How to Write an Argumentative Essay That Will Earn You an A Grade

Posted on: 11th April 2020

An argumentative essay is like that uncomfortable chat with your grandmother. The only way to avoid it is never to visit your gramma. Similarly, the only way you can get out of writing an argumentative essay is to not attend school at all! But, wait, you're already in school! In this case, the next best thing is to request a custom essay from our academic writing experts. 

Given the universal nature of this type of writing, it is important to us that you master the basics. When you're writing a persuasive essay (another name for argumentative essay), your opinion isn't enough to make your voice heard. Interestingly, not even the strongest stance will be convincing if it is not structured appropriately and backed with substantial evidence and reasoning. 

Luckily, we've compiled a comprehensive guide detailing everything you need to know in your quest to write the best argumentative essay. 

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay, also known as a persuasive essay is a form of writing that takes a stance on a particular issue. When writing such an article, the writer seeks to sway readers to understand and support their position on a given subject by presenting their logic and providing evidence to back it up. As such, you'll be required to examine a topic, collect and evaluate evidence, and relay your position on the issue concisely. 

Unfortunately, most students can't differentiate between an argumentative essay and an expository essay. Although the two share some similarities, writing an argumentative essay usually requires more pre-writing preparation and research than its almost-similar counterpart.

In most cases, students are given argumentative essay assignments as a senior thesis or final project in first-year writing. As such, these writings require extensive research, including empirical studies, where you collect data through experiments, observations, surveys, or interviews. The intensive research allows the student to learn as much as they can about the matter, to choose a position and defend it with the evidence found. 

You can also visit our resources page to check out some of our argumentative essay samples, as we have lots of argumentative essay ideas to share with you.

Types of Argument Strategies

Your argumentative essay structure can follow either of the following approaches. Better yet, you can combine them to enhance your persuasiveness. 

Classical Argument

This strategy, also called the Aristotelian, is the most popular argument model; it is also the least complicated line of thinking. In this method, you preset your issue, provide your solution, and try to convince your audience to adopt your stance. This approach works best when your reader isn't well-informed on the subject or doesn't have a strong opinion on the same. Your work is to present the facts succinctly and in a way that makes the reader empathetic to your standpoint, ultimately making them agree with you. 

This model can be summarized into: Introduction + Thesis Statement + Arguments + Refutation + Conclusion.

Rogerian Argument

The Rogerian approach comes in handy when dealing with highly polarized debates. As the author, you attempt to persuade by finding points of agreement; you acknowledge and sympathize with both sides of the argument, basically battling for the middle ground. 

However, you pick a side and explain why it would interest the reader. 

While this approach doesn't follow a basic outline, you can use the following argumentative essay structure:

  • State the issue
  • Summarize opposing arguments
  • Present your points
  • Explain the perks of adopting your perspective

Toulmin Argument

This is yet another effective argument strategy for approaching highly charged debates. When using this strategy, you should rely on clear logic and irrefutable facts to make the opposition see your perspective. You can use the following argumentative essay format:

  • Claim – State your thesis
  • Evidence – Support the claim
  • Warrant – Explain how your evidence supports your claim
  • Backing – Provide further reasoning that upholds your warrant
  • Rebuttal – Present potential arguments against your thesis
  • Qualifier – Issue a short phrase like, on the whole, in most cases, usually, to limit the extent of the claim. E.g. In most cases, the NFL should do more to prevent concussions on the field.
  • Exceptions – Limit the claim further by defining situations that you would exclude from your argument. E.g., Where smoking is not done in public, illegalization may not be imminent. 

How Do You Start an Argumentative Essay?

Anyone who has dealt with students for some time will tell you one thing. A majority of them find it challenging to start an argumentative essay. Fortunately, or not, this is a problem that affects writers across the board. Be that as it may, you know that staring at a blank page is not the solution. As a result, you must gather your thoughts and structure them properly, to craft an elaborate essay. 

Check out our helpful tips on how to start an argumentative essay.

1. Analyze the Question

Let's assume that your professor gave you a question to focus on for your argumentative essay. If that's the case, then it's crucial that grasp what the examiner is asking of you before you can set out to write your essay. But how do you do this, you may ask?

Firstly, you must recognize the task words; they tell you what you're supposed to do. 

Task words may include, argue, compare, analyze, or discuss.

