Unlocking the Secrets of the Persuasive Essay Hints on how to make your essay be its very best…
What really matters… The first thing to remember that your audience is a person who likes very much to be interested in and even entertained by what you have written. Once you have the audience’s interest, the next thing to do is have your essay be well organized with all the necessary parts in their proper place, using correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. You must be sure that your essay is easy to understand; that it is clear and coherent. The thing you want to avoid most is being confusing.
From the beginning… The most important sentence in your essay is the first sentence, the hook or lead-in, for this is when you “grab” the reader’s attention. Let’s say your topic is “Should the Death Penalty be abolished?” Your lead-in could be “Right now, in America, 37% of the convicts on death row are innocent and will be unjustly executed for no good reason!”
More about the beginning… After you have given your hook, you need to show that you can see both sides of the issue, the “pros” and “cons”with one short reason. The “pros” is where you say: “Some people say yes, the death penalty should be abolished, for it is cruel and unusual punishment.” The “cons” would say: “Other people say no, it should not be abolished, the death penalty is necessary to stop murders.”
Now tell what you think… After you give the pros and cons, now it’s time to say what you think in the Thesis Statement and give your three reasons to support your opinion: “I believe that the death penalty should be abolished because many innocent will be unjustly executed, it is against the Bible’s commandment ‘thou shalt not kill’ and it is forbidden by the US Constitution as a cruel and unusual punishment.”
Now, the support paragraphs The next three paragraphs support and elaborate on the reasons that you stated in your thesis. Be sure to be specific and don’t generalize. For instance, to support your first reason “many innocent people will be executed” you could say: “Studies have shown that 37% of the people on death row are innocent and do not belong there. Some are there because they are a member of an unpopular minority. Many are there because the police needed to make an arrest and didn’t care who they arrested as long as they had someone to blame. It is totally wrong for the state to kill innocent people just to look good in the papers.” The next 2 paragraphs should do the same thing. Remember to save your strongest reason for last to leave the reader with your best thought.
Finally: your conclusion. Here, in your 5 th paragraph, you summarize what you said in your paper. You repeat your thesis and briefly give your three supporting reasons again. It is a good idea to paraphrase (say in different words) your thesis and reasons, so that your essay is not too repetitive. Your conclusion should be a “mirror image”of your introduction. But you do not need to give the pros and cons again in the concluding paragraph, just your thesis, your 3 reasons and your “tag line.” The “tag line” or “call to action” is the last line of your essay and is the second most important line after the lead-in because this is where you leave the reader with your final thought.
Your conclusion continued… Your conclusion could be: “The death penalty has no place in modern America. It is a throwback to older barbaric times The death penalty causes many innocent people to be unjustly killed, it is against the law of God given in the Bible, and it is rejected by the “cruel and unusual punishment” amendment of the US Constitution. I strongly urge everyone to write to their Congressman and demand that the death penalty be abolished once and for all.
About statistics and quotes: People tend to believe information in a great presentation. Do you? 37% is not a real statistic, it is pretend and made up for this presentation. When you are writing your essay, you will be expected to support your thesis. There is strong support and weak support. University studies are strong, hearsay is not! What matters most for class is that your numbers or quotes seem reasonable and help to support the point you are making. On the other hand, if you are writing a real research paper, then, of course, you need to use genuine, valid information.
Now remember: A Good Essay: Is interesting. Is well organized. Uses proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Has all the elements in the right place. Has a powerful “hook” or “grabber” lead-in sentence. Shows both sides of the issue. Has a well-defined thesis statement (your opinion) which takes a definite side. Has three different reasons to support the main opinion of the thesis. Has three well-elaborated specific reason paragraphs. Saves the best, strongest reason for last. Concludes by “mirroring” the introduction by repeating the thesis and the 3 supporting reasons and leaves the reader with a strong “tag line” to remember.