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How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

Table of contents

When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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an argumentative text

An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

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Need to defend your opinion on an issue? Argumentative essays are one of the most popular types of essays you’ll write in school. They combine persuasive arguments with fact-based research, and, when done well, can be powerful tools for making someone agree with your point of view. If you’re struggling to write an argumentative essay or just want to learn more about them, seeing examples can be a big help.

After giving an overview of this type of essay, we provide three argumentative essay examples. After each essay, we explain in-depth how the essay was structured, what worked, and where the essay could be improved. We end with tips for making your own argumentative essay as strong as possible.

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay that uses evidence and facts to support the claim it’s making. Its purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with the argument being made.

A good argumentative essay will use facts and evidence to support the argument, rather than just the author’s thoughts and opinions. For example, say you wanted to write an argumentative essay stating that Charleston, SC is a great destination for families. You couldn’t just say that it’s a great place because you took your family there and enjoyed it. For it to be an argumentative essay, you need to have facts and data to support your argument, such as the number of child-friendly attractions in Charleston, special deals you can get with kids, and surveys of people who visited Charleston as a family and enjoyed it. The first argument is based entirely on feelings, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven.

The standard five paragraph format is common, but not required, for argumentative essays. These essays typically follow one of two formats: the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.

  • The Toulmin model is the most common. It begins with an introduction, follows with a thesis/claim, and gives data and evidence to support that claim. This style of essay also includes rebuttals of counterarguments.
  • The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

3 Good Argumentative Essay Examples + Analysis

Below are three examples of argumentative essays, written by yours truly in my school days, as well as analysis of what each did well and where it could be improved.

Argumentative Essay Example 1

Proponents of this idea state that it will save local cities and towns money because libraries are expensive to maintain. They also believe it will encourage more people to read because they won’t have to travel to a library to get a book; they can simply click on what they want to read and read it from wherever they are. They could also access more materials because libraries won’t have to buy physical copies of books; they can simply rent out as many digital copies as they need.

However, it would be a serious mistake to replace libraries with tablets. First, digital books and resources are associated with less learning and more problems than print resources. A study done on tablet vs book reading found that people read 20-30% slower on tablets, retain 20% less information, and understand 10% less of what they read compared to people who read the same information in print. Additionally, staring too long at a screen has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including blurred vision, dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain, at much higher instances than reading print does. People who use tablets and mobile devices excessively also have a higher incidence of more serious health issues such as fibromyalgia, shoulder and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strain. I know that whenever I read from my e-reader for too long, my eyes begin to feel tired and my neck hurts. We should not add to these problems by giving people, especially young people, more reasons to look at screens.

Second, it is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that the only service libraries offer is book lending. Libraries have a multitude of benefits, and many are only available if the library has a physical location. Some of these benefits include acting as a quiet study space, giving people a way to converse with their neighbors, holding classes on a variety of topics, providing jobs, answering patron questions, and keeping the community connected. One neighborhood found that, after a local library instituted community events such as play times for toddlers and parents, job fairs for teenagers, and meeting spaces for senior citizens, over a third of residents reported feeling more connected to their community. Similarly, a Pew survey conducted in 2015 found that nearly two-thirds of American adults feel that closing their local library would have a major impact on their community. People see libraries as a way to connect with others and get their questions answered, benefits tablets can’t offer nearly as well or as easily.

While replacing libraries with tablets may seem like a simple solution, it would encourage people to spend even more time looking at digital screens, despite the myriad issues surrounding them. It would also end access to many of the benefits of libraries that people have come to rely on. In many areas, libraries are such an important part of the community network that they could never be replaced by a simple object.

The author begins by giving an overview of the counter-argument, then the thesis appears as the first sentence in the third paragraph. The essay then spends the rest of the paper dismantling the counter argument and showing why readers should believe the other side.

What this essay does well:

  • Although it’s a bit unusual to have the thesis appear fairly far into the essay, it works because, once the thesis is stated, the rest of the essay focuses on supporting it since the counter-argument has already been discussed earlier in the paper.
  • This essay includes numerous facts and cites studies to support its case. By having specific data to rely on, the author’s argument is stronger and readers will be more inclined to agree with it.
  • For every argument the other side makes, the author makes sure to refute it and follow up with why her opinion is the stronger one. In order to make a strong argument, it’s important to dismantle the other side, which this essay does this by making the author's view appear stronger.
  • This is a shorter paper, and if it needed to be expanded to meet length requirements, it could include more examples and go more into depth with them, such as by explaining specific cases where people benefited from local libraries.
  • Additionally, while the paper uses lots of data, the author also mentions their own experience with using tablets. This should be removed since argumentative essays focus on facts and data to support an argument, not the author’s own opinion or experiences. Replacing that with more data on health issues associated with screen time would strengthen the essay.
  • Some of the points made aren't completely accurate , particularly the one about digital books being cheaper. It actually often costs a library more money to rent out numerous digital copies of a book compared to buying a single physical copy. Make sure in your own essay you thoroughly research each of the points and rebuttals you make, otherwise you'll look like you don't know the issue that well.


Argumentative Essay Example 2

There are multiple drugs available to treat malaria, and many of them work well and save lives, but malaria eradication programs that focus too much on them and not enough on prevention haven’t seen long-term success in Sub-Saharan Africa. A major program to combat malaria was WHO’s Global Malaria Eradication Programme. Started in 1955, it had a goal of eliminating malaria in Africa within the next ten years. Based upon previously successful programs in Brazil and the United States, the program focused mainly on vector control. This included widely distributing chloroquine and spraying large amounts of DDT. More than one billion dollars was spent trying to abolish malaria. However, the program suffered from many problems and in 1969, WHO was forced to admit that the program had not succeeded in eradicating malaria. The number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa who contracted malaria as well as the number of malaria deaths had actually increased over 10% during the time the program was active.

One of the major reasons for the failure of the project was that it set uniform strategies and policies. By failing to consider variations between governments, geography, and infrastructure, the program was not nearly as successful as it could have been. Sub-Saharan Africa has neither the money nor the infrastructure to support such an elaborate program, and it couldn’t be run the way it was meant to. Most African countries don't have the resources to send all their people to doctors and get shots, nor can they afford to clear wetlands or other malaria prone areas. The continent’s spending per person for eradicating malaria was just a quarter of what Brazil spent. Sub-Saharan Africa simply can’t rely on a plan that requires more money, infrastructure, and expertise than they have to spare.

Additionally, the widespread use of chloroquine has created drug resistant parasites which are now plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa. Because chloroquine was used widely but inconsistently, mosquitoes developed resistance, and chloroquine is now nearly completely ineffective in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 95% of mosquitoes resistant to it. As a result, newer, more expensive drugs need to be used to prevent and treat malaria, which further drives up the cost of malaria treatment for a region that can ill afford it.

Instead of developing plans to treat malaria after the infection has incurred, programs should focus on preventing infection from occurring in the first place. Not only is this plan cheaper and more effective, reducing the number of people who contract malaria also reduces loss of work/school days which can further bring down the productivity of the region.

One of the cheapest and most effective ways of preventing malaria is to implement insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs).  These nets provide a protective barrier around the person or people using them. While untreated bed nets are still helpful, those treated with insecticides are much more useful because they stop mosquitoes from biting people through the nets, and they help reduce mosquito populations in a community, thus helping people who don’t even own bed nets.  Bed nets are also very effective because most mosquito bites occur while the person is sleeping, so bed nets would be able to drastically reduce the number of transmissions during the night. In fact, transmission of malaria can be reduced by as much as 90% in areas where the use of ITNs is widespread. Because money is so scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa, the low cost is a great benefit and a major reason why the program is so successful. Bed nets cost roughly 2 USD to make, last several years, and can protect two adults. Studies have shown that, for every 100-1000 more nets are being used, one less child dies of malaria. With an estimated 300 million people in Africa not being protected by mosquito nets, there’s the potential to save three million lives by spending just a few dollars per person.

Reducing the number of people who contract malaria would also reduce poverty levels in Africa significantly, thus improving other aspects of society like education levels and the economy. Vector control is more effective than treatment strategies because it means fewer people are getting sick. When fewer people get sick, the working population is stronger as a whole because people are not put out of work from malaria, nor are they caring for sick relatives. Malaria-afflicted families can typically only harvest 40% of the crops that healthy families can harvest. Additionally, a family with members who have malaria spends roughly a quarter of its income treatment, not including the loss of work they also must deal with due to the illness. It’s estimated that malaria costs Africa 12 billion USD in lost income every year. A strong working population creates a stronger economy, which Sub-Saharan Africa is in desperate need of.  

This essay begins with an introduction, which ends with the thesis (that malaria eradication plans in Sub-Saharan Africa should focus on prevention rather than treatment). The first part of the essay lays out why the counter argument (treatment rather than prevention) is not as effective, and the second part of the essay focuses on why prevention of malaria is the better path to take.

  • The thesis appears early, is stated clearly, and is supported throughout the rest of the essay. This makes the argument clear for readers to understand and follow throughout the essay.
  • There’s lots of solid research in this essay, including specific programs that were conducted and how successful they were, as well as specific data mentioned throughout. This evidence helps strengthen the author’s argument.
  • The author makes a case for using expanding bed net use over waiting until malaria occurs and beginning treatment, but not much of a plan is given for how the bed nets would be distributed or how to ensure they’re being used properly. By going more into detail of what she believes should be done, the author would be making a stronger argument.
  • The introduction of the essay does a good job of laying out the seriousness of the problem, but the conclusion is short and abrupt. Expanding it into its own paragraph would give the author a final way to convince readers of her side of the argument.


Argumentative Essay Example 3

There are many ways payments could work. They could be in the form of a free-market approach, where athletes are able to earn whatever the market is willing to pay them, it could be a set amount of money per athlete, or student athletes could earn income from endorsements, autographs, and control of their likeness, similar to the way top Olympians earn money.

