction. Your thesis should typically appear somewhere in your introduction.

Start by acknowledging and explaining points of view that may conflict with your own to build credibility and trust with your audience. Also state the limits of your argument. This too helps you sound more reasonable and honest to those who may naturally be inclined to disagree with your view. By respectfully acknowledging opposing arguments and conceding limitations to your own view, you set a measured and responsible tone for the essay.

Make your appeals in support of your thesis by using sound, credible evidence. Use a balance of facts and opinions from a wide range of sources, such as scientific studies, expert testimony, statistics, and personal anecdotes. Each piece of evidence should be fully explained and clearly stated.

Make sure that your style and tone are appropriate for your subject and audience. Tailor your language and word choice to these two factors, while still being true to your own voice.

Finally, write a conclusion that effectively summarizes the main argument and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample persuasive essay.

Choose one of the topics you have been working on throughout this section. Use the thesis, evidence, opposing argument, and concessionary statement as the basis for writing a full persuasive essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, clear explanations of all the evidence you present, and a strong conclusion.

Key Takeaways

  • The purpose of persuasion in writing is to convince or move readers toward a certain point of view, or opinion.
  • An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue, in writing, is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way.
  • A thesis that expresses the opinion of the writer in more specific terms is better than one that is vague.
  • It is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.
  • It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish through a concession statement.
  • To persuade a skeptical audience, you will need to use a wide range of evidence. Scientific studies, opinions from experts, historical precedent, statistics, personal anecdotes, and current events are all types of evidence that you might use in explaining your point.
  • Make sure that your word choice and writing style is appropriate for both your subject and your audience.
  • You should let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and respectfully and reasonably addressing opposing ideas.
  • You should be mindful of the use of I in your writing because it can make your argument sound more biased than it needs to.
  • Facts are statements that can be proven using objective data.
  • Opinions are personal views, or judgments, that cannot be proven.
  • In writing, you want to strike a balance between credible facts and authoritative opinions.
  • Quantitative visuals present data graphically. The purpose of using quantitative visuals is to make logical appeals to the audience.
  • Qualitative visuals present images that appeal to the audience’s emotions.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Persuasive Essay

Definition of persuasive essay, why persuasion, difference between a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay, examples of persuasive essay in literature, example #1: our unhealthy obsession and sickness (by frank furedi).

“Governments today do two things that I object to in particular. First they encourage introspection, telling us that unless men examine their testicles, unless we keep a check on our cholesterol level, then we are not being responsible citizens. You are letting down yourself, your wife, your kids, everybody. We are encouraged continually to worry about our health. As a consequence, public health initiatives have become, as far as I can tell, a threat to public health. Secondly, governments promote the value of health seeking. We are meant always to be seeking health for this or that condition. The primary effect of this, I believe, is to make us all feel more ill.”

Example #2: We Are Training Our Kids to Kill (by Dave Grossman)

“Our society needs to be informed about these crimes, but when the images of the young killers are broadcast on television, they become role models. The average preschooler in America watches 27 hours of television a week. The average child gets more one-on-one communication from TV than from all her parents and teachers combined. The ultimate achievement for our children is to get their picture on TV. The solution is simple, and it comes straight out of the sociology literature: The media have every right and responsibility to tell the story , but they must be persuaded not to glorify the killers by presenting their images on TV.”

Example #3: The Real Skinny (by Belinda Luscombe)

“And what do we the people say? Do we rise up and say, ‘I categorically refuse to buy any article of clothing unless the person promoting it weighs more than she did when she wore knee socks?’ Or at least, ‘Where do I send the check for the chicken nuggets?’ Actually, not so much. Mostly, our responses range from ‘I wonder if that would look good on me?’ to ‘I don’t know who that skinny-ass cow is, but I hate her already.’

Function of a Persuasive Essay

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40 Strong Persuasive Writing Examples (Essays, Speeches, Ads, and More)

Learn from the experts.

The American Crisis historical article, as an instance of persuasive essay examples

The more we read, the better writers we become. Teaching students to write strong persuasive essays should always start with reading some top-notch models. This round-up of persuasive writing examples includes famous speeches, influential ad campaigns, contemporary reviews of famous books, and more. Use them to inspire your students to write their own essays. (Need persuasive essay topics? Check out our list of interesting persuasive essay ideas here! )

  • Persuasive Essays
  • Persuasive Speeches
  • Advertising Campaigns

Persuasive Essay Writing Examples

First paragraph of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis

From the earliest days of print, authors have used persuasive essays to try to sway others to their own point of view. Check out these top persuasive essay writing examples.

Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf

Sample lines: “Outwardly, what is simpler than to write books? Outwardly, what obstacles are there for a woman rather than for a man? Inwardly, I think, the case is very different; she has still many ghosts to fight, many prejudices to overcome. Indeed it will be a long time still, I think, before a woman can sit down to write a book without finding a phantom to be slain, a rock to be dashed against. And if this is so in literature, the freest of all professions for women, how is it in the new professions which you are now for the first time entering?”

The Crisis by Thomas Paine

Sample lines: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

Politics and the English Language by George Orwell

Sample lines: “As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.”

Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.'”

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Sample lines: “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”

Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Roger Ebert

Sample lines: “‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime.”

The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

Sample lines: “Methinks I hear some of you say, must a man afford himself no leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, a life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.”

The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sample lines: “Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once.”

Open Letter to the Kansas School Board by Bobby Henderson

Sample lines: “I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. … Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. … We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him. It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories.”

Open Letter to the United Nations by Niels Bohr

Sample lines: “Humanity will, therefore, be confronted with dangers of unprecedented character unless, in due time, measures can be taken to forestall a disastrous competition in such formidable armaments and to establish an international control of the manufacture and use of the powerful materials.”

Persuasive Speech Writing Examples

Many persuasive speeches are political in nature, often addressing subjects like human rights. Here are some of history’s most well-known persuasive writing examples in the form of speeches.

I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Woodrow Wilson’s War Message to Congress, 1917

Sample lines: “There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.”

Chief Seattle’s 1854 Oration

Sample lines: “I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.”

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Sample lines: “What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well. … If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

I Am Prepared to Die, Nelson Mandela

Sample lines: “Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy. But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on color, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one color group by another. … This then is what the ANC is fighting. Our struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by our own suffering and our own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.”

The Struggle for Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt

Sample lines: “It is my belief, and I am sure it is also yours, that the struggle for democracy and freedom is a critical struggle, for their preservation is essential to the great objective of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Among free men the end cannot justify the means. We know the patterns of totalitarianism—the single political party, the control of schools, press, radio, the arts, the sciences, and the church to support autocratic authority; these are the age-old patterns against which men have struggled for 3,000 years. These are the signs of reaction, retreat, and retrogression. The United Nations must hold fast to the heritage of freedom won by the struggle of its people; it must help us to pass it on to generations to come.”

Freedom From Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi

Sample lines: “Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.”

Harvey Milk’s “The Hope” Speech

Sample lines: “Some people are satisfied. And some people are not. You see there is a major difference—and it remains a vital difference—between a friend and a gay person, a friend in office and a gay person in office. Gay people have been slandered nationwide. We’ve been tarred and we’ve been brushed with the picture of pornography. In Dade County, we were accused of child molestation. It is not enough anymore just to have friends represent us, no matter how good that friend may be.”

The Union and the Strike, Cesar Chavez

Sample lines: “We are showing our unity in our strike. Our strike is stopping the work in the fields; our strike is stopping ships that would carry grapes; our strike is stopping the trucks that would carry the grapes. Our strike will stop every way the grower makes money until we have a union contract that guarantees us a fair share of the money he makes from our work! We are a union and we are strong and we are striking to force the growers to respect our strength!”

Nobel Lecture by Malala Yousafzai

Sample lines: “The world can no longer accept that basic education is enough. Why do leaders accept that for children in developing countries, only basic literacy is sufficient, when their own children do homework in algebra, mathematics, science, and physics? Leaders must seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality, primary and secondary education for every child. Some will say this is impractical, or too expensive, or too hard. Or maybe even impossible. But it is time the world thinks bigger.”   

