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Elements of Argumentative Essay: The Complete Guide
It’s important to learn and understand the different elements of an argumentative essay to navigate the writing process for the project.
Understanding these elements will enable you to structure your essay well, so you can write the most significant details from start to finish.
A comprehensive argumentative essay must feature the following elements:
- Thesis statement: A thesis statement gives a summary of the main claim of the subject. Instead of being a fact or random opinion, the statement should be arguable in nature with a matter of probability.
- Audience: The audience is the people to whom you present your argument.
- Exigence: Exigence allows you to create an environment in which you make a claim and offer strong evidence to support your position.
- Support: Your premise should include reasons to support your claim.
- Reasoning: You have to use reasons to give answers to hypothetical challenges, which should act as a way to convince your audience that your claims are valid.
- Counterclaims and Rebuttals: You anticipate objections to your argument and must therefore recognize counterclaims and refute them with rebuttals.
If you’re struggling with incorporating these elements in your argument or you can’t get yourself to write the essay fast, hire an argumentative essay writer from Help for Assessment for writing assistance.
6 Elements of an Argumentative Essay Explained
Below is a detailed explanation of all the six elements of an argumentative essay:
1. Thesis Statement
A thesis in an argument highlights the main claim of a subject. It should be a sentence long, although some essays can have a maximum of two sentences.
In argumentative writing, a statement of declaration cannot be a fact or random opinion. Instead, it must be arguable in nature with a matter of probability. Moreover, the statement should bring out point clearly, even if the subject is on a complex or controversial issue.
The thesis statement should be clear, concise, and specific. Or your audience is likely to miss the primary objective of the essay.
Your argument’s thesis must touch on a major warrant before you begin working on the body paragraphs .
By touching on the main premise, you grab the attention of the opposing reader and demonstrate the reasonability of your argument.
The audience is your reader or a group of people you need to convince that your position on an issue is more viable.
You must use a tentative approach with a strong conviction to get your human readers or listeners to agree with you. In some cases, though, you may have to present your argument in a passionate way.
Whichever approach you use, ensure you detail your arguments so that you audience can pay attention to the message you wish to communicate.
Your audience is a mix of readers from different backgrounds and varying opinions. A part of your audience will agree with your position on an issue, some will debate your argument. Therefore, you must use significant evidence in a manner that moves the audience to agree with you.
Exigence is a rising circumstance that pushes for the need for a real argument. By creating a forum in time, exigence enables you to make claims to which you can provide sufficient evidence for support.
Although exigence is mostly only possible in real-time debates that happen in classrooms, your teacher may ask you to present it in the written form. In such a case, you may create your own exigence and use it throughout the writing.
Support is one of the elements of an argumentative essay that requires you to consider a few important questions.
- What is your premise?
- Is your evidence good enough to convince your readers or listeners of the reasonability of your side of the argument?
Your premise must have a “because” statement to support your claim. If you intend to make longer arguments, ensure you introduce sufficient supporting statement.
To support your claim and get your audience to agree with your position on an underlying issue:
- Provide as much data or evidence as possible provided they’re relevant to the subject.
- If possible, don’t hesitate to include some or rhetorical appeals, statistics, anecdotal support, and historical data.
Regardless of the information you provide, the premise should give your audience enough reasons to consider your argument’s thesis statement. In other words, the evidence you provide must be valid and logical enough to prove the validity of your claim.
Consider including a concession in your argumentative essay even as you provide credible evidence and reliable data to support your stance on an issue.
If you think about it, your opponent’s argument will have some truth in it, so it makes sense to concede with these. However, exercise caution so that you don’t agree with points that serve to weaken your argument.
Reasoning responds to the “but why?” question in an argument. Written to serve as a response to a hypothetical challenge, reasoning proves to your target reader that your claim is valid.
To be clear, reason tries to support a claim whether it’s part of the introduction or the body of the essay.
In the terms of structure , your argumentative essay must have a single thesis statement. However, the essay may have sub-claims proved by different reasons as long as they tie back to the thesis statement.
6. Counterclaims and Rebuttals
In argumentative essay writing, you must anticipate probable objections and other arguments that challenge the position you hold. These objections are what we refer to as counterclaims .
With this respect, some readers might find the whole or parts of your argument illogical. Interestingly, these objections can help you to analyze your ideas, making it possible for you to review the strength and credibility of the evidence you provide.
We hope this guide has helped you to understand the different elements of an argumentative essay as well as the reasons why they’re important in writing.
