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what is argumentative essay in simple words

American author Rita Mae Brown wrote a brochure called "Language Exerts Hidden Power, Like a Moon on the Tides" (2014). One interpretation of the title could be that language choices affect persuasiveness and credibility when communicating.Similarly, effective argumentative essays use specific linguistic methods to defend a position on an issue.What…

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Argumentative Essay

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American author Rita Mae Brown wrote a brochure called "Language Exerts Hidden Power, Like a Moon on the Tides" (2014). One interpretation of the title could be that language choices affect persuasiveness and credibility when communicating.

Similarly, effective argumentative essays use specific linguistic methods to defend a position on an issue.

Argumentative Essay Definition

What works better when trying to convince someone of something — using demands or reason? An argumentative essay relies on evidence and logic to prove that a viewpoint is valid or invalid or to convince an audience to take action. Statistics aren't always available to support beliefs (and that's where logic is helpful). Still, they need to be corroborated to be viewed as credible.

Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence

The two types of evidence used to support a thesis (claim) in an argumentative essay are qualitative and quantitative:

  • Qualitative evidence is data that describes a group or theme. It answers "why" or "how" questions. Examples of qualitative data include photographs, diary entries, audio/video recordings, documents (ex: public records, calendars, articles), and case studies.
  • Quantitative evidence counts or measures the amount of something. It asks "how many," "how often," or "how much." Some examples of quantitative evidence are height, temperature, amounts of time, distance, and length.

It is natural to be confident about opinions. While researching topics, be aware of bias. Don't "cherry-pick" evidence to make an opinion look more substantial than it is, or it will be quickly discredited by someone knowledgeable on the subject.

Types of Logic and Common Logical Fallacies

When taking an exam and required to write an argumentative essay, there may not be any sources available to defend a position. Using logic to formulate an argument helps guarantee it will be understandable and reliable.

Logic uses pathways to determine "good" and "bad" reasoning by examining parts of a declarative sentence to decide whether it's true or false. A logical argument is consistent (doesn't contradict itself), sound (supports its conclusion by using valid points), and complete (provable within itself).

A declarative is a sentence that makes a statement about something.

Rhetorical fallacies (also called logical fallacies) are reasoning mistakes people often make. Watch out for these logical fallacies:

  • Straw-man Argument : Twists an argument into an overly simplified version of itself. An example of a straw man fallacy is saying evolution isn't real because humans evolved from monkeys, and monkeys still exist.
  • Bandwagon Fallacy: Connects validity with popularity. Just because three out of four people prefer a particular soap brand doesn't mean it cleans the best.
  • Faulty Causality Fallacy: Implies that because two things share a connection, one caused the other to happen. False logic would conclude that because someone wore a new shirt when they got into a car accident, the new shirt caused the accident.
  • Argument From Authority Fallacy: This can happen when someone in a position of power makes claims about subjects outside their area of expertise. For example, if a veterinarian specializing in livestock wants to perform surgery on someone's pet boa constrictor, they should probably get a second opinion .

The terms "argumentative" and "persuasive" are often used interchangeably, but they are technically two different types of essays. Both argumentative and persuasive essays use evidence and logic to defend a position.

However, a persuasive essay also uses emotion to appeal to the audience. For example, if the topic were gun control, an argumentative essay would examine the issue and present facts to prove its claim. A persuasive essay would present facts and include how safe (or unsafe) guns make people feel.

Argumentative Essay Topics

Argumentative essays can be written about any polarized subject, meaning an issue that contains opposing ideas. Typical argumentative essay topic ideas fall into many categories, including current events, politics, history, and culture. Here are a few topic ideas:

  • Should we look at old media through the eyes of the time or era it was created?
  • Is it unethical to eat meat?
  • Should the United States have used atomic bombs on Japan?
  • Should parents limit screen time?
  • Should the United States accept more refugees from the southern border?

Argumentative Essay. Thumbs up thumbs down. StudySmarter.

Argumentative Essay Format

An effective argumentative essay is made up of five key components:

  • A claim statement that can be proven or disproven. (What are the opinions that surround this issue?)
  • Reasons that support the claim because they are supported by evidence. (What led someone to think this way?)
  • Verifiable evidence that backs the position. (What proves the claim is valid?)
  • Acknowledgement of the opposing viewpoint or counterclaim. (What does the opposite side think?)
  • Rebuttals that explain how the counterclaim is incorrect. (How is their logic faulty?)

Qualifying the other side means parts of the opposing argument can't be dismissed entirely. In this case, list concessions that recognize their validity but focus on the areas they are incorrect. Words like "but" and "except" are commonly used in connection with concessions.

An argumentative essay will look like a typical essay and include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Follow the standard and begin the introduction with a hook, such as a shocking statistic or anecdote, to engage the reader.

The conclusion will usually reiterate the thesis, summarize the essay in response to the evidence provided, and possibly ask the audience to act on the issue's behalf. However, there are a couple of variations to experiment with.

