What Is The Second Step In Writing An Argumentative Essay

How to Write an Argumentative Essay on any Topic

Published 4/24/2013

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay on any topic which discusses a topic and then makes an argument based on the discussion.

An effective argumentative essay must contain certain elements that will persuade your audience to see things from your perspective. During your essay planning, it’s important to consider your own points, known as the “pro” points, as well as strong arguments for the other side, known as the “con” points in order to shoot them down, making your essay more convincing.

How to Choose a Topic for an Argumentative Essay

In order to write a good essay, you need to find a topic that’s interesting, so that you can easily demonstrate your writing skills and finally get a high grade.

One of the best ways to find a topic for an argumentative essay is to perform a search for topics related to some compelling subject, like politics, religion, abortion, education or home life.

Using the following links, you can find a lot of good topics for your argumentative essay:

200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

50 Argument Essay Topics

100 Argument or Position Essay Topics

Argumentative Essay Structure

Making sure to select the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the best way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.

An argumentative essay is organized according to one of these five patterns: pro-con, con-pro, 3-con, claim / counterclaim or alternating.

PRO-CON Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

In this simple pattern for an argumentative essay, you discuss two pro points and one con point.

This pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each pro or con point.

CON-PRO Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

This pattern for an argumentative essay is very similar to the previous one, but the con point comes first.

The pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each pro or con point.

3-CON Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

In this pattern for an argumentative essay you don’t explicitly present any particular point, but instead refute three con points.

The pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each CON point.

Claim / Counterclaim Pattern

Recommended for advanced school and college essays on any topic.

This pattern for an argumentative essay is more advanced than the previous three, and allows for a more complete development of your argument.

The pattern contains an introduction, a conclusion, and two main parts. In the three paragraphs of the first body part, you refute or rebut three points of the counterclaim. In three paragraphs of the second body part, you make three points in support of your main idea, and provide support for your claims.

Alternating Pattern

Recommended for advanced school and college essays on any topic.

This structure for an argumentative essay provides another option for claim and counterclaim discussion.

The pattern contains an introduction, a conclusion, and three main sections. In two paragraphs of each ,main section,, you refute or rebut one point of the counterclaim and provide one point supporting your claim.

Did you choose an argumentative essay pattern? Great! Now...

After choosing an essay pattern, now all you need is to write your essay, on any topic, according to your chosen structure. Also, be sure to read the A+ writing tips for an argumentative essay on any topic below. Follow these instructions and you will write an excellent argumentative essay.

Writing an A+ Argumentative Essay

Introduction

In an argumentative essay, the introduction is very important. It is where you lay out the main argument that your essay will make, and it gives the reader his/her first impression of your essay.

Start with brief background Information

Every pet owner knows that there are enormous responsibilities that go along with having a cat or dog. You must feed and exercise your pet to keep it physically healthy; you must play with it, and keep it emotionally healthy, too. You have to keep it safe from cars, people, or other animals, and you need to protect other people, property, or pets from your own animal.

Introduce the Topic of Your Essay

There’s another responsibility that not all pet owners think about, however: spaying or neutering, or “fixing.” What does “fixing” your pet mean? Simply put, it means taking your pet to the vet for a quick, cheap surgery that will prevent your pet from ever reproducing.

Explain Why it’s Important

This surgery solves problems that pet owners know about, and some that they might not have considered before.

State Your Position clearly

I believe that all pet owners should be required to have their pets fixed.

Counterclaim refutation paragraph

Clearly state the point

Spaying surgery is expensive.
Spaying surgery is risky.

Persuasively refute or rebut the point using evidence
(logical explanation, facts, statistics, well-known authority opinions)

To refute the point is to prove it is incorrect:

Almost all cities have a fund to help pay for the surgery. Just ask your vet or the local S.P.C.A. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The cost can be as low as $10.

To rebut the point is to prove that it is irrelevant or not powerful enough:

Spaying or neutering when your pet is young and healthy is almost 100% safe.
On other hand, your animal is in much more danger if it is not fixed, for the urge to run away from home will put your pet in extremely dangerous situations.

Turn this point to the opposite point, thus supporting your thesis

Therefore, there is no way we can agree with this point. Spaying or neutering should be done as soon as you get your pet.

Claim supporting paragraph

Clearly state the point

Spaying is good for the health of your pet.

Provide the supporting evidents (logical explanation, facts, statistics, well-known authority opinions)

Animals who are not fixed can sometimes go crazy trying to find mates. They can injure themselves trying to escape from their homes, or they may fight with other animals when they have escaped. Of course, while running free, they are in danger from cars. And finally, for females who become mothers, we must remember that giving birth is not a safe process.

Restate the argument as a proved thesis

For the ordinary pet owner, all these reasons should be strong enough to convince them to “fix” their dear pet.

Conclusion

The conclusion of an argumentative essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion reiterates your point, and reminds the reader that you have convinced them of your argument. The conclusion is the last part of the essay that your reader will experience.

Restate (do not repeat) your claim

No matter how you look at it, there’s really no valid reason not to spay or neuter your pet.

Briefly recount the arguments

Whether you consider the potential suffering of unborn animals, the health and comfort of your own pet, or your own convenience as a pet owner, you must agree that the facts all show that spaying or neutering is the way to go.

End by showing the importance of your conclusion

It’s not only the convenient choice, but also the morally right choice, and one that all pet owners should make.

Finalizing your Work

Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.

There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:

  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
  • Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
  • Ensure that your title page is done as required
  • Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine

Argumentative Essays

Summary:

The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-03-10 11:46:44

What is an argumentative essay?

The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.

Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.

Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.

The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important (exigence) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis (warrant).

However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.

  • Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.

A complete argument

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

The five-paragraph essay

A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.

Longer argumentative essays

Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.

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