The 5 Most Common Persuasive Techniques in Language Analysis

August 16, 2020
SAC Tutoring

By now, we should all have worked on persuasive techniques.

Yes, it can be such a drag going through them, but we’re gonna simplify them for you.

So, what exactly are persuasive techniques?

Think of it this way: you’re going into battle.

The battle is for Narnia, and for equal rights of all Narnians.

You have your armor on - you’re safe against enemy offence.

Except, you can’t win the battle without weapons.

Now that you have a solid picture, let’s mirror this to English.

The battle is the issue, so what it is you are discussing.

What you’re battling for - equal rights - is the contention, your point of view on the issue.

The armor represents your arguments, the point you’re making in order to defend your point of view.

And finally, your weapons are the persuasive techniques.

Persuasive techniques are what spices up your writing when it comes to persuasive essays, and is what you’ll be looking for in other people’s writing when it comes to language analysis.

Without persuasive techniques, your arguments stand alone, and they won’t have that extra oomph to help you defend your case.

Let’s have a look at five of the easiest, and most common persuasive techniques that you can use and identify.

1. Anecdote

Not to be confused with antidote - the cure for poisons.

An anecdote is basically a story that the writer uses to help the audience relate to them more.

It is usually a personal story, but can be made up to serve the purpose of the issue.

Whether the anecdote is short or long is entirely up to you.

However, don’t be discouraged if your anecdote isn’t the length of a Harry Potter novel.

A short and sweet anecdote can be just as powerful as a lengthy one.

The purpose and effect of using anecdotes is to create a sense of relatability between the author and audience, which results in the audience trusting the author more.

2. Hyperbole

Pronounced ‘hyper-bo-lee’.

This is just the really funky way of saying ‘exaggeration’ in English terms.

Exaggerating the modality (the level of seriousness of a situations) is something we all do, or have done, in every day life.

“Mum, I really need AirPods, or I’ll die!”

“I’m so hungry, I could eat a cow.”

“My whole body is 90% bubble tea.”

We’ve all been there and done that.

The saying goes ‘it takes one to know one’, so it should be super easy for you guys to identify when an author is using hyperbole.

3. Emotive Language

Using emotive language is one of the most powerful, yet simple techniques.

All it takes is finding a synonym to match a plain and boring adjective, and your work will immediately look ten times more flavorsome.

Exhibit A: It is so sad that the bush fires are burning the country.

If you were to read that in an article about ‘Why You Should Help Out in the Australian Bush fire Crisis’, you probably won’t be as persuaded the way you would with the following sentence:

Exhibit B: It is a travesty that the bush fires are scorching our beautiful country to the ground.

Feel the difference?

The stronger the adjectives, the better.

4. Statistics

According the a survey undertaken by SAC English Tutors, about 75% of students are unsure about whether it’s okay to make up statistics.

Last year, 100% of SAC English Students were able to identify and use statistics.

Statistics are probably the easiest to identify, in the sense that all you need to look for are numbers.

Percentages, graphs, pie charts, and measurements are all just a few examples of what statistics can look like.

If you’re writing your own persuasive piece, it is okay to make up your own statistics, so long as it is for a made up issue, not a real one.

The purpose of statistics is to make the audience think that the author knows what they’re talking about, and that they have solid evidence to support their point of view and arguments.

The truth is, many of us are more likely to believe solid, hard evidence over emotive language.

Unfortunately, there’s no statistics on what percentage of us there are on this.

5. Inclusive Language

We all know that inclusive language uses personal pronouns.

Pronouns such as: we, us, I, and you are the words you’ll have to keep an eye out for when it comes to identifying techniques.

Typically, authors use inclusive language in order to create a sense of unity and togetherness; it creates relatability.

If you guys are writing a persuasive piece and are struggling to incorporate techniques, inclusive language is the best way to go.

Use this with anecdote and emotive language, and you’ll have a pretty promising piece.

Persuasive techniques can be super annoying to study and memorize.

But the best thing you can do is choose a couple of your favorites (especially the five we’ve described for you) and stick with them.

Once you’ve accomplished these five, you’ll be smashing out the rest of the techniques in no time.