Persuasive Descriptive Essay

Descriptive writing's main purpose is to describe. It is a style of writing that focuses on describing a character, an event, or a place in great detail. It can be poetic when the author takes the time to be very specific in his or her descriptions.

Example:

In good descriptive writing, the author will not just say: “The vampire killed his lover.”

He or she will change the sentence, focusing on more details and descriptions, like: “The bloody, red-eyed vampire, sunk his rust-colored teeth into the soft skin of his lover and ended her life."

Key Points:

  • It is often poetic in nature
  • It describes places, people, events, situations, or locations in a highly-detailed manner.
  • The author visualizes what he or she sees, hears, tastes, smells, and feels.

When You Would Use Descriptive Writing:

  • Poetry
  • Journal or diary writing
  • Nature writing
  • Descriptive passages in fiction

Example:

The iPhone 6 is unexpectedly light. While size of its screen is bigger than those of the iPhones that came before, it is thinner, and its smooth, rounded body is made of aluminum, stainless steel, and glass. The casing comes in a whitish silver, gold, or a color the company calls “space gray,” the color of the lead of a pencil, with darker gray accents.

This is an example because it describes aspects of the phone. It includes details such as the size, weight, and material.

Non-example:

So you just brought home a shiny new smartphone with a smooth glass screen the size of your palm. The first thing you will want to do when purchasing a new cell is buy a case. Cracking your screen is an awful feeling, and protection is inexpensive when you compare it to the costs of a new phone.

Even though this example uses adjectives, you can tell that this is not an example of descriptive writing because the purpose is not to describe the phone—it’s to persuade you to buy a case.

To write a persuasive paper, you’ll need to use evidence and good reasons to convince others to agree with your point of view on a particular subject.

Select a good topic!  If you don't care about your topic, how are you going to get anyone else to? You’ll also need to conduct effective research, obtaining facts and evidence to support your ideas. 

As you begin the research process, ask yourself:

  1. What type of information would I need to use in order to convince someone that I'm right?
  2. What facts, statistics, and evidence would an audience want to see?
  3. Are there any experts on this topic that I could quote in my essay?

The answers to these questions should help you determine what key words you'll want to use, as you begin searching for sources.

How is this different from a typical research paper?

It’s important to remember that a persuasive essay doesn't simply report information (like a typical research paper would)--it uses that information to make an argument or prove a point!  

Typical Research Paper on Biofuels

Persuasive Paper on Biofuels*

Popular interest in the use of biofuels developed in the 19th Century when "Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel supported the notion"*. 

Though the public has been interested in biofuels for decades, "biofuels have attained the greatest political momentum, in part because they promise lucrative new markets for farm products."*

Biofuels are, to a certain extent, already being used.  In fact, "nearly all the gasoline sold in the United States today is mixed with 10 percent ethanol, known as E10."*

Despite the clear benefits that biofuels provide, many Americans wonder, "whether the 33 percent of the U.S. corn crop diverted to ethanol drives up the price of food."*

*Evidence taken from: http://www.nytimes.com/info/biofuels/

What should my thesis statement look like?

A persuasive thesis statement is a one-sentence description of your topic AND the argument that you plan to make.  For example, if I was arguing about the use of the death penalty in the U.S., my thesis statement would probably look like one of the following examples:  

  • The death penalty gives rights to humans that should only be given to God; therefore, the death penalty should be abolished in the United States.
  • The death penalty forces murderers to give their own lives as a just punishment for taking someone else's life; therefore, we should continue to use this form of punishment in the United States. Please correct the error as it reduces your web site's credibility.

Notice that both thesis statements not only tell us WHAT the essay will be about, but also WHERE THE AUTHOR STANDS on that issue (his or her opinion) and briefly explain WHY.  Make sure that your thesis statement includes these three elements too!

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