Persuasive essays are a type of writing in which the author attempts to convince the reader that his or her opinion is the correct one. This is one of the most common types of nonfiction writing in the world, employing numerous techniques, such as the construction of an argument, in order to sway the reader.
Persuasive essays can argue either for or against a particular topic. Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, can be seen as an extended persuasive essay against the existence of God, or alternatively, for the position of scientific atheism. Writers will attempt to convince readers that their facts are correct and encourage a sharing of values.
In order to support an argument, the writer must first establish facts. Forming the argument and stating conclusions allow the author to attempt to persuade the audience that the conclusions are based upon the facts and shared values.
Many writers, when constructing persuasive essays, will use either an anecdote or humor, or both, in order to personalize the argument and relate to the reader. This is called the “hook” and draws in the reader’s attention. Facts are then presented, forming an argument, with each paragraph exploring a single fact. Following the presentation of facts, counterarguments and rebuttals can be raised and refuted. The ability to acknowledge and refute the a counter position further strengthens one’s own argument. Finally, the main thesis is restated in the conclusion.