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Persuasive essay vs critical writing essay

Persuasive essay vs critical writing essay

May 23, 2013 - Posted to  Essay Writing

How a persuasive essay differs from a critical writing essay

The best way to discern the difference between a persuasive essay and a critical writing essay is to define them individually and then compare them together. A persuasive essay is an essay whose sole intent is to persuade the reader to one opinion. Although the definition of it doesn't change, the purpose of it changes dependent upon the real life application of it. For academic purposes, a persuasive essay is a short text that is used to show the command of a subject, and the overall understanding of it. Outside of academic practice, it is any material that is used to persuade a reader of the information that is contained within it. Examples of a persuasive essay outside of an academic setting is a presentation that is given in a public arena, or even something as short as a resume or cover letter.
The major differences between a persuasive essay and a critical essay are:
  • The voice used in the essay - A persuasive essay can be first or third person, a critical essay is third person
  • Informal versus formal style of writing - A persuasive argument can be informal or formal, a critical essay is always formal
  • Presentation of both sides versus just one sided arguments - A persuasive essay presents just one side of an argument, a critical essay presents both negative and positive aspects
  • Evidentiary proof needed - A persuasive argument need not provide concrete evidence and examples, a critical essay needs to have proof to back up claims made
  • Basis of the essay - A critical essay is based upon another work, a persuasive essay can be on any subject at all
A persuasive essay can be a very informal piece, which can be written in any voice, not limited to the formal third person. Although it helps to be substantiated with proof, since it is based around arguments which can be subjective, it is not necessary to back up assertions or claims with evidentiary proof. It is an essay that only provides one side of an argument, not a summary that includes both sides.
A critical essay is an essay that is in critique of another work. It is an essay that's content is used to critique another author's work, and can be either positive or negative. It is not an essay that is used to sway the reader to one point of view or another, it is just a critical analysis of the context. Unlike a persuasive essay, a critical essay is formal and written only in the third person, never the first. Because it is a critique of another work, it can contain both negative and positive aspects of the work.

Ways that persuasive essays and critical essays are the same

  • Both are used in real life application and academic arenas
  • They are both short essays which are structured in the same way
  • The more evidence you have to support them, the greater the strength of the writing of them
  • They both are a demonstration of the writing skills of the individual writing them
Both the persuasive essay and the critical essay are structured in the same way. They both have the same major points that need to be included to make the essay relevant. They both consist of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The information that is included within each category varies slightly. Because the intent of the article is different, the information that needs to be as an integral component to them will be different.

What is the structure of a persuasive essay and a critical essay?

Although they both have the same structure, the content of those categories will vary depending on which essay you are doing.

The structure of a persuasive essay is:

  • Introduction - The introduction is the component where the audience will want to read more. It should begin with creative and captivating information that will begin to form the argument that will be laid out. Contained within the introduction should be the thesis statement, or the definition of what the argument for the essay is. It is an assertion that sets the tone, and is the reason for, the entire essay
  • Body - The body of the essay is where the argument is laid out. The body contains the assertions about the argument, followed by supporting arguments for it. It is the area where you will form the argument and give supporting reasons and when appropriate evidence, to your point of view
  • Conclusion - The conclusion is where you summarize the argument and the information that you have to prove your point. Being the most important part of the essay, it is the place where you finalize the argument and beg the reader to your point of view. Contained within it is the reason the reader should see things your way, and why you are right in your opinion, or point of view

The structure of a critical essay is:

  • Introduction - The introduction is used to introduce the work that you are critiquing. It is the part of the essay where you state your opinion of the work, and outline the steps that led you to your conclusion about it
  • Body - This is the section of the essay where you develop your argument and then use concrete facts to support your point of view, or position. Using both positive and negative aspects of the book, you describe what led you to the conclusion about how you formulated your critique. It is important to substantiate your claims with concrete evidence and examples
  • Conclusion - In this section you conclude the main points of your critique and go through the points made about it, summarizing your position and finalizing your opinion
By Martha Buckly. Martha is an academic writer with relevant experience. She has good practice in guiding students on specifics of academic writing and styles.
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