A Wide Array of Prompts for Inspiration!

[adapted from PSSA at http://www.pasd.com/pssa/writing/wri253.htm & Persuasive Essay Prompts http://mh034.k12.sd.us/persuasive_essay_prompts.htm ]

Use the prompts below for essay ideas/inspiration. Some of these topics may be adapted. You are not limited to this list! Whatever you choose, pick a clear and real position and convince your audience that your view is sound. Use examples and anticipate the counter-arguments.


1.      Should the U.S. be at war with Iraq? Write an editorial persuading your readers of your position. Or pick another point that addresses war and peace.

2.      Fads never really go out of style.

3.      Life in the 21st Century is better than ever.

4.      Should there be laws that fine people for using their cell phones in movie theaters or theaters? Pick a position and write a letter that supports your view.

5.      Verbal harassment and teasing should be punishable by extreme measures.

6.      People are happier than they’ve ever been.

7.      Americans are too concerned with material goods.

8.      People worry too much about __________. Pick a topic and support it.

9.      Schreiber has decided to __________ or, you feel Schreiber should ________. Pick one:  change the dress code and require uniforms, stop assigning homework on the weekend, require each student to take an ethics class in response to excessive plagiarism, begin random drug testing throughout the school year, distribute condoms to students, students not maintaining a B or better average can not participate in extra-curricular activities, begin school later, create an online option/distance learning, or end summer vacations and go to year-round schooling. Write an argument letter to persuade the school board to make the change or to keep the policy.

10.  If you were to include one item in a time capsule for future generations, what would it be? The item should exemplify the culture of the early twenty-first century. Convince the committee sponsoring the time capsule to include your item, explaining thoroughly the item's use and significance to the year 2006.

11.  I am special because…

12.  Why dating is better/worse than hooking up, friends with benefits, etc.

13.  Manners. Pick a position on manners and develop it.

14.  We need to choose alternative sources of energy (i.e., nuclear, solar, etc.).

15.  Long Island was recently voted one of the most segregated regions in the entire nation. Pick a position that explores why this may be the case.

16.  School lunch needs revising.

17.  Not only children, but all people should have to wear helmets.

18.  All students should have to ________ before they graduate. (Complete volunteer community service, work in a restaurant, travel abroad, take an ethics course, etc.)

19.  Assume you are the family pet. (Be sure to define what you are.) You are being neglected in a big way and do not like it. You cannot speak to the owner as a human, but you can use all of the tricks of your kind to convince the owner that you want and need attention. Let the reader know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Remember that you are persuading the owner to stop what he or she is doing and to be more attentive to you and your needs. Be sure to include the owner's reactions.

20.  Improve the school by ___________.

21.  Supersizing at fast food restaurants causes obesity in Americans.

22.  Don’t impose your dog on me!

23.  New Yorkers are obnoxious.

24.  The FDA’s new food pyramid is necessary and valuable.

25.  The station that carries your favorite TV show has just decided to cancel it and replace it with re-runs of a show for very young children. As an avid viewer, write a letter that influences the station to continue showing your program.

26.  The best school is not necessarily the most prestigious.

27.  You can tell a lot about a person by what they read.

28.  Pick a place where you would like to live and support why.

29.  You can tell a lot about a person by what they eat.

30.  Someone in my family deserves an award.

31.  The Internet is the best thing to ever happen to education.

32.  You want to convince your parents to let you buy a very expensive item (TV, computer, ski vacation, etc.). Write to persuade them to purchase the item for you.

33.  Inventions are made to advance our society, but not all inventions ultimately have good effects. Identify one invention that has harmed society. Write a newspaper editorial that convinces your community why we would be better off as a civilization without that invention.

34.  Reality shows. Pick a position and support it. For instance, reality shows cause Americans to possess distorted ideas about their own lives…or, Reality shows promote an unhealthy obsession with plastic surgery.

35.  "Failure is often a better teacher than success." As someone who has experienced both, write a letter to a younger student either agreeing or disagreeing with this statement.

36.  “The most important quality any person can have is a sense of humor.”

37.  “Education’s responsibility is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm Forbes.

38.  Having their images placed on postage stamps has honored many famous people, both real and fictional. Choose a real or fictional person who you feel deserves this honor.  Write a paper that would persuade others your choice is good.

39. How should students’ littering habits be handled?

40.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Do you agree with this statement?

41.  Illegal immigrants should be ______.

42.  Other ideas? There are a million…





(Please try to pick something fresh!):

Legalizing marijuana

Lowering the drinking age

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

Affirmative Action

Death Penalty

SAT’s (& all the misery associated with them)