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Argumentative Essay Guidelines

Essay paper writing


What is argumentative essay? What should be written there? What arguments should be provided and why? These and many other questions usually arise in students’ minds when they are given the assignment to compose an opinion paper. First of all, ask yourself if you usually win or lose when you start debating with your friends or family? If you have a skill of arguing in a logical way and can support your claims with facts or statistics, it will be easier for you to cope with the task, because you already have a great power of arguing and expressing it on the paper will not be a problem for you.

Judging from the name of the assignment, one needs to argue and to defend his point of view. From the first sight, the guidelines for writing an argumentative essay are pretty simple: one needs just to provide his own stance on a topic. However, here is a pitfall that many students face – they confuse such assignment with the expository one. Nevertheless, while the assignments do look similar, there are some principal differences.

In this article, we would like to explain how to write an argumentative essay step by step and how not to confuse it with other types of essays. Below, you will find useful tips on how to choose a winning topic, make strong beginning and ending of the work. Also, if you have troubles figuring out what is an argumentative essay outline and how to create it, we will explain how to complete it in the best way.

What is a good argumentative essay?

As a rule, good paper requires a thorough research and great concentration. In addition, you need to spend some time to understand the peculiarities of the assignment you are given, because the formal report, for example, greatly differs from a literature review and both papers have own rules to follow. The same with the opinion essays. "What does an argumentative essay consist of?", "What points should be necessarily included there?” These and many other questions appear in students' minds when they start working on the assignment and figuring out how to complete it properly.

Before considering writing rules, let us first define why is it so important for the students to learn how to write such a paper. Below, you will find the information that will help you understand why such piece of writing keeps accompanying you during your academic years, what skills it develops, and what is the main purpose of it.

Students learn how to develop and defend their own position, improve research and critical thinking skills.
How does writing develop research skills? The thing is that students need to go through many sources in order to find the information on the topic. They need to examine statistics and extract relevant data to support the argument. Such thorough research helps to master the ability to find only relevant information and, at the same time, learn a lot on the topic.

While students learn what is argumentative essay writing, they master logical thinking and rhetorical skills, since a good argument is not enough, as it is much more important to present it logically and specifically, avoiding generalization and being emotional. Students develop rhetorical skills while trying to persuade the reader of the importance of the issue.

Additionally, students have an opportunity to master their writing skills. Except for improving grammar and punctuation, students practice in writing introductions and conclusions in an appropriate way, which comes handy when writing other types of papers. It is an opportunity to learn how to create coherent, logical piece of writing and to support the chosen points.

One more important point that needs to be mentioned while discussing the advantages of writing is that pupils learn to anticipate the weak points of their argument and provide answers to the questions the readers may ask. Mastering this skill will help you to prepare your arguments thoroughly, to prevent including weak points and to make your paper well-grounded.

So, what is argumentative essay definition?

Argumentative/opinion essay is a type of writing in which you need to take a position on a controversial question and provide strong and convincing arguments to support your opinion. They are quite similar to the expository essays, however, there is a slight difference. In the expository paper, the author has to provide only his own thoughts, ideas, and impressions on a certain issue, using a neutral tone. Such works are shorter in length and require less research. On the contrary, the argumentative writing requires deep research, as the author's opinion should be supported by facts and evidence, obtained during the research. The research is quite useful since it allows to review different points of the same issue and to choose the position.

You can consult with your teacher or some of your classmates if you want to make sure that you have properly understood what is the meaning of argumentative essay. Once all the basic rules and peculiarities are clarified, it’s time to focus on the topic.

What are good topics for an argumentative essay?

For now, let us skip the case when you are already given a topic by the teacher, and imagine the opposite situation. What to do if you are free to choose any topic and you have no ideas in your mind? To save your time, firstly, concentrate on the things that influence your life. For instance, ecological situation, loud music at your neighbor's room, or gaps in a healthcare system. Brainstorm and write down 3-5 ideas and decide what is a good topic for an argumentative essay.