When something is reiterated, it is repeated to emphasize it or make it more clear.

The Aristotelian Method is classic and straightforward. It uses a clear pathway of logic and reason to state its case. To use this form in an argumentative essay, the first thing to do is introduce the argument. Secondly, spell out its reasons. Next, explain and refute the opposing viewpoint, then provide proof. Finally, form a conclusion.

The Toulmin Method helps disprove an argument or discuss a complex issue. Start by stating the claim clearly and concisely. Next, use evidence to ground the reasons. After that, express the warrant, or assumption, that connects the claim to the reasons. Back the claim with a specific example.

The Rogerian Method is used when both sides have valid points, or the audience could support either side. Begin with an explanation of the issue. Next, discuss how the other side thinks, including their valid points. Then, assert the claim and proof. Summarize the argument by compromising to bring both sides together—end by offering an equalized conclusion.

While disproving the other side, avoid insults and a superior tone. All these will accomplish is making the argument look weak. In addition, avoid using absolutes such as "always" or "never" because they are rarely the case, so credibility will be lost.

 Argumentative Essay. Man passionately arguing his case. StudySmarter.

Argumentative Essay Outline

A strong thesis statement is the cornerstone of an effective argumentative essay. If you want your position taken seriously, you need to provide a rational argument. One way to organize thoughts into a coherent claim is to brainstorm. Questions to ask include:

  • How does this affect me and others?
  • Why is this important?
  • Are there any solutions to this issue?
  • What will happen if nothing (or something) is done about this?

Similar to how a math problem can be checked by solving it in reverse, the validity of reasoning can be checked by anticipating how the other side will disagree. Arguments while alone in the shower — it's your time to shine! Go through reasons one by one and challenge them to answer "because" in a credible way.

Once everything is figured out, use the outline to play around with the argumentative essay structure. It's much less frustrating to spend some time on the organizational flow of an essay before writing than to realize halfway through constructing the essay that something should have been put in a different spot, and it saves time while proofreading, so win-win. Formulate the outline to look like this:

I. Introduction

B. Introduce Topic and Relate it to the Hook

II. Body Paragraphs (number of paragraphs included and organized to suit your needs)

A. Claim/Counterclaim/Rebuttal

B. Evidence

C. Reason/Concession

III. Conclusion

A. Summarize Main Points

B. Restate Thesis

C. Final Thought Based on Evidence Presented/Call to Action

Argumentative Essay, Blackboard saying

Argumentative Essay Example

The included sample argumentative essay is an abbreviated example of an asserted claim formatted into the Aristotelian Method:

A new mid-range sofa costs between $1000 and $3000. 1 Most likely, a person protects their investment by applying a stain guard, but having a pet cat can pose its own threat. It's frustrating when a cat decides to start scratching on the furniture, and some people decide the best way to avoid it is to have their cats declawed. However, declawing cats is painful for them and can eventually lead to health and behavioral issues.

The reader knows what to expect from the article because the thesis claim clearly explains its stance.

While declawing cats used to seem like an easy solution for problem scratching behavior, veterinarians have become more outspoken about its negative aspects for the past decade or so. To declaw a cat, they remove a portion of the cat's bone, which is comparable to removing the tips of a person's fingers. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, it results in lasting nerve pain that can increase over time, cause infection, or interfere with their ability to walk .2 Rather than performing life-altering elective surgery on a pet, other options are available. Trimming the cat's nails and teaching it to use a scratching post will usually protect belongings from a cat's natural scratching behavior.

The body paragraph includes a claim , evidence , and reason.

A valid argument can be made that some cats are stubborn and refuse to use a scratching post . However, it's a pet owner's responsibility to take the time to try to figure out what is causing a cat to act out destructively. The cat could have an undiagnosed health issue, or it could just take a bit of extra work to persuade the cat to choose the scratching post over the arm of the expensive couch. A point to consider is the possibility that the declawed cat will not want to use its litterbox because scratching the litter causes discomfort, so the pet owner could be creating an even bigger behavioral problem down the road. 3

The body paragraph anticipates the opposing side's counterclaim . The author offers a rebuttal using evidence .

Indeed, a cat can't claw furniture if it doesn't have claws. However, there are multiple ways to steer a cat's inborn desire to scratch in a suitable direction. Making sure the cat has ways to keep itself occupied to prevent boredom and using a pheromonal diffuser to lower its stress level could deter the cat from scratching things it shouldn't. The alternative is to commit to caring for a cat with long-term nerve pain and potentially worse behavioral difficulties.

The conclusion offers solutions and restates the thesis claim as a consequence.

What words were used in the sample argumentative essay to avoid using certainties that could weaken the author's credibility? Are there any logical fallacies?

Argumentative Essay - Key takeaways

Unlike a persuasive essay that uses emotion to sway its audience, an argumentative essay uses logic and reason to state its case.

Evidence used to support your opinion in an argumentative essay can be grouped as qualitative or quantitative.

