How to Write an Argumentative Essay

β€œTo a great mind, nothing is little.”
– Sherlock Holmes

When was the last time you felt strongly about something? Perhaps it was during a presidential election and you opposed one of the candidates. You may feel one way or another when it comes social issues such as bullying, poverty, the economy or immigration. Maybe your heart even has a special place for eating healthy and it drives you crazy to eat junk food. Whatever the issue, chances are you favor or dislike it. That’s exactly what an argumentative essay is all about.

The first part of writing an argument is stating your claim. Why do you feel the way you do? Let’s say you’re writing an argument of why students should have to wear uniforms. Part of your thesis might be that it cuts down on bullying and keeps students safer at schools.

Before you present your evidence, however, and even before you present your thesis–it’s crucial to choose a side. Are you for school uniforms or against them? Don’t let your personal opinion be a bias to your answer. Instead, divide your paper in half and list pros on the left and cons on the right. In some cases, teachers will assign a specific side. If this is not the case, go with the side that has the most material. This is going to make it easier to argue throughout the essay and win over the reader.

Now that you have stated your claim, it’s time to present evidence. This type of essay, no matter what you’re writing about, usually requires research. If this is being written for a high school or college professor, they may require you to use scholarly articles. You should only state details that are in your research. For instance, you may find in your research that uniforms are more cost-effective for school districts since parents won’t have to purchase as many clothes. Now, elaborate on that with at least one or two sentences, citing information in your document.

If you’re writing a five-paragraph essay, you should have at least three solid reasons of why you’re for or against the cause. Most argumentative essays are going to be considerably longer. Make sure you write passionately about your topic. Act like you care about it, even if it’s the worst topic that your teacher has assigned to you. Think of it like this: If you don’t care about what you’re writing, why should your reader? Chances are they are going to put it down and never pick it up again.

In addition, you should briefly address the opposing side’s claims. Sure, the uniforms will save parents and school districts money, but what’s the flip side of that? Present evidence, statistics and facts to back up each claim that you make. This is going to make your writing bullet-proof and win over your audience. Also, when you present the opposing side, this gives the reader a well-rounded side of the argument. Every argument has two sides and it’s vital each side has fair representation.

Finally, this brings us to the conclusion. It’s time to restate your thesis for the reader. For example, it may look something like this: “Incorporating school uniforms into our school district will help avoid budget cuts of invaluable staff while saving parents money.” Your task now is to tie up the loose ends and bring the argument to a close. Check that both sides have been represented. Make sure you have presented your evidence in a strong, passionate manner without being too aggressive or rude. And, try to leave those reading your essay with a final thought-provoking sentence. This makes them keep thinking about your essay long after they are finished reading it.

Writing an argument essay? Try writing about these topics:

–Football and its dangers
–How trustworthy are online reviews
–Is technology ruining children?
–Pros of cleaner fuels
–Pros of walking for your health
–Should students have less homework
–Should the drinking age be higher
–Tax breaks for the wealthy
–Unhealthy advertisements
–Violence in video games

Don’t forget to include some of these argumentative transitions in your essay:

–As a result
–Firstly / Secondly / Thirdly…
–For this reason
–In Conclusion
–In fact
–In the same way
–Pursing this further
–To begin with
–To summarize
–To wrap it all up

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