Use formal language – i.e. no slang words; avoid contractions (can't, don't)
Do not use a first person point of view in your persuasive writing (“I”), or any personal pronouns (“you”, “me”, “we”, “our”, etc.). This is not an opinion paragraph!
Avoid over-generalized statements – i.e. “As all readers/viewers would agree...”(do not assume that your reader will agree with you right away, instead, PERSUADEthem that your position is the most valid or convincing)
Remember the topic ‘hook’ at the beginning of your persuasive paragraph to grab your reader's attention (a relevant fact, a quotation, an astute observation, or a rhetorical question). Introduce your topic of exploration and draw your reader in...leave them wanting more! • Ex: In the wise words of fiction author, Conrad Smith, “Characters add humanity to the written word”, proving that it is the intensity of universal human emotions that link readers to stories and their central conflicts (Smith Quotations.com).
State your position on the topic question/prompt in an explicit, one-sentence thesis statement that guides your entire paragraph. This is what you want to prove!
Be concise and assertive when stating your thesis. Use confident language (diction) – i.e. undeniable, indisputable, evident, clear, obvious, proven, exemplified, etc.
Stay focused on the topic prompt…always keep your thesis in mind. Only write what is relevant!
Use a fully-developed point, proof, analysis structure in order to defend your thesis statement (2 points/proofs/analyses will be required for your evaluation)!
Make a clear connection between your point and your proof in your analysis sentences. Explain why both reinforce the position that you have taken in your thesis statement!
Be specific in your proof. Include a direct quotation from the text as support and properly reference it using correct MLA citation formatting (in-text parentheses and a Works Cited page).
Re-state your thesis in your concluding sentence(s) using different words than you initially used, but without changing your argument or point of focus.
When writing the title of a television show, film, poem or short story from an anthology, or a newspaper/magazine article, the title should be either written in “quotations” or italicized. • When writing the title of a novel or a play, the title should be underlined or italicized.
Keep your verb tense consistent in your writing (present tense rather than past tense) – i.e. “develops” rather than “developed” or “says” rather than “said”. When referring to the action in a novel, article, short story, film or television show in your writing, always use the present tense.
In formal writing, do not begin a sentence with the words “but,” “and,” or“because.” Although you will see this in fiction or creative writing, it is not technically accurate as these words imply an attachment to another thought/idea (likely in the sentence preceding it), and therefore this sentence cannot stand on its own (a sentence fragment).
You are writing ONE paragraph…How many indents (1)? How many sentences (12-13)? How many pages (1)?
Pay attention to your sentence fluency…read your writing out loud to help you detect avoidable errors!
Use transition words and phrases to connect your sentences so that your writing flows logically and effectively (i.e. therefore, also, in addition, for example, for instance, next, consequently, nevertheless, nonetheless, furthermore, in conclusion, finally, etc.)
Your paragraph should not address “what the story is about” (no summaries allowed)!
Use repetition purposefully and effectively as a rhetorical technique! There is a significant difference between not owning a thesaurus or not being original/critical/in-depth in your analysis and using repetition for emphasis.
Include a creative and relevant title for your paragraph – do not simply write a title like “Persuasive Paragraph #1” or “Persuasive Evaluation”
Do not confuse the terms “narrator”, “protagonist”, and “author”…they are not all the same thing! (For television or film examples, reference the characters and director, not the actors)
Remember that this is not a creative piece of writing…this is a formal persuasive paragraph. If you write a creative piece, you will receive a grade that is below a level 1 (a failing grade)
Do not write, “In English class we…”. Do not reference the class in your paragraph! Maintain a formal tone!