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How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

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

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

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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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argument essay model

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.

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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Elements of Argument

9 Toulmin Argument Model

By liza long, amy minervini, and joel gladd.

Stephen Edelston Toulmin (born March 25, 1922) was a British philosopher, author, and educator. Toulmin devoted his works to analyzing moral reasoning. He sought to develop practical ways to evaluate ethical arguments effectively. The Toulmin Model of Argumentation, a diagram containing six interrelated components, was considered Toulmin’s most influential work, particularly in the fields of rhetoric, communication, and computer science. His components continue to provide useful means for analyzing arguments.

Visual representation of the Toulmin argument model

The following are the parts of a Toulmin argument (see Figure 9.1 for an example):

Claim: The claim is a statement that you are asking the other person to accept as true (i.e., a conclusion) and forms the nexus of the Toulmin argument because all the other parts relate back to the claim. The claim can include information and ideas you are asking readers to accept as true or actions you want them to accept and enact. One example of a claim is the following:

My grandfather should wear a hearing aid.

This claim both asks the reader to believe an idea and suggests an action to enact. However, like all claims, it can be challenged. Thus, a Toulmin argument does not end with a claim but also includes grounds and warrant to give support and reasoning to the claim.

Grounds: The grounds form the basis of real persuasion and include the reasoning behind the claim, data, and proof of expertise. Think of grounds as a combination of premises and support. The truth of the claim rests upon the grounds, so those grounds should be tested for strength, credibility, relevance, and reliability. The following are examples of grounds:

Over 70% of all people over 65 years have a hearing difficulty. Hearing aids raise hearing quality.

Information is usually a powerful element of persuasion, although it does affect people differently. Those who are dogmatic, logical, or rational will more likely be persuaded by factual data. Those who argue emotionally and who are highly invested in their own position will challenge it or otherwise try to ignore it. Thus, grounds can also include appeals to emotion, provided they aren’t misused. The best arguments, however, use a variety of support and rhetorical appeals.

Warrant: A warrant links data and other grounds to a claim, legitimizing the claim by showing the grounds to be relevant. The warrant may be carefully explained and explicit or unspoken and implicit. The warrant answers the question, “Why does that data mean your claim is true?” For example,

A hearing aid helps most people hear better.

The warrant may be simple, and it may also be a longer argument with additional sub-elements including those described below. Warrants may be based on logos, ethos or pathos, or values that are assumed to be shared with the listener. In many arguments, warrants are often implicit and, hence, unstated. This gives space for the other person to question and expose the warrant, perhaps to show it is weak or unfounded.

Backing: The backing for an argument gives additional support to the warrant. Backing can be confused with grounds, but the main difference is this: grounds should directly support the premises of the main argument itself, while backing exists to help the warrants make more sense. For example,

Hearing aids are available locally.

This statement works as backing because it gives credence to the warrant stated above, that a hearing aid will help most people hear better. The fact that hearing aids are readily available makes the warrant even more reasonable.

Qualifier: The qualifier indicates how the data justifies the warrant and may limit how universally the claim applies. The necessity of qualifying words comes from the plain fact that most absolute claims are ultimately false (all women want to be mothers, e.g.) because one counterexample sinks them immediately. Thus, most arguments need some sort of qualifier, words that temper an absolute claim and make it more reasonable. Common qualifiers include “most,” “usually,” “always,” or “sometimes.” For example,

Hearing aids help most people.

The qualifier “most” here allows for the reasonable understanding that rarely does one thing (a hearing aid) universally benefit all people. Another variant is the reservation, which may give the possibility of the claim being incorrect:

Unless there is evidence to the contrary, hearing aids do no harm to ears.

Qualifiers and reservations can be used to bolster weak arguments, so it is important to recognize them. They are often used by advertisers who are constrained not to lie. Thus, they slip “usually,” “virtually,” “unless,” and so on into their claims to protect against liability. While this may seem like sneaky practice, and it can be for some advertisers, it is important to note that the use of qualifiers and reservations can be a useful and legitimate part of an argument.

Rebuttal: Despite the careful construction of the argument, there may still be counterarguments that can be used. These may be rebutted either through a continued dialogue, or by pre-empting the counter-argument by giving the rebuttal during the initial presentation of the argument. For example, if you anticipated a counterargument that hearing aids, as a technology, may be fraught with technical difficulties, you would include a rebuttal to deal with that counterargument:

There is a support desk that deals with technical problems.

Any rebuttal is an argument in itself, and thus may include a claim, warrant, backing, and the other parts of the Toulmin structure.

Even if you do not wish to write an essay using strict Toulmin structure, using the Toulmin checklist can make an argument stronger. When first proposed, Toulmin based his layout on legal arguments, intending it to be used analyzing arguments typically found in the courtroom; in fact, Toulmin did not realize that this layout would be applicable to other fields until later. The first three elements–“claim,” “grounds,” and “warrant”–are considered the essential components of practical arguments, while the last three—“qualifier,” “backing,” and “rebuttal”—may not be necessary for all arguments.

Toulmin Exercise

Find an argument in essay form and diagram it using the Toulmin model. The argument can come from an Op-Ed article in a newspaper or a magazine think piece or a scholarly journal. See if you can find all six elements of the Toulmin argument. Use the structure above to diagram your article’s argument.


“Toulmin Argument Model” by Liza Long, Amy Minervini, and Joel Gladd is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Writing Arguments in STEM Copyright © by Jason Peters; Jennifer Bates; Erin Martin-Elston; Sadie Johann; Rebekah Maples; Anne Regan; and Morgan White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 101 Guide [+ Examples]

An argumentative essay is a genre of academic writing that investigates different sides of a particular issue. Its central purpose is to inform the readers rather than expressively persuade them. Thus, it is crucial to differentiate between argumentative and persuasive essays.

While composing an argumentative essay, the students have to demonstrate their research and analytical skills. The secret of a successful paper lies behind strong arguments and counterarguments. So, the writer should focus on facts and data rather than personal values and beliefs.

Besides, a good argumentative essay should be structured appropriately:

  • The introduction and conclusion have to create a frame for the entire essay.
  • The body paragraphs are supposed to cover the essential points.
  • Supporting evidence should make a paper more professional and reputable.

Are you still wondering what an argumentative essay is and how to write it? Check out the sections below prepared by our experts . Here, you can find the most valuable info, helpful tips, and useful examples.

📜 Classic Strategy

📋 toulmin strategy, 🗣️ rogerian strategy, ✒️ fill in the blanks, 🔍 edit and proofread, 🔗 references, 📌 argumentative essay in a nutshell.

Are you trying to figure out what an argumentative essay is? It’s a type of academic paper that covers both sides of a given issue. An author can decide whether they aim to present both sides equally or support one side more dynamically.

One of the mistakes among students is the confusion of argumentative and persuasive essays . Do you want to figure out the differences? Take a look at the following table.

Before writing an argument essay, it would be helpful to choose an appropriate model to rely on. There are three strategies to consider: Classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian.

Look at the following sections and choose the most suitable one for you.

Are you wondering how to write an argumentative essay? Consider using the classical approach. It is the most popular way of composing an argumentative paper.

Under the classical strategy, the author has to follow these rules:

  • research the issue;
  • present both sides;
  • express own opinion;
  • prove the reader the validity of the conclusion.

It is up to the audience to decide whether your position is right or wrong. Yet, you should try to convince the readers of the effectiveness of your opinion.

Usually, the classical argument paper is structured in the following way:

  • Introduction . Use the hook to catch the readers’ attention. State the problem and explain why your topic is relatable to the audience.
  • General background. Introduce the general info and several facts about your issue.
  • Thesis statement . State your position clearly and concisely.
  • The central argument. Provide valid evidence and appropriate examples to support your position. Refer only to reliable sources.
  • Rebuttal . Include a counter paragraph in your essay, presenting the opposing arguments. Provide specific examples to make the reader understand your position. Also, explain to the audience why the counterclaims are incorrect.
  • Conclusion . Synthesize your arguments and counterarguments. Give the readers a question for further investigation of your problem. To make your essay more impressive, compose a memorable concluding sentence.

Toulmin strategy is the most suitable for the discussion of controversial issues. This model aims to find common ground through clear logic and valid evidence. Besides, the Toulmin strategy eliminates unnecessary things and limits the points to agree upon.

An argumentative essay written by the Toulmin model includes the following elements:

  • Claim . A viewpoint that the author aims to prove.
  • Evidence . Supportive facts from reliable resources that highlight the significance of the claim.
  • Warrant . An element that connects the claim and that evidence.
  • Backing . Additional reasoning that underlines the warrant’s validity.
  • Rebuttal . Counterarguments that contradict the author’s position.
  • Qualifier . An additional element (usually, a word or a short phrase) that narrows the claim’s capacity. Several examples of qualifiers: “typically,” “usually,” “occasionally,” etc.
  • Exceptions . Specific limitations that indicate the cases where that claim may not be valid.

Like the Toulmin approach, Rogerian strategy attempts to find common ground between two sides of one issue. However, the technique is slightly different.

The Rogerian model is often used in highly controversial debates when the parties do not accept each other’s position. Thus, the given strategy focuses on finding the agreement by proving the validity of the opposing arguments.

Below, you can find the primary outline for the Rogerian argumentative essay:

  • Introduce the problem. Present the issue clearly and explain why it is worth the readers’ attention.
  • Summarize and analyze the counterarguments. Take into consideration all the possible counterpoints and look at them from different perspectives. Discuss the cases in which the opposing claims could be valid. Demonstrate your open-mindedness. This will make the opposite party more loyal to you.
  • Present your position. After discussing the counterpoints, state your opinion. Convince the audience about the validity of your points.
  • Prove the advantages of your position. Explain to the opposite party how the acceptance and adoption of your points will benefit them.

🧐 How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Before working on your essay, carefully read the assignment. Make sure you understand all the instructor’s requirements and the purpose of the paper.

  • Pay enough attention to the task. Did your professor assign you a topic? Or do you need to choose it yourself ? Make sure you have an idea that will turn into an outstanding essay.
  • Select the strategy you are going to apply. An argumentative essay format will depend on the model you choose to compose your paper. Analyze the issue you will arise and decide what strategy is the most suitable. Is it the Classical model, the Toulmin, or the Rogerian one?

After that, start composing your argumentative essay. Check out the following sections. We have a lot of insightful info to share with you!

📚 Research the Topic

The first step of writing an argumentative paper is an in-depth investigation of the topic. To validate your arguments, you have to refer to credible resources. The essay will look more professional if you use reliable sources in it.

How to research for an argumentative essay.

To research like a professional , do the following:

  • Use only credible sources. You can refer to the books, research articles, materials from academic databases, or Google Scholar. Webpages registered as governmental or educational institutions (.gov, .edu.) and widely-known news websites (New York Times, BBC, CNBC) are also considered appropriate. Avoid using blog posts, outdated materials, and any other data from unreliable sources. You may get into huge trouble, taking information from random websites, since it may be invalid.
  • Pay attention to the publishing date . You may be required to use the sources released no later than five years ago. Yet, it is not always the case, especially when you’re dealing with historical documents. Thus, double-check your instructions regarding recommended sources.
  • Keep your topic in mind. Concentrate on what you are writing about and select the sources for your exact issue. Avoid sources that provide too general information and look for more limited ones. If your idea is World War II’s economic consequences, the history book from ancient times to modern days will not be the best option.
  • Become an expert. Take enough time to investigate the issue you are writing about. Read numerous articles, compare and contrast the scientists’ opinions. Prove your reader that you are a reliable person who selected the best sources.

📝 Outline Your Essay

The majority of students tend to underestimate the power of outlining. Don’t do this! An argumentative essay outline is a helpful tool for planning, structuring, and composing.

Firstly , a well-developed outline helps the writer to put all their thoughts in an appropriate order. None of the essential points will be lost if the student plans the essay before writing.

Secondly , it lets the writer figure out what evidence suits what argument most. Before writing, draft your essay first. Put examples, facts, etc. in the right parts of the paper. Then, write the entire text.

Thirdly , an outline provides a perfect opportunity to change the essay’s parts without rewriting the paper. Are you unsure of specific details? Not a problem. Change them in the outline without ruining the text.

There are essential elements that your outline should contain. Check out the following section to see them.


How to start an argumentative essay? First and foremost, include an argumentative essay introduction in your outline.

This part should grab the readers’ attention from the first words. Thus, put enough effort into composing a compelling hook . What can it be? An impressive statistic or an exciting fact? Be creative – decide yourself! But make sure that your intro is catchy enough.

After the hook, introduce your topic’s general background . Prove the readers the significance of your issue and gradually come to the thesis statement .

The concept of studying abroad is becoming increasingly popular in both developed and developing countries. Students around the globe strive to explore the world and broaden their minds, and studying in a foreign country is an excellent opportunity to do so. Such experience may be extremely beneficial because meeting new people and discovering foreign cultures help students to gain valuable knowledge and see the world from a new perspective. However, while presenting significant opportunities for personal growth, it may also bring about some challenges.

Thesis Statement

A thesis is an essential part of your argumentative essay. It should state your position regarding the issue clearly and concisely. Avoid general statements, vague words, and be as specific and possible. Your thesis statement should guide the readers throughout the main points of the paper.

The location of the thesis in the essay plays a crucial role. The most appropriate place for it is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.

