What Is an Argumentative Essay?

Some students consider argumentative and persuasive papers the same thing, they are wrong. What is an argumentative essay? It always presents a stronger claim to more resistant readers. To write a good one, know its definition, gather enough evidence, and present debatable issues or well-reasoned arguments.

Argumentative Essay Definition

Argumentative papers always seek to state a certain issue or position and give strong reasons backed up by evidence to agree with it. Your topic should be debatable to write a good essay. How can you tell whether the chosen topic is debatable? It’s impossible to argue a statement or a fact, so an effective argumentative paper should be based on a strong stance. Answer these questions:

  • How many readers can argue against your viewpoint?
  • What can they say about it?
  • Is it easy to address?
  • Can you base your argument on any scholarly evidence?
  • Do you rely on cultural standards, religion, or morality?
  • Is your argument specific enough?

Looking for Interesting Ideas to Write about

It’s easy to find them everywhere, so check newspaper headlines, listen to local conversation, or go online. Chances are that you’ll hear someone trying to persuade others to believe in a specific claim about:

  • Its main causes;
  • Its importance;
  • Possible solutions.

Important Argumentative Essay Elements

A strong argument is the main element of this assignment, and it’s available in the following types:

  1. Claims of definition: what does it really mean?
  2. Claims of fact: is it true?
  3. Claims of policy: what should people do about it?
  4. Claims of cause and effect: What is the main cause? What are its effects?
  5. Claims of value: how important is it?

A Thesis of Your Argumentative Paper

What is an argumentative essay? It’s nothing without a strong thesis, and there are different formats to choose from.

  • The question and answer format suggests students to make their topic ideas into strong theses by turning them into a question;
  • Your question can be a great title of your argumentative paper, or it can be the last line of your introductory paragraph, so answer this question in its thesis;
  • Refute objections, and some students prefer to put introductory phrases into the first thesis part to prove that they will refute other ideas;
  • An extra method to make a strong claim is creating the roadmap that tells readers the main points covered in a few words.

Introductory and Concluding Ideas

When it comes to introduction ideas, use the following tips:

  • Tell readers some true story;
  • Write any imaginary story that illustrates the main problem;
  • Explain a problem;
  • Include startling quotes, stats, or facts;
  • Frame your story or flashbacks;
  • Describe everything vividly.

Consider these powerful conclusion ideas:

  • What happens if the suggested solution is accepted by other people;
  • Revise a scenario to show what happens if readers adopt your arguments;
  • Tell them what they need to feel, think, or believe;
  • Use real-life examples to show how your ideas work;
  • Appeal to people’s emotions, reasons, and characters;
  • Finish a frame story.

Mix and match the above-mentioned ideas for your argumentative paper.

The Right Organization of This Essay

What is an argumentative essay? If you fail to organize it correctly, it won’t be strong and effective. This paper is quite straightforward in terms of its organization, so all students need to do the following:

  • Interest readers in a particular situation and make them think that it’s worth learning more about it;
  • Explain all the sides of a specific debate;
  • Explain the controversy of your problem clearly;
  • Tell readers your chosen side;
  • Convince them that it’s the best one to believe;
  • Refute any possible objections that people may have when reading your essay;
  • Urge them to adopt your viewpoint to think, do, or believe something.

The Introduction

This paragraph explains readers the chosen subject, its controversy, and introduces a thesis. To write a good one, use these helpful tips:

  • Use a catchy title to present your stance, and it can be a question;
  • Think about the audience and expectations about your offered issues that may convince or interest them;
  • Check both introductory and concluding paragraphs for any creative ways to introduce your argumentative paper;
  • Be sure to have a clear thesis that answers the question and tells others your chosen position (it’s usually the last sentence of this introductory paragraph).

The Main Body

This essay section explains reasons why readers should agree with your stance and refutes possible objections and other viewpoints. It offers strong reasons and support:

  • Usually, students introduce a few reasons why readers should accept their position, and these are topic sentences;
  • Support each one with strong examples, arguments, authorities, stats, and anecdotes;
  • To make all reasons seem quite plausible, they should be connected back to the chosen position.
  • The main body of any argumentative essay also needs to anticipate opposing objections and positions, so consider:
  • Possible objections that your readers may have and address them with your evidence and arguments;
  • Other positions that people usually take on your chosen subject and your reasons for rejecting them.

The Conclusion

This argumentative essay paragraph makes a final point that tells others what to do or think. Why should they adopt your position? You may use possible anticipating objections in this section too.

Effective Argumentative Essay Strategies

There are three basic strategies used when writing argumentative papers, so choose any of them to end up with high marks. What is an argumentative essay? Master these important strategies to give the right answer.

The classical strategy is perfect for any topic that you feel strongly about or if you think that you have a high chance to convince readers to agree with your stance.

  • Its introduction announces the main subject, makes you seem trustworthy, and gets people’s attention and interest;
  • Your narration provides them with enough backgrounds, context, problem statement or definition;
  • Partition should state a claim or a thesis while outlining strong arguments;
  • Your arguments support a thesis and provides enough evidence;
  • Refutation shows why other arguments and viewpoints are not valid;
  • The conclusion summarizes your arguments, ties everything into the introduction, and suggests effective solutions.

The Rogerian Strategy

This method tries to persuade readers by finding available points to compromise and offer an agreement. It’s a good argumentative essay technique to be used in very polarized debates, but students are expected to be sincere about their desire to compromise or adjust their viewpoints to be taken seriously. There are different qualities:

  • You should be reasonable, so present your character as someone who empathizes and understands the opposition and states other viewpoints fairly;
  • Establish common grounds in the values and beliefs that you share;
  • Be willing to change your views and show where your stance can be modified;
  • Direct your arguments towards compromises and workable solutions.

Toulmin Uses

It’s another effective argumentative essay strategy used in highly charged debates. Instead of trying to appeal to some commonalities, this writing method uses clear logic and important qualifiers to limit arguments to the things that can be easily argued upon. It has the following format:

  • Data or your presented evidence;
  • Your claim or a thesis that you want to prove;
  • Backing with extra reasoning and logic;
  • Warrants or statements that explain how your information supports a claim;
  • Qualifiers that limit the scope of your claim;
  • Exceptions that further limit it by describing relevant situations that should be excluded.

The Importance of Addressing Opposing Views

There are certain goals that can be easily achieved by addressing your opposition, such as:

  • Demonstrating a lack of any bias;
  • Illustrating your well-rounded and reasonable understanding of the chosen topic;
  • Giving yourself a unique opportunity to refute opposing arguments;
  • Improving the level of trust that readers have for your stance;
  • Enhancing an argument by diminishing the claims of the opposition.
  • To address opposing views in your argumentative essay, put yourself in their shoes and understand where they come from. Write down good reasons why you decide to support a specific side of this argument. Think why someone may try to disagree and offer possible solutions.