Persuasive Writing Examples in Advertising Campaigns

Ads are prime persuasive writing examples. You can flip open any magazine or watch TV for an hour or two to see sample after sample of persuasive language. Here are some of the most popular ad campaigns of all time, with links to articles explaining why they were so successful.

Nike: Just Do It

Nike

The iconic swoosh with the simple tagline has persuaded millions to buy their kicks from Nike and Nike alone. Teamed with pro sports-star endorsements, this campaign is one for the ages. Blinkist offers an opinion on what made it work.

Dove: Real Beauty

Beauty brand Dove changed the game by choosing “real” women to tell their stories instead of models. They used relatable images and language to make connections, and inspired other brands to try the same concept. Learn why Global Brands considers this one a true success story.

Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef?

Today’s kids are too young to remember the cranky old woman demanding to know where the beef was on her fast-food hamburger. But in the 1980s, it was a catchphrase that sold millions of Wendy’s burgers. Learn from Better Marketing how this ad campaign even found its way into the 1984 presidential debate.

De Beers: A Diamond Is Forever

Diamond engagement ring on black velvet. Text reads "How do you make two months' salary last forever? The Diamond Engagement Ring."

A diamond engagement ring has become a standard these days, but the tradition isn’t as old as you might think. In fact, it was De Beers jewelry company’s 1948 campaign that created the modern engagement ring trend. The Drum has the whole story of this sparkling campaign.

Volkswagen: Think Small

Americans have always loved big cars. So in the 1960s, when Volkswagen wanted to introduce their small cars to a bigger market, they had a problem. The clever “Think Small” campaign gave buyers clever reasons to consider these models, like “If you run out of gas, it’s easy to push.” Learn how advertisers interested American buyers in little cars at Visual Rhetoric.

American Express: Don’t Leave Home Without It

AmEx was once better known for traveler’s checks than credit cards, and the original slogan was “Don’t leave home without them.” A simple word change convinced travelers that American Express was the credit card they needed when they headed out on adventures. Discover more about this persuasive campaign from Medium.

Skittles: Taste the Rainbow

Bag of Skittles candy against a blue background. Text reads

These candy ads are weird and intriguing and probably not for everyone. But they definitely get you thinking, and that often leads to buying. Learn more about why these wacky ads are successful from The Drum.

Maybelline: Maybe She’s Born With It

Smart wordplay made this ad campaign slogan an instant hit. The ads teased, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” (So many literary devices all in one phrase!) Fashionista has more on this beauty campaign.

Coca-Cola: Share a Coke

Seeing their own name on a bottle made teens more likely to want to buy a Coke. What can that teach us about persuasive writing in general? It’s an interesting question to consider. Learn more about the “Share a Coke” campaign from Digital Vidya.

Always: #LikeaGirl

Always ad showing a young girl holding a softball. Text reads

Talk about the power of words! This Always campaign turned the derogatory phrase “like a girl” on its head, and the world embraced it. Storytelling is an important part of persuasive writing, and these ads really do it well. Medium has more on this stereotype-bashing campaign.   

Editorial Persuasive Writing Examples

Original newspaper editorial

Newspaper editors or publishers use editorials to share their personal opinions. Noted politicians, experts, or pundits may also offer their opinions on behalf of the editors or publishers. Here are a couple of older well-known editorials, along with a selection from current newspapers.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1897)

Sample lines: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.”

What’s the Matter With Kansas? (1896)

Sample lines: “Oh, this IS a state to be proud of! We are a people who can hold up our heads! What we need is not more money, but less capital, fewer white shirts and brains, fewer men with business judgment, and more of those fellows who boast that they are ‘just ordinary clodhoppers, but they know more in a minute about finance than John Sherman,’ we need more men … who hate prosperity, and who think, because a man believes in national honor, he is a tool of Wall Street.”

America Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both. (The New York Times)

Sample lines: “The nation is not powerless to stop a slide toward deadly chaos. If institutions and individuals do more to make it unacceptable in American public life, organized violence in the service of political objectives can still be pushed to the fringes. When a faction of one of the country’s two main political parties embraces extremism, that makes thwarting it both more difficult and more necessary. A well-functioning democracy demands it.”

The Booster Isn’t Perfect, But Still Can Help Against COVID (The Washington Post)

Sample lines: “The booster shots are still free, readily available and work better than the previous boosters even as the virus evolves. Much still needs to be done to build better vaccines that protect longer and against more variants, including those that might emerge in the future. But it is worth grabbing the booster that exists today, the jab being a small price for any measure that can help keep COVID at bay.”

If We Want Wildlife To Thrive in L.A., We Have To Share Our Neighborhoods With Them (Los Angeles Times)

Sample lines: “If there are no corridors for wildlife movement and if excessive excavation of dirt to build bigger, taller houses erodes the slope of a hillside, then we are slowly destroying wildlife habitat. For those people fretting about what this will do to their property values—isn’t open space, trees, and wildlife an amenity in these communities?”   

Persuasive Review Writing Examples

Image of first published New York Times Book Review

Book or movie reviews are more great persuasive writing examples. Look for those written by professionals for the strongest arguments and writing styles. Here are reviews of some popular books and movies by well-known critics to use as samples.

The Great Gatsby (The Chicago Tribune, 1925)

Sample lines: “What ails it, fundamentally, is the plain fact that it is simply a story—that Fitzgerald seems to be far more interested in maintaining its suspense than in getting under the skins of its people. It is not that they are false: It is that they are taken too much for granted. Only Gatsby himself genuinely lives and breathes. The rest are mere marionettes—often astonishingly lifelike, but nevertheless not quite alive.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (The Washington Post, 1999)

Sample lines: “Obviously, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone should make any modern 11-year-old a very happy reader. The novel moves quickly, packs in everything from a boa constrictor that winks to a melancholy Zen-spouting centaur to an owl postal system, and ends with a scary surprise. Yet it is, essentially, a light-hearted thriller, interrupted by occasional seriousness (the implications of Harry’s miserable childhood, a moral about the power of love).”

Twilight (The Telegraph, 2009)

Sample lines: “No secret, of course, at whom this book is aimed, and no doubt, either, that it has hit its mark. The four Twilight novels are not so much enjoyed, as devoured, by legions of young female fans worldwide. That’s not to say boys can’t enjoy these books; it’s just that the pages of heart-searching dialogue between Edward and Bella may prove too long on chat and too short on action for the average male reader.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (Time, 1960)

Sample lines: “Author Lee, 34, an Alabaman, has written her first novel with all of the tactile brilliance and none of the preciosity generally supposed to be standard swamp-warfare issue for Southern writers. The novel is an account of an awakening to good and evil, and a faint catechistic flavor may have been inevitable. But it is faint indeed; novelist Lee’s prose has an edge that cuts through cant, and she teaches the reader an astonishing number of useful truths about little girls and about Southern life.”

The Diary of Anne Frank (The New York Times, 1952)

Sample lines: “And this quality brings it home to any family in the world today. Just as the Franks lived in momentary fear of the Gestapo’s knock on their hidden door, so every family today lives in fear of the knock of war. Anne’s diary is a great affirmative answer to the life-question of today, for she shows how ordinary people, within this ordeal, consistently hold to the greater human values.”   

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Plus, the big list of essay topics for high school (120+ ideas) ..

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Have you ever tried to get somebody round to your way of thinking? Then you should know how daunting the task is. Still, if your persuasion is successful, the result is emotionally rewarding.

A persuasive essay is a type of writing that uses facts and logic to argument and substantiate such or another point of view. The purpose is to assure the reader that the author’s position is viable. In this article by Custom-writing experts, you can find a guide on persuasive writing, compelling examples, and outline structure. Continue reading and learn how to write a persuasive essay!

⚖️ Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essay

  • 🐾 Step-by-Step Writing Guide

🔗 References

An argumentative essay intends to attack the opposing point of view, discussing its drawbacks and inconsistencies. A persuasive essay describes only the writer’s opinion, explaining why it is a believable one. In other words, you are not an opponent; you are an advocate.

Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essays: in what Points Are They Similar and Different?