Secondly, ensure that you comprehend all the terms that have been used in the question. 

Example: What were the most prominent logistic issues facing the European armies between 1100 and 1815, and how were they solved?

Before you can begin drafting your essay, it must be clear to you what the term logistic means, to avoid presenting an irrelevant argument. 

Lastly, make sure that you understand the entire scope of the question. 

Example: Do the Eastern and Western schools adhere to military strategy? Why?

In such a case, you must try to understand what period it is you're being asked to examine. Again, what is the background? Does eastern and western refer to Eastern and Western USA, Eastern and Western Europe, or America and China?

If you're designing the question, you must come up with one that will allow you to argue. The example questions given above invite an argument. On the flip side, a question like, "What are the two designations of eastern and western military strategy?" As you can tell, that question would be suitable for a descriptive essay.

This brings us to our next segment. Don't know which topic to choose for your persuasive essay? We’ve got you covered.

2. Choose a Good Argumentative Essay Topic

There isn't a shortage of good argumentative essay topics on which to debate. However, picking the best one may be a challenge. Luckily, you can draw inspiration from various sources including;

  • Daily news headlines
  • Controversial argumentative essay topics
  • Conversation on the streets

Day in, day out, there's someone somewhere trying to persuade their colleague (s) to abandon their point of view and subscribe to their school of thought. 

Therefore, when exploring potential argumentative essay topics, ask yourself:

  • Why did it happen?
  • Is it important?
  • How should society treat the matter?

As a rule of thumb, good argumentative essay topics must be sufficiently contradictory and have at least two conflicting viewpoints. What's more, it's better to steer clear of moral issues, as they do not always uphold logical discourse. 

Elements of a Good Argumentative Essay Topic

In addition to the criteria outlined above, we've also compiled a quick checklist that you can use to tell whether your argumentative essay topic will be effective. 

Let's cut to the chase; a good persuasive essay topic should be;

Interesting – The topic you chose for your essay should be one that you find interesting. We'd like to believe that if you work with a topic you enjoy, you will have much to say, and perhaps write a better essay. You'll also sound more enthusiastic in your presentation. 

At this point, "Dogs are cooler than cats" sounds like a perfect topic. However, due to reasons we'll discuss below, you'll be better off choosing a different subject. As a football enthusiast, I'd go for something like; Football leagues should do more to prevent concussions. 

Although choosing a topic that you're passionate about is crucial, it shouldn't surpass your ability to present a concrete argument. Holding a strong belief about a particular issue is one thing, but explaining why your thinking is logical and reasonable is another thing. If you want to convince someone to share your perspective, you must remain objective throughout, as you may be required to discuss an opposing viewpoint.

Current – The best part about picking a current topic is that it is still relevant, as it hasn't been over-debated or ruled upon. Let everyone speak for themselves, but most readers are sick of motions that have been discussed for ages. 

Debatable – Remember when we pointed out that a good topic must have differing viewpoints? This is what we meant. A debate-worthy topic must be controversial; it can't be a fact or a matter that's widely conceded. For instance, writing about how child abuse has adverse repercussions on society isn't debatable because most people agree with the position. On the flip side, you can argue that the legal provisions aren't effective in punishing people convicted for child abuse.

Researchable – Are dogs cooler than cats? There are sufficient conflicting opinions about this matter. Nonetheless, any argument based on the question is merely a matter of opinion. Consequently, you must pick a topic that allows you to make claims that you can prove using credible sources. In this case, you could argue that dogs are more helpful pets than cats.

Manageable – A manageable topic is one that can be successfully presented within the page requisites of your assignment. For that reason, your topic must be specific. If you chose to write about widespread issues like the effects of technological advancement, you might not pull it off in a 500-word essay. 

You should start with a primary subject and then narrow it down to a more manageable level. Some appropriate technology topics could be:

  • Are CCTV cameras an invasion of privacy?
  • Does Instagram promote instant gratification?

Some controversial argumentative essay topics include:

  • Internet access should be regulated for students
  • Feminism does more harm than good
  • The US election process isn't fair
  • Military service should be compulsory
  • Religious factions contribute to war

Some easy argumentative essay topics include:

  • Art isn't a profession
  • Was Shakespeare real?
  • Polygamy is evil
  • Love is a feeling, not a decision
  • Where do we go after death?

