Difference between Argument and Persuasion

Updated on October 26, 2016

So you need to convince someone to do something or simply to agree with you on an issue. This is basically the essence of all human communication. We may agree and not even need to confirm it, but when we disagree, we need to put things in words and to present each point of view in a clear manner. This is where argument and persuasion come in. But do you know the difference between the two?



An argument is a concept with two meanings. It can either mean a contradictory and angry discussion between two people, or a detailed explanation of choice or opinion. The first meaning implies an emotional conversation, probably featuring a lack of judgment and the inability to see the other person’s point of view, all backed by a strong desire to convince the counterpart of one’s own opinions.

The rational argument is well composed and delivered without emotion. It can be used as in the phrases: “a strong argument”, “a good argument for/against”.

Persuasion is the ability to convince others of one’s own opinions. When a person has power of persuasion, it means that they can easily win a debate by using a well-constructed argument, using emotional leverage, or simply by being a type of person others respond to and want to please. Being persuasive can be good for the person but bad for others, as they might avoid getting in an argument with a persuasive person or in situations they would not want to accept.

Argument vs Persuasion

The level of emotional involvement makes the difference between argument and persuasion. If we are to refer simply to the meanings both have in the context of a discussion, persuasion is more emotionally packed and more invested in winning the debate. On the other hand, an argument can be a tool used by either of the debate participants.

The main goal of persuasion is to get the listener to agree, no matter what the means used are. These means may include not listening to other claims, not giving in to sense, making statements that are not backed by facts and reality, being a bit aggressive, and using intimidation. An argument implies a calmer tone and the strict delivery of facts and provable data. A strong and well-constructed argument is comprehensive and can be checked from more than one side of an issue. The contradictory stands are acknowledged and validated if true.

Comparison Chart

A reason behind someone’s opinion or choiceThe capacity to convince
Calm toneMore aggressive tone
Uses only validated facts and dataUses all means of persuasion, including emotional leverage and intimidation
Less emotionally investedMore emotionally invested