Below, you will find a list of the popular topics to dwell on in your work. These issues are quite debatable, and we hope that after reviewing the list it would be easier for you to decide on the theme you’d like to discuss.

  1. Social topics

Talking about social issues, you should concentrate on how people act, and what problems people have within the society. The category is really broad, and you can create your own topic if you would like to argue on some debatable issue. When you are free to choose any topic – it is your chance to talk about something that worries or affects you or your family.

  1. Media and Advertising topics

One can hardly imagine his life without TV, newspapers, and advertising as they have a great impact on us. However, do they affect us in a negative or a positive way? There is plenty of topics you can come up with for discussing the role of media and advertising in our life.

  1. Education topics

Topics on Education will be really interesting for your peers, and there are quite a lot of aspects to talk about. For instance, you may speak about the educational policies, the quality of education and so on.

  1. Legal topics

One more interesting subject to argue about is laws and rights. Think about the laws you'd like to change or create and prove that your position is right. If you were a president, what would you change and why? These and many other issues can be discussed if you choose a legal aspect to debate on.

  1. Family topics

Topics about family are also interesting to everyone regardless of age, gender and profession. This is actually the broadest subject matter for discussion and is quite easy. One may discuss psychological issues, relations between children and parents, marriage, and many other aspects. Therefore, it is quite easy to come up with your own topic.

  1. Moral topics

Moral topics are considered the easiest ones because they cover a great number of debatable questions and many of them are really contradictive. For example, abortions, the death penalty, racism, and many others.

After the most interesting topic is chosen, try to free-write on it. Just write down all the arguments, define the controversial issues of the theme and make a rough draft of the essay. Reread it and make sure that you have enough to say on the subject. If not – it is better to think about the other matter to discuss. The purpose of opinion essays is to argue and to convince, which is why it is crucial to make sure that you have enough arguments and supporting materials. Mind this before proceeding to writing.

After the topic is chosen and all the supporting materials are gathered, it is time to proceed to further steps. What is the second step in writing an argumentative essay? The next step is developing an outline that will greatly help in organizing the paragraphs.

Structure of an Argumentative Essay

 What are the parts of an argumentative essay? The structure of such a work is pretty clear, yet, there are some points one needs to pay attention to.

Parts of an argumentative essay:

  1. The title. The peculiar feature of the title is that it should be very clear and detailed. Keep in mind that the title cannot be generalized.
  2. The introduction. The introduction part, as a rule, includes few sentences related to the discussed question.
  3. The body. Argumentative essay body paragraphs dwell on the arguments for the issue. They need to be carefully selected.
  4. The conclusion. An argumentative essay conclusion sums up all the pros and cons of the provided arguments.

This is the basic structure; however, you can be given some specific instructions to follow. Hence, before developing an outline, consult with your peers or your professor, or visit the official website of your school in order to check the steps on how to write an argumentative essay.


How to Start a Good Argumentative Essay?

The winning opening usually guarantees the success of your paper. The first reason for it is that while looking through the introduction, the person decides whether he or she is interested in reading the rest of the paper; the second reason is that people usually memorize the beginning and the end of the paper or speech.

Writing an introduction for an argumentative essay has several purposes. Firstly, it is needed to introduce the reader to the theme you are going to tell about. Secondly, the reader will need to have some information and materials in order to understand the topic and the main argument, so this information should be provided at the beginning according to the argumentative essay introduction format. The third purpose is making what you are writing about as clear as possible. The intro should actually serve as a roadmap.

Professionals recommend starting with the sentence that will evoke interest. Such sentence is called the hook. A good way to make argumentative essay introduction interesting is to start with an interesting story from your life, to present an interesting quote or question. Such trick will surely grab the reader's attention.

It is also very helpful to provide the background. This will be a quite useful part of the good introduction for argumentative essay since it gives the context and the history of the chosen topic, and explains your point to the reader.

Providing the thesis is an essential part of your work. In one concise sentence, you need to summarize your main point.