Luckily, we've got plenty of argumentative essay examples. They include gun control argumentative essays, among other topics for argumentative essays.

3. Pick a Side

Now that you've chosen a topic, on which side are you? In a debate, you cannot sit on the fence. Otherwise, you won't convince anyone of anything. Therefore, you should choose a perspective in which you'll try to convince the reader of its logical supremacy and legitimacy as opposed to their outlook. 

Take the following topic, for example. "Should citizens be allowed to keep exotic pets?" 

Here, it's upon you to decide whether to advocate for residents to keep such animals or to oppose the idea. Subsequently, you must ensure that you can defend your stance and this is where research comes in.

4. Research

Your argument is only as good as the research behind it. If you cannot support your opinion on a controversial topic with facts, then you may have a difficult time convincing the opposing party to share your perspective. Therefore, it suffices to say that research is the most significant aspect of preparing to write your argumentative essay. 

Does any information you find qualify as evidence as long as it supports your claim? Not really. Various sources aren't created equal, and the credibility of your source could determine whether your essay is praised or panned. As a result, you must evaluate all your resources before using them as your source of evidence. 

Here’s how to identify a credible source.

  • Website ends in .gov, .edu or .org
  • Published in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Availed by a university press
  • Authors conducted extensive research before publishing their claims

Apart from evaluating the credibility of your sources, you should also consider the type of evidence that might appear most persuasive to your readers.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step-By-Step?

At this point, you're already way deep in the writing process that there's point backing out now. After all that preparation, it's time to start writing. How do you write an essay that'll earn you an A? 

Follow our step-by-step guide and discover how simple the entire process is.

Let's get to step one.

1. Write A Thesis Statement

Do you know how to write an argumentative essay thesis? Better yet, do you know the purpose of a thesis statement? A thesis statement is a sentence, usually included in your introductory paragraph. It summarizes the main points in your argument and helps you define your position on the discussion topic. 

A thesis statement is like a tree trunk. It serves to protect your points of argument, which are like the branches. It is the north star that keeps you aligned to your primary theme – you get the point.

How to Craft a Killer Thesis Statement?

An argumentative essay thesis should indicate that the point of view is debatable. 

Here are three ways to write a good thesis.

1. Question/Answer Format – This is probably the most straight forward way of writing a thesis statement. Here, you turn the prompt into a question and answer it, using the four types of argument claims (fact, value, cause, definition, and proposal) 

For instance:

  • Should the NFL do more to prevent concussions? (Fact)
  • What is child labor? (Definition)
  • What are the causes of pre-marital sex? (Cause)
  • What are the benefits of pre-marital counseling? (Value)
  • What can you do to reduce suicide-related deaths? (Proposal)

Your answer to either of the above questions is your thesis; it can also be shortened to serve as your argumentative essay title. 

2. Refute Objections – Yet another approach is to state one side of the debate and present an opposing statement. 

Example: While most people think that divorce is inevitable in strained relationships, sufficient evidence shows that preparing for the institution of marriage can reduce divorce incidents.  

See what we did there? What makes your thesis quite persuasive is your reference to studies, which you'll present as evidence.

3. Roadmap – you can also create your thesis by doing a roadmap, which reveals in a few words the three or more pints you'll address. 

Example: Although society's majority believe that you can't divorce-proof your marriage, studies show that preparations, such as pre-marital counseling, spending time with your spouse's family, and talking about hot-button relationship concerns can significantly reduce the divorce rate.

That is one strong thesis you've just read, as it states the claim, shows your stance on the topic, and outlines the main points you'll use to defend your position. 

2. Write an Argumentative Essay Outline

Unfortunately, most people begin working on the final draft of their writing without drafting an outline. You should avoid this mistake. Creating a rough structure for your argumentative essay is crucial as it will help you to gather and organize your ideas, to ensure that you know exactly where everything goes. This arrangement will allow your ideas to flow with incredible ease.

The one thing you should never forget about writing an argumentative essay outline is that it is no different from any other essay outline. A standard essay consists of three sections, namely the intro, body, and conclusion. Each part plays a critical role in the overall composition and as long as you fulfill each purpose, you'll be smiling when your instructor finally grades your work.

Let's find out what each section entails.

Introduction Paragraph

A killer introductory paragraph in an argumentative essay is like a good opening statement in court. Similarly, as a lawyer would present the issue at hand, provide some background information, and ultimately present their main argument, so should you. 

