How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Easy Guide with Tips and Examples
What Is an Argumentative Essay
Argumentative essays involve a strong stance on an issue to sway the reader toward the author's viewpoint. This differs from a persuasive essay, which relies more on the writer's emotions and views.
This kind of essay typically necessitates a deep study of argumentative essay topics and is structured in three main parts consisting of five paragraphs: one opening, three body, and one closing. Argumentative essays aim to get the reader to agree with the thesis statement, which is backed by evidence, facts, and data. At that point, you should specify your main thought or thesis statement while considering this. It will be the focus of attention for whatever comes after this juncture.
A student is given this kind of paper to practice debating. As a result, it may significantly impact a person's ability to speak in front of an audience later in life. Concentrating on facts and information while writing an argumentative essay rather than your opinions or preferences is crucial. The author may choose to present opposing views equally or to favor one over the other. Nevertheless, the thesis must contain all the main arguments and rebuttals discussed in the paper. It is similar to a political dialogue with oneself in many aspects. Now that you understand what is an argumentative essay let's browse through more interesting details that make up an argumentative essay.
Elements of an Argumentative Essay
The key elements of an argument include the following:
1. Problem Statement - Academic papers often begin with an unanswered question, a contradiction, or an explanation of a crucial concept. This is standard practice in academic writing to grab the reader's attention, highlight the importance of the study, and identify the literature to which the study will add.
2. Literature Review - After stating the problem, describe a gap in the literature that the research is trying to fill. This gap can be an unresolved question, a paradox, a missing piece of information, a theoretical inconsistency, or any other flaw in the existing understanding of the phenomenon in question.
3. The Research Focus - A statement describing the specific emphasis of the research is included after the literature review. This might be expressed in various ways, such as a question, a hypothesis, or—more frequently—a declaration of the research's goals or objectives.
4. Method and Methodology - The approach and methodology explain how you would answer the inquiry or how you achieved your results. Normally, the argumentative essay introduction and abstract concisely summarize the procedure and methodology. Here you outline your extensive research process, present conclusions, and explain why these steps were essential for the project. You should aim to concisely provide the most pertinent information using a few terms.
5. Results/Evidence - You're informing the reader of what you discovered. Evidence may be arranged according to methodological components, major topics, theories, concepts, case studies, historical eras, laws, literary genres, contexts, geographic regions, or other categories. The discussion must be directly related to the thesis's issue or argument, which is crucial.
6. Discussion and Conclusion - The last part of the storyline involves providing the answer to the inquiry or summarizing the argument and the primary proof used to validate it. This is then followed by a review of the importance of the research and the implications that result from it.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay with Steps
For an argumentative essay to be effective, having more than one opinion isn't enough. A strong stance won't be impactful if improperly organized and supported with sound reasons and facts. With this easy-to-follow guide, let us discover how to write an argumentative essay tailored to your target audience!
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Choose Your Research Sources for Your Argumentative Essay
Researching the available literature in-depth is necessary for an argumentative essay. Additionally, they call for empirical study, where a writer gathers the data through the following techniques.
Present your readers with dependable sources that back up your assertions. It's wise to read material from both sides of the subject. For the most current data, try and use sources released within the last two decades unless there is a distinct reason why not. Here are some good sources to look at:
- Books produced by scholarly presses
- Scholarly journals
- Academic resources such as EBSCO and JSTOR
- Nationally distributed publications like The New York Times
And if you struggle with finding good academic sources, feel free to use our research paper help !
Consider the Argumentative Essay Outline
As the argumentative essay structure is contingent upon its content and argument, each essay will have its particular structural difficulties. However, a fundamental part of the writing process is honing the ability to put forth an argument that is both convincing and lucid. Let's take a look at the argumentative essay format:
Start with the main claim in the introduction – The core thesis you want to support. Establishing your claim is one of the most crucial components of any academic work, whether a movie review essay , a presentation, a dissertation, a research paper, or a thesis. A strong assertion should be audacious, captivating, and, most crucially, debatable.
Present the proofs in the body paragraphs - Facts, data, sources, and examples must be provided as evidence and correctly connected. It is essential to acknowledge that just because there is evidence, it does not necessarily make the proposition true. You must contribute some effort to convince your reader of the relationship between the data and your reasoning.
Find opposing arguments and respond to them - Taking other perspectives into account and looking for potential objections is also essential. We may favor ideas that endorse our views, which can result in one-sided or faulty arguments. If we take the time to actively consider opposing opinions and incorporate them into our own thinking, we can create arguments with more depth and complexity.
Conclusion - The last piece of your argumentative essay outline is the conclusion, which should be an informed summary of the argument, using language that is in line with the reliability of your discoveries. You may use this as a chance to make predictions or recommendations, offer some practical applications, or identify potential further research.
Add Transitions within Argumentative Essay Paragraphs
At this point, you should have at least three strong body paragraphs, each containing 3-5 pieces of supporting evidence and your personal analysis/synthesis. It's a good idea to ensure that the paragraph's topic sentences still reflect the rest of the content. And consider the relationship between these arguments.
If needed, reorganize your paragraphs for the most logical order. To take your entire essay to the next level, add some sentences at the beginning or end of each paragraph to link the argumentative essay ideas together.
Add Bibliography to Your Argumentative Essay
See what bibliographic style your teacher wants you to use. Generally, the instructions will include 'MLA style,' 'APA,' etc., or they will give you their own rules.
These guidelines will specify how to structure your 'works cited' section after your essay with the complete bibliographic information and how to format your citations in the body of your essay.
Revise Your Final Argumentative Essay
As you are editing, look through your work from start to finish. Does everything make sense? Are there any quotations or paraphrases that don't have a context? Are there any sudden changes in the subject? Fix it up!
Verify your thesis statement twice, as your essay's success hinges on the clarity of this statement, and without a clear thesis, it is difficult to write an outstanding essay. Make sure it is:
- Debatable because someone could disagree with this assertion notwithstanding the facts.
- Narrow & specific: Avoids a stance that is too wide to support.
- Complex: demonstrates your profound thought processes by taking into account the qualifiers and/or objections in your argument.
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3 Ways to Approach Argumentative Writing
Classical Approach - This is the most common approach and where you should:
- Introduce your issue. Most lecturers will want you to deliver a strong thesis statement after your introductory paragraph. The goal is to introduce your main points to your audience before delving further.
- Explain the problem in detail. Provide the reasons why a certain course of action or thinking is required to make your case. This will happen throughout several sentences.
- Address the opposition. Briefly describe the opposing viewpoint in a few paragraphs. Make each argument against the adversary.
- Provide your proof. After addressing the opposing viewpoint, explain why your side is superior.
- Present your conclusion. Reiterate your core claim or thesis and highlight the important aspects of your argument in your conclusion. This is a good time to urge your audience to act if you advocate for change. Inform them of the changes they might make.
Rogerian Approach - The Rogerian method works well for argumentative pieces on contentious issues like global warming, gender identity, and philosophical problems. In contrast to other approaches, there is no set framework to adhere to. Instead, it involves giving both sides of an argument equal weight when presenting the facts. A broader view is essential, and finding a compromise is more significant than finding a solution.
Toulmin Approach - Polemical debates can benefit greatly from this tactic. It seeks to reduce pointless debates by locating areas of agreement within a discussion. For instance, if your topic is whether animal testing is banned, you would need to examine the most important points on both sides of the debate. You may discuss the benefits and drawbacks here.
Good Argumentative Essay Topics
Here are some good argumentative essay topics from our dissertation writing services you can consider for your next assignment:
- Are virtual personalities expected to adhere to the same ethical codes as human influencers?
- Should businesses be mandated to offer retraining and educational opportunities for workers that have been laid off?
- Do social media networks bear any responsibility for the harm caused to their users?
- Is remote work a workable solution for contemporary workplaces?
- Is gene editing appropriate to remove inherited illnesses or improve physical characteristics?
- Is it wise to prioritize sustainable agriculture and plant-based diets to lessen carbon emissions?
- Who should be held liable for incidents involving autonomous cars?
- Are gig workers deserving of the same advantages and security as regular workers?
