What Is Persuasive Text?

Persuasive writing is meant to influence how the reader thinks, feels, acts or makes decisions with regard to a particular idea, issue or proposal. Some of the most common forms of persuasive writing are essays, letters to the editor, cover letters and resumes, thesis papers, grant proposals, advertising and book reviews.

With persuasive writing, the author is trying to make his or her case and uses the language of the text in a deliberate manner designed to reach a certain goal, like getting a job or swaying someone to choose them for a grant. It is imperative to understand who the audience is, and that identity should shape the whole essay, letter or other composition. Then, to persuade effectively, the writer needs to have all the correct information and present it in such a way as to convince the reader. In short, the writer will offer an opinion or hypothesis and go on to clarify and offer evidence and information that supports this opinion. It may also be helpful to offer counter arguments and show why these arguments have no merit. Showing the reader that the author has considered all of the options, not just the one that he believes to be the correct one, increases the level of authority or competence.