Writing any type of essay that relies on emotions or personal opinions to prove a point or convince a reader of an argument is called a persuasive essay.
Persuasive essays are often assigned in high school and college-level courses as a way for students to practice their writing and critical thinking skills. In addition, learning to write persuasive essays effectively improves students’ ability to communicate effectively with others.
Even for students who already have strong writing skills and understand how to communicate their arguments concisely, the process of writing a persuasive essay is not without its challenges. This is especially true when trying to come up with a topic to write about.
Luckily there are many different topics that students can choose from when writing a persuasive essay. The following will not only cover 200 persuasive essay topics you can write about but also provide helpful insight into how to organize and structure your thoughts into a coherent essay that will earn you a passing grade.
How to Write a Persuasive Essay
Unlike other types of similar essays, such as argumentative, a persuasive essay will not require an intense amount of research. Furthermore, instead of an aggressive tone to prove a point, persuasive essays rely on a casual tone that entices the reader to agree with the author’s point of view.
To start, you’ll need to develop a topic that can be introduced within the first paragraph of the essay. For example, if you’re writing about how smoking should be illegal, one of your first sentences could be something such as:
“Since the Surgeon General’s warning was declared over forty years ago, it is clear that smoking cigarettes has proven to cause serious health problems.”
You might give some facts about smoking that provide background information to the reader and then follow it up with the main argument and a thesis. An example thesis for a smoking-related persuasive essay could be:
“Cigarette smoking has proven to cause many serious health issues in both the short term and over time. As a result, many countries have banned the sale of cigarettes altogether, which is something that should be considered in the United States.”
Once you have written out your introduction that covers background info, the main argument, and a thesis, you must begin to organize no less than three main points that you can use to back up a stance on the topic.
As with most essays, the persuasive essay will require at least three body paragraphs that support the opinion stated in your thesis. Each body paragraph should contain:
- One idea that supports the main argument
- One topic sentence
- A minimum of two pieces of supporting evidence to back up your claim
It is best to start the first body paragraph with your least crucial supporting factor to your thesis. Your second-most important fact should be covered in the second paragraph, with your most essential supporting point covered in the final body paragraph.
Organizing the body of your persuasive essay this way will entice the reader to keep reading and provide an easy-to-follow set of facts that support your thesis.
The final part of the persuasive essay will require a strong conclusion paragraph in which you summarize your position and present a strong argument for your reader.
This is where you should include all of the facts from each body paragraph in a cohesive summary before providing a closing statement to strengthen your main point further.
Try to avoid bringing up new facts that weren’t previously mentioned in the intro or body paragraphs since it will weaken the overall strength of your argument.
For example, you might write something like, “While smoking cigarettes is clearly bad for one’s health, many argue that they are still a personal choice.” This statement acknowledges the fact that some people argue with your thesis but introduces a whole new set of ideas that the reader may be unfamiliar with.
Helpful Persuasive Essay Writing Tips
Remember that a persuasive essay is supposed to use a calm tone to help the reader understand your point of view. This means that you should focus on appealing to them in one or more of the following ways:
- logic and reason
- empathy and sympathy
- credibility and authority
- popularity or social proof
- economics or utility (cost vs. benefits)
- humor or trust (be likable)
Don’t forget that the substance of your persuasive essay isn’t necessarily what will persuade the reader. Often, it’s your delivery of arguments that will have the most impact on them. Be sure to use appealing “hook” statements that capture the reader’s attention and keep them engaged throughout the essay, such as:
- Anecdotal examples
- Sudden insights
- Controversial dramatic statements
- Literary or celebrity quotes
- Pointed questions
- Concrete, colorful descriptions
- Personal asides
The final tip is to use recent and relevant examples rather than outdated or generic information.
For example, saying something such as, “I feel the best way to stop violence is by having stricter gun laws” may not be as effective as “Parents of children who died in the Sandy Hook tragedy and many others believe that America’s gun laws should be reformed.”
The newer statement only focuses on a tiny part of a larger argument, but it is more likely to be relevant and compelling to readers.
200 Persuasive Essay Topic Ideas
Now that you are prepared to write your persuasive essay, check out the list of 200 persuasive essay topics you can use for your next writing assignment. Each topic is written in a neutral tone so that you can easily adapt them to fit any audience or situation.
- Should college athletes get paid?
- Are participation trophies bad for children?
- Are helicopter parents the best type of parents?
- Is it better to have many short-term goals or one long-term goal in life?
