In a persuasive essay
or argumentative writing
we try to convince others to agree

with our facts
share our values
accept our argument and conclusions
and adopt our way of thinking

They could do it
because they believed they could.
Vergil 70 - 19 B.C. Roman

"Write a persuasive essay" I was told ...

Now this does not just occur in school or College. How often are we called to write a persuasive essay to voice our opinion? for a newspaper column of a letter, to the school principal, to government, to the Governor ...

How do you develop a persuasive essay?

Here are the elements toward building a good persuasive essay

* establishing facts to support an argument
* clarifying relevant values for your audience (perspective)
* prioritizing, editing, and/or sequencing the facts and values in importance to build the argument
* forming and stating conclusions
* "persuading" your audience that your conclusions are based upon the agreed-upon facts and shared values
* having the confidence to communicate your "persuasion" in writing

Here are some strategies to complete a persuasive writing assignment:

Write out the questions in your own words.
* Think of the questions posed in the assignment while you are reading and researching. Determine
o facts
o any sources that will help you determine their reliability
(as well as for further reference) o what prejudices lie in the argument or values that color the facts or the issue
o what you think of the author's argument

* List out facts: consider their importance: prioritize, edit, sequence, discard, etc.
Ask yourself "What's missing?"
* What are the "hot buttons" of the issue?
List possible emotions/emotional reactions and recognize them for later use

Start writing a draft! Start as close as possible to your reading/research Do not concern yourself with grammar or spelling

* Write your first paragraph
o Introduce the topic
o Inform the reader of your point of view!
o Entice the reader to continue with the rest of the paper!
o Focus on three main points to develop
* Establish flow from paragraph to paragraph
* Keep your voice active
* Quote sources to establish authority
* Stay focused on your point of view throughout the essay
* Focus on logical arguments
* Don't lapse into summary
in the development--wait for the conclusion

* Conclusion
o Summarize, then conclude, your argument
o Refer to the first paragraph/opening statement as well as the main points
* does the conclusion restate the main ideas?
* reflect the succession and importance of the arguments
* logically conclude their development?

* Edit/rewrite the first paragraph
to better telegraph your development and conclusion.
* Take a day or two off!
* Re-read your paper with a fresh mind and a sharp pencil

Ask yourself:
Does this make sense? Am I convinced?
Will this convince a reader?
Will they understand my values, and agree with my facts?

Edit, correct, and re-write as necessary

Check spelling and grammar!

Have a friend read it and respond to your argument. Were they convinced?

Revise if necessary

Turn in the paper

Celebrate a job well done,
with the confidence that you have done your best.

* How to respond to criticism:
Consider criticism as a test of developing your powers of persuasion.
Try not to take it personally.

* If your facts are criticized, double check them, and then cite your sources.

* If your values are criticized, sometimes we need agree "to disagree". Remember: your success in persuading others assumes that the other person is open to being persuaded!

Fear: If you are not used to communicating, especially in writing, you may need to overcome fear on several levels. Writing, unlike unrecorded speech, is a permanent record for all to see, and the "context" is not as important as in speech where context "colors" the words. For example: your readers do not see you, only your words. They do not know what you look like, where you live, who you are.

Hopefully in school, and class, we have a safe place to practice both the art of writing and of persuasion. Then later, when we are in our communities, whether work, church, neighborhoods, and even families, we can benefit from this practice.

Persuasion also has another dimension:
it is built with facts, which illustrate conclusions. Of course, this means you need to know what you are talking about, and cannot be lazy with your facts, or you will not succeed in convincing anyone. This shows another level of fear: Fear of making a mistake that will make your argument or persuasion meaningless. Since you are writing, and the words are on paper for all to see (or on a web site!), you need to work to make sure your facts are in order.

Used with permission from the University of St. Thomas (UST), St. Paul, Minnesota

I really hope that this has been helpful to you. There is nothing like finding good information that is helpful.

On another note, did you know that you can put YOUR persuasive essays to work for you in your spare time using resources that I personally use. Helping to pay the bills, then as REAL extra income, and now as a business. This is a part time job that could make a difference to you run right there from your desk.

Earn extra income for that College degree, or to buy that car, or ...

Best wishes with your essay.


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