- Describe and then refute the key points of the opposing view.
- Restate and reinforce the thesis and supporting evidence.
2. Drafting the Persuasive Essay
When writing the initial draft of a persuasive essay, consider the following suggestions:
- The introductory paragraph should have a strong “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention. Open with an unusual fact or statistic, a question or quotation, or an emphatic statement. For example: “Driving while talking on a cell phone, even hands-free, is the equivalent of driving drunk.”
- The thesis statement should leave no doubts about the writer’s position.
- Each body paragraph should cover a separate point, and the sentences of each paragraph should offer strong evidence in the form of facts, statistics, quotes from experts, and real-life examples.
The Secret to Good Paragraph Writing
- Consider various ways to make the argument, including using an analogy, drawing comparisons, or illustrating with hypothetical situation (e.g., what if, suppose that…).
- Don’t assume the audience has in-depth knowledge of the issue. Define terms and give background information.
- The concluding paragraph should summarize the most important evidence and encourage the reader to adopt the position or take action. The closing sentence can be a dramatic plea, a prediction that implies urgent action is needed, a question that provokes readers to think seriously about the issue, or a recommendation that gives readers specific ideas on what they can do.
3. Revising the Persuasive Essay
In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:
- Does the essay present a firm position on the issue, supported by relevant facts, statistics, quotes, and examples?
- Does the essay open with an effective “hook” that intrigues readers and keeps them reading?
- Does each paragraph offer compelling evidence focused on a single supporting point?
- Is the opposing point of view presented and convincingly refuted?
- Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise? Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
- Does the concluding paragraph convey the value of the writer’s position and urge the reader to think and act?
If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look the thesis. Does it present the strongest argument? Test it by writing a thesis statement for the opposing viewpoint. In comparison, does the original thesis need strengthening? Once the thesis presents a well-built argument with a clear adversarial viewpoint, the rest of the essay should fall into place more easily.
4. Editing the Persuasive Essay
Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.
5. Publishing the Persuasive Essay
Sharing a persuasive essay with the rest of the class or with family and friends can be both exciting and intimidating. Learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay even better.
Time4Writing Teaches Persuasive Essay Writing
Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. These online writing classes for elementary, middle school, and high school students, break down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence with each online writing course, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher. We first introduce essay writing to students at the elementary level, with our Beginning Essay Writing course, where they will have an opportunity to write their first five-paragraph essay. Our middle school online writing courses, Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay, teach students the fundamentals of writing essays, including the persuasive essay. The high school online writing class, Exciting Essay Writing, focuses in depth on the essay writing process with preparation for college as the goal. Time4Writing’s online writing classes for kids also cover how to interpret writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s progress with Time4Writing’s online writing courses.
Essay writing is an essential skill that all students need to develop in order to survive, and thrive in, school and beyond. Follow our nine steps to essay success.
Nail the question. It sounds obvious, but if you don't REALLY understand the question, you're doomed to fail before you even put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). If you have any doubts whatsoever about what your teacher wants, double- and triple-check with them before you start.
Create a skeleton. Break the question down into parts to create an outline of your essay. Make sure all the points in the question are included in your outline. Need some help with this step? Grab a free copy of our essay planning template by filling out the form on this page.
Research. Gather as much information as you can about your topic. Use the library, research online (using lots of different authoritative sites), speak to people you know, gather interviews.
Brainstorm. Ask yourself a whole heap of questions about the topic. If you're used to creating mindmaps, this is the time to use one. Allow your mind to travel broadly on the topic to stretch yourself beyond what might usually be expected. Then when you've got all your questions, use more research to answer them!
Body build. In point form, start to put some muscle on that skeleton you built earlier. Don't start writing yet, but using all the notes you've taken in your research and brainstorm phase, plan out the main arguments you'll include in each paragraph.
Hang on a sec! Don't start with your introduction yet, that will come later...
Your essay body. Each paragraph in your essay should deal with a separate insight. Start each paragraph with a topical sentence, then support that topic with the evidence or reasoning found in your research phase.
The conclusion. Wrap up your essay with a quick summary that holds up your arguments one last time. Some students like to end with a memorable thought such as a quotation or call to action - but make sure it's relevant, and that you attribute it correctly.
Finally... the introduction. It's much easier to introduce something AFTER you've written it. Use your introduction to outline the points asked in the question, and describe how your essay addresses these points.
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