- Does playing violent video games correlate with aggressive behavior in children and adolescents?
- Should corporations be permitted to secure exclusive rights to genes and genetic data for commercial gain?
Read also an informative article about the movie review essay .
Argumentative Essay Examples
Below you can find some good argumentative essay examples from our argumentative essay writer . The first essay talks about the value that comes with the freedom of being able to strike for public workers.
Argumentative Essay Example: Should Public Workers be Allowed to Strike?
Say goodbye to 'stress at work' and welcome the 'freedom to express yourself.' Most public workers are denied their right to expression even after being exposed to bad working conditions and rights violations. These violations deny them the morale to perform well in their duties. Enabling workers to strike motivates them to work since it encourages them to speak out whenever they feel their rights, safety, and/or regulations have been compromised. Countries across the globe should always allow public workers to strike.
The second essay from our dissertation writing services discusses the importance of economic equality in a nation, alongside possible repercussions and potential threats if not met.
At this point, you should be well aware of the argumentative essay definition and the ways you can structure it perfectly. You might even have already composed your argumentative essay and would like to have it evaluated. In this case, don't hesitate to contact us. We can review your academic essays and help you gain the grade you deserve. If you haven't written it yet, our essay writing service can assist you. Even if you want to know how to write an autobiography , all you need to do is submit your essay writing help request, and we'll take care of it in a flash!
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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.
What this handout is about
This handout will define what an argument is and explain why you need one in most of your academic essays.
Arguments are everywhere
You may be surprised to hear that the word “argument” does not have to be written anywhere in your assignment for it to be an important part of your task. In fact, making an argument—expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence—is often the aim of academic writing. Your instructors may assume that you know this and thus may not explain the importance of arguments in class.
Most material you learn in college is or has been debated by someone, somewhere, at some time. Even when the material you read or hear is presented as a simple fact, it may actually be one person’s interpretation of a set of information. Instructors may call on you to examine that interpretation and defend it, refute it, or offer some new view of your own. In writing assignments, you will almost always need to do more than just summarize information that you have gathered or regurgitate facts that have been discussed in class. You will need to develop a point of view on or interpretation of that material and provide evidence for your position.
Consider an example. For nearly 2000 years, educated people in many Western cultures believed that bloodletting—deliberately causing a sick person to lose blood—was the most effective treatment for a variety of illnesses. The claim that bloodletting is beneficial to human health was not widely questioned until the 1800s, and some physicians continued to recommend bloodletting as late as the 1920s. Medical practices have now changed because some people began to doubt the effectiveness of bloodletting; these people argued against it and provided convincing evidence. Human knowledge grows out of such differences of opinion, and scholars like your instructors spend their lives engaged in debate over what claims may be counted as accurate in their fields. In their courses, they want you to engage in similar kinds of critical thinking and debate.
Argumentation is not just what your instructors do. We all use argumentation on a daily basis, and you probably already have some skill at crafting an argument. The more you improve your skills in this area, the better you will be at thinking critically, reasoning, making choices, and weighing evidence.
Making a claim
What is an argument? In academic writing, an argument is usually a main idea, often called a “claim” or “thesis statement,” backed up with evidence that supports the idea. In the majority of college papers, you will need to make some sort of claim and use evidence to support it, and your ability to do this well will separate your papers from those of students who see assignments as mere accumulations of fact and detail. In other words, gone are the happy days of being given a “topic” about which you can write anything. It is time to stake out a position and prove why it is a good position for a thinking person to hold. See our handout on thesis statements .
Claims can be as simple as “Protons are positively charged and electrons are negatively charged,” with evidence such as, “In this experiment, protons and electrons acted in such and such a way.” Claims can also be as complex as “Genre is the most important element to the contract of expectations between filmmaker and audience,” using reasoning and evidence such as, “defying genre expectations can create a complete apocalypse of story form and content, leaving us stranded in a sort of genre-less abyss.” In either case, the rest of your paper will detail the reasoning and evidence that have led you to believe that your position is best.
When beginning to write a paper, ask yourself, “What is my point?” For example, the point of this handout is to help you become a better writer, and we are arguing that an important step in the process of writing effective arguments is understanding the concept of argumentation. If your papers do not have a main point, they cannot be arguing for anything. Asking yourself what your point is can help you avoid a mere “information dump.” Consider this: your instructors probably know a lot more than you do about your subject matter. Why, then, would you want to provide them with material they already know? Instructors are usually looking for two things:
- Proof that you understand the material
- A demonstration of your ability to use or apply the material in ways that go beyond what you have read or heard.
This second part can be done in many ways: you can critique the material, apply it to something else, or even just explain it in a different way. In order to succeed at this second step, though, you must have a particular point to argue.
Arguments in academic writing are usually complex and take time to develop. Your argument will need to be more than a simple or obvious statement such as “Frank Lloyd Wright was a great architect.” Such a statement might capture your initial impressions of Wright as you have studied him in class; however, you need to look deeper and express specifically what caused that “greatness.” Your instructor will probably expect something more complicated, such as “Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture combines elements of European modernism, Asian aesthetic form, and locally found materials to create a unique new style,” or “There are many strong similarities between Wright’s building designs and those of his mother, which suggests that he may have borrowed some of her ideas.” To develop your argument, you would then define your terms and prove your claim with evidence from Wright’s drawings and buildings and those of the other architects you mentioned.
Do not stop with having a point. You have to back up your point with evidence. The strength of your evidence, and your use of it, can make or break your argument. See our handout on evidence . You already have the natural inclination for this type of thinking, if not in an academic setting. Think about how you talked your parents into letting you borrow the family car. Did you present them with lots of instances of your past trustworthiness? Did you make them feel guilty because your friends’ parents all let them drive? Did you whine until they just wanted you to shut up? Did you look up statistics on teen driving and use them to show how you didn’t fit the dangerous-driver profile? These are all types of argumentation, and they exist in academia in similar forms.
Every field has slightly different requirements for acceptable evidence, so familiarize yourself with some arguments from within that field instead of just applying whatever evidence you like best. Pay attention to your textbooks and your instructor’s lectures. What types of argument and evidence are they using? The type of evidence that sways an English instructor may not work to convince a sociology instructor. Find out what counts as proof that something is true in that field. Is it statistics, a logical development of points, something from the object being discussed (art work, text, culture, or atom), the way something works, or some combination of more than one of these things?
Be consistent with your evidence. Unlike negotiating for the use of your parents’ car, a college paper is not the place for an all-out blitz of every type of argument. You can often use more than one type of evidence within a paper, but make sure that within each section you are providing the reader with evidence appropriate to each claim. So, if you start a paragraph or section with a statement like “Putting the student seating area closer to the basketball court will raise player performance,” do not follow with your evidence on how much more money the university could raise by letting more students go to games for free. Information about how fan support raises player morale, which then results in better play, would be a better follow-up. Your next section could offer clear reasons why undergraduates have as much or more right to attend an undergraduate event as wealthy alumni—but this information would not go in the same section as the fan support stuff. You cannot convince a confused person, so keep things tidy and ordered.
One way to strengthen your argument and show that you have a deep understanding of the issue you are discussing is to anticipate and address counterarguments or objections. By considering what someone who disagrees with your position might have to say about your argument, you show that you have thought things through, and you dispose of some of the reasons your audience might have for not accepting your argument. Recall our discussion of student seating in the Dean Dome. To make the most effective argument possible, you should consider not only what students would say about seating but also what alumni who have paid a lot to get good seats might say.
You can generate counterarguments by asking yourself how someone who disagrees with you might respond to each of the points you’ve made or your position as a whole. If you can’t immediately imagine another position, here are some strategies to try:
- Do some research. It may seem to you that no one could possibly disagree with the position you are arguing, but someone probably has. For example, some people argue that a hotdog is a sandwich. If you are making an argument concerning, for example, the characteristics of an exceptional sandwich, you might want to see what some of these people have to say.
- Talk with a friend or with your teacher. Another person may be able to imagine counterarguments that haven’t occurred to you.
