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Typical Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing Persuasive Essay Topics

A persuasive essay is one that hopes to win the reader over to your way of looking at a given issue. You must take a position in your opening paragraph, and then vigorously defend those statements in the following body paragraphs of your paper. By the time the reader has reached the final words of your concluding paragraph, they should be convinced that your answer is the only answer to the subject being examined in the essay.

There are many good topics for persuasive essays. These include subjects that may be somewhat controversial, and stir up debate. Often a persuasive essay topic includes words and phrases like “we should”, or “....is beneficial to society” or “The government must...”

On the other hand, certain subjects do not lend themselves well to a persuasive essay. Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind when you are preparing to write your next persuasive paper.

Topics To Avoid In Your Persuasive Essay:

  • Overly general or mundane topics like “my dog Spot”. This subject would work for a narrative essay where you would be telling a story. You could talk about when you got your dog, what breed he is, his favourite foods, toys and so on. But there is no room for debate or discussion.
  • If you wanted to write about dogs in a persuasive essay, you would need to approach it from a different angle. A good example of a persuasive essay “dog” topic would be “Chihuahuas make the best guard dogs”. You have taken a position, and now you have to convince your audience why you are right!

  • Topics which are generally accepted as fact are rarely a good choice for a persuasive piece. For example, “polar bears live in the Arctic”, or “Germany lost World War Two” would not generate much discussion or leave a lot of room for debate.
  • To write a good persuasive essay about WW2, you could open your essay with something like “the reason Germany lost the war is because Churchill was PM of Great Britain”. Again, it's pretty tough to argue that Germany won the war. In the second topic example however, you are making a claim as to why Germany lost the war, and will use the supporting paragraphs in your essay to defend your stance.

  • A topic which is highly controversial, or offensive, may cause you problems. Choosing to write a persuasive essay dealing with how child pornography benefits society, is unlikely to score you points with your instructor, or anyone else for that matter!
  • However if you chose your words carefully, you could come up with an entirely plausible and passable alternative. Try “exposing child pornographers benefits society”. One thing is for sure, your essay will not be ignored!


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