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Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

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At first glance, it may seem that persuasive and argumentative essays are similar essay types. In both cases, the writer should use persuasive techniques and keep the same motive to present the author’s viewpoint on a particular topic or issue.

While some things are common, these essays have much more differences than it seems. It is critical to understand the distinction since it will allow you to write an excellent essay. Suppose you need help with how to approach an argumentative or persuasive essay. In that case, you can ask experts from an essay writing service or explore this article to figure everything out on your own. In this article, you will find significant differences between argumentative and persuasive essays.

Writing Goals

As one of the most important differences, with the wrong aim, you will get absolutely different results.

An argumentative essay aims to ground the author’s position to the audience. The author gathers validation through thorough research to show readers a particular point of view. Your finished aim is to clearly state your opinion, add evidence from reliable sources, and present it to the reader. An important detail is that your reader won’t need to take your stance; only stay informed.

A persuasive essay aims to make the reader acquire the author’s position on the topic. As a writer, you can use various approaches, including emotional appeal, to make the reader take your side. On the one hand, the writer should conduct research on the topic, but on another, good persuasive writing may rely only on the writer’s ability to persuade.

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Attitude Toward The Audience

Another important difference is how the author treats the audience. The need to consider the audience’s views is highly necessary when writing an essay.

For argumentative essays, the audience plays a minimal role. The author shares facts and evidence which reflect the general unbiased ideas. At the same time, your paper should be interesting to read, so think about adding some anecdotes, appealing phrases, or interesting facts.

For a persuasive essay, it’s necessary to consider your audience, their tastes, and possible views. To write an excellent persuasive essay, the author should imagine themselves in the shoes of the prospective audience and ask:

  • Why should I care?
  • What views and opinions do I hold?
  • What arguments are the most compelling to me?

An important fact, considering your audience as understandable and relatable is false. Think that you are appealing to careless and critical readers.

Trying to persuade your classmates will be different compared to your teacher or parents. Depending on the audience, choose appealing words and address those ideas which correlate with the audience’s ideals.

Topic Formulation

The same topic will sound different when talking about persuasive and argumentative essays. One thing is common: you should be really interested in the chosen idea, opinion, or view.

Argumentative essay topics are more general and let the reader consider their own viewpoints. It very often takes the form of a question. For example, How does smoking affect our bodies long-term?

Persuasive essay topics are more adamant and assertive and may cause strong emotions when discussing controversial issues. For example, Smoking in public places should be banned in all countries.

Writing Style

Argumentative essays typically follow a formal academic style of writing. In general, the author should write in the third person using the pronouns they and it. The author should use terms, avoid jargon, and stick to formal vocabulary.

Persuasive essays have a more personal approach and may contain emotional coloring as a tool of persuasion. It may be written from the first-person using I statement (e.g., in my opinion, speaking personally, I assume, etc.)

Also, you can see examples of argumentative and persuasive essays to understand their distinctions better here.


Techniques for Argumentative Essays

In argumentative essays, you need to use special approaches to present your arguments. Moreover, to build a strong opinion, you need to consider possible opposing views and disprove them. According to the San Antonio College writing guide, you can use the following techniques:

  • Focus. To make an argumentative essay strong, you can focus on one reason which sounds most powerful. While presenting other arguments, keep an emphasis on the central reason. Take more time developing the most robust point to make the reader remember it better.
  • Concession-refutation. It’s one of the most convincing ways to argue your point of view. The author needs to spend time developing the opposing point of view and is near to accepting it, but on the contrary, provides powerful arguments against this point of view. You need to examine both sides of the issue to make an effective spin on opposing arguments.
  • Cite reputable sources. The most common way to support your arguments is to cite expert or solid research to make your argument more convincing.
  • State the fact. Operating with facts to effectively appeal to the reader’s mind. Also, you can add some data to support your point and improve the credibility of your text.
  • Use analogy. This tool is very helpful when you need to explain a complex or unknown issue. Linking two different issues by claiming that they are alike can create a strong relationship between concepts. But be careful. Make sure that the logic of analogy builds the correct argument.
  • Provide examples. Illustrating your points with examples will make your ideas more concrete and meaningful. Moreover, it’s a great method to back up and prove your stance.

Techniques for Persuasive Essays

In persuasive essays, you need to use persuasive language to convince your readers. You have already heard it on TV, social media, and in advertising. While persuasive essays can appeal to statistical and factual data, it has a list of persuasive techniques:

  • Claim. State your claim on the topic as early as you can. This will tune the reader into your argument, and your message will stay clear throughout the text.
  • Repetition. Addressing your point of view actively in the text will make your core argument or message more familiar. Select the important points you wish to underline and repeat them from time to time in the text.
  • Colloquial language. Informal language can make your message clearer and closer to the audience. Such language makes your text more friendly and on the same wavelength as your reader. Using idioms and aphorisms may present your message in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.
  • Appealing words. This persuasive method aims to make the reader feel certain emotions: anger, happiness, compassion, fairness, sympathy, justice, etc. You can use touching descriptions, personal experience, touching information, and vocabulary which evoke certain emotions.
  • Inclusive phrases. Using pronouns like “us, we, you, our,” you can direct the issue directly to the reader. Such appeal involves your audience in a shared group.
  • Ask rhetorical questions. When you ask a direct question to readers, they will unconsciously answer later, and the information you provide further will more likely help them accept your point of view.
  • Exaggerate your point. In order to create an impactful image and express the exclusivity of your viewpoint, you can use hyperbolic statements. For example, such statements are frequently used in customer testimonials like EssayShark reviews.
Perspectives. Inspirational quote typed on an old typewriter.
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An argumentative essay is a balanced overview of the viewpoint on the topic and demonstrates a well-articulated overview of the issue. The writer uses logic, reasoning, and evidence to prove a specific stance. Usually, an academic argumentative essay requires at least three and more arguments to support the point of view. It’s also known as a logic-based approach in writing.

On the contrary, a persuasive essay’s objective is to convince readers of the author’s point of view. All the text is built on the conviction of the writer’s thoughts and attitudes. And typically, the author’s viewpoints are single arguments presented in the paper.


An argumentative essay presents information reasonably, professionally, and fairly. The writer should refer to the reader with respect and tact. No aggressive tone is allowed when choosing words and phrases. The author explains the viewpoint without expecting the reader to agree or not (except that only your teacher will appreciate your essay).

Persuasive essays are more compelling and actively influence the reader. Writers use various persuasive strategies to touch the reader emotionally. For example, along with inspiration and motivation, some authors tend to manipulate and use emotive language to get the reader to their side.


Argumentative essay topics are usually chosen after good research on a debatable topic and defining solid arguments supporting a particular point of view. The author should conduct thorough research on the subject, ensure that sources are credible, and gather various factual information to support the essay idea. Let facts and evidence speak for you.

On the other hand, a persuasive essay topic is more about personal tastes and interests. The writer needs to choose the side of a controversial issue and start writing about it. Sharing your personal opinions and feelings is the best way to create an excellent persuasive essay.


Have you enjoyed learning the differences between argumentative and persuasive essays? We hope you did. Students frequently get puzzled with these two paper types, so with this article, you won’t have questions. Writing persuasive and well-articulated essays is a valuable skill, as it helps the writer develop their own point of view and clearly present ideas to the audience. Also, finding and using persuasive techniques improves critical thinking abilities and communication skills.

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