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The Difference Between an Argumentative and a Persuasive essay

The Difference Between an Argumentative and a Persuasive essay

When writing an argumentative or persuasive essay, one might get confused in thinking that there is no difference in the two.
This ought to happen, because both writing styles are meant to influence the reader to one perspective or viewpoint. They are both genres of persuasive writing. To this day, many struggle to analyze and clarify the differentiations between the two writing genres.

The terms, “argument” and “persuasion” have two separate meanings in the English language and writing. When it comes to an academic writing genre, you must know that they are both two different styles of writing, an argumentative writing differs from a persuasive writing.

Academically speaking, to argue is to give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea or theory, generally to the point of convincing others to share one’s view. To persuade is to emotionally influence others your point of view.

An argumentative essay is written with a purpose to take a position on a particular topic and give several supporting argumentative reasons. An argumentative essay is mainly supported by convincing and reliable strong evidence for readers to agree with your position. The aim of the essay normally intends to argue a particular point instead of explaining something or telling a story.
A persuasive essay can also be called an opinion essay. A persuasive essay tends to rely on moral reasoning and emotional persuasion. Its main desire is that it aims to convince the reader to maintain the same perspective. Unlike an argumentative essay, in a persuasive essay you can make claims without evidence and ignore counter claims.

Before writing, you should always ask yourself, are you trying to present evidence of your point of view to the audience or are you trying to influence their point of view to the audience?

3 pillars of persuasive writing: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle divided persuasion into three categories of appeals called Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. These three modes are modes of persuasive writing to be used whether in an argumentative essay or persuasive essay.

Ethos: To be credible
It is a method of convincing your readers of your credibility as a writer. Should be used when writing an argumentative essay.

Logos: To be logical
Appeal to our logical side.
Should be used when writing both an argumentative essay and a persuasive essay.

Pathos: Appeal to emotions
Appeal to our emotional human side. It is a powerful mode of persuasion because as humans we are lifted by our emotions more than by our rational side. Should be used when writing a persuasive essay.

How to write an argumentative essay step by step

When writing an argumentative essay, you must write in an academic and formal approach, always think academically and formally as if the president were to read it. For you to build and identify your position in the argument you are arguing you must, collect accurate facts and figures and assess all the evidence. The evidence and citations are what will validate your arguments without them your essay will not have any credential values to it.

1. Analyze the chosen topic

  • By analyzing your argumentative topic, you must have a clear understanding of what you have to do next.
  • You should seek different aspects of the topic.
  • Look for any constraints and important indications.

2. Plan the essay

Most essays have five parts and, in this case, so does an argumentative essay.
A brief of an argumentative essay outline:
  • Introduction (introduce your topic)
  • Body paragraph 1 (supporting argument)
  • Body paragraph 2 (supporting argument)
  • Body paragraph 3 (opposing argument)
  • Conclusion (sums it all up)

3. Choose your position

Write down all ideas you have thought of.
Ask yourself a lot of different questions about the chosen topic.
Jot down and divide all the negative aspects and positive aspects. Decide on two supporting arguments and one opposing argument.

4. Get to work

Start by writing a clear introduction with an alluring hook. Introducing the argumentative topic you are arguing.
Present a strong thesis statement that takes an absolute position.

Your first two body paragraphs should include your two supporting arguments and the last body paragraph should include your only opposing argument. (Never forget to use citations and all your evidence to validate your arguments)
Wrap up all your arguments in a clear conclusion.

Argumentative essay examples:

Topic: Why animal testing should be banned
“Why” is your purpose
“animal testing should be banned” is your asking opinion

Topic: Why going to college is important
“Why”: is your purpose
“going to college is important” is your asking opinion

How to write a persuasive essay

Persuasive essays can be more difficult to write since you are trying to convince your reader with your point of view from a moral and emotional side.

1. Pick your issue
Choose your opinion, either you're ‘for’ or ‘against’

2. Understand your audience
Understanding your audience will help you shape your argument. It is very important to know who you are writing for, to know who your readers are. Use Pathos method.

3. Plan your essay structure
Hook: engaging sentence to grab the reader’s attention
Background information: give a little information about the topic for the readers to understand why its controversial
Thesis statement: include your opinion

Body paragraphs:
In a body paragraph, you should support your opinion with both reasons and detail to a strong argument. You want to have at least three good reasons to support your opinion.

You need to have at least one body for your counterargument, with a view of a person who would disagree with your opinions. It is important for readers to recognize you have considered both sides and arrived at a decision.

Restate the thesis
Summarize the main points
End with a strong statement

4. Research
Research your chosen topic very well to have a convincing opinion.

Persuasive presentation topic examples
  • Online learning is better than traditional learning
  • Why school uniforms are not a good idea
  • Men are better drivers than women
  • Why you should not eat fast food
  • Why iPhone is better than Android
  • Why studying abroad is a good idea


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