Although students face difficulties such as loneliness while studying abroad, it is a worthy experience to introduce them to new knowledge, people, and culture and promote their independence.

Body Paragraphs

The body of your paper is supposed to develop your position, provide valid evidence and examples. Each paragraph has to focus only on one idea. This will ensure the logical structure of your argumentative essay.

A body paragraph should start from the topic sentence and end with the concluding sentence . Such a frame around every section will make your readers stay concentrated on your ideas and get your opinion.

  • The topic sentence is the first sentence of the passage. It should reflect its point and correspond to the thesis statement.
  • The concluding sentence aims to wrap up the author’s thoughts. Thus, make sure that the last sentence of a paragraph is insightful enough.

Each body paragraph should include an argument (or a counterargument) with supporting evidence. Get your proof from credible sources and ensure that it directly corresponds to the point.

An example of a topic sentence :

The benefits of education abroad are almost innumerable, prominent examples being gaining new knowledge, making friends with people who have different mindsets, and discovering new cultures.

An example of a concluding sentence:

Participants of student exchange programs usually return more driven and eager to develop both themselves and their country.

A conclusion plays a critical role in understanding the entire paper. It summarizes the body and leaves the final impression. Besides, it may push the readers on further investigation of the issue.

  • To make your argumentative essay conclusion powerful, it is not enough just to summarize the arguments. It has to synthesize your ideas and show the connection between them. In other words, your points should be summarized and analyzed.
  • Moreover, a conclusion refers to the thesis statement . A mere restatement of the central idea is not the most successful way of finishing your paper. You should try to develop it to demonstrate the reason you’ve written the previous paragraphs.

One more tip:

  • Give the audience an incentive to explore the topic more in-depth. Insert the questions for further investigation at the end of your essay. It would play a significant role in making an impressive conclusion.

To sum up, studying abroad is beneficial as it helps a person evolve and perceive a world from new perspectives. It is an opportunity for a participant to explore the world, meet new people, gain valuable knowledge and experience, and broaden their horizons. Education abroad might pose problems like homesickness, loneliness, and trouble with getting accustomed to a new environment. However, all of them can be easily overcome if a student is flexible and eager to become autonomous and independent.

The list of references is a crucial part of any argumentative essay. It should contain all the sources the writer uses in the paper.

Before organizing your reference list , double-check your argumentative essay format. Is it written in MLA, APA, or maybe in Chicago style? How many references does the professor expect you to include? What kind of sources are you required to use?

After figuring out these issues, move to the format requirements of the writing style you use for your paper. The most popular ones are APA (7th edition), MLA, and ChicagoAD (author-date) styles. Below, you can find the examples of a reference for the same book in different formatting styles.

Did you develop a good outline? Congratulations! You are almost done with the essay. Now, you need to fill in the blanks and create a final version of your paper. Here is where you need to demonstrate a high level of your writing skills.

  • Make sure your paper has no logical fallacies. Information from an untrustworthy source, a hasty generalization, or a false conclusion may put your reliability as an author under threat. So double-check all the data you include in your essay. Moreover, make sure all your statements are well-developed and supported by valid evidence.
  • Check your argumentative essay structure . All the arguments should refer to the thesis statement and must be presented in the logical sequence. The supporting evidence and examples have to be inserted in the text logically, according to the arguments.
  • Pay enough attention to the citations. References and in-text citations are incredibly tricky. Always check every detail according to your essay format. If you are unsure of specific issues, refer to a citation guide and make your paper free of formatting mistakes.
  • Ensure the coherence of your argumentative essay. Often, the paper’s material seems raw only because it is presented without a logical connection. To ensure a smooth connection between the ideas, use transitions between the paragraphs and linking words inside them. Insert them in the text to connect the points. As a result, you will have a coherent essay with the logical flow of the arguments.

A list of linking words for an argumentative essay.

The final step of your writing process is editing and proofreading. Although it is not that energy and time consuming, it still plays a critical role in the work’s success.

While writing your argumentative paper, plan your time accordingly. This will provide you with an opportunity to polish your essay before submitting it. And take a look at our checklist and always use it to improve your papers:

  • NO first and second person. Use only the third person in your argumentative essay. It is a general requirement for any kind of academic paper.
  • NO slang. The word choice is an essential part of the essay writing process. Ensure you use only formal vocabulary and avoid using informal language (jargon, slang, etc.).
  • NO unchecked words. Sometimes, words can raise questions and lead to misunderstandings. If you are unsure whether the term is used appropriately, double-check its meaning or replace it with another.
  • NO plagiarism. While proofreading, make sure your citations are either properly paraphrased or taken in quotation marks. You can change the sentence structure to avoid plagiarism.
  • NO minor mistakes. Grammar, spelling, punctuation play a crucial role. Want to make your paper look professional? Make sure it is free of minor mistakes then.

Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should student-athletes benefit from sports?  
  • Do celebrities really have influence on people behavior?  
  • Will decriminalization of drugs increase drug menace?  
  • Does social and environmental reporting promote organizations’ financial success? 
  • Should online learning be promoted?  
  • Can space exploration resolve human problems?  
  • Is success really the outcome of hard work?  
  • Is there discrimination against women in sports?   
  • Will banning tobacco sales promote public health?  
  • Is euthanasia a clemency?  
  • Should college education be free and accessible for every student?  
  • Should football be banned for being too dangerous?  
  • Is it time to change social norms ?  
  • Should public servants’ strikes be prohibited?  
  • Does media create a negative image of ageing and older people?  
  • Is capitalism the best economic system?  
  • Can children under 18 make an appropriate decision on getting tattoo ?  
  • Should net neutrality be protected?  
  • Can an improper use of social media provoke a family crisis?  
  • Is it right to use animals in biomedical research ?  
  • Does the climate change affect our indoor environment? 
  • Are children’s crimes a result of poor parenting?  
  • Should health care be universal?  
  • Does the increased use of technology hurt students’ efficiency? 
  • Is transformative education a key to the system modernization?  
  • Why should patients have access to truthful information?  
  • How does language barrier affect health care access?  
  • Would allowing adoption by same-sex couples benefit the country’s child welfare system? 
  • Is spanking children a proper way to improve their behavior?  
  • Does gun control law lowers crime rates?  
  • Will ban on spamming improve users’ internet experience?  
  • Should behavior be made illegal because it’s immoral?  
  • Is globalization really a progress?  
  • Does aid to developing countries bring more harm than good?  
  • Can parents improve children mental health by restricting internet use ?  
  • Is trusting our senses the best way to get the truth?  
  • Why parents should not have the right to choose their children based on genetics.  
  • Is college education really worth it? 
  • Will wearing a body camera by police officer enhance public trust?    
  • Immigration : a benefit or a threat?  
  • Is it a duty of adult children to take care of their elderly parents?  
  • Should abortions be legal?  
  • Are agents an integral part of professional sports?  
  • Will ban of cellphones while driving decrease the car accident rates? 
  • Should marijuana be legal for medical use?  
  • Is veganism diet universally beneficial?  
  • Should museums return artefacts?  
  • Is water birth beneficial for women’s health?  
  • Will paying people to stay healthy benefit the nation in the long-term perspective?  
  • Is obesity a disease or a choice?  

It is up to you to decide how many parts to include in your essay. However, the 5 paragraph structure is the most appropriate model for an argumentative paper. So, write an introduction, a conclusion, and three body paragraphs.

The pronoun “you” is acceptable for informal writing. Yet, in academic papers, avoid using the second person. The same situation is with the first person. Generally, academic papers require the use of the third person.

A hook aims to grab the readers’ attention. Thus, you could start your essay with an interesting fact about your issue. Another way to create a catchy hook is to prove the audience the relatability of your topic. Make the readers want to explore your essay by demonstrating the significance of your issue.

Yes, you can. A question might become a compelling hook. Just make sure that it is profound, thought-provocative, and concise. A too broad or complicated question will only confuse your readers.

A title is an essential part of the essay since it causes the first impression. While selecting a heading, take into consideration the following points:

1. The title must be catchy.

2. It has to be not too long (5-12 words).

3. The title has to reflect the topic of the paper.

4. It should not be too complicated: the simpler – the better.

Thank you for visiting our page! We hope the information was helpful and insightful. Do you have friends who seek help with writing an argumentative essay? Share our article with them. And don’t forget to leave your comments!

  • Sample Argument Essays: Mesa Community College
  • Argument: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Grace Fleming, ThoughtCo
  • Tips for Organizing an Argumentative Essay: Judith L., Beumer Writing Center, Valparaiso University
  • Argumentative Essay: Oya Ozagac, Bogazici University, Online Writing Lab
  • Argumentative Essays: Purdue Online Writing Lab, College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University
  • How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by Step: Virginia Kearney, Owlcation
  • Counterargument: Gordon Harvey for the Writing Center at Harvard University
  • Basic Steps in the Research Process: North Hennepin Community College, Minnesota
  • How to Recognize Plagiarism, Overview: School of Education, Indiana University Bloomington
  • 15 Steps to Good Research: Georgetown University Library
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How to write an argumentative essay

How to write an argumentative essay

The argumentative essay is a staple in university courses, and writing this style of essay is a key skill for students across multiple disciplines. Here’s what you need to know to write an effective and compelling argumentative essay.

What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay takes a stance on an issue and presents an argument to defend that stance with the intent of persuading the reader to agree. It generally requires extensive research into a topic so that you have a deep grasp of its subtleties and nuances, are able to take a position on the issue, and can make a detailed and logical case for one side or the other.

It’s not enough to merely have an opinion on an issue—you have to present points to justify your opinion, often using data and other supporting evidence.

When you are assigned an argumentative essay, you will typically be asked to take a position, usually in response to a question, and mount an argument for it. The question can be two-sided or open-ended, as in the examples provided below.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts:

Two-sided Question

Should completing a certain number of volunteer hours be a requirement to graduate from high school? Support your argument with evidence.

Open-ended Question

What is the most significant impact that social media has had on this generation of young people?

Once again, it’s important to remember that you’re not just conveying facts or information in an argumentative essay. In the course of researching your topic, you should develop a stance on the issue. Your essay will then express that stance and attempt to persuade the reader of its legitimacy and correctness through discussion, assessment, and evaluation.

The main types of argumentative essays

Although you are advancing a particular viewpoint, your argumentative essay must flow from a position of objectivity. Your argument should evolve thoughtfully and rationally from evidence and logic rather than emotion.

There are two main models that provide a good starting point for crafting your essay: the Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

The Toulmin Model

This model is commonly used in academic essays. It mounts an argument through the following four steps:

  • Make a claim.
  • Present the evidence, or grounds, for the claim.
  • Explain how the grounds support the claim.
  • Address potential objections to the claim, demonstrating that you’ve given thought to the opposing side and identified its limitations and deficiencies.

As an example of how to put the Toulmin model into practice, here’s how you might structure an argument about the impact of devoting public funding to building low-income housing.

  • Make your claim that low-income housing effectively solves several social issues that drain a city’s resources, providing a significant return on investment.
  • Cite data that shows how an increase in low-income housing is related to a reduction in crime rates, homelessness, etc.
  • Explain how this data proves the beneficial impact of funding low-income housing.
  • Preemptively counter objections to your claim and use data to demonstrate whether these objections are valid or not.

The Rogerian Model

This model is also frequently used within academia, and it also builds an argument using four steps, although in a slightly different fashion:

  • Acknowledge the merits of the opposing position and what might compel people to agree with it.
  • Draw attention to the problems with this position.
  • Lay out your own position and identify how it resolves those problems.
  • Proffer some middle ground between the two viewpoints and make the case that proponents of the opposing position might benefit from adopting at least some elements of your view.

The persuasiveness of this model owes to the fact that it offers a balanced view of the issue and attempts to find a compromise. For this reason, it works especially well for topics that are polarizing and where it’s important to demonstrate that you’re arguing in good faith.

To illustrate, here’s how you could argue that smartphones should be permitted in classrooms.

  • Concede that smartphones can be a distraction for students.
  • Argue that what teachers view as disruptions are actually opportunities for learning.
  • Offer the view that smartphones, and students’ interest in them, can be harnessed as teaching tools.
  • Suggest teaching activities that involve smartphones as a potential resource for teachers who are not convinced of their value.

It’s not essential to adhere strictly to one model or the other—you can borrow elements from both models to structure your essay. However, no matter which model of argumentation you choose, your essay will need to have an outline that effectively presents and develops your position.

How to outline and write an argumentative essay

A clear and straightforward structure works best for argumentative essays since you want to make it easy for your reader to understand your position and follow your arguments. The traditional essay outline comprises an introductory paragraph that announces your thesis statement, body paragraphs that unfold your argument point by point, and a concluding paragraph that summarizes your thesis and supporting points.

Introductory paragraph

This paragraph provides an overview of your topic and any background information that your readers will need in order to understand the context and your position. It generally concludes with an explicit statement of your position on the topic, which is known as your thesis statement.

Over the last decade, smartphones have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, socially, culturally, and personally. They are now incorporated into almost every facet of daily life, and this includes making their way into classrooms. There are many educators who view smartphones with suspicion and see them as a threat to the sanctity of the classroom. Although there are reasons to regard smartphones with caution, there are ways to use them responsibly to teach and educate the next generation of young minds. Indeed, the value they hold as teaching tools is nearly unlimited: as a way to teach digital literacy, to reach students through a medium that is familiar and fun for them, and to provide a nimble and adaptable learning environment.

