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Persuasion

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In a persuasive essay do you need to write "I believe"? How can I learn to write a persuasive essay?

10 Answers

Caroline Austin

Caroline Austin , works at American Psychological Association (2017-present)

“The Five-Step Writing Process for Persuasive Essays

1. Prewriting for the Persuasive Essay

The prewriting phase of writing a persuasive essay is extremely important. During this phase, students should plan every aspect of the essay:

  • Choose a position. Students should think about the issue and pick the side they wish to advocate.
  • Understand the audience. In order to write an effective persuasive essay, the writer must understand the reader’s perspective. Is the reader undecided or inclined to favor one side or the other?
  • Do the research. A persuasive essay depends upon solid, convincing evidence. Don’t rely on a single source. Pull information from multiple websites and reference materials. Speak with community experts and teachers. Read and take notes. There is no substitute for knowledge of both sides of the issue.
  • Identify the most convincing evidence, as well as the key points for the opposing view. You might also learn how to write a response paper .

2. Drafting the Persuasive Essay

When writing the initial draft of a persuasive essay, consider the following suggestions:

  • The introductory paragraph should have a strong “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention. Open with an unusual fact or statistic, a question or quotation, or an emphatic statement. For example: “Driving while talking on a cell phone, even hands-free, is the equivalent of driving drunk.”
  • The thesis statement should leave no doubts about the writer’s position.
  • Each body paragraph should cover a separate point, and the sentences of each paragraph should offer strong evidence in the form of facts, statistics, quotes from experts, and real-life examples.
  • Consider various ways to make the argument, including using an analogy, drawing comparisons, or illustrating with hypothetical situation (e.g., what if, suppose that…).
  • Don’t assume the audience has in-depth knowledge of the issue. Define terms and give background information.
  • The concluding paragraph should summarize the most important evidence and encourage the reader to adopt the position or take action. The closing sentence can be a dramatic plea, a prediction that implies urgent action is needed, a question that provokes readers to think seriously about the issue, or a recommendation that gives readers specific ideas on what they can do.

3. Revising the Persuasive Essay

In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Does the essay present a firm position on the issue, supported by relevant facts, statistics, quotes, and examples?
  • Does the essay open with an effective “hook” that intrigues readers and keeps them reading?
  • Does each paragraph offer compelling evidence focused on a single supporting point?
  • Is the opposing point of view presented and convincingly refuted?
  • Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise? Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
  • Does the concluding paragraph convey the value of the writer’s position and urge the reader to think and act?

If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look the thesis. Does it present the strongest argument? Test it by writing a thesis statement for the opposing viewpoint. In comparison, does the original thesis need strengthening? Once the thesis presents a well-built argument with a clear adversarial viewpoint, the rest of the essay should fall into place more easily.

4. Editing the Persuasive Essay

Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.

5. Publishing the Persuasive Essay

Sharing a persuasive essay with the rest of the class or with family and friends can be both exciting and intimidating. Learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay even better.

Source: Tips on Writing a Persuasive Essay

Nathan Squiers

Nathan Squiers , bestselling & award-winning author

The art of persuasion is not in changing peoples minds based on your beliefs, but in convincing people that theyve changed their minds on their own. To say "I believe" in a persuasive essay goes against the central point of the piece; of course you believe something–everyone does–and of course your beliefs are going to be mirrored in the essay–you ARE the author, after all–but the essay isnt FOR you and you arent the one being persuaded. The greatest challenge in an essay is actually to remove any essence of "you" from the equation (meaning no use of "I," "my," "mine," etc…). This also pretty much eliminates the need for casual, dialogue-like language (so words like "you," "your," "yours," etc…).

A solid persuasive essay is going to have a compelling opening paragraph that eloquently "maps" the purpose of the piece (the subject matter and the evidence supporting both the pros and the cons of the subject). Then theres going to be the body paragraphs that provide concrete evidence FOR the side youve chosen, followed by at least one paragraph that offers the evidence to the contrary. For the sake of a solid persuasive essay, the final body paragraph should "stir" the prior body paragraphs so that the reader naturally comes to a state of mind that YOUR sides evidence outweighs the other. Finally, a conclusion that neatly wraps up the package.

