Being a student and not knowing how to write an argumentative essay is a death wish. Mostly, by virtue of the in-depth and comprehensive research, argumentative essays are usually assigned to students as final projects, short-assessment essays, and capstone in first years in college. We need you to understand the entire process of persuasive essay writing.
At the end of this article, you will be aware of how to ace an argumentative essay by making your readers adopt your side of the argument. You will also understand how to write a persuasive essay, including starting and how to end it. In short, we present to you the ideas and top secrets on how to make your opponent believe in you and win and argument. We have all these tactics, hints, and tips in this guide.
An argumentative essay is a piece of academic writing whose purpose is to emphatically declare a position on a given cause or issue and then provide firm reasons, accompanied by evidence and facts, convincing the reader to change their stance or way of thinking and adopt the point of view of the author. Argumentative essays are also called persuasive essays.
An argumentative or persuasive essay can be a polemic essay. In this sense, you will write an essay arguing about a controversial topic. The steps of writing polemic essays are the same as writing an argumentative essay. So, if you are there wondering how to write a polemic essay, argumentative essay writing is the same as polemic writing. In this case, you will be taking a strong stance for or against something from the onset.
Polemical topics are controversial including abortion, plastic surgery, human trafficking, ethnic adoption, genetic cloning, genetic engineering, animal testing, corporal punishment, right to die or euthanasia/doctor or physician-assisted suicide, and immigration.
In short, an argumentative essay presents facts and evidence to support an idea. For instance, you can be asked to write a persuasive essay about smoking.
You should learn the difference between a discursive essay and an argumentative essay.
Related Article: Argumentative essay topics.
There are three types of arguments that conventionally guide the argumentative essay writing process.
This is the oldest and most popular approach. It is also called the Aristotelian approach and entails presenting the problem, stating your solution, and trying to convince your reader to adopt your solution given facts and shreds of evidence.
Its layout includes an introduction, thesis statement, arguments, refutation, and the conclusion in that order.
Introduction: The aim of the introduction is to present a thesis statement and a hook to grab the attention of the readers. It entails the problem statement and explaining why the argumentative/persuasive topic of choice is relevant. The thesis is where you state the claim or position then outline the major arguments.
Background of the issue: in this section of a classical argument essay, you should state the facts and the context of the problem.
Major arguments: here, your focus should be on the reasons for your chosen position. Also, you have to use evidence and facts that are usually well-cited in-text. It is the most extended section of a persuasive essay.
Refutation: your aim here is to present arguments from the opposing side and reasons they are not valid/accurate. Example: Some authors have stressed on the importance of health promotion among indigenous tribes as a measure of reducing healthcare access disparity. Nevertheless, it is only easier said than done. Overwhelming evidence indicates that such interventions come with challenges given their cultural irrelevance.
Conclusion: any conclusion to an essay summarizes the major points, discusses the implications, and stresses on why the position chosen by the author is the best.
The Toulmin model of argument is mostly used in polemic topics or highly charged debates. Its focus is on attempting to use logic and qualifiers chosen carefully to limit the arguments to agreeable things. It is used primarily in polemic essays to avoid unfounded or baseless statements.
For instance, should marijuana be legalized? Or should guns be concealed? The two are some argumentative topics that can be argued through the Toulmin approach.
Here is the format of Toulmin argumentative essays:
Claim: your claim is the thesis statement. Example: The government should rethink the policies of gun-ownership and use.
Evidence: The evidence refers to well-backed statistics, facts, or statements from credible scholarly sources.
Warrant: presenting the stance of different authors on the given issues. Example: According to different authors, stricter gun laws have only worked partially in the recent past.
Backing: Here is where you add reasoning and logic to support the warrant. Example: We have continuously experienced a rising spate of gun attacks with the perpetrators having big assault rifles.
Rebuttal: presenting any claim that is against your principal argument.
Qualifier: short and worthy phrases that define the scope of the claims you have made. Some qualifiers include typically, holistically, and usually…etc.
Exceptions: you set some exclusions to your claims given available evidence.
The Rogerian argument approach persuades the readers by finding the best points of agreement. Like the Toulmin argument method, the Rogerian approach is used in polemic writing where highly polarized topics or debates ensue. The strategy involves presenting ideas from both sides and giving an ear to the opposing side validity. It helps find a stock or middle ground to an issue.
The format of a Rogerian essay is discussed elsewhere. However, here is a brief outline of a Rogerian argumentative essay:
In the Rogerian approach: the author is aware of both sides of the argument, but ultimately favors one.
When writing a persuasive essay through a Rogerian approach, conceding that the opposing side might be correct is allowed.
It takes the Rogerian approach to get to the core of a debate. For instance, if it is an argumentative essay on climate change and global warming, you can explore either side of the problem.
Here is a sample Rogerian essay from our expert writers.
This infographic also shows the Rogerian essay writing process.
Our Rogerian essay expert writers can also come through in a great way.
When writing argumentative essays, you should follow this outline:
The above steps form the preparation stage without which you will not write a great persuasive essay. Better yet, if you want a laser-focused argumentative paper, you need to adhere to the tactics and tips we share here. Now, after the preparation, you have to structure your essay, and that is how to make an argumentative essay very convincing.
Regardless of the argumentative method, you have chosen, you have to get your facts right from the beginning. Ensure that you get scholarly sources, within 5 years window-period, for relevance and credibility.
Research helps you shape your arguments and write convincing statements and paragraphs. It also help your teachers assess the depth of your essay.
A short persuasive essay aligns to the five-paragraph format. However, if it is a long argumentative research paper, say 10 pages or more, your body paragraphs will be many.
