How to

How to write a persuasive essay

Students of all educational establishments are often assigned with a task of writing persuasive essays. However, this assignment is not as easy as it may seem. Students tend to experience different difficulties in the process of writing caused by numerous peculiarities of this type of essay. They include proper paper structure and organization, research work, looking for reliable and strong arguments, etc.

Our article will provide you with necessary information about persuasive essay writing. Besides, in order to write this type of paper, the writer should understand what persuasive essay means. This is a kind of assignment, which requires proper writing and reasoning skills. The aim of the paper is to provide arguments to support a specific viewpoint. The following article will give necessary information on how to write a high quality persuasive essay.


The format of the persuasive essay is one of its core elements. This essay type uses standard 5-paragraph structure. This is a common structure among students in the US and is widely used for completing writing assignments in most educational affiliations. However, very often, the students are encouraged to be flexible in the process of writing. It is caused by the fact that different subjects may require different approaches to writing. Sometimes, it may take much more than just 5 paragraphs to prove a specific point. On the contrary, sometimes, only a few sentences are enough. The structure and length of the paper mostly depend on the specific requirements provided by the teacher. If no special conditions are indicated, the students can use the conventional structure.

Persuasive essays format

Essay Topics

Persuasive essays differ from other papers in that they require argument and pieces of evidence to support a specific viewpoint. As a result, the topics given students for writing are usually controversial. Some of them may include:

  • Legalization of marihuana for medical reasons: for or against?
  • Ethical side of abortions.
  • Should capital punishment be banned?
  • Illegal downloading of online content.
  • Why should some ads be forbidden? Should they be forbidden at all?

It is only a short list of questions that can be given as topics for the paper. However, they represent the brightest examples and the most controversial issues of modern society. In order to complete a persuasive paper, the writer will need to run a thorough research. Considering the structure, it will be the same regardless of the topic chosen.

Persuasive essays topics

Example of college persuasive essay

Compared to high school topics, the topics of persuasive essays will be more difficult. Besides, while high school students are required to pay more attention to the paper organization, college students are expected to provide high quality content of the paper first of all. As a result, discussing general topics (as the ones described above) will not help you make your paper special and flawless. Moreover, it may even be regarded by a teacher as boring and you will be given a lower grade for not trying hard enough. As a result, in order to impress a teacher, you will have to look for proper topic, which is not so generally discussed but which is still of a great importance to the society or your particular community.

Some examples of such topics may include:

  • The issue of government keeping track of personal information of users by means of Google.
  • The issue of illegal migration and possibility of illegal migrants to stay in the country, if they have good working history.
  • Social networks and their influence on abilities to socialize.
  • Do achievements in technology reduce the value of personal working skills of individuals?

As you can see, these topics are not as simple as the ones indicated in the previous section of this article. It is caused by the fact that there is not so much information about these issues compared to, for example, cannabis legalization. As a result, the current topics will help a writer to show not only his writing but also research skills and ability to think critically.

General outline of persuasive essay

Considering that persuasive essays follow the same structure, the following outline can be used as a basis for this type of essay writing.


  • Description of two sides of the issue;
  • Provision of the argument perspective;
  • Indication of hypothesis and explanation of its reasonability.

Main Body

First paragraph

  • Illustration of the first idea of the paper;
  • The first supporting evidence;
  • Explanation of the evidence and its validity;
  • Short conclusion of the paragraph.

Second paragraph

Illustration of the second idea of the paper;
The second supportive evidence;
Explanation of the evidence and its validity;
Short conclusion of the paragraph.

Third paragraph

  • Illustration of the third idea of the paper;
  • The second supportive evidence;
  • Explanation of the evidence and its validity;
  • Short conclusion of the paragraph.


  • Hypothesis restatement;
  • Summary of all justifications provided in the paper;
  • General conclusion to the entire paper.

Detailed description of the structure


Introduction is an essential part of the paper. It is important to know how to start a persuasive essay properly. The best way to do it is to provide so-called hook assertion. It should be interesting and catching to make a reader want to read your whole paper. However, do not forget that hook assertion should be connected to the main argument.

The length of introduction, and specifically the description of two sides of the issue presented in the paper, depends on the amount of data you are going to provide. However, do not make it too long, as the main discussion will be provided further in the main body.

The last part of introduction should also include a thesis statement. However, it is recommended to write it after the main body of the paper is completed. It will help you make a thesis more focused regardless of the persuasive essay topics.

Main body

Regardless of the fact that conventional persuasive essay structure requires using 3 paragraphs, their aim and outline are exactly the same. The only difference is that each paragraph deals with a separate idea and evidence.