A persuasive essay primarily resorts to emotions and personal ideas on a deeper level of meaning, while an argumentative one invokes logic reasoning. Despite the superficial similarity of these two genres, argumentative speech presupposes intense research of the subject, while persuasive speech requires a good knowledge of the audience.

🐾 How to Write a Persuasive Essay Step by Step

These nine steps are the closest thing you will find to a shortcut for writing to persuade. With practice, you may get through these steps quickly—or even figure out new techniques in persuasive writing.

This approach gives you two tremendous advantages. First, you will already have an opinion and an understanding of the arguments for and against your perspective. Second, you can go through the writing process more quickly.
The more research you can do, the better. A great idea is to set a deadline for stopping research. Immerse yourself until then. This way, you can stay on pace to finish before your final deadline. By the end of this research process, you should crystalize your position on the topic.
Here, you are going to want to read at least one or two expert persuasive essay samples that agree with your position. They will show you good ways to structure your argument. Simultaneously, it can reveal any apparent holes in your position. Take notes on the most convincing lines of support. And always cite your sources correctly.
If Step 3 didn’t reveal flaws in your position, this step certainly will. Look for examples of persuasive essays that defend a point of view opposite to yours. Study them carefully. Use this knowledge to strengthen your research and essay.
Many writers skip outlining. And then spend hours staring at a blank page. Don’t do that! Make your persuasive essay outline! Professional writers will tell you that it is easier to make an outline than it is to “just start writing.” Note that the next section of this article contains detailed instructions on how to make a persuasive essay outline.
Since you have your persuasive essay structure now, this should be the easiest step of all. At this point, don’t think—just write! You’ve already thought a lot. Furthermore, you’ll do plenty more thinking. Don’t waste time deciding what to write. Just turn each of your ideas into grammatical sentences.
When you complete a rough draft, give yourself a break before rereading your essay. Later, read your draft, correcting typos, and making small improvements as you go. If you like your essay, great! If you dislike your essay, take notes. Use those notes as you begin the of revising and editing your essay. Repeat this as many times as necessary.
Asking for help is not easy. But still, if you have the opportunity, give your essay to a friend and ask for feedback. Good feedback can greatly improve your text.
You’ll most likely make minimal (if any) edits to your content on this stage. Now it’s time to take care of the format. Make your persuasive essay shine!

📑 Persuasive Essay Outline

Below you’ll find an example of a persuasive essay outline . Remember: papers in this genre are more flexible than argumentative essays are. You don’t need to build a perfectly logical structure here. Your goal is to persuade your reader.

Note that the next section contains a sample written in accordance with this outline.

Persuasive Essay Introduction

  • Hook: start with an intriguing sentence.
  • Background: describe the context of the discussed issue and familiarize the reader with the argument.
  • Definitions: if your essay dwells upon a theoretical subject matter, be sure to explain the complicated terms.
  • Thesis statement: state the purpose of your piece of writing clearly and concisely. This is the most substantial sentence of the entire essay, so take your time formulating it.

Persuasive Essay Body

Use the following template for each paragraph.

  • Topic sentence: linking each new idea to the thesis, it introduces a paragraph. Use only one separate argument for each section, stating it in the topic sentence.
  • Evidence: substantiate the previous sentence with reliable information. If it is your personal opinion, give the reasons why you think so.
  • Analysis: build the argument, explaining how the evidence supports your thesis.

Persuasive Essay Conclusion

  • Summary: briefly list the main points of the essay in a couple of sentences.
  • Significance: connect your essay to a broader idea.
  • Future: how can your argument be developed?

⭐ Persuasive Essay Examples

In this section, there are three great persuasive essay examples. The first one is written in accordance with the outline above, will the components indicated. Two others are downloadable.

Example #1: Being a Millionaire is a Bad Thing

Introduction.

Could a glass of good wine on a private airplane have a bitter taste?
People tend to idealize the life they do not have. Money resolves many issues: leisure, education, and often even health problems. But when basic needs are met, new and more exquisite desires appear. Wealth does not guarantee happiness. Moreover, it can become a malediction.
A millionaire is a person whose fortune makes up a million dollars or more, but the word is used for any wealthy individual for the purpose of the essay.
This text intends to prove that being a millionaire is a dubious pleasure through objective reasons.

Paragraph #1

Millionaires spend the first part of their lives accumulating the assets, and the second half trying to keep them.
It may sound motivating only for those who have never lived it through. People who have spent their lifetime running for a fortune admit in their old days that life has passed by, and they did not engage in really important activities. Instead of intensive work, meetings, and interviews, they would have spent time with their families and friends.
Thus, no money can buy back the lost time for earning it.

Paragraph #2

Moreover, the continuous striving for fortune and fear of losing it provokes high stress.
Running a business is always a risk, and being rich and famous attracts much attention to the family and lifestyle. Being wealthy is also a full-time job that can drain the emotional and physical forces. Even if a millionaire in question is a workaholic and enjoys round-the-clock attention, such a way of life undermines their health, forcing them to spend much time and monetary resources on medical treatment. Personal relationships are also harmed because wealthy people cannot spend much time with their families.
Nothing comes without cost, and it happens that the cost is more valuable than the gain.

Paragraph #3

Finally, large fortune imposes responsibility.
It may seem that money can buy you the possibility to do whatever you want, and sometimes it is really so. A millionaire can afford a month-long vacation if their business runs smoothly, and they have trusted deputies. However, practice shows that success requires supervision. Furthermore, employees, business investors, and family depend on business owners. Besides, people expect a wealthy person to share with the poor and sick.
A wrong decision can ruin many lives, making a millionaire’s life even more stressful.
Having considered everything mentioned above, the life of a wealthy person is anything but easy. They have to waste years earning a fortune, and then suffer stress in fear of losing it. They cannot give up to their discretion because many people depend on them. This pressure undermines their health and relationships.
This information is not intended to demotivate the reader from striving to earn more. Instead, the idea is that nothing comes without a price.
Therefore, knowing the outcomes and the stakes you have the choice of what to dedicate your life to.

Example #2: Teachers or Doctors?

The importance of doctors in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to overstate. The well-being of the nation depends on how well doctors can fulfill their duties before society. The US society acknowledges the importance of doctors and healthcare, as it is ready to pay large sums of money to cure the diseases. However, during the lockdown, students and parents all around the world began to understand the importance of teachers.

Before lockdown, everyone took the presence of teachers for granted, as they were always available free of charge. In this country, it has always been the case that while doctors received praises and monetary benefits, teachers remained humble, even though they play the most important role for humanity: passing the knowledge through generations. How fair is that? The present paper claims that even in the period of the pandemic, teachers contribute more to modern society than doctors do.

Example #3: Is Online or Homeschool More Effective?

The learning process can be divided into traditional education in an educational institution and distance learning. The latter form has recently become widely popular due to the development of technology. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving the increased interest in distance learning. However, there is controversy about whether this form of training is sufficient enough. This essay aims to examine online and homeschooling in a historical and contemporary context and to confirm the thesis that such activity is at least equivalent to a standard type of education.

