How to Write an Argumentative / Persuasive Essay

Writing a timed, persuasive essay might seem daunting, but proper preparation can help you succeed. It's important to thoughtfully express your opinion on a subject. You should be able to provide solid reasons and evidence that support your main idea. By combining a little organization and a few key essay-writing concepts, you will be able to better express yourself and write well-thought-out persuasive essays during class.

Why is Organization Important?

Before you write a single word, you should spend a few minutes developing a game plan so your essay will be easier and quicker to write.

Step One: ​Take a stance.​ Determine which side of the argument you will support and brainstorm three solid reasons why your readers should also support that side.

Step Two: ​Create a basic outline.​ You could do this on a piece of scrap paper or just in your head. It will help you decide how to present your ideas in the body of the essay.

Step Three: ​Organize your arguments.​ Be sure to place your arguments in a way that will allow them to flow easily from one paragraph to the next while producing a continuously stronger case for the ideas expressed in your essay.

Step Four: ​Divide your time.​ Make sure you know the amount of time you have to write your essay. You could divide the total time between all five paragraphs of the paper to keep yourself on track. Having an idea of how much time you have available to spend on each paragraph will keep you on task and moving steadily.

How to Write the Introduction

The first paragraph of your essay will be an introduction to the topic being discussed in your paper. Begin your introductory paragraph by grabbing the attention of your reader with an interesting fact, quote, anecdote, or bold statement related to the essay topic.

Use your first sentence to lead into a general synopsis of the argument on which your paper is focused, being sure to include both sides of the argument.

Conclude your introduction by developing a thesis sentence that clearly states the position you will be supporting, and attempting to get your readers to support, in your persuasive essay.

How to Write the Body

For each of the three body paragraphs, you will present one reason why your readers should agree with your perspective on the topic being discussed. The first sentence of each paragraph should state the argument that paragraph will be presenting in favor of your side of the topic.

Follow up each topic sentence with an illustration, such as a quote, fact or example, that supports the particular argument in that paragraph. Continue by explaining how that illustration supports your topic sentence and overall opinion in the essay.

Consider using a mixture of persuasive tactics, such as stating logical facts and statistics, telling emotional stories and making comparisons, and sharing expert opinions and personal experiences, to win over your readers in the body of your paper.

Conclude each body paragraph with a sentence that sums up the paragraph and ties it back to your original thesis.

How to Write the Conclusion

The conclusion of your essay is meant to tie your entire piece of writing together and show your readers that you effectively proved why they should agree with you on the topic.

Briefly summarize all of the reasons you presented to your readers throughout the paper to convince them to support your side of the argument and how those reasons support and prove the thesis in your introduction.

Conclude your final paragraph with a sentence that will get the attention of your readers and leave them thinking about what you wrote, such as a question about the subject, a prediction of what might happen if the majority of people support a certain side of the argument or even a strong statement summarizing and reinforcing your ultimate opinion on the matter.