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10 Rules Of Writing A Persuasive Essay In The MLA Format

The persuasive essay assignment requires you to take a clear position on a debatable issue and posit why your position is more valid than the oppositions. It’s a common assignment given starting in middle school all the way through graduate school. Here are 10 rules of writing this assignment using MLA formatting:

  1. Choosing a manageable topic
  2. If you are given the opportunity to choose your own topic be sure to select one that is neither too broad or too narrow. You should be able to find enough research to discuss your side and opposition’s side in-depth. It would help to do some preliminary research to get you going.

  3. Developing a clear thesis
  4. Now that you’ve done some background reading you should have a general idea of what your position on your topic is, and can come up with at least a draft thesis that clearly states what that position is.

  5. Gathering appropriate research
  6. Conduct some more in-depth research at the library where you have access to academic resources. As you find information gather the appropriate citation information so that you don’t have to come back to find it afterwards.

  7. Addressing the opposition
  8. As you research content you should always look for counter points to your arguments. You should always prepare for rebuttal statements in a way that you can speak to them directly and demonstrate your knowledge of the topic from a number of angles.

  9. Formatting the persuasive essay
  10. General rules state that you should use 8.5 x 11-inch paper, 12 pt. font and double spaced throughout. Set your margins for 1-inch all the way around and include a header that includes your name and page number.

  11. Providing supporting evidence
  12. With each discussion point you make you should provide supporting evidence taken from your research. Each piece of evidence should include a citation giving credit to the original author. Citations should include the author and page number of where that information can be found.

  13. Using quotes of 3 or fewer lines
  14. Quotations of three lines or fewer should be placed within the main text with the appropriate citation placed at the end of the sentence in parentheses. You can also introduce the original author at before the quote within your text and include the page number at the end.

  15. Using quotes of 4 or more lines
  16. If you are including quotations that are four or more lines then you should include them as block quotes. Indent the block quotes one inch from the left margin and do not use quotation marks. Add citation information in parenthesis after the quote.

  17. Creating a works cited page
  18. Your works cited page is a separate page at the end of your argumentative essay. It should list all of the resources you used to support your argument. Be sure to include all proper citation information as provided in the original resources.

  19. Proofreading and editing
  20. Finally, save plenty of time to completely proofread and edit your persuasive essay. Check for proper word choice and simple sentence structures. Also look for all mistakes you may have made in grammar, spelling and punctuation.

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