In persuasive essays, all of your efforts are focused on convincing your reader to change their mind.
While this type of essay is similar to an argumentative essay, its focus is on the reader instead of the argument itself. This allows you to use additional writing tools that are not usually associated with argumentative writing.
Opinions and Evidence
Persuasive essays allow you to utilize opinions and beliefs in a way that argumentative papers cannot. You can include evidence-based claims in your attempt to persuade your reader, but you are not limited to things that are provable.
This is particularly helpful when your topic is more qualitative than quantitative. Something is qualitative if it can be described using your five senses (looks like, feels like, smells like, etc.). Something is quantitative if it can be described using numbers (4 feet tall, 35% of doctors, increase of 97% effectiveness, etc.).
Essays that are written for classes in the humanities (like English or History) often rely on qualitative descriptions to make their arguments while essays for the sciences (like Biology or Nursing) more often rely on quantitative data.
Pathos and Ethos
Pathos is an appeal to the emotions, desires, or needs of a person. Ethos is an appeal a person’s character or persona. Pathos and ethos are important parts of persuasive writing. When making your argument for or against your topic, you have the ability to make direct appeals to the emotions and character of your reader.
This can be done in several different ways.
Telling a moving story or providing an inspiring anecdote related to your topic can be an incredibly useful way to help your reader connect with your paper. Alternatively, you could demonstrate how your topic is related to your reader in a meaningful way. Creating bridges between your reader and your topic can help your paper feel relevant.
Both of these are ways you can utilize an appeal to pathos.
The field of ethics builds upon appeals of ethos. But, these types of appeals can be helpful for any persuasive paper. You can ask questions like: What would the world be like if everyone did this? What kind of person would act in this way? Does this thing make life better for people who use it?
Combining appeals to pathos and ethos with an evidence-based foundation is a sure-fire way to build a strong persuasive paper.