Ideally, these elements will enable you to structure your essay well, so you can present your arguments in a way that easily convinces your audience of the validity of your claims and position.
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
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.
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 .
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Essential components of argumentative writing
In high-quality argumentative writing, defending a position is not enough. It is necessary to provide counterarguments and rebuttals. To strengthen the quality of your argumentation, ask critical questions from the proponent (the side in favour of the argument) and the opponent’s (the side opposed to the argument) sides, and don’t hesitate to include critical questions in your argumentative writing. Asking questions is an effective method that guides self-explanation, elaboration, and self-regulatory learning. The main components of an argumentative paper are:
Claims assert your position on an issue. Your claims must be arguable. This is not an arguable claim: “this paper will examine the extent to which grouping students based on ability would accommodate their different needs.” Examining the extent of an issue suggests an expository paper instead of an argumentative one. You should claim your position by stating: “grouping students based on ability accommodates their different needs.”
You also need to provide reasons to support your claim(s), and back up your reasons with evidence (note: your "evidence" is usually what you have found by doing your research!).
Counterarguments predict what an opponent would say to reject an argument. When you provide a counterargument, you provide reasonable objections to an argument that may arise for some who disagrees with you. For example, someone claims, “making learning fun in classrooms allows for good learning because it motivates students to learn.” Ask yourself: are there people who would say that having fun in classrooms is not necessary for learning? What would be the reasons that would support that claim? Could someone argue that emotional interest stimulated through fun activities is not as important as cognitive interest stimulated through relevant information? Would they have evidence to back up their reason? Can they explain how and why the evidence supports their claim?
After you set up the counterarguments, you need to respond to, address, or refute those counterarguments. Otherwise, your read might end up being convinced by the opposing argument!
In the previous example, you could ask yourself: “What can I say to show that it isn't right to suggest that emotional interest isn't as important as cognitive interest?"
To provide a reasonable rebuttal, weigh up the balance of evidence and reasons provided in the arguments and the counterarguments, and prove that you have more evidence and reasons for the argument.
-- blog post by Teeba Obaid, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education
For more support on writing effective argumentative papers, check out the SLC's new resources on using templates to structure an argumentative essay, including practice exercises!:
Thank you to SLC Graduate Writing Facilitator Mohsen for his work creating these resources!
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Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.
The focus of such an essay predicts its structure. It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they need to receive it. Thus your essay's structure is necessarily unique to the main claim you're making. Although there are guidelines for constructing certain classic essay types (e.g., comparative analysis), there are no set formula.
Answering Questions: The Parts of an Essay
A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don't. Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it's relevant.
It's helpful to think of the different essay sections as answering a series of questions your reader might ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. If they don't, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim.)
"What?" The first question to anticipate from a reader is "what": What evidence shows that the phenomenon described by your thesis is true? To answer the question you must examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim. This "what" or "demonstration" section comes early in the essay, often directly after the introduction. Since you're essentially reporting what you've observed, this is the part you might have most to say about when you first start writing. But be forewarned: it shouldn't take up much more than a third (often much less) of your finished essay. If it does, the essay will lack balance and may read as mere summary or description.
"How?" A reader will also want to know whether the claims of the thesis are true in all cases. The corresponding question is "how": How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? How does the introduction of new material—a new way of looking at the evidence, another set of sources—affect the claims you're making? Typically, an essay will include at least one "how" section. (Call it "complication" since you're responding to a reader's complicating questions.) This section usually comes after the "what," but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay.
"Why?" Your reader will also want to know what's at stake in your claim: Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering "why", your essay explains its own significance. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essay's end. If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular.
Mapping an Essay
Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. The easiest way to do this is to map the essay's ideas via a written narrative. Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the reader's needs in understanding your idea.
Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:
- State your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why it's important to make that claim. Indicate, in other words, what a reader might learn by exploring the claim with you. Here you're anticipating your answer to the "why" question that you'll eventually flesh out in your conclusion.
- Begin your next sentence like this: "To be convinced by my claim, the first thing a reader needs to know is . . ." Then say why that's the first thing a reader needs to know, and name one or two items of evidence you think will make the case. This will start you off on answering the "what" question. (Alternately, you may find that the first thing your reader needs to know is some background information.)
- Begin each of the following sentences like this: "The next thing my reader needs to know is . . ." Once again, say why, and name some evidence. Continue until you've mapped out your essay.
Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why. It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas.
Signs of Trouble
A common structural flaw in college essays is the "walk-through" (also labeled "summary" or "description"). Walk-through essays follow the structure of their sources rather than establishing their own. Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. Be wary of paragraph openers that lead off with "time" words ("first," "next," "after," "then") or "listing" words ("also," "another," "in addition"). Although they don't always signal trouble, these paragraph openers often indicate that an essay's thesis and structure need work: they suggest that the essay simply reproduces the chronology of the source text (in the case of time words: first this happens, then that, and afterwards another thing . . . ) or simply lists example after example ("In addition, the use of color indicates another way that the painting differentiates between good and evil").
Copyright 2000, Elizabeth Abrams, for the Writing Center at Harvard University
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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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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 (30 minutes)
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Argumentative Essay Guide
The Ultimate Guide to Argumentative Essay Writing
11 min read
Published on: Feb 3, 2018
Last updated on: Feb 23, 2023
On This Page On This Page
Are you struggling to write an argumentative essay? Do you want to learn the essential tips and techniques to craft a convincing argument?
Argumentative essay writing needs more than just a personal opinion. It requires you to present evidence and facts to support a claim. But where do you begin?
Look no further! This blog post will provide an in-depth guide on how to write an effective argumentative essay.
Read on to learn how to craft a perfect argumentative essay in this simple step-by-step guide.
Argumentative Essay Definition
An argumentative essay is a type of essay where the writer takes a strong stance on an issue and presents arguments for it.
These essays are built around a central argument. These arguments must be supported by logical evidence and facts. The primary purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade readers to accept the writer's point of view on a particular topic.
It is similar to a persuasive essay. The only difference is, it is based on logic and evidence. Whereas, a persuasive essay may use emotional appeals.
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Five Types of Argument Claims
There are five types of arguable claims that you can support in your essay. These include factual claims, definition claims, value claims, cause-and-effect claims, and policy claims.
Let's discuss each type in detail:
These claims focus on facts and events that have occurred in the past. They can be supported with evidence such as statistics, examples, or expert opinions.
For instance, you could write an argumentative essay to support the claim that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. You would present evidence such as scientific research findings and expert opinions to back up your argument.
These claims focus on the definition of something or a concept. You can use logic, historical facts, and evidence to support a definition claim.
For example, you could write an argumentative essay to define what “success” means for a person or organization. You would need to back up your definition by providing evidence from experts or historical data.
These claims focus on the value of something and can be supported with facts and expert opinions.
For instance, you could write an argumentative essay to argue that technology has a positive effect on our lives. You would present evidence such as surveys and studies that show how technology has made life easier and more efficient.
Cause and Effect Claims
These claims focus on how one event or action leads to another. They can be supported with evidence such as experimental data.
For example, you could write an argumentative essay to argue that poverty causes crime. You would need to present evidence from experts and other sources to back up your claim.
These claims focus on specific initiatives or policies that people want to implement. They can be supported with evidence from experts and other sources.
For instance, you could write an argumentative essay to support the implementation of a new government policy for healthcare reform. You would need to provide evidence such as reports and studies on the issue to back up your claim.
So, there are five types of arguable claims that you can make in your essay. Each type requires its own unique approach.
Three Argument Structures and How To Use Them
There are three main types of argument structures that may be used in an essay. Let's see how each of them works:
Classical (Aristotelian) Argument
The classical argument structure is the oldest and most common type of argument. This model has its roots in the works of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.
It consists of five parts:
- Your Arguments
- Counter Arguments
To construct a classical argument essay, you would need to:
- Present your position on an issue
- Provide evidence to support it
- Acknowledge opposing views
- Refute those views with evidence
- Conclude by summarizing the main points.
The Rogerian model is used in essays where the main purpose is to find a common ground between opposing sides. It was developed by psychologist Carl Rogers.
It consists of four parts:
- Both Sides Of An Issue
- Common Ground
To construct a Rogerian argument essay, you would need:
- To present your side of the issue
- Acknowledge and present the opposing view
- Find a point of agreement between them
The Toulmin structure is less common than the other two but it has its own unique style. This model was developed by British philosopher Stephen Toulmin. It consists of six parts:
- Rebuttal of opposing arguments
To construct a Toulmin argument essay, you have to:
- Present your claim on an issue
- Provide evidence to back it up (grounds)
- Support that evidence with additional information (backing)
- Acknowledge any possible exceptions (qualifier)
- Refute the counter-arguments (rebuttal)
It is important to choose the right structure that best fits the needs of your essay.
