What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a paper that gets the reader to recognize 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, the argumentative essay 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.
This essay often explores common questions associated with any type of argument including:
- What caused this particular issue?
- Who does this issue affect?
- What are the potential outcomes?
- What should people know about this issue?
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 the information that supports the claim. In simple words, the argumentative essay explains why author picked this side of the argument, and persuasive essay does it 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 the 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.
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.
This argumentative essay examines whether a particular fact is accurate; it often looks at several sources reporting a fact and examines their veracity.
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.
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 essay, 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 essay 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 in 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 qualifies to narrow the focus of a claim to 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.
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 getter sentence that grabs 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.
As its name suggests, this paragraph provides all the background information necessary for a reader unfamiliar with the topic to understand what it’s about. A solid introduction should:
- Begin with a descriptive title that communicates your position regarding the topic
- Use an attention getter to grab the audience’s interest
- 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 essay 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 to take
One major way an argumentative essay differs from other kinds is its specific nature. At the end of reading such an essay, the audience should clearly understand an issue or controversy and have enough information to make an informed decision regarding the issue. But what makes 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
In an argumentative essay, it is also appropriate to refute 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.
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 be to consider a viewpoint alternative to their own. And while you may feel a deep passion towards a particular topic, keep in mind that emotions can be messy; an argumentative essay should present all sides to the argument respectfully and with a clear intention to portray each 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 essay!
How to Write a Persuasive Essay
In a persuasive essay, the student at the college level writes to convince the reader – usually the professor – to believe something. It includes the writer taking a position on an issue, either for or against it, using logic and reason to illustrate the point they are making is indeed legitimate. Their argument is supported by evidence: the stating of facts, the execution of logical reasoning, examples from a text with an analysis of its specific content, and the quoting of experts on the subject being examined.
If you are looking for persuasive essay examples, here is a great one below
FREE PERSUASIVE ESSAY EXAMPLE
In order to write an effective persuasive essay, the student should be well informed on the topic, an effort that can be accomplished through researching and reading rather extensively about that topic. Also, every argument – in this case, the paper’s thesis: basically the argument being put forth in the essay – needs to be debatable; that is, an issue should have two sides, the writer choosing one of them to argue with supporting evidence.
Steps to Writing a Persuasive Essay
These common steps will help you understand how to write a persuasive essay.
STEP 1. The student must choose their position on a subject or topic. If they are unaware of their position on a topic, they can take a subject that interests them and ask themselves: “Which side of the issue or problem do I want to take and write about? How can I best argue that point – and what evidence can I use to make that argument an effective one?”
STEP 2. They must analyze their audience. In the case of the student in college or university level, their professor will most likely be their audience – the reader of their persuasive essay. This means the student should keep in mind that the essay should be written in a confident, informative and assertive tone, as put forth in a professional, academic manner.
STEP 3. The student, after choosing their position on a topic, should research to find evidence of the position they’re looking to take. After all, a persuasive essay will be as effective as the evidence supporting its argument. A library is an ideal place to begin research; in most cases, the library at an academic institution will have employed a person or staff whose primary job is keeping the students abreast of the latest research practices and theories.
STEP 4. Structure, outline the persuasive essay. In this step, the student is to figure out what they will include, how they will analyze each supporting point, and in what order they will do so as they write the essay. After narrowing the focus of their argument and finding evidence that supports it, they should create an outline that includes first an introduction paragraph declaring their Thesis – their Thesis Statement – followed by briefly listed points that support it. Each body paragraph will focus on one point at a time, the ones listed in the introductory paragraph, which support the original Thesis Statement. Finally, the student must include in their persuasive essay outline a concluding paragraph tying the paper together, solidifying their argument as a whole.
STEP 5. Write the essay, edit it, rewrite if needed, revise, then submit to the instructor. It may benefit the student to have a fellow student read their persuasive essay to see if it makes a strong enough argument. Also, many institutions in higher education hire writing tutors, and may even have a writing center for students.
TOP 101 BEST PERSUASIVE ESSAY TOPICS
Persuasive Essay Outline
Here is the basic outline of a persuasive essay:
- Hook - interesting fact or story to grab the reader’s attention.
- Background information – provides context around which to build your argument and acquaints the reader with the subject.
- Thesis – a clear, concise statement of your main argument. Your thesis gives the reader a map or the path your argument will follow.
Body Paragraphs (2, 3, or more)
Each body paragraph contains the following:
- One point that backs up your thesis
- Topic sentence that reflects the main idea of the paragraph
- Support for the thesis
- Evidence. Provide information from a reliable source that supports the main idea of the paragraph.
- Analysis. Show how the evidence you provide builds a case for the argument and construct this argument here.
- Briefly summarize the main point of the essay
- Establish significance of the topic (Why should the reader be interested?)
- Give the reader food for thought
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