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Writing Persuasive Essays: Outline & Samples

Writing Persuasive Essays
A persuasive essay is a type of academic writing in which the author presents a logical and reasoned argument to convince the reader of a particular point of view. The primary goal of a persuasive essay is to persuade or influence the reader to adopt the writer’s perspective or take a specific course of action on a particular issue or topic.

Here are some sample persuasive essays for students:

Sample Persuasive Essay on Climate Change

Sample Persuasive Essay on Social Media Addiction

Sample Persuasive Essay on Promoting Physical Education in Schools

Key Characteristics

Here are some key elements and characteristics of a persuasive essay:

  1. Clear Position: The writer takes a clear stance or position on a specific issue or topic. This position is often referred to as the thesis statement and is typically presented in the introduction.
  2. Evidence and Reasoning: To support the chosen position, the writer provides compelling evidence and logical reasoning. This evidence may come from research, personal experiences, expert opinions, statistics, examples, or anecdotes.
  3. Counterarguments: A persuasive essay often addresses counterarguments or opposing viewpoints to demonstrate that the writer has considered alternative perspectives and can refute them with evidence and reasoning.
  4. Structure: The essay typically follows a structured format with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each paragraph in the body presents a separate point or piece of evidence that supports the thesis.
  5. Persuasive Techniques: Persuasive essays use various rhetorical appeals, such as ethos (credibility), pathos (emotional appeal), and logos (logical appeal), to effectively persuade the reader.
  6. Clarity and Coherence: The writing should be clear, organized, and easy to follow. Transitions between paragraphs and ideas help maintain the flow of the argument.
  7. Call to Action: In some cases, a persuasive essay may conclude with a call to action, urging the reader to take a specific step or change their behavior in alignment with the author’s position.

Common topics for persuasive essays include social and political issues, ethical dilemmas, debates on public policy, environmental concerns, and more. When writing a persuasive essay, it’s essential to thoroughly research the topic, present evidence and reasoning effectively, and consider the needs and perspectives of the target audience to make the argument as persuasive as possible.

General Outline

The format of a persuasive essay typically follows a standard structure, which includes the following sections:

  1. Introduction:
    • Hook: Begin with an attention-grabbing statement, question, or anecdote to engage the reader.
    • Background Information: Provide some context or background information on the topic.
    • Thesis Statement: Clearly state your position or argument on the issue. This is the main point you will be persuading the reader to accept.
  2. Body Paragraphs (usually 3 or more):
    • Topic Sentence: Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point or argument of that paragraph.
    • Evidence and Examples: Present evidence, facts, statistics, examples, or expert opinions that support your thesis.
    • Explanation: Explain how the evidence is relevant to your argument and why it should persuade the reader.
    • Counterarguments: Address and refute counterarguments or opposing viewpoints where necessary.
  3. Conclusion:
    • Restate Thesis: Reiterate your thesis statement in a slightly different way.
    • Summarize Key Points: Summarize the main points from your body paragraphs.
    • Closing Statement: End with a strong closing statement that reinforces your position and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
    • Call to Action (if applicable): If you want the reader to take a specific action, include a call to action in the conclusion.
  4. References (if necessary):
    • Include a list of sources you used for research, following a citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) as required by your assignment or guidelines.
    • Follow any formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or institution, such as font size, margins, spacing, and citation style.

Remember that the effectiveness of your persuasive essay relies on the strength of your arguments, the quality of your evidence, and your ability to communicate your ideas clearly and persuasively. Additionally, consider your audience and tailor your persuasive techniques to their needs and beliefs.


Depending on purpose and approach, persuasive essays can be classified into various types. Below is a discussion of the 4 main types – argumentative, expository, discursive, and exegetical:

  1. Argumentative Persuasive Essay:
    1. Characteristics: Argumentative persuasive essays are one of the most common types of persuasive essays. They require the writer to take a clear stance on a specific issue or topic, present logical arguments supported by evidence, and attempt to convince the reader to adopt their viewpoint.
    2. Key Elements:
      • Clear thesis statement presenting the writer’s position.
      • Well-researched evidence and data to support arguments.
      • Counterarguments and refutations to address opposing viewpoints.
      • Strong use of persuasive techniques such as ethos, logos, and pathos.
    3. Example: An argumentative persuasive essay might argue for or against a particular policy, social issue, or controversial topic, such as the legalization of marijuana or the importance of vaccination.
  2. Expository Persuasive Essay:
    1. Characteristics: Expository persuasive essays combine elements of expository writing (which explains, describes, or informs) with persuasive elements to educate the reader on a specific topic while also persuading them to adopt a particular perspective.
    2. Key Elements:
      • Presentation of facts, statistics, and objective information.
      • An explanation of the issue or topic in a clear and informative manner.
      • Use of persuasive language and appeals to convince the reader of the writer’s viewpoint.
    3. Example: An expository persuasive essay might aim to inform the reader about the consequences of climate change while persuading them to take action to reduce their carbon footprint.
  3. Discursive Persuasive Essay:
    1. Characteristics: Discursive persuasive essays are similar to argumentative essays, but they tend to explore and present multiple viewpoints on an issue before ultimately persuading the reader towards one side. They often involve a balanced discussion of various arguments.
    2. Key Elements:
      • Presentation of multiple perspectives and arguments.
      • Fair and unbiased evaluation of each viewpoint.
      • A clear and reasoned conclusion that favors one perspective.
    3. Example: A discursive persuasive essay might explore the pros and cons of a controversial technology, like artificial intelligence, before concluding that responsible AI development is essential.
  4. Exegetical Persuasive Essay:
    1. Characteristics: Exegetical persuasive essays are common in the fields of theology and religious studies. They involve the interpretation and analysis of religious texts, followed by persuasive arguments based on the interpretation of these texts.
    2. Key Elements:
      • In-depth analysis of religious or sacred texts.
      • Interpretation of the texts to support a particular argument or theological stance.
      • Use of religious or scriptural authority to persuade the reader.
    3. Example: An exegetical persuasive essay might analyze passages from a religious text like the Bible or the Quran to support a specific theological argument, such as the role of women in religious leadership.

