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Persuasive Writing


To support ideas presented in sequence to justify a particular stand or viewpoint that a writer is taking.

The writer's purpose is to take a position on some issue and justify it. Persuasive writing is intended to present a point of view on an issue being debated, or to market a particular product, process or line of thought. The author sets out to state their view in a way that will influence others. 

Knowing the intended audience is important in selecting both the language and the ideas that will sway the reader.  For example, if seeking to persuade a local government member the language would be quite formal, but if hoping to sell cakes at a school gala, the language needs to be much more emotive and invitational.  In teaching persuasive writing it is important to include this defining of the audience and appropriate choice of language.


An argument usually consists of the following:

  • a statement of position at the beginning

  • a logical sequence

  • the argument is put forward in a series of points with back up evidence

  • a good argument shows cause and effect. This is the connection between an action and what leads to it, eg. The fish died as a result of pollution in the water: Violence in movies contributes to violence in society

  • a summing up or restating of position at the end

In addition to the writing, consideration should also be given to the inclusion of graphics and data that will support the idea or product to be promoted. Sound and video can also be added to support the written proposal, advertisement or argument.  In meeting the needs of the today's learners, it is important to factor this into the persuasive writing process, so that student are aware of the impact that adding these forms of media will have on selling their product or point of view.  

Debates, which are conducted orally, are a form of argument in which two opposing points of view are stated and both sides are argued. Supporting evidence for each side is put forward and finally an opinion is stated based on the two arguments.

Types of arguments

  • To plead a case - letters to the school principal / local council with regard to current issues.

  • To promote/sell goods and services - advertisement writing to promote the school concert/sports.

  • To put forward an argument - School uniforms should not be compulsory.

Language Features

  • The argument is written in the timeless present tense. This might change to the past if historical background to the issue was being given. If predictions are being made the tense might change to the future.

  • The writer uses repetition of words, phrases and concepts deliberately, for effect.

  • Verbs are used when expressing opinions, eg. I think ___ are the best! We believe students should not be stopped from eating junk food.

  • Strong effective adjectives are used.

  • Thought provoking questions are used. These may be asked as rhetorical questions. (Rhetorical questions: a question asked only for effect, not for information, eg. Would you give your pre-schooler matches to play with?)

  • Use of passive verbs to help structure the text.

  • Written in the timeless present tense.

  • Use of pronouns (I, we, us) is used to manipulate the reader to agree with the position argued. eg. We all know that smoking causes cancer so we do not smoke.

  • Use of emotive language i.e. words that will appeal to the reader's feelings, eg. concern, unreasonable, should.

  • Use of passive voice i.e. verbs in which the subject is acted upon and not doing the action. This helps structure the text, eg. We would like to suggest that an enquiry be held into the running of the steel mills. Water is being polluted.

  • Conjunctions that can exemplify and show results - they are usually used in concluding statements to finalise arguments


Planning Guide
















e-Learning tools to support persuasive writing

Brainstorming tools to develop the arguments/persuasive statements (free)

Poster/Website tools to capture the power of images

Graphing tools for making your own graphs

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