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Persuasive Writing

Techniques, Organization, and More

Using Logic to Persuade

You are an attorney presenting closing statements to the jury so you should avoid

  • insulting the opposition
  • name-calling (no "loser" or "moron")
  • overuse of sarcasm
  • overuse of irony and exaggeration (avoid cliches)
  • absolutes such as always, never, all, and every
  • use humor carefully when appropriate
  • ignoring opposing points of view

Avoiding Falacies

  • circular argument - repeating the main point without supplying reasons
  • begging the question - making assumptions without supplying support
  • faulty analogy - a weak or silly analogy that falls apart when examined
  • post hoc fallacy - suggesting A caused B because A occurred prior to B
  • either/or fallacy - suggesting that only tow options exist in dealing with an issue
  • red herring - deflecting attention from the main argument and highlighting an irrelevant point
  • trick question - phrasing a question in such a way that no direct answer is desirable
  • name-calling or labeling - focusing on the personal rather that the broader issue
  • argument to the people - appealing to emotional biases while ignoring the issues

Ethos, Logos, Pathos

Logical appeals will convince your readers, but it is important to also include emotional appeals that use figurative language and imagery.

Choosing Your Topic

How do you feel?

Choose a topic that you feel strongly about and have a very definite opinion about. You must be strong in your opinion. No "I think", "In my opinion", "I feel", or anything wishy-washy statements.