Body paragraphs

Most argumentative essays have at least three body paragraphs that lay out the supporting points in favor of your argument. Each paragraph should open with a topic sentence that presents a separate point that is then fleshed out and backed up by research, facts, figures, data, and other evidence. Remember that your aim in writing an argumentative essay is to convince or persuade your reader, and your body paragraphs are where you present your most compelling pieces of information in order to do just that.

The body of your essay is also where you should address any opposing arguments and make your case against them, either disproving them or stating the reasons why you disagree. Responding to potential rebuttals strengthens your argument and builds your credibility with your readers.

A frequent objection that teachers have to smartphones in the classroom is that students use them to socialize when they should be learning. This view overlooks the fact that students are using smartphones to connect with each other and this is a valuable skill that should be encouraged, not discouraged, in the classroom. A 2014 study demonstrated the benefits of providing students with individual smartphones. Sanctioned smartphone use in the classroom proved to be of particular importance in improving educational outcomes for low-income and at-risk students. What’s more, learning apps have been developed specifically to take advantage of the potential of smartphones to reach learners of various levels and backgrounds, and many offer the ability to customize the method and delivery of lessons to individual learner preferences. This shows that the untapped potential of smartphones is huge, and many teachers would do well to consider incorporating them into their classrooms.

Your concluding paragraph wraps up your essay by restating your thesis and recapping the arguments you presented in your body paragraphs. No new information should be introduced in your conclusion, however, you may consider shifting the lens of your argument to make a comment on how this issue affects the world at large or you personally, always keeping in mind that objectivity and relevance are your guiding principles.

Smartphones have a growing place in the world of education, and despite the presence of legitimate concerns about their use, their value as teaching tools has been clearly established. With more and more of our lives going digital and with the growing emphasis on offering distance learning as an option, educators with an eye to the future won't wait to embrace smartphones and find ways to use them to their fullest effect. As much time and space as we could devote to weighing the pros and cons of smartphones, the fact is that they are not going to disappear from our lives, and our best bet is to develop their, and our students', potential.

Frequently Asked Questions about argumentative essays

Your argumentative essay starts with an introductory paragraph. This paragraph provides an overview of your topic and any background information that your readers will need in order to understand the context and your position.

Like any traditional essay, the argumentative essay consists of three parts:

  • Introduction

There are do's and don'ts in argumentative writing. This article summarizes some of them well - you should, for example, avoid coming to an argument based on feelings, without any evidence. Everything you say needs to be backed up by evidence, unless you are the renowned expert in the field.

Yes, you can start your argumentative essay with a question or with a thesis statement. Or you can do both - ask a question and then immediately answer it with a statement.

There are contrasting views on that. In some situations it can make sense to end your argumentative essay with a question - for example, when you want to create room for further discussions or want the reader to leave thinking about the question.

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argument essay model

Using the Toulmin Method

When learning written argument, it is always helpful to observe how others argue effectively or ineffectively. The Toulmin method, based on the work of philosopher Stephen Toulmin, is one way of analyzing a text that we read, with an eye toward responding to that particular argument (as in a writing assignment that asks us to respond) and, ultimately, toward analyzing and improving the arguments we ourselves make.

Definition of the Toulmin Method

Thorough analysis requires us to go beyond the kinds of "gut-level" responses we undergo when reading. To respond analytically to an argument is to do much more than state a basic agreement or disagreement with it; it is to determine the basis of our agreement or disagreement. In other words, analysis is a process of discovering how the argumentative strategies an author employs (the how and why levels of an argument) lead us to respond to the content (the what level) of that argument in the way that we do. Sometimes, too, such analysis can cause us to change our minds about our judgment of how effective or ineffective an argument is.

The Toulmin method, in short, is an effective way of getting to the how and why levels of the arguments we read. It is a type of textual "dissection" that allows us to break an argument into its different parts (such as claim, reasons, and evidence) so that we can make judgments on how well the different parts work together.

Why Use the Toulmin Method?

The Toulmin Method is a way of doing very detailed analysis, in which we break an argument into its various parts and decide how effectively those parts participate in the overall whole. When we use this method, we identify the argument's claim , reasons , and evidence , and evaluate the effectiveness of each.

However, it can be said that Toulmin works somewhat like a formula to be applied to arguments, and that as such it exhibits some limitations. It is often not very well applied, for example, to arguments that are not themselves organized in a linear way and written in the tradition of Western rhetoric. And, as Timothy Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell point out in The Aims of Argument , this method is limited to logical analysis, and therefore excludes other types of evaluation/analysis which are equally important (such as the Critical Reading strategies mentioned elsewhere in the Writing Center.) But Toulmin proves for many to be a good starting point.

Parts of an Argument

Using the Toulmin method requires that we take an argument apart and examine its various elements. This "dissection" allows us to understand the argument more fully, summarize it more accurately, and discuss its effectiveness or ineffectiveness more intelligently than we would have otherwise.

It might be helpful to envision writing the parts of an argument like building a house of cards, in which you work backwards, beginning with the uppermost level (the claim). Each level is balanced precariously on the level beneath it. And in order for an argument to hold up under careful scrutiny, each level must be strong enough to support what is placed on top of it.

Think of the claim in an argument as the most general statement in that argument. It may not be a particularly general statement all by itself, and some for arguments are very narrow indeed. But the claim is like the umbrella statement that all other parts of an argument have to fall under. It is the uppermost level of our "house of cards."

After you have identified an argument's claim, it is important to determine how far the author intends to carry that claim. The next step in this process, in other words, is the identification of any qualifiers or exceptions the author makes to the argument's claim.

Identifying Qualifiers

Qualifiers are words like some, most, many, in general, usually, typically and so on--little words whose value to an argument is immeasurable.

Example of a qualified claim:

Many books by Charles Dickens are fun to read.

Example of an unqualified claim:

Books by Charles Dickens are fun to read.

Without qualifying words like some or many , a claim like this can be interpreted (by the careful analytical eye) as All books by Charles Dickens are always fun for everyone to read.

Although unqualified claims like these are not necessarily a bad argumentation strategy, they do allow ample room for challenges to be made to an argument. An appropriately qualified claim is much easier to defend.

Identifying Exceptions

Oftentimes, an author will specifically exclude from an argument certain cases or situations. Such exceptions serve to restrict a claim, so that it is understood to apply in some situations but not in others.

A claim like

Most books by Charles Dickens are fun to read.

might be limited by the following exception:

Having labored over David Copperfield in high school, I would not rank that book among them.

Exceptions like this one are important, because without them, readers who would like to challenge a claim may begin to concoct exceptions of their own.

Distinguishing Between Qualifiers and Exceptions

Qualifiers and exceptions are similar in that they both put limits on how far a claim may be carried. A qualifier , however, is merely a word (like some or usually ) which serves to limit a claim, while an exception is an e xample of a case or situation in which the claim does not apply.

An example of a qualifier would be the word most in the following claim:

An exception would be an example, usually appearing after the claim, of a situation in which that claim would not apply:

The Reasons

Why does a writer believe the claim s/he makes? The reasons a writer gives are the first line of development of any argument. To use our "house of cards" image again, reasons comprise the second level of an argument, without which the uppermost level (the claim) cannot remain balanced (or, in the language of argument, "effective").

How can we tell if reasons are strong? In other words, how can we determine whether or not they are sturdy enough to support the claim? Using the Toulmin method, we ask two main questions: Is the reason relevant to the claim it supports? and Is the reason effective?

Determining the Relevance of the Reasons

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of reasons used in an argument, we must first determine whether or not they are relevant to the claim they mean to support.

Determining the Effectiveness of the Reasons

If a reason is effective (or "good"), it invokes a value we can believe in and agree with. Value judgments, because they are by necessity somewhat subjective, are often the most difficult to make in arguments. It is, therefore, always a good idea to restate the value being invoked as clearly as possible in your own terms. Then you'll be able to evaluate whether or not the value is good in itself or worth pursuing.

If an argument's claim is

Argumentation is an important skill to learn,

the reason,

No other type of writing requires a great deal of thought.

is arguably not very effective, since many people would not agree with or value this idea. (Notice, too, how qualification might help this reason.) On the other hand, a reason like

If you look at writing assignments given in various disciplines of the university, you will find that many of them include elements that are related in some way to argument

would be likely to give the impression of being effective (and supportable).

The Evidence

We would all probably like to believe that the people we argue with will accept our claims and reasons as perfect and complete by themselves, but most readers are unlikely to do that. They want evidence of some sort--facts, examples, statistics, expert testimony, among others--to back up our reasons. If this level of the house of cards is either unstable or absent, neither of the two levels it supports (the reasons and claim) can be effective.

To be believable and convincing, evidence should satisfy three conditions. It should be sufficient , credible , and accurate .

Determining the Sufficiency of Evidence

As you look at the evidence supporting a reason, ask yourself if the author makes use of enough evidence to convince a reasonable reader.

If one reason given in an argument is

If you look at writing assignments given in various disciplines of the university, you will find that many of them include elements that are related in some way to argument.

An example from one Engineering assignment would most likely be insufficient, where several such examples would provide a more varied range of situations in which the stated reason holds true.

Determining the Credibility of Evidence

It is important to decide how credible (believable and authoritative) a piece of evidence is within an argument. As you look at the evidence supporting a reason, ask yourself whether or not this evidence matches with readers' experience of the world. If it doesn't, does the evidence come from a source that readers would accept as more knowledgeable or authoritative than they are?

On the university level, argument is valued by professors of various disciplines who say that they would like for their students to be able to take a strong position and support it with ample reasons and evidence, statistics taken from The National Inquirer and given in support of this reason will typically be much less credible than ones taken from The Journal of Higher Education .

Determining the Accuracy of Evidence

As you look at the evidence supporting a reason, ask yourself if this evidence "tells the truth." Are statistics gathered in verifiable ways from good sources? Are the quotations complete and fair (not out of context)? Are the facts verifiable from other sources?

Sometimes it is difficult to determine accuracy without having the writer's sources in front of you, but there are oftentimes cases in which you will be suspicious of a piece of evidence for one reason or another.

If, in support of a reason like

College students are very enthusiastic about learning argumentation skills

a writer uses this piece of evidence:

In a survey conducted in my residence hall, 92% of the respondents asserted that they enjoyed writing arguments more than any other activity listed on the questionnaire,

you might be led to ask questions like "Who conducted this survey?" "Who were these respondents?" or "What were the other activities listed on the questionnaire?"

Anticipated Objections and Rebuttal

When we analyze an argument using the Toulmin method, we look for potential objections to the argument's reasons, objections which the writer expects his or her opponents to make. Usually, these are included in arguments as opportunities for the writer to present her or his own reasons as refutations/rebuttals.

Example of an Anticipated Objection

If one reason in an argument is:

On the university level, argument is valued by professors of various disciplines who say that they would like for their students to be able to take a strong position and support it with ample reasons and evidence,

the writer might hold up the following objection:

Many students argue that fields like Engineering and Math have no use for argumentation skills.

Once a writer identifies counter-arguments opponents might make, it would be self-defeating to announce those counter-arguments and not argue against them. Therefore, after stating the objections of opponents, most writers will refute or rebut the objections. Good rebuttal usually requires evidence, so don't forget to look for support for the rebuttal position in that part of an argument. Like all evidence, rebuttal evidence should be sufficient, accurate, and credible.

Example of a Rebuttal

To the anticipated objection:

Many students argue that fields like Engineering and Math have no use for argumentation skills,

a writer might offer the following rebuttal evidence,

However, a recent study appearing in journal, Language and Learning Across the Disciplines indicates that...(fill in the blank)

Drawing Conclusions from a Toulmin Analysis

Once you have completed a Toulmin analysis of an argument, your task is to collect your "results" into an overall, coherent statement about the effectiveness of that argument. In other words, if you are attempting to respond to that argument--whether in a formal response essay or in an arguing essay where you are using the argument as evidence or as opposing evidence--you will need to shape your Toulmin results into a coherent, defensible, narrow claim of your own. To see an example of how you would do this, you might go to the relevant part of the Toulmin demonstration.

Toulmin Worksheet

Click below to access a copy of a Toulmin Worksheet, so that you may practice using the Toulmin Method of analysis on your own, using an argument in a text of your own choice. Remember, as you use this worksheet, that not all elements of an argument are nearly as formulaic as the sheet might suggest. The argument you use might, for instance, use more than three reasons, or it might use only one. Think of this worksheet as a starting point, and feel free to make whatever changes are necessary to incorporate the elements you identify in the argument you are examining.

Example Worksheet

A Toulmin Model for Analyzing Arguments (modified from Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell, The Aims of Argument, p. 34) Claim: Qualifier? Exceptions? *************** Reason 1 What makes this reason relevant? What makes this reason effective? What evidence supports this reason? Is this evidence sufficient? Is this evidence credible? Is this evidence accurate? Reason 2 What makes this reason relevant? What makes this reason effective? What evidence supports this reason? Is this evidence sufficient? Is this evidence credible? Is this evidence accurate? Reason 3 What makes this reason relevant? What makes this reason effective? What evidence supports this reason? Is this evidence sufficient? Is this evidence credible? Is this evidence accurate? *************************************************************** Objection: Rebuttal: Objection: Rebuttal: Objection: Rebuttal:  

Toulmin Demonstration

What follows is a sample student argument, analyzed by way of the Toulmin Method. It offers an example of how this method might be implemented as a way of breaking an argument into its parts, then examining those parts to see how they contribute to the overall effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the argument.

