How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 101 Guide [+ Examples]
An argumentative essay is a genre of academic writing that investigates different sides of a particular issue. Its central purpose is to inform the readers rather than expressively persuade them. Thus, it is crucial to differentiate between argumentative and persuasive essays.
While composing an argumentative essay, the students have to demonstrate their research and analytical skills. The secret of a successful paper lies behind strong arguments and counterarguments. So, the writer should focus on facts and data rather than personal values and beliefs.
Besides, a good argumentative essay should be structured appropriately:
- The introduction and conclusion have to create a frame for the entire essay.
- The body paragraphs are supposed to cover the essential points.
- Supporting evidence should make a paper more professional and reputable.
Are you still wondering what an argumentative essay is and how to write it? Check out the sections below prepared by our experts . Here, you can find the most valuable info, helpful tips, and useful examples.
📜 Classic Strategy
📋 toulmin strategy, 🗣️ rogerian strategy, ✒️ fill in the blanks, 🔍 edit and proofread, 🔗 references, 📌 argumentative essay in a nutshell.
Are you trying to figure out what an argumentative essay is? It’s a type of academic paper that covers both sides of a given issue. An author can decide whether they aim to present both sides equally or support one side more dynamically.
One of the mistakes among students is the confusion of argumentative and persuasive essays . Do you want to figure out the differences? Take a look at the following table.
Before writing an argument essay, it would be helpful to choose an appropriate model to rely on. There are three strategies to consider: Classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian.
Look at the following sections and choose the most suitable one for you.
Are you wondering how to write an argumentative essay? Consider using the classical approach. It is the most popular way of composing an argumentative paper.
Under the classical strategy, the author has to follow these rules:
- research the issue;
- present both sides;
- express own opinion;
- prove the reader the validity of the conclusion.
It is up to the audience to decide whether your position is right or wrong. Yet, you should try to convince the readers of the effectiveness of your opinion.
Usually, the classical argument paper is structured in the following way:
- Introduction . Use the hook to catch the readers’ attention. State the problem and explain why your topic is relatable to the audience.
- General background. Introduce the general info and several facts about your issue.
- Thesis statement . State your position clearly and concisely.
- The central argument. Provide valid evidence and appropriate examples to support your position. Refer only to reliable sources.
- Rebuttal . Include a counter paragraph in your essay, presenting the opposing arguments. Provide specific examples to make the reader understand your position. Also, explain to the audience why the counterclaims are incorrect.
- Conclusion . Synthesize your arguments and counterarguments. Give the readers a question for further investigation of your problem. To make your essay more impressive, compose a memorable concluding sentence.
Toulmin strategy is the most suitable for the discussion of controversial issues. This model aims to find common ground through clear logic and valid evidence. Besides, the Toulmin strategy eliminates unnecessary things and limits the points to agree upon.
An argumentative essay written by the Toulmin model includes the following elements:
- Claim . A viewpoint that the author aims to prove.
- Evidence . Supportive facts from reliable resources that highlight the significance of the claim.
- Warrant . An element that connects the claim and that evidence.
- Backing . Additional reasoning that underlines the warrant’s validity.
- Rebuttal . Counterarguments that contradict the author’s position.
- Qualifier . An additional element (usually, a word or a short phrase) that narrows the claim’s capacity. Several examples of qualifiers: “typically,” “usually,” “occasionally,” etc.
- Exceptions . Specific limitations that indicate the cases where that claim may not be valid.
Like the Toulmin approach, Rogerian strategy attempts to find common ground between two sides of one issue. However, the technique is slightly different.
The Rogerian model is often used in highly controversial debates when the parties do not accept each other’s position. Thus, the given strategy focuses on finding the agreement by proving the validity of the opposing arguments.
Below, you can find the primary outline for the Rogerian argumentative essay:
- Introduce the problem. Present the issue clearly and explain why it is worth the readers’ attention.
- Summarize and analyze the counterarguments. Take into consideration all the possible counterpoints and look at them from different perspectives. Discuss the cases in which the opposing claims could be valid. Demonstrate your open-mindedness. This will make the opposite party more loyal to you.
- Present your position. After discussing the counterpoints, state your opinion. Convince the audience about the validity of your points.
- Prove the advantages of your position. Explain to the opposite party how the acceptance and adoption of your points will benefit them.
🧐 How to Write an Argumentative Essay
Before working on your essay, carefully read the assignment. Make sure you understand all the instructor’s requirements and the purpose of the paper.
- Pay enough attention to the task. Did your professor assign you a topic? Or do you need to choose it yourself ? Make sure you have an idea that will turn into an outstanding essay.
- Select the strategy you are going to apply. An argumentative essay format will depend on the model you choose to compose your paper. Analyze the issue you will arise and decide what strategy is the most suitable. Is it the Classical model, the Toulmin, or the Rogerian one?
After that, start composing your argumentative essay. Check out the following sections. We have a lot of insightful info to share with you!
📚 Research the Topic
The first step of writing an argumentative paper is an in-depth investigation of the topic. To validate your arguments, you have to refer to credible resources. The essay will look more professional if you use reliable sources in it.
To research like a professional , do the following:
- Use only credible sources. You can refer to the books, research articles, materials from academic databases, or Google Scholar. Webpages registered as governmental or educational institutions (.gov, .edu.) and widely-known news websites (New York Times, BBC, CNBC) are also considered appropriate. Avoid using blog posts, outdated materials, and any other data from unreliable sources. You may get into huge trouble, taking information from random websites, since it may be invalid.
- Pay attention to the publishing date . You may be required to use the sources released no later than five years ago. Yet, it is not always the case, especially when you’re dealing with historical documents. Thus, double-check your instructions regarding recommended sources.
- Keep your topic in mind. Concentrate on what you are writing about and select the sources for your exact issue. Avoid sources that provide too general information and look for more limited ones. If your idea is World War II’s economic consequences, the history book from ancient times to modern days will not be the best option.
- Become an expert. Take enough time to investigate the issue you are writing about. Read numerous articles, compare and contrast the scientists’ opinions. Prove your reader that you are a reliable person who selected the best sources.
📝 Outline Your Essay
The majority of students tend to underestimate the power of outlining. Don’t do this! An argumentative essay outline is a helpful tool for planning, structuring, and composing.
Firstly , a well-developed outline helps the writer to put all their thoughts in an appropriate order. None of the essential points will be lost if the student plans the essay before writing.
Secondly , it lets the writer figure out what evidence suits what argument most. Before writing, draft your essay first. Put examples, facts, etc. in the right parts of the paper. Then, write the entire text.
Thirdly , an outline provides a perfect opportunity to change the essay’s parts without rewriting the paper. Are you unsure of specific details? Not a problem. Change them in the outline without ruining the text.
There are essential elements that your outline should contain. Check out the following section to see them.
How to start an argumentative essay? First and foremost, include an argumentative essay introduction in your outline.
This part should grab the readers’ attention from the first words. Thus, put enough effort into composing a compelling hook . What can it be? An impressive statistic or an exciting fact? Be creative – decide yourself! But make sure that your intro is catchy enough.
After the hook, introduce your topic’s general background . Prove the readers the significance of your issue and gradually come to the thesis statement .
The concept of studying abroad is becoming increasingly popular in both developed and developing countries. Students around the globe strive to explore the world and broaden their minds, and studying in a foreign country is an excellent opportunity to do so. Such experience may be extremely beneficial because meeting new people and discovering foreign cultures help students to gain valuable knowledge and see the world from a new perspective. However, while presenting significant opportunities for personal growth, it may also bring about some challenges.
A thesis is an essential part of your argumentative essay. It should state your position regarding the issue clearly and concisely. Avoid general statements, vague words, and be as specific and possible. Your thesis statement should guide the readers throughout the main points of the paper.
The location of the thesis in the essay plays a crucial role. The most appropriate place for it is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.
Although students face difficulties such as loneliness while studying abroad, it is a worthy experience to introduce them to new knowledge, people, and culture and promote their independence.
The body of your paper is supposed to develop your position, provide valid evidence and examples. Each paragraph has to focus only on one idea. This will ensure the logical structure of your argumentative essay.
A body paragraph should start from the topic sentence and end with the concluding sentence . Such a frame around every section will make your readers stay concentrated on your ideas and get your opinion.
- The topic sentence is the first sentence of the passage. It should reflect its point and correspond to the thesis statement.
- The concluding sentence aims to wrap up the author’s thoughts. Thus, make sure that the last sentence of a paragraph is insightful enough.
Each body paragraph should include an argument (or a counterargument) with supporting evidence. Get your proof from credible sources and ensure that it directly corresponds to the point.
An example of a topic sentence :
The benefits of education abroad are almost innumerable, prominent examples being gaining new knowledge, making friends with people who have different mindsets, and discovering new cultures.
An example of a concluding sentence:
Participants of student exchange programs usually return more driven and eager to develop both themselves and their country.
A conclusion plays a critical role in understanding the entire paper. It summarizes the body and leaves the final impression. Besides, it may push the readers on further investigation of the issue.
- To make your argumentative essay conclusion powerful, it is not enough just to summarize the arguments. It has to synthesize your ideas and show the connection between them. In other words, your points should be summarized and analyzed.
- Moreover, a conclusion refers to the thesis statement . A mere restatement of the central idea is not the most successful way of finishing your paper. You should try to develop it to demonstrate the reason you’ve written the previous paragraphs.
One more tip:
- Give the audience an incentive to explore the topic more in-depth. Insert the questions for further investigation at the end of your essay. It would play a significant role in making an impressive conclusion.
To sum up, studying abroad is beneficial as it helps a person evolve and perceive a world from new perspectives. It is an opportunity for a participant to explore the world, meet new people, gain valuable knowledge and experience, and broaden their horizons. Education abroad might pose problems like homesickness, loneliness, and trouble with getting accustomed to a new environment. However, all of them can be easily overcome if a student is flexible and eager to become autonomous and independent.
The list of references is a crucial part of any argumentative essay. It should contain all the sources the writer uses in the paper.
Before organizing your reference list , double-check your argumentative essay format. Is it written in MLA, APA, or maybe in Chicago style? How many references does the professor expect you to include? What kind of sources are you required to use?
After figuring out these issues, move to the format requirements of the writing style you use for your paper. The most popular ones are APA (7th edition), MLA, and ChicagoAD (author-date) styles. Below, you can find the examples of a reference for the same book in different formatting styles.
Did you develop a good outline? Congratulations! You are almost done with the essay. Now, you need to fill in the blanks and create a final version of your paper. Here is where you need to demonstrate a high level of your writing skills.
- Make sure your paper has no logical fallacies. Information from an untrustworthy source, a hasty generalization, or a false conclusion may put your reliability as an author under threat. So double-check all the data you include in your essay. Moreover, make sure all your statements are well-developed and supported by valid evidence.
- Check your argumentative essay structure . All the arguments should refer to the thesis statement and must be presented in the logical sequence. The supporting evidence and examples have to be inserted in the text logically, according to the arguments.
- Pay enough attention to the citations. References and in-text citations are incredibly tricky. Always check every detail according to your essay format. If you are unsure of specific issues, refer to a citation guide and make your paper free of formatting mistakes.
- Ensure the coherence of your argumentative essay. Often, the paper’s material seems raw only because it is presented without a logical connection. To ensure a smooth connection between the ideas, use transitions between the paragraphs and linking words inside them. Insert them in the text to connect the points. As a result, you will have a coherent essay with the logical flow of the arguments.
The final step of your writing process is editing and proofreading. Although it is not that energy and time consuming, it still plays a critical role in the work’s success.
While writing your argumentative paper, plan your time accordingly. This will provide you with an opportunity to polish your essay before submitting it. And take a look at our checklist and always use it to improve your papers:
- NO first and second person. Use only the third person in your argumentative essay. It is a general requirement for any kind of academic paper.
- NO slang. The word choice is an essential part of the essay writing process. Ensure you use only formal vocabulary and avoid using informal language (jargon, slang, etc.).
- NO unchecked words. Sometimes, words can raise questions and lead to misunderstandings. If you are unsure whether the term is used appropriately, double-check its meaning or replace it with another.
- NO plagiarism. While proofreading, make sure your citations are either properly paraphrased or taken in quotation marks. You can change the sentence structure to avoid plagiarism.
- NO minor mistakes. Grammar, spelling, punctuation play a crucial role. Want to make your paper look professional? Make sure it is free of minor mistakes then.
Argumentative Essay Topics
- Should student-athletes benefit from sports?
- Do celebrities really have influence on people behavior?
- Will decriminalization of drugs increase drug menace?
- Does social and environmental reporting promote organizations’ financial success?
- Should online learning be promoted?
- Can space exploration resolve human problems?
- Is success really the outcome of hard work?
- Is there discrimination against women in sports?
- Will banning tobacco sales promote public health?
- Is euthanasia a clemency?
- Should college education be free and accessible for every student?
- Should football be banned for being too dangerous?
- Is it time to change social norms ?
- Should public servants’ strikes be prohibited?
- Does media create a negative image of ageing and older people?
- Is capitalism the best economic system?
- Can children under 18 make an appropriate decision on getting tattoo ?
- Should net neutrality be protected?
- Can an improper use of social media provoke a family crisis?
- Is it right to use animals in biomedical research ?
- Does the climate change affect our indoor environment?
- Are children’s crimes a result of poor parenting?
- Should health care be universal?
- Does the increased use of technology hurt students’ efficiency?
- Is transformative education a key to the system modernization?
- Why should patients have access to truthful information?
- How does language barrier affect health care access?
- Would allowing adoption by same-sex couples benefit the country’s child welfare system?
- Is spanking children a proper way to improve their behavior?
- Does gun control law lowers crime rates?
- Will ban on spamming improve users’ internet experience?
- Should behavior be made illegal because it’s immoral?
- Is globalization really a progress?
- Does aid to developing countries bring more harm than good?
- Can parents improve children mental health by restricting internet use ?
- Is trusting our senses the best way to get the truth?
- Why parents should not have the right to choose their children based on genetics.
- Is college education really worth it?
- Will wearing a body camera by police officer enhance public trust?
- Immigration : a benefit or a threat?
- Is it a duty of adult children to take care of their elderly parents?
- Should abortions be legal?
- Are agents an integral part of professional sports?
- Will ban of cellphones while driving decrease the car accident rates?
- Should marijuana be legal for medical use?
- Is veganism diet universally beneficial?
- Should museums return artefacts?
- Is water birth beneficial for women’s health?
- Will paying people to stay healthy benefit the nation in the long-term perspective?
- Is obesity a disease or a choice?
It is up to you to decide how many parts to include in your essay. However, the 5 paragraph structure is the most appropriate model for an argumentative paper. So, write an introduction, a conclusion, and three body paragraphs.
The pronoun “you” is acceptable for informal writing. Yet, in academic papers, avoid using the second person. The same situation is with the first person. Generally, academic papers require the use of the third person.
A hook aims to grab the readers’ attention. Thus, you could start your essay with an interesting fact about your issue. Another way to create a catchy hook is to prove the audience the relatability of your topic. Make the readers want to explore your essay by demonstrating the significance of your issue.
Yes, you can. A question might become a compelling hook. Just make sure that it is profound, thought-provocative, and concise. A too broad or complicated question will only confuse your readers.
A title is an essential part of the essay since it causes the first impression. While selecting a heading, take into consideration the following points:
1. The title must be catchy.
2. It has to be not too long (5-12 words).
3. The title has to reflect the topic of the paper.
4. It should not be too complicated: the simpler – the better.
Thank you for visiting our page! We hope the information was helpful and insightful. Do you have friends who seek help with writing an argumentative essay? Share our article with them. And don’t forget to leave your comments!