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Let your essay title convey your perspective on the subject of contention
  • Be concise (introduce your argument, don't argue)
  • Consider the aspect of the issue that would most interest your audience
  • Appeal to your reader's emotions (empathy points count a lot)
  • Back up your claims
  • Present a clear thesis statement

You can write a killer argumentative essay introduction in a few simple steps.

1. Start with a hook

Following our courtroom analogy, if you want your opening statement (intro) to move your reader and draw them to your argument, a hook will do the trick. A hook may include anything that piques the reader's interest, such as a personal story, a quote, an intriguing finding, or a captivating question. 

For instance, if you're arguing that smoking tobacco in public should be prohibited, your hook could read:

A recent finding by the World Health Organization discovered that tobacco use claims at least five million lives a year, more than Malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS combined.

2. Provide background

Giving your reader some context on the issue you're discussing allows them to have more insight into the subject. What's more, the information provides some history that could be crucial to the effectiveness of your argument. 

The background could include the following;

  • What's the matter?
  • What are the events leading to your argument?
  • Why should the reader care?

The background should only help the reader to understand your argument. Don't give them anything more or less!

3. State your thesis

Do you remember what we talked about writing an argumentative essay thesis? An argument is usually most effective at the end of your introduction. You can use it to sum up your point and assert your position on the discussion matter. Don't forget that it should be a statement against which the opposition can argue (it can't be a fact).

Now it's time for you to present your actual argument, including your evidence.

The Body 

The body section of an argumentative essay usually comprises of at least three paragraphs. Each of your paragraphs should discuss a single idea, as it enhances clarity. You should also ensure that each idea you present here connects logically to your thesis statement. Finally, not only should you back up every claim you make with the evidence you gathered during research, but you should also explain how your data links to the thesis.

A good argumentative essay must explore multiple points of view and even discuss opinions that do not align with the thesis. Depending on the length of your article, you should dedicate a paragraph or two to discuss contradicting views on the topic. Instead of explaining that the varying opinions are downright wrong, you should demonstrate how they may be uninformed or outdated on the subject.  

Elements of a Good Body

If you want to write a good body, you must consider the following:

  • Incorporate logos, pathos, and ethos – Logos refers to the use of logic in an argument. It should be evident throughout the essay and is the best way to persuade someone to share your perspective. Pathos is the use of emotion to appeal to the audience to consider your argument. Ethos is the use of credibility, and you can incorporate this by using credible sources and addressing counterarguments. Taking a reasonable stance, as opposed to an extreme one, also counts as ethos.
  • Focus on transitions – Transitions are crucial for enhancing the flow of ideas between paragraphs. For instance, to link the first paragraph to the second, you can use developments like, to begin with, or the first reason. To connect the second to the third, you can use, pursuing this further, additionally, or another reason why. And to link the body to the conclusion you can include, to sum it up, in conclusion, finally, to wrap it up or to summarize.
  • Include a topic sentence – A topic sentence articulates the primary idea of the paragraph in which it appears. You should include it at the beginning of every section.  
Conclusion Paragraph

In numerous ways, the argumentative essay conclusion mirrors the introduction. It rephrases your thesis statement and recaps your principal arguments, to convince the reader that your position on the subject is superior. You must refrain from introducing new evidence, as the conclusion is meant to tie the whole essay together. 

Check out the following conclusion ideas.

  • Consider the big picture – If you are advocating for policy changes, what are the consequences of embracing or not embracing your proposition? How will the implications affect society?
  • Present a hypothesis – Use real-life situations of how your ideas will work to show your reader what will happen if he adopts your perspective. 
  • Issue a call to action – Tell your reader what they need to do or believe, it will inspire them to see the argument from your point of view. 
  • Appeal to the audience's morals, emotions, logic, or character.

Need help with an Argumentative Essay?

Summing it up, the formula on how to write an argumentative essay is quite simple. Begin by stating your position on a controversial topic, present substantial evidence to back your claims, and always be open-minded to counterarguments. 

Do you feel confident to write a persuasive essay that will earn you an A? Perhaps you still need more practice? Don't worry. We have plenty of argumentative essay examples you can review for a better understanding. 

We have an in-house team of expert writers, willing and ready to help you complete your assignment. What are you waiting for? Click here to order your custom argumentative essay now.

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