Proponents of the idea believe that, because college athletes are the ones who are training, participating in games, and bringing in audiences, they should receive some sort of compensation for their work. If there were no college athletes, the NCAA wouldn’t exist, college coaches wouldn’t receive there (sometimes very high) salaries, and brands like Nike couldn’t profit from college sports. In fact, the NCAA brings in roughly $1 billion in revenue a year, but college athletes don’t receive any of that money in the form of a paycheck. Additionally, people who believe college athletes should be paid state that paying college athletes will actually encourage them to remain in college longer and not turn pro as quickly, either by giving them a way to begin earning money in college or requiring them to sign a contract stating they’ll stay at the university for a certain number of years while making an agreed-upon salary.  

Supporters of this idea point to Zion Williamson, the Duke basketball superstar, who, during his freshman year, sustained a serious knee injury. Many argued that, even if he enjoyed playing for Duke, it wasn’t worth risking another injury and ending his professional career before it even began for a program that wasn’t paying him. Williamson seems to have agreed with them and declared his eligibility for the NCAA draft later that year. If he was being paid, he may have stayed at Duke longer. In fact, roughly a third of student athletes surveyed stated that receiving a salary while in college would make them “strongly consider” remaining collegiate athletes longer before turning pro.

Paying athletes could also stop the recruitment scandals that have plagued the NCAA. In 2018, the NCAA stripped the University of Louisville's men's basketball team of its 2013 national championship title because it was discovered coaches were using sex workers to entice recruits to join the team. There have been dozens of other recruitment scandals where college athletes and recruits have been bribed with anything from having their grades changed, to getting free cars, to being straight out bribed. By paying college athletes and putting their salaries out in the open, the NCAA could end the illegal and underhanded ways some schools and coaches try to entice athletes to join.

People who argue against the idea of paying college athletes believe the practice could be disastrous for college sports. By paying athletes, they argue, they’d turn college sports into a bidding war, where only the richest schools could afford top athletes, and the majority of schools would be shut out from developing a talented team (though some argue this already happens because the best players often go to the most established college sports programs, who typically pay their coaches millions of dollars per year). It could also ruin the tight camaraderie of many college teams if players become jealous that certain teammates are making more money than they are.

They also argue that paying college athletes actually means only a small fraction would make significant money. Out of the 350 Division I athletic departments, fewer than a dozen earn any money. Nearly all the money the NCAA makes comes from men’s football and basketball, so paying college athletes would make a small group of men--who likely will be signed to pro teams and begin making millions immediately out of college--rich at the expense of other players.

Those against paying college athletes also believe that the athletes are receiving enough benefits already. The top athletes already receive scholarships that are worth tens of thousands per year, they receive free food/housing/textbooks, have access to top medical care if they are injured, receive top coaching, get travel perks and free gear, and can use their time in college as a way to capture the attention of professional recruiters. No other college students receive anywhere near as much from their schools.

People on this side also point out that, while the NCAA brings in a massive amount of money each year, it is still a non-profit organization. How? Because over 95% of those profits are redistributed to its members’ institutions in the form of scholarships, grants, conferences, support for Division II and Division III teams, and educational programs. Taking away a significant part of that revenue would hurt smaller programs that rely on that money to keep running.

While both sides have good points, it’s clear that the negatives of paying college athletes far outweigh the positives. College athletes spend a significant amount of time and energy playing for their school, but they are compensated for it by the scholarships and perks they receive. Adding a salary to that would result in a college athletic system where only a small handful of athletes (those likely to become millionaires in the professional leagues) are paid by a handful of schools who enter bidding wars to recruit them, while the majority of student athletics and college athletic programs suffer or even shut down for lack of money. Continuing to offer the current level of benefits to student athletes makes it possible for as many people to benefit from and enjoy college sports as possible.

This argumentative essay follows the Rogerian model. It discusses each side, first laying out multiple reasons people believe student athletes should be paid, then discussing reasons why the athletes shouldn’t be paid. It ends by stating that college athletes shouldn’t be paid by arguing that paying them would destroy college athletics programs and cause them to have many of the issues professional sports leagues have.

  • Both sides of the argument are well developed, with multiple reasons why people agree with each side. It allows readers to get a full view of the argument and its nuances.
  • Certain statements on both sides are directly rebuffed in order to show where the strengths and weaknesses of each side lie and give a more complete and sophisticated look at the argument.
  • Using the Rogerian model can be tricky because oftentimes you don’t explicitly state your argument until the end of the paper. Here, the thesis doesn’t appear until the first sentence of the final paragraph. That doesn’t give readers a lot of time to be convinced that your argument is the right one, compared to a paper where the thesis is stated in the beginning and then supported throughout the paper. This paper could be strengthened if the final paragraph was expanded to more fully explain why the author supports the view, or if the paper had made it clearer that paying athletes was the weaker argument throughout.


3 Tips for Writing a Good Argumentative Essay

Now that you’ve seen examples of what good argumentative essay samples look like, follow these three tips when crafting your own essay.

#1: Make Your Thesis Crystal Clear

The thesis is the key to your argumentative essay; if it isn’t clear or readers can’t find it easily, your entire essay will be weak as a result. Always make sure that your thesis statement is easy to find. The typical spot for it is the final sentence of the introduction paragraph, but if it doesn’t fit in that spot for your essay, try to at least put it as the first or last sentence of a different paragraph so it stands out more.

Also make sure that your thesis makes clear what side of the argument you’re on. After you’ve written it, it’s a great idea to show your thesis to a couple different people--classmates are great for this. Just by reading your thesis they should be able to understand what point you’ll be trying to make with the rest of your essay.

#2: Show Why the Other Side Is Weak

When writing your essay, you may be tempted to ignore the other side of the argument and just focus on your side, but don’t do this. The best argumentative essays really tear apart the other side to show why readers shouldn’t believe it. Before you begin writing your essay, research what the other side believes, and what their strongest points are. Then, in your essay, be sure to mention each of these and use evidence to explain why they’re incorrect/weak arguments. That’ll make your essay much more effective than if you only focused on your side of the argument.

#3: Use Evidence to Support Your Side

Remember, an essay can’t be an argumentative essay if it doesn’t support its argument with evidence. For every point you make, make sure you have facts to back it up. Some examples are previous studies done on the topic, surveys of large groups of people, data points, etc. There should be lots of numbers in your argumentative essay that support your side of the argument. This will make your essay much stronger compared to only relying on your own opinions to support your argument.

Summary: Argumentative Essay Sample

Argumentative essays are persuasive essays that use facts and evidence to support their side of the argument. Most argumentative essays follow either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model. By reading good argumentative essay examples, you can learn how to develop your essay and provide enough support to make readers agree with your opinion. When writing your essay, remember to always make your thesis clear, show where the other side is weak, and back up your opinion with data and evidence.

What's Next?

Do you need to write an argumentative essay as well?  Check out our guide on the best argumentative essay topics for ideas!

You'll probably also need to write research papers for school.  We've got you covered with 113 potential topics for research papers.

Your college admissions essay may end up being one of the most important essays you write. Follow our step-by-step guide on writing a personal statement to have an essay that'll impress colleges.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Argumentative Essays

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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is an argumentative essay?

The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.

Please note : Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.

Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.

The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important ( exigence ) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis ( warrant ).

However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.

  • Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.

A complete argument

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

The five-paragraph essay

A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.

Longer argumentative essays

Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.

Enago Academy

8 Effective Strategies to Write Argumentative Essays

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In a bustling university town, there lived a student named Alex. Popular for creativity and wit, one challenge seemed insurmountable for Alex– the dreaded argumentative essay!

One gloomy afternoon, as the rain tapped against the window pane, Alex sat at his cluttered desk, staring at a blank document on the computer screen. The assignment loomed large: a 350-600-word argumentative essay on a topic of their choice . With a sigh, he decided to seek help of mentor, Professor Mitchell, who was known for his passion for writing.

Entering Professor Mitchell’s office was like stepping into a treasure of knowledge. Bookshelves lined every wall, faint aroma of old manuscripts in the air and sticky notes over the wall. Alex took a deep breath and knocked on his door.

“Ah, Alex,” Professor Mitchell greeted with a warm smile. “What brings you here today?”

Alex confessed his struggles with the argumentative essay. After hearing his concerns, Professor Mitchell said, “Ah, the argumentative essay! Don’t worry, Let’s take a look at it together.” As he guided Alex to the corner shelf, Alex asked,

Table of Contents

“What is an Argumentative Essay?”

The professor replied, “An argumentative essay is a type of academic writing that presents a clear argument or a firm position on a contentious issue. Unlike other forms of essays, such as descriptive or narrative essays, these essays require you to take a stance, present evidence, and convince your audience of the validity of your viewpoint with supporting evidence. A well-crafted argumentative essay relies on concrete facts and supporting evidence rather than merely expressing the author’s personal opinions . Furthermore, these essays demand comprehensive research on the chosen topic and typically follows a structured format consisting of three primary sections: an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.”

He continued, “Argumentative essays are written in a wide range of subject areas, reflecting their applicability across disciplines. They are written in different subject areas like literature and philosophy, history, science and technology, political science, psychology, economics and so on.

Alex asked,

“When is an Argumentative Essay Written?”

The professor answered, “Argumentative essays are often assigned in academic settings, but they can also be written for various other purposes, such as editorials, opinion pieces, or blog posts. Some situations to write argumentative essays include:

1. Academic assignments

In school or college, teachers may assign argumentative essays as part of coursework. It help students to develop critical thinking and persuasive writing skills .

2. Debates and discussions

Argumentative essays can serve as the basis for debates or discussions in academic or competitive settings. Moreover, they provide a structured way to present and defend your viewpoint.

3. Opinion pieces

Newspapers, magazines, and online publications often feature opinion pieces that present an argument on a current issue or topic to influence public opinion.

4. Policy proposals

In government and policy-related fields, argumentative essays are used to propose and defend specific policy changes or solutions to societal problems.

5. Persuasive speeches

Before delivering a persuasive speech, it’s common to prepare an argumentative essay as a foundation for your presentation.

