Every genre or text type has a specific purpose. Knowing the purpose of the type of text or genre that we are writing allows us to give a context to what we are writing and to keep on track. The purpose of a persuasive text is to manipulate the audience into, if not actually agreeing with a point of view, at least accepting the merit of our arguments.
A persuasive text comes in many disguises – some are obvious whilst others masquerade as factual. We need to recognise the many forms of a persuasive text so that we are not over manipulated and can tell the difference between fact and opinion or belief. Probably the most common forms for primary school students are:The letter – this could be to a local council or school principal to get more facilities, a newspaper to complain or to a friend or relative to get a favour.The speech – this could be for class captain elections or as part of an oral presentation.An advertisement – this could be part of a unit of work.
Aristotle lived in 384BC, he was a student of Plato’s and was Alexander the Great’s teacher. He was a great writer, mathematician and scientist as well as a great orator (public speaker). His framework for persuasive speaking comes from his work on rhetoric.
ETHOS: This is the position or stance you take – whether you are arguing for or against a premise. The position you take becomes your thesis or basis for your arguments. Once you have established your thesis you have to decide on your “voice” or “role”. Are you going to be an expert and give your arguments formally and precisely or are you going to be informal and assume the role of a “ friend” who is stating what “everyone believes”. LOGOS: This is the structure of the text – it must be logical and well sequenced so that the audience can easily follow the arguments.PATHOS: This is the emotional appeal to your audience – a persuasive text shouldn’t be dull and dry – even if it is formal – but lively and appeal to the head and the heart.
A persuasive text is usually structured round a premise – There should be more computers in schools, the government should ban all violent video games, school children should not be made to wear school uniform. The individual writer should take a position either for or against the premise – this is their thesis.The premise and thesis has to be introduced to the audience and then the writer must proceed to give creditable and detailed reasons why the audience should support the thesis. To complete the process a conclusion must be made to encourage the audience to agree with the writer and to take action on their behalf.
This structure speaks for itself – the 3 argument paragraphs form the body of the text whilst the introduction and conclusion act as the top and tail.
The introduction plays the important role of hooking the audience in.These examples show various strategies for the opening sentences of an oral argument “That Junk Food should be made Less Easily Available.” VISUALISATION: Getting the audience to picture themselves or imagine themselves in a situation that will enhance your point of view. EG: Ladies and Gentlemen close your eyes for a moment and see yourself in a world 10 years from now. Every person that you see is so obese that they cannot lift themselves out of their chairs to work, look after their families or even get out of the house. This is the world we shall certainly have if we do not do something about the amount of junk food so easily available.RHETORICAL QUESTION: Ladies and Gentlemen would you really like to see a world full of people so obese that society cannot function? A world where the medical bills of the population are as immense as their weight? This will surely happen if we do not do something about the amount of junk food so easily available.HUMOUR: Ladies and Gentlemen – what is the first letter of the alphabet? A I hear you think, but sorry, it’s actually M, a big golden arched M! It is the letter that we see most frequently in every town in Australia and it means one thing, junk food. We seriously need to do something about the easily availability of junk food.PERSONAL ANECDOTE: Ladies and Gentlemen I would like to share a story about a very good friend of mine. At 15 years old he was a fit and healthy athletic boy who played tennis, soccer and cricket. Sadly he became addicted to junk food and by the time he was 17 he had stopped playing any sport and piled on the kilos to such an extent that his family was concerned about his health. If junk food had not been so easily available this would not have happened.
