Communications Class - Persuasive Essay

                    Persuasive Essay Guidelines


Introduction (first paragraph):


              1. Start with an attention-grabber such as a question, statistic, quote, or a brief humorous or

                emotional story that captures your reader’s attention and compels him or her to continue



            2. State your thesis sentence. This is a sentence that summarizes the main reason for your opinion

                or position on the issue. This sentence can be placed anywhere in this paragraph. It is frequently

                the last sentence of the paragraph.




Body (two to three paragraphs):


              1. Write one paragraph for each of your main ideas.

            2. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that supports the thesis and states the main idea of

                the paragraph.

            3. The remaining sentences in each paragraph should include facts and examples that support your

                opinion. Remember, your purpose is to provide readers with information that will convince

                them that your opinion makes sense.


Rebuttal or counterargument (one paragraph):


            1. Anticipate a significant opposing argument(s) and point out why it is a flawed argument.




            1. In this final paragraph restate your thesis and briefly emphasize the most important points of

                your argument. Emotionally urge readers to share your opinion.







           Do’s and Don’ts of Persuasive Writing


1. Don’t be negative. When presenting your opinion, be clear and positive. Avoid using negative words

   (e.g., disgusting, terrible, and awful).


2. Do use the editorial “we” rather than the first person “I”. Doing so will make the reader feel that

    you are all on the same side.


3. Don’t threaten. This is never a good way to win over another person’s opinion.


4. Do support your argument with facts and expert opinions. Base your facts on the most current

    research available. The opinions of experts can provide especially strong support.


5. Don’t use vague terms. Words such as “right” and “wrong” mean different things to different people.


6. Do try to use a “hook” to grab your reader’s interest. An interesting incident or a powerful statistic

    is a good way to start a piece of persuasive writing.


7. Don’t wander away from your thesis statement. Stay focused on the single argument you are



8. Do think about your audience. Knowing who your readers are will help you to decide what you need

    to tell them in your writing.


9. Don’t use the either/or argument if at all possible. When you force your readers to choose between

    extremes, you are ignoring all the choices in-between.


10. Do organize your writing. One way is to start with your weakest argument and then build to your

    strongest. Another way is to start with an argument with which your readers are likely to agree, and

    then move to the one(s) they might oppose. Have a well thought-out plan.