Persuasive Essay Topics

  • Why do managers hate the performance evaluation?
  • Why human cloning should be prohibited.
  • Social media have negative physical and psychological effect on teenagers.
  • Using cell phones while driving should be completely forbidden.  
  • Why is business ethics important?
  • Media should change its negative representation of ageing and older people.
  • What is going on with the world? 
  • Good communication skills are critical for successful business.
  • Why capitalism is the best economic system.  
  • Sleep is extremely important for human health and wellbeing.
  • Face-to-face education is more effective than online education.
  • Why video games can be beneficial for teenagers.
  • Bullies should be expelled from school as they encroach on the school safety.
  • Why accountancy is a great occupation and more people should consider it as a future career.
  • The reasons art and music therapy should be included in basic health insurance.
  • Impact of climate change on the indoor environment.
  • Parents should vaccinate their children to prevent the spread of deadly diseases.
  • Why celebrities should pay more attention to the values they promote.
  • What is wrong with realism? 
  • Why water recycling should be every government’s priority.
  • Media spreads fear and panic among people.
  • Why e-business is very important for modern organizations.
  • People should own guns for self-protection.  
  • The neccessity of container deposit legislation.
  • We must save crocodiles to protect ecological balance.
  • Why we should pay more attention to renewable energy projects.
  • Anthropology is a critically relevant science.  
  • Why it’s important to create a new global financial order.
  • Why biodiversity is crucial for the environment?
  • Why process safety management is crucial for every organization.
  • Speed limits must not be increased.
  • What’s wrong with grades at school ?
  • Why tattoos should be considered as a form of fine art.  
  • Using all-natural bath and body products is the best choice for human health and safety.
  • What is cancel culture?
  • Why the Internet has become a problem of modern society.
  • Illegal immigrants should be provided with basic social services.
  • Smoking in public places must be banned for people’s safety and comfort.
  • Why it is essential to control our nutrition.
  • How to stimulate economic growth? 
  • Why exercise is beneficial for people.  
  • Studying history is decisive for the modern world.
  • We must decrease fuel consumption to stop global warming.
  • Why fighting social inequality is necessary.
  • Why should businesses welcome remote work? 
  • Social media harms communication within families.
  • College athletes should be paid for their achievements.
  • Electronic books should replace print books.
  • People should stop cutting down rainforest.  
  • Why every company should have a web page.
  • Tips To Write An Effective Persuasive Essay: The College Puzzle, Stanford University
  • 31 Powerful Persuasive Writing Techniques: Writtent
  • Persuasive Essay Outline: Houston Community College System
  • Essays that Worked: Hamilton College
  • Argumentative Essays // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Persuasion – Writing for Success (University of Minnesota)
  • Persuasive Writing (Manitoba Education)
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General Education

feature_essaytopics

Do you need to write a persuasive essay but aren’t sure what topic to focus on? Were you thrilled when your teacher said you could write about whatever you wanted but are now overwhelmed by the possibilities? We’re here to help!

Read on for a list of 113 top-notch persuasive essay topics, organized into ten categories. To help get you started, we also discuss what a persuasive essay is, how to choose a great topic, and what tips to keep in mind as you write your persuasive essay.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

In a persuasive essay, you attempt to convince readers to agree with your point of view on an argument. For example, an essay analyzing changes in Italian art during the Renaissance wouldn’t be a persuasive essay, because there’s no argument, but an essay where you argue that Italian art reached its peak during the Renaissance would be a persuasive essay because you’re trying to get your audience to agree with your viewpoint.

Persuasive and argumentative essays both try to convince readers to agree with the author, but the two essay types have key differences. Argumentative essays show a more balanced view of the issue and discuss both sides. Persuasive essays focus more heavily on the side the author agrees with. They also often include more of the author’s opinion than argumentative essays, which tend to use only facts and data to support their argument.

All persuasive essays have the following:

  • Introduction: Introduces the topic, explains why it’s important, and ends with the thesis.
  • Thesis: A sentence that sums up what the essay be discussing and what your stance on the issue is.
  • Reasons you believe your side of the argument: Why do you support the side you do? Typically each main point will have its own body paragraph.
  • Evidence supporting your argument: Facts or examples to back up your main points. Even though your opinion is allowed in persuasive essays more than most other essays, having concrete examples will make a stronger argument than relying on your opinion alone.
  • Conclusion: Restatement of thesis, summary of main points, and a recap of why the issue is important.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Essay Topic?

Theoretically, you could write a persuasive essay about any subject under the sun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Certain topics are easier to write a strong persuasive essay on, and below are tips to follow when deciding what you should write about.

It’s a Topic You Care About

Obviously, it’s possible to write an essay about a topic you find completely boring. You’ve probably done it! However, if possible, it’s always better to choose a topic that you care about and are interested in. When this is the case, you’ll find doing the research more enjoyable, writing the essay easier, and your writing will likely be better because you’ll be more passionate about and informed on the topic.

You Have Enough Evidence to Support Your Argument

Just being passionate about a subject isn’t enough to make it a good persuasive essay topic, though. You need to make sure your argument is complex enough to have at least two potential sides to root for, and you need to be able to back up your side with evidence and examples. Even though persuasive essays allow your opinion to feature more than many other essays, you still need concrete evidence to back up your claims, or you’ll end up with a weak essay.

For example, you may passionately believe that mint chocolate chip ice cream is the best ice cream flavor (I agree!), but could you really write an entire essay on this? What would be your reasons for believing mint chocolate chip is the best (besides the fact that it’s delicious)? How would you support your belief? Have enough studies been done on preferred ice cream flavors to support an entire essay? When choosing a persuasive essay idea, you want to find the right balance between something you care about (so you can write well on it) and something the rest of the world cares about (so you can reference evidence to strengthen your position).

It’s a Manageable Topic

Bigger isn’t always better, especially with essay topics. While it may seem like a great idea to choose a huge, complex topic to write about, you’ll likely struggle to sift through all the information and different sides of the issue and winnow them down to one streamlined essay. For example, choosing to write an essay about how WWII impacted American life more than WWI wouldn’t be a great idea because you’d need to analyze all the impacts of both the wars in numerous areas of American life. It’d be a huge undertaking. A better idea would be to choose one impact on American life the wars had (such as changes in female employment) and focus on that. Doing so will make researching and writing your persuasive essay much more feasible.

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List of 113 Good Persuasive Essay Topics

Below are over 100 persuasive essay ideas, organized into ten categories. When you find an idea that piques your interest, you’ll choose one side of it to argue for in your essay. For example, if you choose the topic, “should fracking be legal?” you’d decide whether you believe fracking should be legal or illegal, then you’d write an essay arguing all the reasons why your audience should agree with you.

Arts/Culture

  • Should students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Did the end of Game of Thrones fit with the rest of the series?
  • Can music be an effective way to treat mental illness?
  • With e-readers so popular, have libraries become obsolete?
  • Are the Harry Potter books more popular than they deserve to be?
  • Should music with offensive language come with a warning label?
  • What’s the best way for museums to get more people to visit?
  • Should students be able to substitute an art or music class for a PE class in school?
  • Are the Kardashians good or bad role models for young people?
  • Should people in higher income brackets pay more taxes?
  • Should all high school students be required to take a class on financial literacy?
  • Is it possible to achieve the American dream, or is it only a myth?
  • Is it better to spend a summer as an unpaid intern at a prestigious company or as a paid worker at a local store/restaurant?
  • Should the United States impose more or fewer tariffs?
  • Should college graduates have their student loans forgiven?
  • Should restaurants eliminate tipping and raise staff wages instead?
  • Should students learn cursive writing in school?
  • Which is more important: PE class or music class?
  • Is it better to have year-round school with shorter breaks throughout the year?
  • Should class rank be abolished in schools?
  • Should students be taught sex education in school?
  • Should students be able to attend public universities for free?
  • What’s the most effective way to change the behavior of school bullies?
  • Are the SAT and ACT accurate ways to measure intelligence?
  • Should students be able to learn sign language instead of a foreign language?
  • Do the benefits of Greek life at colleges outweigh the negatives?
  • Does doing homework actually help students learn more?
  • Why do students in many other countries score higher than American students on math exams?
  • Should parents/teachers be able to ban certain books from schools?
  • What’s the best way to reduce cheating in school?
  • Should colleges take a student’s race into account when making admissions decisions?
  • Should there be limits to free speech?
  • Should students be required to perform community service to graduate high school?
  • Should convicted felons who have completed their sentence be allowed to vote?
  • Should gun ownership be more tightly regulated?
  • Should recycling be made mandatory?
  • Should employers be required to offer paid leave to new parents?
  • Are there any circumstances where torture should be allowed?
  • Should children under the age of 18 be able to get plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons?
  • Should white supremacy groups be allowed to hold rallies in public places?
  • Does making abortion illegal make women more or less safe?
  • Does foreign aid actually help developing countries?
  • Are there times a person’s freedom of speech should be curtailed?
  • Should people over a certain age not be allowed to adopt children?

