Persuasive writing
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PERSUASIVE WRITING. How well can you organize and express your ideas in written text to convince the reader of your position?. Persuasive Writing. The Writer’s Checklist. Content/Organization. Focus on purpose and audience State your position clearly and simply

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How well can you organize and express your ideas in written text to convince the reader of your position?

Persuasive Writing

The Writer’s Checklist


  • Focus on purpose and audience

  • State your position clearly and simply

  • Use specific details and evidence for support

  • Place ideas in order of importance

  • Structure your argument from weakest to strongest points – leave them with the strongest argument

  • End with a call to action

Sentence Construction

  • Vary sentence structure

  • Edit for fragments

  • Edit for run-on sentences


  • Choose words whose meaning you are sure of and use them properly.

  • Verify the context for your 50¢ words.


  • Check capitalization

  • Verify spelling

  • Edit punctuation



What are you being asked to do?

A persuasive essay is a formal expository writing, not creative writing. Use a standard writing structure, transitions, and formal English grammar.

The Writing Assignment

Persuasive Writing

Thinking It Through

How to read a persuasive writing task

1. Underline the parts of the writing situation that are most important.

2. Use this information as a framework to your response.

3. It is easiest to persuade the reader if you believe in what you are writing. Think about an issue before you begin formal planning of your response.

How to respond to a persuasive writing task





1. Free-write for 1 or 2 minutes.

Freewriting is thinking on paper without formal sentence structure or grammar.

2. Reread what you have written and underline anything that is interesting to you as you read.

3. Locate your position on the topic as revealed in your freewriting.

4. Use this position to frame your thesis.


1. Make a fast list of thoughts you have concerning the topic.

2. Review your list to locate your position on the topic.

3. Use this position to frame your thesis.


Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What would be the benefits for the individual involved in this topic?

2. What would be the hardships incurred by the individual if this topic was to happen?

3. What benefits are given in the writing situation?

4. What negatives are given in the writing situation?

5. Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Why?

6. Use the answer to number 5 to determine your position and thesis.

Persuasive Writing



  • You do not have time to change your opinion once you have begun to write ~ therefore it is important that you know what you are going to say and the details that will be used in support of your ideas before beginning the actual process of writing.

Methods of Organizing

Method 1 ~

Informal Outline

Informal Outline

1. Introduction ~ Thesis statement

a. supporting idea 1

b. supporting idea 2

c. supporting idea 3

2. Body paragraph 1 – supporting idea 1

a. reasons

b. example

c. example

d. transition

3. Body paragraph 2 – supporting idea 2

a. reasons

b. example

c. reason or example

d. transition

Informal Outline (Con’t.)

4. Body paragraph 3 –supporting idea 3

a. reasons

b. example

c. reason or example

d. transition

5. Conclusion

a. quick summary of your reasoning process

b. restatement of your thesis

Informal Outline (Con’t.)

Methods of Organizing

Method 2 ~

A Flowchart

A Flowchart:A flowchart looks something like this:

Supporting Idea 1




Supporting Idea 3




A less formal flowchart:Thesis Statement

  • Supporting Idea 2

    • reasons

    • details

    • examples

Methods of Organizing

Method 3 ~



Writing the Thesis Statement

  • The difference between a thesis statement in a persuasive writing from a thesis statement in a paper is its emphasis. When writing to persuade, it is imperative that you take a position for or against an idea. Do not “sit on a fence.” Take a position, and then defend it. The strongest support for a position is based upon the conviction of the writer.

Writing the Thesis Statement (Con’t.)

However, avoid statements that include words that are absolutes such as:

all always

best every

never none


Writing the Thesis Statement (Con’t.)

  • These words limit your argument by not allowing for exceptions, therefore if the reader can locate a single argument against your reasoning, you can lose your case.

  • Keep the thesis simple! Use the important information from the question to shape your thesis. Do not feel compelled to write a complex sentence unless you can do it perfectly. Use the line in the text as the basis for the thesis and add your opinion.

Paragraph Organization

  • Start with the strongest argument and work to the weaker one


  • Start with the weaker argument and work to the stronger one

Paragraph Organization (Con’t.)

  • Coherence in every paragraph

  • Every sentence adds to the one before

  • Every sentence flows smoothly to the next

  • New ideas go in new paragraphs

Paragraph Organization (Con’t.)

  • Topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph

  • Arrange the rest of your sentences after it either by order of importance or logic.

  • Most good arguments are based on research

  • Reason (i.e. your opinion) supported by example can also persuade

Paragraph Organization (Con’t.)

  • Nouns and pronouns that refer to their antecedents can help smooth transitions between sentences

  • Ex. 1

    • Cats make wonderful pets. They are easy to care for and they are inexpensive to maintain. (Clear reference – they refers to cats)

Paragraph Organization (Con’t.)

  • Ex. 2 Be careful to use pronouns clearly

    • Cats can be trained almost as easily as dogs. The tricks they do can impress many people. (Unclear who they is – dogs is the closest noun, the reader may become confused)

Paragraph Organization ~ Another way to flow smoothly through your paragraph is to use “connectives”

Paragraph Organization (Con’t.)

  • Transitions smooth the flow between paragraphs

  • “Connectives” can be used

  • A word or phrase from the preceding paragraph can be used in the topic sentence of the next paragraph




Expert testimony







Supporting Your Ideas~The major ways to support an argument

Writing the Essay

  • Once the essay is planned, the prewriting done, the majority of the thinking is finished.

  • Opening paragraph

    • Interesting sentence – rhetorical question or example or an appropriate quote

    • Thesis sentence

    • Each of the main reasons noted in your prewriting

    • Think of this paragraph as an outline of key points

Writing the Essay (Con’t.)

  • Body Paragraphs

    • Clear topic sentences that link to the thesis statement

    • Should include benefits or disadvantages that relate to the topic sentence

    • Give at least one developed example of a benefit or disadvantage

    • Include facts, if you know them (not made up)

Writing the Essay (Con’t.)

  • Conclusion

    • Last, but not least

    • Wording and logic is important

    • No contradictions

    • No new ideas – this is not the time to come up with an argument that has not already been discussed

    • Restate the original thesis

Revise and Edit

Look for obvious errors in grammar

  • Sentence fragments

  • Run-on sentences

  • Spelling

  • Punctuation

  • Capitalization

  • Transitions

  • Sentence variety

  • If you followed the plan, organization and structure is done!

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