Argumentative essay introduction structure also presupposes including the following information:

  • the author and the title – if you are discussing the book;
  • director, year, and the title - if you are arguing about the movie;
  • your claim – should be mentioned at the end of the paragraph.

There are common mistakes many students make while creating an introduction paragraph for argumentative essay. Quite often they make the opening unorganized and illogical. Moreover, the provided arguments are not always clear. To prevent such issues, make sure to organize your opening paragraph logically and with strong and clear arguments. Also, make sure that the arguments you've taken from the sources are not contradictive or out of context. Smooth transition to the main paragraph is also essential, because the transitions keep the whole text together, and your work will be hardly successful without the transitions.

However, while trying to figure out how to write an argumentative essay introduction, students tend to go through various instructions and miss the important requirements while writing. Therefore, such erroneous thoughts may appear in students’ minds, and almost always they will lead to a low grade: 1) "The reader doesn't need any preparation for my paper, and there is no need to provide the background info."2) "Both sides of the issue can be argued in my work."3) "I will put my claim only at the end of my writing."

That is why it is always better to concentrate on one reliable source of instructions or ask your professor or peers for help. Make sure that the requirements are clear and nothing distracts you from following them.

All these simple tips and tricks on how to write an opening paragraph for an argumentative essay will ease your life and improve your skills in writing engaging introductions, which are helpful for any type of writing.
If you are still not sure that you've coped successfully with the beginning of your work, or it lacks something important, but you don't know what exactly, feel free to contact Pro-Papers team. Our specialists are able not only to explain how to write a good introduction for an argumentative essay but also write the whole paper for you.

How to Write a Body Paragraph for an Argumentative Essay?

 In the body of the paper, you need to provide the data that will support your argument and the opposing point. Below you can find argumentative essay paragraph structure:

  • Topic Sentence. Here you need to give the reader a fact or a detail that will help him understand your point better. This item is your topic sentence.
  • Explanation of the topic sentence. Here you need to explain the sentence if it is needed.
  • Introducing the evidence. Now you need to introduce your evidence. It can be done in either few words or a sentence.
  • Providing the evidence. Here you need to state the fact or the quotation that will support your topic sentence.
  • In this part, you should help the reader to interpret your evidence and state how it supports your point.
  • State how this paragraph proves or helps to understand your claim.

While discussing the argumentative essay writing steps, it is vital to mention that the info that supports your position has to be accurate. For instance, you may use the facts or the statistics. While gathering the information, students need to take into account several points of view on the topic, since a perfect work has to include the opposing opinion. The student’s aim in such a case is not to show that the other points of view are wrong, but to show that they can be not up to date and poorly informed.

How to End an Argumentative Essay?

A good conclusion for an argumentative essay is no less important than the introduction since the aim of the conclusion is to show how you have covered all the points of the work and to close the issue. You also need to convince the readers that your position should be supported. It is vital to mention that no new argument needs to be introduced in the concluding paragraph.

It is quite understandable when after doing so much work the student doesn’t have any desire to think how to conclude an argumentative essay and tries to finish the paper as soon as possible. However, the readers can start reading with the conclusion to understand the main point of your work, which is why you need to make an effort to compose a perfect ending.

As a rule, argumentative essay conclusion format presupposes two main parts. Although there are several basic rules one needs to stick to, it is always better to consult with the teacher about the conclusion format, as you may be given some special requirements to meet.
The first part is written to sum up everything. Here, you need to remind the readers of the arguments you have provided in your paper and to restate the claim.

The second part is much more extensive and is usually called a “So What?” part. In this paragraph, you should show your teacher that you are thinking critically about the issue and to demonstrate it in the best way, you need to restate the thesis.

A well-written conclusion paragraph for argumentative essay should also convince the readers that your work is significant. The strongest analytical points should be presented in the conclusion, and it should be made in a clear and concrete language.