Regardless of the context, an argumentative essay should present a clear thesis statement , provide evidence and reasoning to support your position, address counterarguments, and conclude with a compelling summary of your main points. The goal is to persuade readers or listeners to accept your viewpoint or at least consider it seriously.”

Handing over a book, the professor continued, “Take a look on the elements or structure of an argumentative essay.”

Elements of an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay comprises five essential components:

Claim in argumentative writing is the central argument or viewpoint that the writer aims to establish and defend throughout the essay. A claim must assert your position on an issue and must be arguable. It can guide the entire argument.

2. Evidence

Evidence must consist of factual information, data, examples, or expert opinions that support the claim. Also, it lends credibility by strengthening the writer’s position.

3. Counterarguments

Presenting a counterclaim demonstrates fairness and awareness of alternative perspectives.

4. Rebuttal

After presenting the counterclaim, the writer refutes it by offering counterarguments or providing evidence that weakens the opposing viewpoint. It shows that the writer has considered multiple perspectives and is prepared to defend their position.

The format of an argumentative essay typically follows the structure to ensure clarity and effectiveness in presenting an argument.

How to Write An Argumentative Essay

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an argumentative essay:

1. Introduction

  • Begin with a compelling sentence or question to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Provide context for the issue, including relevant facts, statistics, or historical background.
  • Provide a concise thesis statement to present your position on the topic.

2. Body Paragraphs (usually three or more)

  • Start each paragraph with a clear and focused topic sentence that relates to your thesis statement.
  • Furthermore, provide evidence and explain the facts, statistics, examples, expert opinions, and quotations from credible sources that supports your thesis.
  • Use transition sentences to smoothly move from one point to the next.

3. Counterargument and Rebuttal

  • Acknowledge opposing viewpoints or potential objections to your argument.
  • Also, address these counterarguments with evidence and explain why they do not weaken your position.

4. Conclusion

  • Restate your thesis statement and summarize the key points you’ve made in the body of the essay.
  • Leave the reader with a final thought, call to action, or broader implication related to the topic.

5. Citations and References

  • Properly cite all the sources you use in your essay using a consistent citation style.
  • Also, include a bibliography or works cited at the end of your essay.

6. Formatting and Style

  • Follow any specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or institution.
  • Use a professional and academic tone in your writing and edit your essay to avoid content, spelling and grammar mistakes .

Remember that the specific requirements for formatting an argumentative essay may vary depending on your instructor’s guidelines or the citation style you’re using (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago). Always check the assignment instructions or style guide for any additional requirements or variations in formatting.

Prof. Mitchell continued, “An argumentative essay can adopt various approaches when dealing with opposing perspectives. It may offer a balanced presentation of both sides, providing equal weight to each, or it may advocate more strongly for one side while still acknowledging the existence of opposing views.” As Alex listened carefully to the Professor’s thoughts, his eyes fell on a page with examples of argumentative essay.

Example of an Argumentative Essay

Alex picked the book and read the example. It helped him to understand the concept. Furthermore, he could now connect better to the elements and steps of the essay which Prof. Mitchell had mentioned earlier. Aren’t you keen to know how an argumentative essay should be like? Here is an example of a well-crafted argumentative essay , which was read by Alex. After Alex finished reading the example, the professor turned the page and continued, “Check this page to know the importance of writing an argumentative essay in developing skills of an individual.”

Importance of an Argumentative Essay


After understanding the benefits, Alex was convinced by the ability of the argumentative essays in advocating one’s beliefs and favor the author’s position. Alex asked,

“How are argumentative essays different from the other types?”

Prof. Mitchell answered, “Argumentative essays differ from other types of essays primarily in their purpose, structure, and approach in presenting information. Unlike expository essays, argumentative essays persuade the reader to adopt a particular point of view or take a specific action on a controversial issue. Furthermore, they differ from descriptive essays by not focusing vividly on describing a topic. Also, they are less engaging through storytelling as compared to the narrative essays.

Alex said, “Given the direct and persuasive nature of argumentative essays, can you suggest some strategies to write an effective argumentative essay?

Turning the pages of the book, Prof. Mitchell replied, “Sure! You can check this infographic to get some tips for writing an argumentative essay.”

Effective Strategies to Write an Argumentative Essay


As days turned into weeks, Alex diligently worked on his essay. He researched, gathered evidence, and refined his thesis. It was a long and challenging journey, filled with countless drafts and revisions.

Finally, the day arrived when Alex submitted their essay. As he clicked the “Submit” button, a sense of accomplishment washed over him. He realized that the argumentative essay, while challenging, had improved his critical thinking and transformed him into a more confident writer. Furthermore, Alex received feedback from his professor, a mix of praise and constructive criticism. It was a humbling experience, a reminder that every journey has its obstacles and opportunities for growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

An argumentative essay can be written as follows- 1. Choose a Topic 2. Research and Collect Evidences 3. Develop a Clear Thesis Statement 4. Outline Your Essay- Introduction, Body Paragraphs and Conclusion 5. Revise and Edit 6. Format and Cite Sources 7. Final Review

One must choose a clear, concise and specific statement as a claim. It must be debatable and establish your position. Avoid using ambiguous or unclear while making a claim. To strengthen your claim, address potential counterarguments or opposing viewpoints. Additionally, use persuasive language and rhetoric to make your claim more compelling

Starting an argument essay effectively is crucial to engage your readers and establish the context for your argument. Here’s how you can start an argument essay are: 1. Begin With an Engaging Hook 2. Provide Background Information 3. Present Your Thesis Statement 4. Briefly Outline Your Main 5. Establish Your Credibility

The key features of an argumentative essay are: 1. Clear and Specific Thesis Statement 2. Credible Evidence 3. Counterarguments 4. Structured Body Paragraph 5. Logical Flow 6. Use of Persuasive Techniques 7. Formal Language

An argumentative essay typically consists of the following main parts or sections: 1. Introduction 2. Body Paragraphs 3. Counterargument and Rebuttal 4. Conclusion 5. References (if applicable)

The main purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to accept or agree with a particular viewpoint or position on a controversial or debatable topic. In other words, the primary goal of an argumentative essay is to convince the audience that the author's argument or thesis statement is valid, logical, and well-supported by evidence and reasoning.

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Last Updated: June 14, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 839,864 times.

Understanding how to structure and write an argumentative essay is a useful skill. Strong argumentative essays present relevant evidence that supports an argument and convinces the audience of a particular stance. This type of essay provides the reader with a thorough overview of a topic, covering all facets, but also attempts to persuade the reader into agreeing with the author's point of view.

Understanding the Format

Step 1 Understand the purpose of an argumentative essay.

  • Argumentative essays also provide your audience with a well-rounded summary of the issue at hand, but clearly indicate what your own point of view is and why this view is the best option over others.

Step 2 Understand the methodology of an argumentative essay.

  • The effectiveness of this type of essay depends on the author's ability to parse through the various facets of the topic and lead the reader toward an obvious and logical conclusion. To this end, you must familiarize yourself with all opinions about the topic so that you can also outline the viewpoints that oppose your own view (counterarguments).

Step 3 Understand the desired outcome of an argumentative essay.

  • Make sure you have your desired outcome in mind as you move forward in the writing process.

Selecting a Topic

Step 1 Choose something that fits the format.

  • For example, writing an argumentative essay on the fact that exercise is good for you would be undesirable because it would be difficult to find contradicting views on the topic; everyone agrees that exercise is good for people.

Step 2 Pick an issue that is interesting to you.

  • Avoid choosing a topic that has been overdone, or, on the other hand, one that is too obscure (since supporting evidence may be more difficult to find).

Step 3 Test your argument.

  • Try a debate-style conversation in which you each bring up aspects of the controversy and attempt to explain your view on the topic.

Step 4 Keep your audience in mind.

  • Are you writing the paper for a class, in which case your audience is your professor and your classmates? Or perhaps you are writing it for a presentation to a larger group of people. Regardless, you must think about where your audience is coming from in order to lead them to your desired outcome.
  • People's backgrounds and experiences often influence how they will react to views different from their own, so it is helpful for you to be knowledgeable about these factors.
  • You also use different language when addressing different groups of people. For example, you would speak to the pastor at your church differently than you might speak in a casual setting with your best friend. It is important to be mindful of these distinctions when considering your audience.

Step 5 Understand the rhetorical situation.

  • Rhetorical situations usually involve employing language that is intended to persuade someone toward a particular view or belief. That is why rhetoric is important in an argumentative essay. These types of essays aim to convince the reader that the author's view on the subject is the most correct one. [6] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Structuring Your Argument

Step 1 Create a catchy title.

  • A good title will act as a "preview" for what your paper will be about. Many titles for academic papers come in two parts, separated by a colon. The first part is often a catchy hook that involves a pun on your topic or an impactful quote, and the second part is usually a sentence that sums up or provides details about your argument. [8] X Research source

Step 2 Come up with a thesis statement.

  • A good thesis statement is concise and clear. It tells the reader what the point of the paper is and why it's important. The thesis must make a claim of some sort. [10] X Research source This can be a claim of value (describing the worth of how we view a certain thing), a claim of definition (arguing that the way we define a term or idea needs to be altered in some way), a claim of cause and effect (claiming that one event or thing caused another event or thing), or a claim about policy solutions (arguing that the way we do things needs to be changed for some reason).
  • Here is an example of a strong thesis statement: Excessive meat consumption in America is the leading cause of pollution today, and, thus, is a significant influence on global warming. This thesis makes a claim (specifically a cause and effect claim) about a debatable topic with a narrow enough focus to create an interesting, manageable argumentative essay.
  • Here is an example of a weak thesis statement: Pollution is a problem in the world today. This is not a debatable issue; few people would argue that pollution is not a problem. The topic is also too broad. You can't write a paper on every single aspect of pollution.

Step 3 Avoid the standard three-part thesis often taught to beginning writers.

