How to Write a Perfect Persuasive Essay

Posted: January 22, 2018 To: Guides

how to write a persuasive essay

Table of contents:

1. Structure and format
2. Persuasive vs. argumentative essay
3. Persuasive essay introduction
4. Persuasive essay body part
5. Persuasive essay conclusion
6. Writing tips

A persuasive essay is an important tool in an Australian student’s repertoire. It will be useful not only for your assignments, but sets a good foundation for your life outside of high school, VET, or university as well, when you may have to negotiate with bosses, persuade customers to purchase your amazing goods, or even calm down an upset child.

But how do you write a 5 paragraph persuasive essay which will get you that coveted high grade? Your teacher or professor will be using a specific rubric to set your grades for these kinds of assignments. Let’s take a look.

Persuasive essay structure and format

The basic structural persuasive essay outline is, indeed, 5 paragraphs. It can be more, of course, and often will be, as you should try to keep each point supporting your main argument, or thesis, to one paragraph.

Typical structure for a persuasive essay:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body paragraphs (3 or more)
  3. Conclusion

This is the fundamental layout: you will start with one paragraph as an introduction, then go on to write three or more paragraphs containing the body of your essay, then finally your conclusion, wrapping everything up with a neat little bow on top.

Persuasive vs. argumentative essay

You may have also heard of argumentative essays and wonder what the difference is from a persuasive essay. Simply put, an argumentative essay must be based on cold hard facts which have been researched and are verifiable. It must be an essay devoted to the arguments in favour of a particular topic.

However, a persuasive essay has a wider range of resources available, as its only goal is to persuade the reader of the thesis. You can use appeals to emotion, social validation, stories and anecdotes, as well as of course facts and logic to persuade your audience. Think of the difference between a politician trying to persuade people to vote for him or her versus a scientist laying out the evidence they have gathered.

Part 1: Persuasive essay introduction

You begin with a hook, grabbing your audience’s attention from the start with your very first sentence. This can take the form of a relevant quote, or perhaps a personal anecdote, an interesting statistic or fact, an outrageous statement, or a question.

Having seized your reader’s attention, you will need to define who that reader should be. Make the definition of your intended audience clear, whether that’s your teacher, your fellow students, cat owners, fans of Star Wars, or Pokémon collectors.

The third and final part of the intro should consist of your thesis. This is a clear, strong, focused sentence that tells the reader the specific topic or purpose you’re writing about. It is your essay’s foundation, and everything else you will say in the essay rests on it. This is not the time to be wishy-washy or half-hearted; you must take an active, bold stance on the issue of your choice.

If you are not sure how to start persuasive essay, or feel you need prompts or samples of ideas, try looking at the news, whether local to your college or high school, or Aussie news in general. Use the techniques of making a checklist of questions or opinions you have about the world or about Australia, then proceed step by step through your worksheet. Do some research about your topics and find out which one inspires you the most. 

Once you’ve made your thesis statement you can continue onward and write the body of your essay.

Part 2: Persuasive essay body paragraphs

Your essay’s body is the meat of the essay. It’s where you do the actual persuading to convince people to believe in your thesis. You should have at least three paragraphs’ worth of evidence for your argument, and if you do not, it’s likely that your thesis isn’t strong enough. If that’s the case, take a step back, and come up with ideas for a statement you feel strongly about, and take your topic from there.

Each separate point you make in defence of your thesis should be contained in a body paragraph of its own, and any facts, examples, stats, or quotes backing up that point included in the same paragraph. Take the time to fully examine each of your points and their meaning. You will also need to consider what someone who disagreed with your thesis might say in response and try to counteract their argument before they can make it.

If appropriate, it may well be worth conceding to, or finding common ground with, any opponents. Anticipating their arguments and agreeing where necessary is a show of strength and confidence on your part. On the other hand, a failure to address an obvious opposing argument looks weak and unprepared, so make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

Part 3: Persuasive essay conclusion

Once you reach the conclusion of your essay, your audience should be at the point of agreeing with you. The conclusion is just to reinforce what they have already been told and leave them with a call to action so that they will carry on with their day in a somewhat different frame of mind than they were when they started reading your essay.

Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis, then your main points. This is important to keep the information fresh in their minds. Once you’ve done this, then close with the idea of the action you want them to take, whether that’s a question for them to think about, a prediction of what might happen in the future, or a literal call for them to do something, like donate to a particular charity or sign a petition.

Now you know how to write a persuasive essay, and are hopefully on your way to great grades. If you still need help, see the writing tips below.

Writing tips

  • As you move between points on towards the inevitable conclusion, use transition words and phrases as sentence starters, as they serve as cues for the audience that the argument is moving onward. Some examples of these words are: however, therefore, consequently, in fact, on the other hand, instead, thus, and still.
  • If you are truly stuck, why not consider if you can buy persuasive essay online? Another writer’s pages or papers can provide you with a template for the structure or serve as a generator for your own thoughts.
  • Persuasive essay writing is like planning a house somewhere in Australia. Think of your thesis as the roof of a building, and each of your supporting points as pillars underneath it. Like a real roof, it has to have at least three pillars to stay up, and the more, the sturdier the whole argument is.
  • The titles of your persuasive essays should be a pared-down version of your thesis statements.
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