Each of these types of persuasive essays has its unique characteristics and purposes, but they all aim to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint or argument. The choice of which type to use depends on the writer’s goals, the nature of the topic, and the intended audience.

How to Write: Steps

Writing effectively involves a combination of skills, techniques, and practices. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write effectively:

  1. Pre-writing Preparation:
    • Understand Your Purpose: Determine why you are writing. Are you informing, persuading, entertaining, or expressing your thoughts and feelings?
    • Choose a suitable topic: Review our comprehensive list of suitable persuasive essay topics.
    • Know Your Audience: Consider who will be reading your writing. Tailor your style, tone, and content to your audience’s preferences and expectations.
    • Research: Gather information and data relevant to your topic if necessary. This applies to academic, informative, and persuasive writing.
  2. Planning and Organizing:
    • Outline: Create an outline or structure for your writing. This could be a simple list of key points or a detailed outline with headings and subheadings.
    • Thesis Statement: In academic or persuasive writing, establish a clear thesis statement that summarizes your main argument or purpose.
  3. Writing the Draft:
    • Introduction: Start with an engaging hook that grabs the reader’s attention. Provide background information and introduce your thesis statement.
    • Body: Write the main content of your piece, following the structure outlined in your plan. Each paragraph should focus on a single point, supported by evidence, examples, or explanations.
    • Transitions: Use transitional phrases and sentences to connect ideas and create a smooth flow between paragraphs and sections.
    • Conclusion: Summarize your main points, restate your thesis (if applicable), and leave the reader with a strong closing thought or call to action.
  4. Revision and Editing:
    • Read Aloud: Read your writing aloud to catch awkward phrasing, grammatical errors, and unclear sentences.
    • Peer Review: If possible, have someone else read your work and provide feedback.
    • Grammar and Style: Check for proper grammar, punctuation, and consistent style throughout your writing.
    • Clarity: Ensure that your writing is clear and concise. Eliminate unnecessary words and jargon.
    • Organization: Confirm that your ideas are logically organized and that each paragraph contributes to your overall message.
    • Citation and References: If you’re using sources, make sure you cite them correctly according to the required citation style.
  5. Proofreading:
    • Spelling and Grammar: Double-check for spelling and grammatical errors using spelling and grammar checking tools.
    • Formatting: Ensure that your document adheres to any required formatting guidelines.
  6. Final Review:
    • Read Through: Read your work one more time to ensure that it flows well and communicates your intended message effectively.
    • Consistency: Check for consistency in formatting, tone, and style.
  7. Seek Feedback (Optional):
    • If your writing is for a significant purpose (e.g., a school assignment, job application, or publication), consider seeking feedback from a teacher, mentor, or editor.
    • When writing your persuasive essay, you can always ask our team of professional writers to help you prepare a custom essay.
  8. Finalize and Submit/Publish:
    • Make any necessary final revisions.
    • Save or submit your work according to the required format or platform.

Remember that writing is a skill that improves with practice. The more you write and revise, the better you’ll become at conveying your ideas clearly and effectively. Don’t be discouraged by initial drafts; writing is often an iterative process, and each revision brings you closer to your desired outcome.

Writing Tips: Dos and Don’ts

Here are five distinguishing characteristics of a persuasive essay, along with dos and don’ts for each:

  1. Clear Position and Thesis Statement:
    • Do: Clearly state your position or argument in the thesis statement in the introduction.
    • Don’t: Be vague or unclear about your stance. Your thesis statement should be specific and focused.
  2. Use of Persuasive Techniques:
    • Do: Utilize persuasive techniques such as ethos (credibility), pathos (emotional appeal), and logos (logical appeal) to make your argument compelling.
    • Don’t: Rely solely on emotional appeals without providing logical reasoning or credible evidence.
  3. Effective Use of Evidence:
    • Do: Provide strong and relevant evidence, including facts, statistics, expert opinions, and examples, to support your argument.
    • Don’t: Use weak or outdated evidence, or misrepresent data. Ensure the accuracy and credibility of your sources.
  4. Addressing Counterarguments:
    • Do: Acknowledge and address counterarguments or opposing viewpoints to demonstrate that you have considered alternative perspectives.
    • Don’t: Ignore counterarguments or dismiss them without providing a reasoned response.
  5. Clear and Coherent Structure:
    • Do: Organize your essay with a clear structure, including an introduction, body paragraphs with topic sentences, evidence, and transitions, and a conclusion that summarizes your main points.
    • Don’t: Present your argument in a disorganized or chaotic manner. Ensure that each paragraph contributes to the overall coherence of your essay.

