Sooner or later, you will be assigned to write an argumentative essay over the course of your study. But the worst thing about this assignment may not be the complexity of research and writing but the fact that you have no idea how to do it.
This is what we are going to address and help you with today.
What is an argumentative essay?
In an argumentative essay, you choose a topic, extensively research it, and then use the evidence gathered in order to establish your position.
Usually, there are several opposing views on one issue. You may either side with one of them or present the positions equally strong, depending on your assignment.
The point of an argumentative essay is to evaluate your debating abilities. Typically, you introduce your argument, several counterarguments, and try to convince the reader that your point is more valid.
Unlike persuasive essays which are often confused with argumentative essays, argumentative essays are more logic- than opinion-based. In an argumentative essay, your task is to present all sides of the issue, whereas persuasive essays are more biased and one-sided.
Argumentative essay graphic organizer
There are many ways of outlining argumentative essays, and there is no correct way of doing it. However, there is a generally accepted format of argumentative essay writing that we want to introduce you to below.
However, if your assignment requires some specific type of format different from the one we describe, make sure to follow it instead.
First paragraph – introduction
Your introductory paragraph sets the stage for the position which you will be defending. The introduction consists of three elements – the hook, a summary of your issue, and the thesis statement.
The hook is a sentence or phrase aimed at grabbing the attention of the reader. You may use anything related to your topic as a hook – some statistics, a quote, or an anecdote that illustrates your issue.
Summary of the issue
Here, you need to provide the reader with concise background information on the issue in question. Explain why and who the issue is important for. In addition, you should provide the definition of key terms and theories in this section.
In the thesis statement, you clearly state your position on the issue and give a reason for it. You don’t support your position with evidence just yet: it will be done in the body of the essay.
The body of the essay
In the body, your paper provides the reader with the basic information necessary to understand your position. In addition, you need to provide evidence that supports your stance.
The body usually consists of 1-3 paragraphs supporting your overall stance and 1 paragraph addressing the counterarguments of your position’s opponents.
Second Paragraph – Supporting evidence
In the topic sentence, you introduce a claim that supports your stance on the issue. Use transition words to smoothly move from your thesis statement to the topic sentence and then the evidence.
Evidence that supports your claim
State credible evidence that supports your claim. It may be an expert opinion (“Dr. Brown states…”), facts, examples, statistics, etc.
Explanation of the evidence
Explain how the reader should interpret the evidence provided by you. Demonstrate how the evidence proves the point you are trying to make in this paragraph.
In the concluding sentence, reassert how your claim helps support your overall position on the topic and how it transitions to the next idea.
Repeat this paragraph for each of your claims. Provide as many claims and supporting evidence as necessary. If you are assigned a specific number of claims, include as many as your professor needs.
Third paragraph – refutation of objections
A well-written argument needs to anticipate and address the position of the opponents of your stance. Pointing out counterarguments in your essay is going to demonstrate a critical and thought-out approach to the topic. Addressing and refuting objections will make your argument stronger as well.
Introduction of the counterargument
Introduce the counterargument against your thesis statement. You may introduce one or more counterarguments with their sources, depending on your topic and your assignment’s requirements.
Introduction of supporting evidence
Like it was with supporting your claims, you need to introduce evidence that would back up your refutation of counterarguments. Again, you need to use credible quotes, expert opinions, statistics, etc.
Explanation of the evidence
Explain how your evidence proves that your stance is better supported than that of your opponents.
End this paragraph reasserting your position as a whole. Use a transitional sentence to then smoothly move to the conclusion.
Restate your thesis statement in an original manner. Do not just copy and paste it from the introduction paragraph.
Briefly summarize the claims you’ve provided to support your evidence.
Explain how the issue is important in a more global context. Help the reader understand why they should care about your topic. You may also propose solutions or make predictions on the future of the issue.
How to write a good argumentative essay?
Don’t be obvious
Do not choose a topic or a stance that people will agree with easily. Professors often require that an argumentative essay raise an argument among the students, so choose a more controversial topic. However, avoid sensitive topics connected with religion, gender, or race, unless you are sure that your audience won’t mind them.
Avoid faulty logic
Your argument needs to be supported by a chain of reasons. If you use faulty logic, you will sound unconvincing. Examples of faulty logic are:
- Claiming that something is false if no one has ever proved it.
- Appealing to a popular position.
- Telling only part of the truth.
- Citing non-expert opinions.
- Using evidence that cannot be tested.
Represent a global issue
Choose a topic that has global ramifications. If your issue has a big role in the grand scheme of things, it will be perceived as more “serious.”
Cover contemporary life
Choose down-to-earth issues that people can relate with. Avoid topics that are too fantastic or are disconnected from the audience. Remember, your paper may be required to raise an argument, and it is easier to do so with a more contemporary topic.
Proofread, proofread, and proofread
Make sure to refine your essay before handing it in. Proofread it as many times as necessary to make it ideal. Have someone else read through your essay to see if there are any issues with it. If your paper is full of spelling and grammar mistakes, you won’t be perceived seriously and won’t receive a high grade.