How Not To Write A Persuasive Essay: 5 Examples Of Bad Writing


This short article reflects on poor persuasive writing. While highlighting a few elements that typically lead to bad, argumentative writing, the article also acts as a guide on how to correctly approach and apply oneself to the effective, persuasive writing of essays.

What is a persuasive essay?

One easy and useful tip is to observe editorial columns of local newspapers. On these pages, the editor makes a definitive selection of written letters and what is known as op-eds, reflecting issues of the day, to be published. Usually, the writer has put forward a persuasive argument or two that he would like readers to consider.

Five bad examples:

  • Emotive writing – Invariably writers are either upset or feel quite strongly about an event.
  • Subjectivity – The emotional argument is understandable, but ultimately leads to unqualified, subjective statements being made.
  • Veering off point – The emotive essay loses focus, and subjective arguments become vague and weak.
  • Lack of insight – The essay writer does not research the topic well enough and also expresses ignorance of the subject being handled.
  • Poor grammar and sentence construction – Emotiveness, subjectivity and lack of focus leads to poor writing. In these circumstances, the naked eye may miss even the most basic errors.

The best way to approach a persuasive essay

Again, to simplify the explanation, the newsroom can be used as a perfect case study. Earlier, it was mentioned that the editor makes the decision as to what goes into his paper. He also decides what not to publish. The most persuasive arguments never fail to be missed because the writer has put a lot of thought into his writing beforehand.

The writer will have researched well beforehand and is sometimes an expert on the subject. A useful and relevant example to consider is merely a construction here in order to provide guidance. A retired police officer with years of experience behind him may be well qualified to make objective (not subjective) remarks on the spate of police brutality taking place across the country. He may be in a good position to make persuasive suggestions on how to tackle these problems.


Newsroom’s sub-editors are tasked with fact-checking the persuasive writer’s piece. If it has been well-researched and arguments clearly constructed, there is little left for the sub to do. Similar principles apply to effective essay writing.