Minds On

Ways to express yourself: being persuasive

Persuasive writing is used to convince readers to believe in an idea or opinion. It is a form of non-fiction writing used to develop logical arguments, making use of carefully chosen words and phrases. Letters, editorials, proposals, advertisements, and brochures are some examples of pieces of writing that use persuasion to influence readers.

Search for 1-2 advertisements online or using magazines, newspapers, or television. Answer the following questions:

  1. What strategies do they use to be persuasive?
  2. How do these strategies help the reader decide about purchasing the product being sold?
  3. Do you notice any persuasive words being used? What are they? If the persuasive words were removed from the ad, would the ad be as effective? Why or why not?

Action

Techniques in persuasive writing

There are 3 common techniques used in persuasive writing.

  1. Presenting strong evidence such as facts. Readers are more likely to be convinced if your ideas are backed up with evidence.
  2. Using relevant examples that are based on observations or from the author’s experience.
  3. Using persuasive words and phrases.

Let’s practice trying out some of these techniques.

The game of persuasion

Choose one of the following arguments. Think about how you can use persuasive words and phrases to build your argument. You may use the list of persuasive words and phrases below or come up with your own. Record your arguments using a method of your choice. Then decide the best order to present them to convince an audience.

If possible, share your work with a partner. Reflect on which arguments were most persuasive and why. What strategies did the most convincing arguments use?

Arguments

  • A young student has lost interest in playing soccer on their school soccer team. They feel they have to practice a lot and are unsure their skill level is improving. They have decided to quit the team. Compose a logical argument convincing the student to stay on the school team, with reasons why it is to their benefit.
  • A parent is considering a job that is a 4-hour drive away from where they are living now. If the parent takes the job, it will mean that their family would move during winter break. This would mean adapting to a new town, a new school, and new friends. The parent has asked for their family’s help in making this decision. Compose a logical argument to either support moving or support staying where they are.
  • Arklan School is considering having students wear uniforms to school instead of casual streetwear. While students do not necessarily dislike uniforms, many like the freedom of expression their own clothes give them. Compose a logical argument convincing the school principal to not use school uniforms and let students wear their own casual clothing.
  • Some schools in Canada have changed their school calendar so that they are now year-round schools. Students still have time off in the summer, but they do not have the traditional 2-month break. Compose an argument either in support of the year-round school calendar or in support of continuing the traditional school calendar.

Persuasive words

unquestionable

outrageous

favourite

splendid

magnificent

fascinating

glorious

amazing

guaranteed

phenomenal

outrageous

lively

tempting

brilliant

appealing

worthwhile

breathtaking

stunning

vivid

generous

marvelous

gigantic

abundant

incredible

gorgeous

Persuasive phrases

  • I am certain…
  • I’m sure that you notice that…
  • What needs to be done/what we need to do…
  • I ask you to think about…
  • I am writing in order to…
  • Nevertheless…
  • On the other hand…
  • It has come to my attention that…
  • If you move forward with…
  • Obviously…
  • Surely…
  • Regardless…
  • If this were to happen, then…
  • This can be fixed by…
  • Although it may seem…

Persuasive advertising

Look at the following two advertisements: one for disinfecting wipes and another for a children’s museum. Examine the two advertisements and answer the following questions using a method of your choice.

Clorox disinfecting wipes with the phrase “Trusted by moms” Ad for children’s museum with the phrase “Build strong brains & Strong bonds”

Answer the following questions in complete sentences.

  1. How do the persuasive words help the reader decide about purchasing the product being sold?
  2. If the persuasive words were removed from the ad, would the ad be as effective, why or why not?
  3. Design a slogan for an ad to sell a product of your choice. Be sure to include powerful persuasive words.

Press the ‘Understanding the Ads’ button to find the answers.

The ad for Clorox disinfecting wipes suggests that it is trusted by moms generally.

This is similar to many paper towel or cleaning product commercials - moms know best when it comes to cleaning up. This is a common fact which helps the reader connect more to the ad.

In the museum ad, the word strong is persuasive to the reader. It leaves the reader believing that the museum is powerful and strong and children will learn a lot and create bonds with the museum.

Consolidation

Your turn!

Create a persuasive letter to someone you know convincing them to think your way. You may choose one of the following letter ideas or come up with your own.

Your letter should be a polite letter, 3 paragraphs long, using powerful words to persuade the reader. Each paragraph should present one argument/reason to persuade the reader.

Persuasive letter ideas

  • People should be fined for dropping litter
  • Children should recycle and reduce their waste
  • Children should exercise daily
  • All people should be treated equally

Complete the Persuasive Letter Organizer in your notebook or use the following fillable and printable document to organize your ideas.

Persuasive Letter Writing Graphic Organizer

Audience:

Topic:

Your views:

Argument / Reason #1 Argument / Reason #2 Argument / Reason #3

Supporting details:

1. (Blank)

2. (Blank)

3. (Blank)

4. (Blank)

Supporting details:

1. (Blank)

2. (Blank)

3. (Blank)

4. (Blank)

Supporting details:

1. (Blank)

2. (Blank)

3. (Blank)

4. (Blank)

Conclusion:

Persuasive letter organizerPress the ‘Activity’ button to access Persuasive Letter Organizer.Activity(Open PDF in a new window)

Once you have planned your letter, review your ideas. Do they make sense? Are they reasonable? If possible, share your plan to get feedback. Make any necessary revisions to improve the content and clarity of your ideas before drafting a final copy.

How did this writing process help to strengthen your writing skills?

Reflection

Take a minute to reflect on your learnings from this lesson:

  • What are 3 things I do well in my writing?
  • What are 3 things I need to work on in my writing?
  • What are 3 goals I have to improve my writing?
  • How do I decide from different pieces of my writing which pieces show my growth as writer?

As you read through these descriptions, which sentence best describes how you are feeling about your understanding of this learning activity? Press the button that is beside this sentence.

I feel…

Now, record your ideas using a voice recorder, speech-to-text, or writing tool.

Press ‘Discover More’ to extend your skills.

To help you learn more powerful, persuasive words, choose 5 words from the list in the Action section that are unfamiliar to you. Using cue cards or an audio recording, list the word, its definition, part of speech, and a sentence using the word.