How can I write a persuasive essay, and what are the steps to forming a persuasive essay?
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Writing a persuasive essay depends on understanding what it is and how it differs from an argumentative essay. This confuses many because they are similar except on three particular points. The first point is that a persuasive essay may present an opposing stance though it will not develop the stance at length, while an argumentative essay both presents opposing ideas and develops them at length.
The second point is that a persuasive essay may take a less formal tone and approach to presenting factual support (depending upon the individual professor's or tutor's preference) than an argumentative essay, which must be formal academic writing. The third is that while an argumentative essay must be objective and impersonal in presenting highly detailed factual support, a persuasive essay is subjective and develops its logic with less supporting research. Now that you know what distinguishes a persuasive essay, we can talk about writing one and the steps needed.
A persuasive essay presents the writer's opinion on a subject topic in such a way as to persuade, or convince, the reader of the correctness and soundness of the writer's belief. This persuasion may include emotional appeal but, in general, unless otherwise stated, professors and tutors may prefer the emotional appeal be subordinated to logical appeal and generally left out.
After having chosen a topic and established an opinioned stance, you will research your topic. While research, statistics, expert opinion and other factual data are an essential part of a persuasive essay, the requirement is not as stringent as for an argumentative essay because only the writer's opinion is emphasized. Nonetheless, mention and refutation of one opposing position is required in a persuasive essay.
In summary, remembering that the intent of a persuasive essay is to persuade the audience to your way of thinking, the use of logic (which must be sound and without logical fallacies) is aimed at proving the correctness and validity of your opinion, which is one reason good research is certainly needed. Facts and other data are presented as opinion-directed persuasive tools, not as objective argumentative tools. Having used a less formal tone for the persuasive essay throughout, your conclusion redirects attention to your opinion and calls for a decision, and possibly action, that agrees with supportive facts.
If you have defined your topic and opinion specifically and narrowly and expressed it in a clear thesis statement, if you have presented sound supporting information, if your logic has proven how the data confirms your opinion, if you make a strong logical appeal in your conclusion combined with a suggestion of or call to action, then your persuasive essay should fulfill its objective and convince your reader(s) that your opinion is well-founded, logical and the only right choice a thinking person can make (bear in mind, some instructors may approve of an emotional appeal).
[Note: Persuasive essay and argument essay are the same thing, but argument essay and argumentative essay are not the same thing. So persuasive essay and argumentative essay are also not the same thing.]
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