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The Difference between Argumentative and Persuasive Papers

June 22, 2022| Category: Writing Tips

Finding the main distinctive features of argumentative and persuasive essays might be a dilemma for many writers, who have recently started dealing with academic papers. We will explain the main differences briefly and accessibly in this article.

What Is the Core Shade of Persuasive Writing?

While you may already know the answer, we will put it simple: its emotional aspect is fundamental. Usually, when we want our opinions to persuade others, we use the emotional appeal as a means of influence. Indeed, such a strategy may take a dark turn, as, for instance, it frequently does in politics. Politicians greatly rely on persuasive writing, which often serves a wicked purpose – to brainwash people’s minds.

Yet, you can also use psychological technique of persuasion to make your readers or listeners feel better, predominantly about themselves. If a person is upset or disappointed, if someone has low self-esteem, you can use persuasion to lift their spirits and make them believe in much more positive versions of themselves. Persuasive writing serves a neutral purpose in advertising. For example, you may see an add with a cute animal and the title “Take care of me, and I will bring you much love”. The majority of people would be instantly convinced that it would work exactly as the title said.

Persuasion also works to the benefit when discussing healthy lifestyles and the ensuing practices based on inspiration and determination. Besides the commercial purposes, students often compose persuasive essays on versatile topics. Those assignments teach them to gain confidence in their own opinions and generate original ideas without being afraid of some outside criticism. A paradox is that by persuading others, you are also persuading yourself that you have an essential mission or a goal to accomplish.

What is Argumentative Writing?

In contrast, argumentative writing is a more formal scholarly counterpart of persuasive writing. While persuasion can be subjective as it revolves around your beliefs, every argument needs to be supported by solid evidence. Persuasive writing instils the emotional component in readers’ minds, intended to make the target audience believe in the righteousness of the researcher’s opinion. When creating an argumentative essay, you have to carry out profound research full of evidence-backed findings and references to credible experts in the field. On the contrary, persuasive papers can be grounded on individual insights.

The simplest vivid example comes also from common advertisements, especially against some harmful habits. When you read “Smoking causes infertility”, it does not imply a subjective opinion – it presents sufficient evidence, which was obtained from such organizations as the WHO and FDA. Likewise, all the healthcare products, from toothpaste to medicine, cannot be deemed beneficial without prior scientific research. Thus, firm argument always lies in scientifically based proof or any equivalent authoritative evidence.

How to Create Effective Argumentative Essays

Before you begin writing an argumentative essay, you have to collect facts on the issue you are exploring. Remember that all the information you present should have proper relevant references. It might be time-consuming at the start, but you will gradually get used to an in-depth researching.

It is favorable to come up with the most convenient strategy of academic investigation to have an approximate outline for every new work of an argumentative type. You will likely have to collect facts and figures related to the topic, so it is good to generate specific frameworks that can be applied to similar cases. You will start saving your time as soon as you get used to it. When you complete the investigatory part, move to the actual elucidation of the arguments you are proving. Each paragraph should reflect the balance between your opinion and a convincing background that supports it.

One more peculiar aspect about an argumentative essay is that it often mirrors a debate, which is grounded on unbiased, objective elements of prior research. Your arguments can be both positive and negative; but the quintessence always consists in an adequate proof.

How to Write Insightful Persuasive Essays

Persuasive writing is much more flexible. It brings about more creative opportunities because facts and figures are not as essential as in argumentative papers. Your main purpose is to convince your readers that your opinion is special and veritable. The trick is that you are actually allowed to come up with an independent opinion, which has never existed before (if you are prodigious enough).

If you can persuade others that your ideas are insightful and thought-provoking, you have coped with the task! Therefore, persuasive essay is more about the ability to choose the right compelling words, even emphatic ones, to interest your audience. As a writer, you need to know a bunch of rhetorical devices, which can evoke the anticipated emotional reactions. Always keep in mind the intention to hook your readers and make them believe in your opinion.

However, how can you know what your readers are interested in? You have to scrutinize your audience in advance. Of course, if you research a certain topic, you look for the people interested in it. Yet, it’s important to estimate whether they are teenagers or adults, amateurs or professionals. These factors also affect the level of their potential reliance on your authoritative opinion. You have to realize that teens will not likely be passionate about the topics pensioners are interested in and vice versa. Moreover, you will have to embed typical phrases of the First-Person Narration, such as: “I believe”, “To my mind”, “In my opinion”, etc.

There are some challenges students usually encounter when writing both types of the mentioned essays. It is interesting that some students prefer doing research rather than inventing opinions, which might fail to be as convincing as you initially expect. In both cases, it is advantageous to know your audience.

Diverse Embodiment of Subjective and Objective Viewpoints

It is easy to remember that almost every academic essay comprises three arguments at the very least. If you want your paper to be more enticing, it is witty to include counterarguments. Yet, opinions merely based on facts are predominantly typical of argumentative essays. But will a paper satiated with arguments hold attention of your readers? The trick of keeping them interested is an enclosure of a contrasting standpoint. Such a smart technique is aimed to involve readers even more by choosing a side, which they favor more, not being dependent on the writer’s judgement. Such kind of approach is logic-based.

The major divergence that we can trace in a persuasive essay is the lack of the opposing opinion. The writer’s beliefs and viewpoints form the essence of the composition. If you do not convince your audience, then your opinion fail to be unique or attention-grabbing.


Both persuasive and argumentative essays aim to convince the target audience, but they are based on contrary approaches. Argumentative writing appeals to the readers by means of relevant scientific findings, facts, and statistics. Persuasive writing uses emphatic devices and insightful opinions, which can be purely subjective. The two types of essays must encourage further investigations or debates in the given sphere.

If you want to clearly differentiate between these types of research papers, you can put it simple: argumentative essay relies on logical explanations, while a persuasive essay generates a standpoint, which evokes reactions.

Preparation stages are also different. You need to do meticulous research on your subject matter when preparing your scholarly argumentative paper, and prior knowledge about your prospective audience is not deemed necessary. On the contrary, preliminary investigations and statistics assortment can be just secondary elements of your persuasive essay. The primary element of persuasion is a highly individualized opinion, which motivates and gives food for thought. Good knowledge of your audience contributes to the successful presentation of your judgement in persuasive essays.

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