A persuasive essay is a paper where the author tries to get the reader to agree with the author’s perspective. Some people may refer to persuasive essays as argumentative essays, as well. When you write a persuasive essay, you want to present information that should convince the reader that your opinion is correct. To do that, you can use three different tactics: logic, emotion, and credibility. They are often referred to as pathos (feeling), logos (logic), and ethos (credibility).

One of the most essential components of a persuasive essay is the persuasive essay thesis statement. That is because the thesis statement for a persuasive essay provides the reader with your position. Then, the body of your essay should support that position. Suppose there is anything in the body that does not support the position that you have taken on the issue. In that case, you either need to reconsider the position that you have taken or rework the paper.

What Are Logos?

Logos refers to using evidence and logic to persuade people that your position is correct. Because facts are provable, logic seems the easiest way to get people to agree with your perspective. Logical arguments are based on facts. So, using logic involves presenting facts to the audience and then using those facts to lead to a logical conclusion, which is your position on the issue. Using logic does not just mean presenting facts that support your position. It also means presenting facts that could detract from your position and explaining why they support your position.

What is Pathos?

Pathos refers to using emotion to persuade people to adopt your position. Powerful emotions are a very effective way to convince people that your argument is valid. In fact, an effective use of pathos can often persuade people to ignore weak logical arguments. Suppose they feel strongly enough about an issue, and you seem to present an answer or solution. In that case, they may adopt it without factual solid support.

What is Ethos?

Ethos refers to using ethics to persuade people. It can refer to appealing to someone’s own ethics and morality. However, in the context of a persuasive essay, ethos more often refers to using credible or respected sources to help reinforce your position. It is imperative to keep your audience in mind when you are using ethos. A reference that some people consider immensely incredible may be regarded as biased and uncredible by others. So, remember your audience.

persuasive essay

What Are the Parts of a Persuasive Essay?

Like most other academic essays, your persuasive essay should begin with an introductory paragraph, contain body paragraphs, and end with a conclusion paragraph. Your thesis statement should be at the end of your preceding paragraph. Restating that thesis at the beginning of your concluding section would be best.

How Do You Write the Introductory Paragraph for a Persuasive Essay?

In your introduction, you want to introduce the topic. Then, you want to preview the arguments you will use to support your position. You want to conclude by writing your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is brief, usually one or two sentences. In a persuasive essay, it does more than just tell the reader your position on the issue. It tells the reader that they should adopt the same position.

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How Do You Write a Persuasive Essay Thesis?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your thesis MUST take a position. In a persuasive essay, your goal is to get the reader to agree with your position. The reader cannot do that unless you have clearly stated that position.

Next, you want to tell the reader that they should adopt your opinion, take action, or otherwise do whatever it is that you are trying to persuade them to do. There are some words you can use to signal that type of action. They include:

  • Should
  • Ought to
  • Must
  • Have to
  • Need to
  • Had better
  • Are obligated to

You can also use more subtle language. Such as things like

  • You would be more successful if you
  • The secret is
  • The world would be a better place if everyone

The type of language you choose depends on your audience and what you are trying to persuade them to do.

If you want to write a sophisticated, persuasive thesis statement, you can acknowledge the opposing position in your account. To do that, you can use hedging language in your statement. Hedging language refers to language demonstrating that you know an alternative position exists. Some words that signal a hedging phrase include

  • Although
  • While
  • Some
  • Despite
  • Many
  • May

Using some combination of those words can help you establish a hedging statement that acknowledges the alternative position and then allows you to explain why your position is a better solution to the issue.

What Should I Avoid in a Thesis Statement for a Persuasive Essay?

Knowing what to avoid is almost as important as knowing what to include. You should avoid including a position you cannot support with objective evidence. A persuasive essay is not just an opinion essay. It is not a description of things that you like or dislike. Instead, it is a fact-based opinion essay. So, your persuasive thesis statement needs something you can support with objective facts.

Your persuasive essay thesis statement should not be vague. If you use hedging language, ensure it is in your contrasting introductory clause. You do not want to use hedging language in your thesis statement. You also do not want to appear wishy-washy. Make a concise and decisive statement.

Finally, you want to ensure your persuasive essay thesis is not a fact. Facts are facts. Even though we live in a society where some people are fact-averse, that does not change the nature of facts. So, facts are not a position you can take; they are just facts. Using a fact as your thesis statement misses the entire point of a persuasive essay.

While avoiding using facts as your thesis statement is an important point, it is one of the rules that you may break. Assume that the factual statement is one that is contested in public discourse. If there is substantial disinformation about a fact, then you could use that fact as your thesis and then use your essay to demonstrate why it is a fact. However, we would suggest avoiding that scenario unless you are specifically asked to deal with that topic. It makes for a more complex essay and reduces your ability to use pathos as a persuasive tool in your writing.

What is an Example of a Thesis Statement in a Persuasive Essay?

Here are some examples of a thesis statement for a persuasive essay:

While some people decry giving participation trophies, they are beneficial because they make activities fun, which encourages children to continue with the activity.

In areas with large populations of unwanted companion animals, spaying and neutering should be mandatory, with hefty fines for people who do not fix their pets.

While a college degree used to be a great way to secure your financial future, because of student debt, today’s lower-income students may be better served by attending a trade school.

High schools should include a life skills course, which includes basic information that adults need, such as how to do laundry, file taxes, and cook simple and nutritious meals.

Students should never miss class because of a dress code violation.

Parents should not be allowed to circumcise their infant males since foreskins are a normal part of the male human body.

There should be a category for criminal trials and sentencing between juveniles and adults for people aged 18 to 24 since it is scientifically proven that brains do not fully develop until age 25.

Before college, schools should not assign any homework. Children should be allowed recreational and family time after attending a full school day.

Corporations should not be treated as individuals with free speech rights.

States should not be allowed to pass laws that prohibit citizens from photographing or filming police officers while they are on duty.

The United States should offer a free college education to everyone who wants one because finances can be a barrier to college for many people in the lower and middle socioeconomic classes.

The design of American society is responsible for the rise of obesity rates in America.

While gun control may be a more effective solution, we cannot ignore that providing better access to mental health services could also reduce the number of school shootings.

How Do You Start a Thesis Statement for a Persuasive Speech?

While you can structure a speech the same way as an essay, you have more structural leeway in a speech. However, you still want to start your thesis statement similarly.

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