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How to write an argumentative essay

Last updated on April 23rd, 2018 at 05:19 am


What is an argumentative essay?

Argumentative essay is an important element of all the writing skills a student must possess. It is all about arguing a particular position- either for or against something. Argumentative essays are a kind of formal writing, which is particularly used in the humanities, especially in fields such as history. They are based on logical analysis of facts and situations. It relies on engaging in arguments through argument-based prose writing. Argumentative essays help in sharpening your analytical and logical reasoning skills and are about convincing the reader in a compelling manner as to why certain positions are acceptable or unacceptable. In this, it differs from the persuasive essay, which is a milder version of the similar kind of writing.

What are the main elements of this type of essay?

There are three basic qualities of an argumentative essay. It should display the exemplary use of clear, precise and concise language. It should focus on the essentials and come to the point. It has to be based on strong and verifiable evidence. The arguments used should be precise, clearly worded out and unambiguous. The general structure of such an essay has the standard format: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. The Introduction starts with the thesis statement, which explains briefly, what the essay is about. The body consists of paragraphs, each paragraph will present the claim with its supporting evidence, which is presented in a logical and sequential fashion.

The conclusion supports the thesis premise and makes some comment on the implications. You can make your essay more compelling to the reader by creating an intriguing and interesting title after you have crafted the essay. Dull and boring titles may put off the reader.

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The introduction is the “hook” by which you should pull in your audience’s interest.The introduction should have the background and the thesis statement, which leads to the rest of the essay. The background is necessary so that your audience knows the context of the topic and it would help them appreciate the topic better. It may include such things as dates, peoples, countries or places, preceding events, rules, and regulations etc.

Elements of a quality argumentative essay

In order to write a truly remarkable argumentative essay, you need to consider the following techniques and incorporate these into your essay to produce a flawless piece of argumentative writing.

  • Make sure that while evaluating your own stance in the argumentative essay, you also consider the opposing point in your discussion too. This way, you are letting the reader know that you are aware of the refuting point and the inherent fallacies of the opposing argument. This makes your stance stronger.
  • While developing arguments understand that nobody is going to blindly believe in your conviction or stance. You need to support your claim with sturdy and relevant pieces of evidence that add authenticity and voice to your stance. Always back up your statements with thoroughly-researched and recent facts and statistics.
  • When you are refuting the opposing stance, be prepared with hard-hitting evidence that establishes the weakness of the opposing point of view.

A good beginning for your argumentative essay

It is always a good idea to provide some background information about your topic in brief before delving deep into the nitty-gritty of the arguments. Let’s say, your argumentative essay is about whether the present-day government’s efforts in banning tobacco sufficient or not, then your essay’s introduction should ideally begin with the current scenario pertaining to this issue. What kind of policies has the government initiated? What has been the success rate? What have other countries done? Providing a brief background of the issue will help the reader in getting acquainted with the topic.

An argumentative essay loses its authenticity the moment it fails to clearly define the thesis statement and the position it aims to take. The thesis statement should mention all the details of the topic clearly, without leaving any room for assumption or ambiguity. It has to specific and clearly-drafted. This should also be a part of the introduction. Never start writing an argumentative essay without clearly stating the thesis statement.

Similarly, remember that your essay’s introduction is not the place to start elaborating all the details and explaining your stance. You should reserve the description or the body paragraph for the purpose of doing a critical analysis of the issue.

Planning your argumentative essay

Always remember to do some pre-planning before you start the essay. A strong argumentative essay would require a topic that you can debate on, from a position of strength. An interesting topic is great, provided it can be argued with strong reasons, evidence and rationale. An interesting topic which does not have much evidential backing would give rise to a weak argument.  During exploratory searches,  find out as much evidence and points in favor and against your opinion and express it convincingly.

You can also find out ways to attack the counterarguments in the essay. You will have to decide the points you are going to use for the essay. They have to be supported by substantial evidence. You will also need to find evidence to refute the points proposed by the opposing side as this will help strengthen your hand and make it difficult for people to refute. It also shows that you have done your homework and research well and that you have taken an objective and unbiased perspective on the issue.

To make your essay convincing, use strong and passionate language. Use plenty of facts and evidence.

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