Shmoop Writing Guide

Persuasive/Argument Essay: Five Key Strategies
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Persuasive/Argument Essay: Five Key Strategies

Curious about how to actually do well on a persuasive/argument essay? Allow us to relieve you of your curiosity.

1 Appraise: This director deserved an Oscar. This candidate should not be elected to office. The Iraq war has been a successful endeavor. That painting is something my 2-year-old brother could have done. Appraising is a strategy of persuasive writing that involves asserting the worth of a person, work of art, object, or process by looking at a set of criteria.

2 Propose: You knew you would need that medical coat for something. Your role in proposal arguments is to be both doctor and pharmacist: diagnose a problem and whip up a solution. Call for action or a response from your reader by proposing future solutions for a problem. Show the problem’s significance and negative effects and why your proposed solution is a feasible, timely, and effective remedy.

3 Show Cause: All those rounds of Mario Kart helped you pass your driver’s test. A hearty supply of fresh coffee and Danishes in the conference room makes you a more effective worker. Fuel emissions cause global warming. Some argument essays identify a domino effect between two situations by providing evidence that supports the connection. In these essays, persuade your reader that two ideas or events are linked together by cause and effect. Mario Kart… Link… man, have we got video games on the brain or what?

4 Argue by Definition: My Very Excellent Mother Just Made Us Nine Pizzas. If you used this to memorize the order of the planets, you know that life’s just not the same without Pluto as a planet. You could use an argument by definition to assert that Pluto is in fact a planet, despite all the astronomical debate, by exploring the definition of the key word. What features or conditions make a planet a planet? If you're able to craft a definition of "planet" into which Pluto fits, then you'll be able to make a strong argument that it should be back in the club. This strategy can apply to any number of ambiguous labels. Chipotle is not fast food. Polar bears are endangered species. Ping-pong is a sport. All of these arguments depend on what the definitions of "fast food," "endangered species," and "sport" are. Because if curling can be included, what isn’t a sport?

5 Argue by Fact: Bigfoot either exists or he doesn’t. Facts are up for debate simply because evidence is rarely complete or irrefutable. If everyone at one point was wrong about the earth being the center of the solar system, then it seems that almost any apparent fact could be challenged. Persuade your reader by identifying an issue, gathering evidence (while paying close attention to the bias of sources) and establishing, challenging, or correcting them. Write an Argument/Persuasive Essay Now