Sela Pothuizen May 23, 2020 Persuasive
Persuasive writing is a fixture of modern life—found in advertising, newspaper editorials, blogs, and political speeches. Often persuasive writing assignments and test prompts concern contemporary issues, for example: “The school board is debating on whether or not to ban cell phone use in school. Write an essay convincing the board to adopt your position.” As shown in this persuasive writing prompt, the main purpose is not to inform, but to “persuade” or “convince” an audience (the school board) to think or act a certain way.
Do not attempt to do this off the top of your head. Create an outline beforehand that identifies your thesis statement, lists major points, cites evidence-based supporting points, and makes note of potential counter-arguments. Use this as your model while you work. Not sure where to start? Get in touch with your school`s writing center. The tutors there can help you develop an airtight outline.
Successful arguments build on three essential rhetorical components: logos (logical reasoning); pathos (passionate reasoning); and ethos (ethical reasoning). We`ve already covered logos and pathos here above, but ethos must be addressed. If you are making a persuasive argument, you have an ethical obligation not to manipulate or mislead your audience. Your argument should be constructed accurately, without relying on fallacies, misinformation, fear tactics, or any other rhetorical device that might somehow trick the audience into agreeing with you. You need to establish trust with your audience.
Gather facts and evidence that support your position and refute opposing positions. Look online, in newspapers, and in magazines for current articles on the subject. Take careful notes on what you read and use these notes to build a strong argument. Discuss your list of arguments and evidence with someone else to make sure you have covered all the important related points.
The prewriting phase of writing a persuasive essay is extremely important. During this phase, students should plan every aspect of the essay. A persuasive essay depends upon solid, convincing evidence. Don`t rely on a single source. Pull information from multiple websites and reference materials. Speak with community experts and teachers. Read and take notes. There is no substitute for knowledge of both sides of the issue. Identify the most convincing evidence, as well as the key points for the opposing view.
If you want to persuade an audience with your argument, they need to be able to follow it. If your writing lacks organization, that`s not going to happen. Organization starts with a clear, argumentative thesis statement (as mentioned above). This should be your reference point for the whole paper. From there, your writing should develop the argument in a logical format, anchored in evidence, analysis, and counter-argument.