What Is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay, also known as an argumentative essay, argues the writer's position on a controversial topic with an intention to persuade the reader to agree with the writer's stance. Persuasive essays include an introductory paragraph that establishes the writer's purpose and position, body paragraphs that provide supporting arguments for the overall argument and a conclusion that summarizes the main points to leave a lasting, persuasive impression.

When writing a persuasive essay, the key to persuading the reader involves making the position clear from the start. The introduction should include background information to establish the problem or controversy and a thesis statement that shows the writer's stance on the issue. Many times, the thesis is solution-seeking, which prompts the reader to consider taking action. The body paragraphs provide supporting arguments to support the writer's position. For example, a persuasive essay on eliminating the death penalty may offer supporting ideas about detail the cost, ethical ramifications and potential errors associated with employing the death penalty. The body of the essay should also recognize the opposing views to establish the writer's ability to look at the issue objectively. However, a rebuttal statement or paragraph should refute the opposing views. Finally, the persuasive essay should end with a summary of the main arguments and reiterate the persuasive thesis statement.