- Sample Argument Essays: Mesa Community College
- Argument: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Grace Fleming, ThoughtCo
- Tips for Organizing an Argumentative Essay: Judith L., Beumer Writing Center, Valparaiso University
- Argumentative Essay: Oya Ozagac, Bogazici University, Online Writing Lab
- Argumentative Essays: Purdue Online Writing Lab, College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University
- How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by Step: Virginia Kearney, Owlcation
- Counterargument: Gordon Harvey for the Writing Center at Harvard University
- Basic Steps in the Research Process: North Hennepin Community College, Minnesota
- How to Recognize Plagiarism, Overview: School of Education, Indiana University Bloomington
- 15 Steps to Good Research: Georgetown University Library
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What is an argumentative essay?
The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Please note : Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important ( exigence ) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis ( warrant ).
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph essay
A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.
Longer argumentative essays
Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Easy Guide with Tips and Examples
What Is an Argumentative Essay
Argumentative essays involve a strong stance on an issue to sway the reader toward the author's viewpoint. This differs from a persuasive essay, which relies more on the writer's emotions and views.
This kind of essay typically necessitates a deep study of argumentative essay topics and is structured in three main parts consisting of five paragraphs: one opening, three body, and one closing. Argumentative essays aim to get the reader to agree with the thesis statement, which is backed by evidence, facts, and data. At that point, you should specify your main thought or thesis statement while considering this. It will be the focus of attention for whatever comes after this juncture.
A student is given this kind of paper to practice debating. As a result, it may significantly impact a person's ability to speak in front of an audience later in life. Concentrating on facts and information while writing an argumentative essay rather than your opinions or preferences is crucial. The author may choose to present opposing views equally or to favor one over the other. Nevertheless, the thesis must contain all the main arguments and rebuttals discussed in the paper. It is similar to a political dialogue with oneself in many aspects. Now that you understand what is an argumentative essay let's browse through more interesting details that make up an argumentative essay.
Elements of an Argumentative Essay
The key elements of an argument include the following:
1. Problem Statement - Academic papers often begin with an unanswered question, a contradiction, or an explanation of a crucial concept. This is standard practice in academic writing to grab the reader's attention, highlight the importance of the study, and identify the literature to which the study will add.
2. Literature Review - After stating the problem, describe a gap in the literature that the research is trying to fill. This gap can be an unresolved question, a paradox, a missing piece of information, a theoretical inconsistency, or any other flaw in the existing understanding of the phenomenon in question.
3. The Research Focus - A statement describing the specific emphasis of the research is included after the literature review. This might be expressed in various ways, such as a question, a hypothesis, or—more frequently—a declaration of the research's goals or objectives.
4. Method and Methodology - The approach and methodology explain how you would answer the inquiry or how you achieved your results. Normally, the argumentative essay introduction and abstract concisely summarize the procedure and methodology. Here you outline your extensive research process, present conclusions, and explain why these steps were essential for the project. You should aim to concisely provide the most pertinent information using a few terms.
5. Results/Evidence - You're informing the reader of what you discovered. Evidence may be arranged according to methodological components, major topics, theories, concepts, case studies, historical eras, laws, literary genres, contexts, geographic regions, or other categories. The discussion must be directly related to the thesis's issue or argument, which is crucial.
6. Discussion and Conclusion - The last part of the storyline involves providing the answer to the inquiry or summarizing the argument and the primary proof used to validate it. This is then followed by a review of the importance of the research and the implications that result from it.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay with Steps
For an argumentative essay to be effective, having more than one opinion isn't enough. A strong stance won't be impactful if improperly organized and supported with sound reasons and facts. With this easy-to-follow guide, let us discover how to write an argumentative essay tailored to your target audience!
In the meantime, you can always ask us - ' write essay for me ' without putting in your effort!
Choose Your Research Sources for Your Argumentative Essay
Researching the available literature in-depth is necessary for an argumentative essay. Additionally, they call for empirical study, where a writer gathers the data through the following techniques.
Present your readers with dependable sources that back up your assertions. It's wise to read material from both sides of the subject. For the most current data, try and use sources released within the last two decades unless there is a distinct reason why not. Here are some good sources to look at:
- Books produced by scholarly presses
- Scholarly journals
- Academic resources such as EBSCO and JSTOR
- Nationally distributed publications like The New York Times
And if you struggle with finding good academic sources, feel free to use our research paper help !
Consider the Argumentative Essay Outline
As the argumentative essay structure is contingent upon its content and argument, each essay will have its particular structural difficulties. However, a fundamental part of the writing process is honing the ability to put forth an argument that is both convincing and lucid. Let's take a look at the argumentative essay format:
Start with the main claim in the introduction – The core thesis you want to support. Establishing your claim is one of the most crucial components of any academic work, whether a movie review essay , a presentation, a dissertation, a research paper, or a thesis. A strong assertion should be audacious, captivating, and, most crucially, debatable.
Present the proofs in the body paragraphs - Facts, data, sources, and examples must be provided as evidence and correctly connected. It is essential to acknowledge that just because there is evidence, it does not necessarily make the proposition true. You must contribute some effort to convince your reader of the relationship between the data and your reasoning.
Find opposing arguments and respond to them - Taking other perspectives into account and looking for potential objections is also essential. We may favor ideas that endorse our views, which can result in one-sided or faulty arguments. If we take the time to actively consider opposing opinions and incorporate them into our own thinking, we can create arguments with more depth and complexity.
Conclusion - The last piece of your argumentative essay outline is the conclusion, which should be an informed summary of the argument, using language that is in line with the reliability of your discoveries. You may use this as a chance to make predictions or recommendations, offer some practical applications, or identify potential further research.
Add Transitions within Argumentative Essay Paragraphs
At this point, you should have at least three strong body paragraphs, each containing 3-5 pieces of supporting evidence and your personal analysis/synthesis. It's a good idea to ensure that the paragraph's topic sentences still reflect the rest of the content. And consider the relationship between these arguments.
If needed, reorganize your paragraphs for the most logical order. To take your entire essay to the next level, add some sentences at the beginning or end of each paragraph to link the argumentative essay ideas together.
Add Bibliography to Your Argumentative Essay
See what bibliographic style your teacher wants you to use. Generally, the instructions will include 'MLA style,' 'APA,' etc., or they will give you their own rules.
These guidelines will specify how to structure your 'works cited' section after your essay with the complete bibliographic information and how to format your citations in the body of your essay.
Revise Your Final Argumentative Essay
As you are editing, look through your work from start to finish. Does everything make sense? Are there any quotations or paraphrases that don't have a context? Are there any sudden changes in the subject? Fix it up!
Verify your thesis statement twice, as your essay's success hinges on the clarity of this statement, and without a clear thesis, it is difficult to write an outstanding essay. Make sure it is:
- Debatable because someone could disagree with this assertion notwithstanding the facts.
- Narrow & specific: Avoids a stance that is too wide to support.
- Complex: demonstrates your profound thought processes by taking into account the qualifiers and/or objections in your argument.
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3 Ways to Approach Argumentative Writing
Classical Approach - This is the most common approach and where you should:
- Introduce your issue. Most lecturers will want you to deliver a strong thesis statement after your introductory paragraph. The goal is to introduce your main points to your audience before delving further.
- Explain the problem in detail. Provide the reasons why a certain course of action or thinking is required to make your case. This will happen throughout several sentences.
- Address the opposition. Briefly describe the opposing viewpoint in a few paragraphs. Make each argument against the adversary.
- Provide your proof. After addressing the opposing viewpoint, explain why your side is superior.
- Present your conclusion. Reiterate your core claim or thesis and highlight the important aspects of your argument in your conclusion. This is a good time to urge your audience to act if you advocate for change. Inform them of the changes they might make.
Rogerian Approach - The Rogerian method works well for argumentative pieces on contentious issues like global warming, gender identity, and philosophical problems. In contrast to other approaches, there is no set framework to adhere to. Instead, it involves giving both sides of an argument equal weight when presenting the facts. A broader view is essential, and finding a compromise is more significant than finding a solution.
Toulmin Approach - Polemical debates can benefit greatly from this tactic. It seeks to reduce pointless debates by locating areas of agreement within a discussion. For instance, if your topic is whether animal testing is banned, you would need to examine the most important points on both sides of the debate. You may discuss the benefits and drawbacks here.
Good Argumentative Essay Topics
Here are some good argumentative essay topics from our dissertation writing services you can consider for your next assignment:
- Are virtual personalities expected to adhere to the same ethical codes as human influencers?
- Should businesses be mandated to offer retraining and educational opportunities for workers that have been laid off?
- Do social media networks bear any responsibility for the harm caused to their users?
- Is remote work a workable solution for contemporary workplaces?
- Is gene editing appropriate to remove inherited illnesses or improve physical characteristics?
- Is it wise to prioritize sustainable agriculture and plant-based diets to lessen carbon emissions?
- Who should be held liable for incidents involving autonomous cars?
- Are gig workers deserving of the same advantages and security as regular workers?
- Does playing violent video games correlate with aggressive behavior in children and adolescents?
- Should corporations be permitted to secure exclusive rights to genes and genetic data for commercial gain?
Read also an informative article about the movie review essay .
Argumentative Essay Examples
Below you can find some good argumentative essay examples from our argumentative essay writer . The first essay talks about the value that comes with the freedom of being able to strike for public workers.
Argumentative Essay Example: Should Public Workers be Allowed to Strike?
Say goodbye to 'stress at work' and welcome the 'freedom to express yourself.' Most public workers are denied their right to expression even after being exposed to bad working conditions and rights violations. These violations deny them the morale to perform well in their duties. Enabling workers to strike motivates them to work since it encourages them to speak out whenever they feel their rights, safety, and/or regulations have been compromised. Countries across the globe should always allow public workers to strike.
The second essay from our dissertation writing services discusses the importance of economic equality in a nation, alongside possible repercussions and potential threats if not met.
At this point, you should be well aware of the argumentative essay definition and the ways you can structure it perfectly. You might even have already composed your argumentative essay and would like to have it evaluated. In this case, don't hesitate to contact us. We can review your academic essays and help you gain the grade you deserve. If you haven't written it yet, our essay writing service can assist you. Even if you want to know how to write an autobiography , all you need to do is submit your essay writing help request, and we'll take care of it in a flash!
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What this handout is about
This handout will define what an argument is and explain why you need one in most of your academic essays.
Arguments are everywhere
You may be surprised to hear that the word “argument” does not have to be written anywhere in your assignment for it to be an important part of your task. In fact, making an argument—expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence—is often the aim of academic writing. Your instructors may assume that you know this and thus may not explain the importance of arguments in class.
Most material you learn in college is or has been debated by someone, somewhere, at some time. Even when the material you read or hear is presented as a simple fact, it may actually be one person’s interpretation of a set of information. Instructors may call on you to examine that interpretation and defend it, refute it, or offer some new view of your own. In writing assignments, you will almost always need to do more than just summarize information that you have gathered or regurgitate facts that have been discussed in class. You will need to develop a point of view on or interpretation of that material and provide evidence for your position.
Consider an example. For nearly 2000 years, educated people in many Western cultures believed that bloodletting—deliberately causing a sick person to lose blood—was the most effective treatment for a variety of illnesses. The claim that bloodletting is beneficial to human health was not widely questioned until the 1800s, and some physicians continued to recommend bloodletting as late as the 1920s. Medical practices have now changed because some people began to doubt the effectiveness of bloodletting; these people argued against it and provided convincing evidence. Human knowledge grows out of such differences of opinion, and scholars like your instructors spend their lives engaged in debate over what claims may be counted as accurate in their fields. In their courses, they want you to engage in similar kinds of critical thinking and debate.
Argumentation is not just what your instructors do. We all use argumentation on a daily basis, and you probably already have some skill at crafting an argument. The more you improve your skills in this area, the better you will be at thinking critically, reasoning, making choices, and weighing evidence.
Making a claim
What is an argument? In academic writing, an argument is usually a main idea, often called a “claim” or “thesis statement,” backed up with evidence that supports the idea. In the majority of college papers, you will need to make some sort of claim and use evidence to support it, and your ability to do this well will separate your papers from those of students who see assignments as mere accumulations of fact and detail. In other words, gone are the happy days of being given a “topic” about which you can write anything. It is time to stake out a position and prove why it is a good position for a thinking person to hold. See our handout on thesis statements .
Claims can be as simple as “Protons are positively charged and electrons are negatively charged,” with evidence such as, “In this experiment, protons and electrons acted in such and such a way.” Claims can also be as complex as “Genre is the most important element to the contract of expectations between filmmaker and audience,” using reasoning and evidence such as, “defying genre expectations can create a complete apocalypse of story form and content, leaving us stranded in a sort of genre-less abyss.” In either case, the rest of your paper will detail the reasoning and evidence that have led you to believe that your position is best.
When beginning to write a paper, ask yourself, “What is my point?” For example, the point of this handout is to help you become a better writer, and we are arguing that an important step in the process of writing effective arguments is understanding the concept of argumentation. If your papers do not have a main point, they cannot be arguing for anything. Asking yourself what your point is can help you avoid a mere “information dump.” Consider this: your instructors probably know a lot more than you do about your subject matter. Why, then, would you want to provide them with material they already know? Instructors are usually looking for two things:
- Proof that you understand the material
- A demonstration of your ability to use or apply the material in ways that go beyond what you have read or heard.
This second part can be done in many ways: you can critique the material, apply it to something else, or even just explain it in a different way. In order to succeed at this second step, though, you must have a particular point to argue.
Arguments in academic writing are usually complex and take time to develop. Your argument will need to be more than a simple or obvious statement such as “Frank Lloyd Wright was a great architect.” Such a statement might capture your initial impressions of Wright as you have studied him in class; however, you need to look deeper and express specifically what caused that “greatness.” Your instructor will probably expect something more complicated, such as “Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture combines elements of European modernism, Asian aesthetic form, and locally found materials to create a unique new style,” or “There are many strong similarities between Wright’s building designs and those of his mother, which suggests that he may have borrowed some of her ideas.” To develop your argument, you would then define your terms and prove your claim with evidence from Wright’s drawings and buildings and those of the other architects you mentioned.
Do not stop with having a point. You have to back up your point with evidence. The strength of your evidence, and your use of it, can make or break your argument. See our handout on evidence . You already have the natural inclination for this type of thinking, if not in an academic setting. Think about how you talked your parents into letting you borrow the family car. Did you present them with lots of instances of your past trustworthiness? Did you make them feel guilty because your friends’ parents all let them drive? Did you whine until they just wanted you to shut up? Did you look up statistics on teen driving and use them to show how you didn’t fit the dangerous-driver profile? These are all types of argumentation, and they exist in academia in similar forms.
Every field has slightly different requirements for acceptable evidence, so familiarize yourself with some arguments from within that field instead of just applying whatever evidence you like best. Pay attention to your textbooks and your instructor’s lectures. What types of argument and evidence are they using? The type of evidence that sways an English instructor may not work to convince a sociology instructor. Find out what counts as proof that something is true in that field. Is it statistics, a logical development of points, something from the object being discussed (art work, text, culture, or atom), the way something works, or some combination of more than one of these things?
Be consistent with your evidence. Unlike negotiating for the use of your parents’ car, a college paper is not the place for an all-out blitz of every type of argument. You can often use more than one type of evidence within a paper, but make sure that within each section you are providing the reader with evidence appropriate to each claim. So, if you start a paragraph or section with a statement like “Putting the student seating area closer to the basketball court will raise player performance,” do not follow with your evidence on how much more money the university could raise by letting more students go to games for free. Information about how fan support raises player morale, which then results in better play, would be a better follow-up. Your next section could offer clear reasons why undergraduates have as much or more right to attend an undergraduate event as wealthy alumni—but this information would not go in the same section as the fan support stuff. You cannot convince a confused person, so keep things tidy and ordered.
