Argumentative Essay Guide
Planning and writing an argumentative essay requires a broad set of skills that you naturally learn and develop over the course of your academic life, and this type of academic essay will challenge these skills more than any other form of essay. An argumentative essay tests your ability to think logically, use reasoning and the power of deduction, and of-course, support and refute arguments accordingly. This is often a challenge for many students, but things should be clearer if you read through this guide which covers all aspects of the argumentative essay, including planning, structuring, writing, what you should do and what you should avoid.
The Argument Essay
An argumentative essay is an essay which takes a certain topic and argues for or against it with relevant facts, deductions and reasoning, and also argues for or against opinions and facts that support or oppose the topic. This is the basic argumentative essay format.
The topic will be the basis for the entire essay and will also be the title of the essay. Issues need to be suitably contentious (has plenty of support on both sides of the argument) and subjective for the essay to be successful, and this means you should not choose a topic which does not involve arguments for and against the topic (for example, arguing a fact), or a topic which is not controversial or contentious enough. Furthermore, the topic which you introduce in the argumentation essay title should not be too general. Take a look at the following possible titles for writing argumentative essays - can you figure out why they are not suitable? Reasons why they are unsuitable are given below.
- The ENSO cycle has an effect on crop yields in Chile
- School should be abolished
- Do you think passports are necessary?
- Teenage relationships are the most difficult type of relationship
The first topic is not suitable because ENSO's effect on crop yields is factual, and thus cannot be argued. The second topic is much too general - a more suitable topic in this case would be to argue against a specific section of school or the school curricula. The third topic is wrong because it is asking a question of the reader, and not describing an argument to be made - the correct version would be 'passports are not necessary' or 'passports are necessary', though again this would be too general. The last topic has no available facts, and can only be argued based on subjective reasoning such as personal emotion. Good topics for argumentative essays require actual facts to support them, at least in part.
The essay needs to be successful in supporting the topic that you are presenting, and this means that your arguments need to be based on clear reasoning, and not speculation or personal opinion.
Argumentative Essay Structure and Writing
The structure of this type of essay begins with the thesis statement, which will be the sentence of the topic in question. The introduction will be a short paragraph that introduces the reader to the topic, giving them a flavor of the general state of the topic, and a few pieces of information which give the motivation for writing the argumentative essay. The main body will be where you support your thesis statement with suitable and relevant arguments. Your topic will obviously have counter arguments, and the main body will need to specify what they are, and then disagree with them effectively. Just like the facts and methods of deduction you use for your supporting arguments, you must also have a proper basis for disagreeing with counter-arguments. You cannot refute counter arguments in argument essays just because you do not agree with them personally. The action you take will depend on the nature of the counter-argument, and it is your job to investigate the counter arguments to see how you can best deconstruct and argue against them.
Writing argumentative essays requires you to write in a professional manner. Despite the fact that many topics bring emotions to the service, argumentative essay writing for the most part needs you to leave out personal emotions or include too many writing techniques. The argument essay format should be clear to read and clear in structure.
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