Persuasive writing attempts to convince the reader that the point of view or course of
action recommended by the writer is valid. To accomplish this, the writer must develop a
limited topic which is well defined and debatable, that has more than one side. It is
important that the author understand other sides of the position so that the strongest
information to counter the others can be presented. In the essay, only one side of the issue
Like all kinds of five paragraph essays, there is a specific format to be followed.
• The topic sentence cannot be a fact as facts cannot be debated. It should be a
statement of position. That position must be clear and direct. This statement
directs the readers to follow along with your logic towards the specific stated
conclusion that you want them to support. Do not make it personal so do not
use personal pronouns. Make it definitive.
• Then, in the same introductory paragraph, state the three best reasons that
you have to support your position as the remainder of the opening
paragraph. These reasons become the topics of each of the three supporting
paragraphs. Again, be sure they are able to be supported with additional
• In the body of the essay, the writer uses specific evidence, examples, and
statistics and not broad generalizations or personal opinions to persuade the
reader that the stated position is a valid one. Each topic sentence for the
support paragraphs have been introduced in the beginning paragraph. Each
additional sentence must closely relate to the topic and the sentence that
came before it. This way, the logic of the argument is easy to follow.
• Be sure to use adequate transitions between paragraphs as they make it easy
for the reader to follow the logic of the presentation.
• As you close the essay, it is most important to clearly redefine the topic and
restate the most compelling evidence cited in original form. Remember, this
is the last chance to remind the reader and convince him/her to accept your
• Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
Persuasive Essay Options
1. Choose one film or book review that you have recently seen or read. (It's all right to
have a copy of the review in front of you as you write, if you wish) Briefly, summarize
the review, giving the name of the book or film. Then, state whether you agree or
disagree with the review and why. Give enough information and detail to convince a
reader to agree with you. (Hint: Do NOT summarize the book or film; instead, tell
whether you think it is worth reading/seeing and why.)
2. Write an essay in which you strongly and clearly AGREE OR DISAGREE (but NOT
both!) with ONE of the following:
o Fads never really go out of style
o People are happier than they used to be
o Americans are too concerned with material goods
o You can tell a lot about people by what they eat
o You can tell a lot about people by what they read
o The Internet is the best thing to ever happen to education
3. Write a convincing paper in which you agree or disagree with this statement: "Life was
easier for teenagers 50 years ago than it is for teenagers today."
4. Many famous people, both real and fictional, have been honored by having their faces
on postage stamps. Choose a real or fictional person who you feel deserves this honor.
Write a paper that would persuade others that your choice is good.
Use this Sample Persuasive Essay as a Model
The essay below demonstrates the principles of writing a basic persuasive essay. The different
parts of the essay have been labeled. The thesis statement is in bold, the topic sentences are in
italics, and each main point is underlined. When you write your own essay, of course, you will
not need to mark these parts of the essay.
My Cat - My Best Friend
"A dog is man's best friend." That common saying may contain some truth, but dogs are
not the only animal friend whose companionship people enjoy. Cats can make any lonely person
feel needed, loved and appreciated. For many people, a cat is their best friend. Despite what
dog lovers may believe, cats make excellent house pets.
In the first place, people enjoy the companionship of cats. Many cats are affectionate.
They will snuggle up and ask to be petted, or scratched under the chin. Who can resist a purring
cat? If they're not feeling affectionate, cats are generally quite playful. They love to chase balls
and feathers, or just about anything dangling from a string. They especially enjoy playing when
their owners are participating in the game. Contrary to popular opinion, cats can be trained.
Using rewards and punishments, just like with a dog, a cat can be trained to avoid unwanted
behavior or perform tricks. Cats will even fetch!
In the second place, cats are civilized members of the household. Unlike dogs, cats do not
bark or make other loud noises. Most cats don't even meow very often. They generally lead a
quiet existence. Cats also don't often have "accidents." Mother cats train their kittens to use the
litter box, and most cats will use it without fail from that time on. Even stray cats usually
understand the concept when shown the box and will use it regularly. Cats do have claws, and
owners must make provision for this. A tall scratching post in a favorite cat area of the house
will often keep the cat content to leave the furniture alone. As a last resort, of course, cats can be
Lastly, one of the most attractive features of cats as house pets is their ease of care. Cats
do not have to be walked. They get plenty of exercise in the house as they play, and they do their
business in the litter box. Cleaning a litter box is a quick, painless procedure. Cats also take care
of their own grooming. Bathing a cat is almost never necessary because under ordinary
circumstances cats clean themselves. Cats are more particular about personal cleanliness than
people are. In addition, cats can be left home alone for a few hours without fear. Unlike some
pets, most cats will not destroy the furnishings when left alone. They are content to go about
their usual activities until their owners return.
Cats are low maintenance, civilized companions. People who have small living quarters
or less time for pet care should appreciate these characteristics of cats. However, many people
who have plenty of space and time still opt to have a cat because they love the cats’ personality.
For these many reasons, one can see that cats are the ideal house pet and truly, “man’s best