What is the Purpose of a Persuasive Essay?

posted by Laura Callisen 24 Apr 2015
Table of contents:

Everyone understands the definition of the word “persuade.” Basically, it means to attempt to convince someone or a group of someones that a particular position on an issue is the correct one. Thus, car manufacturers attempt to persuade that their models are the best on the market; soft drink makers try to convince us that their products taste the best; even Match.com advertises itself as the best dating service on the web. And how do they do this? Well, there are entire college courses that speak to advertising and marketing techniques that can be used, but if you view their television ads, you see that they try to give us some facts, they use testimonials from popular figures, and they appeal to our desire to “belong” to the “smart” people or the “beautiful” people, etc.

Writing a persuasive essay is a lot like producing an advertising campaign, but the standards are higher and the topics usually far more important. Product advertisers often exaggerate; they engage in “half-truths” and illogic; and they appeal to human emotions. You cannot do that when you are producing a scholarly piece of writing. Yes, the purpose of a persuasive essay is certainly to convince the reader that your position on an issue is the correct one. But you must do so in an unemotional and objective manner. You must present facts, data, perhaps personal experience, and maybe words of individuals who are actually authorities in the issue at hand. You can’t, for example, call upon Beyonce for her learned views on the war against ISIS.

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The Process of Persuasive Essay Writing

Now that you know what you are supposed to do, it is time to look at the “how” you actually do it. And, yes, there is a process which you pretty much need to follow if you hope to have a valid persuasive piece that will be worthy of a good grade.

  • Selecting the Topic: Surely there is some contemporary issue about which you have strong feelings – something more significant than the best national chain pizza. Here are a few possibilities:
  1. Illegal immigration
  2. Abortion
  3. Minimum Wage
  4. Marijuana Legalization
  5. Gay Marriage
  6. Climate Change
  7. Animal Rights
  8. Income Inequality
  9. Police Overreach/Brutality
  10. National Health Insurance
  11. Student Loan Debt/Cost of College
  12. Red-Light Cameras
  13. Net Neutrality

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The list could go on for a long time, but you get the idea of your persuasive essay. There must be something about which you feel very strongly, and that should be the topic for your persuasive essay. If you don’t have a strong belief about an issue, your essay will lack the necessary vigor and firmness it needs.

  • Decide What Your Position Is: Take your stand, and this stand will be your thesis statement when you get the point of writing the essay.
  • Do the Research: Remember this first. In a persuasive essay, you do not have to address the arguments of those who have the opposing view. You only have to support your position, but you must do it with facts, with data, with words from authorities and experts on the subject, and, in some cases, your own personal experiences if you have had those that relate to the topic. Gather all the information you can that will support your position.
  • Take a look at what your research has given you. Use it to pick 3-4 of the strongest arguments that can best be supported. You now have the body paragraphs for your essay.
  • Construct a brief outline for your introduction, body and conclusion. In what order will you cover your arguments? It is usually good to use the strongest one for your first body paragraph and the 2nd strongest for your last body paragraph.
  • Your Introduction: You need to come up with the most startling fact about the issue that you can. Perhaps state that the 2015 college graduate will have over $30,000 in loan debt which must be paid at 7% interest for years to come. The end of your introductory paragraph will state your position.
  • Your Conclusion: Repeat your main arguments; explain why the issue is important to a large segment of society; make a recommendation for action.

If you follow these steps, your essay will flow logically, will contain the supportive factual information to make your view logical and credible, and, probably, get you a pretty good grade. One more important point: do not present your arguments from a standpoint of emotion – it will weaken them. Present a rational, sound, and scholarly case. If you ae not sure that your essay is perfect, ask experts to rewrite your essay.

Read also: Where to find personal statements help from professionals? 

Are Persuasive Essays Easy? No, They are Not

These essays take time – there is research to conduct and organize; they must meet high expectations of instructors for both content and for proper English composition. It is not unusual that, then, that GrabMyEssay.com receives requests from many students who are struggling with persuasive essays. We are happy to accommodate them, and are always able to provide an expert academic essay writer for any topic.

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Laura Callisen

Blog writer for GrabMyEssay


Hello there! I am Laura Callisen, and I fancy myself to be a modern “Renaissance person.” I suppose my 30-something self began my incredible journey after having been born in Stavanger, Norway and then immigrating to the U.S. (Utah, actually) at the age of 5. I am certain that this change was more of a cultural “shock” for my parents than for me, because I quickly mastered the language and was clever enough to “play the game” of public education in America. After graduating from Skyline High School, where I spent two years as the school newspaper editor, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from the University of Utah was a natural culmination of my love for writing.

My inclination to be socially conscious led me to lots of community outreach and volunteering during my college years, especially in the areas of educational and housing improvement for the poor and a number of environmental crusades. My passion for philosophy and travel have now taken over, and I am enthralled with the widely varied value systems of all cultures in which I can immerse myself, if only temporarily. My life as a freelance writer allows a freedom I never want to sacrifice for a stuffy office!

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