Persuassive Essay

Are you asking yourself why you should read this blog post?

Are you asking, “What’s in it for me?”

What if I promised that by reading this you’ll learn more about how to write an effective persuasive essay?

What if I promised that by reading this you’ll learn 40 persuasive essay topics to help you get started writing your persuasive essay—and that you’ll even learn some tips about how to choose a persuasive essay topic?

If you’re still reading, then I’ve achieved my goal. I’ve written a persuasive opening. And if you’re assigned to write a persuasive essay, you should definitely keep reading.

The Persuasive Essay Defined

The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince readers.

When writing the essay, you’ll first need to state your own opinion, then develop evidence to support that opinion.

These reasons and examples (evidence) should convince readers to believe your argument.

I know this quick definition gives you the basics, but you should know more about persuasive writing before you attempt to write your own essay.

It may seem tempting to skip past the additional information and go directly to the list of persuasive essay topics. But don’t do it.

Take the time now to read more about persuasive writing. (It’s all about persuasion. Are you clicking the links below yet?)

I’ll trust that I’ve persuaded you to read all three of the above articles. And now that you know how to write a persuasive essay, here are 40 persuasive essay topics to help you get started.

40 Persuasive Essay Topics to Help You Get Started

1. Does Facebook (or other forms of social media) create isolation?

Facebook lets people stay connected and meet new friends, yet some argue people spend so much time on social media that they lose contact with real life and may even become addicted.

2. Should guns be permitted on college campuses?

With recent school massacres permeating the news, people feel as though they should be able to protect themselves by carrying guns in all public spaces. Others, however, feel as though allowing guns on campuses will only increase crime and the death toll.

3. Do kids benefit if everyone on the team receives a trophy?

If everyone on the team receives a trophy (even for participation), kids may feel like part of the team and feel as though their efforts matter. Others believe handing out trophies to all kids on the team simply makes them feel entitled.

4. Is society too dependent on technology?

Technology creates great opportunities, yet some feel people can no longer function without a smartphone by their sides at all times.

5. Should all high school students be required to complete parenting classes?

Parents often believe sexuality, family planning, and parenting should be taught at home. But many don’t believe parents sufficiently educate their children about these topics and feel the school should provide teens with training for adulthood and require parenting classes.

6. Does the school day start too early?

While some simply say kids should go to bed earlier in order to be alert during the school day, others argue teens require more sleep and need to sleep later to function properly.

7. Should the minimum wage be increased?

Many business owners argue that raising the minimum wage would only cause hardship and cause them to raise their prices. But many workers argue raising the minimum wage is necessary to help low-income workers dig out of poverty.

8. Should elementary schools teach handwriting?

If no one knows how to write or read cursive handwriting, the form of communication will be lost, some believe. Others, however, believe handwriting is antiquated, and kids would be better served learning keyboarding.

9. Should childhood vaccinations be mandatory?

Though vaccinations can prevent a number of childhood illnesses, some believe mandatory vaccination violates individual rights and can actually do more harm than good.

10. Are security cameras an invasion of privacy?

Security cameras are in place to protect both businesses and the general public. But some argue cameras have gone too far and actually invade privacy because people are constantly under surveillance.

11. Should citizens be allowed to keep exotic pets?

People feel they should be allowed to keep exotic pets as they are capable of caring for the animals. They feel it is their right to keep such pets. However, others feel keeping such pets creates a danger to other people and is harmful to the animals.

12. Should a relaxed dress code be allowed in the workplace?

Some argue that a more relaxed dress code has created more relaxed and less productive workers. Others argue the more relaxed dress code creates a more casual, friendly, and creative workplace.

13. Is it ethical to sentence juveniles as adults?

The old cliche is, “If you do the crime, you should do the time.” But many believe it isn’t ethical to charge a juvenile as an adult as a child’s brain isn’t yet fully developed.

14. Should corporations be allowed to advertise in schools?

Some think schools should embrace corporate advertising as budgets are very limited. But others believe kids shouldn’t be bombarded with corporate persuasion. Instead, they think kids should focus on learning.

15. Should public transportation be free for all residents of a city?

While some say free public transportation would help the environment and reduce traffic, others think free public transportation is too expensive. They argue that the government can’t afford to pay for it.

16. Is professional football too dangerous for players?

Because of recent discoveries about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), many believe football is too dangerous and that rules need to change. Those on the other side of the argument believe football players know the risks and thus should be allowed to play.

17. Should minors be allowed to get tattoos (if they have parental permission)?

Some feel parents should be allowed to give permission for their minor children to get tattoos as they are making the decision for their own children. On the other hand, because tattoos are essentially permanent, some feel only adults should be able to get tattoos.

18. Should fracking be banned?

Some people argue fracking is an effective way to extract natural gas, but others argue it is too dangerous and is harmful to the environment.

19. Should a college education be free for everyone?

Some people believe education is a right and will make society, on the whole, a better place for everyone. But others feel there is no true way to offer a free college education as colleges would still need to be funded (likely through tax dollars).