Analyze The Claim

Identifying the claim.

Our first step in the Toulmin Method is to identify the claim. In the case of this argument, the claim is stated in a very general way, then is elaborated on throughout the essay. (Therefore, there is no particular point in the essay where the writer states her claim in full.) However, the general statement of the claim could be said to come at the beginning of paragraph 2, where the writer argues, "It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices." She elaborates on this somewhat in the sentence that follows: " In our arid Western climate and poor soil, the traditional lawn takes too much water, time, and harmful chemicals to maintain." The argument proceeds to prove that this is true, then offers alternatives to "the traditional lawn."

Examining the Claim for Qualifiers

Having identified and paraphrased the claim in paragraph 2 as, "It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices," the next step in the Toulmin Method is to examine this claim to see if the writer uses any qualifiers--words like "some," "many," "most of the time," etc. In this case, there are no such qualifiers. It can sometimes be damaging to an argument to omit qualifiers, particularly if there are also no exceptions provided. It is up to you as a reader to determine whether the writer's unqualified claim is damaging to this particular argument.

Examining the Claim for Exceptions

After looking for qualifying words in the claim, the next step is to determine what the writer considers to be the situations in which her claim doesn't apply. In other words, it is necessary to identify any exceptions she makes to her claim. In her argument, although she does not mention explicitly any exceptional situations, her claim implies one.

If we look at the writer's claim in paragraph 2, "It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices," the first thing we should ask is "Who does she refer to when she uses the word `us'?" Clearly, this writer is addressing an audience like herself: homeowners in the West (in Ft. Collins, Colorado perhaps) who are interested in landscaping. Then if we look at the introductory paragraph of the essay, we see that she has described two landscaping situations: one in her home state of Ohio, and one in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she now lives. From all of this, we can assume that the writer intends for her argument to apply primarily to lawns in the West, and that (by implication) she excludes from her argument lawns in other parts of the country, where conditions are different.

Analyze the Reasons

Identifying all the reasons.

Once you have identified and examined the claim (for qualifiers and exceptions), the next step in the Toulmin Method is to identify and examine the reasons which support this claim. In the case of this essay, two of the reasons are given in the same breath as the general claim ("It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices") in the second paragraph. The sentence which follows this claim is, "In our arid Western climate and poor soil, the traditional lawn takes too much water, time, and harmful chemicals to maintain," and it implies two of the three reasons that the writer will address in the essay. The third reason the writer will address is this: Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West (and "less hungry and thirsty," as the writer says in paragraph 14) are readily available. Click on the reasons below to see where they occur in the example argument.

Maintaining the traditional lawn is:

  • In paragraph 2: Harmful (because of the chemicals used)
  • In paragraph 2: Expensive in terms of time (time spent maintaining one's lawn) and money (water usage and cost of chemicals)
  • In paragraph 11: Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available.

Identifying and Examining Reason One

In reading on from paragraph 2 to paragraph 3 of the essay, we see that the first reason the writer addresses is the question of harm. At the beginning of paragraph 3, she broaches this question in the following way: "In Fort Collins, we must use herbicides when growing these foreign turfs." The assumption here, of course, is that these herbicides are harmful and undesirable, and the writer shows how this is so by providing evidence of the threats they pose to the environment and to humans.

We have identified Reason One as "In Fort Collins, we must use herbicides [which, by implication, are harmful] when growing these foreign turfs [like Kentucky bluegrass]." Our next step is to determine whether or not this reason is (1) relevant and (2) effective.

Determining the Relevance of Reason One

When examining this reason, it is first necessary to ask the question, "Is it relevant to the claim it attempts to support?" When we look at the claim and this first reason side by side, we see that there is a clear connection between the two.

Reason: "In Fort Collins, we must use herbicides [which, by implication, are harmful] when growing these foreign turfs [like Kentucky bluegrass]."

For this reason...

Claim: "It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices."

Determining the Effectiveness of Reason One

After determining that Reason One is indeed relevant to the argument's claim, we may go on to determine whether or not it is effective (or "good"). In other words, does the reason invoke a value that most people (most importantly, you as a reader) can believe in and accept?

In this case, the reason, having to do with the danger of herbicides to the environment and to people, invokes the reader's fear and distaste of such harm. This may or may not seem like an effective reason to you, and if it doesn't, then this is something to remember when you complete your analysis of this argument. However, we might predict that most readers would probably feel some kind of fear or distaste for the kinds of harm that the writer refers to, thus making this an effective reason.

Moving from Reason One to Reason Two

In providing a bridge from Reason One to Reason Two, the writer draws on what we will here call Reason Three, paraphrasable as follows: Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available. After she demonstrates that herbicides are dangerous, the writer shows that this danger is unnecessary, given the existence of buffalo grass and other varieties "that are more resistant to pests, disease, and weeds and better suited to the West" (paragraph 5). She then lists some of the merits of buffalo grass, which are (1) its appropriateness to our region and (2) the fact that it is almost maintenance-free, and therefore economical. This leads the writer directly into her second reason, which has to do with cost.

Identifying and Examining Reason Two

The writer's second reason, having to do with the cost of traditional landscaping in terms of money and time, is developed in paragraphs 6-9. (For the sake of simplicity, we will paraphrase Reason Two in the following way: "Traditional landscaping is costly in terms of both time and money.") Looking back at the essay, this reason can be most easily and clearly identified in two specific sentences:

Paragraph 6: "Choosing a variety that requires little or no watering also saves Fort Collins homeowners money." Paragraph 7: "More appropriate species of grass would save time and money by making fertilizers and amendments obsolete."

With the exception of these two sentences, the majority of the argument in paragraphs 6-9 is given to providing evidence to support these statements, as well as (in paragraph 8) mentioning the cost of having one's lawn professionally cared for.

We have identified Reason Two as (in paraphrased form) "Traditional landscaping is costly in terms of both time and money." Our next step is to determine whether or not this reason is (1) relevant and (2) effective.

Determining the Relevance of Reason Two

Reason: "Traditional landscaping is costly in terms of both time and money."

Determining the Effectiveness of Reason Two

After determining that Reason Two is indeed relevant to the argument's claim, we may go on to determine whether or not it is effective (or "good"). In other words, does the reason invoke a value that most people (most importantly, you as a reader) can believe in and accept?

In this case, the reason, having to do with the cost (in terms of both money and time) of maintaining traditional landscaping, invokes the value the reader places on money and time. This may or may not seem like an effective reason to you, and if it doesn't, then this is something to remember when you complete your analysis of this argument. However, we might predict that most readers would probably be compelled by an argument that proposes economy of both money and time. We could argue, therefore, that this is an effective reason.

Moving from Reason Two to Reason Three

In providing a bridge from Reason Two(having to do with various costs of traditional landscaping) to Reason Three(having to do with the availability of alternative varieties of grasses which are more suited to the West), the writer decides to deal with an objection she anticipates from her audience: "So how come we never hear about these alternative varieties of grasses and their benefits?" In paragraphs 10-12, the writer responds to this hypothetical objection, pointing out the biases of the lawn care industry and directing her audience toward less biased sources of information (or rather, those which are likely to give information about alternative varieties of grasses and means of landscaping).

Identifying and Examining Reason Three

As mentioned previously, we might paraphrase the writer's third reason in the following way: Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available. Although she directly addresses the "availability" question only toward the end of her essay (in paragraphs 10-13), she refers to alternative varieties of grasses in several areas of the essay. For example, In Paragraph 5: "Varieties of grass that are more resistant to pests, disease, and weeds and better suited to the West make this risk unnecessary." In Paragraph 6: "Choosing a variety that requires little or no watering also saves Fort Collins homeowners money." In Paragraph 7: "More appropriate species of grass would save time and money by making fertilizers and amendments obsolete." In Paragraph 10: "Since the cost of maintaining an alternative lawn is so low, lawn care experts have no stake in keeping us informed about more appropriate species or in making them easy to obtain."

In paragraphs 11-13, however, the writer claims that these alternative varieties do exist and are available to Fort Collins residents, and she offers evidence to back this up.

We have identified Reason Three as (in paraphrased form) "Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available." Our next step is to determine whether or not this reason is (1) relevant and (2) effective.

Determining the Relevance of Reason Three

Reason: "Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available."

Determining the Effectiveness of Reason Three

After determining that Reason Three is indeed relevant to the argument's claim, we may go on to determine whether or not it is effective (or "good"). In other words, does the reason invoke a value that most people (most importantly, you as a reader) can believe in and accept?

In this case, the reason, which challenges the necessity of traditional landscaping methods and grasses when alternative ones (more appropriate to the West) are readily available, invokes the value the reader places on convenience and common sense. This may or may not seem like an effective reason to you, and if it doesn't, then this is something to remember when you complete your analysis of this argument. However, we might predict that most readers would probably be motivated by a desire to do something that "makes sense" if it is convenient to do so. Therefore, we might judge this to be an effective reason.

Identifying and Examining Evidence

Once you have identified and examined the reasons supporting the claim in an argument, your next step is to examine the evidence which, in turn, supports those reasons.

Identifying and Examining Evidence for Reason One

The writer's first reason has to do with the danger of using herbicides. In support of this reason (in paragraphs 3 and 4), she offers several pieces of evidence:

Identifying the Evidence:

  • In paragraph 3, a statistic (from her source, Bormann, Balmori, and Geballe) indicating how many pounds of herbicides and pesticides Americans use each year.
  • In paragraph 4, her experience with the prevalence of lawn chemical use in Ohio.
  • In paragraph 4, her reference to the yellow warning flags now used in Ft. Collins when lawns are being sprayed.

Examining the Evidence:

We must first ask ourselves, "Is this evidence sufficient?" That is, we must determine whether or not there is enough evidence offered to support the reason the writer is attempting to use. In this case, given the fact that the writer uses three different pieces of evidence (one from an "official" source and two from personal experience/observation), we could argue that she uses sufficient evidence.

Our second step is to ask ourselves, "Is this evidence credible?" In other words, can we trust the evidence the writer offers us? In this case, where the writer uses what seems to be a credible source (Bormann, Balmori, and Geballe's Redesigning the American Lawn), as well as fairly commonplace, believable personal experience, we could argue that she uses credible evidence.

Our third step is to ask ourselves, "Is this evidence accurate?" This is perhaps the most difficult step in examining the evidence, simply because we can't always be sure of accuracy without having the writer's sources in front of us or without having experienced what she has experienced. In this case, there seems to be no reason to question the accuracy of the evidence given, simply because it doesn't appear unrealistic or outlandish, and it has already been shown to be reasonably credible. Sometimes, however, you might suspect that the evidence offered in support of a reason is inaccurate, and that can be an excellent way to challenge an argument.

Identifying and Examining Evidence for Reason Two

The writer's second reason has to do with the cost of traditional landscaping in terms of money and time, and it is supported (in paragraphs 6-9) with several pieces of evidence:

  • In paragraph 6, statistics representing water usage (the writer's own and the average) in Fort Collins, along with information given in a phone interview with Laurie D'Audni of the Fort Collins Water Utilities.
  • In paragraph 6, a statistic from her source (Bormann, Balmori, and Geballe) representing water usage in the West.
  • After paragraph 6, the chart showing levels of water usage (the writer's own and the average) in Fort Collins throughout the year.
  • In paragraph 7, lawn care experts' recommendation on how often fertilizer should be applied, and on how we "should aerate and thatch as well."
  • In paragraph 7, personal experience--comparison of time and money spent in Fort Collins as opposed to Ohio.
  • In paragraph 8: Cost of having lawn care professionally done.
  • After paragraph 8, statistics on "Basic Cost per Season for Care of Bluegrass" and "Time Spent per Season in Basic Lawn Care"

Identifying and Examining Evidence for Reason Three

The writer's third reason has to do with the availability of alternative varieties of grasses which are more suited to the West. As mentioned previously, this reason is referred to throughout the essay, but it is treated most directly in paragraphs 10-13. Here is some of the evidence, given in different parts of the essay in support of the availability of alternative grasses:

  • In paragraph 5, testimony from two sources (Bucks and Meyer) as to the merits of buffalo grass and wheatgrass.
  • In paragraph 10, the phone number of the county extension office, where readers can get information on species of grass suitable to our area.
  • In paragraph 11, quotes from an article in the Coloradoan about the difficulties of traditional turf grasses and the availability of "a new variety of zoysia, Meyer Z-52).
  • In paragraph 12, a claim that alternative types of seed may be ordered (and the approximate cost of the seeds).
  • paragraph 13, suggestions of plants, shrubs, and flowers that thrive in the West.

Analyze the Anticipated Objections and Rebuttal

When writing an argument, writers must anticipate any objections their audience might use to challenge that argument. In other words, they have to make sure, to the best of their ability, that they don't leave room for their audience to pull a card out of one of the levels of their "house of cards" (thereby causing the whole structure of the argument to tumble down). In this argument, the writer has addressed two possible oppositional arguments, one having to do with availability of information on alternative grasses, and one having to do with the cost of switching to alternative landscaping.