One way to strengthen your argument and show that you have a deep understanding of the issue you are discussing is to anticipate and address counterarguments or objections. By considering what someone who disagrees with your position might have to say about your argument, you show that you have thought things through, and you dispose of some of the reasons your audience might have for not accepting your argument. Recall our discussion of student seating in the Dean Dome. To make the most effective argument possible, you should consider not only what students would say about seating but also what alumni who have paid a lot to get good seats might say.
You can generate counterarguments by asking yourself how someone who disagrees with you might respond to each of the points you’ve made or your position as a whole. If you can’t immediately imagine another position, here are some strategies to try:
- Do some research. It may seem to you that no one could possibly disagree with the position you are arguing, but someone probably has. For example, some people argue that a hotdog is a sandwich. If you are making an argument concerning, for example, the characteristics of an exceptional sandwich, you might want to see what some of these people have to say.
- Talk with a friend or with your teacher. Another person may be able to imagine counterarguments that haven’t occurred to you.
- Consider your conclusion or claim and the premises of your argument and imagine someone who denies each of them. For example, if you argued, “Cats make the best pets. This is because they are clean and independent,” you might imagine someone saying, “Cats do not make the best pets. They are dirty and needy.”
Once you have thought up some counterarguments, consider how you will respond to them—will you concede that your opponent has a point but explain why your audience should nonetheless accept your argument? Will you reject the counterargument and explain why it is mistaken? Either way, you will want to leave your reader with a sense that your argument is stronger than opposing arguments.
When you are summarizing opposing arguments, be charitable. Present each argument fairly and objectively, rather than trying to make it look foolish. You want to show that you have considered the many sides of the issue. If you simply attack or caricature your opponent (also referred to as presenting a “straw man”), you suggest that your argument is only capable of defeating an extremely weak adversary, which may undermine your argument rather than enhance it.
It is usually better to consider one or two serious counterarguments in some depth, rather than to give a long but superficial list of many different counterarguments and replies.
Be sure that your reply is consistent with your original argument. If considering a counterargument changes your position, you will need to go back and revise your original argument accordingly.
Audience is a very important consideration in argument. Take a look at our handout on audience . A lifetime of dealing with your family members has helped you figure out which arguments work best to persuade each of them. Maybe whining works with one parent, but the other will only accept cold, hard statistics. Your kid brother may listen only to the sound of money in his palm. It’s usually wise to think of your audience in an academic setting as someone who is perfectly smart but who doesn’t necessarily agree with you. You are not just expressing your opinion in an argument (“It’s true because I said so”), and in most cases your audience will know something about the subject at hand—so you will need sturdy proof. At the same time, do not think of your audience as capable of reading your mind. You have to come out and state both your claim and your evidence clearly. Do not assume that because the instructor knows the material, he or she understands what part of it you are using, what you think about it, and why you have taken the position you’ve chosen.
Critical reading is a big part of understanding argument. Although some of the material you read will be very persuasive, do not fall under the spell of the printed word as authority. Very few of your instructors think of the texts they assign as the last word on the subject. Remember that the author of every text has an agenda, something that he or she wants you to believe. This is OK—everything is written from someone’s perspective—but it’s a good thing to be aware of. For more information on objectivity and bias and on reading sources carefully, read our handouts on evaluating print sources and reading to write .
Take notes either in the margins of your source (if you are using a photocopy or your own book) or on a separate sheet as you read. Put away that highlighter! Simply highlighting a text is good for memorizing the main ideas in that text—it does not encourage critical reading. Part of your goal as a reader should be to put the author’s ideas in your own words. Then you can stop thinking of these ideas as facts and start thinking of them as arguments.
When you read, ask yourself questions like “What is the author trying to prove?” and “What is the author assuming I will agree with?” Do you agree with the author? Does the author adequately defend her argument? What kind of proof does she use? Is there something she leaves out that you would put in? Does putting it in hurt her argument? As you get used to reading critically, you will start to see the sometimes hidden agendas of other writers, and you can use this skill to improve your own ability to craft effective arguments.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ede, Lisa. 2004. Work in Progress: A Guide to Academic Writing and Revising , 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Gage, John T. 2005. The Shape of Reason: Argumentative Writing in College , 4th ed. New York: Longman.
Lunsford, Andrea A., and John J. Ruszkiewicz. 2016. Everything’s an Argument , 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Rosen, Leonard J., and Laurence Behrens. 2003. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook , 5th ed. New York: Longman.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 key tips for how to write an argumentative essay.
If there’s one writing skill you need to have in your toolkit for standardized tests, AP exams, and college-level writing, it’s the ability to make a persuasive argument. Effectively arguing for a position on a topic or issue isn’t just for the debate team— it’s for anyone who wants to ace the essay portion of an exam or make As in college courses.
To give you everything you need to know about how to write an argumentative essay , we’re going to answer the following questions for you:
- What is an argumentative essay?
- How should an argumentative essay be structured?
- How do I write a strong argument?
- What’s an example of a strong argumentative essay?
- What are the top takeaways for writing argumentative papers?
By the end of this article, you’ll be prepped and ready to write a great argumentative essay yourself!
Now, let’s break this down.
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a type of writing that presents the writer’s position or stance on a specific topic and uses evidence to support that position. The goal of an argumentative essay is to convince your reader that your position is logical, ethical, and, ultimately, right . In argumentative essays, writers accomplish this by writing:
- A clear, persuasive thesis statement in the introduction paragraph
- Body paragraphs that use evidence and explanations to support the thesis statement
- A paragraph addressing opposing positions on the topic—when appropriate
- A conclusion that gives the audience something meaningful to think about.
Introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion: these are the main sections of an argumentative essay. Those probably sound familiar. Where does arguing come into all of this, though? It’s not like you’re having a shouting match with your little brother across the dinner table. You’re just writing words down on a page!
...or are you? Even though writing papers can feel like a lonely process, one of the most important things you can do to be successful in argumentative writing is to think about your argument as participating in a larger conversation . For one thing, you’re going to be responding to the ideas of others as you write your argument. And when you’re done writing, someone—a teacher, a professor, or exam scorer—is going to be reading and evaluating your argument.
If you want to make a strong argument on any topic, you have to get informed about what’s already been said on that topic . That includes researching the different views and positions, figuring out what evidence has been produced, and learning the history of the topic. That means—you guessed it!—argumentative essays almost always require you to incorporate outside sources into your writing.
What Makes Argumentative Essays Unique?
Argumentative essays are different from other types of essays for one main reason: in an argumentative essay, you decide what the argument will be . Some types of essays, like summaries or syntheses, don’t want you to show your stance on the topic—they want you to remain unbiased and neutral.
In argumentative essays, you’re presenting your point of view as the writer and, sometimes, choosing the topic you’ll be arguing about. You just want to make sure that that point of view comes across as informed, well-reasoned, and persuasive.
Another thing about argumentative essays: they’re often longer than other types of essays. Why, you ask? Because it takes time to develop an effective argument. If your argument is going to be persuasive to readers, you have to address multiple points that support your argument, acknowledge counterpoints, and provide enough evidence and explanations to convince your reader that your points are valid.
Our 3 Best Tips for Picking a Great Argumentative Topic
The first step to writing an argumentative essay deciding what to write about! Choosing a topic for your argumentative essay might seem daunting, though. It can feel like you could make an argument about anything under the sun. For example, you could write an argumentative essay about how cats are way cooler than dogs, right?
It’s not quite that simple . Here are some strategies for choosing a topic that serves as a solid foundation for a strong argument.
Choose a Topic That Can Be Supported With Evidence
First, you want to make sure the topic you choose allows you to make a claim that can be supported by evidence that’s considered credible and appropriate for the subject matter ...and, unfortunately, your personal opinions or that Buzzfeed quiz you took last week don’t quite make the cut.
Some topics—like whether cats or dogs are cooler—can generate heated arguments, but at the end of the day, any argument you make on that topic is just going to be a matter of opinion. You have to pick a topic that allows you to take a position that can be supported by actual, researched evidence.
(Quick note: you could write an argumentative paper over the general idea that dogs are better than cats—or visa versa!—if you’re a) more specific and b) choose an idea that has some scientific research behind it. For example, a strong argumentative topic could be proving that dogs make better assistance animals than cats do.)
You also don’t want to make an argument about a topic that’s already a proven fact, like that drinking water is good for you. While some people might dislike the taste of water, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that proves—beyond the shadow of a doubt—that drinking water is a key part of good health.
To avoid choosing a topic that’s either unprovable or already proven, try brainstorming some issues that have recently been discussed in the news, that you’ve seen people debating on social media, or that affect your local community. If you explore those outlets for potential topics, you’ll likely stumble upon something that piques your audience’s interest as well.
Choose a Topic That You Find Interesting
Topics that have local, national, or global relevance often also resonate with us on a personal level. Consider choosing a topic that holds a connection between something you know or care about and something that is relevant to the rest of society. These don’t have to be super serious issues, but they should be topics that are timely and significant.
For example, if you are a huge football fan, a great argumentative topic for you might be arguing whether football leagues need to do more to prevent concussions . Is this as “important” an issue as climate change? No, but it’s still a timely topic that affects many people. And not only is this a great argumentative topic: you also get to write about one of your passions! Ultimately, if you’re working with a topic you enjoy, you’ll have more to say—and probably write a better essay .
Choose a Topic That Doesn’t Get You Too Heated
Another word of caution on choosing a topic for an argumentative paper: while it can be effective to choose a topic that matters to you personally, you also want to make sure you’re choosing a topic that you can keep your cool over. You’ve got to be able to stay unemotional, interpret the evidence persuasively, and, when appropriate, discuss opposing points of view without getting too salty.
In some situations, choosing a topic for your argumentative paper won’t be an issue at all: the test or exam will choose it for you . In that case, you’ve got to do the best you can with what you’re given.
In the next sections, we’re going to break down how to write any argumentative essay —regardless of whether you get to choose your own topic or have one assigned to you! Our expert tips and tricks will make sure that you’re knocking your paper out of the park.
The Thesis: The Argumentative Essay’s Backbone
You’ve chosen a topic or, more likely, read the exam question telling you to defend, challenge, or qualify a claim on an assigned topic. What do you do now?
You establish your position on the topic by writing a killer thesis statement ! The thesis statement, sometimes just called “the thesis,” is the backbone of your argument, the north star that keeps you oriented as you develop your main points, the—well, you get the idea.
In more concrete terms, a thesis statement conveys your point of view on your topic, usually in one sentence toward the end of your introduction paragraph . It’s very important that you state your point of view in your thesis statement in an argumentative way—in other words, it should state a point of view that is debatable.
And since your thesis statement is going to present your argument on the topic, it’s the thing that you’ll spend the rest of your argumentative paper defending. That’s where persuasion comes in. Your thesis statement tells your reader what your argument is, then the rest of your essay shows and explains why your argument is logical.
Why does an argumentative essay need a thesis, though? Well, the thesis statement—the sentence with your main claim—is actually the entire point of an argumentative essay. If you don’t clearly state an arguable claim at the beginning of your paper, then it’s not an argumentative essay. No thesis statement = no argumentative essay. Got it?
Other types of essays that you’re familiar with might simply use a thesis statement to forecast what the rest of the essay is going to discuss or to communicate what the topic is. That’s not the case here. If your thesis statement doesn’t make a claim or establish your position, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.
Example Thesis Statements
Here are a couple of examples of thesis statements that aren’t argumentative and thesis statements that are argumentative
The sky is blue.
The thesis statement above conveys a fact, not a claim, so it’s not argumentative.
To keep the sky blue, governments must pass clean air legislation and regulate emissions.
The second example states a position on a topic. What’s the topic in that second sentence? The best way to keep the sky blue. And what position is being conveyed? That the best way to keep the sky blue is by passing clean air legislation and regulating emissions.
Some people would probably respond to that thesis statement with gusto: “No! Governments should not pass clean air legislation and regulate emissions! That infringes on my right to pollute the earth!” And there you have it: a thesis statement that presents a clear, debatable position on a topic.
Here’s one more set of thesis statement examples, just to throw in a little variety:
Spirituality and otherworldliness characterize A$AP Rocky’s portrayals of urban life and the American Dream in his rap songs and music videos.
The statement above is another example that isn’t argumentative, but you could write a really interesting analytical essay with that thesis statement. Long live A$AP! Now here’s another one that is argumentative:
To give students an understanding of the role of the American Dream in contemporary life, teachers should incorporate pop culture, like the music of A$AP Rocky, into their lessons and curriculum.
The argument in this one? Teachers should incorporate more relevant pop culture texts into their curriculum.
This thesis statement also gives a specific reason for making the argument above: To give students an understanding of the role of the American Dream in contemporary life. If you can let your reader know why you’re making your argument in your thesis statement, it will help them understand your argument better.
An actual image of you killing your argumentative essay prompts after reading this article!
Breaking Down the Sections of An Argumentative Essay
Now that you know how to pick a topic for an argumentative essay and how to make a strong claim on your topic in a thesis statement, you’re ready to think about writing the other sections of an argumentative essay. These are the parts that will flesh out your argument and support the claim you made in your thesis statement.
Like other types of essays, argumentative essays typically have three main sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Within those sections, there are some key elements that a reader—and especially an exam scorer or professor—is always going to expect you to include.
Let’s look at a quick outline of those three sections with their essential pieces here:
- Introduction paragraph with a thesis statement (which we just talked about)
- Support Point #1 with evidence
- Explain/interpret the evidence with your own, original commentary (AKA, the fun part!)
- Support Point #2 with evidence
- Explain/interpret the evidence with your own, original commentary
- Support Point #3 with evidence
- New paragraph addressing opposing viewpoints (more on this later!)
- Concluding paragraph
Now, there are some key concepts in those sections that you’ve got to understand if you’re going to master how to write an argumentative essay. To make the most of the body section, you have to know how to support your claim (your thesis statement), what evidence and explanations are and when you should use them, and how and when to address opposing viewpoints. To finish strong, you’ve got to have a strategy for writing a stellar conclusion.
This probably feels like a big deal! The body and conclusion make up most of the essay, right? Let’s get down to it, then.
How to Write a Strong Argument
Once you have your topic and thesis, you’re ready for the hard part: actually writing your argument. If you make strategic choices—like the ones we’re about to talk about—writing a strong argumentative essay won’t feel so difficult.
There are three main areas where you want to focus your energy as you develop a strategy for how to write an argumentative essay: supporting your claim—your thesis statement—in your essay, addressing other viewpoints on your topic, and writing a solid conclusion. If you put thought and effort into these three things, you’re much more likely to write an argumentative essay that’s engaging, persuasive, and memorable...aka A+ material.
Focus Area 1: Supporting Your Claim With Evidence and Explanations
So you’ve chosen your topic, decided what your position will be, and written a thesis statement. But like we see in comment threads across the Internet, if you make a claim and don’t back it up with evidence, what do people say? “Where’s your proof?” “Show me the facts!” “Do you have any evidence to support that claim?”
Of course you’ve done your research like we talked about. Supporting your claim in your thesis statement is where that research comes in handy.
You can’t just use your research to state the facts, though. Remember your reader? They’re going to expect you to do some of the dirty work of interpreting the evidence for them. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between evidence and explanations, and how and when to use both in your argumentative essay.
What Evidence Is and When You Should Use It
Evidence can be material from any authoritative and credible outside source that supports your position on your topic. In some cases, evidence can come in the form of photos, video footage, or audio recordings. In other cases, you might be pulling reasons, facts, or statistics from news media articles, public policy, or scholarly books or journals.
There are some clues you can look for that indicate whether or not a source is credible , such as whether:
- The website where you found the source ends in .edu, .gov, or .org
- The source was published by a university press
- The source was published in a peer-reviewed journal
- The authors did extensive research to support the claims they make in the source
This is just a short list of some of the clues that a source is likely a credible one, but just because a source was published by a prestigious press or the authors all have PhDs doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best piece of evidence for you to use to support your argument.
In addition to evaluating the source’s credibility, you’ve got to consider what types of evidence might come across as most persuasive in the context of the argument you’re making and who your readers are. In other words, stepping back and getting a bird’s eye view of the entire context of your argumentative paper is key to choosing evidence that will strengthen your argument.
On some exams, like the AP exams , you may be given pretty strict parameters for what evidence to use and how to use it. You might be given six short readings that all address the same topic, have 15 minutes to read them, then be required to pull material from a minimum of three of the short readings to support your claim in an argumentative essay.
When the sources are handed to you like that, be sure to take notes that will help you pick out evidence as you read. Highlight, underline, put checkmarks in the margins of your exam . . . do whatever you need to do to begin identifying the material that you find most helpful or relevant. Those highlights and check marks might just turn into your quotes, paraphrases, or summaries of evidence in your completed exam essay.
What Explanations Are and When You Should Use Them
Now you know that taking a strategic mindset toward evidence and explanations is critical to grasping how to write an argumentative essay. Unfortunately, evidence doesn’t speak for itself. While it may be obvious to you, the researcher and writer, how the pieces of evidence you’ve included are relevant to your audience, it might not be as obvious to your reader.
That’s where explanations—or analysis, or interpretations—come in. You never want to just stick some quotes from an article into your paragraph and call it a day. You do want to interpret the evidence you’ve included to show your reader how that evidence supports your claim.
Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be saying, “This piece of evidence supports my argument because...”. Instead, you want to comment on the evidence in a way that helps your reader see how it supports the position you stated in your thesis. We’ll talk more about how to do this when we show you an example of a strong body paragraph from an argumentative essay here in a bit.
Understanding how to incorporate evidence and explanations to your advantage is really important. Here’s why: when you’re writing an argumentative essay, particularly on standardized tests or the AP exam, the exam scorers can’t penalize you for the position you take. Instead, their evaluation is going to focus on the way you incorporated evidence and explained it in your essay.
Focus Area 2: How—and When—to Address Other Viewpoints
Why would we be making arguments at all if there weren’t multiple views out there on a given topic? As you do research and consider the background surrounding your topic, you’ll probably come across arguments that stand in direct opposition to your position.
Oftentimes, teachers will ask you to “address the opposition” in your argumentative essay. What does that mean, though, to “ address the opposition ?”
Opposing viewpoints function kind of like an elephant in the room. Your audience knows they’re there. In fact, your audience might even buy into an opposing viewpoint and be waiting for you to show them why your viewpoint is better. If you don’t, it means that you’ll have a hard time convincing your audience to buy your argument.
Addressing the opposition is a balancing act: you don’t want to undermine your own argument, but you don’t want to dismiss the validity of opposing viewpoints out-of-hand or ignore them altogether, which can also undermine your argument.
This isn’t the only acceptable approach, but it’s common practice to wait to address the opposition until close to the end of an argumentative essay. But why?
Well, waiting to present an opposing viewpoint until after you’ve thoroughly supported your own argument is strategic. You aren’t going to go into great detail discussing the opposing viewpoint: you’re going to explain what that viewpoint is fairly, but you’re also going to point out what’s wrong with it.
It can also be effective to read the opposition through the lens of your own argument and the evidence you’ve used to support it. If the evidence you’ve already included supports your argument, it probably doesn’t support the opposing viewpoint. Without being too obvious, it might be worth pointing this out when you address the opposition.
Focus Area #3: Writing the Conclusion
It’s common to conclude an argumentative essay by reiterating the thesis statement in some way, either by reminding the reader what the overarching argument was in the first place or by reviewing the main points and evidence that you covered.
You don’t just want to restate your thesis statement and review your main points and call it a day, though. So much has happened since you stated your thesis in the introduction! And why waste a whole paragraph—the very last thing your audience is going to read—on just repeating yourself?
Here’s an approach to the conclusion that can give your audience a fresh perspective on your argument: reinterpret your thesis statement for them in light of all the evidence and explanations you’ve provided. Think about how your readers might read your thesis statement in a new light now that they’ve heard your whole argument out.
That’s what you want to leave your audience with as you conclude your argumentative paper: a brief explanation of why all that arguing mattered in the first place. If you can give your audience something to continue pondering after they’ve read your argument, that’s even better.
One thing you want to avoid in your conclusion, though: presenting new supporting points or new evidence. That can just be confusing for your reader. Stick to telling your reader why the argument you’ve already made matters, and your argument will stick with your reader.
A Strong Argumentative Essay: Examples
For some aspiring argumentative essay writers, showing is better than telling. To show rather than tell you what makes a strong argumentative essay, we’ve provided three examples of possible body paragraphs for an argumentative essay below.
Think of these example paragraphs as taking on the form of the “Argumentative Point #1 → Evidence —> Explanation —> Repeat” process we talked through earlier. It’s always nice to be able to compare examples, so we’ve included three paragraphs from an argumentative paper ranging from poor (or needs a lot of improvement, if you’re feeling generous), to better, to best.
All of the example paragraphs are for an essay with this thesis statement:
Thesis Statement: In order to most effectively protect user data and combat the spread of disinformation, the U.S. government should implement more stringent regulations of Facebook and other social media outlets.
As you read the examples, think about what makes them different, and what makes the “best” paragraph more effective than the “better” and “poor” paragraphs. Here we go:
A Poor Argument
Example Body Paragraph: Data mining has affected a lot of people in recent years. Facebook has 2.23 billion users from around the world, and though it would take a huge amount of time and effort to make sure a company as big as Facebook was complying with privacy regulations in countries across the globe, adopting a common framework for privacy regulation in more countries would be the first step. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg himself supports adopting a global framework for privacy and data protection, which would protect more users than before.
What’s Wrong With This Example?
First, let’s look at the thesis statement. Ask yourself: does this make a claim that some people might agree with, but others might disagree with?
The answer is yes. Some people probably think that Facebook should be regulated, while others might believe that’s too much government intervention. Also, there are definitely good, reliable sources out there that will help this writer prove their argument. So this paper is off to a strong start!
Unfortunately, this writer doesn’t do a great job proving their thesis in their body paragraph. First, the topic sentence—aka the first sentence of the paragraph—doesn’t make a point that directly supports the position stated in the thesis. We’re trying to argue that government regulation will help protect user data and combat the spread of misinformation, remember? The topic sentence should make a point that gets right at that, instead of throwing out a random fact about data mining.
Second, because the topic sentence isn’t focused on making a clear point, the rest of the paragraph doesn’t have much relevant information, and it fails to provide credible evidence that supports the claim made in the thesis statement. For example, it would be a great idea to include exactly what Mark Zuckerberg said ! So while there’s definitely some relevant information in this paragraph, it needs to be presented with more evidence.
A Better Argument
This paragraph is a bit better than the first one, but it still needs some work. The topic sentence is a bit too long, and it doesn’t make a point that clearly supports the position laid out in the thesis statement. The reader already knows that mining user data is a big issue, so the topic sentence would be a great place to make a point about why more stringent government regulations would most effectively protect user data.
There’s also a problem with how the evidence is incorporated in this example. While there is some relevant, persuasive evidence included in this paragraph, there’s no explanation of why or how it is relevant . Remember, you can’t assume that your evidence speaks for itself: you have to interpret its relevance for your reader. That means including at least a sentence that tells your reader why the evidence you’ve chosen proves your argument.
A Best—But Not Perfect!—Argument
Example Body Paragraph: Though Facebook claims to be implementing company policies that will protect user data and stop the spread of misinformation , its attempts have been unsuccessful compared to those made by the federal government. When PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a Federal Trade Commission-mandated assessment of Facebook’s partnerships with Microsoft and the makers of the Blackberry handset in 2013, the team found limited evidence that Facebook had monitored or even checked that its partners had complied with Facebook’s existing data use policies. In fact, Facebook’s own auditors confirmed the PricewaterhouseCoopers findings, despite the fact that Facebook claimed that the company was making greater attempts to safeguard users’ personal information. In contrast, bills written by Congress have been more successful in changing Facebook’s practices than Facebook’s own company policies have. According to The Washington Post, The Honest Ads Act of 2017 “created public demand for transparency and changed how social media companies disclose online political advertising.” These policy efforts, though thus far unsuccessful in passing legislation, have nevertheless pushed social media companies to change some of their practices by sparking public outrage and negative media attention.
Why This Example Is The Best
This paragraph isn’t perfect, but it is the most effective at doing some of the things that you want to do when you write an argumentative essay.
First, the topic sentences get to the point . . . and it’s a point that supports and explains the claim made in the thesis statement! It gives a clear reason why our claim in favor of more stringent government regulations is a good claim : because Facebook has failed to self-regulate its practices.
This paragraph also provides strong evidence and specific examples that support the point made in the topic sentence. The evidence presented shows specific instances in which Facebook has failed to self-regulate, and other examples where the federal government has successfully influenced regulation of Facebook’s practices for the better.
Perhaps most importantly, though, this writer explains why the evidence is important. The bold sentence in the example is where the writer links the evidence back to their opinion. In this case, they explain that the pressure from Federal Trade Commission and Congress—and the threat of regulation—have helped change Facebook for the better.
Why point out that this isn’t a perfect paragraph, though? Because you won’t be writing perfect paragraphs when you’re taking timed exams either. But get this: you don’t have to write perfect paragraphs to make a good score on AP exams or even on an essay you write for class. Like in this example paragraph, you just have to effectively develop your position by appropriately and convincingly relying on evidence from good sources.
Top 3 Takeaways For Writing Argumentative Essays
This is all great information, right? If (when) you have to write an argumentative essay, you’ll be ready. But when in doubt, remember these three things about how to write an argumentative essay, and you’ll emerge victorious:
Takeaway #1: Read Closely and Carefully
This tip applies to every aspect of writing an argumentative essay. From making sure you’re addressing your prompt, to really digging into your sources, to proofreading your final paper...you’ll need to actively and pay attention! This is especially true if you’re writing on the clock, like during an AP exam.
Takeaway #2: Make Your Argument the Focus of the Essay
Define your position clearly in your thesis statement and stick to that position! The thesis is the backbone of your paper, and every paragraph should help prove your thesis in one way or another. But sometimes you get to the end of your essay and realize that you’ve gotten off topic, or that your thesis doesn’t quite fit. Don’t worry—if that happens, you can always rewrite your thesis to fit your paper!
Takeaway #3: Use Sources to Develop Your Argument—and Explain Them
Nothing is as powerful as good, strong evidence. First, make sure you’re finding credible sources that support your argument. Then you can paraphrase, briefly summarize, or quote from your sources as you incorporate them into your paragraphs. But remember the most important part: you have to explain why you’ve chosen that evidence and why it proves your thesis.
Once you’re comfortable with how to write an argumentative essay, it’s time to learn some more advanced tips and tricks for putting together a killer argument.
Keep in mind that argumentative essays are just one type of essay you might encounter. That’s why we’ve put together more specific guides on how to tackle IB essays , SAT essays , and ACT essays .
But what about admissions essays? We’ve got you covered. Not only do we have comprehensive guides to the Coalition App and Common App essays, we also have tons of individual college application guides, too . You can search through all of our college-specific posts by clicking here.
Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!
Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.
Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.
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Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
- M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
- B.A., History, Armstrong State University
To be effective, an argumentative essay must contain elements to help persuade the audience to see things from your perspective. These components include a compelling topic, a balanced assessment, strong evidence, and persuasive language.
Find a Good Topic and Point of View
To find a good topic for an argumentative essay, consider several issues and choose a few that spark at least two solid, conflicting points of view. As you look over a list of topics , find one that really piques your interest, as you'll be more successful if you're passionate about your topic.
Once you have selected a topic you feel strongly about, make a list of points for both sides of the argument. When shaping an argument you'll have to explain why your belief is reasonable and logical, so list points you can use as evidence for or against an issue. Ultimately, determine your side of the argument and make sure you can back up your point of view with reasoning and evidence. Work against the opposing point of view and prove why your stance is correct.
One of your essay's first objectives will be to assess both sides of your issue. Consider strong arguments for both your side, as well as the "other" side—in order to shoot their statements down. Provide evidence without drama; sticking to the facts and clear examples that support your stance.
You may look for research that provides statistics on your topic that support your reasoning, as well as examples of how your topic impacts people, animals, or even the Earth. Interviewing experts on your topic can also help you structure a compelling argument.
Write the Essay
Once you've given yourself a solid foundation of information, begin to craft your essay. An argument essay, as with all essays, should contain three parts: the introduction , the body, and the conclusion . The length of paragraphs in these parts will vary depending on the length of your essay assignment.
As in any essay, the first paragraph of your argument essay should introduce the topic with a brief explanation of your topic, some background information, and a thesis statement . In this case, your thesis is a statement of your position on a specific controversial topic.
Present Both Sides of the Controversy
The body of your essay should contain the meat of your argument. Go into more detail about the two sides of your topic and state the strongest points of the counter-side of your issue.
After describing the "other" side, present your own viewpoint and then provide evidence to show why your position is the correct one. Work to discredit the other side using some of the information you discovered in your research. Choose your strongest evidence and present your points one by one. Use a mix of evidence, from statistics to other studies and anecdotal stories.
A strong conclusion can help summarize your point of view and reinforce with your reader why your stance is the best option. You might consider reserving one overwhelmingly shocking statistic for the conclusion, one that leaves no room for doubt in your reader's mind. At the very least, use this final paragraph or two as an opportunity to restate your position as the most sensible one.
When writing your essay, consider these tips to help craft the most rational and poignant argument for your readers. Avoid emotional language that can sound irrational. Know the difference between a logical conclusion and an emotional point of view.
Don't fabricate evidence and don't use untrustworthy sources for evidence, and be sure to cite your sources .
- 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper
- Writing an Opinion Essay
- Preparing an Argument Essay: Exploring Both Sides of an Issue
- How To Write an Essay
- How to Write a Persuasive Essay
- How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement
- How to Structure an Essay
- The Five Steps of Writing an Essay
- How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech
- How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech
- Definition and Examples of Analysis in Composition
- 6 Steps to Writing the Perfect Personal Essay
- Persuasive Writing: For and Against
- How to Write a Great Process Essay
- How to Write a Good Thesis Statement
- What Is Expository Writing?
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- The four main types of essay | Quick guide with examples
The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples
Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.
Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type.
In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.
Table of contents
Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.
An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.
Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.
The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:
- The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
- The body presents your evidence and arguments
- The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance
The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.
Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.
The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.
A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.
The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.
A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.
Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.
A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.
Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.
Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.
Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.
A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.
The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.
A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.
Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.
A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.
Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.
On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.
My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.
With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…
Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.
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Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.
A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.
The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.
The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.
The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.
King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.
A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.
Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.
The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.
Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.
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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.
Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”
The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.
Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:
- In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
- In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
- In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to Write an Argumentative Essay
How to Write an Argumentative Essay
Sometimes, the hardest part of writing an argumentative essay is simply getting started. It can all seem so overwhelming: finding a topic, putting together your arguments, then assembling them into a cohesive essay and, if you’re successful, persuading the reader to join your side.
Feeling stuck before your start? Read our guide to learn how to put together your argumentative essay in a few easy steps.