  • Changing the thesis to avoid this form will make for a much more functional essay that is written at a more advanced level. A more effective thesis would be something like this: Due to increasing global temperatures and rising ocean levels, global warming has become an issue that needs to be acknowledged by a wider audience in order to begin reversing the effects.

Step 2 Write an introduction.

  • There are many different ways to organize your argument, but the most important thing is that you cover all aspects of the issue. Leaving out information simply because it contradicts your thesis idea is unethical as it does not provide an accurate portrayal of the issue.
  • Be sure to include counterarguments (those ideas that are at odds with your own view), but explain to your reader why your own viewpoint is more logical and accurate, perhaps because the opposing view is based on outdated information, etc. Avoid implicating opposing views as wrong because it could alienate your readers.

Step 4 Write a conclusion.

  • Be sure to review your main points and restate your thesis. But make sure not to introduce any new information in the conclusion so that you can effectively wrap up what you've already said.
  • Often, it is helpful to end with a look forward to further research that could be done on the topic in light of what you have said in your paper.

Including Research and Sources

Step 1 Do your research.

  • Ask a reference librarian for assistance in finding reputable, useful sources for your argument. They will probably be happy to help you.

Step 2 Pick sources that are reputable and provide accurate, up-to-date information.

  • Scholarly sources should be written by experts in the field (i.e. use a quote from someone with a PhD in environmental science if you are writing an argumentative paper on the dangers of global warming) or published in scholarly, peer-reviewed outlets. This means that sources are fact-checked by a panel of experts before they are approved for publication.
  • It is important to remember that anyone can write things on the internet without any kind of publication standards for accuracy, so using blogs and many websites is not a good idea in an academic paper.

Step 4 Cite your sources.

  • Citing sources involves writing quotation marks (") around the verbatim quotes and then including a parenthetical in-text citation at the end of the quote that refers to a source listed on the Bibliography or Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
  • There are several different formatting methods that are used in different fields. [16] X Research source For example, in English departments they use MLA formatting and in history departments they usually implement Chicago style formatting.

Editing and Applying Final Touches

Step 1 Take a step back.

  • Sentence fragments. [18] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Fragments are incomplete phrases that cannot stand alone as a sentence because they are missing either a verb, a noun, or a complete thought.
  • Parallelism. [19] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Errors in parallelism occur when words or groups of words do not appear in the same format or structure within a sentence.
  • Subject-verb agreement. [20] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Errors with subject-verb agreement happen when an incorrect verb form is used with a particular subject. For example, he know instead of he knows.

Step 3 Check for problems with formatting or quote incorporation.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Include only relevant information. Don't drift off-topic. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Try to make each paragraph about a different aspect. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Use basic writing techniques to write the essay. Sentences should logically flow and have a specific purpose. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

an argumentative text

  • It is important to respect different views and to only use information, not insults, to support your claim. Thanks Helpful 41 Not Helpful 7
  • It is also important not to base your reasons on opinions. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0

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Write an Argumentative Research Paper

  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/establishing_arguments/organizing_your_argument.html
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/argumentative-essay/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/rhetorical_situation/index.html
  • ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/top-10-argumentative-essay-topics.html
  • ↑ https://umanitoba.ca/student/academiclearning/media/Writing_a_Great_Title_NEW.pdf
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/
  • ↑ https://slc.berkeley.edu/writing-worksheets-and-other-writing-resources/suggestions-developing-argumentative-essays
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/argumentative-writing
  • ↑ https://guides.skylinecollege.edu/c.php?g=279231&p=4339683
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/proofreading_for_errors.html
  • http://homeworktips.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/argument.htm

About This Article

Jake Adams

To write an argumentative essay, select a debatable topic that you have a strong opinion about. Your job is to convince the reader that your view on the subject is the best one, so choose a topic you can investigate and support with research. Open the essay with a concise thesis that asserts your viewpoint, then sum up all aspects of the issue, including your opinion and counterarguments. Pull quotes from reputable sources to support your stance, and end by restating your thesis and reasserting your main points. If you want to learn more, like how to format your Works Cited page to list your sources, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Strategic enrollment management and student success, argumentative writing, breaking the blank page: how to get started with argumentative writing in college.

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What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of paper where you try to prove a point. It's like a debate. In the essay, you explain why someone should agree with your side of the argument.

Why should I care?

Argumentative essays will help you:

  • Improve your reading and listening skills
  • Practice researching topics improve your thinking skills
  • Learn to clearly explain your points

See what that looks like in practice

Roadmap to an argumentative essay

Icon of a map

  • Find a debatable topic. This means that someone could argue against you.
  • Research your topic. Come up with an argument that is supported by your research. This is your claim.
  • Jot down several good reasons why you support your claim. Use your research to back up those reasons.
  • Look at the reasons you gave and try to argue with yourself . Ask: Why would someone disagree with your reasons? What would they say?
  • Choose one of these reasons and disprove it with your research. This is your counterclaim.
  • Carefully organize your paper so that it moves smoothly from defending your own points to sections where you argue against the opposition.

Essay template and examples


  • Start with an opening statement that gets the reader's attention.
  • Include background information on your claim.
  • Introduce and state your claim.

Example: Many important questions face our generation, but one rises above the rest: cake or pie? Both desserts can be delicious, but pie has several clear advantages over cake. Due to its healthiness, pie is superior to cake.

Body paragraphs

  • Make points that support your claim.
  • Use facts and details to make these points - these are your evidence.
  • Connect these facts and details to your claim.

Example: Pie is often healthier than cake because it is more likely to contain fiber. Both sweet and savory pies are likely to have fiber. Fiber can help control blood sugar, especially for those with diabetes. Thus, pie’s fiber content can make it a healthier dessert option for everyone.


  • Show a point people may make to challenge your argument.
  • Disprove that point.

Example: Some people may say pie is more difficult to put candles in than a cake. However, silken pies like key lime pie can be used to hold candles.

  • Restate your argument and supporting evidence.
  • Tell your reader why your argument matters.

Example: Food choices have a direct impact on personal health. Healthy eating does not mean food has to be bland. People can enjoy delicious food and live a healthier lifestyle by eating pie instead of cake.


  • Argumentative Text | What it is, Structure, Characteristics and Examples

an argumentative text

We explain what the argumentative text is and what its general characteristics are. Also, how is its structure and examples.

What is an argumentative text?

An argumentative text is   a type of writing that expresses coherence through reasoning that refutes or justifies something, in order to persuade the reader.

An argumentative text  expresses the ideas, opinions and point of view of the issuer  , unlike other types of texts such as scientific , narrative or legal, which are impartial regarding the subjectivity of the issuer.

Characteristics of the argumentative text

Characteristics of the argumentative text

Before starting to write an argumentative text, it is necessary to be clear about the idea that you want to convey and based on what types of arguments you are going to express it:

  • Emotional-affective arguments.  They are those that seek to generate empathy and convince through emotions and feelings.
  • Rational arguments.  They are those that appeal to the recipient's capacity for logical thinking.
  • The analogy.  It consists of the parallelism or relationship of similarity between two elements at first glance, different.
  • Statistical data.  It consists of reliable numerical information that can be compared and analyzed.
  • The exemplification. It consists of providing examples from everyday life, which represent the theme exposed in the thesis.
  • The direct or verbatim quotation. It consists of a faithful transcription of the words of an author or published document and the complete sentence is written in quotation marks.

Structure of the argumentative text

Structure of the argumentative text

  • The introduction .   It refers to a brief description of the thesis or fundamental idea, in order to introduce the reader to the subject and in a given context and then be able to develop the arguments in the rest of the writing.
  • The body of the argument.   It refers to the development of the thesis itself, making use of the different linguistic resources. The objective is to convince the reader, so the information must be clear, orderly and have meaning or coherence.
  • The conclusion .   It refers to the last part of the writing (which can consist of several paragraphs ) in which the hypothesis raised is concisely justified. That is, a logical reasoning is expressed that gives meaning to all the arguments mentioned.

Examples of argumentative texts

  • Scientific articles . They tend to have technical language and are aimed at a specialized audience.
  • Newspaper articles. They do not always include the author's signature.
  • Legal documents.  As are the remedies for protection, appeals or contracts.
  • Political speeches . In which the arguments are often manipulated in order to fulfill partisan interests, and not just debate political issues.
  • Advertising guidelines. They are not usually reliable sources of information, due to the economic interests that hide or exceed the exposed subject.

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Argumentative text structure: A guide to improving written expression in English

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Written expression is  an essential skill in  academic and professional environments . From the briefest of communications to essays, texts follow certain rules and writing conventions that change from one language to another, so it's important to know the differences. One vital step is the structuring of each type of text. In this article you will find  handy information about the structure of an argumentative text in English.

What is an argumentative text?

An argumentative text  is one of the most common types of text and is characterised by  trying to persuade the reader of an idea by providing arguments.   Writing such a text  is a common task in  language-learning , and is widely used as an assessment tool in official exams. Normally, specific guidelines have to be followed, although these may change according to the context. The  general features of an argumentative text  are:

  • It champions a  specific position.
  • It offers  data and arguments  to defend that position.
  • It takes opposing arguments  into account, and discusses these.
  • It can deal with a wide  variety of topics.

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How is an argumentative text structured?

The aim of an argumentative text is to put forward a viewpoint clearly and simply,  supported by data and a logical conclusion  to back it up. To do this, follow the structure below:

  • Introduction : briefly explain the subject matter dealt with in the text and provide the necessary background, so the reader can understand your position. The introduction presents the thesis, which is the main idea argued for in the text. 
  • Body of the argument : this usually consists of three or more paragraphs where the reasoning and data that support your point of view are outlined. Each paragraph should focus on a different idea and should begin by clearly establishing the theme you wish to develop. The opposing arguments that you'll be refuting should be included here along with your own, although the order will depend on the approach you take. 
  • Conclusion : this last paragraph should focus on the final argumentation underpinning the thesis, synthesising the most important arguments as developed in the preceding paragraphs. Here, you should avoid including new ideas, and instead highlight the fundamental points in favour of your argument.


How to write an argumentative text in English

1. introduction.

The introduction should be concise. This is not the time to develop in-depth arguments or contrast different points of view. The  main purpose here is to establish a state of play  (a summary of the current situation), which helps us to understand the text without entering into too much detail, while also clarifying the subject matter and stance to be taken. Key features of this opening paragraph are:

  • Effectiveness

In the introduction, you should  provoke a reaction from the reader , whether this be to predispose them towards your argument,  generate interest , or anything else. There are many ways to generate interest in the reader, from opening your text with a question and its answer (at the start or end) to beginning with a specific fact and outlining the reasons why it is important. There is a wide range of tools that can be useful to achieve the desired effect. It is also  highly recommendable to use short, concise sentences when you still haven't mastered the language .

2. First paragraph of the body

The first paragraph sets out the opinion that you're going to try to refute. Although there are other ways to organise an argumentative text, this is one of the most common. It's important  to focus only on the issues that will be discussed in the text itself  and not to leave any loose ends, since the purpose of these opposing arguments is to spark a dialogue with matters or ideas you intend to develop. 

One common approach to outline these ideas is to use conjunctions of opposition such as  although  or  even though .  The key to this first paragraph is to present the arguments in order of priority  (and bearing in mind how they relate to one another) to later discuss them in the same order.

3. The second and subsequent paragraphs

The second paragraph is where  arguments presented in the first are refuted . If the paragraph is too long or you need new arguments or ideas for your discussion, you can separate it into as many paragraphs as you need. Here, the important thing is to present the arguments and data that you will use to support your opinion.

Any paragraphs following this one should also  include arguments in favour , without the need to contrast them with others. Look for new ideas to include in support of your stance, and continue the discussion in the third and successive paragraphs. Remember to always follow a logical order, maintaining the order of ideas set out previously, connecting them to themes to one another and opening new paragraphs for each change of idea.

4. Conclusion and closing

Here, you will need to make another  major impact  like the one in the introduction. Although this time you can write a little more, try to reach your reader emotionally and highlight the most important points developed in the main body of your text. This is not the place to include new ideas. Instead, focus on summarising and creating the desired effect on the reader, so that your argument is better established and the main points stand out above others.


Following a structure is the first step to  writing a sound argumentative text , an essential practice in the process of learning any new language such as English. To properly organise a text, you will need to work on learning the essential vocabulary as well as  developing your communication skills  in the language concerned.

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Argumentative Essay

Definition of argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that presents arguments about both sides of an issue. It could be that both sides are presented equally balanced, or it could be that one side is presented more forcefully than the other. It all depends on the writer, and what side he supports the most. The general structure of an argumentative essay follows this format:

  • Introduction : Attention Grabber/ hook , Background Information , Thesis Statement
  • Body : Three body paragraphs (three major arguments)
  • Counterargument : An argument to refute earlier arguments and give weight to the actual position
  • Conclusion : Rephrasing the thesis statement , major points, call to attention, or concluding remarks .

Models for Argumentative Essays

There are two major models besides this structure given above, which is called a classical model. Two other models are the Toulmin and Rogerian models.

Toulmin model is comprised of an introduction with a claim or thesis, followed by the presentation of data to support the claim. Warrants are then listed for the reasons to support the claim with backing and rebuttals. However, the Rogerian model asks to weigh two options, lists the strengths and weaknesses of both options, and gives a recommendation after an analysis.

Five Types of Argument Claims in Essay Writing  

There are five major types of argument claims as given below.

  • A claim of definition
  • A claim about values
  • A claim about the reason
  • A claim about comparison
  • A claim about policy or position

A writer makes a claim about these issues and answers the relevant questions about it with relevant data and evidence to support the claim.

Three Major Types of Argument and How to Apply Them

Classical argument.

This model of applying argument is also called the Aristotelian model developed by Aristotle. This type of essay introduces the claim, with the opinion of the writer about the claim, its both perspectives, supported by evidence, and provides a conclusion about the better perspective . This essay includes an introduction, a body having the argument and support, a counter-argument with support, and a conclusion.

Toulmin Argument

This model developed by Stephen Toulmin is based on the claim followed by grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier, and rebuttal . Its structure comprises, an introduction having the main claim, a body with facts and evidence, while its rebuttal comprises counter-arguments and a conclusion.

Rogerian Argument

The third model by Carl Rogers has different perspectives having proof to support and a conclusion based on all the available perspectives. Its structure comprises an introduction with a thesis, the opposite point of view and claim, a middle-ground for both or more perspectives, and a conclusion.

Four Steps to Outline and Argumentative Essay

There are four major steps to outlining an argumentative essay.

  • Introduction with background, claim, and thesis.
  • Body with facts, definition, claim, cause and effect, or policy.
  • The opposing point of view with pieces of evidence.

Examples of Argumentative Essay in Literature

Example #1: put a little science in your life by brian greene.

“When we consider the ubiquity of cellphones, iPods, personal computers and the Internet, it’s easy to see how science (and the technology to which it leads) is woven into the fabric of our day-to-day activities . When we benefit from CT scanners, M.R.I. devices, pacemakers and arterial stents, we can immediately appreciate how science affects the quality of our lives. When we assess the state of the world, and identify looming challenges like climate change, global pandemics, security threats and diminishing resources, we don’t hesitate in turning to science to gauge the problems and find solutions. And when we look at the wealth of opportunities hovering on the horizon—stem cells, genomic sequencing, personalized medicine, longevity research, nanoscience, brain-machine interface, quantum computers, space technology—we realize how crucial it is to cultivate a general public that can engage with scientific issues; there’s simply no other way that as a society we will be prepared to make informed decisions on a range of issues that will shape the future.”

These two paragraphs present an argument about two scientific fields — digital products and biotechnology. It has also given full supporting details with names.

Example #2: Boys Here, Girls There: Sure, If Equality’s the Goal by Karen Stabiner

“The first objections last week came from the National Organization for Women and the New York Civil Liberties Union, both of which opposed the opening of TYWLS in the fall of 1996. The two groups continue to insist—as though it were 1896 and they were arguing Plessy v. Ferguson—that separate can never be equal. I appreciate NOW ’s wariness of the Bush administration’s endorsement of single-sex public schools, since I am of the generation that still considers the label “feminist” to be a compliment—and many feminists still fear that any public acknowledgment of differences between the sexes will hinder their fight for equality .”

This paragraph by Karen Stabiner presents an objection to the argument of separation between public schools. It has been fully supported with evidence of the court case.

Example #3: The Flight from Conversation by Sherry Turkle

“We’ve become accustomed to a new way of being “ alone together.” Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another, and also elsewhere, connected to wherever we want to be. We want to customize our lives. We want to move in and out of where we are because the thing we value most is control over where we focus our attention. We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party.”

This is an argument by Sherry Turkle, who beautifully presented it in the first person plural dialogues . However, it is clear that this is part of a greater argument instead of the essay.

Function of Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay presents both sides of an issue. However, it presents one side more positively or meticulously than the other one, so that readers could be swayed to the one the author intends. The major function of this type of essay is to present a case before the readers in a convincing manner, showing them the complete picture.

Synonyms of Argumentative Essay

Argumentative Essay synonyms are as follows: persuasive essays, research essays, analytical essays, or even some personal essays.

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  • Narrative Essay
  • Definition Essay
  • Descriptive Essay
  • Types of Essay
  • Analytical Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Critical Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Process Essay
  • Explicatory Essay
  • An Essay on Man: Epistle I
  • Comparison and Contrast Essay

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an argumentative text

50 Argumentative Essay Topics

Illustration by Catherine Song. ThoughtCo. 

  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and take a position on it. You'll need to back up your viewpoint with well-researched facts and information as well. One of the hardest parts is deciding which topic to write about, but there are plenty of ideas available to get you started.

Choosing a Great Argumentative Essay Topic

Students often find that most of their work on these essays is done before they even start writing. This means that it's best if you have a general interest in your subject, otherwise you might get bored or frustrated while trying to gather information. (You don't need to know everything, though.) Part of what makes this experience rewarding is learning something new.

It's best if you have a general interest in your subject, but the argument you choose doesn't have to be one that you agree with.

The subject you choose may not necessarily be one that you are in full agreement with, either. You may even be asked to write a paper from the opposing point of view. Researching a different viewpoint helps students broaden their perspectives. 

Ideas for Argument Essays

Sometimes, the best ideas are sparked by looking at many different options. Explore this list of possible topics and see if a few pique your interest. Write those down as you come across them, then think about each for a few minutes.

Which would you enjoy researching? Do you have a firm position on a particular subject? Is there a point you would like to make sure to get across? Did the topic give you something new to think about? Can you see why someone else may feel differently?

50 Possible Topics

A number of these topics are rather controversial—that's the point. In an argumentative essay, opinions matter and controversy is based on opinions, which are, hopefully, backed up by facts.   If these topics are a little too controversial or you don't find the right one for you, try browsing through persuasive essay and speech topics  as well.

