Language of Persuasion

The difference between persuasion and argument is that persuasion manipulates your emotions, appeals to your heart, changes how you feel while arguments appeal to your brain, your sense of reason and logic.

Persuasion = Argument =

Advertisements, competition entries, sermons, inspirational speeches.


Comprehensions – sample question

In your opinion, does the writer succeed in persuading us that…


Identify four features of persuasive writing used in this passage and comment on their effectiveness



Look for the following features / techniques:


Vivid imagery (adjectives/similes/metaphors/symbolism)

Emotive dramatic language / sensationalism

Humour / wit


Expert’ reports / Scientific language

Urgent references to time

Rhetorical questions


Emphatic words

Use of ‘I’ / ‘we’ / ‘our’ to connect to the reader or audience

Repetition of key phrases

Reference to ‘big ideas’ – God / justice / truth / right / wrong / future generations.


Question B – sample questions


The above text is based on a series of public lectures delivered by various writers on the topic of influence. Young people today are subject to many influences. Write the text of a talk you would deliver to your class in which you consider some of the positive and negative influences on young people’s lives today and how they respond to these influences.


Your class had decided to produce a book about “un-heroic” or ordinary people as a fund-raiser for a local charity. Write the text for the introduction of this book, in which you explain the purpose of the book and why your class thinks it is important to celebrate ordinary people.


Your student’s School Council is currently discussing the issue of school outings, educational trips, theatre visits, etc. Write a persuasive article for your school website supporting or opposing such events.


Write a feature article for a travel magazine about a place you have never been but would like to visit. In your article explain what you find fascinating about this place and why you would like to go there.


Write a short speech in which you attempt to persuade a group of parents that older teenagers should be trusted to make their own decisions.


Write a letter to a famous writer or celebrity or sports personality of your choice offering your services as a ghost writer for a future book. In your letter you should outline the reasons why you believe you would make a successful ghost writer for your chosen author.


Write a letter to a photographic magazine in which you propose one of the four images for the award “Best War Photograph of the Year.”


Write a letter to one of the people from the collection of visual images in this text, indicating what appeals and/or does not appeal to you about the work which that person does.


Family Home and Contents for Sale

Drawing on the detail in the above text, and its accompanying illustration, draft the text of an advertisement that offers the home and its contents for sale.

Sample Essay Titles


Write a persuasive speech about the importance of literature in people’s lives.


You have been asked to speak to your class about what you think is indispensable in your life. Write the text of the talk you would give.


Write a persuasive speech in praise of science and technology.


Write a personal essay on the topic of daydreams.


Write the text of a talk you would deliver to your classmates on the topic: Appearances can be Deceptive.


Write a speech in which you attempt to persuade an audience that the past should not be glorified.


Write the text of a talk, serious or humorous, to be given to your peers, entitled: “How I intend to change the world!”


Write a magazine article (serious or light-hearted) in which you outline a get-rich idea of your own.


Write the speech you would deliver to a group of world leaders in which you persuade them to deal with one or more of the world’s problems.


Write a speech in which you attempt to persuade an audience that today’s obsession with the lives of the rich and famous has gone too far.


You are responding to a radio competition to find an ordinary person whose life story will inspire others. Entries should include an account of the person’s life and the reason(s) why it is inspirational. Write your competition entry.


You have been asked to give a talk to your class on the importance of not taking life too seriously. Write the talk you would give.


Write a persuasive article or essay in which you attempt to convince people of the meaning and importance of heroes in life.


You have been asked by the school principal to give a talk to your class group on the importance in life of “understanding the system”. Write out the talk you would give.


“Hope is a sustaining human gift” You have been asked to deliver a speech on this theme to a group of classmates. Write out the speech you would give.


You have been elected President of Ireland. Write the first speech you would make to the Irish people.


Write an article intended for inclusion in the sports pages of a newspaper in which you attempt to persuade your readers of the value of sport in our lives.


Write an article for your school or local magazine in which you explore your feelings about the place of music and/or songs in your life.

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