If the question “How to start a conclusion paragraph for an argumentative essay?” seems too complex for you, feel free to contact Pro-Papers – the service that can complete any assignment for you within the shortest time.

Tips and Tricks

After all the important rules of writing an argumentative essay step by step have been discussed above, it will be still helpful to review some tricks that will enhance your chances to create a winning work.

First of all, forget about the emotions. It is better to think what the readers will feel after reading your piece of writing, but not about your own feelings on this or that matter. Emotions will not help when arguing. Try to concentrate on the facts or pieces of evidence and think logically.

Thinking from reader’s perspective is another tip worth mentioning. What would the reader expect to see in your work? Firstly, it is your position and your explanations of why it is worth choosing. Secondly, it is compelling evidence that leaves the reader no chance but to agree with you and take your stance. Hence, when the question “How to start my argumentative essay?” comes to your mind, think from the reader’s perspective, and it will help you to start in a right way.

And finally, the third useful trick sounds as follows: be clear. Pretty simple, but vital, since it is your job as a writer to state clear arguments and to defend them so that everyone could understand your point.

Proofreading of the Paper

Finally, when everything is ready, you have figured out how to write an argumentative essay, structure is no longer a complex matter for you, and you’re sure that the work is perfect, it is vital to proofread the paper. This is the necessary step before submitting your writing.

To consider your paper complete, look through the document from top to bottom and make sure that it conveys the message. Check the opening paragraph, and to make sure it sounds appropriate, give it to your peers or family members to read. If the paragraph is not clear, it’s better to think of how to make a good introduction for an argumentative essay in a different way, more appropriate one.

After that, proceed to checking grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If the writing is improperly checked for such mistakes, the grade may be significantly lowered.

Another important point is verifying that the document meets the rules of specific formatting style. Carefully check how to write a good conclusion for argumentative essay in APA, MLA, Chicago or any other format, because each part of the paper has to adhere not only to essays writing rules but to formatting rules as well. Only after your paper is properly proofread and edited, it may be considered complete.

However, if you are not sure that you haven’t missed any mistakes, ask the professional service for help. Pro-Papers team offers high-quality editing at affordable prices. You can also contact us if you have no idea how to start writing an argumentative essay or any other type of work. We will write everything from scratch for you.

The Common Mistakes

The main point of the opinion essays is to show your position and defend it. You cannot just go back and forth with different opinions. Remembering this will help to concentrate on your work and cope with it easier.

Let us list few more common mistakes students make, and what to remember to avoid them.

  1. Students do not wish to take enough time for coming up with a good thesis statement which is actually a center of the writing. You don't need to rush with it because if you fail to provide a strong thesis statement, it will be hard to find supporting evidence for it. Just take your time to decide what you believe and how to defend it.
  2. Failure to pick an interesting topic is also a common mistake that may result in a lack of supporting evidence and weak arguments. Choose the topic that interests you and the one you believe in since this is one of the ingredients of the successful paper.
  3. Lack of concentration on the chosen topic. This point is related to the previous one, however, needs special attention. Sometimes students get off topic, and it happens because they do not reread the paper while working on it. Therefore, take your time to read the written work several times to make sure that you are on the right track and you will not confuse the readers.
  4. Forgetting to cite the used sources is also a common mistake, although this is the simplest rule. You can take notes of all the sources you’ve used in order not to miss citing them.
  5. Failure to state an opposing view and refute it may result in losing points as this is one of the essential things. It's really important to present both sides and make it clear for the reader which side you support and why.

Pro-Papers Team is Always There to Help You

Sometimes it is extremely difficult to concentrate on the assignment given at school or college, and for many students, it is almost impossible to focus on it due to the overload with different subjects, family, or work. When and how to begin an argumentative essay is the questions that quite often remain without the answer. Nevertheless, the answer is simple, and it is Pro-Papers! Our professional writers are always willing to help you with various types of academic works. We always follow the requirements strictly and meet even the most urgent deadlines. Buy argumentative essay at Pro-Papers, and you will surely be satisfied with the result.


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