So, an argumentative essay outline has an introduction (with an essay hook and a thesis), the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. The body paragraphs will have supporting facts each, and then the counterargument paragraph is second last to the conclusion.
One thing to note though, always be privy of the arguments of your opponents as you are with yours. When you use concession- noting the opposing views, you gracefully win your argument and find commonality with the opponents.
To effectively do that, your choice of facts, evidence, qualifiers, and information should be professional. Refute the ideas held by the opponents cleverly and offer counter-arguments.
Of most importance is how you start your argumentative essay. So, when thinking of how to write an argumentative essay introduction, make it memorable and stunning. Always strive to start your opening paragraph with an essay hook to grab the attention of your reader. For this, you can use a statistic, a quote, or paint a picture of what is on the ground concerning the issue at hand.
With a hook in the first sentence, you can attract and keep your reader. For instance, when writing a polemic essay on bariatric surgery. Feel free to state “in the era of fast-food; almost everyone has BMI approaching 35-39 and a hoard of other health issues such as type 2 diabetes, apnea, and high blood pressure, which qualifies most to bariatric surgery.” If it is a persuasive essay on the importance of college education, you can start your essay this way: “Statistically, credible evidence suggests that a number of people who have never been to college are doing better without a college degree.” Even though the two examples on how to start an argumentative essay are simple, they give a sneak pick and appetite to the readers.
If developing an essay hook is challenging in the early stages, you can always head to the next parts of the essay and deal with it later. The beauty of this approach is that when writing you find inspiration and discover useful facts from research.
Now, your intro should also have a thesis statement.
So what is a thesis statement? It is a one or two-sentence statement in the introductory paragraph that summarizes the main points, gist, claims, and stance of a topic in an essay. It can be written in question-answer format, refuting objections, or through giving a roadmap of the essay.
Q/A format: “what is domestic violence?” the answer to the question becomes the first line of your intro.
Refuting objections: “there is never a way to prevent death when it is bound to occur. Here, you take an opposing view to an issue.
Roadmap: “While most people think there is no way to stop homegrown terrorism, studies have shown that there are policies and initiatives that have worked elsewhere; by taking a racially-unbiased approach; by engaging the citizens in community policing; and by having strict gun laws.”
The above statement is an example of a strong thesis statement that states the claim, stance, and offers major points.
The thesis statement should always:
For instance, if it is a persuasive essay on the importance of wearing school uniforms, ensure that the thesis gives a natural and clear transition to the body. For example: “Wearing of school uniforms creates a sense of unity and belonging and helps remove the notion of inequality.” So automatically, the next paragraph should explore how school uniforms create equality. For instance, it eliminates bullying as all have the same identity.
If you are writing an argumentative essay on the topic “Fracking should be banned” an example of a strong thesis statement should be “evidence strongly suggest that fracking is a dangerous process that exposes the interior of the earth and the environment to hazards despite its efficiency in extracting natural gas.
With a great introduction and conclusion, writing the body of an argumentative essay becomes easy. So, you will research more on the supporting facts, develop strong topic sentences, knit together facts using available evidence, and write concluding sentences for a paragraph.
We insist that you stick to the one-ides-one-paragraph rule to avoid mixing ideas. Then every claim should be backed with proper evidence. The evidence should convince your readers.
The same approach you use when writing strong paragraphs in research papers, term papers, speeches, thesis, and dissertations is applicable in persuasive essay writing. If you must be confrontational as with polemic topics, let it be subtle but always see to it that the audience can re-evaluate their stance and develop a new point of view aligning to yours.
Example: “It is everyone’s wish to have a quality life, safe neighborhoods, and benefits of low crime rates. Nevertheless, taking a backseat on matters of importance to national security could escalate insecurity and deny us our wish.”
By default, three body paragraphs are enough, unless it is a long-form argumentative research paper or term paper. Also, do not force the points to fit, let the argumentative essay points flow.
How to end an argumentative or persuasive essay is an issue that disturbs most people. However, it is like eating an entire goat only to be defeated by the tail. With the knowledge on how to write a persuasive essay introduction and how to develop the body paragraphs, the final step of how to end an argumentative essay.
Your conclusion is the last paragraph of the essay. In essence, it should summarize the major points. You should have a closing statement, restate the thesis statement, and appeal emotionally, logically, and reasonably to the readers.
You can achieve this by:
We have a post on how to write an argumentative essay conclusion, kindly read it as well.
The conclusion only gives you room to rest. However, polishing your persuasive or argumentative essay helps you improve its grade.
After writing your argumentative essay, it is good to take a break. When you return, your focus should be on ensuring it is coherent, cogent, correct, and grammatically sound. Also, ensure the punctuation marks are used as per the rules of academic writing. For instance, use the oxford comma before “but,” “and,” and “or.”
If you are working on a polemic topic that is controversial, strive to connect with your readers. In case you are not sure if you have nailed it, seek a second opinion. Having someone proofread and edit your essays makes them more objective. This should be standard in all your assignments.
Here are some steps to polish your essay:
Achieving a great argumentative essay is not hard when you are loaded with tactics and tips. Conduct your research, choose a good topic, have an outline, develop good and convincing arguments, and use strong evidence. That is simply it!
We believe this guide on the essential steps of writing an argumentative essay and the tips herein will help you craft an unimaginable piece of an essay. The ball is now on your court. If you need help writing a persuasive essay, we have expert essay writers who can help.
Controversial Polemic Topics for an Argumentative Essay
We have a more comprehensive list argumentative essays, be sure to check it out. Also, here is a sample argumentative essay.
Watch this video illustration on how to write an argumentative essay.