How to Write an Argumentative Essay

The argumentative essay expresses an opinion for or against a controversial issue.  As the writer, you must establish your position and persuade your readers to agree with you by using strong persuasive language.

Organization

In your introduction, the first paragraph, the hook (or catch) introduces the issue.  Next, background information expands the issue and tells the reader why it is important.  Then your thesis statement clearly and forcefully states your position on the issue, and why your position is important. You may also include your points of development.

An Argumentative Thesis Statement is based on a debatable topic that is focused on a controversial issue.  In the thesis statement, the writer clearlymakes a claim on the point they are arguing, and gives plausible reason(s) for that position.

Example:

  • Americans should limit the amount of fatty foods consumed, as these have been directly connected to diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.
  • Students should be encouraged to exercise on a regular bases, because consistent physical activity builds the body as well as the mind.

Each body paragraph must present strong reasons with solid evidence to support your position.  You should also present a counter-argument that shows you clearly understand the opposing views.  Then refute the opposing position providing evidence to show why it is weak and your position is strong.

Examples of Counter-Argument

Counter-argument

Some people believe that technology is the way of the future and that it is impossible to become overly dependent on its use.

Rebuttal

It is true that in modern society technology has infiltrated into almost every fiber of our lives and that it has enabled mankind to reach beyond its limits.  However, to say that it is impossible to become overly dependent on its use, is to forget how vulnerable society can be.

Support

If we allow ourselves to become carelessly dependent on technology, we are in danger of neglecting to develop the necessary life-skills to survive on a daily basis.  As a result, in an emergency society would not be prepared to survive.

In your conclusion restate your position that was expressed in the thesis statement. Then reinforce your position with a warning, or a prediction, closing with a final comment.

Outline for Point by Point Organization

  1. Introduction
    1. Interesting Hook
    2. Background Information
    3. Thesis Statement
  2. First Body Paragraphs
    1. Opposing Argument
    2. Rebuttal
    3. Examples, explanations, facts
    1. Sources – paraphrase, quotations
  3. Second Body Paragraphs
    1. Opposing Argument
    2. Rebuttal
    3. Examples, explanations, facts
    4. Sources – paraphrase, quotations
  4. Third Body Paragraphs
    1. Opposing Argument
    2. Rebuttal
    3. Examples, explanations, facts
    4. Sources – paraphrase, quotations
  5. Conclusion
    1. Restates position
    2. Warning or prediction
    3. Closing Remarks

Useful Transitions to Show Objection

however, though,  although, while, to be sure, true, it is true, admittedly, granted, despite, conceding, regardless

Useful Transitions to Show Contrast

but, however, in contrast, still, nevertheless, on the contrary, nonetheless, yet, and yet, or, on the other hand, for all that, in spite of, notwithstanding, actually, ironically