Argumentative Essay Writing


Argumentative writing is an inseparable part of academic life. It implies selecting the interesting topic for your argumentative essay, conducting extensive research with the aim of collecting data, evaluating the evidence gathered, and finally, deciding on a stance regarding the subject. In the paper, you will have to develop the stance and demonstrate why you think it is a correct one. It sounds like a lot of works, does not it? Well, it is not the easiest task in the world, but it is doable and might be even rewarding if you approach it correctly. Read the article and find out what "correctly" means in this case. First, many students do not see the difference between expository and argumentative essays, which in the end, leads to a number of problems. Remember that these are different types of papers in terms of content and complexity. An expository essay demands a lot less research than an argumentative paper. Besides, it is usually a lot shorter. Therefore, they are given to the students as an exercise during a class, a short test, or in the course of such exams as GRE and GED. As for argumentative papers, they are supposed to provide an in-depth insight into the topic, which is only possible through much reading. Such essays are commonly associated with capstone projects, final papers, and advanced writing and composition courses.

Argumentative Essay Writing Explained for Beginners

A professor who assigns an argumentative essay might ask students to gather two types of evidence. First, it will be necessary to read related literature, namely books, journal articles, newspapers, reports, etc., and collect the opinions of professionals and different experts. This evidence is mandatory in any argumentative essay. Second, it might be necessary to collect empirical data. It means that students will have to conduct original research of their own, for example, an interview, survey, experiment, case study, observation, etc. Such kind of evidence is only occasionally required. However, regardless of the evidence requested, an argumentative paper should have a strong position articulated in a thesis statement and developed all the way through.

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Structure of Argumentative Essay

Obviously, the first paragraph of the paper is supposed to be an introduction. It should present the subject and set the context in which it will be discussed. To do it, a topic should be given a brief overview. Furthermore, it is necessary to emphasize on the significance of the topic as well as explain why a reader should be interested in it and care to read the paper until the end. Finally, there should be a thesis statement with the main argument, i.e., the stance that you as a writer take regarding a problem under consideration.

Here are some ideas on planning the writing process from British Council:

Then, there should be body paragraphs. Each of them should be confined to discussing a single idea. This is a simple but very important rule that facilitates clarity and logical flow of the paper. Overall, such a division will make the reading experience much more pleasant and less tiring for the audience. Moreover, all body paragraphs should have a clear connection with the thesis statement, which was included in the introduction. They should support the main argument with a claim, which are included in a topic sentence, and evidence, which was collected through reading or own research. Please, mind that evidence should be used in the paper effectively. It means that merely inserting a quote from a journal article in the text will not work. It is also necessary to interpret it and explain how the citation supports the claim as well as the position in general.

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Another peculiarity, which makes an argumentative essay different from other academic papers, is a need for considering counterargument. It implies that there should be one or two paragraphs in which students address the opinion of the opponents and then explain why it is weaker than theirs. It is called a refutation. It does not mean that one should call the opponents' position fully erroneous and unacceptable. Instead, it is necessary to discuss why their arguments do not align with yours and provide a solid reason for such a view. For example, a counterargument might be obsolete or poorly informed because of the superficial research or certain limitations, etc.

Then, there should be a conclusion. Although it is a simple part, it is usually very difficult to complete for students in a proper manner. First, it should restate the thesis statement in different words as well as emphasize again, why the topic is important to consider. Next, there should be a synthesis of arguments that were used to support it. No new information should be introduced in the conclusion. It might be relevant to address the ways in which discussion might be further developed and elaborated upon in future research.

Overall, the structure of the argumentative paper should be complete, logical, and resemble a natural conversation between two people discussing a controversial topic. There should be an apparent beginning of the talk, its development, i.e., the body, and an effective ending when one side accepts the position of the other or a compromise is reached. To make sure your argumentative essay looks complete and neat, use the offered 5-paragraph structure. If the task is extensive and requires writing more paragraphs, it is fine to extend the body by as many paragraphs as necessary. However, the basis of the paper, i.e., an introduction, body, and a conclusion, should remain the same. Finally, the paper will look exhaustive and smooth only if it has transitions and transitional phrases. They are needed to ensure that the ideas are connected and a reader is able to follow their development with no efforts. Therefore, be sure to use transitions to wind up the ideas and give a way to new ones.

