Persuasive essays have the general purpose of making readers agree with the author’s point of view or perspective over a certain subject. To achieve this, such essays might employ all available means and techniques, including evidence coupled with reasoning and logics (logos), an appeal to emotions and attempts to form an emotional connection (pathos), or an appeal to one’s own authority in order to form credibility and trust (ethos).
Writing a persuasive essay presents a few challenges and to help you in this endeavour, we provide below a comprehensive list of persuasive essay topics and additional useful info about essay structure, some useful writing tips, ways for distinguishing such essays from argumentative essays.
Persuasive Essay Structure
Like all other essay types, persuasive essays consist of:
- introduction. This captures the reader's attention and introduces background information necessary to understand subsequent content. Most importantly, however, it contains a thesis statement – the main claim around which the entire paper revolves.
- main body. This section contains all supporting information and argument development aimed at proving the thesis. Each paragraph should explore a certain aspect of this thesis statement. The paragraph’s topic sentence announces this aspect and how it supports this thesis, the paragraph’s body supports this topic sentence with arguments, a final sentence is concluding the paragraph or making a transition.
- conclusion. Conclusions typically restate the thesis through the prism of all supporting arguments, synthesizing information presented so far. In addition, these are also reflecting on a subject’s importance, implications or applications, questions raised, or even on some related persuasive essay ideas that could prove interesting to explore.
Difference between Persuasive Speech Topics and Argumentative Topics
Both essay types present a situation and take a stand – either supporting or opposing it. However, while persuasive essays or speeches are intended to gain support of the readers or audience, argumentative essays want them to accept presented perspective as ultimate truth.
These different goals imply that different means are used. Thus, persuasive essays rely heavily on opinions, reasoning, and emotional triggers to coax readers, without bothering to prove each individual claim.
By contrast, argumentative essays involve investigating topic thoroughly, including published literature, collecting evidence or generating it empirically through experiments, surveys, interviews, or observations, evaluating it with scientific rigour and according to clearly-defined methods, establishing a position and arguing in its support.
Multiple types of evidence could be used: logical, factual, statistical, or anecdotal. The major difference from persuasive essays is that authors only use facts, evidence, research, and reasoning to support their position. Each single claim has to be proven.
When writing argumentative essays, authors have to understand multiple points of views – these are often presented to readers as well for critical evaluation. This difference in nature of the two types of essays might also reflect in the way topics are formulated, however this is not always true.
7 Persuasive Essay Writing Tips
Below are a few tips that could make it easier to approach persuasive essays:
- Check whether you have enough evidence. The success of any persuasion attempt relies heavily on the quality of evidence used. Obviously, several evidence or arguments should be considered here – logical and ethical reasoning, emotional appeals, opinions belonging to authors or other parties.
- Consider the target audience. Persuasive essays depend heavily on the intended audience, given that optimal arguments, reasoning, facts, emotional triggers used differ from audience to audience. What could count is: the audience’s level of involvement, how knowledgeable it is, the fact whether it has professional or personal relation to the subject.
- Follow accepted academic rules for structuring papers. Papers should contain all major sections, each of these in an appropriate order and with an appropriate word count – all these should ensure harmonious thesis development.
- Outline the purpose – you should be keenly aware of the essay’s purpose, however, it might be wiser not to mention it directly but rather to write it down for yourself. This is because purpose is to make readers agree with your position. What they should see instead is the promoted claim, position, or argument.
- Choose powerful persuasive writing topics - some topics, besides being inspiring, allow building stronger positions than others. Ideally, one should care to have both an inspiring, interesting topic and one that delivers strong message.
- Carefully consider dualities and alternative views. Even if persuasive essay is not an argumentative essay, it is still very useful to research subject in detail and consider all pros & cons of given position – it might very well turn out that it makes more sense to defend an opposing view.
- Mask weak sides of your argument. Since one wants readers convinced rather than properly informed, any means are good (apart from disinformation): one could prove argument validity by defining limited circumstances in which supported positions are unquestionable, by providing eloquent and convincing examples strongly rooted in common experience, by avoiding being too specific when this can highlight certain inconsistencies in a given position.
100 Persuasive Essay Topics Divided into Categories
Below is a list of good persuasive essay topics split into several categories for convenience:
Interesting persuasive topics
- “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” Albert Camus
- “The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” Bertrand Russell
- “Everything that used to be a sin is now a disease.” Bill Maher
- “By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” Charles Wadsworth
- “A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists.” Don Marquis
- “I drink to make other people more interesting.” Ernest Hemingway
- “Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” Dale Carnegie
- “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” Elbert Hubbard
- “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” A. Lincoln
- “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” Dorothy Parker
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Persuasive essay topics for high school
- “Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.” Daniel J. Boorstin
- To err is human, to err randomly is statistically divine
- Every winner is a loser who tried one more time
- “Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.” Laurence J. Peter
- There should be more open-book exams - these are better suited for current times defined by information accessibility
- High school students 16 years old and older should be given the right for half a vote (should count as 50% of a normal vote)
- Why teaching UK history is key for forming national identity and for cultural cohesion within this society
- How much math is too much math - estimating the appropriate balance that provides highest benefits in life
- “Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.” Socrates
- “You cannot be anything if you want to be everything.” Solomon Schechter
Funny persuasive essay topics
- Mastering art of faking happiness when receiving unwanted presents help you go easier through life
- “You’re only as good as your last haircut.” Fran Lebowitz
- “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” A. Einstein
- “Two things are infinite: universe and human stupidity; I'm not sure about the universe.” A. Einstein
- Everything is funny until it happens to you
- Penguins are swallows that have eaten after 6 pm - importance of a healthy regime
- The bread always falls with the butter downwards
- “Common sense is collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.” A. Einstein
- Truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off
- “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” A. Lincoln
- Synesthesia used as mnemonic technique can be a superpower
- Triggering lucid dreaming - science says one could perform certain actions to increase overall likelihood of having such dreams
- Overcoming fear induced by sleep paralysis
- Testing susceptibility to hypnosis at home
- Using the Myers Briggs type indicator helps in understanding yourself
- Shutting off you brain as a most elementary meditation technique and associated benefits
- Fasting for 7 days - is it an interesting self-discovery experience or just a stupid risk?
