Producing Non-Fiction

Persuasive Techniques

Persuasive Techniques

Using Persuasive Techniques

How you use these techniques depends on the genre of the text you are writing. However, the exam should give you the chance to show your knowledge of persuasive techniques. With them, the aims are to:

  • Persuade the reader – to buy a product, agree with an opinion, follow advice or even simply to keep reading your text.
  • Engage the reader – if they enjoy or are hooked by your writing, they will continue to read and you have the maximum opportunity to achieve your purpose.
  • Make your piece as memorable as possible – You are informing the reader about something, be it an event, an opinion, a problem. You want them to be able to remember as many of the points you make as possible.

The one feature of writing which will help you – this feature is absolutely ESSENTIAL – is clarity. The reader will look at your piece wanting to understand it and get something from it. The easier you make it for them to understand the points you make, the better your text will be overall. Clarity will make the content and the layout much more effective in engaging the reader.

Mixing Fact with Opinion and Persuasion

CaptureFacts form the base of any piece of non-fiction writing. They are the central feature and what you should build your arguments on in any genre of text you write in the exam.

When presenting facts, they can be adapted to suggest your opinion. The aim is for the reader to infer what you want them to and be more likely to agree with you. For example, an advertisement could say This restaurant is located in the middle of a village in Somerset, which is a fact. Or it could say This sunny restaurant rests at the heart of a quiet, peaceful village in Somerset. You are adding hints of your opinion, persuading the reader to think positively about the restaurant and want to go there. The additional words fit in with the purpose and the audience, if you target is people looking for a break from hectic life.

Types of techniques and how to write them

Adjectives

The use of unusual adjectives can add colour to your text. They make it more interesting if you combine them with more common vocabulary. Adjectives can also be used subtly to express your opinion on a topic. You can include an adjective whilst writing a fact to persuade the reader to follow your same opinion. For example, The percentage of husbands who feel the wrath of their wives after making the wrong Christmas present choices has dropped to below 30%. This can be enlivened to imply that the author feels sorry for the husbands but considers it to be their fault: The percentage of hapless husbands who feel the wrath of their wives after making foolish Christmas present choices has dropped to below 30%.

Alliteration

Having the repetition of a sound adds rhythm to a phrase and will have your writing rolling readily off the tongues of your readers. This is an excellent writing technique because it can be used in any genre of text and is easy to do. It also makes it easier for readers to remember phrases as they know that words start with the same sound.

Facts

Use facts to support your argument. They make it more believable, grounding your argument and showing that you are an expert on the topic. In a writing task, you may be allowed to make up facts and statistics, but keep them believable. Alternatively, you may be required to use ones from the articles in the Reading section.

Opinion

With a clever use of language, such as a subtle adjective, you can present an opinion so strongly it seems like a fact to the reader. For example, The beautiful beach draws holidaymakers from all over the world, offering fun activities to even the most stubborn of guests. The beach being beautiful is subjective but slipping in the adjective, rather than stating The beach is beautiful, is more subtle. This is also called assertion.

Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions engage the reader by making them consider your point and think for themselves. They also show that you have an awareness of the reader and are making an effort to include them more in your text. If the target audience is correctly aimed at, it is possible to make the rhetorical questions specifically designed for your type of reader and to give the text a personal touch.

Repetition

The repetition of a point, sometimes repeated using different vocabulary, can have a powerful effect on the reader. Every repetition reinforces the point the author is stating in the reader’s mind. This makes that point the most likely one to be remembered.

Emotive Language

If you use emotive language, you can strike at the heart of the reader and make them more vulnerable to arguments. By describing a rescue animal as pitiful, crushed, down-trodden or betrayed by hope, you will evoke sympathy in the reader and make them more likely to support an animal protection campaign. Similarly, you can use cheerful adjectives to advertise products.

Statistics

Like facts, statistics make your arguments more substantial and provide the reader with proof to influence their opinions and make them support yours.

Threes

As previously mentioned, the use of threes has more of an impact on the reader. List three things (nouns, adjectives etc,) in a group and the reader will be more able to remember them.

Imagery

Imagery is persuasive because it appeals to the reader’s imagination. By using a simile or metaphor to describe something, the writer paints a picture of their concept in the readers mind and often appeals to their senses.

You can write your own metaphors or similes by thinking about what is similar to the thing you want to describe. For example, instead of saying Downloading films without paying for them is wrong and hurts the people involved in making it., you could say Download a film without paying for it is like stamping on the foot of everyone who helped make that film then walking into a cinema without a ticket and watching the film. (Simile) Or you could write Every time you download a film without paying, you steal money from the pockets of everyone who has been involved in making it. (Metaphor – you do not actually steal money)

Personal pronouns

Target your audience by addressing it directly using personal pronouns such as ‘you’ and ‘your’. As well as this, using ‘they’ when discussing an opponent’s view in an argument piece puts the reader on your side, alienating your opponent and influencing the reader to think of them as an outsider. Using ‘we’ or ‘our’ has the opposite effect.

Discourse markers

These are extremely useful in writing any kind of text. It is important that you use discourse markers to connect your paragraphs and help your text flow. They can help with the clarity of your writing, indicating whether your next paragraph is going to support, contradict or move your essay away from the sub-topic of the previous paragraph. As well as this, they can add a conversational tone to your writing.

However, Althoughshow you are going to present a point against what you stated in your last sentence/paragraph.

Furthermore, In additionsuggest you are adding more information to your last sentence or paragraph. If you start a new paragraph with these discourse markers, you should have a reason for doing so, such as having a sub-topic to discuss.

Therefore, Consequently, As a resultindicate that you are coming to a conclusion about one of your arguments. These words can also indicate that you are going to discuss something that is caused by the topics mentioned in your previous sentences/paragraphs.

Hyperbole

Use this to play on the reader’s emotions and make them care about the topic of your text. You can also add humour to your text or shock people if it is appropriate. It is important to consider your audience and the style of your text before using certain examples of hyperbole.