- Consider your conclusion or claim and the premises of your argument and imagine someone who denies each of them. For example, if you argued, “Cats make the best pets. This is because they are clean and independent,” you might imagine someone saying, “Cats do not make the best pets. They are dirty and needy.”
Once you have thought up some counterarguments, consider how you will respond to them—will you concede that your opponent has a point but explain why your audience should nonetheless accept your argument? Will you reject the counterargument and explain why it is mistaken? Either way, you will want to leave your reader with a sense that your argument is stronger than opposing arguments.
When you are summarizing opposing arguments, be charitable. Present each argument fairly and objectively, rather than trying to make it look foolish. You want to show that you have considered the many sides of the issue. If you simply attack or caricature your opponent (also referred to as presenting a “straw man”), you suggest that your argument is only capable of defeating an extremely weak adversary, which may undermine your argument rather than enhance it.
It is usually better to consider one or two serious counterarguments in some depth, rather than to give a long but superficial list of many different counterarguments and replies.
Be sure that your reply is consistent with your original argument. If considering a counterargument changes your position, you will need to go back and revise your original argument accordingly.
Audience is a very important consideration in argument. Take a look at our handout on audience . A lifetime of dealing with your family members has helped you figure out which arguments work best to persuade each of them. Maybe whining works with one parent, but the other will only accept cold, hard statistics. Your kid brother may listen only to the sound of money in his palm. It’s usually wise to think of your audience in an academic setting as someone who is perfectly smart but who doesn’t necessarily agree with you. You are not just expressing your opinion in an argument (“It’s true because I said so”), and in most cases your audience will know something about the subject at hand—so you will need sturdy proof. At the same time, do not think of your audience as capable of reading your mind. You have to come out and state both your claim and your evidence clearly. Do not assume that because the instructor knows the material, he or she understands what part of it you are using, what you think about it, and why you have taken the position you’ve chosen.
Critical reading is a big part of understanding argument. Although some of the material you read will be very persuasive, do not fall under the spell of the printed word as authority. Very few of your instructors think of the texts they assign as the last word on the subject. Remember that the author of every text has an agenda, something that he or she wants you to believe. This is OK—everything is written from someone’s perspective—but it’s a good thing to be aware of. For more information on objectivity and bias and on reading sources carefully, read our handouts on evaluating print sources and reading to write .
Take notes either in the margins of your source (if you are using a photocopy or your own book) or on a separate sheet as you read. Put away that highlighter! Simply highlighting a text is good for memorizing the main ideas in that text—it does not encourage critical reading. Part of your goal as a reader should be to put the author’s ideas in your own words. Then you can stop thinking of these ideas as facts and start thinking of them as arguments.
When you read, ask yourself questions like “What is the author trying to prove?” and “What is the author assuming I will agree with?” Do you agree with the author? Does the author adequately defend her argument? What kind of proof does she use? Is there something she leaves out that you would put in? Does putting it in hurt her argument? As you get used to reading critically, you will start to see the sometimes hidden agendas of other writers, and you can use this skill to improve your own ability to craft effective arguments.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ede, Lisa. 2004. Work in Progress: A Guide to Academic Writing and Revising , 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Gage, John T. 2005. The Shape of Reason: Argumentative Writing in College , 4th ed. New York: Longman.
Lunsford, Andrea A., and John J. Ruszkiewicz. 2016. Everything’s an Argument , 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Rosen, Leonard J., and Laurence Behrens. 2003. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook , 5th ed. New York: Longman.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 key tips for how to write an argumentative essay.
If there’s one writing skill you need to have in your toolkit for standardized tests, AP exams, and college-level writing, it’s the ability to make a persuasive argument. Effectively arguing for a position on a topic or issue isn’t just for the debate team— it’s for anyone who wants to ace the essay portion of an exam or make As in college courses.
To give you everything you need to know about how to write an argumentative essay , we’re going to answer the following questions for you:
- What is an argumentative essay?
- How should an argumentative essay be structured?
- How do I write a strong argument?
- What’s an example of a strong argumentative essay?
- What are the top takeaways for writing argumentative papers?
By the end of this article, you’ll be prepped and ready to write a great argumentative essay yourself!
Now, let’s break this down.
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a type of writing that presents the writer’s position or stance on a specific topic and uses evidence to support that position. The goal of an argumentative essay is to convince your reader that your position is logical, ethical, and, ultimately, right . In argumentative essays, writers accomplish this by writing:
- A clear, persuasive thesis statement in the introduction paragraph
- Body paragraphs that use evidence and explanations to support the thesis statement
- A paragraph addressing opposing positions on the topic—when appropriate
- A conclusion that gives the audience something meaningful to think about.
Introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion: these are the main sections of an argumentative essay. Those probably sound familiar. Where does arguing come into all of this, though? It’s not like you’re having a shouting match with your little brother across the dinner table. You’re just writing words down on a page!
...or are you? Even though writing papers can feel like a lonely process, one of the most important things you can do to be successful in argumentative writing is to think about your argument as participating in a larger conversation . For one thing, you’re going to be responding to the ideas of others as you write your argument. And when you’re done writing, someone—a teacher, a professor, or exam scorer—is going to be reading and evaluating your argument.
If you want to make a strong argument on any topic, you have to get informed about what’s already been said on that topic . That includes researching the different views and positions, figuring out what evidence has been produced, and learning the history of the topic. That means—you guessed it!—argumentative essays almost always require you to incorporate outside sources into your writing.
What Makes Argumentative Essays Unique?
Argumentative essays are different from other types of essays for one main reason: in an argumentative essay, you decide what the argument will be . Some types of essays, like summaries or syntheses, don’t want you to show your stance on the topic—they want you to remain unbiased and neutral.
In argumentative essays, you’re presenting your point of view as the writer and, sometimes, choosing the topic you’ll be arguing about. You just want to make sure that that point of view comes across as informed, well-reasoned, and persuasive.
Another thing about argumentative essays: they’re often longer than other types of essays. Why, you ask? Because it takes time to develop an effective argument. If your argument is going to be persuasive to readers, you have to address multiple points that support your argument, acknowledge counterpoints, and provide enough evidence and explanations to convince your reader that your points are valid.
Our 3 Best Tips for Picking a Great Argumentative Topic
The first step to writing an argumentative essay deciding what to write about! Choosing a topic for your argumentative essay might seem daunting, though. It can feel like you could make an argument about anything under the sun. For example, you could write an argumentative essay about how cats are way cooler than dogs, right?
It’s not quite that simple . Here are some strategies for choosing a topic that serves as a solid foundation for a strong argument.
Choose a Topic That Can Be Supported With Evidence
First, you want to make sure the topic you choose allows you to make a claim that can be supported by evidence that’s considered credible and appropriate for the subject matter ...and, unfortunately, your personal opinions or that Buzzfeed quiz you took last week don’t quite make the cut.
Some topics—like whether cats or dogs are cooler—can generate heated arguments, but at the end of the day, any argument you make on that topic is just going to be a matter of opinion. You have to pick a topic that allows you to take a position that can be supported by actual, researched evidence.
(Quick note: you could write an argumentative paper over the general idea that dogs are better than cats—or visa versa!—if you’re a) more specific and b) choose an idea that has some scientific research behind it. For example, a strong argumentative topic could be proving that dogs make better assistance animals than cats do.)
You also don’t want to make an argument about a topic that’s already a proven fact, like that drinking water is good for you. While some people might dislike the taste of water, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that proves—beyond the shadow of a doubt—that drinking water is a key part of good health.
To avoid choosing a topic that’s either unprovable or already proven, try brainstorming some issues that have recently been discussed in the news, that you’ve seen people debating on social media, or that affect your local community. If you explore those outlets for potential topics, you’ll likely stumble upon something that piques your audience’s interest as well.
Choose a Topic That You Find Interesting
Topics that have local, national, or global relevance often also resonate with us on a personal level. Consider choosing a topic that holds a connection between something you know or care about and something that is relevant to the rest of society. These don’t have to be super serious issues, but they should be topics that are timely and significant.
For example, if you are a huge football fan, a great argumentative topic for you might be arguing whether football leagues need to do more to prevent concussions . Is this as “important” an issue as climate change? No, but it’s still a timely topic that affects many people. And not only is this a great argumentative topic: you also get to write about one of your passions! Ultimately, if you’re working with a topic you enjoy, you’ll have more to say—and probably write a better essay .
Choose a Topic That Doesn’t Get You Too Heated
Another word of caution on choosing a topic for an argumentative paper: while it can be effective to choose a topic that matters to you personally, you also want to make sure you’re choosing a topic that you can keep your cool over. You’ve got to be able to stay unemotional, interpret the evidence persuasively, and, when appropriate, discuss opposing points of view without getting too salty.
In some situations, choosing a topic for your argumentative paper won’t be an issue at all: the test or exam will choose it for you . In that case, you’ve got to do the best you can with what you’re given.
In the next sections, we’re going to break down how to write any argumentative essay —regardless of whether you get to choose your own topic or have one assigned to you! Our expert tips and tricks will make sure that you’re knocking your paper out of the park.
The Thesis: The Argumentative Essay’s Backbone
You’ve chosen a topic or, more likely, read the exam question telling you to defend, challenge, or qualify a claim on an assigned topic. What do you do now?
You establish your position on the topic by writing a killer thesis statement ! The thesis statement, sometimes just called “the thesis,” is the backbone of your argument, the north star that keeps you oriented as you develop your main points, the—well, you get the idea.
In more concrete terms, a thesis statement conveys your point of view on your topic, usually in one sentence toward the end of your introduction paragraph . It’s very important that you state your point of view in your thesis statement in an argumentative way—in other words, it should state a point of view that is debatable.
And since your thesis statement is going to present your argument on the topic, it’s the thing that you’ll spend the rest of your argumentative paper defending. That’s where persuasion comes in. Your thesis statement tells your reader what your argument is, then the rest of your essay shows and explains why your argument is logical.
Why does an argumentative essay need a thesis, though? Well, the thesis statement—the sentence with your main claim—is actually the entire point of an argumentative essay. If you don’t clearly state an arguable claim at the beginning of your paper, then it’s not an argumentative essay. No thesis statement = no argumentative essay. Got it?
Other types of essays that you’re familiar with might simply use a thesis statement to forecast what the rest of the essay is going to discuss or to communicate what the topic is. That’s not the case here. If your thesis statement doesn’t make a claim or establish your position, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.
Example Thesis Statements
Here are a couple of examples of thesis statements that aren’t argumentative and thesis statements that are argumentative
The sky is blue.
The thesis statement above conveys a fact, not a claim, so it’s not argumentative.
To keep the sky blue, governments must pass clean air legislation and regulate emissions.
The second example states a position on a topic. What’s the topic in that second sentence? The best way to keep the sky blue. And what position is being conveyed? That the best way to keep the sky blue is by passing clean air legislation and regulating emissions.
Some people would probably respond to that thesis statement with gusto: “No! Governments should not pass clean air legislation and regulate emissions! That infringes on my right to pollute the earth!” And there you have it: a thesis statement that presents a clear, debatable position on a topic.
Here’s one more set of thesis statement examples, just to throw in a little variety:
Spirituality and otherworldliness characterize A$AP Rocky’s portrayals of urban life and the American Dream in his rap songs and music videos.
The statement above is another example that isn’t argumentative, but you could write a really interesting analytical essay with that thesis statement. Long live A$AP! Now here’s another one that is argumentative:
To give students an understanding of the role of the American Dream in contemporary life, teachers should incorporate pop culture, like the music of A$AP Rocky, into their lessons and curriculum.
The argument in this one? Teachers should incorporate more relevant pop culture texts into their curriculum.
This thesis statement also gives a specific reason for making the argument above: To give students an understanding of the role of the American Dream in contemporary life. If you can let your reader know why you’re making your argument in your thesis statement, it will help them understand your argument better.
An actual image of you killing your argumentative essay prompts after reading this article!
Breaking Down the Sections of An Argumentative Essay
Now that you know how to pick a topic for an argumentative essay and how to make a strong claim on your topic in a thesis statement, you’re ready to think about writing the other sections of an argumentative essay. These are the parts that will flesh out your argument and support the claim you made in your thesis statement.
Like other types of essays, argumentative essays typically have three main sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Within those sections, there are some key elements that a reader—and especially an exam scorer or professor—is always going to expect you to include.
Let’s look at a quick outline of those three sections with their essential pieces here:
- Introduction paragraph with a thesis statement (which we just talked about)
- Support Point #1 with evidence
- Explain/interpret the evidence with your own, original commentary (AKA, the fun part!)
- Support Point #2 with evidence
- Explain/interpret the evidence with your own, original commentary
- Support Point #3 with evidence
- New paragraph addressing opposing viewpoints (more on this later!)
- Concluding paragraph
Now, there are some key concepts in those sections that you’ve got to understand if you’re going to master how to write an argumentative essay. To make the most of the body section, you have to know how to support your claim (your thesis statement), what evidence and explanations are and when you should use them, and how and when to address opposing viewpoints. To finish strong, you’ve got to have a strategy for writing a stellar conclusion.
This probably feels like a big deal! The body and conclusion make up most of the essay, right? Let’s get down to it, then.
How to Write a Strong Argument
Once you have your topic and thesis, you’re ready for the hard part: actually writing your argument. If you make strategic choices—like the ones we’re about to talk about—writing a strong argumentative essay won’t feel so difficult.
There are three main areas where you want to focus your energy as you develop a strategy for how to write an argumentative essay: supporting your claim—your thesis statement—in your essay, addressing other viewpoints on your topic, and writing a solid conclusion. If you put thought and effort into these three things, you’re much more likely to write an argumentative essay that’s engaging, persuasive, and memorable...aka A+ material.
Focus Area 1: Supporting Your Claim With Evidence and Explanations
So you’ve chosen your topic, decided what your position will be, and written a thesis statement. But like we see in comment threads across the Internet, if you make a claim and don’t back it up with evidence, what do people say? “Where’s your proof?” “Show me the facts!” “Do you have any evidence to support that claim?”
Of course you’ve done your research like we talked about. Supporting your claim in your thesis statement is where that research comes in handy.
You can’t just use your research to state the facts, though. Remember your reader? They’re going to expect you to do some of the dirty work of interpreting the evidence for them. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between evidence and explanations, and how and when to use both in your argumentative essay.
What Evidence Is and When You Should Use It
Evidence can be material from any authoritative and credible outside source that supports your position on your topic. In some cases, evidence can come in the form of photos, video footage, or audio recordings. In other cases, you might be pulling reasons, facts, or statistics from news media articles, public policy, or scholarly books or journals.
There are some clues you can look for that indicate whether or not a source is credible , such as whether:
- The website where you found the source ends in .edu, .gov, or .org
- The source was published by a university press
- The source was published in a peer-reviewed journal
- The authors did extensive research to support the claims they make in the source
This is just a short list of some of the clues that a source is likely a credible one, but just because a source was published by a prestigious press or the authors all have PhDs doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best piece of evidence for you to use to support your argument.
In addition to evaluating the source’s credibility, you’ve got to consider what types of evidence might come across as most persuasive in the context of the argument you’re making and who your readers are. In other words, stepping back and getting a bird’s eye view of the entire context of your argumentative paper is key to choosing evidence that will strengthen your argument.
On some exams, like the AP exams , you may be given pretty strict parameters for what evidence to use and how to use it. You might be given six short readings that all address the same topic, have 15 minutes to read them, then be required to pull material from a minimum of three of the short readings to support your claim in an argumentative essay.
When the sources are handed to you like that, be sure to take notes that will help you pick out evidence as you read. Highlight, underline, put checkmarks in the margins of your exam . . . do whatever you need to do to begin identifying the material that you find most helpful or relevant. Those highlights and check marks might just turn into your quotes, paraphrases, or summaries of evidence in your completed exam essay.
What Explanations Are and When You Should Use Them
Now you know that taking a strategic mindset toward evidence and explanations is critical to grasping how to write an argumentative essay. Unfortunately, evidence doesn’t speak for itself. While it may be obvious to you, the researcher and writer, how the pieces of evidence you’ve included are relevant to your audience, it might not be as obvious to your reader.
That’s where explanations—or analysis, or interpretations—come in. You never want to just stick some quotes from an article into your paragraph and call it a day. You do want to interpret the evidence you’ve included to show your reader how that evidence supports your claim.
Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be saying, “This piece of evidence supports my argument because...”. Instead, you want to comment on the evidence in a way that helps your reader see how it supports the position you stated in your thesis. We’ll talk more about how to do this when we show you an example of a strong body paragraph from an argumentative essay here in a bit.
Understanding how to incorporate evidence and explanations to your advantage is really important. Here’s why: when you’re writing an argumentative essay, particularly on standardized tests or the AP exam, the exam scorers can’t penalize you for the position you take. Instead, their evaluation is going to focus on the way you incorporated evidence and explained it in your essay.
Focus Area 2: How—and When—to Address Other Viewpoints
Why would we be making arguments at all if there weren’t multiple views out there on a given topic? As you do research and consider the background surrounding your topic, you’ll probably come across arguments that stand in direct opposition to your position.
Oftentimes, teachers will ask you to “address the opposition” in your argumentative essay. What does that mean, though, to “ address the opposition ?”
Opposing viewpoints function kind of like an elephant in the room. Your audience knows they’re there. In fact, your audience might even buy into an opposing viewpoint and be waiting for you to show them why your viewpoint is better. If you don’t, it means that you’ll have a hard time convincing your audience to buy your argument.
Addressing the opposition is a balancing act: you don’t want to undermine your own argument, but you don’t want to dismiss the validity of opposing viewpoints out-of-hand or ignore them altogether, which can also undermine your argument.
This isn’t the only acceptable approach, but it’s common practice to wait to address the opposition until close to the end of an argumentative essay. But why?
Well, waiting to present an opposing viewpoint until after you’ve thoroughly supported your own argument is strategic. You aren’t going to go into great detail discussing the opposing viewpoint: you’re going to explain what that viewpoint is fairly, but you’re also going to point out what’s wrong with it.
It can also be effective to read the opposition through the lens of your own argument and the evidence you’ve used to support it. If the evidence you’ve already included supports your argument, it probably doesn’t support the opposing viewpoint. Without being too obvious, it might be worth pointing this out when you address the opposition.
Focus Area #3: Writing the Conclusion
It’s common to conclude an argumentative essay by reiterating the thesis statement in some way, either by reminding the reader what the overarching argument was in the first place or by reviewing the main points and evidence that you covered.
You don’t just want to restate your thesis statement and review your main points and call it a day, though. So much has happened since you stated your thesis in the introduction! And why waste a whole paragraph—the very last thing your audience is going to read—on just repeating yourself?
Here’s an approach to the conclusion that can give your audience a fresh perspective on your argument: reinterpret your thesis statement for them in light of all the evidence and explanations you’ve provided. Think about how your readers might read your thesis statement in a new light now that they’ve heard your whole argument out.
That’s what you want to leave your audience with as you conclude your argumentative paper: a brief explanation of why all that arguing mattered in the first place. If you can give your audience something to continue pondering after they’ve read your argument, that’s even better.
One thing you want to avoid in your conclusion, though: presenting new supporting points or new evidence. That can just be confusing for your reader. Stick to telling your reader why the argument you’ve already made matters, and your argument will stick with your reader.
A Strong Argumentative Essay: Examples
For some aspiring argumentative essay writers, showing is better than telling. To show rather than tell you what makes a strong argumentative essay, we’ve provided three examples of possible body paragraphs for an argumentative essay below.
Think of these example paragraphs as taking on the form of the “Argumentative Point #1 → Evidence —> Explanation —> Repeat” process we talked through earlier. It’s always nice to be able to compare examples, so we’ve included three paragraphs from an argumentative paper ranging from poor (or needs a lot of improvement, if you’re feeling generous), to better, to best.
All of the example paragraphs are for an essay with this thesis statement:
Thesis Statement: In order to most effectively protect user data and combat the spread of disinformation, the U.S. government should implement more stringent regulations of Facebook and other social media outlets.
As you read the examples, think about what makes them different, and what makes the “best” paragraph more effective than the “better” and “poor” paragraphs. Here we go:
A Poor Argument
Example Body Paragraph: Data mining has affected a lot of people in recent years. Facebook has 2.23 billion users from around the world, and though it would take a huge amount of time and effort to make sure a company as big as Facebook was complying with privacy regulations in countries across the globe, adopting a common framework for privacy regulation in more countries would be the first step. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg himself supports adopting a global framework for privacy and data protection, which would protect more users than before.
What’s Wrong With This Example?
First, let’s look at the thesis statement. Ask yourself: does this make a claim that some people might agree with, but others might disagree with?
The answer is yes. Some people probably think that Facebook should be regulated, while others might believe that’s too much government intervention. Also, there are definitely good, reliable sources out there that will help this writer prove their argument. So this paper is off to a strong start!
Unfortunately, this writer doesn’t do a great job proving their thesis in their body paragraph. First, the topic sentence—aka the first sentence of the paragraph—doesn’t make a point that directly supports the position stated in the thesis. We’re trying to argue that government regulation will help protect user data and combat the spread of misinformation, remember? The topic sentence should make a point that gets right at that, instead of throwing out a random fact about data mining.
Second, because the topic sentence isn’t focused on making a clear point, the rest of the paragraph doesn’t have much relevant information, and it fails to provide credible evidence that supports the claim made in the thesis statement. For example, it would be a great idea to include exactly what Mark Zuckerberg said ! So while there’s definitely some relevant information in this paragraph, it needs to be presented with more evidence.
A Better Argument
This paragraph is a bit better than the first one, but it still needs some work. The topic sentence is a bit too long, and it doesn’t make a point that clearly supports the position laid out in the thesis statement. The reader already knows that mining user data is a big issue, so the topic sentence would be a great place to make a point about why more stringent government regulations would most effectively protect user data.
There’s also a problem with how the evidence is incorporated in this example. While there is some relevant, persuasive evidence included in this paragraph, there’s no explanation of why or how it is relevant . Remember, you can’t assume that your evidence speaks for itself: you have to interpret its relevance for your reader. That means including at least a sentence that tells your reader why the evidence you’ve chosen proves your argument.
A Best—But Not Perfect!—Argument
Example Body Paragraph: Though Facebook claims to be implementing company policies that will protect user data and stop the spread of misinformation , its attempts have been unsuccessful compared to those made by the federal government. When PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a Federal Trade Commission-mandated assessment of Facebook’s partnerships with Microsoft and the makers of the Blackberry handset in 2013, the team found limited evidence that Facebook had monitored or even checked that its partners had complied with Facebook’s existing data use policies. In fact, Facebook’s own auditors confirmed the PricewaterhouseCoopers findings, despite the fact that Facebook claimed that the company was making greater attempts to safeguard users’ personal information. In contrast, bills written by Congress have been more successful in changing Facebook’s practices than Facebook’s own company policies have. According to The Washington Post, The Honest Ads Act of 2017 “created public demand for transparency and changed how social media companies disclose online political advertising.” These policy efforts, though thus far unsuccessful in passing legislation, have nevertheless pushed social media companies to change some of their practices by sparking public outrage and negative media attention.
Why This Example Is The Best
This paragraph isn’t perfect, but it is the most effective at doing some of the things that you want to do when you write an argumentative essay.
First, the topic sentences get to the point . . . and it’s a point that supports and explains the claim made in the thesis statement! It gives a clear reason why our claim in favor of more stringent government regulations is a good claim : because Facebook has failed to self-regulate its practices.
This paragraph also provides strong evidence and specific examples that support the point made in the topic sentence. The evidence presented shows specific instances in which Facebook has failed to self-regulate, and other examples where the federal government has successfully influenced regulation of Facebook’s practices for the better.
Perhaps most importantly, though, this writer explains why the evidence is important. The bold sentence in the example is where the writer links the evidence back to their opinion. In this case, they explain that the pressure from Federal Trade Commission and Congress—and the threat of regulation—have helped change Facebook for the better.
