How to Write a Standout Argumentative Essay
An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that persuades the reader of a particular point of view using factual data and logical arguments. Argumentative essays focus heavily on hard evidence, citing various research and sources to demonstrate why their position is the best. While many sorts of essays seek to persuade the reader to believe a particular point of view.
Contrary to what the term implies, argumentative essays need not be confrontational or hostile. Instead, it takes its name from the method of reasoning in which the author provides adequate evidence to simultaneously support and refute opposing viewpoints. Remember that the purpose of an argumentative essay is to demonstrate that your thesis is the only logical conclusion.
Argumentative essays are only as excellent as their supporting evidence, and creating strong arguments needs more than just being obstinate (although it certainly helps!). The most effective methods for creating the ideal argumentative essay are covered below. Our evidence, however, speaks for itself, so don’t take our word for it.
What is an essay with an argument?
The goal of argumentative essays, like that of persuasive essays and other kinds of writings, is to persuade the reader of a specific point of view. The method of persuasion is what distinguishes an essay as argumentative. An argumentative essay uses factual evidence and unfeasible reasoning to support its conclusion.
This is also done in persuasive essays, but they are typically less formal and more emotional. While persuasive essays primarily appeal to the reader’s emotions, argumentative essays place a greater emphasis on specific empirical findings. Or, to put it another way, persuasive essays prioritize qualitative support whereas argumentative essays favor quantitative support.
Similar to how expository essays, which rely primarily on fact-based evidence and extensive study, are easily confused with argumentative essays. The primary distinction between the two types of essays is bias: expository essays typically offer all sides of an argument rather than presuming one side is correct.
Argumentative essays also differ in that their thesis is not immediately clear. Usually, there is enough opposition to make an argument against it necessary. The thesis “the sky is blue on a sunny day” is a terrible one for an argumentative essay, for instance. there would not only be redundant, but also overly straightforward: All you would need to do is say, “Look outside,” and there would be your proof.
The goal of an argumentative essay is to demonstrate conclusively that its thesis is true, typically by refuting or dismissing competing theories. Because of this, argumentative essays explore a variety of opposing viewpoints in addition to the writer’s own topic. It’s challenging to declare one viewpoint as “true” if you’re discounting every other one.
basic format for argumentative essays
Your argumentative essay’s structure is very important because the success of your argument hinges on how well you convey it. The structure of argumentative essays is slightly more complex than those of other essay genres because you must additionally address opposing viewpoints, which only serves to exacerbate the situation. This in itself raises further questions, such as when to provide important evidence and whose argument to address first.
Let’s begin with the most fundamental argumentative essay format, the straightforward five-paragraph framework that works best for short essays.
Your introduction is the first paragraph of your essay. It clearly states your argument, frames the remainder of the paper, and perhaps even injects a little mystery.
Your body is comprised of your second, third, and fourth paragraphs, where you will present your arguments, support them with proof, and disprove any counterarguments. Each paragraph should emphasize presenting one piece of supporting evidence or refuting one opposing viewpoint.
The fifth and last paragraph is your conclusion, when you briefly restate your thesis in light of all the evidence you’ve shown thus far.
For timed essays that are required for tests, this straightforward framework comes in handy. Advanced essays, however, call for more intricate arrangements, particularly if they must be longer than five paragraphs.
1. Choose a contentious subject that interests, baffles, or appeals to you.
Make sure your topic is neither overly general—requiring a dissertation—nor underly specific. Establish your paper’s objectives. What do you want? What point of view or hypothesis are you trying to support? Before you start writing, make an effort to clearly state your aim. Try to freewrite on your subject if you are unable to state your purpose effectively.
2. Form a thesis statement based on your position on the subject.
Your thesis must be debatable; it must make an assertion or rejection on your subject. A thesis must have some chance of being true in order to be debatable. However, it shouldn’t be regarded as universally true; rather, it should be a claim that some individuals would dispute. A thesis includes both an observation and an opinion, so keep that in mind:
Opinion (the “why”) with observation equals thesis.
Checking to see if your thesis results in a powerful antithesis is a useful approach to gauge its persuasiveness.
Typical thesis mistakes
fragmentary expression of a thesis.
an overly wide argument.
a question-framed thesis. The thesis is typically revealed by the response to the inquiry.
a thesis that contains unneeded details.
a claim that starts with I believe or in my opinion.
a thesis that addresses a familiar or cliché topic.
A theory that uses terms like “all,” “none,” “always,” “only,” and “everyone” that lead to inaccurate generalizations
Writing a thesis advice:
As you engage with your topic, a thesis develops. Before choosing a thesis, explore, discuss, and think about your topic. Start freewriting on your topic if you’re having problems coming up with a thesis. Your freewriting might offer a viable thesis.
Consider your thesis a working thesis throughout the writing process, and be prepared to change it as you edit and revise your article.
As you conduct research and write, keep an index card with a copy of your working thesis in front of you. Having your thesis in plain sight might help you write more concisely.
