Persuasive Writing: Purpose

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12322

"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still" (Ben Franklin). Unless you have good reasons for your viewpoint, you won't bring people to your side. Can we persuade you to learn how?



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What are the best ways to win an argument? Yelling doesn't really help; neither does throwing tantrums. These may get someone to agree just to stop the argument, or may just make the other person stronger in his or her opinion. Learn how to use words to win an argument the smart way!

The purpose of an argument in persuasive writing is to convince or persuade someone to change his or her mind about an issue or how they feel about something.

It is not the same thing as arguing with your brother, sister, or even a friend to try to get your way. This is a type of persuasive writing to change someone's mind about something. For example, you want to convince your parents to allow you to stay up later at night.

Before continuing, if you missed or need to review the previous Related Lessons in our Persuasive Writing series, find them in the right-hand sidebar.

There are four main parts to an argument. Take out a piece of paper and pencil. As you watch the video, write down the four steps to the argument presented in Katy Hikler's The Parts of an Argument:


The four main parts of an argument are:

  1. claims
  2. counter-claims
  3. reasons
  4. evidence

What is a claim? A claim tells what you think is true, not based on your opinion, but based on your knowledge or research.

What is a counter-claim? A counter-claim is the exact opposite of your claim.

Reasons explain your claim. They tell your audience why you are making the claim. They show the importance of the claim, and they need to be provable.

Evidence supports your reasons. It is facts, research, or experiences you have that prove your claim. When you write your argument, you want to make sure you provide evidence that supports your claim.

Also, you want to make sure you are not arguing both sides. You need to make your stance clear and stick to it. Otherwise, you might confuse your audience as to what you are trying to convince them of.

When you write your argument, you want to include strong descriptive adjectives and action verbs in your sentences. Use a thesaurus to help you use the best words to be specific and convincing. For example, instead of saying, “I need a new cell phone because mine is old.” You could say, “I need a smart phone because my ancient phone does not have Internet capabilities.”

The better your word choice, the more likely the person is to agree with your argument.

Continue to the Got It? section, where you will practice using strong, specific words.

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