During my time working with a local college, I helped solidify the students perception of essay writing as if they were assembling a cheeseburger. The top bun (the intro) and the bottom bun (the conclusion) are pretty much the same thing (they "sandwich" the materials and closely resemble one another while still allowing the reader–the "consumer"–to recognize that ones the top and the other is the bottom [one side is clearly an introduction where the other is clearly a conclusion]). The bottom bun/conclusion should never have anything that the top bun/opening didnt have–no new information or elements should be sprung up at the end that didnt make an appearance already. Then, in the middle–the "meat" and "fixings"–is all of the ingredients that work towards the overall need. If your job is to assemble a mushroom-and-swiss burger, then stuffing a bunch of unnecessary ingredients for the sake of filler not only hurts the point of the burger, but it will likely compel the consumer to NOT "agree" with your recipe. To bring this burger metaphor back to your question, saying "I believe" in a persuasive essay would be like a chef personally delivering the burger to the diners table and making a big deal about how they made it and why thats the way they make their burgers; yea, theres a lot of flare and personal information being offered, but the diner isnt going to give a damn about the chefs history if the burger sucks (and, to be blunt, theyre more likely to dislike the burger just because of all the personal garbage that got served up beside it).

Write the essay with neutral language while still providing enough evidence to make readers feel like theyre choosing to agree with your side, and youll have a solid persuasive essay.

Write on and stay gnarly.

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Is this answer still relevant and up to date?
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Georgianne Kintz

Georgianne Kintz , former It Specialist at Yahoo! (2013-2014)

You can change it for something else, but you still need to write something of same sort. You can learn more about the thing at this online essay ordering site( Do My Homework for Me • Online Homework Assignment Writing & Editing Service )

Daniel Scholtemeyer

Daniel Scholtemeyer , studied Law at University of West Bohemia (2011)

A persuasive essay is an essay used to convince a reader about a particular idea or focus, usually one that you believe in. Your persuasive essay could be based on anything about which you have an opinion. Whether youre arguing against junk food at school or petitioning for a raise from your boss, the persuasive essay is a skill that everyone should know.

Check out this guide on persuasive essay writing.

Mike Mendis

Mike Mendis

No, you do not need to use the phrase "I believe." In fact, you should avoid using it, since the "I believe" argument is not very persuasive. Most of your readers will not care what you believe. They will pay attention to (and be persuaded by) what some expert has to say on the subject far more than to (and by) what you believe.

You should be able to persuade your readers to accept something that you yourself do not believe—that is the true test of a well-written persuasive essay. (In a formal debate, debaters often have to argue against their personal beliefs.) A well-written persuasive essay is persuasive by argument alone—and "I believe" is not a persuasive argument.

State the position you are defending using the word "should" and then provide good arguments and evidence for why that position must be accepted as the correct one.

It is not possible to teach anyone how to write a persuasive on Quora. That is the job of your teacher in whatever school you attend.

Prenston Walsh

Prenston Walsh

Persuasive essay writing is not the easiest thing to learn. “I believe” is the phrase that expresses your personal point of view, but a persuasive essay is not about that. It’s about expressing some facts or statements that will let readers support or share your thoughts on their own.

Timothy Singleton

Timothy Singleton , I have a B.A. in Journalism and have published articles and short stories.

"I believe," shows very well that you have an opinion.
 
It does not provide facts or help state your case very well.
 
In a persuasive essay, I would uncover as many facts as I can, from other sources or news and give the reader a reason to believe you.  Be sure to credit any sources you use.
 
Do not say "I believe the Earths average daily temperature is rising every year."
 
Your opinion isnt desired.
 
Quote some studies by respectable scientific sources that give us evidence of this phenomenon instead. 
 
That is how you persuade.
This page may be out of date. Submit any pending changes before refreshing this page.
Hide this message .