Government/Politics

  • Should the minimum voting age be raised/lowered/kept the same?
  • Should Puerto Rico be granted statehood?
  • Should the United States build a border wall with Mexico?
  • Who should be the next person printed on American banknotes?
  • Should the United States’ military budget be reduced?
  • Did China’s one child policy have overall positive or negative impacts on the country?
  • Should DREAMers be granted US citizenship?
  • Is national security more important than individual privacy?
  • What responsibility does the government have to help homeless people?
  • Should the electoral college be abolished?
  • Should the US increase or decrease the number of refugees it allows in each year?
  • Should privately-run prisons be abolished?
  • Who was the most/least effective US president?
  • Will Brexit end up helping or harming the UK?

body-sparkler-us-flag

  • What’s the best way to reduce the spread of Ebola?
  • Is the Keto diet a safe and effective way to lose weight?
  • Should the FDA regulate vitamins and supplements more strictly?
  • Should public schools require all students who attend to be vaccinated?
  • Is eating genetically modified food safe?
  • What’s the best way to make health insurance more affordable?
  • What’s the best way to lower the teen pregnancy rate?
  • Should recreational marijuana be legalized nationwide?
  • Should birth control pills be available without a prescription?
  • Should pregnant women be forbidden from buying cigarettes and alcohol?
  • Why has anxiety increased in adolescents?
  • Are low-carb or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
  • What caused the destruction of the USS Maine?
  • Was King Arthur a mythical legend or actual Dark Ages king?
  • Was the US justified in dropping atomic bombs during WWII?
  • What was the primary cause of the Rwandan genocide?
  • What happened to the settlers of the Roanoke colony?
  • Was disagreement over slavery the primary cause of the US Civil War?
  • What has caused the numerous disappearances in the Bermuda triangle?
  • Should nuclear power be banned?
  • Is scientific testing on animals necessary?
  • Do zoos help or harm animals?
  • Should scientists be allowed to clone humans?
  • Should animals in circuses be banned?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets?
  • What’s the best way to reduce illegal poaching in Africa?
  • What is the best way to reduce the impact of global warming?
  • Should euthanasia be legalized?
  • Is there legitimate evidence of extraterrestrial life?
  • Should people be banned from owning aggressive dog breeds?
  • Should the United States devote more money towards space exploration?
  • Should the government subsidize renewable forms of energy?
  • Is solar energy worth the cost?
  • Should stem cells be used in medicine?
  • Is it right for the US to leave the Paris Climate Agreement?
  • Should athletes who fail a drug test receive a lifetime ban from the sport?
  • Should college athletes receive a salary?
  • Should the NFL do more to prevent concussions in players?
  • Do PE classes help students stay in shape?
  • Should horse racing be banned?
  • Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
  • Should children younger than 18 be allowed to play tackle football?
  • Are the costs of hosting an Olympic Games worth it?
  • Can online schools be as effective as traditional schools?
  • Do violent video games encourage players to be violent in real life?
  • Should facial recognition technology be banned?
  • Does excessive social media use lead to depression/anxiety?
  • Has the rise of translation technology made knowing multiple languages obsolete?
  • Was Steve Jobs a visionary or just a great marketer?
  • Should social media be banned for children younger than a certain age?
  • Which 21st-century invention has had the largest impact on society?
  • Are ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft good or bad for society?
  • Should Facebook have done more to protect the privacy of its users?
  • Will technology end up increasing or decreasing inequality worldwide?

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Tips for Writing a Strong Persuasive Essay

After you’ve chosen the perfect topic for your persuasive essay, your work isn’t over. Follow the three tips below to create a top-notch essay.

Do Your Research

Your argument will fall apart if you don’t fully understand the issue you’re discussing or you overlook an important piece of it. Readers won’t be convinced by someone who doesn’t know the subject, and you likely won’t persuade any of them to begin supporting your viewpoint. Before you begin writing a single word of your essay, research your topic thoroughly. Study different sources, learn about the different sides of the argument, ask anyone who’s an expert on the topic what their opinion is, etc. You might be tempted to start writing right away, but by doing your research, you’ll make the writing process much easier when the time comes.

Make Your Thesis Perfect

Your thesis is the most important sentence in your persuasive essay. Just by reading that single sentence, your audience should know exactly what topic you’ll be discussing and where you stand on the issue. You want your thesis to be crystal clear and to accurately set up the rest of your essay. Asking classmates or your teacher to look it over before you begin writing the rest of your essay can be a big help if you’re not entirely confident in your thesis.

Consider the Other Side

You’ll spend most of your essay focusing on your side of the argument since that’s what you want readers to come away believing. However, don’t think that means you can ignore other sides of the issue. In your essay, be sure to discuss the other side’s argument, as well as why you believe this view is weak or untrue. Researching all the different viewpoints and including them in your essay will increase the quality of your writing by making your essay more complete and nuanced.

Summary: Persuasive Essay Ideas

Good persuasive essay topics can be difficult to come up with, but in this guide we’ve created a list of 113 excellent essay topics for you to browse. The best persuasive essay ideas will be those that you are interested in, have enough evidence to support your argument, and aren’t too complicated to be summarized in an essay.

After you’ve chosen your essay topic, keep these three tips in mind when you begin writing:

  • Do your research
  • Make your thesis perfect
  • Consider the other side

What's Next?

Need ideas for a research paper topic as well? Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you.

Thinking about taking an AP English class? Read our guide on AP English classes to learn whether you should take AP English Language or AP English Literature (or both!)

Deciding between the SAT or ACT? Find out for sure which you will do the best on . Also read a detailed comparison between the two tests .

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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  • How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips

How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

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Table of contents

When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

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what is a personal persuasive essay

An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

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what is a personal persuasive essay

15 Powerful Persuasive Speech Examples to Inspire Your Next Talk

  • The Speaker Lab
  • June 24, 2024

Table of Contents

Crafting a persuasive speech that captivates your audience and drives them to action is no easy feat. If you’re hitting the books, climbing the corporate ladder, or just dreaming of rocking the stage with your speeches, having a killer set of persuasive speech examples can totally change your game. In this post, we’ve curated some of the most compelling and inspiring persuasive speech examples to help you elevate your own speaking skills. So buckle up and grab your pen, because we’re diving into the secrets behind these unforgettable speeches.

What is a Persuasive Speech?

When we talk about a persuasive speech , we refer to a form of communication that seeks to influence the audience’s beliefs or actions. In the course of a persuasive speech, a person will present compelling arguments—backed by evidence and persuasive techniques—in order to convince listeners to embrace a specific viewpoint or take a particular course of action. Persuasive speeches are used in many different areas of life, such as in a school or university setting, in a job, or in a social setting.

When preparing to give a persuasive speech, always choose a topic or cause you’re interested in and passionate about. If you want to convince other people to agree with your stance, you must be seen to believe in it yourself. In addition, it helps to choose a topic that people care about and hasn’t been overdone.

Funny Persuasive Speech Examples

Looking for some funny persuasive speech examples to inspire your next presentation? You’ve come to the right place. Humor is a powerful tool when it comes to persuasion. It can help you connect with your audience, make your message more memorable, and even diffuse tension around controversial topics.

One classic example comes from David McCullough, Jr.’s high school commencement speech entitled “You Are Not Special.” While the title might not sound funny, McCullough delivers a hilarious reality check to graduates, poking fun at the coddling and praise they’ve received growing up. His ultimate message—that true success comes from hard work and taking risks—is made all the more powerful by his humorous approach.

But what makes funny persuasive speeches so effective? For one, humor helps the speakers build rapport with their audiences. Laughter is a shared experience that brings people together and makes them more open to new ideas. Additionally, injecting some levity into a speech can make the overall message more palatable and less preachy.

Of course, using humor in a persuasive speech requires some finesse. The jokes should be tasteful, relevant to your overall message, and not offensive to your audience. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. After all, a flat joke is better than one that leaves listeners cringing.

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Persuasive Speech Examples About Public Policy

Policy persuasive speeches advocate for a particular course of action on a public policy issue. These speeches go beyond simply raising awareness about a problem – they propose concrete solutions and try to sway the audience to support a specific plan.

One powerful policy persuasive speech example comes from Greta Thunberg’s address to the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019 . Thunberg doesn’t mince words when lambasting world leaders for their inaction on climate change. But she also lays out clear policy demands, like immediately halting fossil fuel subsidies and drastically reducing carbon emissions. Her message is clear: we know what needs to be done and we need to do it.