A logical argument is consistent and uses valid points.

Effective argumentative essays contain five key components: a claim, reasons, evidence, a counterclaim, and a rebuttal.

Ask yourself questions and challenge your beliefs to construct a compelling argument.

1 Benedetti, Ginevra. "How Much Should I Spend on a Sofa? Price Up the Perfect Sofa to Last You a Lifetime." H omesandgardens. 2021.

2 American Association of Feline Practitioners. "2017 Declawing Statement ." C atvets. 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions about Argumentative Essay

--> what is an argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay relies on evidence and logic to prove that a viewpoint is valid or invalid or to convince an audience to take action.  

--> What are the five parts of an argumentative essay?

The five parts of an argumentative essay are its claim, reasons, evidence, counterclaim, and rebuttal.

--> What is an example of an argumentative essay?

An example of an argumentative essay is "The Pleasure Principle" by Phillip Larkin

--> What are some topic ideas for an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay can be written about any polarized subject, such as:

  • Should we look at old media through the eyes of when it was created?

--> How do you format an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay can be structured into three formats:

  • Aristotelian

Final Argumentative Essay Quiz

Argumentative essay quiz - teste dein wissen.

According to Aristotle, which of the following is NOT a way to present an argument

Show answer

Show question

Which other type of argument would be most closely related to logos?

Which of the following is not a necessary component of a good argument?

There is only one possible answer or solution

How many steps are there in the basic structure of an argument?

How is the Rogerian method of argument different from the others?

The Rogerian method of argument does not try to convince the audience of their stance, and instead looks for common ground.

What is the foundation of the argument when writing an essay?

Thesis statement

Of the following, which is not  a recommended strategy for removing bias from an argument?

Only talk about unimportant things

What is required to find support for an argument?

Research on the subject

Which step to the basic argument structure is missing?

  • Confirmation

Which method of argument is best used to show the facts of an argument?

In a Toulmin-style argument, what is necessary to support the claim?

Grounds (or evidence)

Which component of an Artistotelian argument appeals to the emotions of the audience?

What is the definition of an argument?

An argument is a reason for either supporting or challenging a topic under discussion.

What is missing if an argument is based solely on someone's opinion?

What is the goal of the Rogerian method of argument?

To find common ground, or consensus on the subject

What is an emotional argument?

An emotional argument is a means by which an audience might be persuaded of a particular argument by appealing to commonly held emotions.

How could you avoid an emotional argument?

Avoid emotional arguments by focusing on evidence and concrete details of the argument.

Which is an example of a negative emotion?

Which of the following is most closely related to emotional arguments?

True or false, it is possible to use a combination of ethos, logos and pathos in one single argument.

Which of the following is NOT a cognitive faculty?

What does an emotional argument add to an argumentative essay?

It makes the topic feel more personal to the audience

Why might you want to avoid emotional arguments?

Avoid emotional appeals in instances where the audience might have extremely opposing views and/ or emotional exhaustion

What are the two things to  do/ consider before crafting your emotional argument?

  • Identify your intended audience
  • Understand commonly held emotions on the topic

Which emotional appeal technique uses words and phrases that appeal to the five senses of your audience?

Vivid details and imagery

What should you do if you cannot identify an opportunity for an emotional argument in your essay?

Prewriting exercises

Which prewriting exercise involves mapping out your argument, either with word trees or word association?

Brainstorming

Which philosopher outlined the three methods of persuasion?

Finish the sentence: Emotional arguments are an effective tool for writing ________ essays.

Argumentative

Which of the following focuses most on the reader?

What is an Argumentative Essay? 

An Argumentative essay relies on evidence and logic to prove that a viewpoint is valid or invalid or to convince an audience to take action. 

How are an argumentative and persuasive essay different? 

An argumentative and persuasive essay are different because, in addition to using logic and evidence, a persuasive essay uses emotion to sway its audience. 

What are the five parts of an argumentative essay?

All of the above

True or False: You should always use words like "all" or "everyone" to show the audience you have a strong argument.

False: Using certainties in your argument is an opportunity for the other side to discredit your reasoning. 

What should you do if the other side has valid points?

If there are valid points to the opposing view, acknowledge (qualify) them using concessions.

What are the three argumentative essay formats?

True or False: If most people agree with something, it's a valid argument.

False: Relying on popularity to prove validity is a logical fallacy known as the Bandwagon Fallacy.  

True or False: You should allow evidence to disprove the other side rather than sarcasm or insults.

True: Using an unprofessional tone when disproving a different viewpoint damages your credibility. 

What is it called when someone twists your argument into a simplified version of itself?

A Strawman Fallacy twists an argument into a simplified version of itself.

How does asking yourself questions and questioning your beliefs help?

Asking yourself questions and questioning your beliefs helps you write a compelling claim. 

What is an ethical argument?

An argument based on ethics that evaluates whether an idea is morally right or wrong

What are ethics?

