Tutorial for “Write a Letter to Persuade an Editor or the Public on an Issue”

Tips

You must take into account the different attitudes of your readers. Anticipate and try to overcome their major objections with cogent explanations, assuming they will have the "common sense" to agree with you once they understand the full issue.

Steps

1. State the issue and your stance. You may also state what action you hope the reader will take.

Sentences

  • I urge all voters to cast their ballots for John Doe in the city council primary election.
  • I want to urge voters to call or write to their state representatives and ask them to vote in favor of the tax bill.
  • Please give your support to Jane Doe and send her to Congress.
  • Proposition 3B will be up for reconsideration soon. Many company presidents and senior managers understand what 3B will do if it passes, so they are publicly speaking out against it. As employees and citizens, 3B concerns you. We urge you to speak out against the proposition with us.
  • You are undoubtedly familiar with the proposed bill to loosen restrictions on paroled criminals.
  • As your colleague and friend, I am writing to voice my opinion on the upcoming general election. I try to avoid mixing business and politics; however, in this case I feel it is time to break that rule. I recently learned some disturbing facts about John Doe, the Independent candidate.

Phrases

  • am deeply concerned about
  • concerning the recent announcement
  • considering the pros and cons of
  • express my support for
  • has not been open with the public
  • must speak out against
  • need to become familiar with
  • need to think very carefully before we
  • our concerns include
  • should all be concerned about
  • some of the actions that have recently
  • the plan that has been adopted
  • the latest information about
  • the proposed bill will
  • the current state of affairs
  • the citizens of this country
  • the issue currently being debated
  • urge the members of our
  • voice my opinion on
  • want you to know that
  • wish to call our community to action

2. State the reason for your opinion and why the reader should agree with it. If you haven't stated it yet, let the reader know what action you hope he or she will take.

Sentences

  • John has been serving our community in various capacities for at least fifteen years. He has been a council member and has served on a number of boards. As a successful businessman, he also has a good grasp of management and a natural feel for public service.
  • Jane is just the kind of person we have been waiting for to look out for our best interests in Washington. She understands the family and religious values that we must protect.
  • As currently written, the bill is far too restrictive. I have enclosed a sheet explaining the major problems with the proposed ruling and why we believe it is so unfair to you. Read it over. Then write, call, or fax your representatives right away. Let them know your opinion.
  • Bill 3B certainly lowers taxes for the wealthy, but it places a new tax burden on the lower and middle classes. The result? As employees feel the government is taking more and more of their money, we will see a significant decrease in employee morale and overall productivity.
  • Statistics show that the adolescent crime rate has increased by 10% over the past year, most of which can be attributed to gang activity. We cannot afford to permit these gangs to ravage our city. Stricter regulations and law enforcement will greatly reduce the chances of harm to our children.
  • If the state legislature passes the revised education bill next week, it will cut the available funds to our schools. This would clearly be detrimental to our children. They would lose educational materials, have bigger classes, and even lose good teachers. We need to speak up now to stop this damaging bill.
  • Here are a few things I feel you should know about him:
    - 2001: He organized and led a group whose stated aim was to drive blacks and other minorities from predominantly white neighborhoods.
    - 2002: He publicly denounced Jews in a press conference.
    - 2005: He made a large monetary contribution to a proclaimed neo-Nazi organization.

Phrases

  • are guaranteed by the Constitution
  • as taxpayers, we have a right to
  • cannot allow such
  • cannot compare with
  • consider the advantages of
  • create an appropriate environment for
  • have been waiting for
  • if we each do our part to
  • must strictly enforce the
  • must each do our part to
  • must not be allowed to
  • need to work together towards
  • need to protect our interests
  • protect the environment
  • serving the community
  • statistics show that
  • the proposed ruling will
  • these fundamental values are
  • to fall into the trap of
  • will allow negative influences to
  • will better regulate
  • your monetary contribution will

3. Close with a final call to action.

Sentences

  • Doe will make a great mayor. He will bring his skills and experience to the office, giving our city the leadership it needs.
  • Please let your representatives know how strongly you feel about this very important issue.
  • Of all the candidates, she is the one who best understands our community and is most willing to stand up against the forces that would undo the fabric of our society. She will make a superb congresswoman.
  • Communicate your feelings about this issue with your representative today. Time is running out.
  • We hope you will publicly oppose 3B.
  • I urge you to exercise your constitutional right; let your voice be heard. Write to your representative now.
  • Most people are unaware of his past, especially since he has recently adopted a very benign image--that of the caring American eager to promote racial harmony. Despite this new image, I urge you to consider his past before placing confidence in his words today. We need to be aware of what our candidates really stand for.

Phrases

  • all work together toward
  • by uniting we can
  • by combining our efforts
  • can blame only ourselves if
  • courage of your convictions
  • encourage you to get involved in
  • exercise your constitutional right to
  • fight for our rights
  • in order to bring about changes
  • is very important that we all
  • is your duty to vote for
  • let your congressman know how you feel about
  • make your neighbors aware of
  • must unite our voices in order to
  • speak out against
  • speak out for
  • stand firm in your views
  • stand by our beliefs
  • the resulting consequences
  • urge you to voice your opinion
  • urge you to write to your
  • will be in the best interests of

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