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Evidential Base of Argumentative Papers

Although mentioned above, the necessity of strong evidential support in an argumentative paper is so important that it is worth being emphasized one more time. You will have to collect a lot of data in order to make the paper well-informed, specific, persuasive, and up-to-date. There are several types of evidence, namely, statistical, factual, anecdotal, and empirical. However, it does not matter which one you will choose as long as it fits in with the task and your claims. Besides, remember that you need to collect evidence that both supports and contradicts your arguments. Ignoring counterarguments is just unethical and pointless since the professor will reveal the truth anyway. Therefore, accept the multitude of opinions and views and openly discuss them in an argumentative essay in order to demonstrate the ability to defend own stance as well as conduct in-depth research. Otherwise, it will resemble the fear of obstacles and narrow-minded thinking.

Writing Tips for a Flawless Argumentative Essay

At this point, we hope, you have made up your mind about the topic and are ready to proceed to write a persuasive paper that will impress your professor and earn you the highest grade. If you want exactly this result, check out and take advantage of the following tips on the structure of the argumentative essay. They are effective and indeed helpful. Here you go:

  • Start with an introduction. It should be a concise and informative overview of the topic. You will have to expound on the urgency of the topic and necessity to discuss it. You should end an introduction with a thesis statement that clearly articulates your position, i.e., claim that you will develop and defend in the body.
  • Next, there should be body paragraphs that offer support for your position expressed in the thesis statement. Each should have a topic sentence with a claim, several supporting sentences with evidence and examples, and a concluding sentence. Be sure to include at least three paragraphs like that in your paper.
  • The last body paragraph(s) should introduce the counterargument, i.e., the position as well as arguments of your opponents. You will have to present them and then explain why opposing views are not correct. You should show that your position is stronger than that discussed here.
  • Finally, you should add a conclusion. It should be brief but powerful, as it will leave the most lasting impression on a reader. In it, be sure to restate your main argument, emphasize the importance of the subject, and sum up the supporting claims that you have mentioned in the body. You may call for some action and make a prediction about the controversy being resolved. However, under no circumstance present new information to the conclusion.

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Another crucial point that you have to remember about the argumentative papers is that they should be coherent and exhibit a particularly smooth flow of ideas. To make your essay as such, you should work hard on your concluding sentences and benefit from a variety of transitional words and phrases available in English. We have grouped them for you into meaning-based categories. Check them out and obligatory use in the paper:

  • To express cause-effect relationships and purpose, use: because of, due to, thanks to, owing to, given that, provided that, so as to, since, as, so that, as long as, with an aim to, for the purpose of, in case, if, when, while, in order to, with this ideas in mind, only if, unless, in the event of, etc.
  • To add an idea/information, use: in addition, besides, moreover, further, furthermore, additionally, also, similarly, likewise, too, not to mention, along with, together with, identically, equally important; not only/but also, as a matter of fact, equally, as well as, etc.
  • To introduce a consequence, use: as a result, as a consequence, consequently, for this reason, therefore, thus, hence, with the result that, accordingly, for, etc.
  • To express contrast/opposition, use: although, even though, though, as much as, conversely, on the contrary, as opposed to, in contrast, however, none withstanding, nevertheless, nonetheless, despite, in spite of, but, on the one hand/on the other hand, surely/but; of course/but, while, whereas, otherwise, even so, regardless, albeit, be that it may, in reality, etc.
  • To provide an example/additional argument, use: for example, for instance, in particular, particularly, specifically, in other words, as an illustration, notably, to the point, especially, another point is, etc.
  • To make a conclusion, use: in conclusion, to sum up, to summarize, after all, in fact, all things considered, given the points discussed, as demonstrated above, in general, as one may notice, as a result, etc.

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