3. Think about your audience.
Prepare your essay with a particular audience in mind. Who reads your work? Do you have a clear definition of this group—are they neutral observers, opponents of your viewpoint, etc.? Maybe you’re writing to your peers. Consult your lecturer or GSI about your target audience. If you are unsure of your audience, address a broad audience with your argument.
4. Offer convincing and illuminating proof.
Strong essays use arguments backed up by proof. You might think of reasons as the key arguments in favor of your claim or thesis. Reasons are frequently the responses to the inquiry, “Why do you make that claim?” An simple approach to conceptualize reasons is to think of them as “because phrases.” In order to validate your reasons and make your argument successful, support your reasons with a lot of evidence.
The following types of evidence are included in The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing (Axelrod & Cooper, 2nd ed., New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988).
In the majority of college papers, you’ll present evidence that you’ve obtained from various literature and sources. Make sure your proof is appropriately documented. When employing evidence, be sure to correctly introduce it and then discuss its import. Never presume that your evidence will speak for itself or that your readers will draw the conclusions you want them to from it. Describe each piece of evidence’s significance, including how it demonstrates or supports your claim. Include evidence in your text and use it wisely to support your claims.
Thoughtful writers anticipate their readers’ counterarguments in addition to utilizing facts. Counterarguments include rebuttals, alternatives, challenges, or questions to your argument. Consider how readers will react to your argument as it develops. How could they respond? A crafty writer will foresee and respond to objections. When responding to counterarguments, a writer may acknowledge, accept, or even refute them.
5. Make an essay draft.
You should write several drafts of your argumentative essay as you would with any other piece of writing. Ensure the following when creating and editing your drafts:
supply a wealth of logically sound and impartial evidence.
Address the opposing viewpoint
pay close attention to how your essay is organized. Make sure the audience and topic-appropriate format is used.
Identify and rectify any logical errors
Include appropriate transitions so your reader may understand your point.
6. Improve your draft.
Put on your reader’s hat once you have written a developed draft and take off your writer’s hat. Review your essay critically and with care. To gain comments, have your peers read a draft of your essay. Based on your evaluation of it and the ideas from your peers, carefully rewrite your writing. You might choose to use a peer editing sheet for self-evaluation and peer feedback on your draft. With the help of specific questions about your text (such as, “What is the thesis of this essay? Is it arguable? Does the writer include enough evidence? Is the structure appropriate for the topic and the audience?”), a peer editing sheet will direct you and your peers in the process of writing.
Three Steps to Writing a Thesis Statement
Although it is only one phrase long, your thesis statement is the most crucial component of your argumentative essay. The thesis, which can be found in your introduction paragraph, outlines the subject of your argumentative essay and prepares the reader for what follows. You can use the following procedures to communicate your ideas simply and succinctly:
1. Make the subject into a question, then respond to it. Create a major question in the essay’s title or the opening phrases. Then, gradually develop your thesis statement’s response to that question. For instance, you may ask, “What is the best kind of sandwich? ” in your title or introduction.This technique works because it poses exciting questions that entice readers to keep reading to learn the solution, such as, “And then respond with your thesis statement: “The best type of sandwich is peanut butter and jelly.”
2. Give your case, then counter it. Introduce a notion that runs counter to your viewpoint and state your objections right away. This technique works because it uses facts and instantly establishes your credibility. For instance: “While some people believe peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are too simple, they’re versatile sandwiches that you can easily turn into a gourmet meal.”
3. Describe your major points in brief. Introduce your main argument and detail your supporting evidence. This technique works well since it gives readers a clear sense of everything you’ll cover in your essay, for instance: “You can turn a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a gourmet meal by using artisanal bread, toasting the bread, and adding additional toppings.” It also acts as a guide to help you stay organized and on course.
Methods for writing persuasive essays
An argumentative essay should take an objective stance; your arguments should be supported by logic and facts rather than exaggeration or emotional appeals.
Although there are numerous strategies for writing argumentative essays, you can start outlining your points by using either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.
The four steps of the Toulmin model can be repeated as often as required to support the claim:
Make a statement
Give justification (evidence) for the claim.
In what ways do the reasons for the warrant support the claim?
Identifying the limitations of the argument and demonstrating that you have taken into account opposing viewpoints, discuss potential rebuttals to the assertion.
In academic writings, the Toulmin model is a common methodology. Although you don’t have to use these precise words (grounds, warrants, or rebuttals), it is essential in an argumentative essay to make a clear relationship between your statements and the data that supports them.
Let’s say you’re debating the value of workplace anti-discrimination policies. You could:
claim that unconscious bias training is ineffective and that money would be better spent using different strategies
Cite evidence to prove your point.
Describe how the data shows that the technique is ineffective.
Be prepared for criticisms of your claim based on further data, and then explain whether or not these criticisms are valid.
The Rogerian paradigm also entails four steps, which you could use repeatedly in your essay:
Describe what the opposing view accomplishes well and why some people might adopt it.
Point out the issues with this position.
Describe your own stance and how it solves these issues.
What aspects of your position would supporters of the opposite position benefit from adopting? Offer a potential compromise.
