Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essays: What’s the Difference?

The difference between an argumentative and persuasive essay isn’t always clear. If you’re struggling with either style for your next assignment, don’t worry. The following will clarify everything you need to know so you can write with confidence.

While argumentative essays aim to present one's point of view, persuasuve essays aim to get the reader on one's side.

First, we define the primary objectives of argumentative vs. persuasive writing. We then compare the best strategies for starting the writing process. In both cases, the key is knowing your audience, which we will discuss later in this article by experts.

🎯 Persuasive vs. Argumentative Writing: Primary Objectives

Both argumentative and persuasive essays require you to present your point of view on a specific topic. However, your approach will differ between the two. The words “argumentative” and “persuasive” should help you recognize what you are expected to achieve. Let’s see how.

For the argumentative essay, it is sufficient to present your point of view and nothing more. That said, the information you present should come across as being reliable enough for the readers. They don’t need to agree with your take on the issue at hand. The reader need only acknowledge that your point of view is worth considering.

In a persuasive essay, however, your goal is to get the reader on your side. And so, in addition to presenting sensible information, you want the reader to share your opinion.

Here are some examples to show you the difference.

Argumentative Essay Topics 💡Persuasive Essay Topics 💡
Why is the current grading system flawed?Why should education be free?
How do energy drinks affect our bodies long-term?Marijuana should be legalized worldwide for medical use.
How do social media affect self-esteem?What are the benefits of paternity leave for both employees and employers?

Remember, though, that the more controversial your topic is, the more likely it is that the reader will disagree with you!

🎬 Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essay: How to Start

For either type of essay, the foundation is generally the same. Before even thinking about your introduction, settle on a topic that genuinely interests you. What follows will differ for argumentative and persuasive essays.

In the case of argumentative writing, it’s crucial to have all the information you need to build up a strong set of arguments and examples. Therefore, don’t forget to spend some time researching your topic in earnest. Once you have all the data, you can easily choose which side to take. Never force a paper to align with your personal opinion if you don’t have enough supporting evidence.

In the case of a persuasive essay, your job is to make sure you have a decent topic and identify which side to support. The starting point is a bit less complicated.

✍️ Persuasive vs. Argumentative Essays: Writing Technique

This is where things get interesting in the clash between persuasive and argumentative writing. For college-level writing, it’s never enough to follow a general essay outline. Getting that coveted higher mark requires that you know the unique yet subtle features of both writing styles.

Topical and relevant reasons are the backbone of any argumentative text. This is where preliminary research comes in. Having requisite evidence and facts from credible sources ensures the worthiness of your essay. That way, the reader can validate your point of view.

As with argumentative writing, persuasive essays should include some measure of supporting facts. What distinguishes persuasive writing is that you must also engage the reader on an emotional level. Moreover, there’s no need to present opposing opinions. Your goal is to make the reader take your side. All’s fair in love and war!

👁️ Persuasive vs. Argumentative Essays: Point of View

Let’s talk more about presenting different opinions. You were probably taught that an academic essay includes at least three arguments and an additional counterargument. Keep in mind, however, that this rule applies only to argumentative essays, in which you introduce three or more arguments with evidence to support your point of view. You then offset that point of view by including an opposing opinion. By doing so, you allow the reader to choose a side, even though the facts, as you’ve presented them, are in favor of your opinion. This is a logic-based approach.

In a persuasive essay, you’re not likely to entertain the opposition. Your conviction is the very essence of the essay. Your take on the issue in question must come across as the only sensible approach. If you’re feeling confident, you’re welcome to include a counterargument, but only if you decimate it right away!

👏 The Audience of Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essays

We’ve seen the differences and similarities between argumentative and persuasive writing and walked you through the technical aspects of both. But there’s one final piece of the puzzle to be considered: the question of your audience. This is the biggest difference of them all.

When writing an argumentative essay, remember that you don’t need to convince anyone. There is no audience. You’re simply presenting the information you gathered without expecting anything in return (except maybe a pat on the back from your teacher).

Without an audience, there’s no one to persuade. This touches on another crucial element of the writing process: understanding what and how your readers think. This allows you to pick the best strategy to convince them to join your side.

❓ What’s the Difference between a Persuasive Essay and an Argumentative Essay?

The main difference between a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay comes down to your audience. For persuasive writing, it’s necessary to feel out your audience and wield that knowledge to prove the efficacy of your perspective. For argumentative writing, opt for a logical approach and just present the facts with no intent to persuade anyone.

🔗 References


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