Writing the Persuasive Essay – Defending Your Position

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Writing the Persuasive Essay – Defending Your Position

You think cauliflower is the worst vegetable on the planet; you believe that the iguana is the ugliest animal. These are opinions, but they are not opinions that can actually be supported with factual evidence or data, and, unless you are writing a humorous essay, they would not be good topics for a persuasive essay.

Defining the Persuasive Essay

It is a bit surprising that many students do not know how to write a persuasive essay. They confuse this essay type with the argumentative essay, but there is a big difference that actually makes the persuasive essay easier to write. In an argumentative essay, you must address your own opinion, supporting it with factual information and, as well, address the opposing opinion, using factual information to discredit it. In a persuasive essay, the writer only needs to state his opinion and reinforce its validity with only that information and data that supports it.

The Topic and Thesis for a Persuasive Essay

The topic for a persuasive essay is the controversial issue to be addressed. Thus, a student may decide to write an essay on abortion, legalization of marijuana, the immigration problem, income inequality, eugenics, climate change – basically any issue on which there are opposing viewpoints.

The thesis for a persuasive essay is your viewpoint. So, if you believe that growing income inequality is a threat to our society and must be addressed, then that will be your thesis statement for your persuasive essay on income inequality.

Supporting Your Opinion

You will need information and data to support your opinion, and this is where your resource selection comes in to play. Remember, you do not have to address the opposing viewpoint, only your own. So, you must find resource materials that only support your view. If, for example, you are of the view that income inequality is a threat and must be addressed, you are going to look only for those sources that will support that view. You will not go to conservative publications like The National Review or Fox cable news. These sources insist that the capitalist marketplace will sort out the issue without any governmental intervention. Instead, you will look to progressive sources, such as Salon, The Huffington Post, MSNBC news reports, The Washington Post, or books written by such progressive economists such as Paul Krugman. Here, you find data that supports your viewpoint.

Organizing Your Information

If you do not know how to write a persuasive essay outline, here are some tips.

  • Your introduction is Roman Numeral I. Don’t write it until you have the body paragraphs completed.
  • Each ensuing Roman numeral will be one of your support points. It is usually a good idea to begin with the most compelling argument first and then move on to less compelling arguments in descending order.
  • Your conclusion will be your last Roman numeral. Again, do not write it until your body paragraphs are finished.

The Introduction

You need to begin your essay with a really startling fact. How many children face food insecurity in America every day? The actual answer is 4 million. Why? Because their parents are employed in minimum wage jobs that do not provide a living income. Your thesis statement that income inequality is a threat to society and must be addressed, comes at the end of this introductory paragraph.

The Conclusion

So, what can be done to address this issue? What role should government play? What can the average citizen do? These are the questions to ask yourself as you formulate your conclusion. Strong conclusions in a persuasive essay usually include a “call to action.”

Writing a persuasive essay can actually be fun and exciting, if you choose a topic that is of high interest to you. If the topic is assigned, and you do not have a strong opinion, you will formulate one as you do the research. The point of a persuasive essay is to provide you with experience in supporting your opinions with facts and in forcing you to develop opinions based upon fact, not emotion.

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