When crafting your own policy persuasive speech, it’s important to back up your arguments with solid evidence. Use statistics, expert testimony, and real-world examples to show why your proposed solution is feasible and necessary. Anticipate counterarguments and address them head-on. And most importantly, make a clear call to action. Ask yourself: what exactly do you want your audience to do to support your policy goals?

Value Persuasive Speech Examples

Value persuasive speeches aim to change people’s beliefs or attitudes about a particular issue. Rather than advocating for a specific policy, these speeches try to shift the audience’s underlying values and assumptions.

A classic example of a value persuasive speech is Mary McLeod Bethune’s “ What Does American Democracy Mean to Me? ” address. As an African American woman born into poverty, Bethune faced countless obstacles and injustices throughout her life. But in this speech, she reframes the narrative around American democracy, arguing that our nation’s highest ideals are worth fighting for, even if we haven’t yet lived up to them. By appealing to shared values like freedom, justice, and equality, Bethune inspires her audience to keep pushing for change.

The key to a successful value persuasive speech is tapping into your audience’s existing beliefs and values. Use vivid language and storytelling to paint a picture of the world you want to see. Make your case in moral and ethical terms, not just practical ones. And don’t be afraid to show some vulnerability. By sharing your own experiences and struggles, you can create an emotional connection with your listeners.

Persuasive Speech Examples About Social Issues

Social issues make for compelling persuasive speech topics because they touch on deeply held beliefs and affect people’s everyday lives. Whether you’re talking about racial justice, gender equality, or income inequality, these speeches require a deft touch and a willingness to engage with complex, often controversial ideas.

Talking About Mental Health

One powerful example of a persuasive speech about mental health is Kevin Breel’s “ Confessions of a Depressed Comic ” from TEDxKids@Ambleside. As a stand-up comedian, Breel knows how to get laughs, but he also knows the pain of living with depression. In this speech, he shares his own story of struggling with mental illness and calls on society to break the stigma around talking about mental health. By speaking vulnerably, Breel makes a compelling case for why we need to take depression seriously and support those who are struggling.

Addressing Physical Health

Another great example of a persuasive speech about health is Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk “ Teach Every Child About Food .” As a celebrity chef, Oliver has seen firsthand the impact of poor nutrition on people’s health. In this speech, he makes a passionate plea for better food education in schools, arguing that it’s a matter of life and death. With shocking statistics and personal anecdotes, Oliver paints a grim picture of the obesity epidemic and calls on parents, educators, and policymakers to take action.

Persuasive Speech Examples About the Environment

Environmental issues are some of the most pressing challenges we face as a society. From climate change to pollution to habitat destruction, the stakes couldn’t be higher. That’s why persuasive speeches about the environment are so important. By inspiring people to take action, they make a true difference.

One of the most famous environmental speeches of all time is Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” lecture, which was later turned into an Academy Award-winning documentary. In this speech, Gore lays out the scientific evidence for climate change and argues that we have a moral imperative to act. With compelling visuals and a sense of urgency, Gore makes a powerful case for why we need to reduce our carbon footprint and transition to renewable energy sources.

Another great example of an environmental persuasive speech is Severn Suzuki’s address to the UN Earth Summit in 1992. At just 12 years old, Suzuki delivered a heartfelt plea for action on behalf of her generation, arguing that adults were stealing children’s future by destroying the planet. Her speech went viral and helped galvanize the youth environmental movement. By speaking from the heart and calling out the hypocrisy of world leaders, Suzuki showed that you’re never too young to make a difference.

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FAQs on Persuasive Speech Examples

What are some examples of a persuasive speech.

Think climate change action, voting rights, or the importance of mental health awareness. They push for change.

What are 5 examples of persuasive essay?

Gun control laws, school uniforms debate, death penalty perspectives, animal testing ethics, and social media impacts make the list.

What’s an easy persuasive speech topic?

“Why recycling matters” is straightforward and impactful. It connects with everyday actions and broader environmental goals.

What is an example of a persuasive statement?

“Switching to renewable energy sources can significantly reduce our carbon footprint.” This urges action towards sustainability.

Persuasive speech examples show us how to inspire, motivate, and transform the way we communicate our ideas to the world. By studying these remarkable speeches, you’ve gained valuable insights into the art of persuasion and the techniques that make a speech truly unforgettable.

Remember, winning people over with your words takes more than just knowing the right things to say. It’s about practice, caring deeply, and tuning into the folks listening. Take the lessons you’ve learned from these examples and apply them to your own unique style and message. Pouring your soul into your speech can truly move an audience emotionally, altering their thinking for good.

Now your moment in the spotlight is here, so show off those persuasive speech skills. Go forth and create a speech that not only informs and entertains but also inspires and empowers your audience to take meaningful action. The world is waiting to hear your voice, so make it count!

  • Last Updated: June 21, 2024

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Student Opinion

176 Writing Prompts to Spark Discussion and Reflection

Here are all of our Student Opinion questions from the 2023-24 school year. Each question is based on a different New York Times article, interactive feature or video.

An illustration of a red airplane flying in a pink sky with white clouds. The plane is pulling a large, green banner that says “I love you.”

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Each day of the school year we publish a Student Opinion question inviting students to share their own opinions and experiences in response to New York Times stories on the news of the day. To introduce each question, we provide an excerpt from a related Times article, interactive or video as well as a free link to that piece.

The 176 questions we asked during the 2023-24 school year are available below and in this PDF . The prompts are organized into three sections: questions that lend themselves well to persuasive writing, questions that encourage narrative writing, and additional Student Opinion forums.

Teachers can use these prompts to help students practice narrative and persuasive writing, start classroom debates and even spark conversation between students around the world via our comments section. For more ideas on how to use these Student Opinion prompts in your classroom, you might consult this comprehensive teacher’s guide , which includes practical strategies from a dozen educators.

