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Arguing to PersuadeEnglish 102Task:Draw upon the theories, writing styles, and methods of reasoning discussed in class towrite a persuasive essay. You need to cite two outside sources in your argument. The minimumlength of your text is three full typed, double-spaced pages, with an upper maximum of fivepages (not counting the mandatory Work Cited page). Format your paper using the MLAguidelines in the handbook and syllabus.Instructions:To argue is to make a case for judgement or opinion, while to persuade is to bring abouta desired response in a reader or listener. The difference is that argument is logical; persuasion,psychological. For this assignment, you will write an argument which relies on facts butcapitalizes on your ability to be sensitive to your audience. You may attempt to appeal to yourreader’s values and emotions. You must convince them to act. When you do this, you arearguing to persuade.A good persuasive essay argues one side of a very narrow (but debatable) topic. Yourassignment is to make a case (that is, appeal to logos), but this time, infuse it with appeals toethos and pathos. Persuade your readers that your position is not only correct, but the onlymorally and emotionally defensible position. You will need to choose your topic carefully. Andnaturally, you will spend a good deal of effort defining and analyzing your target audience. Yourwork begins with research. Convince your readers using facts and other strong evidence. Yourevidence should come from exactly two different sources. No more and no fewer. Again, it isimportant to learn how to cite a variety of sources, so internet sources are specifically prohibitedfor this assignment. You will be allowed to use internet sources later in the course.The organization of the essay can follow the sequence we’ve used before: introduction,thesis statement, and reasons in some logical arrangement supported by clear evidence. Thebody of your paper contains the actual development of your persuasive argument. Each bodyparagraph presents a single idea (or set of related ideas) that addresses a key aspect of yourpaper’s thesis, and brings the reader closer to accepting the validity of your argument. Becauseeach body paragraph should be a step in the argument, you should be mindful of the overallorganization of your body paragraphs. Persuasive essays use an effective combination ofappeals to logos, pathos, and ethos. The argument may be strengthened by acknowledgingconflict viewpoints and repudiating them. End with a powerful conclusion which should issue acall to action.Pay careful attention to word choice in this essay. Sometimes, one word alone canalienate a whole group of readers – or can win them over. Especially when appealing toemotion, try to steer away from cheap sentiment. No critical reader wants to be manipulated.An effective persuasive essay will include a clear claim (a thesis statement), a statedtarget audience, support for the claim (reasons and evidence), counter-arguments (anticipatedopposition that is refuted), logical and effective language (informal vs. formal language), and asummative conclusion that calls the reader to act (a call to action).
Suggestions:▪ Direct quotations should be few and significant. The paper is to be your essay and yourargument, after all. Too many voices overpower your own.▪ Research should be accurate and preceded or followed by comment or analysis.▪ All sources, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized must be properly cited.▪ First person voice is acceptable for this assignment. Readers want to know where you stand,and it is sometimes helpful to assert yourself by putting your own opinions into the essay.▪ Make sure you know your audience. Stick to a certain tone, whether it is formal, informal,funny, pleading, etc.▪ Presentation is important. Follow the guidelines in your handbook and syllabus for typing thisessay. Check spelling and grammar. Rewrite as necessary.▪ Re-read your paper with a fresh mind. Ask yourself: Does this make sense? Will this convincea reader? Will they understand my values, and agree with my facts? Revise if necessary.
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