The discursive essay and the persuasive essay are very similar, but there are important differences. A discursive essay will examine two sides of an issue or topic. It will set out the arguments of both sides and, possibly, come to a conclusion at the end. The discursive essay will try to set an impartial tone.
The persuasive essay will choose a side on an issue or topic. It will then argue for this side, and may look at the opposing arguments but only to point out why they are wrong. The language will be more ‘persuasive’. This means that literary techniques such as triads, rhetorical questions, emotive language will be used to make the reader sympathetic to the argument.
It is important to know how you will structure the persuasive essay before you begin writing. Having a structure makes writing the essay so much easier.
There is more than one way to structure a persuasive essay. Here is only one possible option:
- Paragraph 1 – Introduction
- Paragraph 2 – 1st argument for your point of view
- Paragraph 3 – State the 1st opposing argument
- Paragraph 4 – Explain why the 1st opposing argument is wrong
- Paragraph 5 – 2nd argument for your point of view
- Paragraph 6 – State the 2nd opposing argument
- Paragraph 7 – Explain why the 2nd opposing argument is wrong
- Paragraph 8 – 3rd argument for your point of view
- Paragraph 9 – Conclusion
You can adapt this structure. There’s no reason why you can’t have four arguments for your point of view only, but we like this structure because it means you have to think about the other side of the issue and counter that side – this shows analytic and creative thinking skills. Here’s a couple more possibilities:
There’s an internal structure to each paragraph which is very important too. We call this P.Ex.I. :
P -Point (reason for or against the point of view)
Ex – Explanation (explain what you mean)
I – Illustration (evidence that supports your point)
If you can keep to this tight structure for each paragraph, then you will be putting together a solid and effective persuasive essay.
Here’s the video explanation with example: