Begins with an early, explicitly-stated thesis

 Delays its thesis until later in the essay

 Leaves its thesis implied (lets the reader figure it out)

 Develops credibility (ethos)

 Appeals to readers' emotions (pathos)

 Reasons effectively (logos)

 Targets a narrow, specific audience

 Establishes exigence (the occasion or situation that inspires the argument)

 Engages counterarguments

 Introduces, engages, and cites secondary sources effectively

 Uses interviews or other primary research

 Uses stories (fictional or real) to illustrate points

 Centers on first-person narrative

 Combines first person with secondary research

 Offers rhetorical analysis of literary or visual texts

 Uses multimedia effectively / employs persuasive images

 Hooks readers with a strong beginning

 Transitions between paragraphs effectively

 Concludes well / leaves a strong final impression

 Employs a memorable voice or creative style

 Experiments / takes risks in structure or subject

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