  • Is global climate change  caused by humans?
  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • Is our election process fair?
  • Is torture ever acceptable?
  • Should men get paternity leave from work?
  • Are school uniforms beneficial?
  • Do we have a fair tax system?
  • Do curfews keep teens out of trouble?
  • Is cheating out of control?
  • Are we too dependent on computers?
  • Should animals be used for research?
  • Should cigarette smoking be banned?
  • Are cell phones dangerous?
  • Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy?
  • Do we have a throwaway society?
  • Is child behavior better or worse than it was years ago?
  • Should companies market to children?
  • Should the government have a say in our diets?
  • Does access to condoms prevent teen pregnancy?
  • Should members of Congress have term limits?
  • Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?
  • Are CEOs paid too much?
  • Should athletes be held to high moral standards?
  • Do violent video games cause behavior problems?
  • Should creationism be taught in public schools?
  • Are beauty pageants exploitative ?
  • Should English be the official language of the United States?
  • Should the racing industry be forced to use biofuels?
  • Should the alcohol drinking age be increased or decreased?
  • Should everyone be required to recycle?
  • Is it okay for prisoners to vote (as they are in some states)?
  • Is it good that same-sex couples are able to marry?
  • Are there benefits to attending a single-sex school ?
  • Does boredom lead to trouble?
  • Should schools be in session year-round ?
  • Does religion cause war?
  • Should the government provide health care?
  • Should abortion be illegal?
  • Are girls too mean to each other?
  • Is homework harmful or helpful?
  • Is the cost of college too high?
  • Is college admission too competitive?
  • Should euthanasia be illegal?
  • Should the federal government legalize marijuana use nationally ?
  • Should rich people be required to pay more taxes?
  • Should schools require foreign language or physical education?
  • Is affirmative action fair?
  • Is public prayer okay in schools?
  • Are schools and teachers responsible for low test scores?
  • Is greater gun control a good idea?
  • Preparing an Argument Essay: Exploring Both Sides of an Issue
  • Controversial Speech Topics
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • Bad Essay Topics for College Admissions
  • 25 Essay Topics for American Government Classes
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech
  • Topic In Composition and Speech
  • How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement
  • 40 Writing Topics for Argumentative and Persuasive Essays
  • MBA Essay Tips
  • 61 General Expository Essay Topic Ideas to Practice Academic Writing
  • Expository Essay Genre With Suggested Prompts
  • Topical Organization Essay
  • Middle School Debate Topics
  • Supporting Detail in Composition and Speech
  • 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper

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an argumentative text

What Is An Argumentative Text? How to Teach It in 3rd Grade

You’ve spent hours scouring the internet and are about to pull your hair out and/or break your computer. You’re not alone.

Searching for resources to teach argumentative text can drive you crazy. There’s not a whole lot out there for it that’s appropriate for our third and fourth graders. Partially, I believe, this is because it’s just so dang hard to teach. And, it’s often confused as the same thing as persuasive text, which you can find resources for all over the place.

To teach it best, we need to start with our knowledge of it.

So, What Is Argumentative Text?

Before we do anything else, we need to be able to answer the question, “What is an argumentative text?” An argumentative text is a piece of writing in which the author states a claim, or position, and supports it with evidence to make the reader understand it as a valid argument.

The author relies on logic, facts, and credible sources to make his/her argument. This means that a lot of the real work begins before the author puts pen to paper with his/her thoughts. The actual starting place is in researching the topic. Then the author chooses a side or an argument.

Argumentative texts, especially those geared toward an audience above the age of 9, present the other side of the argument in the text. The author does this to show his/her fair-mindedness, but also to counter the argument with facts and evidence to show the reader that the author’s claim has more merit.

Basic Structure of Argumentative Text at the 3rd Grade Level

PowerPoint slide to help you introduce and teach argumentative text in third grade

Understanding how an argumentative text is structured is extremely helpful in identifying the author’s claim. While there are different types of argumentative texts, and many can have a much more complex structure, below is a basic starting point for our third graders.

  • Introduction – The author states or implies the claim.
  • Body – The author supports the claim with reason, evidence, and facts.
  • Conclusion – The author restates the claim.

Argumentative vs. Persuasive Text

Argumentative text and persuasive text are NOT the same thing. We should not be using these words interchangeably with our third graders. Click here to learn more about the differences between argumentative and persuasive text.

How do we teach argumentative text to our third graders?

Let’s start by looking at what the kids need to be able to do by the end of the unit:

  • recognize the characteristics and structures of argumentative text,
  • identify the claim,
  • distinguish facts from opinions,
  • and identify the intended audience.
  • And, looking ahead to fourth grade, they will also need to be able to explain how the author used facts to support the argument.

Start with the Prerequisites

There are a couple of things that your students must be able to do before analyzing an argumentative text such as how to determine key ideas. Read more about the skills you want to practice before and during your argumentative text unit here .

Choose the Right Argumentative Text

Choose an appropriate high-interest text with a simple structure. Read more tips on how to find a great article here .

Here’s a free argumentative text for third grade:


Build Literacy Knowledge of Argumentative Text

It’s important to introduce the genre and its essential terms in an engaging way prior to reading. Get a free video to show your students here .

Create an anchor chart to give students a reference for the basic structure and characteristics of argumentative text. Read more about this here .

Get into the Text

argumentative text passage about video games for third grade with student completing an argumentative text response sheet

This is where we’ll break down the actual lesson planning that goes into creating your unit. Below is a basic outline. You can find in-depth explanations in this blog post about how to teach argumentative text to third graders.

  • Build Background Knowledge Before Reading the Argumentative Text
  • Read & Discuss the Introduction and Claim
  • Read & Discuss the Body and Supporting Evidence
  • Read & Discuss the Conclusion
  • Read & Discuss the References
  • Determine the Intended Audience
  • Analyze the Structure
  • Evaluate the Author’s Claim
  • Compare Argumentative Texts with the Same Topic
  • Provide Student Practice
  • Evaluate & Compare Arguments Made in the Same Text
  • Assess Understanding

Want to Save Time? It’s All Done for You Here:

argumentative text bundle for sale. image of a passage, digital task card, and interactive notebook pages

This bundle has everything you need to teach argumentative text to your third graders and lifts all the hard work off your shoulders. It is all planned and ready to go.

What You’ll Get:

  • 5 easy to follow, scripted lesson plans take out all the guesswork.
  • 3 of the 5 are PowerPoint lessons that make introducing the genre a breeze.
  • A total of 7 high-interest passages will keep your students engaged.
  • An assessment with an answer key is included.
  • Interactive notebook pages help your students interact with the text and give them a tool to refer back to.
  • Task cards help your students practice distinguishing fact from opinion and identifying evidence that supports the author’s claim.
  • Plus, you’ll get resources for tier 2 vocabulary, grammar, and more!

Read More Details About All the Above:


Free Argumentative Text Passage for 3rd Grade


How to Teach Argumentative Text to 3rd Graders


Argumentative vs Persuasive Text: What’s the Difference?


Reading Comprehension Strategies That Will Help 3rd Graders Understand Argumentative Text


How to Introduce Argumentative Text to 3rd Graders

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Quality reading strategy instruction year-round is essential for your students to develop reading comprehension strategies that will help them make

Argumentative vs Persuasive Text: What’s the Difference?

A lot of people confuse the two or use the words interchangeably. The differences between persuasive and argumentative text are

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100 Thought-Provoking Argumentative Writing Prompts for Kids and Teens

Practice making well-reasoned arguments using research and facts.

Parents should be punished for their minor children’s crimes.

Writing a strong argumentative essay teaches students to make a case for their own point of view without relying on emotion or passion. These argumentative essay topics provide options for kids of all ages, including controversial subjects and some that are just for fun.

School and Education Argumentative Essay Topics

Science and history argumentative essay topics, life and ethics argumentative essay topics, social justice and civics argumentative essay topics, more argumentative essay topics, what’s the difference between argumentative and persuasive essays.

These two types of essays are similar, but there are some subtle and important differences .

  • Author’s purpose: In an argumentative essay, your job is to simply convince the reader that the point of view you’re presenting is valid, even if it doesn’t change their mind. Persuasive essays seek to sway the reader to adopt your point of view over any others.
  • Method: Argumentative essays rely heavily on well-researched facts and logical assertions. In a persuasive essay, the writer may use a blend of emotion and facts to win over the reader.
  • Audience: Persuasive essays require a specific audience, since the writer must acknowledge and attempt to overcome their potential objections. The writer of an argumentative essay is simply making a statement, so knowing their audience is less important.
  • Viewpoint: A persuasive essay writer should believe their point of view is the only correct one, and try to persuade the reader to agree. Argumentative essays acknowledge other points of view, but use reason and logic to argue that the writer’s point of view is best.

Persuasive and argumentative essay topics often overlap. The difference is in how the writer approaches the topic. When you assign one of the topics below as an argumentative essay, remind students to use research, reason, and logic to make a strong but dispassionate argument.

  • Should physical education be part of the standard high school curriculum?
  • Schools should require recommended vaccines for all students, with very limited exceptions.
  • Should all students have the ability to attend college for free?
  • What one class should all high schools students be required to take and pass in order to graduate?

What one class should all high schools students be required to take and pass in order to graduate?

  • Do you think homework should be required, optional, or not given at all?
  • Students should/should not be able to use their phones during the school day.
  • Should schools have dress codes?
  • If I could change one school rule, it would be …
  • Is year-round school a good idea?
  • Which is better, private schools or public schools?
  • Should every student have to participate in athletics?
  • Do you think schools should ban junk food from their cafeterias?
  • Should students be required to volunteer in their communities?
  • What is the most important school subject?
  • Are letter grades helpful, or should we replace them with something else?

Are letter grades helpful, or should we replace them with something else?

  • Should schools be allowed to ban some books from their libraries?
  • Which is better, book smarts or street smarts?
  • Are single-gender schools better or worse for students?
  • Are computers making teachers obsolete?
  • Students who fail a test should be given a chance to take it again.
  • Is it acceptable to use animals for experiments and research?
  • Vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco.
  • Do we really learn anything from history, or does it just repeat itself over and over?
  • Is it OK to keep animals in zoos?
  • Should we ban plastic bags and bottles?
  • Should we still consider Pluto a planet?

Should we still consider Pluto a planet?

  • It’s important to spend tax dollars exploring space, instead of on other things.
  • Is there life on other planets?
  • Who was the best/worst American president?
  • Should vaccines be mandatory?
  • Are GMOs more helpful than harmful?
  • Is animal cloning ethical?
  • Should human cloning be legal?
  • Should we use stem cells from human embryos for scientific research?
  • Is it better to provide drug addicts with treatment instead of punishment?

Is it better to provide drug addicts with treatment instead of punishment?