Questions for Narrative and Personal Writing

1. Do You Multitask? Is It Helpful or Harmful? 2. How Did You Grow and Change This School Year? 3. What Accomplishments Are You Most Proud Of? 4. Have You Ever Been Injured? Tell Us the Story. 5. Where in the World Would You Most Like to Travel? 6. Who Is Your Hero? 7. How Well Do You Get Along With Your Siblings? 8. What Is Teenage Bullying Like Today? 9. Are You a Joiner? 10. When Have You Felt That You Mattered? 11. How Hard Is It to Wake Up in the Morning? 12. What Have You Learned From Failure? 13. Where Is the Line Between Helping a Child Become More Resilient and Pushing Them Too Hard? 14. If You Had $1 Billion to Give Away, What Charity Would You Support? 15. What Are the Small Ways You Show Love to Those You Care About? 16. How Do You Feel About High School? 17. What Activities or Hobbies Do You Do With Your Family? 18. Do You Use, Like, Too Many Filler Words? 19. What Is Your Relationship With Fast Food? 20. What’s the Greatest Gift Your Parents Have Given You? 21. What Is Your Favorite Word? 22. Are You Good at Apologizing? 23. What Is Your Dream Job? 24. What Amazes You Most About Animals? 25. Which Toy Would You Want to Help Design or Update? 26. What Are the Best, and Worst, Recommendations You’ve Gotten From Social Media? 27. What Small Wins Have You Had Recently? 28. What Do You Like About Playing Games? 29. What Everyday Object Deserves More Love? 30. Are You Too Critical of Yourself? 31. Do You Spend Enough Time in the Dirt? 32. What Got Your Attention in the News Recently? 33. Has Your Birth Order Shaped Who You Are? 34. What Elective Do You Wish Your School Offered? 35. How Far Would You Push Yourself Physically to Meet a Goal? 36. How Often Do You Take Breaks From Your Phone? 37. How Do You Deal With Conflicts? 38. What Children’s Book Worlds Do You Wish You Could Visit in Real Life? 39. Has Your Relationship to School Attendance Changed Since the Pandemic? 40. What Can You Make or Fix With Your Hands? 41. What Have You Learned From a Grandparent or Elder? 42. Do You Wish You Had More Places to Go? 43. What Author Would You Most Like to Meet? 44. Have You Ever Lost Someone as a Friend? 45. Do You Keep a Journal? 46. Are You Tired of Influencers? 47. How Did the Covid-19 Pandemic Affect You, Your Family and Your Community? 48. To Whom Would You Write an Open Letter? 49. What’s the Best — and Worst — Part of Being a Sports Fan? 50. How Much Exercise Do You Get Each Week? 51. Do You Have a Hard Time Saying ‘No’? 52. What’s Your Favorite Kind of TikTok Video? 53. What Are Your Favorite Local Businesses? 54. How Involved Do You Expect Your Parents to Be in Your Adult Life? 55. How Important Is It to You to Keep Mementos From Your Life? 56. Who Are Your Favorite Athletes to Watch Right Now? 57. How Does Your School Address Students’ Mental Health Needs? 58. What Communities Are You a Part Of? What Communities Would You Like to Explore? 59. What’s Your TV ‘Comfort Food’? 60. What Sad Songs Do You Listen to When You’re Feeling Down? 61. Will You Be Watching Super Bowl LVIII? 62. What Was Your Most Memorable Field Trip? 63. What Is Unique About Where You Live? 64. What Is Your Experience With Group Chats? 65. Are You a Fan of Movie Remakes? 66. What Brings You Delight? 67. Do You Ever Host or Attend Sleepovers? 68. Here Are 15 Winning Tiny Memoirs. Which Ones Most Resonate With You? 69. What Is Your Reaction to Trump’s Conviction on 34 Felony Counts? 70. Do You Enjoy Keeping Secrets? 71. Are You Growing Tired of Superhero Movies? 72. What Do You Wish You Could Do Well? 73. Do You Think Any of These Mythical Creatures Might Be Real? 74. What Are Your Thoughts on Last Names? 75. Which TV Show or Movie Would You Want to Live? 76. Do You Ever Feel Envious of Others? 77. What Do You Want to Do Differently in the New Year? 78. What Is the Best Month of the Year? What Is the Worst? 79. What Will You Remember About 2023? 80. Do You Prefer Gifts That You’ve Asked For or Ones That Are a Surprise? 81. How Do You Feel About Holiday Music? 82. What Do You Appreciate About Winter? 83. Do You Like to Dance? 84. Do You Ever Feel Sentimental About the Past? 85. What Slang Do You Use? 86. Do You Like Spending Time Alone With Your Thoughts? 87. Do You Like Watching Other People Watch Sports? 88. What Role Does Humor Play in Your Life? 89. What Are You Grateful For? 90. Do You Trust Online Reviews? 91. What Have You Changed Your Mind About? 92. Do You Use Swear Words? 93. The North American Total Solar Eclipse Is Here. Are You Watching? 94. What ‘Oddball Rituals’ Do You Have? 95. Do You Ever Feel Pressure to Post About Your Outrage Online? 96. What Do You Enjoy That Others Think Is Cringe, Played Out or Just Uncool? 97. What Small Moments From Your Life Do You Think About Often? 98. Are You There for Your Friends When They Need You? 99. What Misconceptions Do People Have About Where You Live? 100. What’s Your Take on Beige Flags in Relationships? 101. Do You Share Music Tastes With Your Parents? 102. What Does Hip-Hop Mean to You? 103. What Do You Think of Barbie? 104. How Concerned Are You About the Cost of College? 105. What Has Been Your Best Secondhand Find? 106. What Household Items Can’t You Live Without? 107. How Do You Feel When You’re Interrupted? 108. At Which Museum or Venue Would You Like to Spend the Night? 109. What Were the Best and Worst Parts of Your Summer Vacation?

Questions for Debate and Persuasive Writing

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An Acquired Taste

After going on hormone replacement therapies, my taste began to change — but that effect wasn’t purely biological

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Linework-heavy illustration showing a kitchen counter with a large jar of Planters peanuts on the counter. On the fridge are several photographs and ephemera, with letter magnets that spell out “nuts” and “hrt.”

On my last trip to the Burbank Costco, I felt like I finally perfected my optimum shopping route. First, the personal care section for Kirkland-brand minoxidil, then a pallet of Diet Coke; last, a quick weave through the snack aisles in search of a 30-pack of “snacking nuts,” individually portioned packages of salted peanuts, cashews, and almonds. I had started consuming nuts at an unprompted, voracious daily rate, getting through a 30-pack in two weeks or less. I wasn’t sure what brought it on, after a lifetime of feeling pretty much nothing about nuts one way or the other. But I took a picture of the three pounds of snacking nuts in my cart and texted it to a friend anyway, with the message: “epic white guy snack . ”

I’ve been taking testosterone for two and a half years. Testosterone has broadened my jaw and receded my hairline, like my dad’s and my brother’s. My body is long-torsoed and my legs have newly muscular calves, a build that the men in my family call having “Lamberty legs.” Before I started hormone replacement therapy — before I was “a guy” — I never really cared about nuts (yes, you can laugh). Now well into my medical transition, I’ve found that my tastes have changed. Nuts are now my favorite snack, my go-to food. I’m at Target and Trader Joe’s every week looking for my next nut, where, in the aisles next to suburban dads who look more like me than not, I feel a kind of belonging.

Beyond the joke I won’t be able to escape here, nuts have become symbolic of a particular kind of masculinity for me. Both the seemingly biological change in my taste buds and my cultural associations with nuts have me evaluating my own gender expression, connecting the Midwestern men of my upbringing to the guy I’m creating. Standing in that Costco aisle, in relaxed-fit Lee jeans with a Gold Star membership and a value-pack of nuts in my cart, I recognized myself, for one of the first times I can remember, as a man.

When I began my medical transition, every doctor I met with took great pains to warn me about the changes my body would go through on testosterone. I had the top five side effects down pat after my second appointment: facial hair, lowering voice, bottom growth, fat redistribution, male-pattern baldness. I was excited about these changes. I wanted to grow an ugly little mustache. I wanted an expressive, deep voice. Those things came, in time, but what was never mentioned in my endocrinology appointments were the more nebulous experiences that occur when taking testosterone. My libido became almost unmanageable. I cried much less. And, it seems, my taste began to change.

When I noticed my taste buds reacting in new ways to nuts, something I’d eaten many times before to no major effect, it seemed like a straightforward hypothesis: My taste changed as a result of starting testosterone. As any good trans person would do, I took to Reddit, where I found hundreds of posts on the topic. “I used to really like spicy food, but I can’t stand it anymore.” “Does anyone else PERMANENTLY crave cold, smooth things like ice cream or pudding??” It seemed to be a common trans experience, yet with no through line between gender or taste or hormone introduced.

During a typical, cisgender puberty, hormonal changes affect one’s sense of taste to an extent. Infants are born with around 30,000 taste buds that dull and diminish over time, perhaps explaining why bitter foods become more palatable in the teen years. A sex-based explanation of taste is more complicated, and often contradictory. A recent study stated that women are more frequently identified as “supertasters,” or people who are genetically more sensitive to bitter tastes, but men report higher sensitivity to sweet and sour foods across the board. The study also stated that “taste preference, detection ability, and response to tastants have gender differences. However, the exact nature of these sex differences remains undetermined.”

There certainly aren’t any comprehensive studies on transgender taste buds over time. There’s still little known about the longer-term effects of transgender hormone replacement therapies (HRT), besides, for example, the hit list of masculinizing traits I saw during my first year on T. An article in a 2016 edition of Translational Andrology and Urology sums it up: Studies on the long-term health of transgender people taking HRT “have small patient numbers, short or medium-term follow-up, and very few of the patients studied are over the age of 65,” leaving your average trans Googler with anecdote-driven web forums. Social ostracism, institutional mistreatment, a lack of vocabulary around and access to gender-affirming care and an ultimately low life expectancy — there are clear cultural reasons why trans people have a minimal presence in contemporary medical literature. And few long-term studies on the effects of trans HRT doesn’t mean hormone therapy is dangerous or inadvisable (it clearly hasn’t stopped me); thousands of Americans, cis and trans alike, regularly take hormones to safe, well-documented effects.

