Persuasive writing intends to convince readers to believe in an idea or opinion and to do an action. Many writings such as criticisms, reviews, reaction papers, editorials, proposals, advertisements, and brochures use different ways of persuasion to influence readers. Persuasive writing can also be used in indoctrination.
Common techniques in persuasive writing
Presenting strong evidence, such as facts and statistics, statements of expert authorities, and research findings, establishes credibility and authenticity. Readers will more likely be convinced to side with the writer's position or agree with their opinion if it is backed up by verifiable evidence. Concrete, relevant, and reasonable examples or anecdotes can enhance the writer's idea or opinion. They can be based on observations or from the writer's personal experience. Accurate, current, and balanced information adds to the credibility of persuasive writing. The writer does not only present evidence that favor their ideas, but they also acknowledge some evidence that opposes their own. In the writing, though, their ideas would be sounder.
Ethos, logos, and pathos
There are three aesthetic features to persuasive writing. Ethos is the appeal to credibility. It convinces the audience of the credibility of the writer. The writer's expertise on their subject matter lends to such credibility. The level of education and profession of the writer also come into play. Logos is the appeal to logic and reason. It is the most commonly accepted mode in persuasion because it aims to be scientific in its approach to argumentation. In writing, facts are presented in a logical manner, and faulty logic is avoided. Pathos is the appeal to emotion. This aims to convince the audience by appealing to human emotions. Emotions such as sympathy, anger, and sadness motivate humans; using pathos will then get the audience to be emotionally invested in the subject of the writing.
- Guillain, Charlotte (2016). What is Persuasive Writing?. Raintree. ISBN 9781406296891.
- Frederick, Peter (2012). Persuasive Writing: How to harness the power of words. Pearson UK. ISBN 9780273746164.