Argumentative essay

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

No one will argue with the fact that today’s students have to write numerous papers during their academic career. From book reviews to lab reports, the workload is truly overwhelming. No wonder, you may get lost in all that writing assignments that have to be done at the same time. This is especially true when it comes to different types of essays. For example, do you know the difference between the expository essay and the argumentative essay? They are quite similar, but the last one requires more research and information gathering. To write an argumentative essay is actually not an easy task for many students, no matter their academic level. How to start an argumentative essay? What topics to choose? Where to find a good example? Too many questions that need to be answered. However, it is always better to start with the definition.

An argumentative or argument essay is an essay in which you not only give information but also establish your own position on the given topic supporting it with evidence collected from reliable sources. Your goal is to convince the opposing audience that your opinion or assertion is correct or valid, which requires a good thesis, comprehensive language, and strong argumentation. This is where you need extensive research and complete understanding of how to write and structure your argument essay.

The Process of Argumentative Essay Writing

Overall, the process of argumentative essay writing is quite similar to that of writing other essays, but there are some specifics to consider. The essay writing process is commonly divided into the following stages:

  1. Planning the essay
  2. Writing an outline
  3. Making the essay draft
  4. Referencing all outside material
  5. Writing a strong introduction and conclusion
  6. Final proofreading and review of the essay.

Planning. When planning your essay writing, consider the following tips to strengthen your arguments:

  • Select an indeed debatable topic (it is very hard to write an interesting argumentative essay if the answer is evident and there is no problematic in the selected issue)
  • Develop an argumentative thesis (it should allow formulating the antithesis, and should be at the same time reasonable to find support among the reasonable numbers of readers)
  • Consider your audience (an argumentative essay may be written differently for different people, and the tone and terminology should differ depending on the readership)

Outline writing. A strong and detailed outline is a half of your writing success, so don’t ignore this step, invest attention and time into it. For instance, if you are writing an argumentative essay on the subject “Death penalty should be abolished in all countries of the world,” your outline might look as follows:

Introduction: the overview of death penalty problem. Why some people consider it good, why others think it is bad. Statistics of wrongful executions. End the introduction with a strong thesis statement: because of high numbers of innocent people’s executions, death penalty should be abolished.

Paragraph 1. Death penalty has historically been used as an instrument of deterrence. Punishing people with death is scary for other criminals and prevents crime. Different execution methods and traditions in different countries.

Paragraph 2. Notwithstanding radical measures such as death penalty, crime is still on the rise, so it is ineffective. Statistics of crime in countries where death penalty is abolished, and in those where death penalty is present – to show that there is no significant difference.

Paragraph 3. Death penalty is expensive for the government. Statistics and costs, long stay of criminals on the death row, etc. Why should taxpayers spend so much money on killing a filthy criminal?

Paragraph 4. Death penalty is devaluing the human life and does not reach its purpose. Arguments from ethics and morality standpoint; why legal killing of people devalues the human morale.

Paragraph 5. Death penalty is irreversible, which makes it impossible to correct mistakes of the criminal justice system in cases of wrongful convictions. Statistics of wrongly executed people, statistics on release of people spending decades in prisons upon wrongful convictions.

Conclusion. Summary of arguments and proof that death penalty should be abolished.

Choosing topics for argumentative essay

There are so many topics for argumentative essay, and you do not know which one to choose? Let us facilitate your task! Consider the following tips on how to make the right choice and not to get into a pitfall:

1. Choose something you are passionate about.
To choose a topic that you are not interested in or do not care about is a very bad idea. If you are not sure in what you are writing, how can you convince the audience in your position? That is why it is always better to choose something you are passionate about.

2. Avoid broad topics.
Never choose topics that are too broad. For example, “Smoking is a bad habit” is a very vague topic that may require twenty pages of writing while you need only five. Moreover, it is based mainly on your subjective opinion. A good argumentative essay should have a specific statement that is arguing. In such a case, “Smoking has a negative effect on behavior” is a much better choice.

3. Write about what you know and can support.
You should understand what you are writing about. For example, to write about the effect of video games on child development is not a good idea if you have never played video games yourself. Choose the topic you are already familiar with. It will make your assignment less complicated, and you will always know where and how to start. Besides, ensure you have enough evidence (outside source citations, statistics, etc.) to adequately support your opinion.

4. Choose the topic that has an argument.
Obviously, an argumentative essay should contain an argument. Therefore, when choosing a topic, make sure it has two sides. After all, if you want to convince the audience of the correctness of your idea, you should refute the opposite one first.

These simple tips can make it easy to choose the right topic for your argument essay. Once this is done, you need to create an outline. Still not sure what topic to pick? If the task is free choice, you may use our crib with some interesting argumentative essay topics:

  1. Smoking/drug use should be criminalized.
  2. Students should be given the right to apply for a driver’s license only after the reach 18 years of age.
  3. Students should be allowed to select teachers they want, especially in exact science classes.
  4. Attendance of physical education classes should be made optional for all students.
  5. Technological progress contributes to human alienation and erodes traditional forms of communication.
  6. Individuals should be allowed to disguise their identity in social media networks and online activities.
  7. Telephones can serve as effective educational tools.
  8. Online learning is as effective as face-to-face education in class.
  9. Reality TV shows encourage wrong health beliefs and behaviors among the youth.
  10. Video games should be considered sports and included in the sports programs such as World Championships and the Olympic Games.

Argumentative essay outline

Any argument essay is usually based on the following outline:

1. Introduction
An introduction should include a brief review of your essay, some background, and a clear statement of the topic. Moreover, you need to explain why it is so important.

2. Your argument
Once you outline your stance, it’s time to develop your argument. Include several Pro ideas or claims, each supported by evidence collected during research. Explain why and how exactly each point of evidence supports your statement.

3. Opposing arguments
The next step is to refute the opposing arguments and views. Include several Con ideas (opinions that you disagree with) and offer a convincing rebuttal to each of them. Discussing conflicting ideas on the given topic is actually what makes the argument essay differ from other types of essay.

4. Conclusion
To write a good conclusion is not as easy as you might think. It should be logical and effective to leave a deep impression on your audience. You need to remind the readers about the importance of this topic, review your statement, and paint a clear picture of the world where your argument or idea is implemented.

Example of the argumentative essay format

Here are several examples of the argument essay structure you can confidently use in writing:

  • Format #1
    • Introduction – Thesis statement
    • Your first claim + supporting evidence
    • Your second claim + supporting evidence
    • The first opposing view + refutation
    • The second opposing view + refutation
    • Conclusion
  • Format #2
    • Introduction – Thesis statement
    • The first opposing view + refutation
    • The second opposing view + refutation
    • Your first claim + supporting evidence
    • Your second claim + supporting evidence
    • Conclusion
  • Format #3
    • Introduction – Thesis statement
    • Your first claim + supporting evidence that also refutes the first opposing view
    • Your second claim + supporting evidence that also refutes the second opposing view
    • Your third claim + supporting evidence that also refutes the third opposing view
    • Conclusion

As you can see, writing a good argument essay does involve extensive research. After all, you should cover all aspects of the chosen topic and gather information on all discussed points of view, which requires time and effort. This is where you may need professional academic writing help. Whether you cannot decide on topics for argumentative essay, don’t know how to start, or simply need an example of a well-structured paper in a certain format, we are always ready to help! Do not hesitate to contact our friendly customer support managers for more information.