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Argument vs. Persuasion: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on December 16, 2023
Argument is a process of presenting reasons to support or refute a point. Persuasion is the act of convincing someone to believe or do something.

Key Differences

Argument involves presenting a series of logical reasons or evidence to support a viewpoint. It focuses on establishing the validity of a claim. Persuasion, in contrast, aims at changing someone's beliefs or actions, often using emotional appeals or rhetorical techniques.
In an argument, the primary goal is to demonstrate the truth or falsehood of a statement through reasoning. It often involves a formal structure and logical consistency. Persuasion, however, is more about the effective communication of a position to influence others, prioritizing the end result over the method.
While presenting an argument, one engages in a structured debate, often acknowledging and refuting opposing viewpoints. Persuasion, on the other hand, is more about winning over the audience, sometimes even if it means bypassing strict logical reasoning.
Argument is more about the content and structure of the points made, aiming to convince through evidence and logic. Persuasion leans towards how the message is delivered, often employing emotional appeals, personal credibility, and rhetorical strategies.
In essence, argument is a tool used within the process of persuasion. While an argument focuses on the logical aspects of persuasion, persuasion encompasses a wider range of tactics, including but not limited to arguments.

Comparison Chart


Logical reasoning and evidence
Influencing beliefs and actions


Establish truth or falsehood
Change beliefs or actions


Structured, logical debate
Emotional appeals, rhetorical techniques


Content and structure
Delivery and influence


Part of persuasion process
Broader than argument, includes various tactics

Argument and Persuasion Definitions


Debate to prove a point.
The argument against the policy was based on economic data.


Rhetorical effort to convince.
Through persuasion, he garnered support for the project.


Reasoning to support a point.
Their argument for renewable energy was compelling.


Influencing beliefs or actions.
Her persuasion skills helped change the team's opinion.


Series of logical statements.
Her argument included statistics and historical examples.


Encouraging a specific viewpoint.
Her persuasion was evident in how she presented the facts.


Presentation of evidence.
He made an argument with strong scientific backing.


Appealing to emotions or values.
His speech used persuasion to inspire the audience.


Contention in a discussion.
The main argument in the meeting was about budget allocation.


Strategic communication for influence.
Through effective persuasion, they won the debate.


A discussion in which the parties involved express disagreement with one another; a debate
Philosophical arguments over the nature of existence.


The act of persuading or the state of being persuaded
"The persuasion of a democracy to big changes is at best a slow process" (Harold J. Laski).


An angry discussion involving disagreement among the participants; a quarrel
The roommates had an argument about whose turn it was to wash the dishes.


The ability or power to persuade
"Three foremost aids to persuasion which occur to me are humility, concentration, and gusto" (Marianne Moore).


Is emotional appeal a part of argument?

Typically, no. Argument relies more on logic and evidence than on emotions.

Can an argument be part of persuasion?

Yes, an argument can be a tool used within the broader process of persuasion.

What's important in an argument?

The most important aspect of an argument is its logical structure and the validity of its evidence.

Can arguments be emotional?

While arguments are primarily logical, they can sometimes include emotional elements to strengthen the appeal.

Can persuasion be effective without a strong argument?

Yes, persuasion can be effective through emotional appeals or credibility, even without a strong logical argument.

How does argument differ from persuasion?

Argument focuses on logical reasoning, while persuasion is about influencing beliefs or actions.

Can two people have different arguments for the same point?

Yes, different arguments can be made in support of the same point, using different evidence or reasoning.

Is persuasion only about changing beliefs?

Persuasion involves changing both beliefs and actions.

What does persuasion involve?

Persuasion involves convincing others to believe or do something, often using emotional appeals.

What is an argument?

An argument is a series of reasons presented to support or refute a point.

Can a logical fallacy be persuasive?

Yes, logical fallacies can sometimes be persuasive, especially if the audience is not aware of the fallacy.

Is persuasion more about the speaker or the audience?

Persuasion is about the relationship between the speaker and the audience and how the message is received.

Can someone be good at arguing but poor at persuading?

Yes, being good at logical reasoning doesn’t necessarily mean being effective at emotionally or ethically appealing to an audience.

Does persuasion always involve direct communication?

Not always, persuasion can be subtle and indirect as well.

Is persuasion ethical?

Persuasion is ethically neutral; it depends on how it is used and for what purpose.

Can an argument be persuasive?

Yes, a well-structured argument with solid evidence can be very persuasive.

What is a common goal of both argument and persuasion?

A common goal is to change or reinforce the viewpoint of the audience.

How can one improve in both argument and persuasion?

Improving in argument involves enhancing logical reasoning, while improving in persuasion involves understanding audience psychology and effective communication strategies.

What role does credibility play in persuasion?

Credibility of the speaker is crucial in persuasion as it helps in gaining the trust of the audience.

Are facts necessary in an argument?

Yes, facts are essential in an argument to support the reasoning.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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