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Persuasive writing attempts to convince the reader that the point of view or course of action recommended by the writer is valid. To accomplish this, the writer must develop a limited topic which is well defined and debatable, that is has more than one side. It is important that the author understand other sides of the position so that the strongest information to counter the others can be presented. In the essay, only one side of the issue is presented.

Like all kinds of five paragraph essays, there is a specific format to be followed.

* The topic sentence cannot be a fact as facts cannot be debated. It should be a statement of position. That position must be clear and direct. This statement directs the readers to follow along with your logic towards the specific stated conclusion that you want them to support. Do not make it personal so do not use personal pronouns. Make it definitive.

* Then, in the same introductory paragraph, state the three best reasons that you have to support your position as the remainder of the opening paragraph. These reasons become the topics of each of the three supporting paragraphs. Again, be sure they are able to be supported with additional separate facts.

* In the body of the essay, the writer uses specific evidence, examples, and statistics and not broad generalizations or personal opinions to persuade the reader that the stated position is a valid one. Each topic sentence for the support paragraphs have been introduced in the beginning paragraph. Each additional sentence must closely relate to the topic and the sentence that came before it. This way, the logic of the argument is easy to follow.

* Be sure to use adequate transitions between paragraphs as they make it easy for the reader to follow the logic of the presentation.

* As one closes the essay, it is most important to to clearly redefine the topic and restate the most compelling evidence cited in original form. Remember, this is the last chance to remind the reader and convince him/her to accept the writer's position.

* Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.

The guidelines for writing persuasively:

* When deciding how to begin, always consider the audience. Remember, you are addressing an audience whose views may differ from yours.

* Your first concern is to get your audiences to “listen.” You might use humor, a rhetorical question, an anecdote or any other attention-getting device to accomplish this.

* However you begin, you need to concisely state your purpose for writing. Develop your position, or thesis statement. This will help you to focus on your issue as you draft your essay.

* You need to support your position with valid evidence and logical arguments. For evidence, you might use any combination of facts, statistics, expert opinions, and reasons and make responsible appeals to emotion.

* Anticipate opposing arguments.

* End with the re-emphasis of your strong points and in a way that prompts your audience to change their thinking or to take a certain course of action.