In persuasive writing, an appeal to common sense is when a writer emphasises the elements of their argument that make good sense and are examples of sound judgement. Appeals to common sense characterise the writer and their solution to the issue as pragmatic and down-to-earth. In contrast, writers who appeal to common sense may point out the obvious flaws of their opponents’ arguments, emphasising how they might be impractical, ill-advised or fly in the face of conventional logic.
For example, when arguing in favour of protecting the natural world, an environmentalist might point out that the pragmatic step of reducing electricity consumptions makes sense because it both reduces carbon emissions and saves consumers money.
Appeals to common sense in action
Read the following article. Identify the issue, contention, audience and tone of the piece. Identify the persuasive techniques in the piece and explain the effect the are intended to have on the audience.
Click here to download the ‘Free public transport is fare and reasonable’ worksheet to help you analyse this article.