By adhering to these dos and avoiding the corresponding don’ts, you can create a persuasive essay that effectively communicates your position, engages the reader, and persuades them to consider your viewpoint. Remember that the strength of your argument and the quality of your evidence are essential for the success of a persuasive essay.


  1. How do I choose a good persuasive essay topic?
    • Choose a topic you are passionate about and have knowledge of.
    • Select a topic that is relevant to your audience and has two clear sides or arguments.
    • Consider the significance and impact of the issue you’re addressing.
    • You can review our comprehensive list of suitable persuasive essay topics.
  2. What is the structure of a persuasive essay?
    • Introduction: Hook, background, thesis statement.
    • Body paragraphs: Each paragraph focuses on a single point with supporting evidence.
    • Counterarguments: Address opposing viewpoints.
    • Conclusion: Restate thesis, summarize main points, and end with a strong closing statement.
  3. What are some effective techniques for making my essay persuasive?
    • Use persuasive language and rhetoric.
    • Provide compelling evidence and examples.
    • Employ rhetorical devices like ethos, pathos, and logos.
  4. How do I start a persuasive essay with a strong introduction?
    • Begin with a hook that grabs the reader’s attention.
    • Provide context or background information on the topic.
    • Clearly state your thesis statement.
  5. How can I develop a clear thesis statement for my persuasive essay?
    • Make it specific and concise.
    • Clearly express your position on the issue.
    • Ensure it’s debatable, not a statement of fact.
  6. What is the role of evidence and examples in a persuasive essay?
    • Evidence and examples support your claims and make your argument more convincing.
    • Use statistics, facts, expert opinions, and real-life stories to back up your points.
  7. How do I address counterarguments in my persuasive essay?
    • Acknowledge opposing viewpoints.
    • Refute counterarguments with logical reasoning and evidence.
    • Demonstrate why your argument is stronger.
  8. What is the importance of audience analysis in persuasive writing?
    • Understanding your audience’s beliefs, values, and concerns helps tailor your arguments effectively.
    • You can anticipate objections and address them more persuasively.
  9. How can I make my persuasive essay more engaging and relatable to my audience?
    • Use relatable examples and stories.
    • Connect with your audience’s values and emotions.
    • Use inclusive language and address the reader directly.
  10. Are there specific persuasive essay formats or guidelines to follow?
    • Follow your instructor’s or institution’s specific formatting guidelines (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
    • Use a clear and organized structure: introduction, body, and conclusion.
  11. How do I conclude a persuasive essay effectively?
    • Restate your thesis and main points.
    • Summarize key arguments.
    • End with a strong closing statement or call to action.
    • Leave a lasting impression on the reader.
  12. Where can I find credible sources and evidence to support my persuasive essay?
    • Utilize academic databases, libraries, and reputable websites.
    • Seek sources from experts in the field.
    • Verify the credibility of sources by checking for peer-reviewed articles and reliable publications.
  13. How can I improve my persuasive writing skills over time?
    • Practice writing persuasive essays regularly.
    • Seek feedback from peers or instructors.
    • Analyze persuasive essays by skilled writers for techniques and strategies.
  14. What is the difference between a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay?
    • Persuasive essays aim to persuade or convince the reader to adopt a particular point of view or take a specific action. They often appeal to emotions and values.
    • Argumentative essays also aim to convince the reader, but they focus more on presenting logical arguments, evidence, and facts to support a claim. They tend to be more research-based and rely less on emotional appeals.
  15. How long should a typical persuasive essay be?
    • A typical persuasive essay is often around 5-7 paragraphs or 500-800 words, but the length can vary depending on your assignment’s requirements.
    • The priority is to ensure that you answer the requirements provided by your instructor or academic institution fully.
  16. Are there any online tools or resources that can help me with persuasive essay writing?
    • Yes, there are numerous online tools and resources to aid in persuasive essay writing, such as grammar checkers, citation generators, and writing guides.
    • Additionally, educational websites and writing blogs often offer tips and sample essays. Some popular tools include Grammarly, Purdue OWL, and CiteULike.

Remember, the key to writing a successful persuasive essay is to effectively present a clear and convincing argument that addresses a specific issue or topic. This involves thorough research, well-structured arguments supported by evidence, a persuasive tone, and consideration of opposing viewpoints. Additionally, a compelling introduction, logical organization, and a strong conclusion are essential to engage your audience and leave them persuaded by your stance on the subject.