Persuasive Essay Assignment

Your Name

Ms. Berman

Intro to Lit and Comp

21 May 2014

Persuasive Essay

What is Persuasive Writing?

Persuasive writing promotes critical thinking because it forces you to take a stand and defend your position on a topic.  For this assignment you will develop a persuasive essay on a topic that matters to you.  Keep in mind that the purpose of a persuasive essay is not just to share information.  You want to convince someone else to (1) do as you suggest and (2) adopt your opinion.  An effective persuasive essay does the following:

  • states the writer’s opinion, or point of view, about the topic
  • provides convincing support for the writer’s opinion
  • provides convincing evidence that denounces any opposing arguments
  • often appeals to the reader’s emotions


  • Choose a topic that matters to you.  The topic you choose for a persuasive essay should be one that concerns you or affects your life.  It might be a topic of national interest, such as the war in Iraq or the mortgage crisis.  Or it might be a topic of local interest like school uniforms or curfew.  Be sure to choose a topic that is worth arguing about.  There’s no point, for example, in arguing that roses are prettier than daisies.  That’s a matter of personal taste.  Choose a topic that your audience will also feel strongly about.
  • Be mindful of your tone.  Usually a persuasive essay is serious and logical, with a formal tone.  It’s true that humorous tone can be effective in some types of persuasive writing.  But you have to be careful not to go too far with it.  If your essay sounds casual or silly, or too emotional, your audience will probably not take your opinion seriously and will not be persuaded.  Remember that your audience has to believe you in order to be convinced.
  • Support your opinion using logical appeals.  Logical appeals include logical reasons (why your audience should believe you) and evidence (proof that explains your reasons).  Reasons tell why an opinion should be accepted and evidence provides proof that your reasons are sound and well-founded.  Examples of evidence include facts and statistics, or expert opinions.

Framework for a Persuasive Essay

  • Introduction: Your introduction will include an attention grabber, background information on your topic, and a statement of opinion (thesis statement)
  • First Body Paragraph: This paragraph will include the first reason why your audience should adopt your opinion.  You may want to begin with your strongest reason or save your best evidence for the last paragraph—it is up to you!  You must explain your reason and provide evidence to support it.  Supporting evidence may include facts, statistics, or a quote from an expert.
  • Second Body Paragraph: This paragraph will include the second reason why your audience should adopt your opinion.  Again, do not forget to include an explanation as well as evidence to support your reason.
  • Third Body Paragraph: This paragraph will include the third reason why your audience should adopt your opinion. If you did not already state it in your first paragraph, you will want to mention your strongest reason and give your best evidence here.  Again, you must provide an explanation and plenty of factual evidence for support.
  • Fourth Body Paragraph: This paragraph will include the opposing argument and your rebuttal.  It is imperative that you provide ample evidence in your rebuttal!  Do not let your reader leave this paragraph until he/she is sure that the opposing argument is invalid! 
  • Conclusion: Your conclusion should restate your opinion, briefly summarize your reasoning, and offer a call for action (why should your audience do now that they have adopted your opinion?  Vote?  Sign a petition?  Volunteer? 

Paper Requirements

  • Your paper must have an introduction, conclusion, and thesis statement
  • Your paper must be typed and double-spaced using 12pt Times New Roman font
  • Your paper must have a heading and title in MLA format
  • Your paper must include evidence to support your argument and evidence that denounces an opposing argument
  • Your paper must include a works cited page for any outside research