How to Write a Powerful Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essay

An argument essay is like engaging in a debate with your reader. You have to anticipate their questions while putting forward your thesis. The format for this essay is quite predictable so it will help if you have an essay outline first, jotting down the various points you want to include.

To begin with, consider both sides of the issue. Those who oppose your stand will have strong arguments too, which you must consider. It’s usually best to begin such an essay with “The issue of … has generated a lot of debate. On the hand, it is believed that (your thesis)…. On the other hand it is said that (others’ view)….. However, all things considered it is (your view restated in a wider context). This tells the reader that you are aware of the reasons for opposing your stand, but that you don’t think that those reasons are convincing enough.

To illustrate, let’s pick a topical subject. Suppose your essay writing topic is whether British Prime Minister Gordon Brown should step down, in light of current events. Let’s say that your thesis in this essay is that should not. You begin by saying that the issue has been a controversial one of late. There have been calls for him to resign, particularly since six MPs put in their papers following the expenses scandal. Yet he has drawn praise for the way in which he has dealt with the global economic crisis, unarguably the biggest challenge facing Britain today. Then you say that he should not step down since he has adeptly handled a problem that even experienced politicians would struggle with and an unscheduled election is the last thing we need at a time when efforts to restore economic stability are being made.

Use two or three points to support your argument and devote a paragraph to each point, staring with the most important point first. In such essays, you are expected to base your arguments on facts, not emotional appeals. The reason for this has been discussed in the post on critical essays. Hence, in argument essays, avoid using the first person. Instead of saying, “In my opinion, two years of military service should be mandatory for those completing 18 years of age” you could write, “Making two years military service mandatory for all citizens completing 18 years of age will help make the country better equipped to deal with the widespread threat of terrorism.”

Devote the penultimate paragraph to the anticipated questions or objections. There are many ways to attack the arguments raised by those opposed to your thesis. You could say that their arguments are aimed at achieving their own ends, are exaggerated, irrelevant, unimportant or falsified. Whatever the reason you give, back it up thoroughly with facts, logic, case studies or historical parallels.

Then you can conclude your essay with a statement like “Despite all the objections raised by … about … there is sufficient reason to believe that … since…” Sum up the argument essay’s key points, don’t include anything new.

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