Persuasion

Essay Writing Help

Essays

Writing Advice

Writing

Education

In a persuasive essay do you need to write "I believe"? How can I learn to write a persuasive essay?

10 Answers

Caroline Austin

Caroline Austin , works at American Psychological Association (2017-present)

“The Five-Step Writing Process for Persuasive Essays

1. Prewriting for the Persuasive Essay

The prewriting phase of writing a persuasive essay is extremely important. During this phase, students should plan every aspect of the essay:

  • Choose a position. Students should think about the issue and pick the side they wish to advocate.
  • Understand the audience. In order to write an effective persuasive essay, the writer must understand the reader’s perspective. Is the reader undecided or inclined to favor one side or the other?
  • Do the research. A persuasive essay depends upon solid, convincing evidence. Don’t rely on a single source. Pull information from multiple websites and reference materials. Speak with community experts and teachers. Read and take notes. There is no substitute for knowledge of both sides of the issue.
  • Identify the most convincing evidence, as well as the key points for the opposing view. You might also learn how to write a response paper .

2. Drafting the Persuasive Essay

When writing the initial draft of a persuasive essay, consider the following suggestions:

  • The introductory paragraph should have a strong “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention. Open with an unusual fact or statistic, a question or quotation, or an emphatic statement. For example: “Driving while talking on a cell phone, even hands-free, is the equivalent of driving drunk.”
  • The thesis statement should leave no doubts about the writer’s position.
  • Each body paragraph should cover a separate point, and the sentences of each paragraph should offer strong evidence in the form of facts, statistics, quotes from experts, and real-life examples.
  • Consider various ways to make the argument, including using an analogy, drawing comparisons, or illustrating with hypothetical situation (e.g., what if, suppose that…).
  • Don’t assume the audience has in-depth knowledge of the issue. Define terms and give background information.
  • The concluding paragraph should summarize the most important evidence and encourage the reader to adopt the position or take action. The closing sentence can be a dramatic plea, a prediction that implies urgent action is needed, a question that provokes readers to think seriously about the issue, or a recommendation that gives readers specific ideas on what they can do.

3. Revising the Persuasive Essay

In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Does the essay present a firm position on the issue, supported by relevant facts, statistics, quotes, and examples?
  • Does the essay open with an effective “hook” that intrigues readers and keeps them reading?
  • Does each paragraph offer compelling evidence focused on a single supporting point?
  • Is the opposing point of view presented and convincingly refuted?
  • Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise? Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
  • Does the concluding paragraph convey the value of the writer’s position and urge the reader to think and act?

If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look the thesis. Does it present the strongest argument? Test it by writing a thesis statement for the opposing viewpoint. In comparison, does the original thesis need strengthening? Once the thesis presents a well-built argument with a clear adversarial viewpoint, the rest of the essay should fall into place more easily.

4. Editing the Persuasive Essay

Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.

5. Publishing the Persuasive Essay

Sharing a persuasive essay with the rest of the class or with family and friends can be both exciting and intimidating. Learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay even better.

Source: Tips on Writing a Persuasive Essay

Nathan Squiers

Nathan Squiers , bestselling & award-winning author

The art of persuasion is not in changing peoples minds based on your beliefs, but in convincing people that theyve changed their minds on their own. To say "I believe" in a persuasive essay goes against the central point of the piece; of course you believe something–everyone does–and of course your beliefs are going to be mirrored in the essay–you ARE the author, after all–but the essay isnt FOR you and you arent the one being persuaded. The greatest challenge in an essay is actually to remove any essence of "you" from the equation (meaning no use of "I," "my," "mine," etc…). This also pretty much eliminates the need for casual, dialogue-like language (so words like "you," "your," "yours," etc…).

A solid persuasive essay is going to have a compelling opening paragraph that eloquently "maps" the purpose of the piece (the subject matter and the evidence supporting both the pros and the cons of the subject). Then theres going to be the body paragraphs that provide concrete evidence FOR the side youve chosen, followed by at least one paragraph that offers the evidence to the contrary. For the sake of a solid persuasive essay, the final body paragraph should "stir" the prior body paragraphs so that the reader naturally comes to a state of mind that YOUR sides evidence outweighs the other. Finally, a conclusion that neatly wraps up the package.