How is an argumentative essay different from a persuasive essay?
First, let’s clear things up. A persuasive essay and an argumentative essay might sound similar on the surface, but they are two entirely different types of essays. The main difference between the two is the tone used in writing. A persuasive essay is more casual and personal, allowing for your personal convictions to come through on the topic.
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In contrast, an argumentative essay is meant to be more formal. You should present both sides of the argument with a reasonable and unbiased tone. Ultimately, an argumentative essay should still be persuasive to the reader while presenting both sides.
How to find a good argumentative essay topic
If you’re not given one, you can always find a good argumentative essay topic by looking for prompts. There are plenty of apps or websites that will provide topics and prompts to help you get started. Or just try a few brainstorming techniques . Find a topic you enjoy, choose a side and start putting together your thesis.
How to format your argumentative essay
Formatting your essay is essential to ensuring that your argument takes shape and convinces your audience of your side of the issue. It’s said that formatting an essay should tell your audience what you’re about to tell them, then tell them, then wrap it up by telling them what you’ve already told them. There are plenty of great pre-made templates you can work off of, as well. Here’s a quick look:
- Introduction. Start your essay with an introductory paragraph that introduces the topic, explains your thesis, then touches on the main talking points of the issue. Your introduction will tell the audience what you’re about to tell them.
- Body. Each body paragraph should contain the talking points associated with the topic. For instance, if you’re arguing that cell phones are good for kids to have, then you might include points like having a proverbial “leash” so parents can always get ahold of them—or that it teaches them how to use tech skills they’ll need in the future. Include counterpoints to your side of the issue as well. For instance, kids getting addicted to devices and how social media can be dangerous for kids.
- Conclusion . After you’ve addressed the main points of the topic, wrap it up with a conclusion paragraph. Tell the audience what you’ve already told them. Ultimately, the goal of your conclusion is to leave the reader with your closing thoughts on the matter.
Now, let’s address specific parts of your argumentative essay so that you can create a persuasive and compelling argument.
How to write an argumentative essay introduction
Knowing how to write an argumentative essay introduction requires three main parts. You need to include a solid hook, your thesis, and your talking points. The hook is what will “reel in” the reader and get them to continue reading. We live in a world where our attention spans seem to be continually shrinking, so you want to grab your reader within the first sentence or two. Writing an effective hook can be done by giving the reader a small taste of the juiciest nugget you have in your essay, presenting eye-opening statistics, or sharing a compelling narrative surrounding your topic. Whichever you choose, make sure this is some of your best writing .
How to write a thesis statement for an argumentative essay
The thesis of an essay is a one- or two-sentence summary of the argument you’ll defend for the rest of your essay. Your thesis should not simply restate the issue or explain both sides. It should be a clear statement that leaves no question about your position and serves as the backbone for your entire essay. A strongly written thesis should be able to stand on its own as an elevator pitch.
How to end a body paragraph in an argumentative essay
As you go through the body paragraphs of your essay, you’ll need to present supporting evidence for the arguments addressed in the introductory paragraph. Each paragraph should be able to stand alone by supporting the paragraphs before and after it. This means that each paragraph should have its own sub-thesis that presents the argument. Every sentence after should defend one side of the argument. Wrap up the paragraph with a final argument that can flow easily into the next paragraph.
How to conclude your argumentative essay
Wrap up by recapping what you’ve told your audience. Rephrase your thesis, then address the points of the topic. A few techniques could involve using a quote, coming full circle, or suggesting the results of your counterargument. Try to avoid using phrases like “in conclusion,” “to summarize,” or other boring crutches. End with authority and conviction to maintain credibility and momentum.
Knowing how to write an argumentative essay isn’t always easy. There’s a delicate balance between presenting the facts with a neutral tone and persuading the reader. Follow our tips above, and you’ll have a formula for creating a compelling argument for any topic.
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Module 9: Academic Argument
The argumentative essay, learning objectives.
- Examine types of argumentative essays
You may have heard it said that all writing is an argument of some kind. Even if you’re writing an informative essay, you still have the job of trying to convince your audience that the information is important. However, there are times you’ll be asked to write an essay that is specifically an argumentative piece.
An argumentative essay is one that makes a clear assertion or argument about some topic or issue. When you’re writing an argumentative essay, it’s important to remember that an academic argument is quite different from a regular, emotional argument. Note that sometimes students forget the academic aspect of an argumentative essay and write essays that are much too emotional for an academic audience. It’s important for you to choose a topic you feel passionately about (if you’re allowed to pick your topic), but you have to be sure you aren’t too emotionally attached to a topic. In an academic argument, you’ll have a lot more constraints you have to consider, and you’ll focus much more on logic and reasoning than emotions.
Figure 1 . When writing an argumentative essay, students must be able to separate emotion based arguments from logic based arguments in order to appeal to an academic audience.
Argumentative essays are quite common in academic writing and are often an important part of writing in all disciplines. You may be asked to take a stand on a social issue in your introduction to writing course, but you could also be asked to take a stand on an issue related to health care in your nursing courses or make a case for solving a local environmental problem in your biology class. And, since argument is such a common essay assignment, it’s important to be aware of some basic elements of a good argumentative essay.
When your professor asks you to write an argumentative essay, you’ll often be given something specific to write about. For example, you may be asked to take a stand on an issue you have been discussing in class. Perhaps, in your education class, you would be asked to write about standardized testing in public schools. Or, in your literature class, you might be asked to argue the effects of protest literature on public policy in the United States.
However, there are times when you’ll be given a choice of topics. You might even be asked to write an argumentative essay on any topic related to your field of study or a topic you feel that is important personally.
Whatever the case, having some knowledge of some basic argumentative techniques or strategies will be helpful as you write. Below are some common types of arguments.
- You write about how something has caused something else. For example, you might explore the increase of industrial pollution and the resulting decline of large mammals in the world’s ocean.
- You can write an argumentative evaluation of something as “good” or “bad,” but you also need to establish the criteria for “good” or “bad.” For example, you might evaluate a children’s book for your Introduction to Educational Theory class, but you would need to establish clear criteria for your evaluation for your audience.
- With this type of writing, you need to propose a solution to a problem. First, you must establish a clear problem and then propose a specific solution to that problem. For example, you might argue for a removal of parking fines on students who use the parking deck on campus.
- For this type of argument, you make your case by telling a story with a clear point related to your argument. For example, you might write a narrative about your negative experiences with standardized testing in order to make a case for reform.
- In a rebuttal argument, you build your case around refuting an idea or ideas that have come before. In other words, your starting point is to challenge the ideas of the past. For this type of writing assignment, you have to explain what you are refuting first, and then you can expand on your new ideas or perspectives.
- In this type of argument, you use a definition as the starting point for making your case. For example, in a definition argument, you might argue that NCAA basketball players should be defined as professional players and, therefore, should be paid.
- You can read more about an argumentative essay on the consequences of fast fashion . Read it and look at the comments to recognize strategies and techniques the author uses to convey her ideas.
- In this example, you’ll see a sample argumentative paper from a psychology class submitted in APA format. Key parts of the argumentative structure have been noted for you in the sample.
Link to Learning
For more examples of types of argumentative essays, visit the Argumentative Purposes section of the Excelsior OWL .
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- Argumentative Essay. Provided by : Excelsior OWL. Located at : https://owl.excelsior.edu/rhetorical-styles/argumentative-essay/ . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Image of a man with a heart and a brain. Authored by : Mohamed Hassan. Provided by : Pixabay. Located at : https://pixabay.com/illustrations/decision-brain-heart-mind-4083469/ . License : Other . License Terms : https://pixabay.com/service/terms/#license
How To Write An Argumentative Essay: Step By Step Guide
- Essay Writing Guides
With argumentative essays, the student must explore his stance on an issue and think about possible rebuttals to this claim. Otherwise, the argumentative essay is incomplete.
However, all forms of essay writing follow a specified format, and they all need an outline. So, let’s examine how to write an argumentative essay . This guide will also cover essay examples and useful writing tips to present a convincing argument.
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a form of writing that explores the writer’s viewpoint on any topic. The writer must outline their opinion in the opening paragraphs to give the reader a better understanding of their stance on the issue.
Despite similarities with other forms of writing like persuasive essays, argumentative essays go beyond convincing the reader that your point is superior. You also need to explore different existing viewpoints on the issue and refute them. Besides, you must support all your claims with irrefutable evidence based on fact.
For example, if the argumentative essay topic focuses on police brutality, your paper should support and refute these claims simultaneously.
In academia, argumentative essay writing is one of the most common assignments for students in the arts and humanities. Besides, the standard structure of argumentative essays is the bedrock of the famous 5-paragraph writing style.
5 Types of Argument Claims
The argument claim describes the prevailing viewpoint in your argument — the theory you support. Before outlining your view, you need to select presentation criteria to dictate the paper’s tone and direction. Here are the five types of argument claims:
The fact claim focuses on answering a ‘yes or no’ question. This claim uses concrete evidence to determine the veracity of the paper’s central claim. Often, the fact claim is used when the argumentative essay topic is a question .
When using the definition claim, you should only focus on the standard definition of the word or expression. All forms of personal and contextual interpretation should not appear in the paper.
The value claim stresses the importance of the topic of discussion. What is the relevance to society? This type of claim is often used for existential problems affecting humans in general or a specific group.
- Cause and effect
As the name suggests, the cause and effect claim focuses on an issue and the reasons it occurred. In essence, the essay establishes a connection between an event and an outcome.
This claim assertion technique is used in politics. For argumentative essay writing, the policy claim should address the relevance of the discussion, the affected parties, and the best policy moving forward.
Making a convincing argument relies on your ability to strategize. You need to acquaint yourself with the facts of the matter and choose a winning strategy to express your ideas.
Think of lawyers in the courtroom; they spend hours preparing their arguments and studying the adversary. And in the end, they come up with a strategy to counter the opponent’s most vital points. Politicians also use this technique.
So, let’s go through the three main argument strategies to use in your argumentative essay.
The Classical Approach (Aristotelian)
The classical approach is named after the great philosopher Aristotle. This argumentative strategy involves a straight-line expression of your argument.
First, you start with your main claim and convince the reader that your stance is the only valid one. Then, you have to offer context and provide evidence-backed data to counter any rebuttals from your opponent. This strategy is the most straightforward since it follows a linear chain of action.
Also, the classical approach appeals to the credibility (ethos) of the claim and the logic (logos) of thinking. At the same time, you can appeal to the reader’s emotions (pathos) with vivid imagery. And most importantly, you can make a time-sensitive appeal (kairos) by calling the reader to immediate action.
The Rogerian Strategy
This argumentative strategy was developed by Carl Rogers and became popular through the works of Young and Pike. This strategy’s central ideology focuses on compromise — the ability to reach a middle ground and avoid further conflict with your adversary.
In life, the Rogerian strategy is often applied when negotiating with family and friends. For example, if you want to visit Paris and your partner wants to see Venice, the Rogerian method will help you plan a trip that covers both destinations.
Therefore, this Rogerian strategy is not the best approach in an academic setting. Even if you are ready to reach a compromise, your opponent may not have the same motivations. Besides, you have to yield some ground to come to a sensible resolution, which contrasts the entire essence of argumentation.
The Toulmin Style
This argumentative approach was developed by Stephen Toulmin. The central theme involves coming up with a claim and backing it up. So, we can divide this strategy into three components: claim, grounds, and backing.
The claim is your main opinion, usually an event that occurred somewhere. The grounds of the argument refer to a collection of facts and evidence supporting the original claim. Finally, the backing refers to additional data that corroborates the main claim without conceding to the opposition.
Choose one of these three approaches to present an opinion relevant to the argumentative essay topic. And if you are unsure about the best approach, use the classic method.
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How to Choose a Topic for an Argumentative Essay
Most teachers hand out argumentative essay topics to students. Sometimes, they provide an array of topics from which students can choose. However, some teachers allow students to flex their creative muscles and choose topics on their own. If you are left with the herculean task of selecting a fascinating essay topic, here are some tricks to help you come out unscathed.
Choose a topic that interests you
Regardless of the essay writing genre, always choose a topic that interests you. If you are into sports, look for sports-related argumentative essay topics . Selecting a topic that you don’t care about will always reflect in the paper’s quality. The entire argument will lack inspiration and passion.
Besides, writing on a topic that you find interesting helps you to explore the topic even more. It also reduces the amount of work needed to complete the argumentative essay assignment . So, always outline your interests when choosing a topic, and tailor your research to them.
Research hot-button issues
Another easy way to come up with a relevant topic is by addressing hot-button issues. For example, topics related to animal rights and climate change are the subject of debates in politics and even at dinner parties. As a result, you can find enough material to structure your argumentative essay.
Besides, controversy sells. Readers want a topic that will strike all the emotional chords for them. So, choosing a controversial topic piques the reader’s interest and earns you maximum points in your essay. Most importantly, focus on hot-button issues related to your field of study.
Search for trending topics
Trending topics are always a reliable go-to when you are struggling with creative ideas for your argumentative paper. By focusing on trending topics, you will come up with relevant issues for arguments. At the same time, you will fulfill the emotional aspect of argumentation since most trending issues are controversial.
Besides, writing about popular issues gives you access to enough materials. You can also select your topic from any form of media.
Here are some reliable sources for argumentative essay topics:
- Internet forums (Medium, Quora, Twitter, etc.)
A common theme for argumentative essays is the current COVID pandemic and its effects on social interactions.
Find topics with arguable sides
When choosing essay topics, students often forget that they need to argue both sides. Therefore, the topic you choose must be arguable . In simpler terms, people should be able to look at it and agree or disagree instantly. Hence, the need to choose controversial topics for your argumentative essay.
“The earth is flat.”
No one (in their right mind) will argue with this assertion. And even if they do, no evidence can support this stance.
“Climate change will lead to armageddon.”
Now, this topic is debatable since scientists are conflicted about the long-term impacts of climate change.
Avoid broad topics
You might think that choosing broad topics provides you with more content for your argumentative essay. But the reverse is the case: broad topics extend the area you need to cover in your paper. And since you have a word count restriction, you can’t express your ideas to the best of your ability.
Therefore, choose a topic that provides you with enough material. Some topics make you think, “How am I supposed to find evidence to support that?”
Stay away from these ‘unresearchable’ argumentative topics.
Argumentative Essay Outline
With a clear understanding of the topic, you can now focus your efforts on brainstorming. Conduct extensive research on the issue to gather enough information for all sides of the argument. After collecting the data and supporting evidence, you need to create a plan for your paper. This plan is called an argumentative essay outlin e .
The outline provides structure to your paper. It also saves you time when working on time-sensitive assignments. And most importantly, an essay outline provides you with an arrangement framework for your points.
For argumentative essays, the outline contains at least five paragraphs — the basis of the standard essay structure.
Let’s take a look at the standard argumentative essay structure .
The introductory paragraph
Every essay starts with the introduction, making it the most crucial part of the argumentative essay format . This section previews the paper by providing background information on the topic. Besides, the argumentative essay introduction eliminates all elements of neutrality, stating the writer’s intentions to support a specific side of the argument.
As a result, you need a well-crafted thesis statement that captures the central theme covered in the paper. The thesis statement is often concise, with a maximum of two sentences. You can also place it at the end of the introduction.
The body section
This is the paper’s main section because it contains the source of information and the main arguments. Also, the body paragraphs examine two sides of the writer’s viewpoint. In essence, you have at least three sections or paragraphs dedicated to each point.
Here are the main paragraphs that make up the body.
This paragraph expresses the author’s main argument in detail. Depending on the paper’s size, this section can contain two or more paragraphs linked by transitional phrases.
- The rebuttal
This section presents opposing viewpoints to the main claim. In essence, the rebuttal counters the thesis presented in the introduction.
- The counterclaim
This section reaffirms the thesis and counters the rebuttal.
All three sections must appear in the body of a full-fledged argumentative essay. Also, you must start every paragraph with a topic sentence. Don’t forget to use linking verbs to establish a relationship between paragraphs. And most importantly, provide supporting evidence and citations for your points.
In this section, the student should restate the central ideas presented in the paper. A standard argumentative essay conclusion always starts by rehashing the thesis statement. However, you cannot introduce new ideas in the conclusion.
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Argumentative Essay Examples
You can choose a myriad of topics for your essay based on the specific subject. But if you’ve hit a brick wall in your selection, here are some excellent examples to choose from based on earlier recommendations:
Controversial argumentative essay examples
- Gender-based discrimination is prevalent in Silicon Valley.
- Is the COVID-19 vaccine harmful to society?
- CTE is a significant problem in all contact sports
- Is police brutality warranted or an appropriate response to high crime rates?
- Should all states legalize late-term abortion?
Trending argumentative essay topics
- Is homeschooling better than traditional schools?
- Will artificial intelligence replace humans in the workplace?
- Should exotic pets be domesticated?
- Are zoos a violation of animal rights?
- War as a tool for world peace.
Fact-based argumentative essay topics
- Racial discrimination is responsible for police brutality.
- The racial quota is a slap in the face of meritocracy.
- Fast food is responsible for obesity.
- The criminalization of Cannabis is responsible for all drug wars.
- High taxation is harmful to the local economy.
Useful Tips for Argumentative Essay Writing
Every outstanding argumentative essay relies on persuasion. You need to convince the reader that your opinion is the ultimate truth. However, false evidence and poor grammar affect the credibility of your claims. So, let’s consider some essential tips when writing a convincing argumentative paper.
- Choose an arguable topic
If the teacher allows you to select your preferred topic, make sure you choose an issue with arguable sides. After all, an argumentative essay’s entire essence is to explore all the sides of the problem and confirm your viewpoint. So, look for topics that interest you and are relevant to your field of study.
- Focus on controversial issues
Nobody wants to spend time reading a bland, uninspired essay. So, while searching for topics, focus on hot-button issues. But don’t choose controversial topics for kicks. Ensure that the topic is related to your field. Moreover, pay more attention to issues that ignite your passion. This emotional connection improves your argument and makes the paper more engaging.
- Take a stance you can support
When choosing an emotionally-charged topic, avoid those that are limited in scope. You don’t have to select the ‘progressive’ side of every argument. Identify your interests and beliefs and focus your opinions on them. By doing so, you will give yourself more wiggle room to express your ideas better.
- Consider your audience
Writing an argumentative essay for your peers is different because you can use an informal and conversational style. But since your audience is the teacher, you can only use formal language. Therefore, adapt your writing style to your audience to earn higher marks. And as a rule, stay away from informal expressions in academic writing at all costs.
- Gather convincing evidence
Personal experience and opinions have no place in argumentative writing, no matter how painful and convincing. Only evidence from authoritative sources is acceptable when supporting your claim. Therefore, your research should focus on academic material and resources from acclaimed authors. You can also rely on the works of recognized experts in the field to back your claims. Stay away from Wikipedia, Quora, and other open-source platforms.
- Outline your essay
As you gather your points, arrange them into a framework for your essay. This technique helps you to develop a relevant outline for your paper without much stress. Besides, the outline forms the basis of your argumentative essay and saves you tons of hours spent on arranging your ideas. Eventually, this outline will help you come up with a preliminary draft.
- Write a captivating title and intro
Why is a title essential when writing an argumentative essay? First of all, using a question title allows the reader to take a stance right away. And if the topic is emotionally-charged, you have your reader by the hook. And as far as hooks are concerned, use them in your essay. Add essay hooks in the introduction alongside a well-written thesis statement.
- Mind the formatting
Every academic writing assignment follows a specified format. The only exception is narrative essays that feature personal accounts. When writing your argumentative essay, use the formatting style specified by the teacher. Remember that APA writing style needs an abstract, while the MLA doesn’t need one. If you don’t know the differences between writing formats, consult the official style guides for more clarity.
- Conclude by restating the thesis
The conclusion paragraph should always restate the thesis. For a more comprehensive conclusion, summarize every paragraph in the essay. Always be careful not to introduce any new ideas in the conclusion paragraph. And most importantly, keep it short and straight to the point.
- End with a call to action
The last point in the conclusion should always call the reader to act on something. Since the point of an argument is to convince others that your opinion is the most logical, you should sign off by calling them over to your side. At the same time, you can highlight a moral lesson from the text.
- Edit the final draft
Editing is the final frontier in any writing task. This stage of writing allows you to analyze your ideas and grammar. At the same time, you can adjust the writing structure or use a more impactful tone. When you are satisfied with the final draft, you can now submit your paper.
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Argumentative Essay Examples to Inspire You [+Formula]
Have you ever been asked to explain your opinion on a controversial issue?
- Maybe your family got into a discussion about chemical pesticides
- Someone at work argues against investing resources into your project
- Your partner thinks intermittent fasting is the best way to lose weight and you disagree
Proving your point in an argumentative essay can be challenging, unless you are using a proven formula.
Argumentative essay formula & example
In the image below, you can see a recommended structure for argumentative essays. It starts with the topic sentence, which establishes the main idea of the essay. Next, this hypothesis is developed in the development stage. Then, the rebuttal, or the refutal of the main counter argument or arguments. Then, again, development of the rebuttal. This is followed by an example, and ends with a summary. This is a very basic structure, but it gives you a bird-eye-view of how a proper argumentative essay can be built.
Writing an argumentative essay (for a class, a news outlet, or just for fun) can help you improve your understanding of an issue and sharpen your thinking on the matter. Using researched facts and data, you can explain why you or others think the way you do, even while other reasonable people disagree.
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What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is an explanatory essay that takes a side.
Instead of appealing to emotion and personal experience to change the reader’s mind, an argumentative essay uses logic and well-researched factual information to explain why the thesis in question is the most reasonable opinion on the matter.
Over several paragraphs or pages, the author systematically walks through:
- The opposition (and supporting evidence)
- The chosen thesis (and its supporting evidence)
At the end, the author leaves the decision up to the reader, trusting that the case they’ve made will do the work of changing the reader’s mind. Even if the reader’s opinion doesn’t change, they come away from the essay with a greater understanding of the perspective presented — and perhaps a better understanding of their original opinion.
All of that might make it seem like writing an argumentative essay is way harder than an emotionally-driven persuasive essay — but if you’re like me and much more comfortable spouting facts and figures than making impassioned pleas, you may find that an argumentative essay is easier to write.
Plus, the process of researching an argumentative essay means you can check your assumptions and develop an opinion that’s more based in reality than what you originally thought. I know for sure that my opinions need to be fact checked — don’t yours?
So how exactly do we write the argumentative essay?
How do you start an argumentative essay
First, gain a clear understanding of what exactly an argumentative essay is. To formulate a proper topic sentence, you have to be clear on your topic, and to explore it through research.
Students have difficulty starting an essay because the whole task seems intimidating, and they are afraid of spending too much time on the topic sentence. Experienced writers, however, know that there is no set time to spend on figuring out your topic. It's a real exploration that is based to a large extent on intuition.
6 Steps to Write an Argumentative Essay (Persuasion Formula)
Use this checklist to tackle your essay one step at a time:
1. Research an issue with an arguable question
To start, you need to identify an issue that well-informed people have varying opinions on. Here, it’s helpful to think of one core topic and how it intersects with another (or several other) issues. That intersection is where hot takes and reasonable (or unreasonable) opinions abound.
I find it helpful to stage the issue as a question.
Is it better to legislate the minimum size of chicken enclosures or to outlaw the sale of eggs from chickens who don’t have enough space?
Should snow removal policies focus more on effectively keeping roads clear for traffic or the environmental impacts of snow removal methods?
Once you have your arguable question ready, start researching the basic facts and specific opinions and arguments on the issue. Do your best to stay focused on gathering information that is directly relevant to your topic. Depending on what your essay is for, you may reference academic studies, government reports, or newspaper articles.
Research your opposition and the facts that support their viewpoint as much as you research your own position . You’ll need to address your opposition in your essay, so you’ll want to know their argument from the inside out.
2. Choose a side based on your research
You likely started with an inclination toward one side or the other, but your research should ultimately shape your perspective. So once you’ve completed the research, nail down your opinion and start articulating the what and why of your take.
What: I think it’s better to outlaw selling eggs from chickens whose enclosures are too small.
Why: Because if you regulate the enclosure size directly, egg producers outside of the government’s jurisdiction could ship eggs into your territory and put nearby egg producers out of business by offering better prices because they don’t have the added cost of larger enclosures.
This is an early form of your thesis and the basic logic of your argument. You’ll want to iterate on this a few times and develop a one-sentence statement that sums up the thesis of your essay.
Thesis: Outlawing the sale of eggs from chickens with cramped living spaces is better for business than regulating the size of chicken enclosures.
Now that you’ve articulated your thesis , spell out the counterargument(s) as well. Putting your opposition’s take into words will help you throughout the rest of the essay-writing process. (You can start by choosing the counter argument option with Wordtune Spices .)
Counterargument: Outlawing the sale of eggs from chickens with too small enclosures will immediately drive up egg prices for consumers, making the low-cost protein source harder to afford — especially for low-income consumers.
There may be one main counterargument to articulate, or several. Write them all out and start thinking about how you’ll use evidence to address each of them or show why your argument is still the best option.
3. Organize the evidence — for your side and the opposition
You did all of that research for a reason. Now’s the time to use it.
Hopefully, you kept detailed notes in a document, complete with links and titles of all your source material. Go through your research document and copy the evidence for your argument and your opposition’s into another document.
List the main points of your argument. Then, below each point, paste the evidence that backs them up.
If you’re writing about chicken enclosures, maybe you found evidence that shows the spread of disease among birds kept in close quarters is worse than among birds who have more space. Or maybe you found information that says eggs from free-range chickens are more flavorful or nutritious. Put that information next to the appropriate part of your argument.
Repeat the process with your opposition’s argument: What information did you find that supports your opposition? Paste it beside your opposition’s argument.
You could also put information here that refutes your opposition, but organize it in a way that clearly tells you — at a glance — that the information disproves their point.
Counterargument: Outlawing the sale of eggs from chickens with too small enclosures will immediately drive up egg prices for consumers.
BUT: Sicknesses like avian flu spread more easily through small enclosures and could cause a shortage that would drive up egg prices naturally, so ensuring larger enclosures is still a better policy for consumers over the long term.
As you organize your research and see the evidence all together, start thinking through the best way to order your points.
Will it be better to present your argument all at once or to break it up with opposition claims you can quickly refute? Would some points set up other points well? Does a more complicated point require that the reader understands a simpler point first?
Play around and rearrange your notes to see how your essay might flow one way or another.
4. Freewrite or outline to think through your argument
Is your brain buzzing yet? At this point in the process, it can be helpful to take out a notebook or open a fresh document and dump whatever you’re thinking on the page.
Where should your essay start? What ground-level information do you need to provide your readers before you can dive into the issue?
Use your organized evidence document from step 3 to think through your argument from beginning to end, and determine the structure of your essay.
There are three typical structures for argumentative essays:
- Make your argument and tackle opposition claims one by one, as they come up in relation to the points of your argument - In this approach, the whole essay — from beginning to end — focuses on your argument, but as you make each point, you address the relevant opposition claims individually. This approach works well if your opposition’s views can be quickly explained and refuted and if they directly relate to specific points in your argument.
- Make the bulk of your argument, and then address the opposition all at once in a paragraph (or a few) - This approach puts the opposition in its own section, separate from your main argument. After you’ve made your case, with ample evidence to convince your readers, you write about the opposition, explaining their viewpoint and supporting evidence — and showing readers why the opposition’s argument is unconvincing. Once you’ve addressed the opposition, you write a conclusion that sums up why your argument is the better one.
- Open your essay by talking about the opposition and where it falls short. Build your entire argument to show how it is superior to that opposition - With this structure, you’re showing your readers “a better way” to address the issue. After opening your piece by showing how your opposition’s approaches fail, you launch into your argument, providing readers with ample evidence that backs you up.
As you think through your argument and examine your evidence document, consider which structure will serve your argument best. Sketch out an outline to give yourself a map to follow in the writing process. You could also rearrange your evidence document again to match your outline, so it will be easy to find what you need when you start writing.
5. Write your first draft
You have an outline and an organized document with all your points and evidence lined up and ready. Now you just have to write your essay.
In your first draft, focus on getting your ideas on the page. Your wording may not be perfect (whose is?), but you know what you’re trying to say — so even if you’re overly wordy and taking too much space to say what you need to say, put those words on the page.
Follow your outline, and draw from that evidence document to flesh out each point of your argument. Explain what the evidence means for your argument and your opposition. Connect the dots for your readers so they can follow you, point by point, and understand what you’re trying to say.
As you write, be sure to include:
1. Any background information your reader needs in order to understand the issue in question.
2. Evidence for both your argument and the counterargument(s). This shows that you’ve done your homework and builds trust with your reader, while also setting you up to make a more convincing argument. (If you find gaps in your research while you’re writing, Wordtune Spices can source statistics or historical facts on the fly!)
3. A conclusion that sums up your overall argument and evidence — and leaves the reader with an understanding of the issue and its significance. This sort of conclusion brings your essay to a strong ending that doesn’t waste readers’ time, but actually adds value to your case.
6. Revise (with Wordtune)
The hard work is done: you have a first draft. Now, let’s fine tune your writing.
I like to step away from what I’ve written for a day (or at least a night of sleep) before attempting to revise. It helps me approach clunky phrases and rough transitions with fresh eyes. If you don’t have that luxury, just get away from your computer for a few minutes — use the bathroom, do some jumping jacks, eat an apple — and then come back and read through your piece.
As you revise, make sure you …
- Get the facts right. An argument with false evidence falls apart pretty quickly, so check your facts to make yours rock solid.
- Don’t misrepresent the opposition or their evidence. If someone who holds the opposing view reads your essay, they should affirm how you explain their side — even if they disagree with your rebuttal.
- Present a case that builds over the course of your essay, makes sense, and ends on a strong note. One point should naturally lead to the next. Your readers shouldn’t feel like you’re constantly changing subjects. You’re making a variety of points, but your argument should feel like a cohesive whole.
- Paraphrase sources and cite them appropriately. Did you skip citations when writing your first draft? No worries — you can add them now. And check that you don’t overly rely on quotations. (Need help paraphrasing? Wordtune can help. Simply highlight the sentence or phrase you want to adjust and sort through Wordtune’s suggestions.)
- Tighten up overly wordy explanations and sharpen any convoluted ideas. Wordtune makes a great sidekick for this too 😉
Words to start an argumentative essay
The best way to introduce a convincing argument is to provide a strong thesis statement . These are the words I usually use to start an argumentative essay:
- It is indisputable that the world today is facing a multitude of issues
- With the rise of ____, the potential to make a positive difference has never been more accessible
- It is essential that we take action now and tackle these issues head-on
- it is critical to understand the underlying causes of the problems standing before us
- Opponents of this idea claim
- Those who are against these ideas may say
- Some people may disagree with this idea
- Some people may say that ____, however
When refuting an opposing concept, use:
- These researchers have a point in thinking
- To a certain extent they are right
- After seeing this evidence, there is no way one can agree with this idea
- This argument is irrelevant to the topic
Are you convinced by your own argument yet? Ready to brave the next get-together where everyone’s talking like they know something about intermittent fasting , chicken enclosures , or snow removal policies?