Moral principles that guide a person's behavior and beliefs

What are ethical principles?

Rules which govern behavior and decision-making

What are two types of ethical arguments?

Ethical arguments based on principles and ethical arguments based on consequences

Which of the following is NOT an ethical argument based on principles?

Physician-assisted suicide is right because it leads to the following positive consequences: individuals have more control over end-of-life decisions and physicians can provide care better aligned with the patient’s quality of life.

Which of the following is an argument based on principles?

Physician-assisted suicide is wrong because it violates Kant’s moral theory about human life.

Which of the following is NOT used to make ethical arguments from principles?

Evaluating consequences

What is the correct reason an ethical argument based on consequences would be effective for a diverse audience?

An ethical argument based on consequences will not alienate audience members who have different moral beliefs.

An ethical argument based on principles would be most effective to which type of audience?

An ethical argument based on principles will be most effective to audience members who share similar moral beliefs.

Which of the following statements is NOT written as an ethical argument?  

Public health officials should study the effects of gun control regulations to gain data on how these regulations impact public health.

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How to Write a Standout Argumentative Essay

Matt Ellis

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that uses factual evidence and logical support to convince the reader of a certain way of thinking. Although many types of essays aim at persuading the reader to believe a specific point of view, argumentative essays rely heavily on hard evidence, drawing on other studies and sources to prove their argument is best. 

Don’t let the name fool you: Argumentative essays don’t have to be aggressive or combative. Rather, it gets its name from the style of arguing, whereby the writer presents sufficient research to both support their own claim and invalidate opposing perspectives. When you’re writing an argumentative essay, remember that the goal is to show that your thesis is the only logical conclusion. 

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Argumentative essays are only as good as their argument, and structuring good arguments requires a little more than just being stubborn (even if it helps!). Below, we run through the most useful techniques for writing the perfect argumentative essay. But don’t take our word for it—our evidence speaks for itself! 

What is an argumentative essay? 

Like persuasive essays and other types of essays , the point of argumentative essays is to convince the reader of a particular point of view. What makes an essay argumentative is the method of convincing: An argumentative essay uses fact-based evidence and unquestionable logic to prove that its thesis is true. 

Persuasive essays do this, too, but tend to be more emotional and less formal . Argumentative essays focus more on concrete empirical data, whereas persuasive essays appeal more to the reader’s emotions. In other words, argumentative essays favor quantitative support, while persuasive essays favor qualitative support. 

Likewise, it’s easy to confuse argumentative essays with expository essays , which rely heavily on fact-based evidence and copious research. The main difference is bias : Argumentative essays presume one point of view is correct, whereas expository essays usually present all sides of the argument and leave it to the reader to make up their own mind. 

Another distinction of argumentative essays is that the thesis is not obvious . It usually has strong enough opposition to necessitate an explanation of why it’s wrong. For example, “the sky is blue on a sunny day” would be an awful thesis for an argumentative essay. Not only would it be redundant, but also far too simplistic: Your evidence may be “look outside,” and that’d be the end of it! 

The idea is that an argumentative essay leaves no doubt that its thesis is accurate, usually by disproving or invalidating opposing theories. That’s why argumentative essays don’t just talk about the writer’s own thesis but discuss other contradicting points of view as well. It’s hard to name one perspective as “true” if you’re ignoring all the others. 

Basic argumentative essay structure

Because your entire argumentative essay depends on how well you present your case, your essay structure is crucial. To make matters worse, the structure of argumentative essays is a little more involved than those of other essay types because you also have to address other points of view. This alone leads to even more considerations, like whose argument to address first, and at what point to introduce key evidence. 

Let’s start with the most basic argumentative essay structure: the simple five-paragraph format that suits most short essays. 

  • Your first paragraph is your introduction , which clearly presents your thesis, sets up the rest of the essay, and maybe even adds a little intrigue. 
  • Your second, third, and fourth paragraphs are your body, where you present your arguments and evidence, as well as refute opposing arguments. Each paragraph should focus on either showcasing one piece of supporting evidence or disproving one contradictory opinion. 
  • Your fifth and final paragraph is your conclusion , where you revisit your thesis in the context of all preceding evidence and succinctly wrap up everything. 

This simple structure serves you well in a pinch, especially for timed essays that are part of a test. However, advanced essays require more detailed structures, especially if they have a length requirement of over five paragraphs. 

Advanced argumentative essay structure

Some essays need to support more complicated arguments and more definitive rebuttals than normal. In these cases, the three major formats below should serve your argumentative essay for a variety of needs. 

Aristotelian (Classic)

When to use it: making straightforward arguments

The Aristotelian or classic argument is a default structure for a clear argument, more like an extension of the simple five-paragraph structure above. It draws on credibility ( ethos ), emotion ( pathos ), and reasoning ( logos ) to prove its points, all of which can be adapted for virtually any argument. In form, it follows a direct and logical path: 

1 Introduce the problem.

2 Explain your perspective.

3 Explain your opponent’s perspective. Refute their points one-by-one as you go. 

4 Present your evidence.

5 Conclude your argument.

When to use it: presenting complex issues with no clear truths or when your thesis is a rebuttal or counterargument. 