20. Should the US assist developing countries with immunization efforts?

Immunizations have been critical to eradicating diseases such as polio and measles in the United States, so some argue that it’s important to distribute immunizations to developing countries where people are still dying from these types of diseases. Others may argue that this type of effort would be too costly or ineffective.

21. Does corporal punishment help children?

If you’ve ever been spanked by your parents, I’m sure you weren’t in favor of corporal punishment. But does it actually help discipline children, or does it promote violence?

22. Does the welfare system need to be revised?

There are many people who clearly need the additional assistance welfare services provide. There are others, however, who take advantage of the system. Because of this, many feel the program should be revised to create alternate or stricter requirements.

23. Is learning a skilled trade more valuable than earning a college degree?

Many companies state they have numerous job openings but cannot find skilled employees. Given the current economy, some feel that it may be more advantageous for people to learn a trade.

24. Should cigarettes be illegal?

Given the trend of legalizing marijuana, it seems that it would be impossible to ban cigarettes, but some believe that cigarettes should be illegal because of the health risks they pose.

25. Should organ donors be financially compensated?

While some feel that people should donate their organs on a strictly volunteer basis, others argue that donations would increase if people were financially compensated.

26. Do laws promote racial discrimination?

Justice is supposed to be blind, though many argue that laws are designed to discriminate against minorities.

27. Do dual-parent households benefit children more than single-parent households?

A dual-parent household may have an advantage of a higher household income and the benefit of one parent who may able to spend more time with children. But many argue that a high income alone doesn’t make a happy home and that quality time spent with children is far more important than simply being present.

28. Is it acceptable for parents to lie to their children?

Most people would probably agree that the small lies parents tell their children in order to protect them or motivate them are harmless (and perhaps even helpful). But others feel that, if parents lie, they are only teaching their children to lie.

29. Are teens unfairly stereotyped?

Teens are often stereotyped as lazy and entitled. Specific groups of teens, such as skaters, are often seen as criminals and addicts. Are these classifications true, or are they unfair stereotypes?

30. Is reality television actually real?

Reality TV is supposed to follow the lives of real people. But are the shows scripted or staged to create more drama?

31. Does illegal immigration harm the U.S. economy?

While some feel that even illegal immigrants contribute to the economy through spending their wages in local economies, others feel that they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, which harms the economy.

32. Should high schools distribute birth control?

Though some claim that the distribution of birth control encourages sexual behavior, others claim that it actually protects teens who are already sexually active.

33. Does elective cosmetic surgery harm self-esteem?

Elective cosmetic surgery can make people feel confident and happier with their personal appearances, but for some people, such surgeries do not address underlying psychological issues. Thus, the surgeries leave people unhappy and striving for unattainable perfection.

34. Should people who teach in low-income areas be allowed to have their student loans forgiven?

Teachers who work in low-income areas are often eligible to have their student loans forgiven after a number of years of service. However, some argue that this practice should not continue. They argue that everyone should be eligible for loan forgiveness and that it shouldn’t only be select professions that are eligible.

35. Should classic literature be taught in high school or college?

Many argue that the classics are important to our history and that they are works of art. Others feel the writings are outdated and generally irrelevant to modern society.

36. Should colleges and universities do more to help incoming freshman transition to college life?

Though most colleges offer orientation programs, many students feel that the college itself does not do enough to prepare them for the realities of college life.

37. Has the No Child Left Behind Act helped students?

The No Child Left Behind Act was designed to help all students succeed, but many people believe that it has been an unsuccessful program.

38. Should team names deemed to be offensive be banned?

Some feel that team names such as “Redskins” or “Chiefs” are racially insensitive and are racial slurs. However, others argue that these names are steeped in tradition and should not be banned.

39. Should fast-food restaurants be blamed for obesity among Americans?

Most people already know that many fast-food meals are high in calories and are often not as healthy as other options. Thus, these restaurants are to blame for increased obesity rates. Others argue that it’s the individual’s responsibility to consume these foods in moderation and that society cannot blame fast-food restaurants for obesity rates.

40. Do modern gender roles harm women?

Though women are generally no longer expected to be stay-at-home moms, many argue that gender roles today continue to harm women. Some argue that media continues to sexualize women and thus perpetuates the classic gender roles of males being dominant over females.

Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Persuasive Essay Topics

After reading this list, I’m sure at least a few topics appeal to you. But how do you know which one of these great ideas to choose for your own paper?  Here are a few tips.

Do choose a topic that:

  • You care about. It’s easier to write about something that interests you.
  • Other people care about too. Why would you write about a topic that no one cares about?
  • You are willing to examine from multiple viewpoints. Looking at both sides of the issue shows that you’re educated about your topic.
  • You can research effectively in the allotted time. If  you can’t find enough evidence to support your viewpoint, you might need to switch topics.

