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How to Write: Persuasive Essays

Welcome to the third entry in the How to Write series. The essay of this entry, as you read in the title, is persuasive essay. I think persuasive essays are my favorite type of essay to write just based on the fact that I love to argue and prove a point. Just like the previous entries, I will start with a definition followed by some quicks and ending with an example essay in MLA format.


Persuasive essays are essays whose main goal is to convince readers to agree or believe in an opinion or idea.

Quick Tips:

Be sure to state your position clearly so there are no misunderstandings on where you stand on the topic. When stating your position be sure you can actually back up that stance. Be sure that the points you make are organized in a way that they have a strong effect. Write with confidence. If you write in an unsure or neutral tone your argument loses its effect and therefore, loses its ability to persuade. Do your research. You can't persuade anyone with incorrect information. Research means having to cite your sources. Use the three modes of persuasion:

  • Ethos - establishing credibility and trust

  • Pathos - invoking emotions and appeasing values

  • Logos - using logic, reason, and proof

Example Essay (in MLA format):

I wrote this essay quickly. Seems to be a theme for these example essays, but it just gives you an idea of what the essay could look like. I wrote the essay using the prompt "Humans have always wondered about the possibility of life on other planets in the universe. Do you believe extraterrestrial life exists? Write an essay persuading others to share your point of view."

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