The Toulmin method was developed to analyze arguments themselves, so it makes sense to use it for essays. Because it’s steeped in logic and deep analysis, this approach best suits complicated issues that need unraveling, but also works well for refuting an opposing point of view piece by piece. 

In form, it includes six main areas, but you’re free to organize them in whatever order works best for your essay. Keep in mind that your claim can itself be a rebuttal of another argument, so your entire essay could be disproving another thesis rather than presenting your own. 

1   Claim: your thesis or argument, stated clearly

2   Reasons: your evidence, including data or generally accepted facts

3   Warrant: the connection between your claim and reasons (requiring you to state assumptions explicitly so there’s no confusion)

4   Backing: additional evidence to support your claim

5   Qualifier: the limits to your own claim, including concessions

6   Rebuttal: addressing opposing viewpoints and criticisms of your claim

When to use it: showing both sides of an argument as valid or when presenting to a mixed audience.

The Rogerian method is simply a middle-ground approach, where you acknowledge the validity of both your thesis and the opposition’s viewpoint. It’s the least confrontational and most respectful, which helps in convincing readers who are naturally biased against your main claim. In form, it follows a five-step structure: 

2 Explain your opponent’s perspective first. Validate their points when correct. 

3 Explain your perspective. 

4 Bring both sides together. Present a middle ground where both viewpoints coexist. 

5 Conclude your (balanced) argument.

How to write a good thesis

The thesis, or argument, is the cornerstone of any good essay. If your thesis is weak or full of holes, not even a perfect essay structure can save you. 

The thesis itself should be the one takeaway you want your readers to leave with. What are you trying to convince them of, or what do you want them to remember after reading? Knowing this informs all other aspects of writing your essay, including the best structure and format, not to mention which evidence to collect. 

For starters, choose a topic you feel strongly about (if it’s not already assigned). It helps if your argument is specific; having a broad or general argument means more facets to examine, which can make for a wordy essay. 

It also helps to consider your audience. You don’t always have to tell readers what they want to hear, but their biases should influence how you write your essay, including your wording and how much credit to give the opposition. 

Above all, choose a thesis with sufficient evidence. Argumentative essays thrive on factual proof from credible sources, and you don’t want to waste time searching for data that doesn’t exist. If you can’t find enough facts to back up your thesis, maybe you shouldn’t argue that point in the first place. 

How to write an argumentative essay: the writing process

Argumentative essays follow the same recommended writing process as other kinds of writing, albeit with more emphasis on researching and preparing. Here’s a brief overview of how to adapt the process for argumentative essays: 

1   Brainstorming: If your argument is not provided in the assignment, take some time to think up a good thesis based on our guidelines above. 

2   Preparing: This phase is for collecting all the evidence going into your essay, as well as writing an outline . Because proof is key to argumentative essays, set aside ample time for research until you have all the support you need. It’s also a good time to outline your essay, answering questions like when and how to discuss opposing viewpoints. 

3   Drafting: Write a rough draft of your essay. It helps to include any data and direct quotes as early as possible, especially with argumentative essays that often cite outside sources. 

4   Revising: Polish your rough draft, optimize word choice, and restructure your arguments if necessary. Make sure your language is clear and appropriate for the reader, and double-check that you effectively made all your points and rebuttals. 

5   Proofreading : Go through your draft and focus exclusively on fixing mistakes. If you’re not confident in your grammar skills or diction, use Grammarly . 

Although optional, it always helps to have a fresh set of eyes on your essays before finalizing it. See if your argument is strong enough to convince your friends!

Argumentative essay writing tips

Our tips for writing better essays apply just as well to argumentative essays as any others, so that’s the best place to start if you’re looking for additional guidance. For tips specific to argumentative essays, try these: 

Support your argument with concrete facts

Although similar to persuasive essays, argumentative essays are in some ways the exact opposite. While persuasive essays appeal to the reader’s emotions, argumentative essays appeal to the reader’s reason. That’s why hard facts work best. 

Do plenty of research until you have enough data to support each of your main points. Feel free to cite other sources or studies to improve your credibility as well. Try to withhold your personal opinions and feelings as much as possible—let your evidence speak for you. 

Be proactive about language

In an argumentative essay, tone and style are more important than you may think, especially if you’re criticizing another person’s perspective. Be respectful when choosing your words and phrasing. Using an aggressive tone reflects worse on the writer than the target, even if rebutting a despicable point of view. 

Use aids for style and grammar

Even the smallest typo can derail the most carefully planned argument. The problem is, it’s hard to formulate the best possible argument if you’re distracted by spelling and grammar. 

Grammarly finds all of your writing mistakes for you so you can stay focused on what’s important. It even checks your tone and clarity to make sure your true argument always shines through and comes across as intended. See how Grammarly can help your next writing project by downloading it now.

what is argumentative essay in simple words

Composition Writing Studio

Argumentative essay/commentary.

