Argumentative writing essay assignments may seem daunting, but there are actually some simple steps you can follow to make the process as painless as possible.
This guide to writing an argumentative essay will help you through your first paper with ease, so follow these tips and start preparing your first argumentative essay today!
What is the purpose of argumentative writing?
Argumentative writing is often used in politics, philosophy, and other fields. It involves a writer advancing an opinion on a topic through arguments to persuade the reader.
A good argument should be logically sound and backed up with evidence. A strong argument should also consider opposing viewpoints and address them head-on.
One of the best ways to do this is by addressing all possible rebuttals to your argument in your introduction or at the end of your essay.
What makes good argumentative writing?
An important part of any argumentative essay is being able to argue both sides of the issue and have a compelling conclusion that leaves readers feeling satisfied.
Argumentative writing essay structure can include making logical arguments for one side, then making logical arguments for the other side. You can even make persuasive points for multiple points of view about one topic.
The persuasive point you make can depend on which side you’re arguing for in order to better convince your audience. For example, if you are arguing against seat belt laws, you might focus on how they can actually increase the chance of injury in certain cases.
If you are advocating for seat belt laws, however, it would be more effective to emphasize how they save lives and prevent injuries.
Planning to write an argumentative essay
Before you start writing your essay, it is important to come up with a good plan.
This will help you organize your thoughts and structure your argument.
Here are six steps to help you get started:
1. Choose a topic that you are passionate about.
2. Do some research on the topic.
3. Develop a thesis statement.
4. Create an outline of your argument.
5. Write the first draft of your essay.
6. Edit and proofread your work to ensure it has no grammatical errors or typos before submitting it for grading.
Remember that not all topics lend themselves well to argumentative essays. Some topics might be better suited for persuasion essays.
For example, if you want to persuade readers to stop smoking cigarettes, then you might choose this as your topic instead of arguing that smokers should quit smoking cigarettes.
The main difference between these two types of essays is that persuasive papers present an opinion and give reasons in support of their opinion while the purpose of an argumentative paper is to prove a point by giving reasons against an opposing point.
The following steps can help you make sure you are choosing the right type of essay for your topic:
- Think about whether there is more than one side to your issue;
- Is there really any opposition? If so, how strong is it?
- What would the other side say about your subject?
- What are your strongest arguments?
- How much evidence do you have to back up those arguments?
- Does your conclusion match the points you made throughout your essay?
- Once you have answered these questions, you will know which type of essay is best for your topic.
- Finding sources for your research is also very important.
You may need articles from newspapers, magazines, textbooks, journals, or academic databases such as JSTOR and EBSCOhost to find credible information.
Once you have found your sources, it’s time to read them carefully. It’s usually helpful to read several articles at once because they often offer different perspectives on the same subject matter.
Next, decide what sources you will use for your paper.
Afterward, take notes on everything that stood out to you and create a list of potential quotes to use later when drafting your essay.
When reading through each source, ask yourself:
- Who wrote this document?
- Why did they write it?
- What does the document claim to be true about the topic you are discussing?
- Can I summarize what was said in this document in one sentence?
- What objections could someone have to what this document claims?
- Are my own opinions influenced by anything in this document?
- Will I need to consult any other sources besides this one for my paper?
- Do I agree with what is being said in this document?
- Which parts of the document do I disagree with and why?
- Which parts of the document am I undecided about and why?
- Have I noticed any biases in this text (e.g., political, moral)?
- What is the author’s tone (eager, angry, sad)?
Once you have done this, you should develop a thesis statement for your essay.
Make it clear and easy to understand. A good way to develop a thesis statement is to state your position on the topic and provide a reason for it. This helps you to focus your argument and avoid getting sidetracked.
For example, a thesis statement that argues people should not smoke tobacco products could state
Smoking tobacco products poses serious health risks.
When developing an outline for your essay, it is important to include the basic elements of an argumentative essay: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.
In the introduction, you should introduce your topic and clearly state your position on it.
In the body, you must convince the reader that your position is valid.
This means providing detailed reasoning to support your point of view.
Finally, in the conclusion, you should reiterate what you have already stated in the introduction about what is most likely to happen based on your argumentative essay.
You can also suggest what the reader can do to remedy the situation if he or she agrees with your position.
What are the 5 elements of argumentative writing essay structure?
Argumentative writing essay requires authors to analyze a subject’s merits and drawbacks.
They typically present their opinions on these issues as reasons why someone else should share their beliefs.
When building their argument, authors need to have valid information that’s appropriate for the context and audience they’re writing for.
There are five key parts of a strong argumentative essay: introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, rebuttal paragraphs (in case anyone disagrees), and concluding paragraph.
Argumentative essay structure starts with an introduction that introduces your readers to what you’re arguing about.
Your introduction should state what you will be talking about in your essay and set the tone for everything that follows.
What should be included in the introductory paragraph of an argumentative essay?
Think the introductory paragraph like setting up a roadmap for your reader so they know where you’re going with this.
If you’ve already made it clear what the main idea of your essay is in the title, then the first sentence of your introduction should reiterate that idea without giving away too much detail about what will follow.
In most cases, the second sentence of your introduction should start providing some background about the current situation surrounding your chosen topic.
