Major Differences in Writing Persuasive vs. Argumentative Essays
Argumentative essays are persuasive essays with all the life drained out of them. Each is designed to help students think in a certain way. However, persuasive essays make students empathise with the reader, talk with strong words about a subject they are passionate about, and use imaginative and creative arguments. When you empathise with the students, you can see the stark difference.
“Argumentative essays are structures of arbitrary rules to the students,” says Alesha Hoover, a creative writer at Discursive Essay Writing Service. They do not understand the point—as an essay judge, you must constantly see dry essays filled with things you have heard a million times or meaningless phrases to satisfy the word count. They develop no academic skill except tenacity for the reader and writer. Their research is repetitive fact-listing (as is citing), the drafting stage is just following the rules of essay structure to a tee, and the writing is shuffling around words mindlessly until they form a coherent sentence. Because of this, argumentative essays can easily be pointless as well as discouraging to the students.
The only way to avoid this is through lateral thinking: understanding the sea of sources as the writings of individuals with their own biases, creating a mystery for you to solve. Every article has an angle—the information you are looking for is not important to them or they are ambiguous with details they take for granted. It feels like arguing with them. But if you can adjust your angle of thinking to understand theirs, that is when you soak up important information. There is no point in looking for a specific piece of information; the only useful information would be that challenges and intrigues you, helping you understand the subject in a new way.
As well as with lateral thinking, argumentative essays along with TOK essays must be sustained emotionally. Sources give conflicting, biased, ambiguous information, and it is impossible to create a perfectly logical conclusion from them. The researcher chooses what facts to highlight and how to interpret them according to emotions; when it is read, the essay is interpreted emotionally. There is no such thing as a purely argumentative essay. And if there was, it would explain facts that are true by definition, like a mathematics paper, and be entirely uninteresting. Think of the other essays you have read. Even the ones that look like argumentative essays are made up with many tiny details that do not perfectly follow from the evidence given in the paper. To see this in full, ask “How do you know that?” to every statement and see if they give complete answers.
Persuasive essays allow much more emotional and flexible thinking. Students can express themselves with strong words, understand the reader’s point of view, and forge a connection with them. They do not have to examine every idea they think of to make sure it comes directly from a fact online. They can create their own arguments that are blends of fact and emotion; it is like painting pictures instead of fitting model car pieces together. Through this, many more ideas can be expressed. Read this essay again and ask yourself, “would any of these arguments be allowed in a purely logical, argumentative essay?”
According to Courtney Miller, an essay editor at MLA Formatted Outline, “In fact, writing an essay is like storming a castle for the students. They want to convince the reader of something using whatever tactics possible, using a barrage of exaggerations, metaphors, memory tools, wordplay, and repetition to sink the idea into the reader’s head. They can ask questions to make the reader think they arrived at the conclusion themselves. They can give heart-breaking personal stories or interesting facts to hook and hold the reader’s attention. It is not a chore; it is an epic.
This creates a better education environment. Students are motivated to find evidence and create solid arguments in order to deliver a blow to the opposing opinion; they will learn more about logic by being self-motivated, not by being forced to do work they feel is pointless. That is the type of environment teachers strive to create. You know how much more enjoyable it is to mark a passionate and interesting essay. And the developed skills of empathy and persuasion will be useful to the students during family conflicts, workplace meetings, interviews, and many more; it will turn them into more caring and engaged people. By the end of class, teachers can feel fulfilled; they have given joy and knowledge to children and shaped them to be better people when they grow up and impact the world.
Persuasive essays encourage lateral and emotional thinking, while argumentative essays rarely do, which makes them discouraging and pointless and devoid of inspiration. Persuasive essays speak to everything meaningful in students’ lives and let them express it with exciting rhetoric. This creates an environment that teaches much more than argumentative essays could—an enjoyable one.