Each paragraph of the paper should:

  • First, provide the idea;
  • Second, represent supportive information;
  • Third, explain the reliability and validity of the evidence;
  • Fourth, provide a conclusion statement for each given paragraph. It should contain effective terms to summarize your idea.


The first thing to do in conclusion is to restate your hypothesis. Your aim is to summarize the information provided and hypothesis is the most important part of it.

The other step is to summarize briefly the main ideas provided in the main body paragraphs. The aim of this step is to refresh them in the reader’s memory.

General conclusion should contain information on the importance of the topic discussed and on the correctness of your viewpoint. You should explain why it is important to study the topic and how your argument adds to this process. Make the readers believe that your point of view is correct.
It is a general persuasive essay outline, which can be taken as a basis of writing every paper of this type.

Recommendations for writing

Recommendations for writing persuasive essay

While writing a persuasive essay, the students are usually required to use MLA and Chicago formatting styles. It is caused by the fact that they offer the most suitable formatting elements, including headings, edges, alignments, etc. It is also recommended not to overuse professional terms and expressions. Your paper may be read by non-professionals and you take a risk that they will not understand your position clearly. Make your paper easy to read and understand. Read the paper after it is completed to see if your arguments clearly represent your hypothesis. If you find some flaws or see that some points are not directly related to the main point, improve them to avoid confusion. The main aim of writing a persuasive essay is supporting your hypothesis. If it is not done, it means that the goal of writing is not reached.


While grading persuasive essays, the teachers usually follow specific criteria. Knowing what the teachers usually pay attention to helps the students avoid grades deduction. Here are some of the areas that need to be taken into consideration:

  • Is you hypothesis specific? Does it support certain viewpoint? Is your hypothesis supported properly by valid pieces of evidence?
  • Are there enough supporting ideas in your paper? Is there a proper number of body paragraphs? Do they serve well for validating your thesis? Are they related to the thesis fully?
  • Is the paper structured properly? Are the arguments provided in a logical and correct order?
  • Does you conclusion summarize all key points represented in a paper? Does it provide a clear overview of the topic under discussion? Does it stimulate readers to learn more about the discussed topic? Does it change their view point on a topic under discussion?

General information on persuasive essays

Definition of term

Persuasive essay is a piece of writing, which is aimed at convincing readers that some perspective of idea is more correct than the other one. In most cases, the paper is based on a personal opinion in regard to some topic. It can outline a position of a writing on any topic starting from a generally discussed one (e.g. marihuana legalization) and ending up with more complex arguments (e.g. abortions, death penalty, etc.).

Starting an Essay

Every essay begins with choosing a topic (unless it is assigned by a professor). It should be a current issue that has an influence on a society and causes debates. Make sure you support your position on a controversial issue with reliable pieces of evidence to make your paper look more objective than subjective.

Some good topics for persuasive essay may include the following:

  • Wall on a Mexican border will solve the problem of illegal immigration.
  • Anime has an educational purpose.
  • School athletes: should they get money for taking parts in tournaments?
  • Organic food has a positive influence on health of people.
How to start persuasive essay

Composition of Main Body Paragraphs

Each paragraph should start with a piece of evidence to support your thesis. The information provided in each paragraph has to be precise and outline a clear position for or against some issue. Besides, make sure each statement you make in your paper is justified by a valid proof.

Clear and Precise Writing

It is clear that each paper is intended for a specific audience. However, you should remember that it may be read by people of different backgrounds. As a result, your paper must be written in a manner that will be easily comprehended by everyone. Remember that using too much scientific terms is not always a way to success. Consequently, it is strongly recommended to use short sentences. Moreover, use one claim per sentence. Also, make sure that you never lose logical consequence of thoughts and evidence.

Personal Technique

Personal technique in this context relates to persuasion technique. It is not an easy thing to learn but it will be extremely important in the writing process. Some of these techniques include the following:

  • Repetition. It may be easier for some people to remember something by constantly repeating it. As a result, it may be a good idea to stress the main points of your paper a couple of times for delivering your message effectively.
  • Use the thoughts of people with power. Your position will be easier accepted if someone of well-known individuals supports the same view. Use quotes from powerful people, which support your idea.

These are only two possible techniques, which can be used in the process of writing a persuasive essay. You can look for more online or even try to develop your own.

Do not Be Afraid of Arguments Against

If you constantly ignore opposing arguments, it may look like you do not know how to deny them. In order to avoid looking not sure about something, look for arguments against and use them in your paper. However, you must be sure that controversial thoughts can be easily explained in your favor and all the arguments against can be refuted. It will help you reach the main goal of your paper.

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