How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay

Writing Your Argumentative Essay

What are the main features of an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is a paper which uses coherent arguments and well-backed up evidence as the means to persuade an audience over to a particular point of view. Like all essays, this writing involves an introduction, a conclusion, and three to five body paragraphs. While argumentative papers usually involve only one side of the argument, quite often they also include one small paragraph which looks at the opposing argument for the sake of clarity, or for the sake of refuting it in writing.

Argumentative essays normally use formal writing, and adhere to a strict format to press their argument. For one thing, the opposing argument which is sometimes brought up to give weight to the side which is being argued always appears at the end of your essay, rather than in any other place. The rigidity of this type of writing helps to underscore the ways in which it is normally used, i.e. to persuade people about controversial topics.

Argumentative papers are best used for subjects which have just the right amount of research: enough for the essay writer to be able to write coherently, but not enough that all the debates have already been had. Choosing topics is quite difficult for this reason, as the internet has made both debates and research more widely seen and expected, as well as giving access to more research than ever before.

How to start writing

The best way to start this paper is by doing as much research as possible on the topic being discussed. Remember to do at least some research on an argument against the side you have taken, so that you can write the paragraph at the end of your paper clearly.

How to develop an outline

The best way to write an outline is just to get everything onto the page, and then try and sort it out. As you research the topic, ideas should come into your head. Note them down as they come, and sort them into appropriate paragraphs later.

How to write a thesis statement for an argumentative essay

Writing the thesis statement for this type of essay is quite easy since all you need to do is state your intent to persuade people to your side of the debate. This does require you to be clear about what you are debating, however, and clear about how you are going about it.

How to write an introduction

The introduction of an argumentative essay is best written after the paper itself, in some cases. It should have mentions of all the research that is going to be talked about (briefly) in the essay itself, and if you don’t want to miss anything out, it is best to write the introduction last.

How to write the body paragraphs

Each body paragraph in an argumentative essay should solely consist of one persuasive point in the wider argument being written about. This includes the final paragraph which involves a differing argument to be used to validate the main argument even further.

Body paragraphs should each be given one particular argument point in part because that helps keep the essay coherent, but also in part because that gives you the space you need to properly expand upon the point in question.

Each body paragraph should be linked to the one which came before it, and the one which came after it. This will help keep readers engaged, and more likely to be persuaded by your arguments.

Tips on body writing

  • Make sure that the writing is coherent, so that your arguments are easily followed.
  • Make sure that each paragraph has a topic sentence which lets everyone know what argument is going to be posed.
  • Make sure that each paragraph has a concluding sentence which leads it directly into the next paragraph.
  • Even though most people write this paragraph last, make sure that you make it completely obvious which paragraph is the opposing argument. This will make things much less confusing, and keep people fully aware of which side of the debate you are on.
  • Each paragraph needs to have solid evidence to back it up, to give credence to the arguments being made in them.

How to finish argumentative essays

Finishing an argumentative writing requires being absolutely clear on what your stance regarding the arguments is. A good conclusion will draw all the evidence together and make it clear what the final report is, by showing how it all fits into the thesis statement as stated in the introduction.

The conclusion is the final point at which the writer can persuade the reader to come around to their point of view, so it requires very good writing and persuasive abilities to get absolutely right. This is particularly the case for the essays which have a conflicting argument included; while having it there means that any readers will be shown how it does not stand up against opposing arguments, it is still an argument from the wrong side.

Tips on conclusion writing

  • Make sure that all the arguments which appear in the essay also appear in the conclusion.
  • Repeat the thesis statement from the introduction.
  • Use clear and coherent language when writing – this will avoid confusion.
  • The conclusion should be the final wrapping up of your argument – as well as showing all the arguments which were made throughout the essay, and repeating the thesis statement from the introduction, the conclusion has to give one final argument as to why you think the way you do.
  • The conclusion should include any general information which you feel might be needed to understand the overall conclusion.
  • Remember to keep on track – the conclusion is not a body paragraph, it is a conclusion.

Tips on paper revision

Much of the revision needed for an argumentative essay focuses on making sure that the research you have done is correct. Without proper research, the essay will fail in its purpose, and not convince anybody of its merits.

You should also be sure to check that the arguments themselves make sense, as this is another way that the essay might miss the mark. Make sure that everything you write is coherent and clear, and that the arguments themselves follow a logical progression of events. All of your arguments should be aimed at one essential point, which is to persuade the reader that your arguments are correct, and that they should agree with you.

  • Make sure that your grammar and spelling is correct.
  • Make sure to double check the formatting you are going to be using.
  • Make sure that the thesis statement is in both the introduction and the conclusion.

Argumentative essay sample

There are many arguments on both sides of the debate as to whether women should be allowed to breastfeed in public. This essay aims to say that yes, it is acceptable, using the arguments of breastfeeding being natural and necessary to show why it is so. The paper will also include a short digression into the argument that it is indecent, but only to show how that argument does not stand up in practice.

Breastfeeding is completely natural, so there should be no reason to stand against it being done in public. Breasts, however they are seen now, are originally for feeding babies; there can be nothing more natural about using them to feed babies. There is nothing obscene about that.

There is an argument that allowing breasts to be seen in this manner in public is indecent, but this argument is easily refuted. The claim of indecency ignores the fact that breasts are intended for nurturing babies; and normally has the added hypocrisy of coming from people who are entirely fine with breasts which are explicitly sexualized being made public in any medium.

The argument over whether or not breastfeeding should be allowed in public is a nonsensical one – of course it should be. This essay aimed to show that breastfeeding is acceptable by pointing out how natural it is, and also by showing up the hypocrisy of people who try to condemn it, while at the same time sexualizing breasts.

This essay is just a sample, but hopefully, it will show you how to begin to structure your own essay.

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