During my time working with a local college, I helped solidify the students perception of essay writing as if they were assembling a cheeseburger. The top bun (the intro) and the bottom bun (the conclusion) are pretty much the same thing (they "sandwich" the materials and closely resemble one another while still allowing the reader–the "consumer"–to recognize that ones the top and the other is the bottom [one side is clearly an introduction where the other is clearly a conclusion]). The bottom bun/conclusion should never have anything that the top bun/opening didnt have–no new information or elements should be sprung up at the end that didnt make an appearance already. Then, in the middle–the "meat" and "fixings"–is all of the ingredients that work towards the overall need. If your job is to assemble a mushroom-and-swiss burger, then stuffing a bunch of unnecessary ingredients for the sake of filler not only hurts the point of the burger, but it will likely compel the consumer to NOT "agree" with your recipe. To bring this burger metaphor back to your question, saying "I believe" in a persuasive essay would be like a chef personally delivering the burger to the diners table and making a big deal about how they made it and why thats the way they make their burgers; yea, theres a lot of flare and personal information being offered, but the diner isnt going to give a damn about the chefs history if the burger sucks (and, to be blunt, theyre more likely to dislike the burger just because of all the personal garbage that got served up beside it).

Write the essay with neutral language while still providing enough evidence to make readers feel like theyre choosing to agree with your side, and youll have a solid persuasive essay.

Write on and stay gnarly.

Your feedback is private.
Is this answer still relevant and up to date?
promoted by Notebook.ai

Ready for National Novel Writing Month?
Prepare for your novel with your very own smart digital notebook with brainstorming built in—Notebook.ai.
Start Now at notebook.ai

Georgianne Kintz

Georgianne Kintz , former It Specialist at Yahoo! (2013-2014)

You can change it for something else, but you still need to write something of same sort. You can learn more about the thing at this online essay ordering site( Do My Homework for Me • Online Homework Assignment Writing & Editing Service )

Daniel Scholtemeyer

Daniel Scholtemeyer , studied Law at University of West Bohemia (2011)

A persuasive essay is an essay used to convince a reader about a particular idea or focus, usually one that you believe in. Your persuasive essay could be based on anything about which you have an opinion. Whether youre arguing against junk food at school or petitioning for a raise from your boss, the persuasive essay is a skill that everyone should know.

Check out this guide on persuasive essay writing.

Mike Mendis

Mike Mendis

No, you do not need to use the phrase "I believe." In fact, you should avoid using it, since the "I believe" argument is not very persuasive. Most of your readers will not care what you believe. They will pay attention to (and be persuaded by) what some expert has to say on the subject far more than to (and by) what you believe.

You should be able to persuade your readers to accept something that you yourself do not believe—that is the true test of a well-written persuasive essay. (In a formal debate, debaters often have to argue against their personal beliefs.) A well-written persuasive essay is persuasive by argument alone—and "I believe" is not a persuasive argument.

State the position you are defending using the word "should" and then provide good arguments and evidence for why that position must be accepted as the correct one.

It is not possible to teach anyone how to write a persuasive on Quora. That is the job of your teacher in whatever school you attend.

Prenston Walsh

Prenston Walsh

Persuasive essay writing is not the easiest thing to learn. “I believe” is the phrase that expresses your personal point of view, but a persuasive essay is not about that. It’s about expressing some facts or statements that will let readers support or share your thoughts on their own.

Timothy Singleton

Timothy Singleton , I have a B.A. in Journalism and have published articles and short stories.

"I believe," shows very well that you have an opinion.
 
It does not provide facts or help state your case very well.
 
In a persuasive essay, I would uncover as many facts as I can, from other sources or news and give the reader a reason to believe you.  Be sure to credit any sources you use.
 
Do not say "I believe the Earths average daily temperature is rising every year."
 
Your opinion isnt desired.
 
Quote some studies by respectable scientific sources that give us evidence of this phenomenon instead. 
 