This technique seeks a compromise while providing a clear image of each side of an issue. It is especially helpful when there is a tendency for individuals to strongly disagree on the topic at hand since it enables you to address opposing arguments with good faith.
Let’s say you want to make the case that the internet has improved education. You could:
Recognize that pupils rely too heavily on Wikipedia and other similar websites
Make the case that teachers overestimate the reliability of Wikipedia.
Indicate how Wikipedia’s citation format might instruct students about referencing
For teachers who are unsure of Wikipedia’s value, suggest critical interaction with it as a feasible task.
Although you don’t have to choose one of these models—you may even include components of both in different sections of your essay—it’s nevertheless important to take both into account if you have trouble organizing your ideas.
Whatever strategy you use, your essay must always be organized with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
advanced format for argumentative essays
Some essays require stronger justifications and more definite refutations than usual. The three main formats listed below should be adequate for your argumentative essay in these circumstances.
while to utilize it: while presenting clear arguments
The simple five-paragraph structure above is more like an extension of the Aristotelian or classic argument, which is the default framework for a convincing argument. It uses reasoning (logos), which can be changed for almost every argument, logic (ethos), and emotion (pathos) to support its claims. It has a clear and logical structure:
1 Describe the issue.
2 Describe your viewpoint.
3 Describe the viewpoint of your adversary. As you go, refute each of their claims one by one.
4. Present your proof.
5 State your conclusion.
When discussing complex topics with ambiguous truths or when your thesis is a refutation or counterargument are appropriate times to use it.
It makes sense to utilize the Toulmin technique for essays because it was created to evaluate arguments in and of themselves. This strategy works best for unraveling complex problems since it is grounded in logic and in-depth analysis, but it also works well for disproving an opposing point of view piece by piece.
It has six primary sections in form, but you can arrange them in any way that works best for your essay. Remember that your claim might be used to refute another claim, thus instead of providing your own thesis, your entire essay may serve to refute another claim.
1 Claim: Clearly state your thesis or argument.
Two reasons: your proof, such as statistics or generally acknowledged facts
3 Warrant: The relationship between your claim and your justifications (requires you to disclose assumptions clearly to avoid ambiguity)
4 Backing: More proof to back up your assertion
5 Qualification: Your own claim’s limitations, including any concessions
Addressing opposing views and challenges of your assertion in your rebuttal
while to utilize it: while presenting to a diverse audience or when demonstrating the validity of both sides of an argument.
Simply put, the Rogerian method is a middle-ground strategy in which you accept the legitimacy of both your thesis and the opposition’s stance. It’s the least confrontational and most respectful approach, which aids in persuading readers who are already skeptical of your main point. It is structured in five steps as follows:
1 Describe the issue.
2 First, describe your opponent’s viewpoint. When they are accurate, confirm their points.
3 Describe your viewpoint.
Bring the opposing parties together. Create a compromise that allows both points of view to coexist.
5 Bring your (fair) debate to a close.
Writing a strong thesis
The foundation of each effective essay is the thesis, or argument. Even the most flawless essay format won’t help you if your topic is weak or riddled with errors.
The main idea of your thesis should be what you want your readers to remember. What do you want them to believe after reading, or what do you want them to take away from it? Understanding this influences every other element of writing your essay, including the optimal structure and format, as well as what evidence to gather.
Pick a topic you are passionate about to begin with (if one has not been assigned). A focused argument is advantageous; a broad or comprehensive argument requires more analysis and can lengthen an essay.
A consideration of your audience is also helpful. Although you don’t always have to give the readers what they want to hear, you should consider their prejudices when writing your essay and adjust your language and how much credit you give the other side.
Choose a thesis that has enough support, above all. You don’t want to waste time looking for information that doesn’t exist because argumentative essays thrive on real evidence from reliable sources. Perhaps you shouldn’t argue that position in the first place if you can’t come up with enough evidence to support your thesis.
The writing process for an argumentative essay
Argumentative essays adhere to the same suggested writing process as other types of writing, with a stronger focus on planning and research. An overview of how to modify the procedure for argumentative essays is provided below:
1 Brainstorming: Spend some time coming up with a solid thesis based on the tips above if your argument isn’t specified in the assignment.
2 Preparation: In this stage, you should gather all of the supporting information and create an outline for your essay. Set aside enough time for research because argumentative essays need evidence to back their points. A good opportunity to answer questions like when and how to discuss competing opinions is when you outline your essay.
A rough draft of your essay should be written in Step 3. Particularly with argumentative essays that frequently cite outside sources, it is preferable to provide any facts and direct quotes as early as possible.
4 Revising: Clean up your rough draft, improve your word choice, and, if required, reorganize your arguments. Verify that your language is clear and acceptable for the reader, and make sure that you have covered all of your bases in terms of points and refutations.
5: Proofreading: Go over your manuscript and correct any errors that you find. Use Grammarly if you’re unsure of your diction or grammar abilities.
Even though it’s not required, it’s usually beneficial to have someone else review your writings before you submit them. Check to see if your case can persuade your friends.