Identifying Objection One

In providing a bridge from Reason Two (having to do with various costs of traditional landscaping) to Reason Three (having to do with the availability of alternative varieties of grasses which are more suited to the West), the writer decides to deal with an objection she anticipates from her audience: "So how come we never hear about these alternative varieties of grasses and their benefits?"

Identifying & Examining Rebuttal of Objection One

In paragraphs 10-12, the writer responds to this hypothetical objection, pointing out the biases of the lawn care industry and directing her audience toward less biased sources of information (or rather, those which are likely to give information about alternative varieties of grasses and means of landscaping).

Remember, too, that rebuttal evidence must be examined just like any other evidence. In other words, we have to judge whether or not the evidence offered in the rebuttal is valid in terms of sufficiency, credibility, and accuracy. In this case, we might notice that the writer gives no real evidence that the lawn care industry is biased, but we might also decide that such a thing is common sense, and therefore is well-argued. However, if we were looking for a way to call this reasoning into question, we might want to point out that the writer lacks evidence in this area.

Identifying Objection Two

In paragraph 14, the writer anticipates that her audience might be concerned about the expense of switching from traditional to alternative landscaping.

Identifying & Examining Rebuttal of Objection Two

In forming her rebuttal to this second objection, the writer refers back to arguments she made in paragraph 6 about "the cost saved on water and maintenance." She also mentions in paragraph 14 the possibilities of shrinking lawn space and "giv[ing it] over to heat and drought-resistant varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, and groundcovers." Finally, she mentions the ways that people can save money by "choosing varieties that are perennial or reseed themselves."

Remember, too, that rebuttal evidence must be examined just like any other evidence. In other words, we have to judge whether or not the evidence offered in the rebuttal is valid in terms of sufficiency, credibility, and accuracy. In this case, we will remember that she has already supported her argument about "the cost saved on water and maintenance." And we might consider that her arguments about shrinking lawn space and about "choosing varieties that are perennial or reseed themselves" to be self-evident (common-sensical), and therefore well-argued. However, if we were looking for a way to call her reasoning into question, we might want to point out that the writer lacks evidence on these last two points.

Draw Conclusions from a Toulmin Analysis

After completing this Toulmin Analysis of the essay, "Landscaping that Makes Sense for the West," it is our task to determine how to "interpret" the results. In other words, how do we take what we have discovered about the argument through analysis and translate it into a formal response to that argument?

Collecting Results

The first step in drawing conclusions is to collect the results of our analysis. To do this, we go back to our responses on the different levels of our "house of cards": claim, reasons, evidence, and anticipated objections/rebuttal. In the case of our sample argument, we have determined that the writer's reasons and much of her evidence are quite strong. Some of her evidence is not as documentable as other evidence, and we could examine her claim (for lack of qualifications) and her rebuttal evidence more closely, but for the most part, our responses at the various levels of this analysis have been positive.

Is the Argument Compelling to You?

The first question you might ask yourself when "interpreting" the results of your analysis is a very general (and emotionally-based) question: Does this argument appeal to me? If it does appeal, then why and how does it appeal? In other words, how do the responses we made about the claim, reasons, evidence, etc. reinforce (or contradict) our "gut-level" response to the argument we have read? In the case of our example argument, we might say that the essay seems immediately compelling for a number of reasons (style, use of examples, the attractive color photo, etc.); then we might note that our overall response to and analysis of the parts of the argument supports this gut-level response.

What is the Overall Effectiveness/Ineffectiveness of the Argument?

In looking at the results of your analysis, it is important to notice how effective or ineffective the argument is based on the strengths or weaknesses you have noticed in the different parts of that argument. This is the part of interpretation which demands that you go beyond your gut-level responses to acknowledge (as "objectively" and as truthfully as possible) the parts of the argument which achieve their purpose effectively, and the parts which do this less effectively. Again, looking at our sample essay, we could argue that most of the parts of the argument (like the claim, reasons, and most evidence) are structured, supported, and expressed effectively, while there are very few areas of possible ineffectiveness (in credibility of evidence, thoroughness of rebuttal, or qualification of claim, for instance).

Overall, though, this argument would probably be considered a strong and well-supported one by most readers, and it is a bit of a stretch even to discuss these few areas of possible ineffectiveness.

Writing a Claim

The last stage of your analysis (and the first stage of writing a response to the essay) is to formulate a claim of your own, based on your analytical reading of the argument. In the case of our sample argument, our claim might read as follows: "Although this writer's argument has elements that might be slightly better qualified, supported, or documented, overall her argument for alternative landscaping is compelling and effective." (Of course, if as a reader you were inclined to disagree with her argument or to be critical of some of the reasons or evidence she offers, your claim would look quite different from this one.)

Nesbitt, Laurel. (2001). Using the Toulmin Method. Writing@CSU . Colorado State University. https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=58

Argumentative Essay Guide

Types Of Argument

Nova A.

Learn the 3 Different Types of Argument and Multiple Argument Claims

Published on: Feb 19, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 22, 2023

types of argument

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An argument is a series of statements or facts intended to develop or support a point of view. It is usually known as a claim backed up with evidence, facts, and examples. 

The way you structure the argument in your essay makes a huge difference. It will either set your paper apart or mix up with the other average papers without leaving an impact.

Recently, we created a complete guide to crafting an impressive argumentative essay from scratch. In this article, we will be focusing entirely on three core strategies and types of arguments.

Let’s learn how you can structure your essay with these 3 types of argument.

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3 Main Types of Argument

There are 3 types of arguments that you'll most likely encounter while writing an argumentative essay . These are:

Classical Argument 

The Classical or Aristotelian model of argument is the most common type of argument. It was developed by the Greek philosopher and Rhetorician Aristotle.

In the classical model, both sides of an argument are analyzed , and one side is proven right using clear evidence . 

This model efficiently utilizes Ethos (authenticity) + Pathos (emotion) + Logos (logic) to persuade an audience to a side of an argument.

The classical model argumentative essay takes into account the following things:

  • Introduces the main claim or the argument of the essay.
  • Present the writer's perspective on the argument. The reasons something is not working and why something should be done.
  • Take into account the other side of the argument . Explain them in detail and refute them with the help of evidence.
  • Provide clear evidence that proves that your side of the claim is true.
  • Provide the conclusion which states the benefits of accepting your claim.

The structure of the classical model is as follows:

  • Introduction - hook statement, brief background, thesis statement
  • Body - topic sentence, facts & evidence to prove the argument
  • Counter argument - opposing arguments, evidence and reasons to refute the counter-arguments
  • Conclusion - restating the thesis statement, call to action and concluding remarks

Here is an example that follows this model:

Toulmin Argument 

The Toulmin model for argumentative essays was developed by Stephen Toulmin. Unlike the classical model of argument, it presents only one side of the argument . This model works well when there is no clear truth or an absolute solution to a problem.

It breaks the argument into 6 basic components: 

The structure of the Toulmin model is as follow:

  • Introduction - thesis statement or the main claim
  • Body - facts & evidence to support the argument
  • Conclusion - rebuttal of counter-arguments

Here is an example outline of an argumentative essay about abortion in the Toulmin Model:

Rogerian Argument

The Rogerian model of argument was developed by Carl R. Rogers to provide a middle ground between opposing parties. This model works on collaboration and cooperation. It acknowledges that an argument can be looked at from different standpoints .

The objectives of the Rogerian model are:

  • To show the reader that you have listened to their viewpoints and understood the complexities of the argument.
  • To define the area where the writer acknowledges the reader's claim to be valid.
  • Show the reader that you both share similar moral qualities and want to discover a solution that is mutually acceptable.

Each Rogerian model argumentative essay should define all of these aims.

The structure of the Rogerian model is as follow:

  • Introduction - Introduction to the argument and thesis statement.
  • Opposing position: An acknowledgment that there is another side of the argument.
  • State your claim: Your own perspective about the argument. 
  • Provide a middle ground: Carefully bring both sides of the argument together and provide a compromised solution. 
  • Conclusion - Concluding remarks that state the benefits of a compromised solution.

Here’s a short example:

You can follow any of these 3 types of argument essay models in your argumentative essay. These models will help you to write an argumentative essay in a well-structured and persuasive way. 

Types of Argument Claims

An argument claim, often simply referred to as a "claim," is a 

“declarative statement or proposition put forward in an argument or discussion.”

It is the central point or thesis that the person making the argument is trying to prove or persuade others to accept. 

Factual Claims

Factual claims are statements that assert something as a fact or reality. They are based on observable evidence and can be proven or disproven. 

For example, 

Value Claims

Value claims express personal opinions, preferences, or judgments about something. They are not about facts but about what someone believes is right, good, or important. 

For instance, 

Policy Claims

Policy claims propose a specific course of action or advocate for a change in the way things are done. They are often found in discussions about laws, regulations, or actions that should be taken. 

An example would be,

Causal Claims

Causal claims assert a cause-and-effect relationship between two or more phenomena. They suggest that one thing is responsible for another.

For instance,

Definitional Claims

Definitional claims seek to clarify or establish the meaning of a term or concept. They aim to set a specific definition or understanding for a particular word or idea. 

For example , 

Understanding these different types of argument claims can help you identify the nature of statements in discussions and debates. This makes it easier to analyze and respond to various arguments.

Steps to Structure an Argumentative Essay

You may have a very good and controversial argument in mind with strong evidence to prove it. However, if you haven't structured your argument properly, your argument is wasted.

Here are the easy steps that can help you structure your argument effectively:

  • Choose a controversial and debatable topic from a comprehensive list of argumentative essay topics . 
  • Decide the type of claim that you want to make with your essay. 
  • Decide the type of argument structure you want to follow in your essay.
  • Collect facts and evidence from credible sources and use them to support your claim.
  • Develop a strong argumentative essay outline .
  • Study some argumentative essay examples to get a deeper understanding of how to develop an argument in the essay. 
  • Begin your essay with an arguable claim or premises.
  • Make sure your claim is logical and is developed coherently throughout the essay.
  • Provide a conclusion that clearly matches the type of argument model you have followed.

Now that you've got the basics of different argument types, you're all set to start writing your argumentative essays.

However, if you still need expert help, you can hire a qualified writer from our professional essay writing service .

We know how to create strong and convincing arguments that will make your essays shine. Our argumentative essay writing service is available 24/7 to assist you with all of your argumentative writing needs.

Place your order today!

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Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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Argumentative Essay Writing

Argumentative Essay Examples

Cathy A.

Best Argumentative Essay Examples for Your Help

Published on: Mar 10, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

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Argumentative essays are one of the most common types of essay writing. Students are assigned to write such essays very frequently.

Despite being assigned so frequently, students still find it hard to write a good argumentative essay .

There are certain things that one needs to follow to write a good argumentative essay. The first thing is to choose an effective and interesting topic. Use all possible sources to dig out the best topic.

Afterward, the student should choose the model that they would follow to write this type of essay. Follow the steps of the chosen model and start writing the essay.

The models for writing an argumentative essay are the classical model, the Rogerian model, and the Toulmin model.

To make sure that you write a good argumentative essay, read the different types of examples mentioned in this blog.

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Good Argumentative Essay Examples

Argumentative essays are an inevitable part of academic life. To write a good argumentative essay, you need to see a few good examples of this type of essay.

To analyze whether the example is good to take help from or not. You need to look for a few things in it.

Make sure it follows one specific model and has an introductory paragraph, organized body paragraphs, and a formal conclusion.

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How to Start an Argumentative Essay Example

Learning how to start an argumentative essay example is a tricky thing for beginners. It is quite simple but can be challenging for newbies.   To start an argumentative essay example, you need to write a brief and attractive introduction. It is written to convince the reader and make them understand your point of view .

Add body paragraphs after the introduction to support your thesis statement. Also, use body paragraphs to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your side of the argument.

Write a formal conclusion for your essay and summarize all the key elements of your essay. Look at the example mentioned below to understand the concept more clearly.

Check out this video for more information!

Argumentative Essay Example (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Example 

Argumentative essays are assigned to university students more often than the students of schools and colleges.

 It involves arguments over vast and sometimes bold topics as well.

For university students, usually, argumentative essay topics are not provided. They are required to search for the topic themselves and write accordingly.

The following examples will give an idea of how university students write argumentative essays.

Argumentative Essay Example for University (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Examples for College

For the college level, it is recommended to use simple language and avoid the use of complex words in essays.

Make sure that using simple language and valid evidence, you support your claim well and make it as convincing as possible

If you are a college student and want to write an argumentative essay, read the examples provided below. Focus on the formatting and the vocabulary used.

Argumentative Essay Example for College (PDF)

College Argumentative Essay Sample (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Examples for Middle School

Being a middle school student, you must be wondering how we write an argumentative essay. And how can you support your argument?

Go through the following examples and hopefully, you will be able to write an effective argumentative essay very easily.

Argumentative Essay Example for Middle School(PDF)

Middle School Argumentative Essay Sample (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Examples for High School

High school students are not very aware of all the skills that are needed to write research papers and essays. 

Especially, when it comes to argumentative essays, it becomes quite a challenge for high schools to defend their argument

In this scenario, the best option is to look into some good examples. Here we have summed up two best examples of argumentative essays for high school students specifically.

