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 favour 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.
How to write an introduction
The introduction is the opening paragraph of your essay. There are many different ways of introducing a text, depending on the genre you are writing in. However, good introductions to persuasive essays tend to follow a particular pattern.
An introduction aims to do the following:
- To catch the reader’s attention and make them interested in reading more
- To clarify what you are going to argue for/against
Three parts of an introduction:
1: MAKE A HOOK
Open with a hook that catches the reader’s attention. The hook is supposed to make the reader interested in the topic of your essay. There are several ways of doing this, and here are a few examples of hooks:
- The hook can be a (surprising) piece of information or an anecdote (a brief, revealing account of an individual person or an incident):
In 1955 a black woman sparked a huge national movement in the USA just by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man.
- The hook can be an interesting thought/question:
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a teenager 60 years ago?
- The hook can be a quote:
The famous rap-artist Drake once said: “I was born to make mistakes, not to fake perfection”.
2: EXPLAIN THE HOOK
The hook does not provide much information in itself. You should follow up on your hook and put it in context. This should lead up to point number 3.
3: MAKE IT CLEAR WHAT YOUR ESSAY IS ABOUT
Here you need to include your thesis statement: what is the purpose of your essay?