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Is this a good opening to a persuasive letter?

Is this a good opening to a persuasive letter? Topic: Write letters to old people
June 16, 2019 / By Kyran
Question: My english class has an assignment where we have to write persuasive letters. We had to write the first 10 sentances today. So in your opinion is this a good opening? It's about lowering the drinking age to 18. I can’t believe that there are about 1,081 deaths a year in Michigan alone from drunk driving. For the state of Michigan that’s about 36 percent of all deaths. If you think that’s a lot, then can you even imagine the percentage for our entire country? There are about 42,532 deaths a year in our entire country from drunk driving, that’s 37 percent! So what would happen to those numbers if we lowered the drinking age? If 21 year olds aren’t all responsible enough to drink and drive, then what makes you think 18 year olds are? I think the fact that people are trying to lower the drinking age to 18 is wrong, and will only cause more trouble, accidents, and deaths for our country. I realize that, at the moment, Michigan is the only state trying to lower the drinking age to 18, but this is a national issue. I can say from personal experience that drunken related accidents are things that nobody ever wants to deal with. We can help lower the amount of accidents due to drunk driving, but lowering the drinking age will only make it worse. Thank you:]
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Best Answers: Is this a good opening to a persuasive letter?

Isaac Isaac | 3 days ago
The third sentence talks about the percentage for the entire country... Percentages are about a portion of the entire population. I think what you wanted to say there instead of percentage would be "If you think that’s a lot, can you imagine the number of deaths worldwide?" I did some minor editing to remove the questions (asking a question isn't persuasive) and this is what I suggest: There are (exact #) deaths a year in Michigan alone from drunk driving. For the state of Michigan that’s about 36 percent of all deaths. If you think that’s a lot, can you imagine the number of deaths worldwide? Lowering the drinking age will only increase the amount of people that can purchase alcohol, so we can predict that the number of these tragedies will increase. If 21 year olds are not all responsible enough to drink responsibility, then we can not expect 18 year olds to be either. I think the fact that people are trying to lower the drinking age to 18 is wrong, and will only cause more accidents, deaths and tragedy for our country. I realize that, at the moment, Michigan is the only state trying to lower the drinking age to 18, but this is a national issue. I can say from personal experience that drunken-related accidents are things that severely impact your life. We can help lower the amount of accidents due to drunk driving through a variety of different community initiatives. Lowering the drinking age will not make our world a safer place and should not be done. Then I'd finish up with something emotional about dead kids and appealing to our state lawmakers.
👍 174 | 👎 3
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Isaac Originally Answered: Is this a good opening to a persuasive letter?
The third sentence talks about the percentage for the entire country... Percentages are about a portion of the entire population. I think what you wanted to say there instead of percentage would be "If you think that’s a lot, can you imagine the number of deaths worldwide?" I did some minor editing to remove the questions (asking a question isn't persuasive) and this is what I suggest: There are (exact #) deaths a year in Michigan alone from drunk driving. For the state of Michigan that’s about 36 percent of all deaths. If you think that’s a lot, can you imagine the number of deaths worldwide? Lowering the drinking age will only increase the amount of people that can purchase alcohol, so we can predict that the number of these tragedies will increase. If 21 year olds are not all responsible enough to drink responsibility, then we can not expect 18 year olds to be either. I think the fact that people are trying to lower the drinking age to 18 is wrong, and will only cause more accidents, deaths and tragedy for our country. I realize that, at the moment, Michigan is the only state trying to lower the drinking age to 18, but this is a national issue. I can say from personal experience that drunken-related accidents are things that severely impact your life. We can help lower the amount of accidents due to drunk driving through a variety of different community initiatives. Lowering the drinking age will not make our world a safer place and should not be done. Then I'd finish up with something emotional about dead kids and appealing to our state lawmakers.