Don’t choose a topic that:

  • You don’t care about. If you don’t care about the topic, it will be difficult to persuade others.
  • You are extremely passionate about. While passion is important, if you’re so passionate about the topic that you aren’t willing to learn new information or see additional viewpoints, it will be difficult to write an effective paper.
  • Can’t be researched effectively. In other words, don’t try to research a topic like the meaning of the universe or why people usually wear matching socks.

In Summary

In this blog post, you’ve learned how to write a persuasive essay, examined a variety of persuasive essay topics, and learned the dos and don’ts of selecting and narrowing a topic.

So what are you waiting for? Start researching, and start writing!

What? None of these topics are working for you? Try this list of 15 topics or these additional 15 topics.

Need a few pointers to get started with research? Check out 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper and How to Write a Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Looking for even more help? I recommend reading this study guide about persuasive and argumentative essays.

Want to make sure you’re writing is convincing? Why not have one of our Kibin editors review your paper?

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

In a persuasive essay, you want to convince the reader to align with your viewpoint on an issue. You will need to develop a series of arguments in which you provide specific evidence to support your claim.

Writing a persuasive essay is much like talking to a friend and trying to convince them to see things your way. By putting it all in writing, you are attempting to sway the thoughts of anyone who is reading the essay. When writing a persuasive essay, you should be very strongly opinionated in one particular direction, whether positive or negative. You can be for or against an issue, but not in between. Sitting on the fence will only cause problems when it comes to trying to persuade people.

Preparing for the Essay

Before you even start writing, you have a lot of work to do on a persuasive essay. You can’t write one without some excellent points to make and it’s essential to include evidence to support those points. This means you’ll need to spend some time doing research and investigation before writing.

Start with a handful of points you want to make. If you’re not sure which points you will be using in the essay, write down as many ideas as possible, then start to research them. Only the most convincing ones will be used in the end.

Decide on your thesis statement, or the point you are trying to convince people of. Every main point in the essay will need to support this, so knowing what you want to convince them of will help you choose the top three arguments to use. Each point should have at least one or two pieces of evidence that will back it up.

Creating the Outline

Once you have your evidence, complete with reputable sources, it’s time to create an outline. Many people prefer to just write the essay flat out, but an outline will help you keep it structured and will make the writing flow.

An outline should include your main points, along with the supporting evidence below them. With a good outline, you can simply fill in the information for each section and you will have an amazing persuasive essay.

Create a Killer Introduction

The intro to your essay will be where you state your viewpoint. Catch the reader's attention with a well-crafted intro sentence and then explain the issue at hand. You will want to provide some context, so have background information that you can present. This is where the research you did prior to writing the essay will come in handy.

Within this first paragraph, share your thesis sentence, or what you want to convince the reader of in the essay. This will set the tone for the entire paper, so be concise and clear. There should be no doubt about what the essay is going to cover. Take a strong position for or against the subject and stick to it.

Remember that the intro paragraph should not be too long, so condense everything into 3-4 sentences if possible. You want to give the reader a reason to keep reading, rather than reveal everything right from the start.

Add Supporting Paragraphs

The body of the essay will contain information to support your thesis statement. Each paragraph should give the reader a reason to believe what you're saying and to show the reason behind what you are stating.

Most academic essays are created using the five paragraph essay format. This includes the introduction, conclusion and three main body paragraphs. It’s an easy format to follow and generally works very well for a persuasive essay.

Every paragraph should start with sentence that supports the thesis and provides an argument for your point of view. The remainder of the paragraph should offer evidence that will support the first sentence. Use quotes, scientific or educational studies, and news sources that are reputable to give wings to your argument. Your paragraphs should be made up of sentences that are short and stick to the main point. Going off on a tangent is never a good idea when you're trying to convince someone of something.

Wrap It Up in the Conclusion

The final paragraph of your essay should be a summary of everything you've covered in the body. Restate your thesis and the biggest supporting evidence to drive your point home. While this section should be relatively short, it is your last chance to make an impression and to convince people to see things your way.

Tips to Help Persuade

There are certain methods to help incline people to believe you. These include:

Social proof, where you use quotes from people, can help your readers feel that they need to consider your side of things to fit in socially. It's similar to peer pressure and very useful for an persuasive essay.

Repetition is also a time-honored method of convincing people to pay attention. When you repeat the same information over and over again (in this case, your thesis), it will eventually sink in.

Exposing the problem and then going into great detail about how bad it can be is another method of persuasion. Once you have gone beyond the usual and shown people how horrible the issue can become, you will be able to offer them a solution and your point of view. More will be interested in seeing the end result when they realize just how terrible things can get.

The final step in writing your essay is to proofread it. Let it sit for a day or two so you can look at it with fresh eyes or have a friend take a look at it. It's easier to catch mistakes when you haven't been working on the essay non-stop.

Writing an persuasive essay is a part of common core standards, so it’s an important skill to have. However, beyond academic purposes, writing a persuasive essay is a skill that can help you in life. When it comes to making a sale, asking for a raise, or even just suggesting an improvement in your workplace, a little persuasive writing can go a long way.

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