Student Writing: Persuasive EssayWritten by Scott Dreyer
Persuasive writing is a key communication task: the writer seeks to persuade, or get the reader to, buy, do, or believe something (or maybe NOT buy, do, or believe something.) The section explaining Persuasive Writing starts on page 66 of my book, Write like a Champion. Please get yourself a copy and take a look!
In a recent online writing class, I taught this technique and had the students write their own essay. Here is one example.
Baseball in the Olympics?
After taking a twelve-year hiatus from the Olympics, baseball was added back to the lineup for Tokyo 2020. While some fans are jumping for joy, the truth is that baseball should be kept out of the Olympics. It can be argued that baseball qualifies in all categories of the Olympics, whether it is the participation of countries, or its popularity in the world; however, there are some underlying reasons why baseball should be kept out.
For starters, the Olympics are held smack in the middle of the baseball season. Unlike other sports like basketball, players have to leave their teams in the middle of a season to play for their countries. In order for players in leagues to participate, they have to risk their team's performance in order to represent their country. Because of this, professional teams may not allow their players from participating. If the top players do not play for their countries, then Olympic baseball might end up as a college tournament, because those are the “second-tiered” players. The results of the competitions might not accurately reflect the skills of each country and will not draw as much attention from fans.
Playing in the Olympics puts the players at risk for injury. This puts the contestants’ careers at stake. Many times, teams have had stars get injured in international competitions, harming their careers. For example, Sung-Wei Tseng a highly-anticipated prospects of the Cleveland Indians. While playing in a world cup for baseball, he was overused by Chinese Taipei coaches, and he was never the same. Tseng went from a pitcher throwing 148 km/h (92 mph) to a pitcher barely breaking 140 km/h (88 mph) in a matter of a few years. Some players were luckier. Hanley Ramirez, then of the Los Angeles Dodgers, needed surgery on his thumb after injuring it in the World Baseball Classic final in 2013. He managed to recover, and signed a big contract with the Boston Red Sox. These players play professional ball as a career-- it is what they do for a living. Some countries might not pay for the money a player loses during an injury, leading many players to be hesitant with their decisions.
Last, there is already a major baseball competition held every four years like the Olympics: the World Baseball Classic (WBC). This contest, hosted by Major League Baseball, attracts more star players than any other tournament. During the two weeks of WBC competition, sixteen teams all over the world battle each other for the title of world champion. Because players are more reluctant to join this competition, many teams get a big boost. This explains why some lower-ranked teams, like the Dominican Republic, are able to dominate this competition. This “classic” is becoming more popular with each competition, and it is always hyped-up before it begins. The most important detail about his competition: it is held during Spring Training, when players prepare for the upcoming season.
Obviously, baseball should be kept out of the Olympics, but the committee has decided otherwise for 2020. If the event goes well, baseball will continue to make a case to stay in the Summer Games. However, the Tokyo Olympics is a big chance to expose the truths about hosting baseball to the world.
--Justin in Hsinchu, Taiwan
Scott's comments: Justin has a fine way with words and his essays often involve sports; I think he may become a sports writer some day. There are several things I particularly like about this essay:
1. Use of question in the title. Questions make great titles. They elicit curiosity and encourage the reader to see what you have to say.
2. Excellent word choice: hiatus, jumping for joy, smack in the middle of (some readers might find that too informal, but I think it works here), hyped-up.
3. Clear structure; he makes three points and sets off each with its own paragraph. His logic is easy to follow, with evidence for each.
4. Speaking of evidence, Justin proves he knows his stuff, but citing specific players, their injuries, and even specific pitching speeds! When it comes to writing, specificity shows mastery.
5. Clear use of acronyms. If an acronym is widely or almost universally understood, you do not need to spell it out. For example, most people know what "USA" stands for. However, if you are unsure if all your readers recognize it, here's what to do:
A. The first time you reference the name in your essay, write out the full name, in this case, "World Baseball Classic." (Note: not being a baseball fan, I do not follow the World Baseball Classics, so when I see "WBC," I think "White Blood Cells.")
B. Then write the acronym in parentheses (WBC) right after the full name, so the reader makes the connection.
C. In all later references in your paper, just use the acronym, without the parentheses.
A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.dreyercoaching.com/en/about/scott-dreyer
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