Watch this video that explains the three different types in detail:
How to Outline an Argumentative Essay
When writing an argumentative essay, it is important to create an outline. An outline will help you organize your arguments and keep track of the flow of your essay.
Here is a basic structure for outlining an argumentative essay:
I. Introduction A. Hook B. Background Information C. Thesis Statement II. Body A. First Argument B. Second Argument C. Third Argument III. Counterarguments IV. Rebuttal V. Conclusion A. Summary of Main Points B. Final Remarks
Following this structure will help you organize your essay and ensure that it is easy to read and understand.
Read more about creating an argumentative essay outline and master the art of essay structure.
How To Write An Argumentative Essay
Argumentative essays are the most common type of essays for High School and College students. They require strong critical thinking skills and an ability to analyze a topic at a deeper level.
Here is a step by step guide on how to start an argumentative essay:
1. Argumentative Essay Introduction
An argumentative essay introduction clearly states the writer’s claim that he will make in the essay. The introductory paragraph should be logical, and intellectual, and should be written persuasively.
Here are three steps you can follow to write a very persuasive argumentative essay introduction:
- Start with a hook: Begin your introduction paragraph with a strong hook that gives the reader a hint about your argument.
- Give background information: Provide brief background information necessary to understand the argument and smoothly transition into the thesis statement.
- State the thesis: Lay a solid foundation for your claim by stating your thesis statement.
2. Argumentative Essay Thesis Statement
The thesis statement is a concise, clear, and one-sentence summary of the whole essay. It is the most important part of an argumentative essay because it established a foundation for your claim. It should be informative, engaging, arguable, and valid.
One of the ways of writing an argumentative thesis is to make a question out of your topic. Simply take your essay topic and turn it into a debatable question.
3. Argumentative Essay Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs involve topic sentences and evidence, either against or supporting a certain point of view.
Here are three simple steps of crafting the body paragraphs:
- Topic sentence: Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that defines only one specific idea and supports the main claim.
- Provide evidence: Provide as much supporting evidence as required to convince the reader. Remember! The argument has no value if it is not backed with proper and relevant evidence from credible sources.
- Concluding remarks: End the paragraph with a concluding remark and smoothly transitioned to the next body paragraph.
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4. Using Counter Arguments
This counter-argument paragraph contains the opposing point of view that a reader may pose against your main argument. This paragraph aims to prove that the opposing side is wrong by providing facts and evidence.
Below are the four steps to craft a counter-argument paragraph:
- State the counter-arguments: Present all the counter-arguments one by one.
- State your response: Provide your response towards the counter-arguments.
- Refute the opposing claims: Refute the opposite claims, one by one, with facts and evidence..
- Conclusion: Conclude the paragraph by reasserting your main claim of the essay.
6. Argumentative Essay Conclusion
The conclusion needs to be logical and precise that inspires the reader to agree with your claim. It should provide the final stance about the argument, which tells that your side of the argument is right.
Here are the three steps to write an effective argumentative essay conclusion:
- Summarize the argument: Sum up the entire essay and rewrite the thesis statement
- Stick to the plan: Don’t introduce any new argument here; just synthesize all the information presented in the body paragraph.
- Call to action: End your essay by providing a call to action.
Argumentative Essay Graphic Organizer
Argumentative Essay Examples
Sample essays play a vital role in understanding the structure of an essay. So check out these examples below.
Argumentative Essay Template
Argumentative Essay Sample
Argumentative Essay About Gun Control
Argumentative Essay Examples College
Argumentative Essay Example For High School PDF
Here are more argumentative essay examples to help you understand the structure of an argumentative essay.
Argumentative Essay Topics
Choosing a topic for an argumentative essay is way more complicated than choosing a topic for any other essay. To get enough material to write about, your topic should be:
- Coronavirus is more of a blessing for the earth than a curse.
- Human beings are more dangerous for mother earth than any other creature
- Most of the people can work from home
- Social media have caused social problems
- Single parents can't do the same upbringing of kids as both parents do.
- The death penalty should be abolished
- Animals shouldn't be kept in captivity
- Climate change is caused by human activity
- Schools should provide mental health education
- Universal basic income should be implemented
If you want to get more topic ideas, have a look at our blog with 200+ argumentative essay topics !