  • Should we ban the use of fossil fuels?
  • Can we truly do anything about human-caused global warming?
  • Are electric vehicles better than gas-powered ones?
  • Was life really better “back in the day”?
  • Choose a foreign conflict (e.g., Vietnam or Afghanistan) and argue whether or not the United States was justified in getting involved.
  • The most important challenge our country is currently facing is … (e.g., immigration, gun control, economy)
  • Does social media do more harm than good?
  • The best country in the world is …
  • Are men and women treated equally?
  • Is it better to be vegetarian/vegan than to eat meat?
  • Should little kids be allowed to play competitive sports?
  • Who faces more peer pressure, girls or boys?
  • Should kids have set bedtimes or just go to bed whenever they’re sleepy?

Should kids have set bedtimes or just go to bed whenever they’re sleepy?

  • Which is better, artificial Christmas trees or real ones?
  • Playing violent video games is bad for kids and teens.
  • Parents should track their kids using their cell phones.
  • Are paper books better than e-books?
  • All kids should play on the same sports teams, regardless of gender.
  • All paper documents should be replaced with electronic versions.
  • Is conflict necessary for change?
  • Is war ever justified?
  • A strong middle class is vital to the economy.

A strong middle class is vital to the economy.

  • Is the local minimum wage truly a living wage?
  • Should we do away with gender-specific public bathrooms?
  • Is a progressive income tax better than a flat tax?
  • Capital punishment does/does not deter crime.
  • Would it be better to legalize, tax, and regulate all drugs (including alcohol and cigarettes) instead of banning them?
  • Parents should be punished for their minor children’s crimes.

Parents should be punished for their minor children’s crimes.

  • The government should provide free internet access for every citizen.
  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Is capitalism the best form of economy?
  • Should all Americans be required to vote?
  • Should we change the minimum driving age in the United States?
  • Do you think the government should find a way to provide free health care for everyone?
  • School-age children should be allowed to vote.
  • We should/should not abolish the electoral college.
  • Are “Stand Your Ground” laws effective?
  • Supreme Court judges should be appointed for fixed terms.

Supreme Court judges should be appointed for fixed terms.

  • Does segregation still exist in the United States?
  • We should/should not continue building a wall between the United States and Mexico.
  • Will stricter gun control laws help control mass shootings?
  • Should we make the path to American citizenship easier?
  • Is the American justice system inherently racist?
  • Should we redirect some or all police force funding to social services?
  • Should the United States implement a universal basic income?
  • Choose a fictional character and explain why they should be the next president.
  • What animal makes the best pet?
  • Who is the world’s best athlete, present or past?
  • Which is better, reading books or watching TV?
  • Is a taco a sandwich?
  • Should kids be allowed to stay up as late as they want?

Should kids be allowed to stay up as late as they want?

  • What’s the best video game system?
  • Kids shouldn’t have to go to school on their birthdays.
  • Is video gaming a sport?
  • Are beauty pageants sexist?
  • Should kids get participation trophies for sports?
  • Are stereotypes ever right?
  • Is there any benefit to teaching proper grammar and spelling, or should we allow language to be descriptive instead of prescriptive?
  • All teenagers should have part-time jobs.
  • Should kids have limits on screen time?
  • Is it better to read fiction or nonfiction?
  • Should kids have to eat everything on their plate, even if they really don’t like something?

Should kids have to eat everything on their plate, even if they really don't like something?

  • Is it better to spend an hour a day reading or exercising?
  • Is graffiti an act of vandalism or an art form?
  • Should society hold celebrities to a high moral standard?

What are your favorite argumentative writing prompts? Come share your thoughts in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Also check out 100 intriguing cause and effect essay topics for students ..

Use these thought-provoking argumentative essay topics to teach students to write well-researched and convincing compositions.

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an argumentative text

M08 Citizen Section II - Mentor Text for Persuasive/Argumentative...

M08 Citizen Section II - Mentor Text for Persuasive/Argumentative essay

Post your wonderings, insights and questions here about any aspect of the book so far.

Use Section II as a mentor text for writing an argumentative essay. Notice the way that she integrates Hennessy Youngman's YouTube video as an outside source. Rankine quotes from Youngman in her first paragraph and then follows up in the last paragraphs of section II. Use this as a guide for you in how to integrate your outside sources through quoting.

A note about the "n-word" which is used in the chapter. The "n-word" is a racial slur that is offensive and racist to use. If you are not Black or African-American, you should never use the word. Please do not type out the "n-word" as Rankine does in her book. It continues to be derogatory and offensive. Within the Black and African-American community there is continued debate about the use of the word within their own community. Because Rankine is Black, she may choose to use the word.

Post your own response. Then post two replies.

• Some context on Hennessy Youngman's video. This is considered satire (please look up satire in the dictionary online). However, Rankine, to my mind, takes his argument seriously rather than discuss why he is making a commentary on how to be a Black artist in this way.

• This chapter is a very challenging read. I myself reread sentences to understand her argument.  Her argument is subtle, but she chooses each word carefully. It's in these word choices we understand that she feels that Youngman's argument doesn't address anger and loneliness of a Black artist. 



Answer & Explanation

Student Response:

In Section II of Claudia Rankine's work, the incorporation of Hennessy Youngman's YouTube video serves as a compelling example of how outside sources can be seamlessly woven into an argumentative essay. By quoting Youngman in the opening and concluding paragraphs, Rankine not only acknowledges the satirical nature of his commentary on being a black artist but also treats it with a certain level of seriousness. This approach to integrating external perspectives enhances the persuasive power of her essay.

Examining Hennessy Youngman's video, it is essential to grasp the satirical nature of his commentary, as satire often employs humor, irony, or exaggeration to critique societal norms or issues. In this context, Youngman's satirical take on being a black artist introduces an element of humor, prompting readers to critically reflect on the challenges faced by artists of color. However, Rankine's decision to take Youngman's argument seriously suggests that there is a deeper layer to his satire that warrants exploration.

Rankine's choice of words in crafting her argument contributes to the subtlety and nuance of her message. Reading through the chapter requires careful consideration of each sentence to fully comprehend the underlying themes. It becomes evident that Rankine believes Youngman's argument falls short in addressing the profound emotions of anger and loneliness experienced by black artists. This raises thought-provoking questions about the effectiveness of satire in conveying the complex realities of marginalized communities.

As I delve deeper into the text, I wonder about the broader implications of using satire as a vehicle for commentary on race and identity. How effective is satire in conveying the lived experiences of black artists, and what are the limitations of this approach? Additionally, exploring the nuances of Rankine's language choices can offer valuable insights into the emotional undertones that she believes Youngman's satire overlooks.

1. Reply 1:

I resonate with your observation about the challenging nature of this chapter. It indeed demands careful attention to Rankine's word choices to decipher the subtle layers of her argument. Your question about the effectiveness of satire in addressing the anger and loneliness of black artists is intriguing. I'm curious to explore whether satire, despite its humorous elements, can truly capture the depth of these emotions or if it might inadvertently trivialize them.

2. Reply 2:

Your analysis of the integration of Hennessy Youngman's video into Rankine's argument is insightful. I appreciate your focus on the serious tone Rankine adopts despite the satirical nature of Youngman's commentary. It prompts me to consider the balance between humor and gravity in discussions surrounding race and identity. I wonder if this deliberate choice by Rankine is an invitation for readers to navigate the complexities of these issues with both sensitivity and a critical lens.

In Section II of Claudia Rankine's work, the integration of Hennessy Youngman's YouTube video serves as a compelling example of how outside sources can be seamlessly woven into an argumentative essay. By quoting Youngman in the opening and concluding paragraphs, Rankine not only acknowledges the satirical nature of his commentary on being a black artist but also treats it with a certain level of seriousness. This approach to integrating external perspectives enhances the persuasive power of her essay.

1. I resonate with your observation about the challenging nature of this chapter. It indeed demands careful attention to Rankine's word choices to decipher the subtle layers of her argument. Your question about the effectiveness of satire in addressing the anger and loneliness of black artists is intriguing. I'm curious to explore whether satire, despite its humorous elements, can truly capture the depth of these emotions or if it might inadvertently trivialize them.

2. Your analysis of the integration of Hennessy Youngman's video into Rankine's argument is insightful. I appreciate your focus on the serious tone Rankine adopts despite the satirical nature of Youngman's commentary. It prompts me to consider the balance between humor and gravity in discussions surrounding race and identity. I wonder if this deliberate choice by Rankine is an invitation for readers to navigate the complexities of these issues with both sensitivity and a critical lens.

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Colorado Judge Keeps Trump on Ballot but Finds He ‘Engaged in Insurrection’

A district court judge ruled that former President Donald J. Trump “engaged in insurrection” but said the disqualification clause of the 14th Amendment did not apply to him.

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Judge Sarah B. Wallace sits in black robes behind her bench facing out to a courtroom.

By Maggie Astor

A Colorado judge ruled on Friday that former President Donald J. Trump could remain on the primary ballot in the state, rejecting the argument that the 14th Amendment prevents him from holding office again — but doing so on relatively narrow grounds that lawyers for the voters seeking to disqualify him said they would appeal.

With his actions before and during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled, Mr. Trump engaged in insurrection against the Constitution, an offense that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — which was ratified in 1868 to keep former Confederates out of the government — deems disqualifying for people who previously took an oath to support the Constitution.

But Judge Wallace, a state district court judge in Denver, concluded that Section 3 did not include the presidential oath in that category.

The clause does not explicitly name the presidency, so that question hinged on whether the president was included in the category “officer of the United States.”

Because of “the absence of the president from the list of positions to which the amendment applies combined with the fact that Section 3 specifies that the disqualifying oath is one to ‘support’ the Constitution whereas the presidential oath is to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the Constitution,” Judge Wallace wrote, “it appears to the court that for whatever reason the drafters of Section 3 did not intend to include a person who had only taken the presidential oath.”

“Part of the court’s decision,” she continued, “is its reluctance to embrace an interpretation which would disqualify a presidential candidate without a clear, unmistakable indication that such is the intent of Section 3.”

