The best way to win any argument is to know and accept both sides and present your side as the most reasonable one. Like a wise Chinese military general said: know your enemy and know yourself. This skill of argumentative writing is taught to you in college, as it's a great practical everyday skill to possess. So what is an argumentative essay?
In a classic argumentative essay definition: it is a kind of writing where students study a topic with two opposing arguments, picks a side, and share their choice using supporting evidence: facts, statistics, quotes, etc. Frequently, students receive the topic, and they get to choose their side. Other times, the side is picked beforehand, and the student has to defend a certain argument that they might not favor.
Argumentative essays are common because of their practical application in life. They can be used to juxtapose two separate arguments and use logic and reasoning to determine the dominant one. They can also be used to persuade using facts and statistics. A strong argument with backing proof will always win over an overblown narrative in a professional scenario. If writing argumentative essays were a job, it would be a lawyer, as they have to use cold facts and evidence to help their clients win the case in court, even if they disagree with their morals or know that they're guilty of a crime.
This article will teach you how to write an argumentative essay, whether it's on a topic of your choice or your professors.
Exceptional Ideas for Argumentative Essays
Assignments such as these will make you scour library books, lectures, studies, and academic journals for information. Sometimes, if you're lucky enough, you'll get to choose your own ideas for an argumentative essay. Other times, your professor might assign something that you are not interested in or make you choose a side that you do not entirely agree with.
Choosing a side, you don't agree with can be a great way to learn how to successfully argue in favor of anything. Think about lawyers— they do it all the time. This can be a valuable skill for any student to possess.
So before you consider some argumentative essay ideas, think of all the possibilities. Do you want to dive into a topic you're passionate about? Shed light on a big social issue from an alternative standing? Or take the opposing side to level up your speaking skills? Whichever you choose, here are some good argumentative essay ideas that could spark your creativity:
1. Is defunding the police in America going to help bring an end to racial injustice?
2. Trump or Obama: who did better in their first term as president?
3. Pick a side in the argument about UFOs (real or hoax?) using the recently declassified CIA files as a source.
4. Should governments be allowed to turn authoritarian during a global pandemic?
5. Argue against the legalization of cannabis.
6. Argue in favor of AI replacing essential workers' jobs.
7. Argue against or in favor of Elon Musk's brain implant development.
8. Pick a side on whether countries should shut down borders during a global pandemic.
9. Free healthcare for everyone vs. private healthcare plans for Americans.
10. Argue in favor of or against the legalization of same-sex marriage in a country of your choice.
These are just a few ideas for argumentative essay. Be free to search the topics that interest you or ones that you feel demand immediate attention.
How to Create an Argumentative Essay Outline
An argumentative essay outline is very important in order to compose your essay. It helps you stay on track with your ideas and arguments throughout the writing process. The outline should be created before you even begin writing so that you can place your arguments and evidence on it. When you know how to structure an essay, you should have no problem writing it.
If you're thinking what the first step in the prewriting process for an argumentative essay is: it's writing your facts on note cards before organizing them into an outline. When preparing an outline, it's necessary to have your facts and sources ready, which is why many students use the note card system to organize their argumentative essays.
It's easy to do: simply grab a notecard (it can be a rectangular piece of paper if you don't have the proper note cards) and write a topic sentence in the front. Then, list your facts and evidence to support them in bullet points and your sources next to the evidence. Notecards help you see all the information that you've extracted from sources. Try organizing them in different orders to find the best argumentative essay outline with the most cohesive flow of arguments.
With note cards ready, you can use them to fill in the outline. Here's how an argumentative essay outline looks:
- A hook or attention grabber, enticing the reader to continue reading your work. There are several ways you could start your essay with a hook.
- One sentence that shows both arguments indicates which one you've sided with and why. A thesis is basically your essay in a nutshell. The rest of the essay is meant to support your thesis statement.
1. First Argument, Topic Sentence, Explanation
a. Supporting evidence (facts, statistics, quotes, primary and/or secondary research)
b. Supporting evidence 2
c. Conclusion, and transition into the next argument
2. Second Argument
3. Third Argument
- Conclude your essay by reciting all of the main points and reminding the reader how your evidence supports them.
- Restate your thesis, but this time a little differently as you have achieved your goal of convincing the reader in your argument.
- To end things off, appeal to emotions, and create a memorable closing statement.
Following this argumentative essay format will guarantee you a well-structured and focused piece of work. Take some time to prepare for your essay writing by drafting an outline and filling it in. After you've established the argumentative essay structure and logical flow of arguments in your paper, it should be a piece of cake to write. In the next part, we take a deeper dive into each section of your essay, explaining how to execute them in the best way.
How to Start an Argumentative Essay
The argumentative essay introduction is the roadmap of your essay. This is where you introduce the topic and the background and tell the reader why this it's important. Both sides of the argument should be clearly stated in the introduction. The writer must pick one side and explain why they've made a choice by juxtaposing both arguments and providing (sources, references, statistics, etc.), which will help prove their case.
Next step is writing an argumentative essay thesis: the main sentence which binds the essay together. If any information further down the essay is unclear to the reader, they should be able to refer back to the thesis statement, and it should establish clarity as to where the writer stands on the given issue. A thesis statement for argumentative essay must state both sides of the argument and indicate which side the writer has chosen and for what reason.