Argumentative Essay Writing Tips
Writing an argumentative essay can be a challenging task, especially if you are unsure of how to get started. Here are some tips to help you write an effective and persuasive argumentative essay:
- Choose a Debatable Topic: Pick a topic that has two opposing sides and can be debated. It should also be relevant to the course or subject you are writing about.
- Do Your Research: Before you start writing, it is important to do some research on the topic so that you understand both sides of the argument. This will help you make an informed decision when writing your essay.
- Write a Clear Thesis Statement: Your thesis should state the main point of your essay clearly and concisely so that readers know what to expect.
- Develop Your Arguments: Once you have chosen your topic and done your research, you can start developing the arguments that you will use in your essay. Make sure that each argument is supported with evidence from reliable sources.
- Keep it Organized: An outline will help keep your essay organized and focused on the main points that you want to make.
- Be Unbiased: When writing an argumentative essay, it is important to remain impartial and present both sides of the argument in a fair and balanced way.
- Use Proper Formatting: Different styles have different formatting requirements, such as font size and type, margins, and line spacing. Make sure to follow the guidelines for your chosen style.
- Proofread: After you have finished writing your essay, it is important to take time to proofread and make any corrections or revisions that are necessary.
By following these tips, you can write an effective argumentative essay that will help you get the results that you want.
To finish it off,
Argumentative essay writing requires strong research and analysis skills to develop a sound argument. With the right planning and structure, anyone can write an effective argumentative essay.
Now that you have learned about the basics of writing an argumentative essay, it is time to start putting your ideas into practice. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and start writing!
However, we understand that students face many difficulties while writing an essay. If you are one of them, don’t worry, we’ve got a solution for you!
You can hire an argumentative essay writer from MyPerfectWords.com to help you write your essay.
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MyPerfectWords.com is committed to providing you the best writing service. Simply place your order at our argumentative essay writing service , and we will be in touch immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you identify an argumentative essay.
In order to identify an argumentative essay, there are three steps:
First figure out the purpose of a message. Who is trying to convince you? What do they want from you?
Second, determine what their conclusion might be—what will it take for them to feel that their goal has been accomplished? Finally, think about reasons why someone would believe something and consider if any apply here.
Does an argumentative essay have a title?
An argumentative essay should have a title. This should give the reader an idea of what you're writing about.
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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.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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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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Home » Literacy Lines » Teaching Basic Argument Writing Components
Teaching Basic Argument Writing Components
Over the past two years since Keys to Literacy published my Keys to Argument Writing professional development module and the associated training book Keys to Content Writing I am often asked by teachers advice for how to teach argument writing (and opinion for elementary grades). The place to start is to introduce students to the structure of argument/opinion writing.
The first standard of the Common Core Writing Standards is devoted to argument writing. Here is the anchor standard from which Standard #1 for grades K through 12 are based:
WS #1: Write opinions/arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Sometimes argument writing seems very similar to informational writing (Common Core Writing Standard #2). They both incorporate information, and they have similar basic text structures: They must begin with an introduction that states the topic and end with a conclusion. However, their aims are different and the body of an argument organizes information in a different way.
The purpose of informational writing is to examine and explain previously learned information or new information, and this information is typically organized into paragraphs of main ideas that are “chunked” into topics and sub-topics. That is, the information is presented in categories/sections. The purpose of argument writing is to convince a reader that a point of view is valid or to persuade the reader to take a specific action. Information is used, but it is organized based on these major components of an argument: claim, reason, evidence, counter-claim, and rebuttal.
Here are simple descriptions of these components to share with your students:
- Claim: the position taken by the writer; what the writer is trying to prove or argue
- Reason: provided to support a claim; reasons are supported by evidence
- Evidence: use to support or prove a reason; statistics, facts, quotations, surveys, etc.
- Counterclaim: opposing position, counterargument
- Rebuttal: refutes or disproves the counterclaim; addresses the criticism of the claim
And here’s an even simpler set of questions students can ask themselves to help remember each component:
- Claim: What do I think?
- Reason: Why do I think it?
- Evidence: How do I know (proof)?
- Counterclaim: What is the other side?
- Rebuttal: My response to the other side?
The claim is typically stated in the introduction, and restated again in the conclusion. The information in the body paragraphs is organized as a series of reasons supported by evidence. For arguments that include a counter-claim and rebuttal (a requirement for students in grade seven and beyond), there will be additional paragraphs that represent the counter-claim and rebuttal.