She added in a footnote that it was “not for this court to decide” whether the omission of the presidency was intentional or an oversight.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement: “We applaud today’s ruling in Colorado, which is another nail in the coffin of the un-American ballot challenges.” He added, “These cases represent the most cynical and blatant political attempts to interfere with the upcoming presidential election by desperate Democrats who know Crooked Joe Biden is a failed president on the fast track to defeat.”

Mario Nicolais, one of the lawyers representing the six Colorado voters who filed the lawsuit in September , said he was encouraged by the narrow grounds on which they had lost — not on the substance of Mr. Trump’s actions, but on the scope of the amendment’s applicability. The voters will appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court within three days, but the United States Supreme Court will most likely have the final say.

“The court found that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection after a careful and thorough review of the evidence,” Mr. Nicolais said. “We are very pleased with the opinion and look forward to addressing the sole legal issue on appeal, namely whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment applies to insurrectionist presidents. We believe that it does.”

Judge Wallace is the first judge to rule on the merits of whether Section 3 applies to Mr. Trump. Similar lawsuits in Minnesota and New Hampshire have been dismissed on procedural grounds, and a judge in Michigan recently ruled that the questions were political ones that courts did not have the authority to decide. The plaintiffs in Michigan have appealed that ruling.

Judge Wallace’s assessment of Mr. Trump’s behavior before and on Jan. 6 was damning, and, notably, she rejected his lawyers’ argument that the First Amendment protected him. His words and actions, she wrote, met the criteria set by the Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio for distinguishing incitement from protected speech.

“Trump acted with the specific intent to incite political violence and direct it at the Capitol with the purpose of disrupting the electoral certification,” she wrote. “Trump cultivated a culture that embraced political violence through his consistent endorsement of the same.”

Referring to his speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, in which he told his supporters that they needed to “fight like hell” and that they were justified in behaving by “very different rules,” Judge Wallace said, “Such incendiary rhetoric, issued by a speaker who routinely embraced political violence and had inflamed the anger of his supporters leading up to the certification, was likely to incite imminent lawlessness and disorder.”

Jena Griswold, the Colorado secretary of state, said she would obey whatever ruling was in place on Jan. 5, 2024, the state’s deadline for certifying candidates to the primary ballot. Ms. Griswold, a Democrat, is responsible for that certification, and the effect of Judge Wallace’s ruling was to order her to include Mr. Trump.

But, while emphasizing that she was not saying whether the judge was right or wrong about the scope of Section 3, she said she found the notion that the presidency was excluded “deeply problematic.”

“The idea that the presidency itself is a get-out-of-jail-free card for insurrection and rebellion, I think, is striking,” she said in an interview Friday night. Referring to Judge Wallace’s conclusion that Mr. Trump had engaged in insurrection, she added: “I think that court determination in itself is incredibly powerful for the country.”

The decision followed a weeklong trial in which lawyers for the plaintiffs called eight witnesses to build their case for Mr. Trump’s disqualification, relying in particular on the testimony of two professors.

Peter Simi, an expert on political extremism, testified that far-right groups routinely relied on implicit, plausibly deniable calls for violence, and that Mr. Trump had communicated with them in that way — an argument presented to rebut the defense that he never explicitly told anyone to storm the Capitol. And Gerard Magliocca, an expert on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, testified that at the time it was ratified, “engaging in insurrection” had been understood to include verbal incitement of force to prevent the execution of the law.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers called one expert, Robert Delahunty, a law professor who testified that Section 3 was vague and that it should be up to Congress to define it. Their other witnesses included a former Defense Department official who said Mr. Trump had pre-emptively authorized the use of National Guard troops to prevent violence on Jan. 6 — followed by people who were at Mr. Trump’s rally on the Ellipse that day, who testified that they had not heard his words as a call to violence and that the crowd had been peaceful before part of it turned violent.

Maggie Astor covers politics for The New York Times, focusing on breaking news, policies, campaigns and how underrepresented or marginalized groups are affected by political systems. More about Maggie Astor

Our Coverage of the Capitol Riot and its Fallout

T he Events on Jan. 6

Timeline:  On Jan. 6, 2021, a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump raided the U.S. Capitol . Here is a close look at how the attack unfolded .

A Day of Rage:  Using thousands of videos and police radio communications, a New York Times investigation reconstructed in detail what happened — and why .

Lost Lives: A bipartisan Senate report found that at least seven people died  in connection with the attack.

Jan. 6 Attendees:  To many of those who attended the Trump rally but never breached the Capitol, Jan. 6 wasn’t a dark day for the nation. It was a new start .

The Federal Case Against Donald Trump

The Indictment:  Former President Donald Trump was indicted on Aug. 1  after a sprawling federal investigation into his attempts to cling to power  after losing the 2020 election. Here is how the indictment was structured .

The Trial:  Trump vowed to appeal the decision by the judge presiding over the case to schedule the start of his trial on March 4 . Legal experts say he can’t disrupt the trial that way — but there is a longer-shot possibility .

Gag Order: Judge Tanya S. Chutkan reinstated a gag order on Trump  that had been temporarily placed on hold, saying that her order should stay in effect while the former president’s lawyers pursue an appeal.


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    An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that takes a stance on an issue. The main purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to agree with the writer's point of view. This is done by presenting a strong argument, which is supported by evidence. An argumentative text requires thorough research and analysis of all relevant ...

  12. Argumentative Text

    An argumentative text is a type of writing that expresses coherence through reasoning that refutes or justifies something, in order to persuade the reader. It can be expressed in writing or as an argumentative oratory, in order to convince the reader or listener on a particular topic through proposals and arguments based on logic and emotion.

  13. Argumentative text structure

    What is an argumentative text? An argumentative text is one of the most common types of text and is characterised by trying to persuade the reader of an idea by providing arguments. Writing such a text is a common task in language-learning, and is widely used as an assessment tool in official exams.

  14. Examples and Definition of Argumentative Essay

    A claim about policy or position A writer makes a claim about these issues and answers the relevant questions about it with relevant data and evidence to support the claim. Three Major Types of Argument and How to Apply Them Classical Argument This model of applying argument is also called the Aristotelian model developed by Aristotle.

  15. 125 Strong Argumentative Essay Topics For Your Next Paper

    An argumentative essay is a formal essay that persuades the reader to agree with your thesis statement. Argumentative essays vary in terms of complexity from simple comparisons like "Red is better than blue" to the more complex "The argument for socialism over capitalism."

  16. 130 New Prompts for Argumentative Writing

    Try our student writing prompts. In 2017, we compiled a list of 401 argumentative writing prompts, all drawn from our daily Student Opinion column. Now, we're rounding up 130 more we've ...

  17. 50 Compelling Argumentative Essay Topics

    50 Argumentative Essay Topics. Illustration by Catherine Song. ThoughtCo. An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and take a position on it. You'll need to back up your viewpoint with well-researched facts and information as well. One of the hardest parts is deciding which topic to write about, but there are plenty of ideas ...

  18. Argumentative Text Introduction

    What is an argumentative text? This video introduces what an argumentative text is and explains the elements of an argumentative text. Learn about the purpos...

  19. What is an Argument Text?

    An argument text is a text where the writer is either 'for' or 'against' an issue or subject, or presents the case for both sides. A common example of an argument text a kid may write about in primary school is whether students should have to wear school uniforms. How to write an argument text: Introductions are often used to start

  20. Argumentative vs Persuasive Text: What's the Difference?

    The big thing that stands out here is that argumentative text supports the author's claim with more factual evidence in an attempt to prove that the claim is valid, while persuasive text tends to appeal to the reader's emotions in an attempt to get the reader to agree with the author's opinion.

  21. What Is An Argumentative Text? How to Teach It in 3rd Grade

    An argumentative text is a piece of writing in which the author states a claim, or position, and supports it with evidence to make the reader understand it as a valid argument. The author relies on logic, facts, and credible sources to make his/her argument.

  22. 100 Compelling Argumentative Essay Topics for Kids and Teens

    100 Thought-Provoking Argumentative Writing Prompts for Kids and Teens. Practice making well-reasoned arguments using research and facts. Writing a strong argumentative essay teaches students to make a case for their own point of view without relying on emotion or passion. These argumentative essay topics provide options for kids of all ages ...

  23. What Is an Argumentative Text? Meaning and Characteristics

    First, argumentative text specializes in expressing positions and ideas through opinions on certain topics. Its purpose is to persuade and convert the reader. To convince the reader, you must have a variety of arguments at your disposal, which can be inductive, deductive, or abductive, among other resources.

  24. CLAVES Curriculum Project Helps Bilingual Students' Argument Writing

    Love Jones and her colleagues found that CLAVES had a positive impact on two aspects of bilingual students' argument writing: Making an argument and developing a counterargument. CLAVES gave bilingual students an opportunity for concentrated, small-group interaction that helped them hone their writing and language skills in another language.

  25. [Solved] M08 Citizen Section II

    M08 Citizen Section II - Mentor Text for Persuasive/Argumentative essay. Post your wonderings, insights and questions here about any aspect of the book so far. Use Section II as a mentor text for writing an argumentative essay. Notice the way that she integrates Hennessy Youngman's YouTube video as an outside source. Rankine quotes from ...

  26. Student Profile: Caroline Davidson, MPP Class of 2024, Persuasive

    Caroline Davidson "I always intended to work in public policy analysis," said Caroline Davidson, MPP Class of 2024, whose journey at Harris began when she took the Persuasive Writing Credential (PWC) in 2022.. Davidson said she'd anticipated her public policy career would take the shape of a research assistant role after completing her undergraduate degree in economics and Latin American ...

  27. Trump 'engaged in an insurrection,' judge says, but should remain on

    A Colorado judge has ruled that former President Donald Trump "engaged in an insurrection" on January 6, 2021, but rejected an attempt to remove him from the state's 2024 primary ballot ...

  28. Colorado Judge Keeps Trump on Ballot in 14th Amendment Case

    Nov. 17, 2023. A Colorado judge ruled on Friday that former President Donald J. Trump could remain on the primary ballot in the state, rejecting the argument that the 14th Amendment prevents him ...