Tag Archives: Persuasion

Rant vs well constructed argument

It’s day three of cleaning out my classroom (I’m starting a new job as an English Advisor with the Junior Cycle for Teachers service in 10 days time!) and I’m really really tempted to stop sorting the good from the bad and the ugly because it’s taking so bloody long!!! 87% of me wants to just fling the lot into boxes and be done with it.

But because we’re also moving into a new house – which we’ve been painstakingly renovating all summer – I don’t want loads of boxes of unnecessary crap cramping our new living quarters.

Anyway, as the clear out progresses, what’s surprised me is how often I’m stumbling upon half crumpled scraps of paper with hastily scribbed scrawls on them that I don’t want to keep necessarily, but which I don’t want to dump either…

Here’s one such example from a public speaking class. I’m pretty sure we just brainstormed this together (co-creation of knowledge how are ya!) rather than it being something I prepared in advance.


Rant =

  1. Collection of random thoughts with little order or structure
  2. Overwhelmingly negative
  3. Anger = dominant tone
  4. No balance
  5. No facts / statistics
  6. Examples given are all personal
  7. Flawed logic – one or two examples are used to draw big (erroneous) conclusions
  8. Ad hominem attacks – any attempts to refute other viewpoints consist of attacks on the people who hold these beliefs rather than on the beliefs themselves.

Argument =

  1. Structured
  2. Balanced
  3. Supported by facts / statistics
  4. Reasonable anger (if any) or disappointment rather than rage
  5. Personal examples situated in wider context
  6. Sound logic – inductive & deductive reasoning in evidence
  7. Refutation & rebuttal focused on the issues NOT personalities

Anyway, I figure such scraps of wisdom are better stored here rather than buried in the bottom of a box of other such random bits of paper. And it’s better than throwing them out too…


[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv750BWrUhY]

Advertisments use many of the techniques of persuasive writing to convince you (or emotionally manipulate you) into buying a particular product or service.

An advert must

  • Get our attention
  • Leave an impression
  • Create a link between us and a product or service

Adverts rely on a strong element of suggestion & may contain subliminal messages.


  • Colour
  • Music / voice-overs / jingles
  • Logos
  • Slogans
  • Humour
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Recognisable characters
  • Models
  • Attractive lifestyles
  • Promise of fun / value for money
  • Expert reports
  • Scientific jargon
  • Informal, friendly language
  • Positive buzz words / phrases

Look at the following text from a holiday brochure as an example of the language of advertising:

Come to Ireland.

The land of a thousand welcomes is waiting to welcome you.

Why not begin your trip with a visit to Dublin? Relax as you tour the famous Guinness Brewery. Soak up the atmosphere in Temple Bar. Prepare to be spooked in Kilmainham Jail.

And when it all gets too much?

Head for the hills.

There’s nothing quite like the Ring of Kerry to take you back to nature, or why not swim with the dolphins in Dingle? You’ll get a warm welcome wherever you go. Delicious food, open peat fires, plenty of banter and barrels of laughter. Whether you’re watching a spectacular sunset and tapping your foot to the sounds of a lively Ceili band, Ireland has it all.

But don’t just take our word for it! Read these testimonials & you’ll soon be packing your bags!

Our trip to Ireland was one I’ll never forget. It’s such a cliche that the Irish are the friendliest people on earth – but the proof was in the pudding. We met so many lovely people. We’re going back again this year but this time we’re staying with friends” – Susan Sylvester, Chicago.

Do the Travel Triumph trip. I promise you won’t regret it” – Dan Armitage, Southern Illinois.

I’ve been all over the world – Asia, Europe, Africa – but Ireland truly has something unique. For a laid-back atmosphere and spectacular scenery, there really is nowhere else on earth quite like it” – Toni Jones, Texas.

For more info. log onto www.TravelTriumphTours.com

or call us on 00353-949630333.

Travel Triumph Tours

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.