The following are decent examples of Persuasive / Argumentative Essays, designed to help you think about the form more deeply. They aren’t “slam dunk” essays that guarantee an “A”. In fact, we’ve given you some perspective on how writing instructors would view these examples. Notice how the grammar doesn’t really play into the analysis of the examples; the writing is competent. It’s the ideas and choices that need work.
Click on a title below to access the original work in another window.
- Is Technology Making Us Smarter or Dumber?
- First up, this essay reads like a professional writer’s work – and it is.
- By posing a question the essay delivers on an original argument (“it isn’t smarter or dumber – it’s impact…”) but it’s an answer to a question that is too broad for a short paper. Indeed, the author is working on a book-length work to address the issues he raises.
- As an expert this author can perhaps get away with making sweeping statements about the origins of cooking, but an undergraduate writer cannot. There would need to be many more citations if this were an academic paper.
- The essay includes a counterargument. Check! Notice the, “I think you can argue…” paragraph. Also a nice example of using “you” in writing – which many students are told never to do. It works here.
- 11trees Grade: B+/F depending on fixing citations
What is a persuasive/argument essay?
Persuasive writing, also known as the argument essay, utilizes logic and reason to show that one idea is more legitimate than another idea. It attempts to persuade a reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action. The argument must always use sound reasoning and solid evidence by stating facts, giving logical reasons, using examples, and quoting experts.
When planning a persuasive essay, follow these steps
- Choose your position. Which side of the issue or problem are you going to write about, and what solution will you offer? Know the purpose of your essay.
- Analyze your audience. Decide if your audience agrees with you, is neutral, or disagrees with your position.
- Research your topic. A persuasive essay must provide specific and convincing evidence. Often it is necessary to go beyond your own knowledge and experience. You might need to go to the library or interview people who are experts on your topic.
- Structure your essay. Figure out what evidence you will include and in what order you will present the evidence. Remember to consider your purpose, your audience, and you topic.
The following criteria are essential to produce an effective argument
- Be well informed about your topic. To add to your knowledge of a topic, read thoroughly about it, using legitimate sources. Take notes.
- Test your thesis. Your thesis, i.e., argument, must have two sides. It must be debatable. If you can write down a thesis statement directly opposing your own, you will ensure that your own argument is debatable.
- Disprove the opposing argument. Understand the opposite viewpoint of your position and then counter it by providing contrasting evidence or by finding mistakes and inconsistencies in the logic of the opposing argument.
- Support your position with evidence. Remember that your evidence must appeal to reason.
The following are different ways to support your argument:
Facts - A powerful means of convincing, facts can come from your reading, observation, or personal experience.
Note: Do not confuse facts with truths. A "truth" is an idea believed by many people, but it cannot be proven.
Statistics - These can provide excellent support. Be sure your statistics come from responsible sources. Always cite your sources.
Quotes - Direct quotes from leading experts that support your position are invaluable.
Examples - Examples enhance your meaning and make your ideas concrete. They are the proof.
Here are some ideas of popular persuasive essay topics:
- Anorexia or model body
- Encouraged abortions
- School uniform
These essay topic examples are debatable, it is important to choose the topic that is interesting for you.