When thinking about how to write an introduction for an argumentative essay, make sure to check off all the elements that any introduction has:
- a hook: a tool used to grab the reader's attention
- background info: presenting both parts of the argument; starting the opposition's argument and then refuting it with yours, explaining why you disagree
- thesis statement
It's often good to write an introductory paragraph for this type of essay last, as you get a clearer understanding of your position and counter-argument. Feeling confident in the subject will help you narrow it down into a few concise words. After finishing the argumentative essay introduction, it's time to craft the body.
Argumentative Essay Body Paragraphs
Body paragraphs are the meat of your essay and where you support your claim for the thesis. This section of your essay is split into three or more parts, each one with a separate argument and evidence supporting or opposing it.
Each argumentative essay body paragraph covers an idea and offers evidence to support a topic sentence. This topic sentence ensures that your position on the matter is the one they should agree with. To prove your idea, you must have good arguments in favor of your position. So let's see how to write a body paragraph for an argumentative essay.
Body Paragraph 1 - Your arguments
What is the first step in the prewriting process for an argumentative essay?
Make a body paragraph that's focused on your argument, and state it clearly in a topic sentence:
"Learning to mine asteroids for natural resources will improve the economy and positively impact the environment of our planet."
Explain what you mean, and use some evidence to back it up:
"Trusted Source tells us that asteroids contain immense amounts of iron, nickel, and cobalt, and extraction of these materials is possible with the technology we have today." (In-text citation)
Having credible sources to back up your claims will ensure the reader that your arguments are not subjective and have weight in the real world.
Body Paragraph 2 - Opponents claims
Time to see what is the second step in writing an argumentative essay. The second body paragraph should focus on the claims of your opponent. This shows that you're knowledgeable on both sides of the subject and makes the audience more likely to trust you.
"Opposing Source, who has also done research on this subject, claims that we don't know what asteroids are composed of, and a failed landing will cost the economy billions of dollars." (In-text citation)
Giving some recognition to your opposing argument will also appeal to those who are already uncertain about your claim's validity. A good trick is to 'say what's on the opponent's mind' before using strong evidence to dispute their claim.
"However, the Opposing Source has failed to consider this Newest Development in Space Mining Technology, which cuts down the price of launching Mining Bots from millions, to merely several hundred thousand dollars." (in-text citation)
Body Paragraph 3 - Compare the two
So what is the last step in creating an argumentative essay? It's simple: compare the two arguments. Your last body paragraph should be like the 'final nail in the coffin' for the opposing argument.
"After looking at Opposing Source's reference material and background, it has become clear that their claims are backed by faulty sources. Their source materials are articles made by big mining companies aiming to protect their businesses, regardless of mining being harmful to the environment."
Now that the opposing claim is shaken up and proved invalid, it's time to offer a better solution to fill the void.
"The Asteroid Mining Mission has been viewed as super expensive in the past, but technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that by 2023, we'll be mining asteroids as if they were standing right here on Earth." (In-text citation)
And now you're done with the body. Just remember always to use evidence to back up your claim. Here are some types of evidence you should use:
- Research: Conduct primary and secondary research. Ask people, search in library books, or online in academic journals. Conduct interviews and use them as a primary source to back up your argument.
- Examples: Compare and contrast research from both sides, and provide examples from real life to back up your claim. Use your knack for persuasion to make your argument seem more valid than the counter-argument.
- Statistics: People love being presented with statistics that they can analyze on their own to come to a conclusion. Giving statistics is a great way to involve the reader in your essay.
- Studies: Cite other essays and studies relating to your topic. Show that you're not alone in supporting this argument, and use other people's research to solidify your claim.
Keep in mind that whenever you support your topic sentence with evidence, you should always indicate the source where you got the evidence from. There is a way to cite each specific source in your argumentative essay body paragraph. The format is different depending on your essay's formatting requirements, whether it's assigned to be in APA, MLA, Chicago style, or other styles. Refer to your essay rubric to see which style to format your work in.
How to End an Argumentative Essay
With the body paragraphs done and all your cards on the table, you may be asking -- how to end an argumentative essay? Well, every argumentative essay conclusion starts with a summary of the entire essay and all its arguments in a nutshell. It's important to give the reader a reminder of the opposing viewpoints and re-emphasize yours.
Having read so much information could raise an important question in the reader's head: so what? What should I do with this information now? Your job in the Conclusion is to make sure that the question is answered by discussing the implications of your research.
If you have truly proven that, for example, renewable energy and solar panels are a more profitable long-run solution than gas and fossil fuels, then now is the time to call the reader to action; get them to join the protest, or if it's a businessman in the sphere, switch up their business model to help save the environment. When thinking about how to conclude an argumentative essay-- remember to appeal to the reader's emotions and use the Conclusion to call them to action. Then your efforts in writing this essay haven't been in vain, and you've succeeded in coming up with a powerful conclusion.
To top it all off, pose a question to the reader or a final statement that they can wrap their head around and think for a while.
"With this new Asteroid Mining Technology, we can faster propel humanity into space, while making our planet greener, fresher, and less polluted."