At the same time, there’s a tendency for trans people to inventory our lives pre-transition in search of latent gender confusion, incidents that we can point to and say definitively yes, this is who I’ve been the whole time, testosterone or spironolactone side effects be damned. But much like one’s taste is impacted by factors like “ cognitive restraint, attitudes toward foods, nutritional knowledge, social influence, and culture-based exposure ,” so, too, is my gender expression. Was I born this way? Kind of yes, and kind of no. I love cashews now in a way I never did before regularly taking testosterone; I love their smooth unctuousness, the new luxuriousness of salt and oil on my palate. Maybe that’s a function of the medication. But beyond that, starting my medical transition has given me a new lived experience. Now that I move through the world differently — as a man — I relate to food differently. I relate to it as a man.

I can argue that nuts are associated with masculinity. Baseball games, sports bars, break rooms — I’ve mostly understood nuts as a foodstuff for the working man, fast and satisfying. Flavor and pleasure are usually second to fuel and efficiency when it comes to nutrient- and energy-dense nuts. Again, there’s limited evidence suggesting that after puberty, cisgender men’s palates lean salty , which could explain a broad masculine love for nuts. There are further studies claiming cisgender men’s sexual function may benefit from daily nut consumption — maybe there’s something there. These disparate facts and settings add up, in my mind, to a generally masculine positioning. When I listened to a recent episode of the podcast How Long Gone in which hosts Chris Black and Jason Stewart raved about the nut medley offered at a hotel in Sydney, I found myself earnestly relating. I felt like I had learned about a secret guy thing , something I was finally in on.

When I eat Sriracha almonds or honey-roasted peanuts, I mostly think about my dad, born in Wisconsin and raised in South Dakota. I think about growing up in Minnesota, and the strange omnipresence of nuts. Peanut shells paving the floors of Wisconsin dive bars. Cheeks full of sunflower seeds at Minnesota Twins games. My brother dipping into a huge bag of almonds after a workout. All of my uncles, no matter whose house, having a big-ass tin of Planters peanuts in the pantry.

I came of age around a masculine modality that was joyful, communal. Between four uncles and 14 cousins, family parties in Sioux Falls were rowdy and jocular. My uncles were always generous with their time, with their homes, with cases of Busch Light. Rough-hewn. Sturdy stock. They taught me how to play cribbage and shoot a bottle cap across a room with my fingers. The men in my family were the kind of people I wanted to be: aspirationally masculine, imbuing Combos and home-brewed beer and peanuts with significance. My dad would sometimes just have nuts and a couple cheese sticks as a late lunch, which never made sense to me; post-transition, I find myself doing the same.

It’s a chicken-and-egg question I think about near-daily: Where does the biology of my transness end, and where does the emotional, cultural experience brought about by my transition begin? Can I attribute any change in how I move through the world to weekly testosterone injections alone? Taking testosterone to change my physical appearance and biological responses was the first step in my transition: baseline physiological, HRT the variable, and my pre-transition self the control group. But my transness, my masculinity, didn’t begin with my first dose of testosterone. HRT merely caused physical changes that allowed me to engage with my masculinity in entirely new ways. Testosterone affected what I look and sound like, and it maybe affected my sense of taste, but fully realizing the guy I want to be is more alchemical than purely biological.

Making the connection between an innocuous cashew and my particular blue-collar, Midwestern masculine influences made me feel like a part of something I always desperately wanted to be a part of. It’s not really about the cashews themselves, a value-neutral food. It’s about the men surrounding them. It’s about the thrill I get when I enjoy what I’m eating, then realize the broader context of it all. I’ve wondered if my newfound relationship with nuts as I continue to take testosterone is at all similar to what cis men experience during puberty: an exhilarating boil of hormones creating the conditions for crafting the masculinity of one’s dreams.

Thirty-pack of snacking nuts in tow, I went to the Costco self-checkout. I showed my membership card to the clerk. It was the last piece of identification I hadn’t updated with my new name and photo. The clerk looked at my out-of-date card, then me, and said, “Is she here with you? The owner of the membership?”

I did a little “Oh, that’s me, I — you know, I’m —” I wondered what the clerk thought. I wondered if she’d had this kind of thing happen before, if she saw what was in my cart and what it might all say about me. Were these the Costco purchases of a man? She didn’t really seem to care, and I was grateful for it. She waved me through the line. I proceeded through the self check-out, I grabbed my nuts, and I left.

AC Lamberty is a writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, now based in Los Angeles. Beck Deresse is a Black, queer illustrator who loves Brussels sprouts.

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Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords on Their IVF Journey: 'Freedom to Start a Family Is Under Threat' (Exclusive)

In an exclusive essay for PEOPLE, the married Arizona lawmakers share how a gunman stole their dreams of having a child together — and why they fear politicians will do the same to other families

Our lives changed forever on January 8th, 2011, when a gunman opened fire at a "Congress on Your Corner" event in Tucson. Six lives were lost , many more were injured, and Gabby was shot in the head . Of everything that changed that day — both of us halting our careers, the beginning of a long, difficult road to recovery — we also lost something we wanted very much: the opportunity to have a child together.

The shooting happened on a Saturday morning. Two days later, we were supposed to have an appointment at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington, where Gabby had been receiving fertility treatments, to have our embryos implanted to try to begin a pregnancy. Like a lot of folks, we got married a little later in our lives. One of us had two beautiful daughters from a previous marriage; one of us had never had kids. We wanted to grow our family together and were fortunate enough to be able to pursue the only option for us: in vitro fertilization, or IVF. Gabby never made it to that appointment.

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These past few months, as we’ve seen reproductive freedoms increasingly under attack in the absence of the protections of  Roe v. Wade ,  our hearts break for the couples who, all of a sudden, can’t decide for themselves how and when to start their family.

The IVF process is extensive and expensive. In order to create a viable embryo, women must inject hormonal medication to increase egg production and then have those eggs retrieved. It’s invasive, and many women experience pain and uncomfortable changes in their bodies. Still, for many couples who struggle to become parents, IVF is the safest — or in some cases only — option to achieve their hope of becoming pregnant.

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With everything the shooting forced us to leave behind, we weren’t ready to let go of our dream of having a child together. But eventually, we had to. That loss was its own agony.

We don’t dwell on what could have been. Gabby’s philosophy is “Move ahead,” and that’s what we did to rebuild our lives and find our purpose after what happened to our family. We have a vibrant family we love, including a granddaughter who brings us so much joy.

Make no mistake: The freedom to start a family with IVF is under threat. In Alabama, a decision from the state Supreme Court made IVF virtually impossible for a period of time. In Arizona, the state legislature passed a law that would have threatened access to IVF in our state if it hadn’t been for a veto by Gov. Katie Hobbs . In Washington, the majority of House Republicans are cosponsors of a fetal personhood bill that, if signed into law, would endanger access to IVF for every American.

Our dream of having a child together was taken away by a gunman. The dreams of Americans to have a child together could be taken away by politicians.

This isn’t happening by chance. It’s the result of years of anti-choice efforts and the appointment of judges by governors and presidents like Donald Trump who are hostile to reproductive rights. Donald Trump said himself that he “broke”  Roe v. Wade ,  which set off a series of attacks on reproductive freedoms.

Twenty states now have abortion bans, including Arizona , where our state has been in turmoil between two abortion bans, both of which endanger women’s health and threaten doctors with jail time.

And it doesn’t stop there. Last week, the Supreme Court threw out a case attempting to rein in approval of abortion medication also used to treat miscarriages. But this won’t be the end. Other states could and will again challenge mifepristone, just as state abortion bans are threatening to undo a federal law that requires emergency care for pregnant women when their lives are in danger, including abortion care if necessary. The right to birth control could very well be the next target.

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Despite this real threat, Republicans in Congress have multiple times in recent weeks blocked legislation that would protect access to IVF and contraception for all Americans. The truth is there is a real danger of our country moving backwards — even further than we already have.

Growing a family is never simple, even in the best of circumstances. We know that. When and how to do it is among the most personal decisions anyone makes. We know that, too. The government, whether its politicians or judges, has no business making those decisions for you. They should be yours alone.

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