Keys to Literacy has posted a nine-minute video recorded during a teacher training in which I explain the major components of an argument and offer suggestions for teaching them to students. The video, along with several other training video clips is available to the public for free at the Free Resources section of the Keys to Literacy website.
At the same resource site you will find a teacher’s checklist and rubric for giving feedback to students about their argument writing that include items related to the text structure of an argument writing piece.
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I have found your lectures and instructions very helpful. Do you have any guidelines on Exposition?
Visit our free videos and webinars where you will find several items related to writing.
What components are there into the claim and evidence rubric?
Some of the things to look for in student argument writing are: Is the claim (position taken) supported with logical reasons and relevant evidence? Are the reasons and evidence presented in an organized way? Is the evidence from sources integrated effectively? Is the rebuttal supported with logical reasons and evidence? Are transitions used to link and to create cohesion among claim, reasons and evidence? Is there a formal style and an objective tone established and maintained throughout the piece?
That was a super helpful resource! I used it to write a paragraph essay on “Elements of Argument”.
Thank you for explaining an argumentive essay. and supportive of me getting started on this essay.
Thanks for the tips..really helpful in writing my assignment in Academic English.
May you send me an example of an argumentative essay and other essay and their example please.
This site has examples of argument essays: https://www.collegeessay.org/blog/argumentative-essay-examples
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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 Writing
Argumentative Essay - A Complete Writing Guide
11 min read
Published on: Mar 10, 2023
Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023
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Writing an argumentative essay is in every student’s academic life. No matter which level you are on, writing essays will be part of your life.
So learning to write good essays is essential if you want to be successful. Students who want to ace their language class often forget that their grades massive chunk depends on essay writing.
Writing about these arguments can be tricky, but one should know the art of doing so. This blog focuses on what an argumentative essay is and how it is written.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a piece of writing in which your argument is the most important thing.
An argumentative essay has various other approaches, but they all share the basic idea and purpose. In this essay, a writer is asked to investigate and analyze a topic or a subject.
Moreover, the writer chooses which side of the issue he stands on and asks for reasons and evidence for his stance.
Unlike other essay types, this essay is based on the logic and facts that a writer uses to prove his claim.
Although an argumentative essay is based on an argument, this is nothing like a verbal argument between two informal people in a really heated situation. Therefore, the presentation of the argument in this essay is different.
The primary goal of this essay is based on a point-counterpoint idea. Thus, the writer presents his argument and the counter-argument and leaves it to the audience to decide which side to support.
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Types of Arguments
Generally speaking, there are three types of arguments. These arguments are used in the formation of your argumentative essay.
All these types of arguments can be separately used or used in combination in your essay, depending on the topic and how you present it.
Rogerian Argument Strategy
A Rogerian model is a negotiating strategy in which you identify common ideas or goals. Also, opposing arguments and views are presented objectively to reach an agreement.
Topic: Should smoking be banned in public places?
In a Rogerian argument, you would aim to find common ground between those in favor of and those against the ban on smoking in public places.
Aristotelian Argument Strategy
According to this strategy, a writer tries to persuade their audience to a specific point of view. This argument is made on ethos, pathos, and logos.
Topic: Should school uniforms be mandatory?
Using the Aristotelian argument strategy, you would appeal to the audience's emotions, credibility, and logical reasoning.
Toulmin Argument Strategy
This argument strategy breaks down an argument into several parts using logic and facts. This argument style has 6 elements; backing, warrant, claim, quantifier, grounds, and rebuttal.
Topic: Should the use of plastic bags be banned?
No matter which argument type you choose, make sure to persuade the audience with powerful reasoning.
Check our expert blog on types of arguments to learn more in detail!
How to Start an Argumentative Essay?
A writer can not just jump onto the writing process of an argumentative essay. Before beginning the actual writing process, there is a whole pre-writing procedure that should be considered.
The pre-writing procedure involves drafting a plan according to which the writer will craft his essay. The following are the steps that you should take to plan out your argumentative essay:
- Discover your topic
- Decide on the claim
- Pick your stance
- Conduct research
- Develop an argumentative essay outline
These steps will make the writing procedure easier for you. Each step is discussed in detail in the following section.
1. Discover your Topic
To begin your essay, you must have a topic or a subject to write your paper on. A good argumentative essay is based on a strong persuasive topic presented to the reader by a writer.
Choose a topic of interest or an issue that prevails widely in your society to talk and persuade people about it.
