Key Elements of Persuasive Writing
The goal of persuasive writing is to persuade others
Accept a particular point of view.
Take a particular course of action.
States a clear opinion about an idea or plan.
Establishes a context for discussing the idea or
Uses carefully selected appeals or arguments to
support its goal.
Anticipates and addresses reader concerns and
Propositions: the goal of
A piece of persuasive writing should include a
clear statement of what the writer wants to
Proposition of Action: the writer asks the
reader to do a particular thing.
Proposition of Fact: the writer asks the
reader to think or believe something is true
that he or she might not have thought true
A piece of persuasive writing explains why it is
important to discuss the issue right now.
This can take the form of:
Context: describe recent events or upcoming
events that make the argument timely
Background Information: describe the history of
the issue or events that have led to the issue or
Two Sides: Explain that there are two opposing
sides to the issue. Make sure your side is clear.
Logical, Ethical and Emotional Appeals
Appeals are the arguments used in a piece of
persuasive writing to support the main proposition
• Logical appeals (also called appeals to reason):
– Arguments and evidence based on facts that can be
– Statistics, historical events, quotes from experts,
• Ethical appeals:
– Arguments that appeal to the reader’s sense of what
is right, fair, or just.
– References to morals, ideals, right and wrong, etc.
• Emotional appeals:
– Arguments that attempt move the reader emotionally
about the topic.
– Having the reader “stand in someone else’s shoes” or
provoking an emotion reaction to the writing.
Anticipating and Undermining
Writers of persuasive arguments must think
about views that might disagree with theirs.
A good piece of persuasive writing will:
Explain reasonable arguments against the
Undermine these arguments with reasonable
and logical counter-arguments.
(This is also called refuting or rebutting other arguments.)