From the University of Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/05/):

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.

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 s/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.

  • Argument Essays: Getting Started
  • Developing Paragraphs
  • Finding Academic Journals
  • Logical Fallacies
  • Research Writing

General Resources:

  • Argument :   UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center's online handout in argument.
  • Types of Argument
  • Writing Arguments: An Overview :  Comprehensive guide from Colorado State University's Writing Studio
  • Sample Argument Essays
  • Prompts for Argument Essays :  301 ideas from the New York Times
  • Argument :  Main page for several argument sources from Oregon State University
  • Using Rhetorical Strategies for Persuasion

Rhetorical Appeals (Logos, Pathos, Ethos)

  • Examples of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos :  Numerous examples of each appeal from YourDictionary
  • The Rhetorical Situation :  Purdue OWL's discussion of Aristotle's three appeals and use of telos and kairos
  • Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Advertising :  YouTube video
  • Ethos, Pathos, Logos:   YouTube video

Toulmin Argument

  • Toulmin Method :  An extensive online guide from Colorado State University on using the Toulmin method of argumentation
  • Toulmin Method of Analyzing Arguments :  PowerPoint that defines and offers examples for Toulmin method
  • Definition of the Toulmin Method :  Adaptation of a chapter on Toulmin's approach to argument
  • Toulmin Argument (Aims of Argument) :  YouTube video

Rogerian Argument

  • Rogerian Argument :  Information on definition and format of argument
  • Rogerian Argument Example :  YouTube Video
  • Rogerian Argument :  YouTube Video

Counter Arguments/Perspectives

  • Counter Argument :  Overview provided by Harvard College
  • Writing Counter Argument Paragraphs :  YouTube video
  • Rhetorical Fallacies

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.

Module 9: Academic Argument

The argumentative essay, learning objectives.

  • Examine types of argumentative essays

Argumentative Essays

You may have heard it said that all writing is an argument of some kind. Even if you’re writing an informative essay, you still have the job of trying to convince your audience that the information is important. However, there are times you’ll be asked to write an essay that is specifically an argumentative piece.

An argumentative essay is one that makes a clear assertion or argument about some topic or issue. When you’re writing an argumentative essay, it’s important to remember that an academic argument is quite different from a regular, emotional argument. Note that sometimes students forget the academic aspect of an argumentative essay and write essays that are much too emotional for an academic audience. It’s important for you to choose a topic you feel passionately about (if you’re allowed to pick your topic), but you have to be sure you aren’t too emotionally attached to a topic. In an academic argument, you’ll have a lot more constraints you have to consider, and you’ll focus much more on logic and reasoning than emotions.

A cartoon person with a heart in one hand and a brain in the other.

Figure 1 . When writing an argumentative essay, students must be able to separate emotion based arguments from logic based arguments in order to appeal to an academic audience.

Argumentative essays are quite common in academic writing and are often an important part of writing in all disciplines. You may be asked to take a stand on a social issue in your introduction to writing course, but you could also be asked to take a stand on an issue related to health care in your nursing courses or make a case for solving a local environmental problem in your biology class. And, since argument is such a common essay assignment, it’s important to be aware of some basic elements of a good argumentative essay.

When your professor asks you to write an argumentative essay, you’ll often be given something specific to write about. For example, you may be asked to take a stand on an issue you have been discussing in class. Perhaps, in your education class, you would be asked to write about standardized testing in public schools. Or, in your literature class, you might be asked to argue the effects of protest literature on public policy in the United States.

However, there are times when you’ll be given a choice of topics. You might even be asked to write an argumentative essay on any topic related to your field of study or a topic you feel that is important personally.

Whatever the case, having some knowledge of some basic argumentative techniques or strategies will be helpful as you write. Below are some common types of arguments.

Causal Arguments

  • You write about how something has caused something else. For example, you might explore the increase of industrial pollution and the resulting decline of large mammals in the world’s ocean.

Evaluation Arguments

  • You can write an argumentative evaluation of something as “good” or “bad,” but you also need to establish the criteria for “good” or “bad.” For example, you might evaluate a children’s book for your Introduction to Educational Theory class, but you would need to establish clear criteria for your evaluation for your audience.

Proposal Arguments

  • With this type of writing, you need to propose a solution to a problem. First, you must establish a clear problem and then propose a specific solution to that problem. For example, you might argue for a removal of parking fines on students who use the parking deck on campus.

Narrative Arguments

  • For this type of argument, you make your case by telling a story with a clear point related to your argument. For example, you might write a narrative about your negative experiences with standardized testing in order to make a case for reform.

Rebuttal Arguments

  • In a rebuttal argument, you build your case around refuting an idea or ideas that have come before. In other words, your starting point is to challenge the ideas of the past. For this type of writing assignment, you have to explain what you are refuting first, and then you can expand on your new ideas or perspectives.

