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Difference Between Narrative & Persuasive Passages


All kinds of writing can be placed among four categories, also known as genres or rhetorical modes, which vary according to purpose. These genres are description, exposition, narration, and argumentation or persuasion. Narrative and persuasive passages are quite distinct from one another because of the aim or purpose of the passage. The purpose of a narrative passage is to tell a specific story, while the purpose of a persuasive passage is to make an argument about a particular topic.

Narrative Passage

A narrative is an account of events, characters and plot, and a narrative passage is a passage or essay that tells a story. For example, a narrative passage might relay an anecdote, a set of experiences, or a unique family story. Because a narrative passage tells a story, it contains all elements of a story including narrator/point of view, characters, setting, plot and climax.

Elements of Narrative Passages

One of the most important elements of a narrative passage is the point of view. In an essay, the story is typically presented from the perspective of the author, but this is not the only possible point of view. A narrative passage, whether it is an essay or not, may be told from any number of perspectives. It may be narrated from the point of view of one of the characters, an observer or even multiple characters. Furthermore, the narrator of a narrative passage may tell the story directly, using the pronoun "I," a first-person point of view, or indirectly, using the pronoun "he" or "she," the third-person point of view. In addition to the point of view, a narrative passage also contains other elements of a story including characters, setting and plot.

Persuasive Passage

A persuasive or argumentative passage is a passage that tries to persuade the reader of something. The purpose of a persuasive passage is to establish a position and generate an argument, and it presents this topic in a thesis statement, usually in the beginning of the passage. The rest of the passage acts to support the argument using evidence and research. While some persuasive passages rely heavily on research and citations, this is not always the case. Evidence in a persuasive passage may appear in a variety of forms including logical, statistical, anecdotal or factual information.

Elements of Persuasive Passages

A thesis statement is typically found at the end of the introduction and sums up the passage’s main argument in one, or occasionally two, sentences. The paragraphs that follow the introduction create evidentiary support for the thesis statement. They explain the how and why the research or the evidence supports the thesis. These explanations are called warrants. In a short essay, each body paragraph consists of a separate piece of evidence, but this is not always the case. In longer persuasive passages, one piece of evidence may be discussed over a number of paragraphs. A persuasive passage is connected together into one cohesive passage using logical transitions between the introduction, the body paragraphs and the conclusion.

About the Author

Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.

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