How to write an argumentative essay?

Sep 11, 2023

self-education

How to write an argumentative essay

The ability to argue using pure logic, or knowledge supported by arguments, is considered a big virtue in writing. This skill becomes helpful in many life situations, however, learning it starts as early as our very first years in school. In this respect, an argumentative essay is the number one tool that helps students to develop and refine their argumentation talents and skills. However, writing this type of essay at first can be very tough. 

Take a brief moment to review this comprehensive guide on how to write a perfect argumentative essay, and you’ll never experience difficulties with this type of assignment in the future!

Despite the step-by-step guide to writing an argumentative essay, some students may still find it challenging to develop a compelling argument or struggle with structuring their thoughts coherently. In such cases, seeking assignment help can be a wise decision. Assistance from tutors, writing centers, or online academic help services can provide valuable insights into how to formulate strong arguments and back them up with credible evidence. This kind of support not only helps in crafting a high-quality argumentative essay but also enhances the student’s overall ability to reason, debate, and articulate thoughts in a logical manner. However, it’s crucial that students use this help as a learning tool, ensuring that the final essay reflects their understanding and voice.

What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that dwells on an author’s point of view using arguments. It is different from an ordinary narrative or descriptive essay in the way that it teaches students to support their thoughts with clear facts and arguments. 

It has less from a story-telling and more from academic writing, focusing on analyzing an idea (thought, point of view, assumption, etc.), assessing its strengths and weaknesses, and showing the reader a knowledgeable and objective view.

However, at times an argumentative essay may focus on supporting an author’s biased opinion too. It then becomes centered around a subjective point of view, nevertheless, it always contains arguments and supporting evidence.   

How to start an argumentative essay?

There could be multiple effective ways to start an argumentative essay, and the writer is free to choose whatever suits their writing style and talents. However, as with any kind of academic work, the best way to begin writing an essay of argumentative type is by making a detailed plan.

Planning doesn’t have to be a solitary activity, and students can start by consulting with their immediate professor, a tutor, or at least their classmates. What’s interesting, is that in the age of powerful networking and communication opportunities, the planning (or outlining, as it is called in academic writing) can be done without leaving one’s cozy sofa! 

How To Outline an Argumentative Essay?

The outline in essay writing is not a complex and detailed plan as with any serious research work, such as a thesis. By outline, we mean a rough sketch of ideas of how the writer sees their paper, in particular:

  • The topic of the essay, the title, and any subtitles if applicable;
  • A thesis statement (or several ideas about the potential statement);
  • What will make up the introductory part;
  • What will be necessary to include in the man body, the structure of paragraphs, etc.;
  • What the conclusion should look like. 

Intro paragraph argumentative essay

The introductory paragraph to an argumentative essay must reveal the central idea or concept that the author is going to prove and support it with arguments. The size of this part must match the size of the conclusion and constitute about 10-15% of the entire text. Normally, the intro part is made up of one or two paragraphs, with the last one containing the “hook” (something interesting enough to make the reader engaged to read further), and a thesis.

Argumentative essay thesis

By a thesis or a thesis statement in the argumentative essay, we mean a claim, a decisive and bold point that the author makes, which requires further argumentation. For example, if you write about renewable energy, you could say that it has already replaced fossil fuels and explain how exactly, when, and where. Also, if your topic is about artificial intelligence, you can potentially claim that it’s going to endanger a certain number of existing jobs or bring undeniable benefits to both employees and employers.

A good thesis should be clear and concise, the reader should not feel any uncertainties as to its definition or understanding.  

Body of argumentative essay

The body (or the main body) is the central part of an argumentative essay. It is made up of several paragraphs centered around individual arguments. For instance, based on the artificial intelligence (AI) thesis statement above, the writer can allocate the first body paragraph to explaining how the AI is going to endanger the job market, while the two-three paragraphs that will follow can be devoted to providing examples of which jobs are going to suffer and what kind of workers (their age, education, experience) will feel the negative effect the most.

If there is a need to include multiple arguments and to have several body paragraphs consequently, it is advisable to order them by the factor of importance, value, or impact. 

The conclusion of an argumentative essay

To effectively conclude an argumentative essay, one has to reiterate the topic and the thesis statement. This doesn’t have to be done in a straightforward fashion, i.e., by repeating them verbatim, but suffice it to remind the reader what was the key point of the paper. Also, in the conclusion, it is necessary to explain why the point is true (has the right to exist) by reflecting on the most convincing argument taken from the main body. 

Some of the best conclusions leave the reader with a curious aftertaste, mixed up with admiration and desire to find out more about the topic.  

Steps to write an argumentative essay

Mastering these 5 easy steps, you’ll be fully equipped to write a perfect argumentative essay:

  1. Select a great topic. Aim for a topic that is non-trivial and interesting for your specific target audience. You may consider brainstorming and asking for ideas from your friends.
  2. Come up with a killer thesis statement. A good thesis statement should bring intrigue and motivate the reader to discover the whole paper.
  3. Prepare for writing by making a clear outline containing ideas to start writing each essay part.
  4. Start writing by introducing your thesis statement and composing the main body. Perfect composition and the absence of grammar errors are not critical at this stage.
  5. Proofread and revise your draft. Interestingly enough, often, upon writing the conclusion, students discover the need to revise the introductory part or even the main body.  

How to make an argumentative essay?

To make an argumentative essay, one has to be well familiar with the chosen topic. Having the freedom to choose the best topic is a big advantage, as students can pick up something they feel passionate about. Finding the right arguments and rock-solid facts becomes so much easier that way. Nevertheless, even with a given prompt, one always has the option to conduct thorough research into the topic.

Before writing an argumentative essay, consider making a simple list of potential arguments to support your claim. Even a couple of words characterizing the subject of your essay would make your task of arguing and convincing the reader less difficult. These, and other simple tricks mentioned above, will enable you to make a perfect argumentative essay.

Example of an argumentative essay

A text about an argumentative essay without examples would be incomplete. Take a look at these examples of short argumentative essays written by the first-year students of Brigham Young University, in Utah. Both authors received the highest scores in their respective classes.

Example #1

How to write an argumentative essay 2?

 

Example #2

How to write an argumentative essay 3?

 

The Key Takeaway

The skill of writing an argumentative essay comes with dedicated work and taking incremental steps. Start learning to write an argumentative essay by making a simple plan of what to include in each paragraph. With practice, you’ll know by heart how to make a quick and effective plan. Also, keep in mind that your ability to understand the topic well is your number one prerequisite to success. Researching it even for half an hour doesn’t hurt, but would definitely pay you off in the end.

Frequently Asked Questions about Argumentative Essays

  • How many paragraphs are in an argumentative essay?

A typical argumentative essay consists of 3–5 paragraphs, where there are at least two paragraphs each devoted to the introduction and conclusion.

  • How long should an argumentative essay be?

The minimum length of an argumentative essay is 250 words, while there is no maximum limit. A good argumentative essay should contain enough space to support the author’s point of view with arguments and reasoning.

  • Can you start an argumentative essay with a question?

Yes, an argumentative essay can be started with a question. This is a rather powerful and, thus, popular way of starting an introductory part of this type of essay.

  • Can you end an argumentative essay with a question?

It is less common to end an argumentative essay with a question. Only a rhetorical type of question that supports the main argument and underpins the absurdity of any alternative point of view, is allowed as the very last sentence in an argumentative essay. 

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