- What makes a good parent?
- Can stricter gun laws save lives?
- How can we improve our public schools?
- What makes a good role model?
- Do girls and boys learn differently at school?
- Are cell phones dangerous for teens?
- Is college worth the cost?
- Should we teach children about religion in school?
- Would legalizing marijuana make it safer to use?
- Why are millennials earning less money than previous generations did at the same age?
- What is the future of online shopping in America?
- Is social media bad for society?
- Does social media give us an unrealistic view of other people’s lives?
- How does social media affect relationships between teenagers/adults/friends/family members?
- Should pornography be censored on the internet?
- Are vaccinations dangerous for our health?
- Are the benefits of multivitamins worth the cost?
- Do violent video games make children meaner?
- What makes a good personal statement on a college application?
- Will climate change impact our world in the next 50 years?
- Can we teach robots to feel emotions like humans do?
- In what ways are men and women treated unequally in America today?
- Are men and women treated equally?
- Does legalizing gay marriage hurt or help society as a whole?
- Is it sexist when women worry more about their makeup than men worry about their appearances in general public settings (job interviews, weddings)?
- Is this sexism still prevalent in the workplace?
- Do male athletes have an unfair advantage over their female counterparts?
- Why are so many teenage girls developing eating disorders?
- What can be done to reduce eating disorders in women?
- Are the Olympics still important today?
- Do children’s sports leagues take advantage of parents’ enthusiasm for their kids’ games and exploit them financially with high registration fees and team apparel costs?
- How does poverty affect students in America’s school system today?
- Are students more stressed now than they were 50 years ago?
- What can be done to help students deal with stress?
- Are bullying and peer pressure problems at school?
- How does social media affect bullying?
- Are the benefits of online classes worth the lack of face-to-face student interactions?
- Is it wrong for companies to ask about applicants’ previous salaries?
- Do unions still serve a purpose today?
- Should states raise their minimum wages?
- Do Americans feel disenfranchised?
- Is there racial inequality in the justice system?
- Should illegal immigrants be allowed to remain in the USA?
- Can we create new types of jobs to replace positions lost due to automation?
- Should online voting be allowed?
- Is it possible for high school students to pursue a career in programming at an early age?
- Does bullying affect children’s education?
- Should children be taught how harmful bullying is in school curriculums?
- Should cyberbullies be arrested for harassment?
- Are single-sex classrooms beneficial for students’ education experiences?
- Do mandatory dress codes increase students’ grades?
- Is it sexist when people assume that successful women must have gotten help from someone more powerful than they are (such as a boss or colleague)?
- Should illegal immigrants be allowed to become U.S. citizens?
- In what ways is the social life of teenagers in America today different from that of previous generations?
- Is it normal for teenagers to go on five or more dates a week at high school?
- Are teens too focused on “following their passions” rather than getting good grades?
- Is society obsessed with toxic ideas of masculinity?
- Is feminism a barrier to equality?
- What impact do celebrities have on adolescents’ thoughts and behavior?
- Do children spend too much time using technology?
- Should schools be required to provide free meals?
- Does the presence of police officers increase or decrease crime rates in schools?
- How much can individual people do to slow climate change?
- What is the leading cause of climate change?
- Is it possible for humans to live on other planets?
- Is the survival of nature more important than the survival of humans?
- Are scientific tests using animals justified?
- Should scientists be allowed to experiment with stem cells?
- Should smoking be banned worldwide?
- Are children raised with religion are more likely to be kind and empathetic than those who are not?
- Is it good for people of different faiths (or no faith) to co-exist?
- What makes humans unique?
- Can we use technology to eliminate disease and live longer lives?
- How necessary is physical fitness in the 21st century?
- Should tax money be used to pay for sports facilities or equipment in public schools?
- Is it worth paying taxes so that people can enjoy the benefits of living in modern society?
- Is penmanship important?
- Should kids be able to vote?
- Should the drinking age be lowered?
- Should the draft exist?
- Is racism still an issue in the workplace today?
- Are there specific jobs that people should not be allowed to do because of their race or gender?
- What is the most effective form of birth control?
- Should contraception be free?
- Should sex education be mandatory in schools?
- Is sex education effective at reducing the risk of pregnancy?
- Is abstinence a realistic option for teens?
- Should abortion be legal?
- Are there any benefits of religion that outweigh the negatives?
- How has technology influenced the way we think and learn?
- Does watching T.V. or playing video games take away time spent socializing and
- Should vegan diets be mandatory for school children?
