When learning how to write a persuasive essay, remember that how you organize your persuasive writing is just as important as what you put in it. Follow these suggestions for organization:
1. Take a direct approach when writing to an audience that likely agrees with your position. If you're writing a persuasive essay for your English class, find out how your teacher feels about the topic.
2. Take an indirect approach when writing to an audience that is hostile or disagreeable to your position.
3. Take an indirect approach when delivering bad news.
Adapt standard essay organization to suit your audience and purpose:
1. The Introduction announces the topic. If you're taking a direct approach, state your purpose as well.
2. Include the background and context to help readers understand the issue. Explain the significance of the topic. Whether or not to include background information as part of your introductory paragraph or as a separate paragraph depends on the length of the essay.
3. Present the argument. How you present the argument depends on your approach. When dealing with a skeptical audience, present your proof first followed by your assertion or declaration. When dealing with a favorable audience, present your assertion first followed by evidence
4. Acknowledge opposing views. Refute weaknesses in the opposing views. Discuss why the your reasons are better than the opposing reasons. If you wish to take an indirect approach, you may want to acknowledge the opposing views before presenting your argument.
5. Conclude. Your conclusion should include recommendations and reassert your main argument.
Of all the resources we publish on The Learning Network, perhaps it’s our vast collection of writing prompts that is our most widely used resource for teaching and learning with The Times.
This list of 401 prompts (available here in PDF) is now our third iteration of what originally started as 200 prompts for argumentative writing, and it’s intended as a companion resource to help teachers and students participate in our annual Student Editorial Contest. (In 2017, the dates for entering are March 2 to April 4.)
So scroll through the hundreds of prompts below that touch on every aspect of contemporary life — from social media to sports, politics, gender issues and school — and see which ones most inspire you to take a stand. Each question comes from our daily Student Opinion feature, and each provides links to free Times resources for finding more information. And for even more in-depth student discussions on pressing issues like immigration, guns, climate change and race, please visit our fall 2016 Civil Conversation Challenge.
What’s your favorite question on this list? What questions should we ask, but haven’t yet? Tell us in the comments.
And visit our related list as well: 650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.
Social Media and SmartphonesContinue reading the main story