There is a criterion while selecting a topic. If your topic answers the following question vividly, then it is âThe Topicâ.
- Why did that particular event happen?
- Writer's reaction
- Select a topic that you can think can be proved with logic and facts.
Check out this video to learn more about selecting a topic!
2. Decide on the Claim
After you have your topic, develop your claim. Generally, there are five types of claims that are used in the argumentative essay.
If not all, try to use some of these claims to give your essay strength.
- Value - Is your topic valuable? Is it meaningful and worthy enough to talk about?
- Authenticity - Is your claim a fact or not?
- Cause and Effect - How it happened and what was the cause of the occurrence of the issue? Its effects?
- Definition - What the particular issue is? Its interpretation, definition, and classification?
- Policy - What are the courses of action that should take? How to tackle the specific issue?
Try to use some of these claims to give your essay strength.
3. Pick your Stance
Every coin has two sides. When you select your topic of the issue, you know there is another side to it as well.
To write an argumentative essay, a writer needs to weigh both sides of the argument. They need to analyze which side is stronger and can be justified by logic and facts .
Unlike a persuasive essay, an argumentative essay presents the argument of an opposing side, letting the audience decide which side to choose.
4. Conduct Research
When you choose a topic for your essay, ensure the information can be easily gathered. You want maximum logic and facts to prove your point.
Opinions will not make a difference in this essay type, so it is important to present authentic and reliable information for the readers.
You can only convince the reader with your point of view that is logically sound and by providing supporting material to your thesis statement. So, first, do research and write the essay.
5. Develop an Argumentative Essay Outline
An argumentative essay follows the basic 5 paragraph outline. An outline of an argumentative essay includes:
A complete argumentative essay outline guide will help you further. After arranging all the gathered information in these sections, grab a pen to start writing your essay.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay?
Once you have a proper plan for your essay, it is time to start drafting it. Keep in mind the outline developed and start writing your argumentative essay in the following order:
1. Argumentative Essay Introduction
As the name suggests, the introductory paragraph introduces the topic or the issue that a writer selected for his audience.
In these paragraphs, a hook is written to grab the readerâs attention and motivate them to read your essay. A hook is the opening line of an essay and plays a significant role in your essay.
Another ingredient that is used to make an introduction is the background information about your topic.
Here, provide information about the previous works concerning your topic, their findings, etc. Mention the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen topic.
The last and most important part is the thesis statement of your essay.
It is the main argument on which your entire essay is based. All the information in the content aims to prove this statement by providing evidence and facts.
2. Argumentative Essay Body Paragraphs
The body of an argumentative essay contains shreds of evidence and material that support the claim and the major thesis statement.
Each paragraph starts with a topic sentence. Then, all the information in that paragraph talks about a particular idea about the subject.
In the body paragraphs of an argumentative essay, the writer presents his arguments, supporting information that proves the argument is valid, and the counter-argument.
All of this information is provided by maintaining the transition. It helps protect the essayâs flow. Together, all the paragraphs aim and lead up to the conclusion.
3. Argumentative Essay Conclusion
In the conclusion of an argumentative essay, the writer describes the key ideas, restating the thesis statement. Also, in the concluding paragraphs, the writer put forward the courses of action and gives the final verdict.
Argumentative Essay Examples
Below are some examples of argumentative essays presented for you by experts.
Argumentative Essay Outline
Argumentative Essay Example
Argumentative Essay Format
Follow these examples to get an idea of how a professional argumentative essay is written.
Argumentative Essay Topics
Topics for an argumentative essay can easily take from your day-to-day life. But for your ease, our experts have gathered some good essay topics so that you can write the best essays.
Following is a list of some good topics:
- Are college degrees worth their price?
- Does everyone need to go to college to be successful?
- Why is Shakespeare the greatest poet of all time?
- College students must be providing practical life knowledge as well.
- Are SATs effective for everyone?
- What is the importance of learning multiple languages?
- Do violent video games affect child behavior?
- How does social media lead to isolation?
- How important is the censorship of online content?
- Is fast food really the cause of obesity and other diseases in the United States?
- Is it justified to test animals for beauty products in any way?
- Is mercy killing justified?
- Women can multitask better.
- Electronic voting - What are its pros and cons?
- Should there be an option for Youtubers to edit foul and derogatory comments?
Check our extensive blog on argumentative essay topics to get inspired.
Writing an argumentative paper for high school can be overwhelming, but you can score best in it once you get to know the basics.
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