a persuasive/argumentative paragraph or essay?
also known as the argumentative writing, utilizes logic and reason (and sometimes emotion) to show that one
idea is more legitimate than another idea. It attempts to persuade a reader
to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action. Ideally, the argument
should always use sound reasoning and solid evidence by stating facts, giving
logical reasons, using examples, and quoting experts. However, more emotional techniques are also used effectively, though sometimes they may border on manipulation! Consciously or not, an author may draw on our emotions by using logical fallacies.
a persuasive essay, follow these steps:
criteria are essential to produce an effective argument:
Examples - Examples enhance your meaning and make your ideas concrete. They are the proof. Often these examples are drawn from shared every-day experience or from history. They can be events, ideas, logical arguments or quotations. They can be anecdotes, which are small stories that have explanatory meaning, or analogies, in which one example is made meaningful because it resembles another example. The order of examples, which is part of logic, can also have a positive effect. Sometimes examples can be emotive (or biased), and are used to elicit sympathy from the reader. As well, some key examples might be missing. Often the biggest problem with examples is not that the examples are wrong, but that they are incomplete and unrepresentative. Watch out for an argument where no examples are offered - just a thesis and a conclusion!
Statistics - These are facts based on numerical measurement, and can provide excellent support. Be sure your statistics come from responsible
sources, and always cite your sources.
Expert Testimony -
Direct quotations from leading experts and/or peer-reviewed journals that support your position are invaluable.
Emotional Language - Though considered biased and manipulative, emotional loaded words are commonly used to capture the feelings and sympathies of the readers.
Colloquial Language - In order to be more accessible and inviting, some persuasive writers will employ a more conversational style of language. You might see the strategic use of "and" and "but" at the beginning of a sentence, or a conscious use of a sentence fragment to emphasize a point. If you want to try this technique, please don't overuse it; it can become annoying and transparent, and less effective the more you use it!
Poetic Devices - Some writers of persuasive texts will borrow the techniques of poetry, particularly when it comes to the sounds and meanings of words. Common techniques include alliteration, repetition, metaphors, imagery, and rhyme.
Powerful Images - In less formal writing, evocative images may be selected to enhance and support an argument.
THE PROBLEM OF BIAS: As you can see above, many of these persuasive techniques can be considered unfair or manipulative. In general, such techniques are seen as examples of bias. And, if you use them or are influenced by them, you are said to be biased. Of course, if you are are going to persuade a reader or listener, you might argue that any technique is valid, and that it's up to the reader or listener to detect bias and make his or her judgment accordingly. For more information about detecting bias and making good judgments, click here.
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