What Is a Persuasive Essay?
A persuasive essay is a type of essay that presents logical arguments with emotional appeal in order to sway readers to a particular point of view. Persuasive essays can be both a form of academic writing and personal writing. They typically begin with a question that the writer spends the essay arguing in favor of or in opposition to. A personal essay writer will make a firm statement that is backed up with a combination of data, research, and anecdotal experience. The writer will often explore opposing positions and counterarguments as a means to discredit them.
3 Elements of a Persuasive Essay
A good persuasive essay should feature three essential components known as modes of persuasion. These elements, coined by philosopher Aristotle himself, work together to make a compelling and effective argument that attempts to persuade others’ points of view.
- Ethos: Ethos is an element of argument and persuasion through which a speaker establishes their credibility and knowledge, as well as their good moral character. Readers are more likely to trust someone with credible knowledge, personal experience, or standing within a community. Including ethos—or ethics—in your persuasive writing can help sell your point of view.
- Pathos: Pathos is an appeal made to an audience’s emotions in order to evoke feelings. Triggering particular emotions in your audience can help them connect with you as a narrator. This provides a layer of interest to your readers as well, making your writing more compelling and stickier.
- Logos: Logos is a rhetorical or persuasive appeal to the audience’s logic and rationality. Good persuasive writing outlines a series of logical reasons that the reader should believe the writer’s argument.
So, you were assigned to write a persuasive essay, where should you start? The first step in preparation for writing is the choice of a topic. A lot depends on this step. If you manage to pick a good topic, the writing process will be much simpler and you will also have higher chances to get a really good grade. At the same time, if a topic is not relevant or engaging enough, it can ruin everything.
Persuasive Essay Topics
Although having freedom of choice is seemingly a good thing, many students feel rather confused about which persuasive topics are good ones. If you are wondering how to pick a good subject, here are the main criteria that define good persuasive topics:
- The topic is engaging. A great topic should not only be interesting for your audience, but for you as well. If you find something you are interested in, the writing process will become more pleasant and less stressful to research.
- You have an opinion about it. In order to persuade readers of something, you need to define your position first. Thus, it is vital to pick a persuasive topic you have an opinion about.
- It is controversial. Obviously, there should be two sides to the argument in order to have something to convince your audience about. Thus, you need to pick a topic you can examine both sides of.
- The topic is manageable. Finally, a perfect persuasive topic is one for which there are enough arguments to provide. Therefore, before you stop on a specific topic, be sure to conduct enough research to see if you can find sufficient supporting evidence for your ideas.