Persuasive Writing - For and Against

Intermediate Level Writing

Writing on paper
Writing on paper. Getty Images | Kathleen Finlay

Persuasive writing asks the writer to provide arguments for and  against something in order to convince the reader of a point of view. Use these introductory phrases, structures and phrases to connect your sentences and create a logical flow. 

Introductory phrases

Use the phrases below to introduce your arguments are you write to persuade your reader of your opinion. 

Expressing Your Opinion

Express your opinions as you consider the pros and cons.

In my opinion,
I feel / think that ...
Personally,

Showing Contrast

These words introduce a sentence to show contrast.

However,
On the other hand,
Although .....,
Unfortunately,

Ordering

Use order to help you move through a persuasive paragraph.

First of all,
Then,
Next,
Finally,

Summarizing

Summarize your opinion at the end of a paragraph. 

To sum up,
In conclusion,
In summary,
All things considered,

Expressing Both Sides

Express both sides of an argument using the following phrases.

pros and cons - Understanding the pros and cons of this topic is important.
advantages and disadvantages - Let's take a look at the advantages and disavantages of the topic.
plus and minus - One plus is that it's located in the city. One minus is that our costs will increase.

Providing Additional Arguments

Provide additional arguments in your paragraphs with these structures.

What is more, - What is more, I feel we should consider his opinion.


In addition to ..., the ... - In addition to his work, the instruction was excellent.
Further, - Further, I'd like to show three traits.
Not only will ..., but ... will also ... - Not only will we grow together, we will also profit from the situation.

Tips for Writing a For and Against Argument

Use the following tips to help you write short essays using persuasive writing.

 

  • Before you begin, write down at least five positive points, and five negative points for your argument.
  • Begin your writing by making a statement about the general statement about outcome of an action, or the overall situation.
  • Dedicate the first paragraph to one side of the argument. This can be either positive or negative. Generally, it is the side with which you agree.
  • The second paragraph should contain the other side of the argument.
  • The final paragraph should shortly summarize both paragraphs, and provide your own general opinion on the matter.

Example Paragraphs: A Short Work Week

Read the following paragraphs. Notice that this paragraph presents the pros and cons of a shorter work week.

Introducing a short work week may lead to both positive and negative affects on society. For workers, the advantages of shortening the work week include more free time. This will lead to stronger family relationships, as well as better physical and mental health for all. An increase in free time should lead to more service sector jobs as people find ways to enjoy their extra leisure time. What is more, companies will need to hire more workers to keep production up to past levels of a standard forty hour work week.

All together, these benefits will not only improve quality of life, but also grow the economy as a whole.

On the other hand, a shorter work week may damage the ability to compete in the global workplace. Moreover, companies may be tempted to outsource positions to countries where longer work weeks are common. Another point is that companies will need to train more workers to make up for the lost productivity hours. To sum up, companies will likely have to pay a steep price for shorter work weeks.

In summary, it is clear that there would be a number of positive gains for individual workers if the work week were shortened. Unfortunately, this move could easily cause companies to look elsewhere for qualified staff. In my opinion, the net positive gains outweigh the negative consequences of such a move towards more free time for all.

Exercise

Choose an for and against argument from one of the following themes

Attending College / University
Getting Married
Having Children
Changing Jobs
Moving

  1. Write down five positive points and five negative points
  2. Write down an overall statement of the situation (for introduction and first sentence)
  3. Write down your own personal opinion (for final paragraph)
  4. Summarize both sides in one sentence if possible
  5. Use your notes to write a For and Against Argument using the helpful language provided