Now if someone asks you to explain your evidence-based but controversial opinion, you can hand them your essay and ask them to report back after they’ve read it.
P.S. This article was co-written with Wordtune . Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.
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Argumentative Essay Dos and Don’ts To Help You Write Better
Looking for a guide on argumentative essay dos and don'ts? You've come to the right page.
It’s one thing to know which arguments to present to persuade readers to support your stance, even if they don’t agree with you.
But even a strong point of view won’t be convincing if you don’t structure your arguments in a way that demonstrates solid reasoning backed with convincing evidence.
That’s why, in addition to understanding and strictly adhering to the format of an argumentative essay , you also have to know the dos and don’ts of the assignment to get it right.
Your goal is to persuade your audience to agree with you, so you don’t want to leave them an open opportunity to oppose the ideas you present about the topic and write you off completely.
The following is a summary of argumentative essay dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind when working on your essay:
- Read the assignment’s brief before you start writing.
- Do use proper citation when writing the essay.
- Avoid phrases such as “I think” or “I believe” because they only serve to weaken your argument.
- Don’t use signpost in your essay to give directional sign as doing so is irrelevant and only serves to waste space and time in your argument.
- Do not repeat the thesis statement in the conclusion of the argument.
- Do use our argumentative essay writing service if you don’t have the time to write the essay yourself and you need help to get it done.
What's the Goal of This Guide?
Our goal in this guide is to share with you all the argumentative essay dos and don’ts to help you write an A-grade essay.
Whether your instructor has asked you to argue on a topic related to health care, science, politics, or technology, these dos and don’ts are worth reading and implementing.
By learning and putting these guidelines into consideration as you write your argumentative essay , you’ll easily avoid the common academic writing pitfalls that make it difficult for students to score top marks for their essays.
Argumentative Essay Dos and Don’ts
The following are some of the dos and don’ts that can help you write a more comprehensive argumentative essay on any topic:
1. Do Pay Close Attention to Citation
One of the most important things to observe as you write your argumentative essay is citation.
Your instructor will ask you to use either the MLA or APA format to work on your essay. So it’s important to know how to cite your essay in these formats.
If this is your first time working on an argumentative essay, we highly recommend that you check out our guide in citing sources .
It includes everything you need to learn about work cited, in-text citation, and reference pages.
Citation rules are important, and it’s mandatory that you know all of them.
At the end of the day, your instructor expects to see that you’ve taken citation seriously, or they can deny you important marks for failing to follow the rules.
Some ideas in your argumentative essay will not be your own. Should that be the case, you’ll need to make sure you attribute all their sources before you submit the paper.
It’s fine to paraphrase the work of another author in your essay. However, don’t forget to give that author the credit for his work so you can at least avoid plagiarism .
2. Do Read the Assignment’s Guidelines before You Start
Many students fail their argumentative essays because they didn’t take the time to read the assignment guidelines before writing.
So even if the essay reads well and it’s convincing because it includes all the objective and substantial evidence to support your position, failing to write according to the brief can cost you important marks.
Remember, every school assignment comes with a set of instructions that you need to read and follow to a tee, and an argumentative essay isn’t an exception.
For example, if your teacher asks you to include eight sources in the paper and you only write three or four, you’ll earn fewer marks for failing to meet the minimum requirements.
Spend a few minutes of your time to read the assignment brief. Write down a summary of the brief for clarity, and don’t hesitate to consult your instructor if you’re in doubt.
3. Don’t Use Phrases Such as “I believe” or “I think”
When someone reads your argumentative essay, they should clearly see from the beginning that you’ve take your time to research the topic before choosing your position and developing your argument.
That way, you won’t have to use phrases that clearly indicate that your statements are weak and difficult to agree with.
To be very precise, we stress that you refrain from using phrases such as “I think” or “I believe” because they can easily weaken your argument.
The last thing you want to do is make your argument sound like an apology for your point of view, which shouldn’t be the case in the first place.
Instead of writing a statement like “ I think college should allow all students to access internet”, simply state that “college should allow all students to access the internet. Such a statement is precise and less empathetic.
4. Don’t Signpost in Your Argumentative Essay
Signposting may be a great writing technique, but it doesn’t have a place in argumentative essay writing.
If you think about it, academic readers are not interested in directional signs in a piece of writing, so don’t waste their time by repeating what you said or telling them what you wish to say next.
You need to go straight to the point and present the most important details. So instead of signposting, just say what you have to say.
5. Don’t Repeat the Thesis Statement in the Conclusion
Writing a conclusion for your argument can be twice as challenging as writing the introduction.
At the very least, many students make the mistake of repeating the thesis statement exactly as it is just to end the essay abruptly. However, that’s the wrong approach.
You need to take the conclusion of the essay seriously and make sure to write it well.
The last paragraph of the essay is your opportunity to tie everything together in a way that shows you’ve demonstrated your research, supported your claims, and done your best to support your position.
Also, never introduce a new idea when concluding your argument . If you have an idea to add to the essay, and you strongly believe that it can support your argument, go right ahead and include it in the body section instead.
Writing an argumentative essay doesn’t have to seem like a rocket science engage.
Really all there is to it is to know what you should do and what you shouldn’t. The writing process should come easy after that.
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How to Write a Convincing Argumentative Essay
Being a student and not knowing how to write an argumentative essay is a death wish. Mostly, by the in-depth and comprehensive research, argumentative essays are usually assigned to students as final projects, short-assessment essays, and capstones in their first years in college. We need you to understand the entire process of persuasive essay writing.
At the end of this article, you will know how to ace an argumentative essay by making your readers adopt your side of the argument. You will also understand how to write a persuasive essay, including starting and how to end it. In short, we present the ideas and top secrets for making your opponent believe in you and win an argument. We have all these tactics, hints, and tips in this guide.
What is an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay is a piece of academic writing whose purpose is to emphatically declare a position on a given cause or issue and then provide firm reasons, accompanied by evidence and facts, convincing the reader to change their stance or way of thinking and adopt the point of view of the author. Argumentative essays are also called persuasive essays.
An argumentative or persuasive essay can be a polemic essay. In this sense, you will write an essay arguing about a controversial topic. The steps of writing polemic essays are the same as an argumentative essay. So, if you are there wondering how to write a polemic essay, argumentative essay writing is the same as polemical writing. In this case, you will take a strong stance for or against something from the onset.
Polemical topics are controversial, including abortion, plastic surgery, human trafficking, ethnic adoption, genetic cloning, genetic engineering, animal testing, corporal punishment, right to die or euthanasia/doctor or physician-assisted suicide, and immigration.
In short, an argumentative essay presents facts and evidence to support an idea. For instance, you can be asked to write a persuasive essay about smoking.
You should learn the difference between a discursive essay and an argumentative essay .
Related Article: Argumentative essay topics.
Approaches to Argumentative Essay Writing: Types of Arguments
Three types of arguments conventionally guide the argumentative essay writing process.
1. The classical argument strategy
This is the oldest and most popular approach. It is also called the Aristotelian approach and entails presenting the problem, stating your solution, and trying to convince your reader to adopt it given facts and shreds of evidence.
Its layout includes an introduction, thesis statement, arguments, refutation, and conclusion in that order.
Introduction: The introduction presents a thesis statement and a hook to grab the readers' attention. It entails the problem statement and explaining why the argumentative/persuasive topic is relevant. In the thesis, you state the claim or position and then outline the major arguments.
Background of the issue: in this section of a classical argument essay, you should state the facts and the context of the problem.
Major arguments: your focus should be on the reasons for your chosen position. Also, you must use evidence and facts that are usually well-cited in-text. It is the most extended section of a persuasive essay.
Refutation: your aim here is to present arguments from the opposing side and reasons they are not valid/accurate. Example: Some authors have stressed the importance of health promotion among indigenous tribes to reduce healthcare access disparity. Nevertheless, it is only easier said than done. Despite their cultural irrelevance, overwhelming evidence indicates that such interventions come with challenges.
Conclusion: any conclusion to an essay summarizes the major points, discusses the implications, and stresses why the position chosen by the author is the best.
2. Toulmin Argumentative Approach
The Toulmin model of argument is mostly used in polemic topics or highly charged debates. It focuses on carefully using logic and qualifiers to limit arguments to nice things. It is used primarily in polemic essays to avoid unfounded or baseless statements.
For instance, should marijuana be legalized? Or should guns be concealed? The two are some argumentative topics that can be argued through the Toulmin approach.
Here is the format of Toulmin's argumentative essays:
Claim: your claim is the thesis statement. Example: The government should rethink the policies of gun ownership and use.
Evidence: The evidence refers to well-backed statistics, facts, or statements from credible scholarly sources.
Warrant: presenting the stance of different authors on the given issues. Example: According to different authors, stricter gun laws have only worked partially in the recent past.
Backing: Here, you add reasoning and logic to support the warrant. Example: We have continuously experienced a rising spate of gun attacks with the perpetrators having big assault rifles.
Rebuttal : presenting any claim that is against your principal argument.
Qualifier : short and worthy phrases that define the scope of your claims. Some qualifiers include typically, holistically, and usually, etc.
Exceptions : you set some exclusions to your claims given the available evidence.
3. Rogerian Argument Strategy
The Rogerian argument approach persuades the readers by finding the best points of agreement. Like the Toulmin argument method, the Rogerian approach is used in polemic writing where highly polarized topics or debates ensue. The strategy involves presenting ideas from both sides and giving an ear to the opposing side validity. It helps find a stock or middle ground to an issue.
The format of a Rogerian essay is discussed elsewhere. However, here is a brief outline of a Rogerian argumentative essay:
- Presenting the issue: you holistically state your problem and why it is relevant to address.
- Summary of the opposing arguments: you will state the significant points and discuss situations when the contradictory positions are correct. It helps expose your understanding of the conflicting points of view and your open-mindedness. With this, the opposing side might give you an ear.
- Stating your stance or points: present situations when your arguments might be correct.
- Stating the benefits of adopting your stance: convince the opposing side to jump ship and come to your side of arguments or debate.
In the Rogerian approach: the author is aware of both sides of the argument but ultimately favors one.
When writing a persuasive essay through a Rogerian approach, conceding that the opposing side might be correct is allowed.
It takes the Rogerian approach to get to the core of a debate. For instance, if it is an argumentative essay on climate change and global warming, you can explore either side of the problem.
Here is a sample Rogerian essay from our expert writers.
This infographic also shows the Rogerian essay writing process.
Our Rogerian essay expert writers can also come through in a great way.
Outline or Organization of Argumentative Essays
When writing argumentative essays, you should follow this outline:
- The Introduction: reflect on the title in the introduction so that it becomes your thesis statement or the key issue of argument in the essay. Your introduction should be clear and concise. There is no need to debate the topic. Use words that appeal to your readers/audience because only when they empathize can you persuade them. Also, present the facts from scholarly sources to build trust and develop sound and solid arguments. Finally, make sure your thesis answers the major question in the issue and state your position. The thesis statement is usually one or two last sentences of the intro.
- The Body: the body paragraphs of an argumentative essay should explain why the reader should adopt your point of view and find relevance in your thesis. The body should refute any objection, given evidence and facts. The body should give three reasons readers or the audience should accept your position. The reason and support should form your topic statements. The supporting facts should be statistics, examples, authorities, and logic. You should also anticipate the opposing arguments and positions by presenting the readers' objections and using evidence for their rebuttal. Also, highlight your reasons for rejecting the positions.
- The Conclusion: Your conclusion should be a reflection of the introduction. It should comprise a restated thesis statement and highlight the major argument. Give your strong stance and convince your readers to come to your side. We have some argumentative essay conclusion ideas. First, think about how to appeal to your readers' morals, character, logic, and emotions. So, use logos, ethos, and pathos as your persuasive approaches. Secondly, the present hypothesis of the potentialities in case your readers do not adopt your argument. Also, present a call to action where you make recommendations on the issue. Finally, consider the big picture, including what can be done at the regulation or policy level and give relevant facts.
How to Write Argumentative Essay: Steps
First step: choosing topics and stance.
- Choose a tremendous argumentative/persuasive/polemic topic: Always go for a contradictory or highly polarized/ debated topic. When choosing a topic, choose something you are passionate about writing an essay about. The topic should be concise. Some examples include " Are gun laws doing less to prevent mass shootings and terrorism?" " Does social media create an isolated community" or " Are memes becoming a means of communication and entertainment?" Choosing a topic that is not too broad gives you good scope for the essay.
- Choose your argument: With preliminary research, you can side with the polemic or argumentative issue. For example, " Should immigrants at American borders be processed without restrictions?" From the beginning, you have to be very clear about what factors warrant faster processing of immigrants. Talk of the squalid conditions that threaten public health and defend your position using facts and data from credible sources. If you have strong opposing points, it is signal enough to tweak your topic or stance.
- Appeal to your audience's emotions, morals, character, and logic. Give the audience a chance to link and reason with your arguments. With rational arguments, it is easy for your readers to be convinced as it appeals to their deep emotions. So, only give rational arguments in your persuasive essays.
- Have your audience in mind: with the understanding of the side of arguments your readers might be on, either agree or disagree with their or your perspective.
- Research and select the best evidence: get facts, expert opinions, logical arguments, or issues of debate on the topic. Select the evidence with authority, relevance, and authenticity.
- Reason with some of the potential objections or oppositions the audience might raise. When elaborating on an idea in an argumentative essay, research either side of the debate and do a rebuttal. In the most persuasive way, organize points, ideas, and supporting facts.
The above steps form the preparation stage, without which you will not write a persuasive essay . If you want a laser-focused argumentative paper, you must adhere to the tactics and tips we share here. After the preparation, you have to structure your essay, which is how to make an argumentative essay very convincing.
Second Step: Research for the Persuasive Essay
Regardless of your chosen argumentative method, you have to get your facts right from the beginning. Ensure you get scholarly sources within a 5-year window-period for relevance and credibility.
Research helps you shape your arguments and write convincing statements and paragraphs. It also helps your teachers assess the depth of your essay.
Third Step: Develop the Structure of your Essay
A short persuasive essay aligns with the five-paragraph format. However, your body paragraphs will be many if it is a long argumentative research paper, say 10 pages or more.
So, an argumentative essay outline has an introduction (with an essay hook and a thesis), body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The body paragraphs will have supporting facts each, and then the counterargument paragraph is the second last to the conclusion.
One thing to note, though, is always to be privy to your opponents' arguments as you are to yours. When you use concession- noting the opposing views, you gracefully win your argument and find commonality with the opponents.
To effectively do that, your choice of facts, evidence, qualifiers, and information should be professional. Refute the ideas held by the opponents cleverly and offer counterarguments.
Step 4: Write your introduction
Of most importance is how you start your argumentative essay. So, make it memorable and stunning when thinking of how to write an argumentative essay introduction. Always strive to start your opening paragraph with an essay hook to grab your reader's attention. For this, you can use a statistic, a quote, or paint a picture of what is on the ground concerning the issue at hand.
Sample Essay Hook Ideas for Persuasive Essays
You can attract and keep your reader with a hook in the first sentence. For instance, when writing a polemic essay on bariatric surgery. Feel free to state, " In the era of fast food, almost everyone has BMI approaching 35-39 and a hoard of other health issues such as type 2 diabetes, apnea, and high blood pressure, which qualifies most to bariatric surgery."Suppose it is a persuasive essay on the importance of a college education. In that case, you can start your essay this way: " Statistically, credible evidence suggests that several people who have never been to college are doing better without a college degree." Even though the two examples of how to start an argumentative essay are simple, they give the readers a sneak pick and appetite.