Farran Farran
Your introduction so far is pretty good. I just have one major suggestion. So far you have taken the first person point of view with much of your evidence and claims ("I can't believe..." "I think that people..." "I realize that..."). Not to be demeaning to you or anything, it just appears unprofessional to the reader of your letter. Of course reader wants to know your opinion of the subject, otherwise they would not be reading your letter in the first place, so there is no reason to reinforce the fact that it is your opinion. In fact, if you reword several of your sentences so as to not use the first person, you will probably find that the letter will sound more convincing. When it sounds like you are taking the thoughts and opinions of others into consideration (even if you are not, it just has to appear to), your credibility is much more convincing. More specifically to your piece though, I personally like all of the facts that you utilize. You combine a lot of both emotional and logical appeals to the audience which is necessary in a persuasive piece. Often times either one or the other is left out of the piece and it isn't as dynamic as the audience will be; some people react better to logical than emotional appeals and vice versa. Your first sentence is a little risky; it is assuming that the audience cares about the deaths in Michigan to the same level that you do. While this sounds a little harsh, it is true. You have to warm up your audience, introduce them to the topic, ensure that they are drawn in, BEFORE such a strong claim is made. If you simply took off the "I can't believe that" part it would be much better because at that point it is a fact instead of a claim. I particularly like the following: "So what would happen to those numbers if we lowered the drinking age? If 21 year olds aren’t all responsible enough to drink and drive, then what makes you think 18 year olds are?" I would only suggest to remove so from the start as it will give a more professional tone instead of a conversational one, and I would reword the second sentence as such: "If 21 year olds are not all responsible enought to drink and drive, then what suggests 18 year olds are?" This wording removes the informal contraction and takes away the reference to the reader. It is always dangerous and partly demeaning to assume what the reader is thinking in response to something because if you are wrong, then you have lost all of your credibility. It simply comes down to make your persuasive letter more formal and less conversational. This will build your credibility and amplify any striking facts, emotional appeals, or requests that you may have. I hope that this is helpful and not too overbearing. It may sound like I am not liking your piece, though this is not true. It is simply that there are several minor details that, if changed, can make your persuasive piece that much better.
👍 70 | 👎 -1

Curt Curt
I like it. Very persuasive. The only thing that gave me second thoughts was your use of 'about' in the first sentence. Makes it feel like you are not confident of the number. I would use something like "There are over a 1000 deaths every year" OR if you know the statistics for the last year, you can say assertively "There were 1073 deaths from drunk driving in Michigan in 2007 alone". Also, citing your source for the numbers will add weight to the fact. Note: 1073 is not an accurate figure, just an example.
👍 68 | 👎 -5

Assur Assur
Not so good. You really need to tie the issues together if you are going in that direction. If you are trying to persuade some one you need to get rid of "I can't believe" and "if you think". I can't believe; so why should I? If you think; who says I do? Start by stating your case by telling your story, describe your experience, in a way that cannot be argued with, use emotion to pull in the audience and connect. " Having endured the nightmare of losing a loved one...", this should be emotional and not clinical. Lead into why this experience give YOU credibility in the arguement. The stats aren't going to persuade anyone, all stats are questionable and unmoving. Good opening should connect through emotions that are universal, things everyone can "feel". Tell your story don't preach, close the opening with "my story is only one of 1,081 in Michigan this year. We need to stand together if we wish to have fewer of these stories, and lowering the drinking age will only leave more of us telling this tale."
👍 66 | 👎 -9

Verity Verity
This intro is well worded, however to me, it still seems to be lacking that attention grabber that the first sentence should always have. Your thesis sentence is right on and describes your intent on the topic well though. On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd give it a 7.5-8 range.
👍 64 | 👎 -13