Argumentative Essay Example for High School (PDF)

High School Argumentative Essay Sample (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Examples for O Level

The course outline for O levels is quite tough. O levels students need to have a good command of the English language and amazing writing skills.

If you are an O-level student, the following examples will guide you on how to write an argumentative essay.

Argumentative Essay Example for O Level (PDF)

Argumentative Essay for O Level Students (PDF)

5-Paragraph Argumentative Essay Examples

A 5-paragraph essay is basically a formatting style for essay writing. It has the following five parts:

  • Introduction

In the introduction, the writer introduces the topic and provides a glance at the collected data to support the main argument.

  • Body paragraph 1

The first body paragraph discusses the first and most important point related to the argument. It starts with a topic sentence and has all the factual data to make the argument convincing.

  • Body paragraph 2

The second body paragraph mentions the second most important element of the argument. A topic sentence is used to start these paragraphs. It gives the idea of the point that will discuss in the following paragraph.

  • Body paragraph 3

The third paragraph discusses all the miscellaneous points. Also, it uses a transitional sentence at the end to show a relation to the conclusion.

The conclusion of a five-paragraph essay reiterates all the major elements of an argumentative essay. It also restates the thesis statement using a more convincing choice of words.

Look at the example below to see how a well-written five-paragraph essay looks like

5 Paragraph Argumentative Essay Example (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Examples for 6th Grade

Students in 6th grade are at a point where they are learning new things every day. 

Writing an argumentative essay is an interesting activity for them as they like to convince people of their point of view.

Argumentative essays written at such levels are very simple but well convincing. 

The following example will give you more detail on how a 6th-grade student should write an argumentative essay.

6th Grade Argumentative Essay Example (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Examples for 7th Grade

There is not much difference between a 6th-grade and a 7th-grade student. Both of them are enhancing their writing and academic skills.

Here is another example to help you with writing an effective argumentative essay.

7th Grade Argumentative Essay Example (PDF)

Tough Essay Due? Hire a Writer!

Tough Essay Due? Hire a Writer!

Short Argumentative Essay Examples

For an argumentative essay, there is no specific limit for the word count. It only has to convince the readers and pass on the knowledge of the writer to the intended audience.

It can be short or detailed. It would be considered valid as far as it has an argument involved in it.

Following is an example of a short argumentative essay example

Short Argumentative Essay Example (PDF)

Immigration Argumentative Essay Examples

Immigration is a hot topic for a very long time now. People have different opinions regarding this issue.

Where there is more than one opinion, an argumentative essay can be written on that topic. The following are examples of argumentative essays on immigration.

Read them and try to understand how an effective argumentative essay is written on such a topic.

Argumentative Essay Example on Immigration (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Sample on Immigration (PDF)

Writing essays is usually a tiring and time-consuming assignment to do. Students already have a bunch of assignments for other subjects to complete. In this situation, asking for help from professional writers is the best choice.

If you are still in need of assistance, our essay writer AI can help you create a compelling essay that presents your argument clearly and effectively. 

With our argumentative essay writing service, you will enjoy perks like expert guidance, unlimited revisions, and helpful customer support. Let our essay writer help you make an impact with your essay on global warming today! 

Place your order with our college essay writing service today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 7 types of arguments.

The seven types of arguments are as follows:

  • Statistical

What is the structure of an argument?

The structure of an argument consists of a main point (thesis statement) that is supported by evidence. 

This evidence can include facts, statistics, examples, and other forms of data that help to prove or disprove the thesis statement. 

After providing the evidence, arguments also often include a conclusion that summarizes the main points made throughout the argument.

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This resource describes the fundamental qualities of argument developed by Aristotle in the vital rhetorical text  On Rhetoric.  

A (Very) Brief History of Rhetoric

The study of rhetoric has existed for thousands of years, predating even Socrates, Plato and the other ancient Greek philosophers that we often credit as the founders of Western philosophy. Although ancient rhetoric is most commonly associated with the ancient Greeks and Romans, early examples of rhetoric date all the way back to ancient Akkadian writings in Mesopotamia.

In ancient Greece and Rome, rhetoric was most often considered to be the art of persuasion and was primarily described as a spoken skill. In these societies, discourse occurred almost exclusively in the public sphere, so learning the art of effective, convincing speaking was essential for public orators, legal experts, politicians, philosophers, generals, and educators. To prepare for the speeches they would need to make in these roles, students engaged in written exercises called  progymnasmata . Today, rhetorical scholars still use strategies from the classical era to conceptualize argument. However, whereas oral discourse was the main focus of the classical rhetoricians, modern scholars also study the peculiarities of written argument.

Aristotle provides a crucial point of reference for ancient and modern scholars alike. Over 2000 years ago, Aristotle literally wrote the book on rhetoric. His text  Rhētorikḗ ( On Rhetoric ) explores the techniques and purposes of persuasion in ancient Greece, laying the foundation for the study and implementation of rhetoric in future generations. Though the ways we communicate and conceptualize rhetoric have changed, many of the principles in this book are still used today. And this is for good reason: Aristotle’s strategies can provide a great guide for organizing your thoughts as well as writing effective arguments, essays, and speeches.

Below, you will find a brief guide to some of the most fundamental concepts in classical rhetoric, most of which originate in  On Rhetoric.

The Rhetorical Appeals

To understand how argument works in  On Rhetoric , you must first understand the major appeals associated with rhetoric. Aristotle identifies four major rhetorical appeals: ethos (credibility), logos (logic), pathos (emotion), and Kairos(time). 

  • Ethos –  persuasion through the author's character or credibility. This is the way a speaker (or writer) presents herself to the audience. You can build credibility by citing professional sources, using content-specific language, and by showing evidence of your ethical, knowledgeable background.
  • Logos –  persuasion through logic. This is the way a speaker appeals to the audience through practicality and hard evidence. You can develop logos by presenting data,  statistics, or facts by  crafting a clear claim with a logically-sequenced argument.  ( See enthymeme and syllogism )
  • Pathos –  persuasion through emotion or disposition . This is the way a speaker appeals to the audience through emotion, pity, passions, or dispositions. The idea is usually to evoke and strengthen feelings already present within the audience. This can be achieved through story-telling, vivid imagery, and an impassioned voice.  Academic arguments in particular ​benefit from understanding pathos as appealing to an audience's academic disposition on a given topic, subject, or argument.
  • Kairos – an appeal made through the adept use of time. This is the way a speaker appeals to the audience through notions of time. It is also considered to be the appropriate or opportune time for a speaker to insert herself into a conversation or discourse, using the three appeals listed above. A Kairotic appeal can be made through calls to immediate action, presenting an opportunity as temporary, and by describing a specific moment as propitious or ideal.

​*Note:  When using these terms in a Rhetorical Analysis, make sure your syntax is correct. One does not appeal to ethos, logos, or pathos directly. Rather, one appeals to an audience's emotion/disposition, reason/logic, or sense of the author's character/credibility within the text. Ethos, pathos, and logos are themselves the appeals an author uses to persuade an audience. 

An easy way to conceptualize the rhetorical appeals is through advertisements, particularly infomercials or commercials. We are constantly being exposed to the types of rhetoric above, whether it be while watching television or movies, browsing the internet, or watching videos on YouTube.

Imagine a commercial for a new car. The commercial opens with images of a family driving a brand-new car through rugged, forested terrain, over large rocks, past waterfalls, and finally to a serene camping spot near a tranquil lake surrounded by giant redwood trees. The scene cuts to shots of the interior of the car, showing off its technological capacities and its impressive spaciousness. A voiceover announces that not only has this car won numerous awards over its competitors but that it is also priced considerably lower than comparable models, while getting better gas mileage. “But don’t wait,” the voiceover says excitedly, “current lessees pay 0% APR financing for 12 months.”

In just a few moments, this commercial has shown masterful use of all four appeals. The commercial utilizes pathos by appealing to our romantic notions of family, escape, and the great outdoors. The commercial develops ethos by listing its awards, and it appeals to our logical tendencies by pointing out we will save money immediately because the car is priced lower than its competitors, as well as in the long run because of its higher MPG rate. Finally, the commercial provides an opportune and propitious moment for its targeted audience to purchase a car immediately. 

Depending on the nature of the text, argument, or conversation, one appeal will likely become most dominant, but rhetoric is generally most effective when the speaker or writer draws on multiple appeals to work in conjunction with one another. To learn more about Aristotle's rhetorical appeals, click here.

Components and Structure

The classical argument is made up of five components, which are most commonly composed in the following order:

  • Exordium –  The introduction, opening, or hook.
  • Narratio –  The context or background of the topic.
  • Proposito and Partitio –  The claim/stance and the argument.
  • Confirmatio and/or Refutatio –  positive proofs and negative proofs of support.
  • Peroratio –  The conclusion and call to action.

Think of the exordium as your introduction or “hook.” In your exordium, you have an opportunity to gain the interest of your reader, but you also have the responsibility of situating the argument and setting the tone of your writing. That is, you should find a way to appeal to the audience’s interest while also introducing the topic and its importance in a professional and considerate manner. Something to include in this section is the significance of discussing the topic in this given moment (Kairos). This provides the issue a sense of urgency that can validate your argument.

This is also a good opportunity to consider who your intended audience is and to address their concerns within the context of the argument. For example, if you were writing an argument on the importance of technology in the English classroom and your intended audience was the board of a local high school, you might consider the following:

  • New learning possibilities for students (General Audience Concerns)
  • The necessity of modern technology in finding new, up-to-date information (Hook/Kairos)
  • Detailed narrative of how technology in one school vastly improved student literacy (Hook/Pathos) 
  • Statistics showing a link between exposure to technology and rising trends in literacy (Hook/Logos)
  • Quotes from education and technology professors expressing an urgency for technology in English classrooms (Hook/Ethos)

Of course, you probably should not include all of these types of appeals in the opening section of your argument—if you do, you may end up with a boring, overlong introduction that doesn’t function well as a hook. Instead, consider using some of these points as evidence later on. Ask yourself:  What will be most important to my audience? What information will most likely result in the action I want to bring about?  Think about which appeal will work best to gain the attention of your intended audience and start there.

The narratio provides relevant foundational information and describes the social context in which your topic exists. This might include information on the historical background, including recent changes or updates to the topic, social perception, important events, and other academic research. This helps to establish the rhetorical situation for the argument: that is, the situation the argument is currently in, as impacted by events, people, opinion, and urgency of some kind. For your argument on technology in the English classroom, you might include:

  • Advances in education-related technology over the centuries
  • Recent trends in education technology
  • A description of the importance of digital literacy
  • Statistics documenting the lack of home technology for many students
  • A selection of expert opinions on the usefulness of technology in all classrooms

Providing this type of information creates the setting for your argument. In other words, it provides the place and purpose for the argument to take place. By situating your argument within in a viable context, you create an opportunity to assert yourself into the discussion, as well as to give your reader a genuine understanding of your topic’s importance.

Propositio and Partitio

These two concepts function together to help set up your argument. You can think of them functioning together to form a single thesis. The propositio informs your audience of your stance, and the partitio lays out your argument. In other words, the propositio tells your audience what you think about a topic, and the partitio briefly explains why you think that way and how you will prove your point. 

Because this section helps to set up the rest of your argument, you should place it near the beginning of your paper. Keep in mind, however, that you should not give away all of your information or evidence in your partitio. This section should be fairly short: perhaps 3-4 sentences at most for most academic essays. You can think of this section of your argument like the trailer for a new film: it should be concise, should entice the audience, and should give them a good example of what they are going to experience, but it shouldn’t include every detail. Just as a filmgoer must see an entire film to gain an understanding of its significance or quality, so too must your audience read the rest of your argument to truly understand its depth and scope. 

In the case of your argument on implementing technology in the English classroom, it’s important to think not only of your own motivations for pursuing this technology in the classroom, but also of what will motivate or persuade your respective audience(s). Some writing contexts call for an audience of one. Some require consideration of multiple audiences, in which case you must find ways to craft an argument which appeals to each member of your audience. For example, if your audience included a school board as well as parents andteachers, your propositio might look something like this:

“The introduction of newer digital technology in the English classroom would be beneficial for all parties involved. Students are already engaged in all kinds of technological spaces, and it is important to implement teaching practices that invest students’ interests and prior knowledge. Not only would the marriage of English studies and technology extend pedagogical opportunities, it would also create an ease of instruction for teachers, engage students in creative learning environments, and familiarize students with the creation and sharing technologies that they will be expected to use at their future colleges and careers. Plus, recent studies suggest a correlation between exposure to technology and higher literacy rates, a trend many education professionals say isn’t going to change.”

Note how the above paragraph considers the concerns and motivations of all three audience members, takes a stance, and provides support for the stance in a way that allows for the rest of the argument to grow from its ideas. Keep in mind that whatever you promise in your propositio and partitio (in this case the new teaching practices, literacy statistics, and professional opinion) must appear in the body of your argument. Don’t make any claims here that you cannot prove later in your argument.

Confirmatio and Refutatio  

These two represent different types of proofs that you will need to consider when crafting your argument. The confirmatio and refutatio work in opposite ways, but are both very effective in strengthening your claims. Luckily, both words are cognates—words that sound/look in similar in multiple languages—and are therefore are easy to keep straight. Confirmatio is a way to confirm your claims and is considered a positive proof; refutatio is a way to acknowledge and refute a counterclaim and is considered a negative proof.

