Writing to Persuade

Writing to persuade and writing to argue are both far easier to gain good marks in than writing to advise. It is therefore recommended you answer either the writing to argue or writing to persuade and ignore the writing to advise altogether.

When writing to persuade your purpose is to convince your reader to accept your way of thinking about a particular issue. There are many similarities between writing to argue and writing to persuade, both share the purpose of seeking to influence over the reader; however, persuasion tends to be:
· more one-sided
· more reliant on passion and emotion which makes the piece of writing more personal


One useful tip is to pretend that the event you are writing about, you have experienced and have a genuine passion for. This will therefore give the reader the impression that what you’re writing about, you actually have strong beliefs in. This gives your writing a greater insight into the issue and in turn means you will gain higher marks in the exam!

What will the examiner be looking for in my exam piece?

You will be asked to:
· write in a particular format - this could include a newspaper / magazine article or a letter
· write for a particular audience

Aiming for an A*? ... Of course you are! Getting an A* isn’t as difficult as it might seem. You will therefore need to:

· Make the structure of the piece of writing clear. This means you should have a clear introduction, develop your points in the main body of the text and then conclude summarising these main points.
· You will have to vary your sentence structures to improve the effectiveness of your piece of writing. ‘Discourse markers’ are an effective way to link compound sentences and help to make your piece of writing flow (these are discussed in more detail in the general writing techniques section).
· Show you have understood the needs of your particular audience by writing in a suitable style (either formal or informal).


Writing to persuade and writing to argue are very similar but there are some subtle differences. In writing to persuade you should take into account the other view but be heavily biased towards your view. In writing to argue you have to balance the arguments taking them both into account equally.


Your introduction has to include a "hook or grabber" to catch the reader's attention. This could be achieved by opening with an unusual detail, short sentences, a quotation, question or statistic.
Your introduction should also include a statement that outlines your view on the topic.
In the body of your essay you should provide evidence to support your opinion presented in your statement. The body should consist of at least three paragraphs. Each paragraph is based on a solid reason to back your statement. Since almost all issues have sound arguments on both sides of the question, a good persuasive writer tries to anticipate opposing viewpoints and provide counter-arguments along with the main points in the essay. One of the three paragraphs should be used to discuss opposing viewpoints and your counter-argument.


Your Conclusion:

A piece of persuasive writing usually ends by summarizing the most important details of the argument and stating once again what you think the reader should to believe or do.

In your conclusion try to:
1. Restate your statement.
2. Summarise your main points.
3. Write a personal comment or call for action. You could do this:
· With a prediction about what the results may or may not be if the situation discussed continues.
· With a question directly targeted at your audience. This allows your audience to make their own predictions and draw their own conclusions.
· With recommendation that stresses the actions that should be taken.


Lingual Techniques

When writing your piece you should pay careful attention to rhetorical questions. These are a significant part of writing to persuade and can be manipulated to appeal to the audience, thus making your piece of writing more effective. Showing a close awareness of your audience is a key aspect of the mark scheme for this particular question in the exam.

The examiner will be expecting to read ‘shaped’ writing. This means you need to show you have planned well.

Obtaining a high grade;

One thing you MUST never forget is, never ignore your reader: always let your writing show that you have closely considered their needs

Test Yourself Questions

1. You are particularly passionate about saving the rainforest. Write a persuasive letter to the Prime Minister requesting he do more to try to save the rainforest.
(27 marks)

2. Your favourite hobby is riding horses. Write a persuasive letter to one of your friends asking them to come with you the next time you go riding.
(27 marks)