- What makes a skill worth learning?
- Can we be both fit and fat at the same time?
- Does it matter what sports you play as a child?
- Should cheating be more harshly punished in school?
- Is it wrong to cheat on your spouse if you are unhappy with the marriage but do not want a divorce?
- Is it better to go to college?
- Is it better for high school students to college courses while they are still in high school?
- Is college a waste of time and money for some students?
- Are children better off with a stay-at-home parent than with a working one?
- Can people from different generations understand each other?
- Does being “tied down” by marriage, kids, and jobs prevent people from living fulfilling lives?
- Should borders be done away with?
- Is there any justification for war?
- Should the government spy on its citizens?
- Are genetically modified foods safe to eat?
- Are humans naturally aggressive or peaceful?
- If crime was legal, would people behave differently?
- Is happiness more important than success?
- Should the government impose trash limits?
- Do aliens exist?
- Are we living in a Matrix-type world?
- Is artificial intelligence safe?
- Should people be given a monthly stipend from the government?
- Does the American Dream still exist today?
- Is it good to be well-known and successful?
- Is materialism better than altruism?
- What is the meaning of life?
- Should commercial fishing be banned?
- Do people without disabilities have a responsibility to help those with them?
- Is it OK to do nothing all day?
- Is suicide ever the right answer?
- Is eating meat murder?
- Should people have pets if they live in an apartment building?
- How many hours should children spend studying for school each night?
- Would the world be a better place without religion?
- What makes a person beautiful?
- Should all people have the same rights regardless of race, religion, gender, etc.?
- Is erasing history ever a good idea?
- Does it matter how you look as long as you’re a good person?
- Should the U.S. have an official language?
- Is it better to travel or stay at home?
- Are there any benefits of being poor that outweigh the negatives?
- Are rich people more prepared for the world than poor people?
- Is money more important than happiness?
- Do you need to earn a lot of money to be successful?
- Does money affect happiness?
- Should animals be kept as pets?
- Is the agriculture industry responsible for global warming?
- Do humans cause global warming?
- Should we do more to protect endangered species?
- Should athletes be paid so much money?
- Are all drugs harmful?
- Should trans people be able to use the same bathroom?
- Is it ever OK to discriminate against someone?
- How should people treat other people online?
- What makes someone a good person?
- Does money buy happiness?
- Should kids be allowed to play violent games and watch violent movies at home?
- Is the media responsible for influencing people’s opinions on certain things?
- Is capitalism healthy for society?
- Is socialism a good form of government?
- What role does luck play in life?
- Should students be allowed to express their political views when in school?
- Can one person change the world?
- Is it OK to lie sometimes?
- Should faith supersede government mandates?
- Does religion still have a place in society?
- Should atheists be allowed to get married in churches?
- How long should people spend commuting?
- Are self-driving cars a good idea?
- Should e-cigarettes be banned?
- Should all drugs be legalized?
- Is the death penalty a crime deterrent?
- What weapons should people be allowed to own?
- Is the right to bear arms essential?
- Should cellphones be banned in schools?
- Does standing for the national anthem at a sports game matter?
- Is political correctness necessary?
- Does globalism make countries weaker?
- Is the cost of health insurance too high?
- Should airlines relax their policies of what can be brought onto a plane?
- Are unions good for the economy?
- Do small businesses make or break an economy?
- Would society be better if there was no poverty?
- How should people treat homeless people?
- What makes someone a “bad” person?
- Is it wrong to lie under oath in court?
- Should teenagers be given more freedom as they enter adulthood?
- Does everyone get their fair share of opportunities and successes?
- Is it OK to break the law if you’re doing it to help others?
- Should women’s hygiene products be free?
- Do women bear unequal responsibilities for unwanted pregnancies?
- Should there be more regulations for food manufacturing?
- What makes a person interesting?
- Is it ever OK to steal from a business?
- Does being famous affect how people treat you?
- Should children have more of an active role in politics?
- Are politicians good for society?
- Does the media accurately portray reality?
- Is democracy better than other forms of government?
- What makes someone a good leader?
- Is it possible to solve political problems without violence?
- Are celebrities more important than politicians?
- Should all religions be free to practice in public spaces?
Persuade Your Way to a Better Grade!
With this list of 200 persuasive essay topics, you’ll be on your way to creating a piece of writing that not only motivates your reader to your opinion but also gets you the grade you need to pass your course and earn your degree.