That is how you persuade.

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How to Write a Really Good Persuasive Essay

You will succeed if you read this.


IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE A CAR SALESMAN.

A car salesman is the personification of persuasive writing. Composing a persuasive essay is tantamount to making a five-page, 500-word, or 25-minute sales pitch about your position on a given topic, and in the end, having the customer (i.e., the essay grader) buy your thesis. A car salesman doesn’t put food on the table if his customer doesn’t buy the car; in the same way, you can’t get an excellent score if your reader isn’t persuaded by your argument.

What makes a successful car salesman? What must you emulate from them?


NEVER USE WEAK PHRASES.

You will never hear a good car salesman utter these phrases:

“I think that …”

“I feel that …”

“I believe that …”

“In my opinion …”

These phrases don’t instill confidence. On the contrary, they rob the salesman of his or her authority. After all, they just express personal beliefs and opinions, not facts. If your persuasive essay is full of the above statements, it will turn into a mundane opinion piece.

A successful salesman wouldn’t say, “I think that you’ll look good in this Prius.” Instead, he’d invoke his late mother and declare, “Toyota thought of you when it designed the latest Prius.”


PROVIDE CONCRETE EVIDENCE.

An effective Toyota salesman not only can tell you 100 reasons why you should buy a Prius, but he also can provide 100 reasons why you shouldn’t buy a hybrid from a rival. And when he provides his reasons, he will be specific:

“The Prius gets 51 mpg, but the other guys’ cars only get between 38–43 mpg—and that’s only if you never accelerate or turn on the A/C.”

“The Prius has a 5-star safety rating, while the other guys’ models have received only 3-star ratings for the past six years.

“The Prius has the highest resale value in the industry; the other guys’ models depreciate up to 50% in value after the first two years.”

What won’t a really good salesman do? He won’t make vague comments such as the following:

“The Prius is fuel efficient.”

“The Prius is a safe car.”

“The Prius is a good investment.”

Do you see the difference? Vague statements are not persuasive. They simply tell. In contrast, the specific statements show.


DEBUNK THE COUNTERARGUMENT.

This is next-level stuff. Our friend recently went to an Audi dealership, convinced in his mind that he was going to purchase a BMW. He just wanted to test drive an Audi to rid his mind of any second thoughts or lingering doubts before going to his local BMW dealership. He had done extensive research: he read through countless magazines, spoke with friends and colleagues who were familiar with Audis and Bimmers , and spent countless hours on car message boards for additional insights. But after spending just 15 minutes with the Audi salesman, he drove away in a brand new A4. How did this happen? The artful salesman debunked and refuted everything our friend claimed was superior about the 328i. At the same time, he showed beautiful brochures, spoke eloquently in engineering jargon, and waxed poetic about why his entire family, including his cherubic children, loves the A4. Obviously, it was effective.

Before writing the conclusion in your essay, raise the counterargument—so you can debunk it. Let’s pretend that you were writing an essay to defend the benefits of stress. Here’s how you could debunk the counterargument: “While many people blame stress for numerous illnesses, they fail to acknowledge that stress often plays a critical role in motivating people to action. Therefore, we should not vilify stress so flippantly.” You could then conveniently and effectively follow up that statement with specific examples. Write anywhere from a few sentences to several paragraphs to debunk the counterargument—depending on how much time and space you’re allowed. Sometimes, refuting the counterargument can be just as persuasive as your actual argument. If nothing else, doing so will remove seeds of doubt from the reader’s mind.

Take your counterargument and begone!

During the next few weeks, in both your writing and conversations, channel your inner car salesman. Develop your persuasiveness. Convince your boss that you need a new iPad Air to “work more efficiently.” If you’re a student, cajole your parents to “invest” in a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro—you know, so you could “study better.” Follow the above tips, and see what happens.

And on test day or after you turn in your essay, persuade your essay grader to give you a perfect score.

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Writing assignment series

Persuasive or argumentative essays

In persuasive or argumentative writing, we try to convince
others
to agree with our facts, share our values,
accept our
argument and conclusions,

and adopt our way of thinking.