Definition Arguments

  • In this type of argument, you use a definition as the starting point for making your case. For example, in a definition argument, you might argue that NCAA basketball players should be defined as professional players and, therefore, should be paid.

Essay Examples

  • You can read more about an argumentative essay on the consequences of fast fashion . Read it and look at the comments to recognize strategies and techniques the author uses to convey her ideas.
  • In this example, you’ll see a sample argumentative paper from a psychology class submitted in APA format. Key parts of the argumentative structure have been noted for you in the sample.

Link to Learning

For more examples of types of argumentative essays, visit the Argumentative Purposes section of the Excelsior OWL .

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Argumentative Essay: Definition, Outline & Examples of Argumentative Essay

Argumentative Essay: Definition, Outline & Examples of Argumentative Essay 1

An argumentative essay is one of the most frequently written types of essays and is something that you may need to write for yourself. In this article, we are going to be looking at what an argumentative essay is and how you can write one. We are also going to take a look at some examples of argumentative essays as a way of gaining a further understanding of how they are written.

Table of Contents

What Is An Argumentative Essay?

The argumentative essay is one which is used to present an argument surrounding two side of any particular issue. The essay can be written as a way of presenting both sides of the argument as equal or it might be written with one side taking preference over the other. This would be done when the writer has a specific opinion on the topic.

How To Write An Argumentative Essay

If you are going to write an argumentative essay, there are certain points to consider before you begin. Most essays of this type are structured in a uniform way, as follows:

  • Introduction: This section is used as a way to get the attention of the reader and often includes a hook, the thesis statement and a general outline of what the essay is going to be about.
  • Body: The body of the argumentative essay is used to present the initial argument along with any facts or data that support it.
  • Counterargument: The counterargument of the essay is a section dedicated to showing the opposing side of the argument that was previously discussed. Once again, facts and data should be included.
  • Conclusion: When writing a conclusion to an argumentative essay, the writer should sum up all of the points that have been made, present a call to action and refer to the thesis statement once again.

When writing this type of essay, there are two models which are usually used, these are the Rogerian model and the Toulmin model. They are structured as follows:

  • The Rogerian model lays out two sides of an argument and gives weaknesses and strengths related to both. After this, the author can give a recommendation of his or her own thoughts based on the evidence provided.
  • The Toulmin model will show an introduction to the subject using a claim or a thesis and will then present the reader with facts to support this claim. The author will then make use of warrants to show the reasons that this claim should be supported as well as ways it can be rebutted.

Some further tips for writing a good argumentative essay are as follows:

  • Write on a topic that you feel passionate about. This will ensure that you put across a good argument. Your passion for the subject will be reflected in your writing.
  • It is very important that you gather your facts and data prior to writing. You should always ensure that you use credible sources to make sure that facts are real and up to date.
  • Don’t forget to outline your essay before you start to write, this way you are able to structure your work and make sure that all the important points are included.
  • If you are arguing one specific side of a topic, it is important that you are aware of the opposing points so that you can refute them in a realistic manner. So don’t forget to research these as well.

Topics For Argumentative Essays

There are a whole wealth of topics that you might choose to write about when it comes to penning an argumentative essay, in fact there are so many that it can somewhat confusing when trying to select one. As we mentioned, it is important to write about something that you have a passion for, but let’s now take a look at some ideas of topics which you might write about.

  • Everyone should receive a free education.
  • Why are Americans getting more and more overweight?
  • What is the relationship between fitness and food?
  • Animals should not be used for research or experiments.
  • Should those who destroy the rainforest face a punishment?
  • The worlds most corrupt country.
  • Are school tests useful?
  • Golf is a demanding sport.
  • Swimming is the best form of exercise.
  • Children should have limited access to the internet.
  • Is the monarchy important?

Learn more with hundreds of interesting argumentative essay topics . 

Examples Of Argumentative Essays

Now that you are aware of how to write an argumentative essay and have chosen a topic, you might need a little inspiration or a further understanding of how this type of essay is written. We are now going to take a look at some passages from argumentative essays to inspire you.

Put A Little Science In Your Life Written By Brian Green

If we consider the ubiquity of personal computers, iPads and the net, it is not hard to see how science and technology have been woven into the very fabric of our day to day lives. When we see the benefits of things like MRI devices, CT scanners, arterial stents and pacemakers, we are able to appreciate immediately how science can affect our quality of life. If we assess the world’s state and look at upcoming challenge such as climate change, pandemics, threats to security and a lack of resources, we won’t hesitate to turn to science as a way of gauging the problems and finding a solution.

The Flight From Conversation Written By Sherry Tuckle

We have become accustomed to a way of being alone together. This is enabled by technology and we are then able to be with each other at the same time as being elsewhere, always connected to anywhere we wish to be. We want to be able to customise our lives and be able to move in and out of anywhere as the thing we most value is having control over where our attention is focused. We are used to the idea of being loyal to our party and being in a tribe.

