Persuasive writing is a form of writing in which someone tries to get readers to agree with a position. This type of writing is very common in advertising copy, which is written in an attempt to get consumers to purchase specific products, and persuasive essays are commonly assigned in school to get people to use critical thinking skills. Learning to recognize persuasive writing can be a valuable skill, as can mastering the art.
A well-written persuasive piece is supported with a series of facts that help the author argue his or her point. Many authors also include counterpoint arguments in their pieces which they can debunk, showing readers that they have considered both sides of the argument at hand, and that any arguments that could be raised against the side of the essay could be dismissed. In addition to facts, authors may include anecdotes and hypothetical situations to build a stronger case.
It is possible to write a persuasive essay either for or against something, and sometimes people like to argue for the opposite side while they are composing their ideas, so that they have an idea of the kind of arguments that could be used against them. In a way, this writing is like the opening statement in a debate, except that the author hopes to present his or her side so well that people are reluctant to argue with the piece.
As a general rule, persuasive writing has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion, which may vary in length. The introduction almost always includes a thesis statement of some kind to orient the readers, so that they know what to expect, while the body contains the meat of the piece, including facts that support the argument of the paper. In the conclusion, the author restates the major points and tries to leave on a high note, impressing readers with the validity of the ideas in the paper.
Learning to write persuasively is important, because it helps to refine written communication and critical thinking skills. Many people find themselves writing a persuasive piece at some point, such as a letter to the editor, or a complaint to a company. These skills can also cross over into speech, helping people build stronger and more coherent oral arguments so that they can hold their own in a discussion.