Elements toward building a good persuasive essay include

  • establishing facts
    to support an argument
  • clarifying relevant values
    for your
    audience (perspective)
  • prioritizing, editing, and/or sequencing
    the facts and values in importance to build the argument
  • forming and stating conclusions
  • “persuading” your audience that your
    conclusions
    are based upon the agreed-upon facts and shared
    values
  • having the confidence
    to communicate your
    “persuasion” in writing

Here are some strategies to complete a persuasive writing
assignment:

Write out the questions in your own words.

Think of the questions posed in the assignment
while you are reading and researching. Determine

  • facts
  • any sources that will help you determine their reliability

    (as well as for further reference)
  • what prejudices lie in the argument
    or values that color
    the facts or the issue
  • what you think of the author’s argument

List out facts; consider their importance:
prioritize, edit, sequence, discard, etc.
Ask yourself “What’s
missing?”

What are the “hot buttons” of the issue?
List possible emotions/emotional reactions and recognize them for
later use

Start writing a draft!
(refer to:
Writing essays, the basics )

Start as close as possible to your reading/research
Do not
concern yourself with grammar or spelling

  • Write your first paragraph
    • Introduce the topic
    • Inform the reader of your point of view!
    • Entice the reader to continue with the rest of the paper!
    • Focus on three main points to develop
  • Establish flow from paragraph to paragraph
    • Keep your voice active
    • Quote sources
      to establish authority
    • Stay focused
      on your point of view
      throughout the essay
    • Focus on logical arguments
    • Don’t lapse into summary
      in the
      development–wait for the conclusion
  • Conclusion
    Summarize, then conclude, your argument
    Refer to the first paragraph/opening statement
    as well as the main points

    • does the conclusion restate the main ideas?
    • reflect the succession and importance of the arguments
    • logically conclude their development?
  • Edit/rewrite the first paragraph
    to better
    telegraph your development and conclusion.
  • Take a day or two off!
  • Re-read your paper
    with a fresh mind and a
    sharp pencil

    • Ask yourself:
      Does this make sense? Am
      I
      convinced?
      Will this convince a reader?
      Will they
      understand my values, and agree with my facts?
    • Edit, correct, and re-write
      as necessary
    • Check spelling and grammar!
    • Have a friend read it and respond to your
      argument.
      Were they convinced?
    • Revise if necessary
    • Turn in the paper
    • Celebrate a job well done,
      with the
      confidence that you have done your best.

How to respond to criticism:
Consider
criticism as a test of developing your powers of persuasion.
Try not to take it personally.

If your facts are criticized,
double check
them, and then cite your sources.

If your values are criticized,
sometimes we
need agree “to disagree”. Remember: your success in persuading
others assumes that the other person is open to being persuaded!

Fear: If you are not used to communicating,
especially
in writing, you may need to overcome fear on several levels.
Writing, unlike unrecorded speech, is a permanent record for all to
see, and the “context” is not as important as in speech where
context “colors” the words. For example: your readers do not see
you, only your words. They do not know what you look like, where you
live, who you are.

Hopefully in school, and class, we have a safe place
to
practice both the art of writing and of persuasion. Then later, when
we are in our communities, whether work, church, neighborhoods, and
even families, we can benefit from this practice.

Persuasion also has another dimension:
it is built with
facts, which illustrate conclusions. Of course, this means you need
to know what you are talking about, and cannot be lazy with your
facts, or you will not succeed in convincing anyone. This shows
another level of fear: Fear of making a mistake that will make your
argument or persuasion meaningless. Since you are writing, and the
words are on paper for all to see (or on a web site!), you need to
work to make sure your facts are in order.

Writing assignments

Writing for the "Web" | The five-paragraph essay | Essays for a literature class |
Expository essays | Persuasive essays |
Position papers | Open book exams |
Essay Exams | White papers | Lab reports/scientific papers |
Research proposals |
Elements of a Research Paper

Seven stages of writing assignments |
“Lessons learned” | Deadlines

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