Difference Between Argumentative And Persuasive Essays

By: | Updated: Dec-20, 2021
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People often consider persuasive essays and argumentative essays synonymous with each other. They can’t be blamed for it as the nature of the two types, to an extent, is somewhat similar. When you develop a deeper understanding of the two types, you will be amazed that key points separate them apart.

Starting point

You can easily observe that perfect essay writers know the difference between Persuasive and argumentative essays. It is evident from the way they start each type. Argumentative essays require a lot of research. Before you begin writing this essay, you need to read a substantial amount of material and look for facts related to the topic. Once you have invested an adequate amount of time researching the subject and have collected several shreds of evidence, you will take a position based on a solid fact at the start of the essay. In the scenario of persuasive vs. argumentative, the reader can instantly detect the difference between the two the way a compelling essay starts. Unlike an argumentative essay, you don’t need to conduct a lot of research and spend quite a while finding facts about the topic. You can start with an opinion that you strongly believe in. From the start of the persuasive essay, the writer tries to convince the audience to have faith in his opinion. However, in argumentative essays, writers establish that their stance is better by referring to research or simply stating a fact at the start of the essay.


The difference between persuasive and argumentative types of writing can be understood by understanding the goals of writing behind both types. An argumentative essay aims to make the audience acknowledge that you have a stronger stance on a particular topic. You want your audience to know that your case is valid and should be considered more logical and acceptable. The goal is to put up a point in front of the audience using undeniable facts and references to research to show you have a stronger stance based on logic than the other opposing stance. However, in the context of argumentative vs. persuasive, the persuasive essay’s goal is not only to make your audience acknowledge that your case is stronger. The goal is to completely convince your audience to agree with your point of view. This is done by persuading the audience that your stance is the only one they should believe in.  The success of persuasive and argumentative writers depends on how well they have written, keeping their goal of writing for the particular type.

Difference Between Argumentative And Persuasive Essays


Perhaps the best way to understand the persuasive vs. argumentative essay phenomenon is to investigate how significant the audience is for both types. As far as a persuasive essay is concerned, knowing your audience is very important. Because the intention is to persuade the audience by using emotional appeals and mentioning experiences the audience can relate to. As a writer, you will need to know about the mindset of our audience and the principles they believe in. You will also have to consider their background and the age group your audience belongs to. Writing for medical students will be different from writing for lawyers.

Similarly, you won’t be able to appeal to your audience from an older age group using the same ideals that you will use to convince youngsters. In comparison to the writer of an argumentative essay, the factor of the audience is not that significant. Irrespective of which age group and background your audience belongs to, argumentative writing aims to prove your stance by stating facts. These facts and pieces of evidence stand true no matter who your audience is. Therefore, having good awareness about your audience is not mandatory in argumentative writing.

Difference Between Argumentative And Persuasive Essays 2


A key difference between persuasive and argumentative essay is the purpose of writing. The purpose of argumentative writing is to focus on evidence to strengthen your argument. It requires good research skills as you need to collect pieces of evidence that are undeniable. On the other hand, the primary purpose of persuasive writing is not to focus solely on presenting undeniable facts. But the focus is more on consuming your energy in swaying away your audience using sentimental appeals and non-formal types of debate. In argumentative writing, the writer has a purpose to simply put the arguments in the form of facts in front of the audience. The writer is not bothered about whether the audience is completely convinced. However, in persuasive writing, the writers intentionally try to make the audience adopt the same point of view that the writers believe in.

End Result

One effective way of differentiating between persuasive writing and argumentative writing is by focusing on the intended result of these two types of writing. The ideal outcome for an argumentative essay is establishing the point that the writer has a much better argument based on facts. The reader gets to know the arguments from both sides, but ultimately the reader acknowledges that the writer has stronger arguments in comparison. While on the other hand, the ideal result for persuasive writing will be that audience believes the viewpoint of the writer to be completely true and the only thing that matters for them. It is clear by observing these two types of writing that they both are different.


To understand argumentative essays and the difference between them and persuasive essays, one needs to pay attention to the viewpoint both these types of writing have. In persuasive writing, only one side is presented, which is the writer’s side, and the writer tries his best to make the audience focus and believe on that side. The writer presents his viewpoint as the only sensible way to think. Whereas in argumentative essays, different perspectives are put forward, and the writers accept that other arguments exist, but their argument is stronger. Putting multiple perspectives allows them to counter their opposing views, giving them an impression of being fair-minded.


In an argumentative essay, the writer’s attitude is more authoritative as presenting facts and shreds of evidence with strong conviction. The idea is to share the argument in facts and let the audience know that you have a point worthy of consideration. The writer is least bothered about whether the audience agrees or not. While the approach is more aggressive in persuasive writing, the writers are very passionate about convincing their audience, and the writer uses more personal and emotional language.


The tone in an argumentative essay is a more authoritative one; the writers portray themselves as an authority on the matter, which is why more formal language is used to create a formal tone. Complex jargon is used in argumentative writing to have that authoritative effect. On the other hand, the tone is friendlier and relaxed, which appeals to readers’ emotions in persuasive writing.

The differences between argumentative and persuasive may seem subtle, but knowing the difference matters a lot if you want to be an expert on both types of writing. You will write clearly and more effectively once you know the difference, and you will get good grades in your academic studies.

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