Being one of the most common types of essay, the argumentative essay is fairly simple to write. There are various rules that one should follow when writing this type of essay and in this article, we have shown you some useful ways of doing this. Selecting a topic that you are passionate about is a must when it comes to writing an argumentative essay and the examples we have shown here serve as a great inspiration for your own work.

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Argumentative Essay

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Thank you. I will you have given us a clear framework within which to place our ideas svd discuss them havi g regard to our personal opinions

the example is short, you can change the sum up.

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What Is an Argumentative Essay? Simple Examples To Guide You

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Knowing how to form a good argument is at the core of expressing your ideas and opinions, but actually arguing your opinion is hard. Contrary to what perpetually online people believe, arguing doesn’t come down to who is the loudest or most wordy. An argumentative essay is a great way to learn how to create and develop meaningful arguments, but where do you even start?

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of research paper that requires you to:

  • Investigate a given topic or theme
  • Establish a debatable position involving the given topic
  • Collect evidence to support your given position
  • Evaluate and refute counterarguments or opposing views

That might sound like a lot of other essays that technically require you to come up with an argument, like expository essays , critical essays , and persuasive essays . Unlike those essays, argumentative essays require much more extensive research , which can include published sources alongside more empirical research (surveying a student body, interviewing experts, or even conducting experiments).

Argumentative essays also take specific sides on debatable topics. Where a typical essay thesis might involve something closer to “I disagree with the themes of this novel, and here is a close reading to explain why,” an argumentative essay takes a stance on a debatable issue (“I think dogs should have the right to vote”). The former draws more on emotion, while the latter is more about hard numbers, data, and quantitative research.

General Structure and Format of an Argumentative Essay

While you do have a little wiggle room, the structure and format of the argumentative essay is fairly rigid. You’re basically stating your argument and then presenting all your evidence to prove that argument. There’s definitely room for personal thought and interpretation, but you mostly want to focus on your argument and evidence.

Your argumentative essay will usually look like:

  • An introduction paragraph that states your argument
  • Three body paragraphs that introduce evidence to support that argument
  • One or two paragraphs that look at conflicting points of view on the topic
  • A conclusion that readdresses the thesis and looks toward potential future questions or more research to be done

Depending on the page or word requirements of your essay, you may write more body paragraphs. On the other hand, shorter essays may require you to shorten or completely do away with any analysis of refuting viewpoints.

Argumentative Essay Example

While you might have a general idea of how to write an argumentative essay , it can still be helpful to look at an example at work. Sadly, you’ll have to write your own essay because we simply don’t know your stance on things (What if you don’t think dogs should vote?). On the bright side, we can give you a fairly good example of what an argumentative essay might look like to help you get started.

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Argumentative Essay Introduction Example

Argumentative essays are definitely more research intensive than other essays, but don’t think that means it has to be dry and stuffy. Remember that you still need to use good writing throughout, which also means making an introduction that will hook the reader.

Since Adam and Eve first partook of that forbidden fruit, humans have spent immense resources to develop the perfect accoutrement for all seasons and occasions. While trends continue to evolve with various cultural and economic shifts, pants (also known as slacks) remain the most steadfast form of clothing, holding greater utility and value than all other forms of bottoms.

Argumentative Essay Body Paragraph Example

The body paragraph of an argumentative essay should always present a point that further evaluates your argument along with evidence to support that point. You can (and should!) still present your own thoughts and use your writing voice, but if the paragraph doesn’t directly address the argument you’re trying to make, rethink why that paragraph exists.

Pants are more sustainable than other bottoms, in terms of both manufacturing and daily usage. Ostensibly, the best clothes are the clothes a person chooses to wear frequently, without thought or second guess. In the annual Pants Symposium of 2022, Dr. Jeremy Trousers of Slack University notably said, “Pants have a psychology behind them. Pants can be worn at any time of year and are thus more likely to be worn than to stay stuck in a pile in the closet or at the bottom of a landfill.”

Along with evidence directly supporting your argument, your body paragraphs can also present evidence that refutes counter arguments or conflicting points of view.

Many people state that pants are naturally built for discomfort. However, this argument is specious at best. A survey of the student campus found that pants were not more or less comfortable than any other item of clothing. This suggests that pants are not as uncomfortable as often stated by the larger population, while also bringing to light the naturally subjective concept of “discomfort.”

Argumentative Essay Conclusion Example

While conclusions can feel extraneous, they’re an opportunity to consider questions related to your argument that are worth further research in some other form or future paper. It’s basically acknowledging that any good argument comes with an ongoing conversation.

Pants are the best bottom covering and one of the best forms of clothing among all basic metrics. Questions about labor practices and materials used in manufacturing are worth addressing, but these apply to larger clothing industry standards. Further consideration of the clothing industry’s impact on ecology and human labor is worthy and may prove to only support pants supremacy.

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  • How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips

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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what is argumentative essay in simple words

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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 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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COMMENTS

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