Why point out that this isn’t a perfect paragraph, though? Because you won’t be writing perfect paragraphs when you’re taking timed exams either. But get this: you don’t have to write perfect paragraphs to make a good score on AP exams or even on an essay you write for class. Like in this example paragraph, you just have to effectively develop your position by appropriately and convincingly relying on evidence from good sources.
Top 3 Takeaways For Writing Argumentative Essays
This is all great information, right? If (when) you have to write an argumentative essay, you’ll be ready. But when in doubt, remember these three things about how to write an argumentative essay, and you’ll emerge victorious:
Takeaway #1: Read Closely and Carefully
This tip applies to every aspect of writing an argumentative essay. From making sure you’re addressing your prompt, to really digging into your sources, to proofreading your final paper...you’ll need to actively and pay attention! This is especially true if you’re writing on the clock, like during an AP exam.
Takeaway #2: Make Your Argument the Focus of the Essay
Define your position clearly in your thesis statement and stick to that position! The thesis is the backbone of your paper, and every paragraph should help prove your thesis in one way or another. But sometimes you get to the end of your essay and realize that you’ve gotten off topic, or that your thesis doesn’t quite fit. Don’t worry—if that happens, you can always rewrite your thesis to fit your paper!
Takeaway #3: Use Sources to Develop Your Argument—and Explain Them
Nothing is as powerful as good, strong evidence. First, make sure you’re finding credible sources that support your argument. Then you can paraphrase, briefly summarize, or quote from your sources as you incorporate them into your paragraphs. But remember the most important part: you have to explain why you’ve chosen that evidence and why it proves your thesis.
Once you’re comfortable with how to write an argumentative essay, it’s time to learn some more advanced tips and tricks for putting together a killer argument.
Keep in mind that argumentative essays are just one type of essay you might encounter. That’s why we’ve put together more specific guides on how to tackle IB essays , SAT essays , and ACT essays .
But what about admissions essays? We’ve got you covered. Not only do we have comprehensive guides to the Coalition App and Common App essays, we also have tons of individual college application guides, too . You can search through all of our college-specific posts by clicking here.
Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!
Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.
Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.
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How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Step By Step Guide
10 May, 2020
9 minutes read
Author: Tomas White
Being able to present your argument and carry your point in a debate or a discussion is a vital skill. No wonder educational establishments make writing compositions of such type a priority for all students. If you are not really good at delivering a persuasive message to the audience, this guide is for you. It will teach you how to write an argumentative essay successfully step by step. So, read on and pick up the essential knowledge.
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a paper that gets the reader to recognize the author’s side of the argument as valid. The purpose of this specific essay is to pose a question and answer it with compelling evidence. At its core, this essay type works to champion a specific viewpoint. The key, however, is that the topic of the argumentative essay has multiple sides, which can be explained, weighed, and judged by relevant sources.
Check out our ultimate argumentative essay topics list!
This essay often explores common questions associated with any type of argument including:
Argumentative VS Persuasive Essay
It’s important not to confuse argumentative essay with a persuasive essay – while they both seem to follow the same goal, their methods are slightly different. While the persuasive essay is here to convince the reader (to pick your side), the argumentative essay is here to present information that supports the claim.
In simple words, it explains why the author picked this side of the argument, and persuasive essay does its best to persuade the reader to agree with your point of view.
Now that we got this straight, let’s get right to our topic – how to write an argumentative essay. As you can easily recognize, it all starts with a proper argument. First, let’s define the types of argument available and strategies that you can follow.
Types of Argument
When delving into the types of argument, the vocabulary suddenly becomes quite “lawyerish”; and that makes sense since lawyers stake their whole livelihood on their ability to win arguments. So step into your lawyer shoes, and learn about the five kinds of arguments that you could explore in an argumentative paper:
Claims of cause and effect
This paper focuses on answering what caused the issue(s), and what the resulting effects have been.
Claims of definition
This paper explores a controversial interpretation of a particular definition; the paper delves into what the world really means and how it could be interpreted in different ways.
Claims of Fact
This argumentative paper examines whether a particular fact is accurate; it often looks at several sources reporting a fact and examines their veracity.
Claims of Policy
This is a favorite argumentative essay in government and sociology classes; this paper explores a particular policy, who it affects, and what (if anything) should be done about it.
Claims of Value
This essay identifies a particular value or belief and then examines how and why it is important to a particular cohort or a larger, general population.
The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress. Joseph Joubert
When mulling over how to approach your argumentative assignment, you should be aware that three main argument strategies exist regarding how exactly to argue an issue: classical, Rogerian, Toulmin.
This argument structure dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. In this strategy, the arguer introduces the issue, provides context, clearly states their claim, provides key arguments backed by lots of evidence, and nullifies opposing arguments with valid data.
Hate conflict? This may be the argumentative paper strategy for you. At its core, this strategy works to identify compromise aspects for both sides; this approach works to find commonality and an ultimate agreement between two sides rather than proclaiming a winner or loser. The focus in this argument is compromise and respect of all sides.
Remember Spock? This is his type of strategy; the Toulmin approach focuses solely on logic to persuade the audience. It is heavy on data and often relies on qualities to narrow the focus of a claim and strengthen the writer’s stance. This approach also tends to rely on exceptions, which clearly set limits on the parameters of an argument, thus making a particular stance easier to agree with.
With that in mind, we can now organize our argument into the essay structure.
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Argumentative essay Example
Organizing the argumentative essay outline.
An argumentative essay follows the typical essay format: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. However, the body paragraphs are structured a bit differently from other body paragraphs. Surely, not something you can see in a cause and effect essay outline .
While the introduction should still begin with an attention-grabbing sentence that catches the reader’s interest and compels him or her to continue reading and provides key background information, the following paragraphs focus on specific aspects of the argument.
Let’s begin with the introduction.
Related Post: How to write an Essay Introduction ?
As its name suggests, this paragraph provides all the background information necessary for a reader unfamiliar with the argumentative essay topic to understand what it’s about. A solid introduction should:
- Begin with a descriptive title that communicates your position regarding the topic
- Rhetorical question
- Personal anecdote
- Provide necessary background, including definitions of any relevant words
- End with a thesis statement that communicates your position
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Body paragraphs can range in size from six to fifteen or more sentences. The goal of these paragraphs is to support the thesis statement. Recommended areas of focus for the body paragraphs within an argumentative paper include:
- Identifying and explaining the problem
- Identifying the two (or more) sides to the problem
- Exploring the side the writer believes is more appropriate than the others
- Shooting down the other sides, with evidence
- Recommending a course of action for the reader
One important way how this essay differs from other kinds is its specific nature. At the end of reading such an essay, the audience should clearly understand the issue or controversy and have enough information to make an informed decision regarding the issue. But what compels an audience make an informed decision? Several things!
- Authoritative sources (experts in their field)
- Real-world examples
- Attributable anecdotes
In this paragraph, often the shortest of all the paragraphs, the writer reviews his or her most compelling reasons for taking a particular stance on an issue. The persuasion should be strong here, and the writer should use combative language including examples such as:
- “then” statements
- There can be no doubt
- Without immediate action
- Research strongly supports
It is also appropriate to refute potential opposition in the conclusion. By stating the objections readers could have, and show why they should be dismissed; the conclusion resonates more strongly with the reader.
Check our guide if you have any other questions on academic paper writing!
Argumentative Essay Sample
Be sure to check the sample essay, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to write your own argumentative essay. Link: Argumentative essay on white rappers’ moral rights to perform .
Remember : the key to winning any argument should be reliable sources — the better, the more trustworthy your sources, the more likely the audience will consider a viewpoint different from their own.
And while you may feel a deep passion towards a particular topic, keep in mind that emotions can be messy; this essay should present all sides to the argument respectfully and with a clear intention to portray each of them fairly.
Let the data, statistics, and facts speak loudly and clearly for themselves. And don’t forget to use opinionated language — using such diction is a must in any strong argumentative writing!
