Mr. McMahand

English Composition

Persuasion Essay Critique




·         Would an attention grabber benefit the opening?  Any suggestions for the writer?       

·         Is there enough information explaining the question at issue?

·         Does the thesis set up clear, effective expectations? 

·         Is it a strong causation thesis with clear, consequential logic?  If it is a “should” value statement, how can the writer convert it to logical causation?

Example one

Banning porn shops in French Quarter will promote not only family entertainment but also the decline of sex-related crimes in the area. 

Example two

Banning porn shops in the Quarter will continue an ongoing trend that undermines the unique social climate and cultural ethos particular to the district.

·         Does the thesis contain all the necessary terms:  A topic, B assertion, C Reason/ Evidence?      

·         How would you improve (clarify, simplify, specify) each section of the

      thesis?  Is the assertion controversial but interestingly subtle? Is the C-term

      consequential, logical, compelling, credible (even if you disagree)?  Does the

      writer base his terms of argument on consequences, not moral judgments?       




·         How can the writer improve topic sentences and claims that develop the thesis?

·         How can each body paragraph better develop the thesis?

·         Does the writer use a variety of support for each claim, (i.e. examples, expert opinion, prediction, causal connections)?  What other evidence could the writer use to make the claim more convincing?  How could the writer better present evidence? 

·         How can each paragraph be more coherent?  How can the writer improve the flow of ideas?  Where and where not does the author need to include transitional words and phrases?  Finally, give suggestions on how to make the transitions between paragraphs better.


·         Rebuttal of Counterpoint: How fair and complete is the writer’s language when

addressing the opposition?  What more information from the other side does the writer need to include in order to make the refutation or rebuttal more effective?

How effective is the rebuttal?   Does it oppose (or address) all the points raised in the counterpoint?  What other, better arguments can the writer use to improve the rebuttal?  




·         Does the writer use a convincing shift or transition from the body to the last paragraph or conclusion?  Or, does it read like a hard break or an awkward new beginning?   What better predictions, solutions, or calls for new response could the author use to solidify his or her grasp on the present and future implications of the topic? 

·         How can the writer improve the restatement of his or her thesis?  Which of the major claims or reasons from the body does the author need to repeat in the conclusion?  


Other notes


·         Review all documentation and in-text citation to check its correctness.  


·         Remember, any material not determined to be public property must be cited and the author must be given full credit.  No exceptions.  Even if you do not give a direct quote, you should paraphrase the material and then cite it.  Your paraphrase should be your own words, of course, meaning no more than one or two key words from the original source should find its way into your synthesis of the author’s ideas.  Do not simply switch the order of the sentence around retaining all or most of its vocabulary.  Use synonyms, similar phrasing, and a different sentence structure altogether.  And, again, if you think the work belongs to the author, make sure to cite it. 


·         I will check your writing against your sources.  Turn in all source materials and highlight the passages that you use either through direct quote or paraphrase.


Warning:  Plagiarists will be punished to the utmost of academic law.  Excuses and maudlin pleas of ignorance will spare absolutely no one from ultimate reproof.


Final draft must include:

MLA format (12pt. Times New Roman), heading, title, page numbers, Works Cited page, at least three or four direct quotes, one or two block quotes, all sources highlighted or underlined, rough draft, and peer critiques.