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Composing a Persuasive Essay in Spanish

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Are you ready to write a persuasive essay in Spanish? Using examples, this lesson outlines the steps you should follow to successfully write a persuasive essay in Spanish.

What is a Persuasive Essay?

Can you think of the last time you tried to convince someone to think like you? We can do this through writing when we compose a persuasive essay, which in Spanish is ensayo persuasivo (ehn-SAH-yoh pehr-sooah-SEE-voh). A persuasive essay makes strong arguments to try to convince the reader of a point of view.

Since words are the key to try to convince your reader, let's look over the steps to follow to write a great ensayo persuasivo. We include some basic vocabulary because the strength of the words you use is very important.

Steps to Writing a Persuasive Essay

Topic Choice

So, where to start? Well, we need to have a very clear statement about what idea we want to write about. Ask yourself the question, like ''What do I want to convince my readers?'' Let's see how Eduardo, a student at a university in Madrid, replies to this question:

  • Quiero escribir sobre la idea de que los padres deberían inculcar en sus hijos el valor de la alimentación sana. (I want to write about the idea that parents should instill in their children the value of healthy eating habits.)

We now have the basis to go on with the next step, which is a clear idea about what to write. Let's move on to the other steps.

Strong Introduction

The very first paragraph of a persuasive essay is in Spanish la introducción (the introduction) or el primer párrafo (the first paragraph). It has to be strong enough to entice the reader to continue with the rest of the essay.

How do you make this intro interesting? First, you state the idea you want to communicate throughout the essay and you include one or two strong arguments. Let's see how Eduardo does this.

  • Es muy importante que los padres inculquen en sus hijos el valor de la alimentación sana. (It is very important that parents instill in their children the value of healthy eating habits.) Al enseñar hábitos alimenticios sanos, los padres les regalan a sus hijos el poder para tener una vida saludable. (When teaching healthy eating habits, parents gift their children the power to have a healthy life.) Además, las personas saludables forman una sociedad sana. (Besides, healthy individuals shape a healthy society.)

Some strong intro statements include:

  • es importante (it is important)
  • es primordial (it is key)
  • es fundamental (it is basic)
  • es necesario (it is necessary)

Developed Paragraphs

The next step is to write two or three paragraphs, los párrafos. Each paragraph should include a beginning argument and the reasons for that argument. Within the reasons, you can always include not only logical explanations but also appropriately cited research or even facts examples.

With logical explanations, refrain from making generalizations such as ''all children who do not eat healthy are fat.'' For the citations, make sure to know what style you need to follow because in the Spanish-speaking world nowadays, universities, magazines, etc. do accept APA style or MLA at times.

Regarding your opinions as well as facts, research, and examples, here are some powerful expressions you can use:

  • la verdad es que... (the truth is that...)
  • en realidad... (in reality)
  • la realidad demuestra que... (reality shows that...)
  • está claro que... (it is clear that...)
  • es razonable pensar que... (it is reasonable to think that...)
  • de acuerdo a la investigación realizada por... (according to the research done by...)
  • los estudios más recientes demuestran que... (the most recent studies show that...)
  • es un hecho que... (it is a fact that...)
  • de hecho (in fact)
  • por ejemplo... (for example)
  • para ilustrar... (to illustrate)

While you can always use expressions to state your own opinions, use such statements as little as possible. They can make the essay sound simply like your personal opinion rather than an evidence-based argument, and the reader might feel less compelled.

However, here are some expressions you can use if you are able to reinforce them through research or facts:

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