We’ve all dreaded writing an intimidating essay at some point or other. Argumentative essays are extra intimidating as you’ll have to do justice to the topic and make a strong argument in its favor.
Read on if you want to master writing clear and concise argumentative essays and have common questions answered, such as:
- How to write an argumentative essay
- What are the types of arguments
- How to write a thesis statement for an argumentative essay and others
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is designed to convince the reader why your stance is correct by expanding on the topic and offering fact-based evidence against counter-claims. It requires thorough research of the topic, a clear thesis statement, and follow sound reasoning.
An exceptionally written argumentative essay will:
- Engage the reader with a compelling and exciting topic.
- Give a fair explanation of all points of view.
- Address the potential counter-claims.
- Make the reader ponder and convince them to adopt and consider a new perspective.
Structure of an Argumentative Essay
When writing an argumentative essay, you’ll want to present your stance in the best way possible, which is where a structure is essential. A strong structure consists of:
- A clear and defined thesis statement
- Organic transitions between paragraphs
- Evidential support (factual, logical, or statistical)
Because argumentative essays usually follow a five-paragraph structure, your structure should be as follows:
- First paragraph: introduction and thesis statement.
- Second to the fourth paragraph: body paragraphs, each one detailing your claims.
- Fifth paragraph: conclusion.
However, depending on the complexity of the topic, argumentative essays can be longer than five paragraphs. So, keep in mind to follow the assignment specifications when outlining your essay.
You’ll want to grab the reader’s attention and retain it until the last sentence, which is why the introduction paragraph should be entertaining while still following academic writing rules. For example, you can open up an interesting statistic not well-known in the field.
Your introduction paragraph should serve to outline the topic and the evidence you will present, provide background information, and your statement thesis.
The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the introduction paragraph, and while it’s only a sentence long, it’s the most important part of your essay. A well-constructed thesis will summarize what your argumentative essay is about and what the reader can expect. You can write a thesis statement by following these three steps:
- Turning the topic into a question and then answering it: ask a big question in the title or the first few sentences and then answer it in your thesis statement.
- Stating an argument and then refuting it: introduce an idea you don’t align with and then explain why you disagree with it.
- Briefly outlining your points: introduce your main point and explain how you’ll back it with evidence.
In the body paragraphs, you should include evidential support to your statement thesis. When writing them, keep the following in mind:
- Explain how the evidence supports the thesis statement,
- Present differing points of view on the topic and why these points don’t support the thesis,
- Connect logically to the thesis statement,
- Try to limit a paragraph to one point.
Lastly, in the conclusion paragraph, you restate the thesis statement, but in the light of the evidence you provided. You can use the conclusion to showcase why the topic is important and what future research should focus on. Note that you should refrain from introducing new information in this section.
Types of Arguments
An argumentative essay can use one of the three arguments to approach a topic. Following an approach or combining them can help you structure your essay more easily and be more evident in your claims.
The classical or Aristotelian argument is a classic for a reason, as it is the most common strategy for making a straightforward argument. It relies on five parts:
- Introduction: it introduces the topic and how you’re going to prove your stance.
- Thesis: it explains your point of view.
- Refutation: it includes counter-arguments and refutes them.
- Confirmation: it presents your evidence.
- Conclusion: it summarizes your argument powerfully with evidential support.
The Toulmin argument approach is better used for complex topics or when refuting an opposing point of view. This method is founded on logic and deep analysis, and it relies on six areas:
- Claim: stating the argument clearly.
- Reasons: presenting the evidence.
- Warrant: connecting the argument with evidence.
- Backing: providing additional evidence.
- Qualifier: explaining the limits of the argument.
- Rebuttal: finding opposing views and refuting them.
The Rogerian argument is best used in essays where you have to show the validity of both sides of an argument. When using this approach, you should take a wider-scope view of the topic. While it is more structure-free than the other approaches, you can still follow a structure by:
✅ Request information on BAU's programs TODAY!
- introducing the argument,
- explaining and validating the opposite point of view,
- explaining your point of view and why you hold that stance,
- finding the middle ground between the opposing points of view, and
- concluding the argument and recognizing where there’s still work to be done.
Steps in the Writing Process
Although the writing process is unique to each person, following some steps can help you be more productive.
If your argument or point of view isn’t provided as an assignment, you can try brainstorming to come up with the perfect topic for your project. When looking for topics or arguments, you should:
- be coherent and relevant to the course,
- pick an important topic, and
- pick a topic with potential for further research.
Outline and research
Outlining and researching are crucial, as they set the foundation for an excellent argumentative essay.
When outlining, you should decide whether to follow the five-paragraph outline or the longer essay outline, depending on the complexity of your topic.
On the other hand, when researching, you’ll have to follow a few steps:
- Picking a point of view and argument,
- researching who else supports your argument,
- exploring the potential counter-arguments, and
- organizing your evidence.
You should also keep in mind to check the validity of your evidence.
After outlining your essay and gathering all the material you need, you can start writing. It’s important to write a rough draft with all your ideas and opinions. You should also remember that in this step, it is more important to write and fill in the gaps than to have a perfect version immediately.
Following the rough draft is the revision part, in which you polish it and transform it into the perfect version. When revising, you should ensure your language is clear, optimize word choice, and strengthen any weak argument. This step will help you retain your essay’s credibility and intellectual integrity.
Naturally, when writing, we can all make grammatical and technical mistakes, which is why you should always proofread your essay before submitting it. While you can proofread it yourself, you can also use online resources such as Grammarly to ease the proofreading process. A handy trick is to proofread your essay after taking a break, as it will help you find tiny mistakes you might otherwise have overlooked.
Writing can be a challenging process, especially when you have to prove your point clearly and concisely. However, by sticking to a bulletproof structure and utilizing our tips for writing a stellar argumentative essay, we’re sure you can take on any topic without any difficulty.