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Argumentative Essay Guide
Argumentative Essay Writing
Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023
Learn How to Write an Argumentative Essay
By: Jared P.
Reviewed By: Chris H.
Published on: Oct 15, 2019
If you’re faced with writing an argumentative essay, you might be wondering…
How to write an argumentative essay?
How to start an argumentative essay?
What am I going to write about?
What are the best argumentative essay topics?
Do I need to write an argumentative essay outline first?
Is there a specific argumentative essay format?
Those are great questions. This blog will answer all your questions and help you compose your argumentative essay easily and in less time.
Let’s get started.
On this Page
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a genre of essay in which a writer is supposed to present a well-structured argument. It is a type of essay that establishes a stance on a topic or particular issue and supports it with evidence and facts. It is a well-balanced piece of writing that demonstrates both strengths and weaknesses of a specific subject.
The argumentative essay is one of the most common types of essays that students will encounter in their academic life. Although there are different variations of an argumentative essay, they all share the same foundation.
The writer is required to investigate an issue, pick a side and find strong evidence to prove his claim logically. He has to convince the reader to accept his perspective on the chosen topic.
The argument one presents in an essay must be specific, reasonable, has details and sound evidence.
The goal of an argumentative essay is to provide the reader with counterpoint perspectives on topics and issues. The problems may not be fully resolved in the existing literature or society at large.
Argumentative Essay Format and Structure
There are three different types of arguments that you can use for the argumentative essay format. Use them separately or combine them together to form your argument.
1. Classical or Aristotelian Model
This is the most frequently used argument strategy. Here, you will highlight the problem, provide its solution. And then try to persuade the reader that you have proposed the correct solution.
2. Toulmin Model
Toulmin argument strategy uses logic and breaks down an argument into different parts. It presents both the writer's perspective and opposing views on the topic and explains why the writer’s stance is more beneficial.
3. Rogerian Model
This strategy is used for topics where it is difficult to find common ground. The entire idea is to find a point of agreement by showing the reader that you are considering the counter-argument.
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How to Write an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay doesn’t need to be an enormous headache or a project so overwhelming that you don’t even know where to start.
Like any major project, the best way to tackle an argumentative essay is to break it down into “baby steps.” Take the following steps as your guideline. Accomplish them one at a time, and before you know it, you’ll have a workable first draft that informs, entertains, and challenges the reader:
1. Explore Different Argumentative Essay Topics
One of the essential components of an argumentative essay is having a persuasive topic.
While there is no scarcity of persuasive topics, you can find something in the newspaper or TV. Moreover, you might have overheard two people arguing in your class; there must be two strongly conflicting viewpoints.
When you’re thinking about which topic to go for, ask yourself these questions.
- Why did a particular thing happen?
- What was its cause?
- Does it hold any significance?
- What should our reaction be towards it?
Also, bear in mind that being interested in a topic and agreeing to it is one thing, but writing about it to persuade the reader is a different thing altogether.
You need to prove that your point is logical without becoming emotional and by using concrete evidence.
2. Choose the Types of Argument Claims
Once you have selected your topic, you must give considerable thought to developing your claim. There are different types of claims. If not all, then include some of them in your argumentative essay.
Whether your claim is a fact or not. Is it true? Will it occur or not?
What exactly is it? How can we define it? How to interpret it? How to classify it?
The importance of the issue. Is it worthy or not? How critical is it to address this issue?
- Cause and Effect
How did it happen? What is the possible cause? What are its effects?
What should be done to tackle the issue? What laws should be enforced? What changes need to be made?
These components play an integral part in your essay. These claims make a presentable argumentative essay and help you discuss both supporting and opposing arguments.
3. Determine Your Stance
You have decided on the topic you are most passionate about; the next step is to assess both sides of the argument.
After evaluating both sides, determine the argument you can most relate to and look for strong evidence to support your claim.
The thing with argumentative essays is that to prove the validity of your point, you must educate the reader about both sides of the argument.
4. Collect Evidence and Supporting Examples
Since your reader isn’t in front of you, you can’t interpret the body language to see whether you have convinced the reader or not. Therefore, it is necessary to use strong proof, evidence from credible sources, and convincing data to support your stance.
When assessing a claim, consider the following points:
- Is the statement factual?
- What is its definition?
- What are the causes of the issue?
- Is the fact valuable?
- What action should be taken, or what should be done about it?
- What impact will it have on living things and our environment in general?
- You might want to interview the experts of the field and use it to sketch an argument.
5. Create Argumentative Essay Outline
The argumentative essay is the most difficult type of essay that high school and college students have ever come across. Writing a well-structured and properly formatted essay needs effort and strong writing skills. The best option to make things easier is to draft an outline.
An essay outline is like a roadmap that guides you to reach your destination. The outline works the same for an essay. Therefore, it is a good idea to create an outline before starting an essay.
If you avoid writing an outline, you might have to suffer the following consequences.
- Disjointed writing structure.
- Pointless research.
- Convoluted composition style.
- Wandering point of view.
- Disjointed and contradictory arguments.
- Confused readers.
- A lousy grade.
However, crafting an argumentative essay outline can offer you several benefits.
- All research will be “on point” and support your argumentative topic theme.
- Discussing both sides of the argument will become easy.
- Both sides of the argument will be well-reasoned; weaknesses will be easily identified.
- You’ll save a lot of time editing and revising the whole essay. You can do that with the outline.
- Your conclusions will be supported by evidence.
A typical argumentative essay outline usually consists of 5 sections.
- Introductory paragraph
- Body Paragraphs I
- Body Paragraphs II
- Body Paragraphs III
The number of body paragraphs can be increased or decreased depending on the word limit and the essay topic.
6. Compose a Strong Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is the main building block of an argumentative essay. Therefore, it is essential to draft a strong thesis statement that makes a substantial point about the topic. Your whole essay will revolve around the thesis statement, so make sure it is worthy of discussion.
7. Write a Compelling Introduction
The introduction paragraph outlines the topic, some relevant background information essential to understanding the topic, and the thesis statement. It gives a glimpse of all the claims you are going to make in your essay. It also outlines the facts and evidence that you will present to support your topic and thesis statement.
‘How do you start an argumentative essay introduction?'
Here are the four steps you can follow to write a compelling argumentative essay introduction:
- Start with an attention-grabbing hook statement.
- Outline the main subject of your essay.
- Present some background information that is necessary to understand the topic.
- Lay the foundation of your claim with a strong thesis statement.
8. Draft the Body Section
As discussed in the outline section, a typical essay usually has three body paragraphs. However, the number can vary according to the nature of the topic and the information that needs to be presented to support your claim.
Here are the three steps that you need to write a body section:
- Start with a topic sentence that supports your thesis statement.
- Present facts, evidence, examples, and relevant data from credible sources to back up your claim.
- End the paragraph with concluding remarks and smoothly transition to the next paragraph.
9. Write a Convincing Conclusion
Although the conclusion paragraph is the last section of the essay, it holds the same significance as the introductory paragraph. It should be convincing and persuasive enough to prove your side of the argument right.
Here are the steps for writing the argumentative essay conclusion:
- Summarize the whole essay in two to three sentences.
- Rewrite the thesis statement to remind your reader what your essay was all about.
- Provide a call to action.
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Argumentative Essay Samples
Here are a few argumentative essay examples on interesting topics for your guidance
ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY SAMPLE (PDF)
ABORTION ESSAY SAMPLE (PDF)
SAMPLE ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY (PDF)
Good Argumentative Essay Topics
‘What are good topics to write an argumentative essay on?’
Here are some amazing argumentative essay topic s that will help you get started.
- Is an MS degree in business necessary for your business to be successful?
- Mobile phones as educational tools: is it the right approach?
- Should you be friends with your professor on social media?
- Every student possesses writing skills. Do you agree?
- Is it right to blame social media for the use of incorrect grammar?
- Are social networks an effective platform for communication?
- Do people really get a job through LinkedIn?
- Is Facebook legally allowed to leak the private information of its users?
- Is it possible to earn a good amount of money from YouTube?
- Should Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter be banned permanently?
