Persuasive Essay Dos and Don`ts

“Big City/Small Town”
Persuasive Essay Debrief
English II
“Give Me Death!”
Have your Patrick Henry packet ready
on your desk when the tardy bell rings.
Don’t: Weak Hooks
• If you cannot think of a clever, interesting, or thoughtprovoking way to open your argument, skip the hook
and begin with your thesis statement.
• Do not do this:
• “Have you ever wondered if it’s better to live in a big
city or small town?”
• “The benefits of living in a large city outweigh the
benefits of living a small town.”
• “Big cities versus small towns has always been a
controversial topic.”
• “Some people think that it would be better to live in a
large city while others would prefer to live in a small
Do: Strong Hooks
• “Who wants to wake to the sound of car horns,
jackhammers, and all the sounds of a bustling city
that never truly sleeps?”
• “Have you ever gone on a road trip and you're
driving through a noisy, busy city and then, BAM! You
reach a quiet landscape surrounded by quaint
houses, and it seems so peaceful?”
• “Let’s face it. What’s life without a little excitement?
Boring. That’s why living in a big city is great.”
• “Do you hear that? That’s the sound of magnificent
opportunities awaiting your arrival in the big city.”
• “The concrete jungle where dreams are made of;
there’s nothing you can’t do. Living in a big city is
more desirable than living in a small town due to the
endless opportunities and the exciting vibe.”
Don’t: Neutral Thesis
• “City life is great, but then again, the charm of
a small town is also appealing.
• “Some people prefer a large city while others
are drawn to a small town.
• “Big cities and small towns both have their pros
and cons.”
• “People like to live in small towns and big cities;
it just depends on the person’s life style; living in
either one has its own perks.”
Do: Opinionated Thesis
• “Living in a small town is better than living in a big
city because it is much more calm and quiet, and it
is an ideal place to raise a family.”
• “It is far better to live in small town where people
can take a break to smell the roses and make
connections with the people around them.”
• “It’s better to live in a big city because there is more
diversity and a person can enjoy endless
experiences without having to go far from home.”
• “Large cities thrive with opportunities that vary from
jobs to fun events to enjoy on the weekend, making
the city a wiser place to live.”
Don’t: Make BIG Sweeping Claims
• Note to all – “Small town” does not necessarily
mean rural, “in the middle of nowhereville,” living.
• “People who live in small towns aren’t locked in
their houses . . . they are always outside enjoying
• “Due to living in the city, there are less homeless
• “In big cities people only care about where they're
going and give no thought to others they deem
beneath them.”
Do: Make Reasonable Claims
• “Diversity. It’s good. A big city comes with a big
population, but that’s not always a bad thing.
Different cultures and people bring great exposure to
kids. . .”
• “More job opportunities is the reason why hundreds of
families pick up and move from small, secluded
suburbs and head to large urban cities.”
Do: Make a Brief Concession
If you choose to make a concession, it must be brief,
and then get right into your counter-argument.
• “Of course, living in a big city can offer a chance to meet new
people, but when those people turn into thousands, and even
millions, life can get pretty overwhelming. Living in a small town
eliminates the claustrophobic feeling of not being able to breathe
among a mass of people.”
Don’t: Neutral Tone
Some essays read too
neutral, too informational, too
Do: Persuasive Tone
Do have voice and
personality, and, most
importantly, TONE!
Don’t: Word Choice
Every word matters. When you don’t consider your
word choice, you end up using words like these:
A lot
Kinda, kind of, sort of
You, Your, You’re
Miscellaneous Dos
Plan and prewrite your essay!
Indent 1” every time you begin a new paragraph.
Have a concession if you can counter-argue it.
Develop an appropriate TONE using carefully
chosen words and phrases.
• Transition from idea to idea by using transition words
and phrases.
• Explain your reasons and evidence with convincing
commentary. YOU already agree with YOU. Now
it’s your job to make others agree with you.
• Carefully plan your final statement, just as you did
your hook. Close with something compelling,
convincing, clever, captivating . . . 
Miscellaneous Don’ts
• Don’t begin writing on the 26 line page until you
PLAN and OUTLINE your essay.
• Don’t be expository.
• Don’t neglect structure – paragraphs. 
• Don’t make lists. Pick your strongest reasons and
develop them with specific examples.
• Don’t have fewer than 200 words. Your target is 225
to 250.
Miscellaneous Don’ts
You only have 26 lines. To create a truly
convincing argument, you need to use them –
all of them.
Do not leave more
than 2 lines blank.
Miscellaneous Don’ts
Write all the way to the edges, except for the four
times you indent.
Don’t leave all of this
space blank.

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