The confirmatio is your argument’s support: the evidence that helps to support your claims. For your argument on technology in the English classroom, you might include the following:

  • Students grades drastically increase when technology is inserted into academics
  • Teachers widely agree that students are more engaged in classroom activities that involve technology
  • Students who accepted to elite colleges generally possess strong technological skills

The refutatio provides negative proofs. This is an opportunity for you to acknowledge that other opinions exist and have merit, while also showing why those claims do not warrant rejecting your argument. 

If you feel strange including information that seems to undermine or weaken your own claims, ask yourself this: have you ever been in a debate with someone who entirely disregarded every point you tried to make without considering the credibility of what you said? Did this make their argument less convincing? That’s what your paper can look like if you don’t acknowledge that other opinions indeed exist and warrant attention. 

After acknowledging an opposing viewpoint, you have two options. You can either concede the point (that is, admit that the point is valid and you can find no fault with their reasoning), or you can refute their claim by pointing out the flaws in your opponent’s argument. For example, if your opponent were to argue that technology is likely to distract students more than help them (an argument you’d be sure to include in your argument so as not to seem ignorant of opposing views) you’d have two options:

  • Concession: You might concede this point by saying “Despite all of the potential for positive learning provided by technology, proponents of more traditional classroom materials point out the distractive possibilities that such technology would introduce into the classroom. They argue that distractions such as computer games, social media, and music-streaming services would only get in the way of learning.” 

In your concession of the argument, you acknowledge the merit of the opposing argument, but you should still try to flip the evidence in a positive way. Note how before conceding we include “despite all of the potential for positive learning.” This reminds your reader that, although you are conceding a single point, there are still many reasons to side with you.

  • Refutation: To refute this same point you might say something like, “While proponents of more traditional English classrooms express concerns about student distraction, it’s important to realize that in modern times, students are already distracted by the technology they carry around in their pockets. By redirecting student attention to the technology administered by the school, this distraction is shifted to class content. Plus, with website and app blocking resources available to schools, it is simple for an institution to simply decide which websites and apps to ban and block, thereby ensuring students are on task.”

Note how we acknowledged the opposing argument, but immediately pointed out its flaws using straightforward logic and a counterexample. In so doing, we effectively strengthen our argument and move forward with our proposal.

Your peroratio is your conclusion. This is your final opportunity to make an impact in your essay and leave an impression on your audience. In this section, you are expected to summarize and re-evaluate everything you have proven throughout your argument. However, there are multiple ways of doing this. Depending on the topic of your essay, you might employ one or more of the following in your closing:

  • Call to action (encourage your audience to do something that will change the situation or topic you have been discussing).
  • Discuss the implications for the future. What might happen if things continue the way they are going? Is this good or bad? Try to be impactful without being overly dramatic.
  • Discuss other related topics that warrant further research and discussion.
  • Make a historical parallel regarding a similar issue that can help to strengthen your argument.
  • Urge a continued conversation of the topic for the future.

Remember that your peroratio is the last impression your audience will have of your argument. Be sure to consider carefully which rhetorical appeals to employ to gain a desirable effect. Make sure also to summarize your findings, including the most effective and emphatic pieces of evidence from your argument, reassert your major claim, and end on a compelling, memorable note. Good luck and happy arguing!

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 50 great argumentative essay topics for any assignment.

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General Education


At some point, you’re going to be asked to write an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay is exactly what it sounds like—an essay in which you’ll be making an argument, using examples and research to back up your point.

But not all argumentative essay topics are created equal. Not only do you have to structure your essay right to have a good impact on the reader, but even your choice of subject can impact how readers feel about your work.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of writing argumentative essays, including what argumentative essays are, how to write a good one, and how to pick a topic that works for you. Then check out a list of argumentative essay ideas to help you get started.

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is one that makes an argument through research. These essays take a position and support it through evidence, but, unlike many other kinds of essays, they are interested in expressing a specific argument supported by research and evidence.

A good argumentative essay will be based on established or new research rather than only on your thoughts and feelings. Imagine that you’re trying to get your parents to raise your allowance, and you can offer one of two arguments in your favor:

You should raise my allowance because I want you to.

You should raise my allowance because I’ve been taking on more chores without complaining.

The first argument is based entirely in feelings without any factual backup, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven. Your parents are more likely to respond positively to the second argument because it demonstrates that you have done something to earn the increased allowance. Similarly, a well-researched and reasoned argument will show readers that your point has a basis in fact, not just feelings.

The standard five-paragraph essay is common in writing argumentative essays, but it’s not the only way to write one. An argumentative essay is typically written in one of two formats, the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.

The Toulmin model is the most common, comprised of an introduction with a claim (otherwise known as a thesis), with data to support it. This style of essay will also include rebuttals, helping to strengthen your argument by anticipating counterarguments.

The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Both essay styles rely on well-reasoned logic and supporting evidence to prove a point, just in two different ways.

The important thing to note about argumentative essays as opposed to other kinds of essays is that they aim to argue a specific point rather than to explain something or to tell a story. While they may have some things in common with analytical essays, the primary difference is in their objective—an argumentative essay aims to convince someone of something, whereas an analytical essay contextualizes a topic with research.


What Makes a Good Argumentative Essay?

To write an effective argumentative essay, you need to know what a good one looks like. In addition to a solid structure, you’ll need an argument, a strong thesis, and solid research.

An Argument

Unlike other forms of essays, you are trying to convince your reader of something. You’re not just teaching them a concept or demonstrating an idea—you’re constructing an argument to change the readers’ thinking.

You’ll need to develop a good argument, which encompasses not just your main point, but also all the pieces that make it up.

Think beyond what you are saying and include how you’re saying it. How will you take an idea and turn it into a complex and well thought out argument that is capable of changing somebody’s mind?

A Strong Thesis

The thesis is the core of your argument. What specific message are you trying to get across? State that message in one sentence, and that will be your thesis.

This is the foundation on which your essay is built, so it needs to be strong and well-reasoned. You need to be able to expand on it with facts and sources, not just feelings.

A good argumentative essay isn’t just based on your individual thoughts, but research. That can be citing sources and other arguments or it can mean direct research in the field, depending on what your argument is and the context in which you are arguing it.

Be prepared to back your thesis up with reporting from scientific journals, newspapers, or other forms of research. Having well-researched sources will help support your argument better than hearsay or assumptions. If you can’t find enough research to back up your point, it’s worth reconsidering your thesis or conducting original research, if possible.


How to Come Up With an Argumentative Essay Topic

Sometimes you may find yourself arguing things you don’t necessarily believe. That’s totally fine—you don’t actually have to wholeheartedly believe in what you’re arguing in order to construct a compelling argument.

However, if you have free choice of topic, it’s a good idea to pick something you feel strongly about. There are two key components to a good argumentative essay: a strong stance, and an assortment of evidence. If you’re interested and feel passionate about the topic you choose, you'll have an easier time finding evidence to support it, but it's the evidence that's most important. 

So, to choose a topic, think about things you feel strongly about, whether positively or negatively. You can make a list of ideas and narrow those down to a handful of things, then expand on those ideas with a few potential points you want to hit on.

For example, say you’re trying to decide whether you should write about how your neighborhood should ban weed killer, that your school’s lunch should be free for all students, or that the school day should be cut by one hour. To decide between these ideas, you can make a list of three to five points for each that cover the different evidence you could use to support each point.

For the weed killer ban, you could say that weed killer has been proven to have adverse impacts on bees, that there are simple, natural alternatives, and that weeds aren’t actually bad to have around. For the free lunch idea, you could suggest that some students have to go hungry because they can’t afford lunch, that funds could be diverted from other places to support free lunch, and that other items, like chips or pizza, could be sold to help make up lost revenue. And for the school day length example, you could argue that teenagers generally don’t get enough sleep, that you have too much homework and not enough time to do it, and that teenagers don’t spend enough time with their families.

You might find as you make these lists that some of them are stronger than others. The more evidence you have and the stronger you feel that that evidence is, the better the topic.  Of course, if you feel that one topic may have more evidence but you’d rather not write about it, it’s okay to pick another topic instead. When you’re making arguments, it can be much easier to find strong points and evidence if you feel passionate about our topic than if you don't.


50 Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas

If you’re struggling to come up with topics on your own, read through this list of argumentative essay topics to help get you started!

  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should parents be able to modify their unborn children?
  • Do GMOs help or harm people?
  • Should vaccinations be required for students to attend public school?
  • Should world governments get involved in addressing climate change?
  • Should Facebook be allowed to collect data from its users?
  • Should self-driving cars be legal?
  • Is it ethical to replace human workers with automation?
  • Should there be laws against using cell phones while driving?
  • Has the internet positively or negatively impacted human society?


  • Should college athletes be paid for being on sports teams?
  • Should coaches and players make the same amount of money?
  • Should sports be segregated by gender?
  • Should the concept of designated hitters in baseball be abolished?
  • Should US sports take soccer more seriously?
  • Should religious organizations have to pay taxes?
  • Should religious clubs be allowed in schools?
  • Should “one nation under God” be in the pledge of allegiance?
  • Should religion be taught in schools?
  • Should clergy be allowed to marry?
  • Should minors be able to purchase birth control without parental consent?
  • Should the US switch to single-payer healthcare?
  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Should dietary supplements and weight loss items like teas be allowed to advertise through influencers?
  • Should doctors be allowed to promote medicines?


  • Is the electoral college an effective system for modern America?
  • Should Puerto Rico become a state?
  • Should voter registration be automatic?
  • Should people in prison be allowed to vote?
  • Should Supreme Court justices be elected?
  • Should sex work be legalized?
  • Should Columbus Day be replaced with Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
  • Should the death penalty be legal?
  • Should animal testing be allowed?
  • Should drug possession be decriminalized?


  • Should unpaid internships be legal?
  • Should minimum wage be increased?
  • Should monopolies be allowed?
  • Is universal basic income a good idea?
  • Should corporations have a higher or lower tax rate?
  • Are school uniforms a good idea?
  • Should PE affect a student’s grades?
  • Should college be free?
  • Should Greek life in colleges be abolished?
  • Should students be taught comprehensive sex ed?


  • Should graffiti be considered art or vandalism?
  • Should books with objectionable words be banned?
  • Should content on YouTube be better regulated?
  • Is art education important?
  • Should art and music sharing online be allowed?


How to Argue Effectively

A strong argument isn’t just about having a good point. If you can’t support that point well, your argument falls apart.

One of the most important things you can do in writing a strong argumentative essay is organizing well. Your essay should have a distinct beginning, middle, and end, better known as the introduction, body and opposition, and conclusion.

This example follows the Toulmin model—if your essay follows the Rogerian model, the same basic premise is true, but your thesis will instead propose two conflicting viewpoints that will be resolved through evidence in the body, with your conclusion choosing the stronger of the two arguments.


Your hook should draw the reader’s interest immediately. Questions are a common way of getting interest, as well as evocative language or a strong statistic

Don’t assume that your audience is already familiar with your topic. Give them some background information, such as a brief history of the issue or some additional context.

Your thesis is the crux of your argument. In an argumentative essay, your thesis should be clearly outlined so that readers know exactly what point you’ll be making. Don’t explain all your evidence in the opening, but do take a strong stance and make it clear what you’ll be discussing.

Your claims are the ideas you’ll use to support your thesis. For example, if you’re writing about how your neighborhood shouldn’t use weed killer, your claim might be that it’s bad for the environment. But you can’t just say that on its own—you need evidence to support it.

Evidence is the backbone of your argument. This can be things you glean from scientific studies, newspaper articles, or your own research. You might cite a study that says that weed killer has an adverse effect on bees, or a newspaper article that discusses how one town eliminated weed killer and saw an increase in water quality. These kinds of hard evidence support your point with demonstrable facts, strengthening your argument.

In your essay, you want to think about how the opposition would respond to your claims and respond to them. Don’t pick the weakest arguments, either— figure out what other people are saying and respond to those arguments with clearly reasoned arguments.

Demonstrating that you not only understand the opposition’s point, but that your argument is strong enough to withstand it, is one of the key pieces to a successful argumentative essay.

Conclusions are a place to clearly restate your original point, because doing so will remind readers exactly what you’re arguing and show them how well you’ve argued that point.

Summarize your main claims by restating them, though you don’t need to bring up the evidence again. This helps remind readers of everything you’ve said throughout the essay.

End by suggesting a picture of a world in which your argument and action are ignored. This increases the impact of your argument and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

A strong argumentative essay is one with good structure and a strong argument , but there are a few other things you can keep in mind to further strengthen your point.

When you’re crafting an argument, it can be easy to get distracted by all the information and complications in your argument. It’s important to stay focused—be clear in your thesis and home in on claims that directly support that thesis.

Be Rational

It’s important that your claims and evidence be based in facts, not just opinion. That’s why it’s important to use reliable sources based in science and reporting—otherwise, it’s easy for people to debunk your arguments.

Don’t rely solely on your feelings about the topic. If you can’t back a claim up with real evidence, it leaves room for counterarguments you may not anticipate. Make sure that you can support everything you say with clear and concrete evidence, and your claims will be a lot stronger!

What’s Next?

No matter what kind of essay you're writing, a strong plan will help you have a bigger impact. This guide to writing a college essay is a great way to get started on your essay organizing journey!

