Home Education How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Argument Essays That Motivate and Inspire Readers

How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Argument Essays That Motivate and Inspire Readers

by Louise W. Rice

Argumentative essays are particularly enjoyable for students to write because they give students a chance to express their opinions. As an essaywriter, I know that when writing a persuasive essay, be aware of the appeals you are using to make your argument.


Pathos refers to the emotional appeal that someone or something has on you. Being scared at a movie, crying after a book, or feeling sad during a TV show are all examples of pathos. Using pathos to persuade people to your point of view in your writing requires you to make an emotional bond through your writing.

Good persuasive writing rouses the emotions of the reader, making them feel angry about the opposing side, compassionate to the viewpoint you are trying to prove, or make the opposite side ridiculous and comical. A good piece of writing, persuasive or not, uses the emotion of the reader to form a deeper bond and have a greater effect on the audience.

An appeal to pathos draws on the reader’s emotions. Most advertisements use this technique, and it can be very effective. But be aware an argument made strictly on an emotional appeal is not typically a very solid argument.

An example of this is a clothing ad that might show a guy wearing a particular brand of jeans surrounded by beautiful women. The argument is that guys who buy this brand of jeans will get lots of attention from women. While this technique is effective, readers who stop and think for a minute will realize the argument is a weak one.


Ethos refers to the credibility of who is trying to persuade you. For example, if you are a dentist, then people will trust your opinion on mouthwash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a variety of other things related to dental hygiene.

However, they won’t your opinion on computer programming as high as a video game designer, because you don’t have the same amount of credibility as the programmer does. When applied to writing, this means that you have some sort of experience or history with the subject that convinces the reader that your opinion is educated and sound.

Alternatively, finding proofs for your thesis from people or sources that are respected and have some sort of history with the subject is a good way to utilize ethos when you do not have the credibility necessary to persuade the reader. For example, the source for this article is a .edu site, which is a credible education site that people trust for information.

Appeals to ethos rely on the writer’s credibility. If you feel you are an expert on the topic you are arguing, be sure to explain to readers why you are the most qualified person to make this argument.


Logos refers to using logical reasoning that is used to convince the audience to your side of the argument. This can be done through facts, quotations, or examples included in your writing. For example, if a politician says: “During my term in office, I have lowered taxes. If I am re-elected, I will lower them again.” He is using logos because the first part of his statement is a fact, while the next part is the persuasion that he will do it again. Of course, it would be more persuasive if he said how he would do so, but that is still a basic example of what logos is.

Appeals to logos use logic to develop an argument. These are the strongest arguments, but also the most boring for readers. Arguments that appeal to all three aspects of the rhetorical triangle will be the most effective.

Choosing a Topic

Choose a topic that interests you and one that you know something about, but don’t choose something you feel you are so passionate about that you can’t see clearly. Writing is a process of inquiry, so choose a topic you are curious about. Develop your argument as you learn, and in turn, your readers will learn as well.

Draw Your Readers In

Your introductory paragraph should not jump right into your argument. You want to have your readers on your side, to ease them over to your side gently, so start with a humorous or powerful anecdote that readers can relate to. You can also start with a universal statement that readers can agree with you. Try to develop some common ground with the story will be open to your suggestions.

Writing a Thesis Statement

Once you have effectively drawn your readers in, make your thesis statement clear. Don’t beat around the bush. If you want your readers to take action, state the action they should take. If you want the government to change a policy, state what policy they should revisit and why.

EFFECTIVE THESIS: To ensure the safety of its citizens, Norfolk should increase its police force by 10 percent.

INEFFECTIVE THESIS: Crime is on the rise, and the city needs to do something to stop it.

Supporting Your Thesis

You have drawn your readers in and stated your opinion. That should have taken up the first paragraph. Now you need to back it all up with evidence. Without effective evidence, you are just ranting about a problem. You are not working to solve anything.

Do your homework. Research what others have said or done on your topic. Include their opinions in your essay if it is appropriate. Explain why your solution would work best. Tell your readers why it will benefit them to take the action you are suggesting. Your evidence should take up the bulk of your essay.

Addressing the Opposition

If possible, mention the opposing side to your argument and refute it. This will make your argument even stronger by anticipating resistance and offering evidence against it upfront.

With these tips, you should be able to argue on a variety of topics effectively.

Author Bio: John J. Gregg is an experienced writer on essaywriter.nyc where he provides students with an opportunity to get high grades. Besides, He is fond of reading and playing the guitar. By the way, John dreams of traveling a lot and visiting as many countries as possible.

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