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Argumentative Essay Vs Persuasive Essay: What Is The Difference?

Argumentative Essay Vs Persuasive Essay: What Is The Difference?

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a paper that seeks to state a position on an issue and give several reasons, supported by evidence, for agreeing with that position. The main objective of writing an argumentative essay is to learn how to convince people to change their perception of things that they strongly believe in.


A student establishes a position on a chosen or given topic and then uses evidence to convince the reader to see things from his/her perspective. One has to investigate the various sides of the argument in order to write a great argumentative essay that allows them to make an educated position.


Afterwards, collect evidence, statistics, facts, and claims from experts in the field.


Is An Argumentative Essay The Same As A Persuasive Essay?

Most students often ask whether there is a difference between argumentative essay vs persuasive essay. The answer is yes. Here are three differences between persuasive and argumentative writing:

  1. The goal with argumentative writing is not to take a stand and persuade, but rather to summarize a text, and discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree, providing solid evidence.
  2. Students can qualify with argumentative writing by providing reasons and examples from the text provided and from their previous readings, own experiences, and observations to support their opinions, and discuss the extent to which they agree or disagree.
  3. Argumentative writing recognizes the balance of incorporating different perspectives on the argument, but with solid support, argues distinctly for one.

The chart below further discusses the main differences:

Persuasive Writing Vs. Argument
Claim based on Opinion Claim(Opinion, Position, Hypothesis, Thesis Statement, Theory)
Not Always Substantiated Claim(e.g.,   Propaganda, Advertisements) Substantiated Claim(Based on Relevant & Sufficient Evidence)
“Pathos”—Appeal to Audience               Emotion, Desires, Needs Some “Pathos” but emphasis is on “Logos”—Appeal to logical reasoning and evidence (e.g., Facts, Examples, Historical and Legal Precedents)
“Ethos”—Appeal to writer’s or               speaker’s character, credentials,                trustworthiness “Ethos”—Appeal to writer’s or speaker’s credibility (more so than character); credibility is established through knowledge of subject matter and merits of reasons and factual evidence
Persuasive texts may make an                 “argument,” but they don’t always           include elements of a formal argument Include the following elements of Argument:
Warrants(Statements about How Evidence Supports Claims)
Backing(Support for Warrants)
May not take opposing views into   account Counterclaim(Opposing Argument)
Rebuttals(Respond to and Try to Refute)
Heart of Critical Thinking


How to Write an Argumentative Essay

There are various patterns that writers can use when writing an argumentative essay even though there is no specific model of organization. Just like other essays, argumentative essays consist of three parts: introduction, body and the conclusion.

  1. Introduction: present your thesis and be precise without giving your evidence yet. Make sure you have a clear thesis that answers the question. Your thesis should state your position and be the last sentence of your introduction.
  2. Body: the body consists of a number of paragraphs. Each paragraph has a topic sentence, which is the main argument of the paragraph. That is followed by further illustrating and providing specific examples to support the topic sentence.
  3. Conclusion: this is a quick summary of thesis. Why should your reader adopt your point of view? Try to use the anticipating objections in the conclusion


Interesting Topics to Write an Argumentative Essay On

An argumentative essay uses reasoning and evidence – not emotion – to take a definitive stand on a controversial or debatable issue. This is one of the most common type of writing in a students’ career. The first step to writing an argumentative paper is to choose a controversial topic to defend or argue against.

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