Persuasive Essay

Dec 23, 2016

Persuasive Essay

Dec 23, 2016 | Guide

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

You may be required to write different types of academic essays such as a persuasive essay throughout your high school and college term.

The type of essay you may be required to write depends on the purpose of writing that essay.

A large number of students do not know the proper format or structure of an essay.

You might wonder what a persuasive essay is.

As the name suggests it means to persuade or influence someone.

Thus a persuasive paper is the one in which you bring the reader towards your point of view using your opinions and emotions supported by some facts.

As for all writings, there are certain norms and conventions but if you want to know how to write a persuasive essay then it’s very simple.

A persuasive essay can be written following the five-paragraph essay structure.

The main aim of such type of an essay is to analyze and give detailed arguments about the given topic, so through argumentation, the students are given the practice to explain their analysis in a proper format.

This helps in developing their analytical as well as critical thinking skills.

Persuasive Essay Structure

The structure of a Persuasive or an Argumentative Essay is very simple as it falls within the five-paragraph essay format.

Normally many students are given practice in writing persuasive essays in the five-paragraph format.

But there are many topics that cannot be analyzed and explained in the five-paragraph format.

Normally in most of the high schools, students are tested on their ability to write in the five-paragraph style as 30 minutes to 1-hour assignment.

But this standard style is not enough for students to write an in-depth analysis of the given topics in several college courses.

At college level students are required to analyze and write about longer topics and content and provide an in-depth analysis.

Therefore, the persuasive or argumentative essay has a flexible format in such a scenario and your essay mainly depends on the topic and the question you are going to analyze.

Examples of College Persuasive Essay Topics

Students are most of the time asked to pick a side in the argument and present their views on it or defend a stance against any criticism.

Some of the common question samples you might be given as assignments to write on are:

  • Should the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes be legalized?
  • Should abortions be legalized?
  • Should there be a law to punish people if they illegally download music and movies?
  • Should violent criminals be given a death penalty as a law?
  • Should the advertisement of tobacco on television be allowed?

Mostly students are trained to write about topics that are specific to their courses of study.

However, students should be trained in writing effectively about topics that have some controversy as well in them like the few general knowledge examples given above.

Regardless of the type of topics the format for all the persuasive essays stays the same.

Persuasive Essay Outline

The general outline of a persuasive essay is given below:

Structure of a Persuasive Essay


  1. The topic is introduced in the form of a thesis statement.
  2. Both sides of the controversy are presented with a brief reason.
  • The stance you are going to take is stated clearly.
  1. Three supporting ideas to support your stance are introduced briefly.



  1. A topic sentence stating the first idea in clear words
  2. Supporting information with relevant and specific examples as well as pieces of evidence from different sources
  • Concluding sentence relating the supporting information to the topic sentence.

Paragraph 2

  1. A topic sentence stating the second idea in clear words
  2. Supporting information with relevant and specific examples as well as evidence from different sources
  3. Concluding sentence relating the supporting information to the thesis statement


  1. Three ideas discussed in three body paragraphs are summed up
  2. A solution is pointed out and you give your opinion or suggest something in order to satisfy the reader and give a sense of ending.


Hook Statement: A better way to start your argumentative essay is to build up a hook statement.

A sentence that makes your reader excited about your essay and hooks him up to read your essay. The hook statement must in some way relate to the thesis statement.

Brief Background: you should provide a brief background of the topic.

Its length depends on the amount of content and the analysis that you will provide.

Thesis Statement: The sentence around which the entire essay is based is the thesis statement.

Your thesis statement should tell what the essay is about.

It is better to create your thesis statement after writing your body paragraphs.

It is easier as you can see what your content is truly about and then decide upon the thesis statement.

Why is it recommended to create your thesis after writing your body paragraphs?

This is because it is much easier than aligning your statements with your thesis statement.

Trying to align your body paragraphs to your thesis harms the quality and strength of your analysis.

Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph should follow this format.

Topic Sentence: It is a sentence with some strong words of emphasis used to introduce your topic. These words should be strong enough to defend and support your topic sentence.

Argument: after you create your thesis statement you will need to provide evidence for your stance. Your argument in this part of the essay serves the purpose of persuading the audience. These statements may be examples, facts or any data written with the purpose of defending your argument and thus proving it to be authentic.

 Evidence/ Explanation: You explain your point of view to support your argument using different examples and pieces of evidence from different sources, giving it even more credibility.

The readers may often find some pieces of evidence realistic and may relate them to their real lives which become rationalistic in this way.

Concluding Sentence: when you have fully explained your defending argument and satisfied the readers, it is time to conclude your essay. The most possibly effective words should be used, to sum up your point. It is a kind of a summary of the whole argument presented in the paragraph in the best efficient way. One sentence should say it all.


The conclusion should conclude the whole discussion. A conclusion should follow the given format.

Restatement of Thesis: when you have proved your thesis through supporting details in the essay then it’s important to reword and thus establish it in your conclusion. The best way of doing so is to rephrase your thesis statement.

Summarize Key Points: Briefly tell in your own words that your supporting arguments have successfully proved the thesis sentence and also prove your explanations to be logically and reasonably apt.

 Concluding Statement: When you have made sure that your reader has understood the importance and value of your essay and that your argument you explained in your essay was effective, it means you have done your job. Now if you have successfully persuaded your reader and he has been brought to the point of your argument that means you have written a wonderful essay.

Some Tips

  • Chicago and MLA formats are used for argumentative or persuasive essays. They provide the titles, margins, physical alignments, and other formatting features of the essay.
  • Do not become verbose, try to use a variety of words but be simple. If you want to use high words use them cleverly, not to impress the reader but to add spice to your writing.
  •  Double-check and make sure your arguments prove your thesis statement. If the arguments do not fully support your thesis statement, then go back and edit the argument or the thesis statement but it is better and easier to edit the thesis.
  • In an argumentative essay, you need to make the reader admit that your stance was more reliable than the one opposed to it. You need to prove your side by defending it first and then you can counterattack.
  • Peer help can help make your essay more impressive. Make friends read your essay from a fresh perspective and tell you whether it makes any sense to them or not.

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