Persuasive writing is a type of writing where a writer attempts to convert the reader to their own opinion. The goal is to show that the writer is correct in their perspective. The structure of persuasive writing is the same, no matter what style is being used. There is the introduction, a narration of the facts, a forecast of topics, confirmation of the piece, a discussion of alternatives, rhetorical questions, and then a conclusion.
Let’s first look at the three types of persuasive writing there are and then how those types are broken down even further.
What You Need To Know About Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
The goal of a persuasive writer is sometimes to appeal to their own credibility. This is one of the most common types of persuasive writing and it is called “Ethos,” a term that was initially defined by Aristotle. By using personal experiences, educational opportunities, and observations, the writer using Ethos will work to eliminate contradictions within the composition so that it is as clear as possible. This includes removing syntax errors, factual errors, and inappropriate language or grammar mechanics.
The goal is to be as perfect as possible. Being closer to perfection creates more credibility for the writer using this type of persuasive writing.
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Another form of persuasive writing will appeal to the logic of the reader. This is the form of writing that is called Logos. When using this writing type, the reader is persuaded to the writer’s position through the use of tangible evidence within the text. There must be supporting statements included which show how the facts can correctly lead others to the writer’s viewpoint on a specific subject.
The goal is to appeal to the rationality of the reader who engages with this type of persuasive writing. This can be done through quotes, research examples, or tangible facts that can be independently verified by third parties.
The final form of persuasive writing, called pathos, is the type that appeals to the emotions of the reader. The writer will use their words to establish a mood that is suitable to accepting the opinions that are being presented. Writers using pathos will often address their own knowledge or feelings about the matter being discussed and then relate those emotions and experiences to something that the reader can picture in their own life.
The goal here is to establish a relationship with the reader based on common interests. When common ground can be found, the reader is more likely to begin agreeing with the perspective of the writer.
Persuasive Writing Doesn’t Have To Be Just One Type
When you read a good persuasive writing piece, you’ll often find that there are all 3 types of writing included within the text. This is because most people don’t just focus on the ego, or on logic, or on their emotions. Humans are complex beings who form opinions based on all of these various states. Writers must engage each of those states in order to make the best possible impression.
This doesn’t mean that persuasive writing can’t focus on one primary type or eliminate one specific type. It simply means that the best possible appeal typically comes from a piece composed of each persuasive writing type at some level.
Persuasive Writing: Commercial Vs Non-Commercial
Each type of persuasive writing can be used for either commercial or for non-commercial purposes. Modern marketing uses content that is persuasive in nature to convince readers that their products or services are better than those offered by the competition. Non-commercial opportunities for persuasive writing might include convincing smokers to stop smoking or those with a high BMI to begin trying to lose a little weight.
Commercial writing that is persuasive ultimately tries to get readers to purchase something. Non-commercial persuasive writing attempts to get readers to make some sort of life-change that benefits them at a personal level.
Anyone can begin to write persuasively today, even if the purpose is commercial in nature. All it takes is demographics research to understand what is important to the targeted readers of the text. When you can show people how to solve problems, then you can persuade them that their time is best spent reading what you’ve written – especially if they can implement your ideas in some way, even if that means spending money with you in order to do so.
These types of persuasive writing can help you begin to add definition to the work you are already creating. Whether it’s to make money or to make the world a better place, your opinion matters. Knowing this will help others begin to agree with your perspective.