This is the body – the meat of the persuasive text. The arguments or reasons have to be plausible and engaging.Once the argument or reason has been stated there has to be supporting details and information to back them up:Examples using the junk food argument:STATISTICS: Families today rely too much on junk food instead of cooking healthy, fresh food in their own kitchens. In a recent survey conducted by a local newspaper it was revealed that 65% of families surveyed ate fast food at least twice a week. This statistic is of great concern for the future health and well being of our population. If junk or fast food was not so easily available then more families would eat a home cooked varied and healthy diet.PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Because junk food is so easily available, eating too much fast or junk food can become a habit. A few months ago my parents both had to work extra shifts at heir jobs. This meant that they got home later than usual and it was so convenient to call into a take away restaurant to pick up our dinner on the way home. My family ate this unhealthy diet for two weeks and we became addicted to the fat and carbohydrates that the meals contained. It was very hard for us to kick this bad habit and get back to home cooked healthy food. If fast food had not been so readily available we would perhaps have had salads and easy to prepare meals instead of the rubbish we ate.WELL-KNOWN FACTS: It is a well-known fact that in the developed world the population is getting fatter and fatter. The numbers of people who are obese or over-weight seems to increase by the day. It is true that a lack of exercise contributes to this fact but diet plays a huge part. Too many people rely on the easily available junk food restaurants for their meals instead of cooking a fresh and healthy diet for themselves. Junk food contains too high a proportion of fat and carbohydrates to make it balanced healthy eating and if it wasn’t so easily available less people would rely on it and therefore maintain a healthy weight.SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH: Science has made great advances in the analysing of our food and in identifying what the body needs to stay in a healthy condition. For example dieticians have found that while sodium (salt) is necessary for us to have healthy body tissue and fluids, too much can endanger the health of our heart. Scientists have measured how much sodium a body needs to be healthy and they have also measured the amount of sodium found in junk food. One cheeseburger with barbecue sauce and french fries from a fast food restaurant supplies enough sodium to last the whole day. As sodium is found in just about every other food we eat during the day you can see that a junk food meal has exceptionally high sodium levels. If junk food was not so easily available our sodium levels would have a better of chance of staying lower.
The conclusion ties the persuasive text up and brings the arguments together one more time.It needs to be more than just a summary however and should contain an emotional appeal as well as a call to action.The emotional appeal could be an encouragement to the audience to agree with your arguments.EG: Ladies and gentlemen I hope that my arguments have made the position clear. You must agree that if junk food was not so easily available, less people would use them on a daily basis, become addicted to the fats, sodium and carbohydrates they contain and be able to maintain a healthy weight. The call to action asks your audience to do something to support your position.EG: I implore you, that if you feel as strongly as I do on this matter of vital importance to our population’s health and well-being, that you lobby your member of parliament to do something to restrict the number of fast food restaurants in our country.
These are some of the devices that writers can use to persuade.They basically speak for themselves and are literary devices used in many written genres.
This speaks for itself. These are the surface features of any good writing and should therefore be employed in a persuasive text.
Persuasive writing power point
Writing To PersuadeProduced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
What’s the Purpose? To put your point of view across in a forceful,informed and engaging manner. To lead your audience into agreeing with you. To help your audience to think positively aboutyour ideas.Produced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
What Forms Can it Take?A Persuasive text can be in the form of: A Letter An Essay A Speech An Advertisement A Poster A Job Application A Political Speech A Speech in court from the Prosecution orDefenceProduced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
A Little Piece of AncientWisdomProduced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher(thinker). He established this framework for writing a GREATpersuasive text or speech. ETHOS LOGOS PATHOS
What Exactly Does thatMean? ETHOS means that you have to establish yourthesis or position and create a role for yourself.Are you going to be a formal expert or an informal“one of us”? LOGOS means that you must have logical andstructured arguments to support your position. PATHOS means that you must have an emotionalappeal to your audience by your choice ofvocabulary.Produced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
How is this Managed? Usually you have to decide if you are FORsomething or AGAINST it. You introduce your thoughts to your audience. You present at least 3 arguments or reasons for yourposition. You make your conclusion and encourage youraudience to agree or act on your behalf.Produced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
What Does it Look Like? A written persuasive text usually has 5 paragraphs INTRODUCTION ARGUMENT 1 ARGUMENT 2 ARGUMENT 3 CONCLUSIONProduced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
Introduction This orientates your audience to your topic andyour thesis or position that you are going to make. It should have a “hook” to get your audienceinterested. This could be in the form of: Visualisation Rhetorical question Humour Personal anecdote (story)Produced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
The Arguments These are the reasons for your thesis or position. One paragraph per argument or reason. You must give some evidence or details for eachbelief. This could be in the form of: Statistics Personal experience Well-known facts Scientific researchProduced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
Conclusion This restates your thesis or position It makes a brief summary of the arguments that youhave used. It makes an emotional appeal to your audience toagree with you. It can make a “call to action” and ask your audienceto do something about your thesis.Produced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
How to get that Appeal Use high modality language. Ask rhetorical questions. Use alliteration, similes, metaphors or idioms. Use humour when appropriate. Use emotional language. Use a variety of evidence or details. Use repetition as an effect.Produced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com
What Else is there toRemember? A minimum of 2 sentences per paragraph. A variety of sentence forms – simple, compoundand complex. Accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation. The use of sophisticated vocabulary (Tier 2 and 3words). Recognition of purpose and audience.Produced by Geraldine Norriswww.linkingtoliteracy.com