If developing an essay hook is challenging in the early stages, you can always head to the following parts of the essay and deal with it later. The beauty of this approach is that you find inspiration and discover useful facts from research when writing.
Now, your intro should also have a thesis statement.
Crafting a Thesis Statement for an Argumentative Essay
So what is a thesis statement? It is a one or two-sentence statement in the introductory paragraph that summarizes the main points, gist, claims, and stance of a topic in an essay. It can be written in question-answer format, refuting objections, or by giving the essay a roadmap.
Q/A format: " What is domestic violence?" the answer to the question becomes the first line of your intro.
Refuting objections : "There is never a way to prevent death when it is bound to occur. Here, you take an opposing view to an issue.
Roadmap : " While most people think there is no way to stop homegrown terrorism, studies have shown that there are policies and initiatives that have worked elsewhere; by taking a racially-unbiased approach; by engaging the citizens in community policing, and by having strict gun laws."
The above statement is an example of a strong thesis statement that states the claim and stance and offers major points.
The thesis statement should always be:
- Introduce the topic and claims;
- Present your side of the argument;
- Offer a roadmap or factual evidence on what to expect reading the essay;
- And have a transition that takes the reader to the body paragraphs.
For instance, if it is a persuasive essay on the importance of wearing school uniforms, ensure the thesis gives a natural and clear transition to the body. For example: " Wearing school uniforms creates a sense of unity and belonging and helps remove the notion of inequality." So automatically, the following paragraph should explore how school uniforms create equality. For instance, it eliminates bullying, as all have the same identity.
If you are writing an argumentative essay on the topic "Fracking should be banned," an example of a strong thesis statement should be " evidence strongly suggest that fracking is a dangerous process that exposes the interior of the earth and the environment to hazards despite its efficiency in extracting natural gas ."
Step 5: Fill in the blanks to write the body
With a great introduction and conclusion, writing the body of an argumentative essay becomes easy. So, you will research more on the supporting facts, develop strong topic sentences, knit together facts using available evidence, and write concluding sentences for a paragraph.
We insist that you stick to the one-ides-one-paragraph rule to avoid mixing ideas. Then every claim should be backed with proper evidence. The evidence should convince your readers.
The same approach you use when writing strong paragraphs in research papers , term papers , speeches , thesis , and dissertations applies to persuasive essay writing. If you must be confrontational, as with polemic topics, let it be subtle but always see that the audience can re-evaluate their stance and develop a new point of view aligning with yours.
Example: "Everyone wishes to have a quality life, safe neighborhoods, and benefits of low crime rates. Nevertheless, taking a backseat on matters of importance to national security could escalate insecurity and deny us our wish."
By default, three body paragraphs are enough unless it is a long-form argumentative research paper or term paper. Also, do not force the points to fit; let the argumentative essay points flow.
Step 6: Carefully Craft the Conclusion
How to end an argumentative or persuasive essay is an issue that disturbs most people. However, it is like eating an entire goat only to be defeated by the tail. With the knowledge on how to write a persuasive essay introduction and how to develop the body paragraphs, the final step is ending an argumentative essay.
Your conclusion is the last paragraph of the essay. In essence, it should summarize the major points. You should have a closing statement, restate the thesis statement, and appeal emotionally, logically, and reasonably to the readers.
You can achieve this by:
- Persuading the readers to adopt your point of view given evidence, facts, real-life examples, and demonstrations.
- Reviewing the introductory argument and hinting at what might transpire if the readers are adamant about accepting your point of view.
We have a post on how to write an argumentative essay conclusion ; kindly read it as well.
Step 7: Polish up the Essay
The conclusion only gives you room to rest. However, polishing your persuasive or argumentative essay helps you improve its grade.
After writing your argumentative essay, it is good to take a break. When you return, you should ensure it is coherent, cogent, correct, and grammatically sound. Also, ensure the punctuation marks are used per the rules of academic writing. For instance, use the Oxford comma before 'but,' 'and,' and 'or.'
If you are working on a controversial polemic topic, strive to connect with your readers. If you are unsure if you have nailed it, seek a second opinion. Having someone proofread and edit your essays makes them more objective. This should be standard in all your assignments .
Here are some steps to polish your essay:
- Read the essay loudly if you are in a place that allows it.
- Re-read the essay silently.
- If you are unsure how to use punctuation marks, research as you implement.
- Go through the introduction and read the thesis statement and the hook. If there is no alignment to the topic, discard, and develop a new one.
- Check whether there is a transition word in each paragraph to the next paragraph.
- Ensure everybody's paragraph has one idea, is well-formatted, and is well-cited.
- Read and re-write, where necessary, your paragraphs' opening and closing sentences.
- Check your conclusion closing statements, order, and validity.
- Check for run-on sentences, wordiness, and proper presentation of counterarguments or rebuttals.
Achieving a great argumentative essay is not hard when you are loaded with tactics and tips. Conduct your research, choose a good topic, have an outline, develop good and convincing arguments, and use strong evidence. That is simply it!
We believe this guide on the essential steps of writing an argumentative essay and the tips herein will help you craft an unimaginable piece of an essay. The ball is now on your court. If you need help writing a persuasive essay, we have expert essay writers who can help.
Controversial Polemic Topics for an Argumentative Essay
- Should cleaning toilets be a part of the school curriculum?
- There has been a rising voice for Nobel committees to consider gender diversity and work quality when nominating scientists. To what extent do you agree with this opinion?
- Should the death penalty be banned as a form of punishment?
- What Causes Child Obesity?
- Are you, as a parent, Responsible if Your Child is Fat?
- What is the Best Diet?
- Should Sugar Be Banned in Schools?
- Children Need To Spend More Time Outside
- When is Too Young to Go on a Diet?
We have a more comprehensive list of argumentative essays, be sure to check it out. Also, here is a sample argumentative essay .
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The Constitution Prohibits Trump From Ever Being President Again
The only question is whether American citizens today can uphold that commitment.
A s students of the United States Constitution for many decades—one of us as a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, the other as a professor of constitutional law, and both as constitutional advocates, scholars, and practitioners—we long ago came to the conclusion that the Fourteenth Amendment, the amendment ratified in 1868 that represents our nation’s second founding and a new birth of freedom, contains within it a protection against the dissolution of the republic by a treasonous president.
This protection, embodied in the amendment’s often-overlooked Section 3, automatically excludes from future office and position of power in the United States government—and also from any equivalent office and position of power in the sovereign states and their subdivisions—any person who has taken an oath to support and defend our Constitution and thereafter rebels against that sacred charter, either through overt insurrection or by giving aid or comfort to the Constitution’s enemies.
The historically unprecedented federal and state indictments of former President Donald Trump have prompted many to ask whether his conviction pursuant to any or all of these indictments would be either necessary or sufficient to deny him the office of the presidency in 2024.
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Having thought long and deeply about the text, history, and purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment’s disqualification clause for much of our professional careers, both of us concluded some years ago that, in fact, a conviction would be beside the point. The disqualification clause operates independently of any such criminal proceedings and, indeed, also independently of impeachment proceedings and of congressional legislation. The clause was designed to operate directly and immediately upon those who betray their oaths to the Constitution, whether by taking up arms to overturn our government or by waging war on our government by attempting to overturn a presidential election through a bloodless coup.
The former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the resulting attack on the U.S. Capitol, place him squarely within the ambit of the disqualification clause, and he is therefore ineligible to serve as president ever again. The most pressing constitutional question facing our country at this moment, then, is whether we will abide by this clear command of the Fourteenth Amendment’s disqualification clause.
We were immensely gratified to see that a richly researched article soon to be published in an academic journal has recently come to the same conclusion that we had and is attracting well-deserved attention outside a small circle of scholars—including Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Anjani Jain of the Yale School of Management, whose encouragement inspired us to write this piece. The evidence laid out by the legal scholars William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen in “The Sweep and Force of Section Three,” available as a preprint, is momentous. Sooner or later, it will influence, if not determine, the course of American constitutional history—and American history itself.
Written with precision and thoroughness, the article makes the compelling case that the relevance of Section 3 did not lapse with the passing of the generation of Confederate rebels, whose treasonous designs for the country inspired the provision; that the provision was not and could not have been repealed by the Amnesty Act of 1872 or by subsequent legislative enactments; and that Section 3 has not been relegated by any judicial precedent to a mere source of potential legislative authority, but continues to this day by its own force to automatically render ineligible for future public office all “former office holders who then participate in insurrection or rebellion,” as Baude and Paulsen put it.
Among the profound conclusions that follow are that all officials who ever swore to support the Constitution—as every officer, state or federal, in every branch of government, must—and who thereafter either “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution or gave “aid and comfort to the enemies” of that Constitution (and not just of the United States as a sovereign nation) are automatically disqualified from holding future office and must therefore be barred from election to any office.
Regardless of partisan leaning or training in the law, all U.S. citizens should read and consider these two simple sentences from Section 3:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
The Fourteenth Amendment was promulgated and ratified in the context of postbellum America when, even after losing the Civil War, southern states were sending men to Congress who had held prominent roles in the Confederacy or otherwise supported acts of rebellion or insurrection against the United States.
The two of us have long believed, and Baude and Paulsen have now convincingly demonstrated, that notwithstanding its specific historical origin, Section 3 is no anachronism or relic from the past; rather, it applies with the same force and effect today as it did the day it was ratified—as does every other provision, clause, and word of the Constitution that has not been repealed or revised by amendment.
Baude and Paulsen also conclude that Section 3 requires no legislation, criminal conviction, or other judicial action in order to effectuate its command. That is, Section 3 is “self-executing.” (Other scholars have relied on Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase’s poorly reasoned opinion in an 1869 case called In Re Griffin to support the contrary view. Baude and Paulsen decisively dismantle Griffin as a precedent.)
They conclude further that disqualification pursuant to Section 3 is not a punishment or a deprivation of any “liberty” or “right” inasmuch as one who fails to satisfy the Constitution’s qualifications does not have a constitutional “right” or “entitlement” to serve in a public office, much less the presidency. (For that reason, they argue that the section, although it does not entirely override preexisting limits on governmental power, such as the First Amendment’s ban on abridgments of the freedom of speech, powerfully affects their application.) Finally, the authors conclude that Section 3 is “expansive and encompassing” in what it regards as “insurrection or rebellion” against the constitutional order and “aid and comfort to the enemies” of the United States.
Baude and Paulsen are two of the most prominent conservative constitutional scholars in America, and both are affiliated with the Federalist Society, making it more difficult for them to be dismissed as political partisans. Thus it is all the more significant and sobering that they do not hesitate to draw from their long study of the Fourteenth Amendment’s text and history the shattering conclusion that the attempted overturning of the 2020 presidential election and the attack on the Capitol, intended to prevent the joint session from counting the electoral votes for the presidency, together can be fairly characterized as an “insurrection” or “rebellion.” They write:
The bottom line is that Donald Trump both “engaged in” “insurrection or rebellion” and gave “aid or comfort” to others engaging in such conduct, within the original meaning of those terms as employed in Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. If the public record is accurate, the case is not even close. He is no longer eligible to the office of Presidency, or any other state or federal office covered by the Constitution.
A t the time of the January 6 attack, most Democrats and key Republicans described it as an insurrection for which Trump bore responsibility. We believe that any disinterested observer who witnessed that bloody assault on the temple of our democracy, and anyone who learns about the many failed schemes to bloodlessly overturn the election before that, would have to come to the same conclusion. The only intellectually honest way to disagree is not to deny that the event is what the Constitution refers to as “insurrection” or “rebellion,” but to deny that the insurrection or rebellion matters. Such is to treat the Constitution of the United States as unworthy of preservation and protection.
Baude and Paulsen embrace the “idea that men and women who swore an oath to support the Constitution as government officials, but who betrayed that oath by engaging in or abetting acts of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, should be disqualified from important positions of government power in the future (unless forgiven by supermajorities of both houses of Congress).” To them, as to us, this will forever “remain a valid, valuable,” and “vital precept” for America.
Section 3’s disqualification clause has by no means outlived its contemplated necessity, nor will it ever, as the post–Civil War Framers presciently foresaw. To the contrary, this provision of our Constitution continues to protect the republic from those bent on its dissolution. Every official who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, as Article VI provides every public official must, is obligated to enforce this very provision.
The Baude-Paulsen article has already inspired a national debate over its correctness and implications for the former president. The former federal judge and Stanford law professor Michael McConnell cautions that “we are talking about empowering partisan politicians such as state Secretaries of State to disqualify their political opponents from the ballot … If abused, this is profoundly anti-democratic.” He also believes, as we do, that insurrection and rebellion are “demanding terms, connoting only the most serious of uprisings against the government,” and that Section 3 “should not be defined down to include mere riots or civil disturbances.” McConnell worries that broad definitions of insurrection and rebellion , with the “lack of concern about enforcement procedure … could empower partisans to seek disqualification every time a politician supports or speaks in support of the objectives of a political riot.”
We share these concerns, and we concur that the answer to them lies in the wisdom of judicial decisions as to what constitutes “insurrection,” “rebellion,” or “aid or comfort to the enemies” of the Constitution under Section 3.
As a practical matter, the processes of adversary hearing and appeal will be invoked almost immediately upon the execution and enforcement of Section 3 by a responsible election officer—or, for that matter, upon the failure to enforce Section 3 as required. When a secretary of state or other state official charged with the responsibility of approving the placement of a candidate’s name on an official ballot either disqualifies Trump from appearing on a ballot or declares him eligible, that determination will assuredly be challenged in court by someone with the standing to do so, whether another candidate or an eligible voter in the relevant jurisdiction. Given the urgent importance of the question, such a case will inevitably land before the Supreme Court, where it will in turn test the judiciary’s ability to disentangle constitutional interpretation from political temptation. (Additionally, with or without court action, the second sentence of Section 3 contains a protection against abuse of this extraordinary power by these elections officers: Congress’s ability to remove an egregious disqualification by a supermajority of each House.)
The entire process, with all its sometimes frail but thus far essentially effective constitutional guardrails, will frame the effort to determine whether the threshold of “insurrection” or “rebellion” was reached and which officials, executive or legislative, were responsible for the January 6 insurrection and the broader efforts to reverse the election’s results.
The process that will play out over the coming year could give rise to momentary social unrest and even violence. But so could the failure to engage in this constitutionally mandated process. For our part, we would pray for neither unrest nor violence from the American people during a process of faithful application and enforcement of their Constitution.
I f Donald Trump were to be reelected, how could any citizen trust that he would uphold the oath of office he would take upon his inauguration? As recently as last December, the former president posted on Truth Social his persistent view that the last presidential election was a “Massive Fraud,” one that “allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.”
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No person who sought to overthrow our Constitution and thereafter declared that it should be “terminated” and that he be immediately returned to the presidency can in good faith take the oath that Article II, Section 1 demands of any president-elect “before he enter on the Execution of his Office.”
We will not attempt to express this constitutional injunction better than did George Washington himself in his “Farewell Address ” to the nation, in 1796:
The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government. All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency … However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
Our first president may well have been our most prescient. His fears about “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men” have, over the centuries, proved all too well founded. But his even stronger hopes for the republic were not misplaced. Still today, the Constitution, through its Reconstruction Amendments, contains a safeguard that it originally lacked—a safeguard against the undermining of our constitutional democracy and the rule of law at the hands of those whose lust for power knows no bounds.
The men who framed and ratified the Fourteenth Amendment entrusted to us, “the People of the United States,” the means to vigilantly protect against those who would make a mockery of American democracy, the Constitution, the rule of law—and of America itself. It fell to the generations that followed to enforce our hallowed Constitution and ensure that our Union endures. Today, that responsibility falls to us.