How to Write a Persuasive Essay That is Effectively Convincing for Your Reader

Have you ever wished that you could get whatever you want, whenever you want, and however you want it? The odds of obtaining this lofty goal rise significantly when you learn the art of persuasion. Being persuasive means that you have the ability to convince someone to change their mind about something or alter their behavior in some desirable way.

And while it may seem a little bit shady at first, persuasion is used all the time in real-life interactions, and it’s not all bad. In fact, you’re persuaded to do things by others each and every day—whether you realize what’s happening or not.

From voting for a peer in the school election to completing your chores at home, other people convince you to believe in certain things and act in certain ways on a regular basis. And they’re using the art of persuasion in order to do so.

Is persuasion a skill that can be taught? Absolutely! Every time you participate in a debate in class or complete a persuasive writing assignment, you’re using this important skill to influence those around you. And now, you’re ready to learn how to write a persuasive essay that’s effectively convincing enough to earn yourself a very good grade. 

What is a Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is a formal style of writing used to convince the reader that one’s personal viewpoint on something is the only correct way of looking at it. By including plenty of evidence to back up their claim, the writer is attempting to reason with the reader so that they can be swayed in a certain direction.

While a persuasive essay can be written on just about any topic, the only real requirement is that the topic be controversial in some way. And that’s because the whole point of writing a persuasive essay is to persuade.

In other words, your job as the writer is to identify both sides of an argument, choose only one of those sides, and try to convince your reader that your choice is the best choice.

Your main goal then is to be so logical that your reader agrees with you one hundred percent by the time they finish the essay. If you’re able to accomplish that impressive feat, without any omissions or flaws in your writing, you’ve written an effective persuasive essay and can give yourself a nice congratulatory pat on the back.

Requirements for a Persuasive Essay

To make sure you’re writing the best persuasive essay possible, there are several requirements you need to meet along the way.

First, you should read a couple of persuasive essay examples so you know what good persuasive writing actually looks like. While your teacher may or may not ask you to do this as a specific requirement, you should consider it one so that you put your best foot forward when it comes time to begin writing.

Second, you’ll want to think about your chosen topic deeply, plan out your argument, and find evidence that supports your claim.

Third, familiarize yourself with the basic persuasive essay structure, complete the first draft, and have another person review it and make recommendations on what you can improve.

Last, take those recommendations and complete a final draft to be turned in.

Following a class rubric and checking in with your teacher are excellent ways to make sure that all of your persuasive essay requirements are being met so you’re not surprised later on when you lose points off of your grade.

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Topics for a Persuasive Essay 

Persuasive essays are probably the easiest type of essay to find interesting topics for. And that’s because arguing a certain viewpoint comes so naturally to people. In fact, you probably share your views on lots of different things throughout the day without even trying.

Oftentimes, you can form a viewpoint on something within seconds just by thinking about it because you know yourself so well. And when faced with a topic that has two or more sides, your brain can quickly form an opinion based on your personal likes and dislikes as well as any relevant experiences that have impacted you.

The good news is that once you know how you feel about something, which again will probably take place in a very short amount of time, then it’s so much simpler to try to convince others that you’re right. Just think about the last time you tried to convince your parents to let you do something and tap into that same energy.

Persuasive essay topics you might want to write about include:

    • Should students be allowed to have phones at school?

    • Should teenagers have a set curfew?

    • Should homework be assigned?

    • Should sugary drinks be included in vending machines?

    • Should teens be able to eat as much junk food as they want?

    • Should rich people pay more in taxes?

    • Should college students have their school loans forgiven after graduation?

    • Should there be limits to free speech on social media?

    • Should illegal immigrants be granted citizenship?

  • Should oil drilling be banned?

If you are given a choice on persuasive essay topics, always select one that really fires you up. That way you know that you’ll have plenty to say, and you’ll be able to express your opinion in a logical way that makes sense.


Persuasive Essay Structure 

The persuasive essay structure is typical for all types of essays. Your teacher may have specific requirements for how you format your persuasive essay, but in general, most persuasive essays follow the five-paragraph essay model.

The five-paragraph essay includes:

  • An introductory paragraph with a clear thesis statement at the end
  • The first body paragraph with clear evidence to support your claim
  • The second body paragraph with clear evidence to support your claim
  • The third body paragraph with clear evidence to support your claim
  • A conclusion paragraph that restates the claim and summarizes the evidence used to support it

Based on your rubric and your particular style of writing, you may have additional body paragraphs between the introductory paragraph and the conclusion.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Wondering how to write a persuasive essay that effectively communicates your viewpoint and makes it clear why others should agree with you?

The secret to writing a great persuasive essay is to put a lot of time and effort into the planning stage. You simply can’t wing it here. If you want to produce a well-written persuasive essay, organization is critical. And that’s because you need a solid claim and concrete evidence in order to convince your reader that you’re right and they should believe you.

The other benefit of pre-planning and creating an organized outline is that it makes it so much easier to write the essay when the time comes. Once you know what your claim is and which pieces of evidence you’ll be using, your introductory paragraph is basically written for you and each piece of evidence then becomes its own body paragraph. With a quick summary of everything you’ve covered, your conclusion is now done too.

Just be sure to reread your essay at least once, grab another set of eyes for it, and make those important changes to your final draft.


Persuasive Essay Examples

If you’re interested in becoming a really good baseball player, the best way to learn how to pitch, hit, and slide into home plate seconds before the out is to watch other players do it first and then try out their techniques for yourself. Similarly, if you want to become a better writer, the most effective way to do that is to look at how other writers write and see how you can improve your own writing skills in the same way.

When you watch other people who are good at something, it helps you identify why they’re good at it, and it gives you the confidence you need to recognize that if they can do it, you probably can too.

That’s why checking out some persuasive essay examples before you begin writing your own is such a good idea. When you read each one over, you start to pick up the same language, tone, and structure the writer used to be persuasive in the first place. And then you include these things in your own essay without even necessarily realizing it.

Here are some good persuasive essay examples to help you become a better writer

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Persuasion is an important skill that will serve you well throughout your lifetime.

You can use verbal persuasion to negotiate a higher grade in class, obtain your first job in high school, and even earn a higher salary or promotion as an adult. Plus, becoming an expert at persuasive writing can be a powerful tool to serve all kinds of purposes now and in the future such as getting an acceptance letter to college or convincing a customer to purchase a product or service that you sell.

Learning how to write a persuasive essay in school is one of the first steps toward mastering the art of persuasion. And this type of formal writing assignment isn’t just about the grade you’ll receive this year. Doing so will prepare you for plenty of opportunities in the future, many of which you can’t even imagine yet.

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