Brushing up on your essay format knowledge to prep for the SAT? Check out this list of SAT essay prompts to help you kickstart your studying!

A bunch of great essay examples can help you aspire to greatness, but bad essays can also be a warning for what not to do. This guide to bad college essays will help you better understand common mistakes to avoid in essay writing!

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

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argument essay model

How to Teach Argument Writing Step-By-Step

argument essay model

No doubt, teaching argument writing to middle school students can be tricky. Even the word “argumentative” is off-putting, bringing to mind pointless bickering. But once I came up with argument writing lessons that were both fun and effective, I quickly saw the value in it. And so did my students.

You see, we teachers have an ace up our sleeve. It’s a known fact that from ages 11-14, kids love nothing more than to fire up a good ole battle royale with just about anybody within spitting distance.

Yup. So we’re going to use their powers of contradiction to OUR advantage by showing them how to use our argument writing lessons to power up their real-life persuasion skills. Your students will be knocking each other over in the hall to get to the room first!

I usually plan on taking about three weeks on the entire argument writing workshop. However, there are years when I’ve had to cut it down to two, and that works fine too.

Here are the step-by-step lessons I use to teach argument writing. It might be helpful to teachers who are new to teaching the argument, or to teachers who want to get back to the basics. If it seems formulaic, that’s because it is. In my experience, that’s the best way to get middle school students started.

Prior to Starting the Writer’s Workshop

A couple of weeks prior to starting your unit, assign some quick-write journal topics. I pick one current event topic a day, and I ask students to express their opinion about the topic.

Quick-writes get the kids thinking about what is going on in the world and makes choosing a topic easier later on.

Define Argumentative Writing

I’ll never forget the feeling of panic I had in 7th grade when my teacher told us to start writing an expository essay on snowstorms. How could I write an expository essay if I don’t even know what expository MEANS, I whined to my middle school self.

We can’t assume our students know or remember what argumentative writing is, even if we think they should know. So we have to tell them. Also, define claim and issue while you’re at it.

Establish Purpose

I always tell my students that learning to write an effective argument is key to learning critical thinking skills and is an important part of school AND real-life writing.

We start with a fictional scenario every kid in the history of kids can relate to.

ISSUE : a kid wants to stay up late to go to a party vs. AUDIENCE : the strict mom who likes to say no.

The “party” kid writes his mom a letter that starts with a thesis and a claim: I should be permitted to stay out late to attend the part for several reasons.

By going through this totally relatable scenario using a modified argumentative framework, I’m able to demonstrate the difference between persuasion and argument, the importance of data and factual evidence, and the value of a counterclaim and rebuttal.

Students love to debate whether or not strict mom should allow party kid to attend the party. More importantly, it’s a great way to introduce the art of the argument, because kids can see how they can use the skills to their personal advantage.

Persuasive Writing Differs From Argument Writing

At the middle school level, students need to understand persuasive and argument writing in a concrete way. Therefore, I keep it simple by explaining that both types of writing involve a claim. However, in persuasive writing, the supporting details are based on opinions, feelings, and emotions, while in argument writing the supporting details are based on researching factual evidence.

I give kids a few examples to see if they can tell the difference between argumentation and persuasion before we move on.

Argumentative Essay Terminology

In order to write a complete argumentative essay, students need to be familiar with some key terminology . Some teachers name the parts differently, so I try to give them more than one word if necessary:

  • thesis statement
  • bridge/warrant
  • counterclaim/counterargument*
  • turn-back/refutation

*If you follow Common Core Standards, the counterargument is not required for 6th-grade argument writing. All of the teachers in my school teach it anyway, and I’m thankful for that when the kids get to 7th grade.

Organizing the Argumentative Essay

I teach students how to write a step-by-step 5 paragraph argumentative essay consisting of the following:

  • Introduction : Includes a lead/hook, background information about the topic, and a thesis statement that includes the claim.
  • Body Paragraph #1 : Introduces the first reason that the claim is valid. Supports that reason with facts, examples, and/or data.
  • Body Paragraph #2 : The second reason the claim is valid. Supporting evidence as above.
  • Counterargument (Body Paragraph #3): Introduction of an opposing claim, then includes a turn-back to take the reader back to the original claim.
  • Conclusion : Restates the thesis statement, summarizes the main idea, and contains a strong concluding statement that might be a call to action.

Mentor Texts

If we want students to write a certain way, we should provide high-quality mentor texts that are exact models of what we expect them to write.

I know a lot of teachers will use picture books or editorials that present arguments for this, and I can get behind that. But only if specific exemplary essays are also used, and this is why.

If I want to learn Italian cooking, I’m not going to just watch the Romanos enjoy a holiday feast on Everybody Loves Raymond . I need to slow it down and follow every little step my girl Lidia Bastianich makes.

The same goes for teaching argument writing. If we want students to write 5 paragraph essays, that’s what we should show them.

In fact, don’t just display those mentor texts like a museum piece. Dissect the heck out of those essays. Pull them apart like a Thanksgiving turkey. Disassemble the essay sentence by sentence and have the kids label the parts and reassemble them. This is how they will learn how to structure their own writing.

Also, encourage your detectives to evaluate the evidence. Ask students to make note of how the authors use anecdotes, statistics, and facts. Have them evaluate the evidence and whether or not the writer fully analyzes it and connects it to the claim.

This is absolutely the best way for kids to understand the purpose of each part of the essay.

Research Time

Most of my students are not very experienced with performing research when we do this unit, so I ease them into it. (Our “big” research unit comes later in the year with our feature article unit .)

I start them off by showing this short video on how to find reliable sources. We use data collection sheets and our school library’s database for research. There are also some awesome, kid-friendly research sites listed on the Ask a Tech Teacher Blog .

Step-By-Step Drafting

The bedrock of drafting is to start with a solid graphic organizer. I have to differentiate for my writers, and I’ve found they have the most success when I offer three types of graphic organizers.

1- Least Support: This is your standard graphic organizer. It labels each paragraph and has a dedicated section for each part of the paragraph.

2- Moderate Support: This one has labels and sections, but also includes sentence stems for each sentence in the paragraph.

3- Most Support: This one has labels and sections and also includes fill-in-the-blank sentence frames . It’s perfect for my emerging writers, and as I’ve mentioned previously, students do NOT need the frames for long and soon become competent and independent writers.

Writing the Introduction

The introduction has three parts and purposes.

First, it has a hook or lead. While it should be about the topic, it shouldn’t state the writer’s position on the topic. I encourage students to start with a quote by a famous person, an unusual detail, a statistic, or a fact.

Kids will often try to start with a question, but I discourage that unless their question also includes one of the other strategies. Otherwise, I end up with 100 essays that start with, “Do you like sharks?” Lol

Next, it’s time to introduce the issue. This is the background information that readers need in order to understand the controversy.

Last, students should state the claim in the thesis statement. I call it a promise to the reader that the essay will deliver by proving that the claim is valid.

Writing the Supporting Body Paragraphs

Each supporting body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that introduces the idea and states the reason why the claim is valid. The following sentences in the paragraph should support that reason with facts, examples, data, or expert opinions. The bridge is the sentence that connects that piece of evidence to the argument’s claim. The concluding sentence should restate the reason.

Writing the Counterclaim Paragraph

The counterclaim paragraph is a very important aspect of argument writing. It’s where we introduce an opposing argument and then confidently take the reader back to the original argument. I tell students that it’s necessary to “get in the head” of the person who might not agree with their claim, by predicting their objections.

It can be tough for kids to “flip the switch” on their own argument, so I like to practice this a bit. I give them several pairs of transitions that go together to form a counterclaim and rebuttal. I also switch up what I call this part so that they use the terminology interchangeably.

  • It might seem that [ counterargument . ]However, [ turn-back .]
  • Opponents may argue that [ counterargument .] Nevertheless, [ turn back .]
  • A common argument against this position is [ counterargument .] Yet, [ turn-back .]

A great way for kids to practice this is to have them work with partners to write a few counterarguments together. I let them practice by giving them easy role-playing topics.

  • Your cousins want to jump into a poison ivy grove for a TikTok challenge. Choose your position on this and write a counterargument and turn-back.
  • Your friend wants to get a full-face tattoo of their boyfriend’s name. Choose your position on this and write a counterargument and turn-back.

This kind of practice makes the counterargument much more clear.

The concluding paragraph should remind the reader of what was argued in the essay and why it matters. It might also suggest solutions or further research that could be done on the topic. Or students can write a call to action that asks the reader to perform an action in regard to the information they’ve just learned.

My students write about local issues and then turn the essays into letters to our superintendent, school board, or state senators. It’s an amazing way to empower kids and to show them that their opinion matters. I’ve written about that here and I’ve included the sentence frames for the letters in my argumentative writing unit.

I hope this gives you a good overview of teaching argument writing. Please leave any questions below. Please also share your ideas, because we all need all the help we can give each other!

And one more thing. Don’t be surprised if parents start asking you to tone down the unit because it’s become harder to tell their kids why they can’t stay up late for parties. 🙂

Stay delicious!

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EL Education Curriculum

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  • ELA 2019 G7:M3:U2:L8

Write a Literary Argument Essay: Analyze a Model

In this lesson, daily learning targets, ongoing assessment.

  • Technology and Multimedia

Supporting English Language Learners

Materials from previous lessons, new materials, closing & assessments, you are here:.

  • ELA 2019 Grade 7
  • ELA 2019 G7:M3
  • ELA 2019 G7:M3:U2

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Focus Standards:  These are the standards the instruction addresses.

  • W.7.1, W.7.4, W.7.5

Supporting Standards:  These are the standards that are incidental—no direct instruction in this lesson, but practice of these standards occurs as a result of addressing the focus standards.

  • RL.7.1, RL.7.2, L.7.1a
  • I can identify the parts of a model argument essay and explain the purpose of each. ( W.7.1, W.7.4 )
  • I can plan an argument essay about how specific works from the Harlem Renaissance demonstrate the theme that collaboration and community can bring out the best in people. ( W.7.4, W.7.5 )
  • Opening A: Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 8 ( W.7.1 )
  • Work Time A: Annotated, color-coded model argument essay ( W.7.1, W.7.4 )
  • Closing and Assessment A: Argument Writing Plan graphic organizer ( W.7.1, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.10 )

Ensure that there is a copy of Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 8 at each student's workspace.

Read the Paint an Essay lesson plan as a reminder of the color-coding and the purpose of each choice of color.

Post the learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see Materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout previous modules to create anchor charts to share with families; to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families; and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 7.I.A.1, 7.I.B.5, 7.I.B.6, 7.I.B.7, 7.I.C.11, 7.II.A.1, 7.II.B.3, and 7.II.B.4.

Important Points in the Lesson Itself

  • To support ELLs, this lesson includes a whole-class, teacher-led review of a model essay as well as collaboration and color-coding to paint and plan an essay.  
  • ELLs may find it challenging to generate language for planning their essay. Encourage students to use their home-language and sketches to assist them in planning their essay. Also use strategic pairings for the peer essay either by home language, level, or heterogeneous for support.  
  • argument, evidence, main claim, point, reasoning, relevant (A)
  • Painted Essay® (DS)

(A): Academic Vocabulary

(DS): Domain-Specific Vocabulary

  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (one for display; from Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 4, Opening A)
  • Academic word wall (one for display; from Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 1, Opening A)
  • Domain-specific word wall (one for display; from Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 1, Work Time B)
  • Harlem Renaissance Themes anchor chart (one for display; from Module 3, Unit 1, Lesson 3, Closing and Assessment A)
  • Paint an Essay lesson plan (for teacher reference) (from Module 1, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Closing and Assessment A)
  • Vocabulary log (one per student; from Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 2, Opening A)
  • The Painted Essay® template (one per student and one for display; from Module 1, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Closing and Assessment A)
  • Texts and Artwork from Module 3, Units 1 and 2: Shuffle Along , “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” The Harp , “Calling Dreams,” “Hope,” “I Shall Return,” Ethiopia Awakening, African Phantasy: Awakening , “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “His Motto,” and “The Boy and the Bayonet”
  • Independent reading journal (one per student; begun in Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 6, Work Time B)
  • Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 8 (answers for teacher reference)
  • Model Argument Essay: "Strength from the Past" (example for teacher reference)
  • Criteria of an Effective Argument Essay anchor chart (for teacher reference)
  • Criteria of an Effective Argument Essay anchor chart (one for display; co-created in Work Time A)
  • Argument Essay Writing Plan graphic organizer (example for teacher reference)
  • Model Pair Argument Essay: "Achieving Dreams" (example for teacher reference)
  • Homework: Explain Phrases: Introduction and Proof Paragraph 1 (answers for teacher reference) (see Homework Resources)
  • Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 8 (one per student)
  • Model Argument Essay: “Strength from the Past” (one per student and one for display)
  • Colored pencils (red, yellow, blue, green; one of each per student)
  • Directions for Pair Argument Essay (one per student and one for display)
  • Argument Essay Writing Plan graphic organizer (one per student and one for display)
  • Argument Essay Writing Plan graphic organizer ▲
  • Homework: Explain Phrases: Introduction and Proof Paragraph 1 (one per student; see Homework Resources)

Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

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  10. How to write an argumentative essay

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  11. PDF Classic Model for an Argument

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  12. Argumentative Essay: Definition, Outline & Examples of ...

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