Writing a Persuasive Essay

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Writing a Persuasive Essay
You are going to compose a persuasive essay on an approved subject of your choice. Your essay will demonstrate elements of persuasion, rhetoric, and style that we have been studying.
This persuasive speech has Two Elements: Writing the speech and Analyzing your audience. Below, you will find the Rubric for these separate components. ALL work that you do for this project must be submitted. Therefore, do not lose this sheet! The Final Draft should be typed and in MLA Format.
Due Date: _____________________________


A. Typed Speech:


  • contains appropriate Rhetorical Question /5

  • includes appropriate Details, Definitions, & Discussion /7

  • includes Thesis with List of Arguments (in order) /3

Body Paragraphs:

  • Arguments are well organized and Logical (Logos) /10

  • At least one other reliable source is quoted (Ethos) /5

  • Opposing Sides paragraph is logical & well-written /5

  • Emotional Impact piece uses descriptive details in order

to persuade its audience /10


  • Restates Thesis & arguments /5

  • Reviews major Points for Audience Consideration /5

  • Gives an appropriate “Moral of the Story” /2

  • Contains a Strong Closing Line /3

Rhetorical, Syntactical, & Grammatical Elements:

  • There are at least 4 Rhetorical & Syntactical Elements

incorporated appropriately and labeled /4

  • There are at least 3 Grammatical Elements

incorporated appropriately and labeled /3

  • There are very few errors within the essay /3

  • Essay demonstrates thorough understanding of audience /5

Total for Typed Speech: /75
B. Audience Analysis (Attached to Final Draft)

  • Appropriate description of Demographics /5

  • Appropriate description of Experience /5

  • Appropriate description of Purpose /5

  • Appropriate description of Adaptation /10

Total for Audience Analysis: / 25

Total for the Project: Final Draft ____ + Analysis ____ = _____ / 100
1. Brainstorm subjects with a partner or in a group. Pick two of them and briefly write a “Marathon Speech” on it. A Marathon Speech is simply a quick speech using what you already know about the topic to persuade others.

2. Select your one subject to develop into a persuasive speech.

  • Write your Position below. What do you want to persuade the audience to think and do?

  • Circle and brainstorm ideas in your journal/ warm-up to support your argument. Select your best 3 or 4 arguments.

  • Use the chart below to develop your ideas to address all of the 3 rhetorical appeals.

Ethos: Your Credibility

Pathos: Emotions/ Identity

Logos*: Arguments

* While you are merely brainstorming, you can use your premises and arguments. Later, you will supplement it with research from Internet articles or a book.
3. Audience Analysis: Write a paragraph or two describing your intended audience. This paragraph must be attached to your final draft. Answer the following:

  1. What is the age group, gender, type of residence, area of residence, political preferences, etc. of your audience?

  1. How much knowledge, experience, or training you can expect in your readers on this topic? Are these people for whom you must define terms or are they educated? How will this impact the way you approach your arguments & writing techniques?

Ex. If your audience is a group of college professors, defining simple terms may insult them. Another example is if you are writing for students who are younger than you, if you do not define terms, you may alienate them.

  1. Imagine how readers will want to use your document; what will they demand from it? What is the intended purpose of this document? To Inform? To Persuade? What feelings might you want your audience to feel? What do you want your audience to go out and do?

  1. What are some ways you might be able to adapt this speech for a different audience? How? Pick one variable to change: what would you do differently?

Ex. A speech about abortion whose intended audience is Female might adapt their speech to a Male audience.
4. Opposing Sides: What are the opposing arguments for this issue? It is a sign of strength to acknowledge the other side of argument. List as many opposing arguments as you can below:
5. Rhetorical & Syntactical Elements: We have studied several rhetorical strategies including the ones below. Select at least 4 besides Rhetorical Question to build into your speech. Label these in your Final.

  • Alliteration

  • Imagery

  • Inverted Syntax

  • Parallel Structure/Syntax

  • Repetition

6. Grammar: We have studied several grammatical structures including the ones below. Select at least 3 to build into your speech. Label in your Final Draft.

  • Appositive Phrases

  • Introductory/ Transitional Phrases*: For example, However, etc.

  • Prepositional Phrases

  • Participle

  • Participial Phrases

  • Parallel Structure

7. Your Final Typed Speech must follow this format:

  • Introduction:

1. Rhetorical Question

2. Details, Definitions, & Discussion

3. Thesis with List of Arguments (in order)

  • Body Paragraphs (4):

1. Assertions (Verbal Cues for the Audience of your argument)

2. Evidence (At least 1 Paragraph must contain Quotes from another source)

3. Explanation & Reasoning

4. Transition to other paragraphs & reasons

5. One paragraph acknowledging other side of Argument (adds to Ethos)

6. Two Paragraphs stating your opinion w/ evidence & logic (Logos)

7. One Paragraph describing an emotional anecdote (Pathos)

  • Conclusion:

1. Restates Argument

2. Reviews major Points for Audience Consideration

3. “Moral of the Story” – What we are supposed to get out of this?

4. Strong Closing Line: Quote, Witty Line, Call to Action, etc.

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