Hire a Professional Argumentative Essay Writer
If the work it takes even to get started writing your argument paper is more daunting than you feel you can’t handle at the moment. Or if you remain uncertain about how to even go about selecting a viable argumentative essay topic. It is time to find a professional argumentative essay writer to help you deliver a paper you can be proud of.
Finding the right expert help and learning from it is often the best alternative to starting from scratch. Remember, your grades count. If you’re in doubt about your ability to deliver a compelling argumentative or persuasive essay. Or, even to decide upon the right argumentative essay topic, then you need to work with the best ‘ do essay for me? ’ service and get the help you need.
The professional essay writers at 5StarEssays.com essay writing service are standing by, waiting to help with your academic writing. You can easily get their help by placing an order .
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main goal of an argumentative essay.
The main goal and aim of an argumentative essay are to develop your opinion and support it with relevant arguments and evidence.
What is the purpose of reasoning in an argumentative text?
The key purpose of reasoning is to clarify your main point and provide supporting evidence and arguments to back and support your claims
What are the five parts of an argument?
Here are the five parts of an argument.
What are the types of argumentative essays?
The main types of argumentative essays are persuasive, analysis, research, and personal essays.
College Admission Essay, Literature
Jared P. is a renowned author and writing service provider with over fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry. He has a Ph.D. degree in English Literature and has spent his entire career helping students achieve their academic goals by providing expert writing assistance.
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How to Write an Argumentative Essay
Last Updated: June 14, 2023 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 15 testimonials and 85% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 837,877 times.
Understanding how to structure and write an argumentative essay is a useful skill. Strong argumentative essays present relevant evidence that supports an argument and convinces the audience of a particular stance. This type of essay provides the reader with a thorough overview of a topic, covering all facets, but also attempts to persuade the reader into agreeing with the author's point of view.
Understanding the Format
- Argumentative essays also provide your audience with a well-rounded summary of the issue at hand, but clearly indicate what your own point of view is and why this view is the best option over others.
- The effectiveness of this type of essay depends on the author's ability to parse through the various facets of the topic and lead the reader toward an obvious and logical conclusion. To this end, you must familiarize yourself with all opinions about the topic so that you can also outline the viewpoints that oppose your own view (counterarguments).
- Make sure you have your desired outcome in mind as you move forward in the writing process.
Selecting a Topic
- For example, writing an argumentative essay on the fact that exercise is good for you would be undesirable because it would be difficult to find contradicting views on the topic; everyone agrees that exercise is good for people.
- Avoid choosing a topic that has been overdone, or, on the other hand, one that is too obscure (since supporting evidence may be more difficult to find).
- Try a debate-style conversation in which you each bring up aspects of the controversy and attempt to explain your view on the topic.
- Are you writing the paper for a class, in which case your audience is your professor and your classmates? Or perhaps you are writing it for a presentation to a larger group of people. Regardless, you must think about where your audience is coming from in order to lead them to your desired outcome.
- People's backgrounds and experiences often influence how they will react to views different from their own, so it is helpful for you to be knowledgeable about these factors.
- You also use different language when addressing different groups of people. For example, you would speak to the pastor at your church differently than you might speak in a casual setting with your best friend. It is important to be mindful of these distinctions when considering your audience.
- Rhetorical situations usually involve employing language that is intended to persuade someone toward a particular view or belief. That is why rhetoric is important in an argumentative essay. These types of essays aim to convince the reader that the author's view on the subject is the most correct one.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
Structuring Your Argument
- A good title will act as a "preview" for what your paper will be about. Many titles for academic papers come in two parts, separated by a colon. The first part is often a catchy hook that involves a pun on your topic or an impactful quote, and the second part is usually a sentence that sums up or provides details about your argument.  X Research source
- A good thesis statement is concise and clear. It tells the reader what the point of the paper is and why it's important. The thesis must make a claim of some sort.  X Research source This can be a claim of value (describing the worth of how we view a certain thing), a claim of definition (arguing that the way we define a term or idea needs to be altered in some way), a claim of cause and effect (claiming that one event or thing caused another event or thing), or a claim about policy solutions (arguing that the way we do things needs to be changed for some reason).
- Here is an example of a strong thesis statement: Excessive meat consumption in America is the leading cause of pollution today, and, thus, is a significant influence on global warming. This thesis makes a claim (specifically a cause and effect claim) about a debatable topic with a narrow enough focus to create an interesting, manageable argumentative essay.
- Here is an example of a weak thesis statement: Pollution is a problem in the world today. This is not a debatable issue; few people would argue that pollution is not a problem. The topic is also too broad. You can't write a paper on every single aspect of pollution.
- Changing the thesis to avoid this form will make for a much more functional essay that is written at a more advanced level. A more effective thesis would be something like this: Due to increasing global temperatures and rising ocean levels, global warming has become an issue that needs to be acknowledged by a wider audience in order to begin reversing the effects.
- There are many different ways to organize your argument, but the most important thing is that you cover all aspects of the issue. Leaving out information simply because it contradicts your thesis idea is unethical as it does not provide an accurate portrayal of the issue.
- Be sure to include counterarguments (those ideas that are at odds with your own view), but explain to your reader why your own viewpoint is more logical and accurate, perhaps because the opposing view is based on outdated information, etc. Avoid implicating opposing views as wrong because it could alienate your readers.
- Be sure to review your main points and restate your thesis. But make sure not to introduce any new information in the conclusion so that you can effectively wrap up what you've already said.
- Often, it is helpful to end with a look forward to further research that could be done on the topic in light of what you have said in your paper.
Including Research and Sources
- Ask a reference librarian for assistance in finding reputable, useful sources for your argument. They will probably be happy to help you.
- Scholarly sources should be written by experts in the field (i.e. use a quote from someone with a PhD in environmental science if you are writing an argumentative paper on the dangers of global warming) or published in scholarly, peer-reviewed outlets. This means that sources are fact-checked by a panel of experts before they are approved for publication.
- It is important to remember that anyone can write things on the internet without any kind of publication standards for accuracy, so using blogs and many websites is not a good idea in an academic paper.
- Citing sources involves writing quotation marks (") around the verbatim quotes and then including a parenthetical in-text citation at the end of the quote that refers to a source listed on the Bibliography or Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
- There are several different formatting methods that are used in different fields.  X Research source For example, in English departments they use MLA formatting and in history departments they usually implement Chicago style formatting.
Editing and Applying Final Touches
- Sentence fragments.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Fragments are incomplete phrases that cannot stand alone as a sentence because they are missing either a verb, a noun, or a complete thought.
- Parallelism.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Errors in parallelism occur when words or groups of words do not appear in the same format or structure within a sentence.
- Subject-verb agreement.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Errors with subject-verb agreement happen when an incorrect verb form is used with a particular subject. For example, he know instead of he knows.
- Include only relevant information. Don't drift off-topic. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Try to make each paragraph about a different aspect. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Use basic writing techniques to write the essay. Sentences should logically flow and have a specific purpose. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- It is important to respect different views and to only use information, not insults, to support your claim. Thanks Helpful 41 Not Helpful 7
- It is also important not to base your reasons on opinions. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/establishing_arguments/organizing_your_argument.html
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/argumentative-essay/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/rhetorical_situation/index.html
- ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/top-10-argumentative-essay-topics.html
- ↑ https://umanitoba.ca/student/academiclearning/media/Writing_a_Great_Title_NEW.pdf
- ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/
- ↑ https://slc.berkeley.edu/writing-worksheets-and-other-writing-resources/suggestions-developing-argumentative-essays
- ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/argumentative-writing
- ↑ https://guides.skylinecollege.edu/c.php?g=279231&p=4339683
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/proofreading_for_errors.html
About This Article
To write an argumentative essay, select a debatable topic that you have a strong opinion about. Your job is to convince the reader that your view on the subject is the best one, so choose a topic you can investigate and support with research. Open the essay with a concise thesis that asserts your viewpoint, then sum up all aspects of the issue, including your opinion and counterarguments. Pull quotes from reputable sources to support your stance, and end by restating your thesis and reasserting your main points. If you want to learn more, like how to format your Works Cited page to list your sources, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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