Persuasive writing

Persuasive writing

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Persuasive writing

In a nutshell

When writing to persuade, your aim is to get your reader to agree with your point of view. In this summary, you will learn how to write persuasively by using a variety of persuasive devices.

Structuring persuasive writing

It is important that you think about and plan the points you would like to make before you write them. Planning all of your points out will give structure to your persuasive piece before you write them down. When writing to persuade, you must first consider four key things: 

Key Features

Questions to consider


Why are you writing?
To persuade your parents to adopt a dog
Who are you writing it to? 
To your headteacher
To your parents
What type of text are you writing?
A letter
An article
A speech

What kind of words would you need to use?
Is the tone formal or informal?

A letter to your headteacher would be formal
A speech to your classmates would be informal

Paragraph structure

Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence, which clearly sets out the main point of the paragraph to your reader, then allowing you to go on explaining and justifying it. Deal with one idea at a time and give lots of convincing reasons why the reader should agree. Including your opinion as well as considering other viewpoints creates a well-balanced argument. 


"More children should ride their bikes to school. In addition to contributing to an increase in pollution and our carbon footprint, driving cars for unnecessary short journeys is also not economical."

Remember to PERSUADE

When writing to persuade, it is important that you use a range of persuasive devices. The acronym PERSUADE is a mnemonic device which can help you remember the eight key persuasive devices

Let's imagine you are trying to convince your parents to adopt a dog.





Persuasive language
Using strong, powerful vocabulary emphasises your opinions.
Important, significant, outrageous, extraordinary, absolutely, unacceptable, diabolical and absurd.

"There is a reason why people call dogs 'man's best friend'. They are incredible additions to any family as they make extraordinary companions for life and they can help children learn all about responsibility."


Emotive language
Use words that make your reader have strong feelings such as guilt or empathy, about the topic you are addressing.
"Mum, some of those abandoned, helpless dogs lived in absolutely unacceptable conditions"


Rhetorical questions
These questions do not need an answer, but make your reader stop and think. They are great for grabbing your reader's attention and can be very effective when trying to persuade them.
"Don't you think it's important that we give a sad, lonely dog the warm, loving home that it deserves?"


These are very strong pieces of numerical evidence that you can use to support your point.
"An estimated 600,000 dogs enter UK animal shelters each year"


Always include a counter argument to your own. The aim with this is to undermine the opposing view by mentioning these different opinions and saying why they are wrong. This demonstrates that you can consider all sides of an argument, and ensures your writing is well balanced and reasoned.
"You may think that because we have never owned a dog before, we wouldn't know the first thing about taking care of one. However, many shelters offer re-homing classes which teach new owners how to look after their new family pet"


An anecdote is a short, funny story about a real life situation that you can share to make your audience feel they know you.
"Let me tell you why this is so important to me. It all started when I first went over to Maisie's house and met her dog Tilly. Tilly is the most friendly. playful and happy dog I have ever met"


Direct address
Address your audience directly by using second person pronouns 'you', 'your'  and 'yours'. Using these words can make your audience feel special. You can also involve your audience by using "we" - this can make it seem like they are on your side which may make them more likely to agree with you.
"Dad, we all know much happier our home is when we dog-sit Nanny Pat's dog. That could be us everyday!"


Exaggeration is an important trick for persuasive writing. By emphasising some of your points using hyperbole, and repeating some of them too, it can make your argument sound more convincing and really solidify your point of view in the minds of your audience.
"Most of the dogs in these shelters cry themselves to sleep every night, as they long for the love of a new owner that may never come."

Tip: A mnemonic device is a learning device used to aid your memory. 

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What are rhetorical questions?

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What is the aim of persuasive writing?


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