English 1050 Project 2:  Persuasive Writing


In Project 1, you began the semester by using content from your life to support a narrative thesis. We will continue our semester by exploring three important rhetorical concepts—logos, pathos, and ethos—that you can use to become more persuasive when supporting a thesis. While exploring these three concepts, we will also consider the extent to which your audience and any possible counterarguments may affect your persuasive writing. You will practice what you learn in this unit by engaging in written debates with other classmates. While doing so, you will need to identify and use the elements of the persuasive essay genre. You will also need to consider how grammar and word choice affect persuasive writing.

In this project, you will be tasked with choosing a topic that you would feel comfortable debating with one of your classmates. Because some students may appreciate anonymity, I will not be disclosing your identity or that of the classmate debating you. After you choose a topic, I will be randomly assigning that topic to another student in the class, and that student will be required to argue the opposing position. Each student will therefore be engaging anonymously in two written debates. After you have written your two persuasive essays—one on the topic of your choice and one randomly assigned to you—other students will vote anonymously on the winner of each written debate. While the result of the vote will not affect your grade, it will give you valuable feedback on how persuasive you managed to be.

Assignment Specifics

  • Topic and Position Statement:
    • Choose a topic of interest to you and write a short statement of your position on the topic. For example, if your topic was gun control, your position statement could be the following: “There should be stricter regulations on the possession of firearms.” I will choose a topic and positon for anyone who fails to turn in a topic and position on time.
  • Persuasive Essay on Chosen Topic:
    • You will need to write a one to two page persuasive essay supporting your position.
    • One of your students will be randomly assigned this topic and will write an opposing essay.
    • In your essay, you should apply what you have learned about logos, pathos, ethos, audience, and counterarguments.
    • While your essay will not discuss the readings from class, think about what those readings revealed about how to write a persuasive essay.
    • Think about how to select words and use grammar in order to better persuade your audience
  • Persuasive Essay on Assigned Topic:
    • You will also be randomly assigned a topic with a position statement that one of your classmates wrote.
    • You will need to write a one to two page persuasive essay arguing against your classmate’s position. Even if you agree with your classmate, you must still argue the contrary position!

Due Dates

  • Topic and Position Statement: Due October 3rd.
    • Submit through Elearning as a pdf using the Project 2: Topic and Position Statement dropbox.
  • Rough Drafts: Due October 11th.
    • Submit both essays as one document through Elearning as a pdf using the Project 2: Rough Drafts dropbox.
    • Final Drafts: Due October 18th.
      • Submit both essays as one document through Elearning as a pdf using the Project 2: Final Drafts dropbox.


      • Topic and Position Statement: 5%
      • Rough Drafts: 25%
      • Final Drafts: 70%

Only your final drafts will be graded rigorously. For your topic, position statement, and rough drafts, I will assign grades using the check system. See the class syllabus for more details.

This project will comprise 15% of your final grade for the class.

Late Work

      • Your topic, position statement, and rough drafts cannot be late. Failing to meet a deadline will result in a zero for that portion of your grade.
      • Your final drafts may be turned in up to a week late. However, your grade on your final drafts will decrease by 5% for every day overdue. If your final draft has not been turned in within a week, you will receive a zero.
      • Technological difficulties are not an excuse.


After you receive your grade for your final drafts, I will permit you to turn in a revised version of both essays once to try to get a better grade. To receive a better grade, however, your revised versions must demonstrate substantial improvement and revision for both essays. Superficial changes will not result in a better grade. You are encouraged to meet with me prior to turning in your revised versions.

If you choose to revise your final drafts, you may turn them in at any time in the semester prior to the scheduled final exam period. However, any late penalties you received from turning in your final drafts late the first time will carry over to your revised versions. You may turn in your revised versions through Elearning as a pdf using the Revision dropbox.


English 1050 Project 2 Assignment

English 1050 Project 2 Goals

English 1050 Project 2 Rubric