Verity Originally Answered: Is this a good opening for my story?
I liked it, as far as it was written well. But, you killed off your character too quick. I get it's a prologue, but I kind of liked your character, and I was wondering, "Why did this guy lose his memory, and what's this blood in the sink, and what's this noise outside?" Then, the thing killed him, and I'm not sure what it was. Um, your existential structure is probably your biggest weakness, that's a word which means your ability to narrate something in a logical time frame (It technically means your tense, but I take the word one step further), and I saw only one part where I can maybe give you an example: " The driver pulled into the driveway and opened the door, paid for his room and went inside." This sentence, he pulls into the driveway and opens the "door". Now, this is the stuff, and we all do it, where do you mean the car door, or do you mean the hotel? Because your character never exited the car, and this is what Existential structure is about, so that way we can know what your character is doing, and we can locate him in time and space. Here, he just kind of time warped into the hotel, and we're left wondering how he got there. Watch for this stuff. "he saw... “something” roaming the halls, the remains of the office staff in its wake. He slowly closed the door, kneeled down and said the Hail Mary prayer. It heard him and began beating aginst the door, screeching in a language unintelligible to human minds. The door started to splinter, then was smashed open. the man was sliced to ribbons by the creature." This right here is where you totally lost me. I mean, I had the expectation that I was about to read a story about a man who was framed for some crime, or something. This caught me off guard a little because it didn't make sense what was going on. I figured out it was a monster, but I thought, "Gunshots... this guy will be framed." Then this happened, and I'd dig it if I knew what the monster looked like, or if there was something suspenseful. Instead, and understand I don't do this often, I see a man do a "Hail Mary" and then get "cut to ribbons." I'm a little disappointed at this point because the character is dead, who I liked, I really thought this was the beginning of something great, but he died. Well, I mean, I get it's a prologue, but, like, the character I knew died, and I don't know what killed him, and I don't really know what's going on because There's now an "office" staff, I guess you mean the hotel greeters, and they're ripped apart. I don't know, I think this has great potential, I really do, but my writing professor told me this, and I'll tell you because it improved my ability to write. Never kill off the protagonist! This is sloppy story telling, and this is the reason why. You have a great character, like a Jason Bourne, and amnesia is a great thing to play with because it gives the reader the ability to know everything the character knows. But, you killed him, so why even tell us anything about him? You have the ability to make characters, and this is good. I understand the point of why you wrote it, but you can very easily lose readers by doing this. You killed him off too soon. I don't know enough about him, and I don't have an idea of the space, and what's going on. I know "Something?" killed him, but what? I mean, it's got to have some hook, and you have a great opportunity for a hook, but it's either the prologue is too short, or you shouldn't kill this character off so quick. Maybe he died, but at least don't let the reader know how. It's sometimes best to let them think about it, rather than "This character we really like is cut to ribbons." I mean, ok, something's not working. But, like I said, you have a great ability to make characters. You really do, and I wouldn't harp on this unless you actually had something with potential. If this was bad, I'd not comment. So, it's not bad. It's good, it just needs a lot more development, a lot more attention to detail, and you need to understand the existential structure better, as I think my biggest criticism is the structural issue you have with your character in space and time. As, that's a hard barrier to break for any writer, but you've got the potential to break it. If this is a prologue, don't be afraid to write it. This, probably, should be a bout four to six thousand words, and then maybe you'll have the effect you went for, which I know what that effect was. But I care just enough about the character to be mad that he's dead, and not enough to want to continue reading and find the SOG that got him. I also don't know what that thing is. You are leaps and bounds better than most writers. Let me tell you that, so you don't get discouraged. I'm only going to give this kind of criticism to people who actually need it, as the problem here is objectively a structural problem of underwriting, ambiguous existential structure and plot. There should be, in your prologue, a sort of plot structure, at least a mini plot. I'd even go so far that it should be a short story, so we get invested in your story, and don't tell us how the character died. You can kill off as many side characters as you want, but you should never kill off the main character, unless you have a brilliant way of doing it. That's just how it is, and it's one of only a few rules I tell people to follow. And, at that point, this guy is the only character we know. Plain and simple, if he did die, let us know later, when we're invested in the new character. Hopefully this helps.

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