Persuasive Essay Outline

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Your persuasive essay outline can be a simple or as complicated as you like. Some people use it as their essay plan, but you are better off creating your outline and then building your plan into it. You can use your outline as the skeleton for your plan, and then flesh it out with details, research references, notes, bigger points, smaller points and even time or word limits for each section of your essay. As you may have gathered, this is not an article that instructs you on how to write a simple essay outline. This article explains how to delve deeper into building a sophisticated essay outline.

Your persuasive essay hinges on your introduction and conclusion

Just like in court, it is your opening and closing statements that win the case. The bit in the middle just makes your opening and closing statements stronger (or weaker). For example, opening with a big claim and then not proving it during the course of the trial is not going to win the case. Your essay opens with what you are going to prove by persuasion, and your conclusion says, “Well there you have it, undeniable evidence of my claim.”

Outline your introduction and conclusion

A sophisticated persuasive essay outline will outline the introduction and conclusion too. In this article, you will find some broad examples to get you started.

Introduction outline

  • Get the reader’s attention
  • Explain whom this essay is for
  • Give very basic background information
  • Explain why people should care about your topic

Even though this is an academic essay and not a party political broadcast, you still have to, to put it in a cruder parlance, “Sell the s**t you are shoveling” and the big sell comes at the beginning.

The first paragraphs

  • Further sell the idea of your essay to the reader
  • If you need to give more background information then do
  • Continue to introduce people to the topic
  • Explain in more detail why people should care about your topic

Remember to stay consistent. For example, do not start with raw facts and evidence at the start of your essay and then move into emotional logic nearer the end of the essay. If you use more than one persuasive tool then mix them up. For example, you may give an emotional argument for the castration of pedophiles, but also show data about pedophile recidivism, and show the logic of removing the testosterone producing parts of their body.

Your first argument

  • Your main argument
  • Why your main argument matters
  • Why your main argument is correct
  • Supporting evidence
  • Justification for your main argument

Add in why your main argument is there, why you opened with it, and why the case you are making hinges on it. You may be tempted to leave your big argument until the end, but that will not get you the best grades because your professor will have tuned out by then and will have already pre-judged you for making such weak points.

The counter arguments to your main argument

  • Justifiable questioning of your main argument
  • Reasons for the questioning
  • The logic behind the questioning
  • The evidence to support your counter argument
  • Think of the things your readers may think

Eban Pagan is a so-so business lecturer, and he said that you should have a big glass of water in the morning, to which a crowd member said, “Isn’t that just my morning cup of Joe?” and made Eban’s point redundant. Consider what your reader is thinking because you do not have the luxury of a crowd of business thinkers to pull you up on points.

Quashing the counter arguments successfully

  • Provide evidence and logic against the counter arguments
  • It is okay to use further questions to lead a reader to your point of view
  • This is where religious advocates will fail when they should win
  • Counter the counter arguments and put them to bed
  • Leave as few holes in your counter as possible
  • Do not make the American History X mistake. The movie (which is excellent between) spends the first half of the movie making the audience racist, and the second half showing them how silly they are for being racist, but for some viewers the first half of the movie hit home harder than the second half. Make sure you quash your counter arguments fully, or you may end up convincing people contrary to your thesis.

Conclusion Outline

  • Directly address your thesis or hypothesis
  • Round up any holes you left and downplay their importance
  • Surmise that the most important points you made will override any lingering counter arguments
  • Make your position clear once again
  • End on a strong point that is proven within the body of your essay


This means all counter arguments are quashed and the reader firmly believes what you have put forward as your persuasive essay topic.

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