In a shorter essay, it’s perfectly fine to introduce your topic in a couple of sentences and then dive into your thesis statement.
In a longer essay, you’ll need to provide more background on your topic so readers can better understand what you’re arguing about. In this case, you should give more than just a few sentences to contextualize the discussion.
That way, readers don’t feel lost right off the bat. Providing enough context will help readers relate to your argument and see themselves as stakeholders in the conversation.
The thesis statement provides the central message of your argument and usually appears in the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.
A strong thesis statement doesn’t simply restate your position but rather asks questions or presents a counterargument to spark debate and get people thinking.
This helps get readers engaged in your work from the very beginning because they know exactly what you want them to think about before diving into the body of your essay.
Argumentative essay body paragraphs
The next step in creating an argumentative essay is crafting supportive paragraphs that show different angles on the same issue.
Supportive paragraphs provide the meat of your argumentative essay by presenting evidence, statistics, facts, and expert opinion.
This information should support your stance in such a way that your readers can’t help but agree with you.
Arguments often take place between two opposing viewpoints.
Supporting paragraphs can take the form of a pro-con list that includes pros and cons for the different positions.
Pro-con lists should also contain examples of each point to back up your argument. These could include quotes from experts, statistical data, images of specific things happening in the world around us, etc.
It’s important to always cite sources when using outside sources to back up your claims.
This shows readers that your essay has been carefully researched and that you aren’t making false claims.
One of the most common ways to do this is to use parenthetical citations in the text, either after a quote or at the end of a sentence.
Argumentative writing essay paragraphs should not just be one sentence. Writers should make their points clearly and concisely.
You should write your essay in a way that allows readers to fully grasp the arguments being made. For example, it’s a good idea to break up the sections of your essay with headings and subheadings.
This will help readers find their way through your argumentative essay while keeping the flow of your writing uninterrupted. In addition, numbered lists and tables can be used to further break up sections of your argumentative paper.
Using formatting tricks in this way helps you turn a long string of text into a readable argumentative essay that readers can scan for what they’re looking for instead of reading word for word.
Argumentative writing essay rebuttal paragraphs (Counterargument)
Counterarguments are crucial in any argumentative essay because they present opposing viewpoints and allow you to poke holes in your opponent’s position.
When crafting a counterargument, it’s essential that your rebuttal attacks and debunks each of your opponent’s points.
For example, if an author makes point A, use your counterargument paragraph to explain why point A is wrong or can’t be proven.
After explaining why point A is wrong, then introduce your own point B. Point B should be the opposite of Point A.
The second part of countering an argument is answering objections raised by the other side. To answer these objections, craft a new set of paragraphs to rebut them before going back to counterattack.
After all possible objections have been addressed and refuted, go back to attack once more with additional strong arguments against the original claim.
How many counterclaims should an argumentative essay have?
The number of counterclaims you use depends on a few different factors.
First, you should know that there are never hard and fast rules when it comes to argumentative essays.
Your goal should be to construct a well-reasoned, logical, and convincing argument.
Sometimes it’s better to start out with fewer counterclaims to lay the groundwork for your argument, then add more later.
Other times, you may want to jump right in with several well-supported points.
You’ll need to decide how many points you want to tackle before coming up with the corresponding counterclaims.
Remember, there are no definitive rules about how much research to do or how many counters need to be listed.
Argumentative writing essay conclusion
This is the last section of argumentative essay writing.
The concluding paragraph should summarize the key points you’ve discussed and tie up any loose ends.
This is a good time to offer an alternative solution or raise an open question that leaves readers thinking. In order to conclude your essay effectively, make sure you write from an analytical perspective instead of merely listing your feelings.
Review what has been said throughout the entire essay so far, reiterate the most important points, and remind readers of the conclusions drawn.
It’s also best to include a call to action at the end of your essay.
That way, readers will remember that this is not just a presentation of facts but rather a call for people to take action based on those facts.
Argumentative writing essay topics examples
Your college argumentative essay assignments will cover a wide range of topics, including politics, economics, art history, music appreciation, and much more.
Don’t waste time trying to pick out a specific subject to write about.
Instead, learn how to adapt your argumentative essay template for any situation.
The first step is knowing how to identify strong arguments in any field.
Once you figure out what opinions hold the most weight, make sure to balance your own opinion with some of their ideas.
Use examples from different fields and cite evidence to support your claims.
This will help demonstrate that you have enough knowledge of the topic to create a persuasive argument without sounding like an amateur.
Here is a list of example argumentative essay topics :
- What should be the penalty for crimes committed with a gun?
- Should high school students be allowed to leave campus during lunch periods?
- Is vegetarianism a healthy lifestyle choice?
- Can we reverse climate change, and how would that affect our daily lives?
- Are genetically modified foods safe to eat?
- Should women be able to join the military?
- Which nation is the worst for human rights abuses?
- What are the pros and cons of using coal as an energy source?
- Do standardized tests have a place in education today?
- Who is the best coach in football, men or women?
- Should college athletes be paid?
- Is the death penalty an effective deterrent to crime?
- Why is boxing still a popular sport?
- What should be done to improve public schools in America?
- How should a country deal with its homeless population?
- Which countries have the best environmental policies?
- If you could design your perfect society, what would it look like and why?