WRITING TO PERSUADE

You may choose in part two of Paper One of the English GCSE exam the option which requires you to write to persuade.

Here are some tips. Sometimes, there is a link associated with the tip which will give you more information, examples and details. This will open in a new window: simply shut the window to return to this page.

[Further help with part one of Paper One is available here.]

You might want to print out this page and highlight those techniques which you find most useful. [There is a broadly similar page here, but you need to read it carefully.]

Before you start, you must
consider the basic requirements:

form:

Sometimes you will be asked to write a letter; other times a leaflet or a speech. Read the question carefully and ensure that what you write is precisely what is required.

audience:

The way you write should vary according precisely to the nature of your readers. The question will tell you who you are writing for. How will this knowledge change the way you write?

content:

Organise your material so it does exactly what the question requires.

Do not persuade me to buy a video if the question requires you to persuade me to attend a performance!

[Look at some examples.]

Structure:

Charity letters often follow a basic overall structure of

PAST PRESENT FUTURE.

They tell you what the charity has already succeeded in doing;

what the situation is now and why your help is needed;

how your help will be used in the future to improve things.

Other examples of persuasive writing will also follow this form, especially where the reader is being asked for support.

Structure:

When you are persuading someone to change their behaviour, think about Aristotles three strands of persuasion.

The logical strand explains the situation and shows that the course of action you are recommending will help. The reader should end up thinking they can help.

The personal/ emotional strand plays with the readers emotions to help them feel they ought to help.

The social strand should make it clear that society would benefit from the reader's support. Ask yourself, for example, "what would happen if everyone did this?" (Or "if no-one did this?")

Structure:

Some excellent examples of persuasive writing begin with an image which sticks in the mind.

It may be an unpleasant image: you're persuading your reader to help put an end to this kind of thing. It may be a pleasant image: this is what we are striving for, or aspiring to.

Structure:

Syllogisms can be very helpful in developing a logical argument.

This is an example of a syllogism:

Socrates is a man

AND all men die

THEREFORE Socrates will die.

Appeal to the emotions

with emotional language and imagery

with rhetorical questions and direct address to the reader

with pronouns like "you" and "we" which bring the writer and the reader closer together.

Managing paragraphs and sentences:

Always organise your ideas into paragraphs.

Your paragraphing should match the development of your logic: one step at a time.

Managing paragraphs and sentences:

A tip.

Try to make sure your final piece includes a semi-colon and a colon.

But make sure you use them correctly!

Managing paragraphs and sentences:

Another tip.

Make sure that your final piece includes a one sentence paragraph as well as a one word sentence.

Both these devices make writing more direct and the appeal to the reader more emphatic.

But don't overdo it: that spoils the effect!

A spectrum of persuasive techniques from advertisements and other texts:

 

 

 

Which of these might be applicable to your task?

Grippers 3ps:
What's all that about?

Guilt
Rhetorical questions
Imagery
Personal Pronouns
Emotive language
Repetition
Stress
3: rule of three
Provocative language
Statistics

Comparing texts