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K12 LibreTexts

4.1: Introduction

  • Page ID
    6611
  • Learning Objectives

    • Organize arguments in a logical and persuasive order.
    • Provide appropriate support in the form of quotations, statistics, expert opinions, and commonly accepted facts
    • Clarify the meaning and significance of the main arguments.
    • Identify and refute relevant counterpoints.

    Introduction

    The main aim of a persuasive essay is to make an effective argument. Thus, persuasive essays are written as if the writer is attempting to convince his or her audience to adopt a new belief or behavior. While expository essays strive to explain or clarify a topic, persuasive papers take a stand on an issue. However, simply having an argument or opinion about a topic is not enough. In persuasive essays, writers must also support their opinions. Typically, persuasive essays support their arguments through the use of appropriate evidence, such as quotations, examples, expert opinions, or other facts. Nevertheless, simply having an opinion and supporting evidence is still not enough to write a strong persuasive essay. In addition to these two things, a writer must also have strong organization.

    Organization is the key to any well-developed essay. When composing your essay, think of its organization as a set of blocks balanced between two triangles (see Figure 1a). Each block represents the main arguments of your essay, while the two triangles stand for your introductory and concluding paragraphs respectively. Just as the top triangle comes to a point before leading into the blocks, your introductory paragraph should conclude with your thesis before your essay jumps to the supporting paragraphs. These supporting paragraphs, as the blocks suggest, should be full of information and logically solid. Just as the stability and balance of the shape rests on the solidity of the blocks, the stability of the argument of the essay rests on the success of the body paragraphs. Much like the introductory paragraph that precedes it, your concluding paragraph should restate your thesis statement and the main points of your essay, allowing your essay to end on a firm base.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Representation of the organization of a persuasive essay.

    While it is important to understand the general organization of a persuasive essay, it is also essential to know the organization of each element or component of a persuasive essay. Below is chart that identifies the major components of each part of a persuasive essay. Keep in mind that these guidelines are not meant to hinder your voice as a writer but rather to strengthen your effectiveness as a writer. Though you may sometimes feel constricted by this organizational framework, it is essential to compose an essay that contains all of these parts in order to make a strong argument. Plus, once you get acquainted with how to organize a persuasive essay, you will be able to use your creative juices in the actual writing of the paper. Rather than focusing on where to put an idea, you can focus on how to express or explain, which makes your job as a writer easier and more exciting.

    Introductory Paragraph:

    • Introduce the issue.
    • Provide each of the arguments that will later appear in each body paragraph.
    • Refute any counterpoints to the argument.
    • Provide the thesis statement.

    Body Paragraphs:

    • Begin with a topic sentence that reflects the argument of the thesis statement.
    • Support the argument with useful and informative quotes from sources such as books, journal articles, etc.
    • Provide 1-2 sentences explaining each quote.
    • Provide 1-3 sentences that indicate the significance of each quote.
    • Ensure that the information in these paragraphs is important to the thesis statement.
    • End each paragraph with a transition sentence which leads into the next body paragraph.

    Concluding Paragraph:

    • Begin with a topic sentence that reflects the argument of the thesis statement.
    • Briefly summarize the main points of the paper.
    • Provide a strong and effective close for the paper.
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