Writing to Persuade: Form, Tone, Register

Writing to Persuade: Form, Tone, Register


  • Persuasive writing seeks to convince the reader to agree with the writer’s point of view or take a specific action.
  • The structure typically progresses from establishing a position, building a strong argument, then providing a clear conclusion or call-to-action.
  • Common forms include speeches, advertisements, opinion pieces, letters, and debates.
  • This form can incorporate rhetorical devices such as repetition, rhetorical questions, emotive language, and careful use of evidence.


  • The tone can vary widely based on the intended audience and purpose, ranging from passionate and forceful to calm and rational.
  • The language should be engaging and confident, portraying the writer’s perspective as the superior option.
  • Use of powerful and emotive vocabulary can impact the reader’s feelings, making them more likely to be persuaded.
  • The tone should remain respectful - hostile or aggressive tactics can turn the reader against the argument.


  • Semi-to-formal register is usually adopted in persuasive writing, balancing between the credibility of the writer and connection with the audience.
  • Use of varied sentence structures, combining simple, compound and complex sentences, to maintain interest and drive points.
  • Use of first and second person pronouns (“I”, “we”, “you”) to build a connection with the reader and impose a personal stance.
  • Although formal language is typically used, occasional informal words or phrases can create a strong emotional appeal.

General Tips

  • Know your purpose and target audience - your argument and language should be tailored towards them.
  • Implement the “PEEL” structure (Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link) to each paragraph to present your arguments effectively.
  • Use figures of speech and rhetorical devices (e.g., simile, metaphor, anecdote) for impact.
  • Provide solid evidence and logical reasoning for supporting points - any unwarranted claim can weaken your argument.
  • Keep in mind the persuasive techniques: Logos (logic), Pathos (emotion), and Ethos (credibility/ethics) - a good persuasive piece often contains all three.