Persuasive Writing

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PERSUASIVE WRITING English 9: Mr. Castellano

The next type of writing we will do is the persuasive essay. In this essay, you will be working to convince your reader of the rightness of your point of view on a specific topic. As I have already said, in some ways every type of writing is a form of persuasion: you are always trying to make your reader see the correctness of your opinion. In this assignment, however, you will stake out your position on a particular topic and argue forcefully and explicitly in favor of it. As always, you want to state your opinion explicitly in your thesis statement (of course, without saying, “I think that. . . .”). As always, you also want to pick a topic that is fairly focused, narrow, and specific: pick a topic that you can adequately discuss in four to five paragraphs. I will say it again: it is always better to say a lot about a small topic than to try to say a little bit about many aspects of a large topic. (For those who are counting, that is the 3,248th time I have said that this year.) Use the first paragraph to state and fully explain your thesis. The rest of your essay should then be the marshalling of evidence in support of your thesis statement and an explanation of and commentary on your evidence. Facts are necessary to support your thesis, but by themselves facts are not enough. You need to explain and comment on them fully; show how these facts support your view and not the view of the opposing side. Try to find three or four really strong pieces of evidence to support your opinion. There is no way you can say everything or think of every point; choose the strongest evidence you can. While arguing in favor of your position, you should also include arguments against the opposing view. For example, if I am writing about the wrongness of capital punishment, I should also include arguments showing the wrongness of arguments made in favor capital punishment. Try to anticipate the other...
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