- Accidentally hitting the head in certain locations occasionally produce mathematical geniuses
- Why do crows gather, call each other over the body of fallen comrade - does it signify a burial ritual or something else?
- Fact that crows are sometimes seen playing demonstrates high intelligence
Persuasive essay topics UK teenagers would find relevant
- Teenagers teach adults a few things when it comes to ambition and following one’s dreams
- Adults could teach teenagers a few things when it comes to modesty and tolerance
- How to be fashionable without trying too hard or investing too much effort
- Will Brexit impact today’s teenagers?
- Key defining traits of UK’s teen culture
- Internet has made today’s teenagers more original, more individual compared to previous generations
- Danger of getting trapped into an Internet bubble for socially isolated youth
- Has intercultural dialogue made UK teenagers more tolerant and understanding compared to those in isolated societies?
- Levels of environmental awareness among UK teenagers is higher than among adults from this country
- Is Banksy part of UK’s teen spirit?
- Geology was partially responsible for inspiring Darwin’s theory of evolution
- Why quantum entanglement is weirdest physical phenomenon in Universe
- Is sending a probe to Alpha Centauri really feasible?
- Is a Mars helicopter feasible?
- Earth’s magnetic poles are reversing increasingly fast
- How melting glaciers can lead to more volcanic eruptions by increasing pressure on oceanic tectonic plates
- Recent evidence shows microbiome could have a role in Alzheimer’s and other diseases
- DNA origami makes possible applications intended for drug delivery
- How CRISPRs have hugely simplified genetic engineering
- Oceans absorb a great quantity of atmospheric CO2 but the rate of this process is too slow for an impact on current global warming trends
Sports persuasive essay topics
- E-sports are an emerging industry with huge potential
- Arranging game outcomes as form of corruption in sports and how to fight it
- Making sport has major impact on mood and well-being
- Practicing sports as a major recommendation for people suffering from depression
- Practicing sports too intensively can do more harm than good
- Should there be competitions where everyone is allowed to take doping?
- Is there a major difference in sports performance between vegetarians and meat eaters?
- Running beyond a certain time interval or practicing sports below certain effort level won’t help burn fat
- How smartphones have impacted how people practice certain sports
- Recording your heart beat rate at defined effort level over longer time periods help assess you cardiac fitness as it evolves in time
Education persuasive essay topics
- Do introverts benefit more from individual work & extroverts more from group activities?
- Sports help enhance academic achievement through multiple means (for instance, by managing stress, increasing blood flow towards the brain.)
- Brainstorming as teaching method that helps students get creative ideas
- Utility of reading about multiple ideas during short time interval to allow the brain to form new links (new ideas) between them
- Being able to perform complex search queries on online search engines is an important but somewhat ignored competence nowadays
- How employing spaced repetition apps &desktop programs like AnkiDroid boost your potential to memorize large volumes of information
- What is the most reliable predictor of academic achievement in university?
- Orientation in space is an important component & predictor of intelligence
- Persistence as an important predictor of career success
- Gifted children should be able to join advanced classes or educational programs
Biology persuasive essay topics
- Why even minor variations in global temperature severely impact entire ecosystems
- Preserving biodiversity is important because every biological organism is an ensemble of unique molecular machineries evolved over millions of years and which could prove useful in medicine, industry, agriculture.
- Research on embryonic stem cells should meet less resistance from population given associated potential for research and medical treatments
- Even the most unassuming organisms challenge our understandings - dung beetles use stars to orient at night
- GM crops could solve food insecurity and vitamin deficiency issues in the third world
- How engineering more efficient CO2 capturing enzyme (RUBISCO) could mean more effective crop farming
- Chronic sleep deprivation is highly detrimental for health
- Eating patterns also have an impact on biological rhythms
- Most medical information on Internet is wrong
- Taking vitamins irresponsibly is a bad idea
Music & arts persuasive essay topics
- Iceland is a musical phenomenon - how a population of only 400000 people gave the world Bjork, Sigur Ros, and many other artists
- There are associations between preferred music genres and person’s IQ
- Programmable synthesizers represent revolution in music according to DJs
- Nowadays, everybody becomes a world class musician with almost no financial investments and independent of professional recording studios
- Is rhythm essential for music to be pleasant?
- Art can benefit enormously by understanding science - example of fractals
- How Van Gogh's Starry Night depicts turbulence in surprising detail, so much so that it is a subject of investigation by scientists
- According to Irving Stone, Michelangelo had strong preference for making sculptures of men rather than women due to greater visible complexity and beauty conferred by muscles to a man’s body
- Are UK museums morally obliged to return exhibits to respective countries of origin?
- Terracotta Army was among the greatest art projects in the ancient world, bringing together hundreds of people and requiring standardization of tools and procedures.
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