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How to Write an Argumentative Essay - You Need a Position and a Plan

September 25, 2015 - Posted to How to: Essay writing tips
How to Write an Argumentative Essay - You Need a Position and a Plan

How to Write an Argumentative Essay - You Need a Position and a Plan

When we want to see arguments, all we have to do is turn on some of the political talk shows, that run all day every day and well into the night. There, men and women argue their points about issues such as government spending, what we should do about the Middle East, and so on. You, too, have probably had plenty of arguments with other people. The problem with spontaneous argument is that there is often little structure to them. Writing an argumentative essay, however, does require structure. It also requires some pretty solid pre-writing work, if it is going to meet an instructor’s expectations.

Logic and Facts – Not Emotion

There are four pre-writing steps for a successful argument essay.

  1. Choose a topic and take a side: Your topic should be pretty controversial, so that you can find arguments on both sides. You need both side because, in an argumentative essay, you will both put forth the points that support your opinion and do your best to debunk the points of the other side.
  2. Conduct some research: Most controversial topics are pretty current so you will have no problem finding plenty of journal articles online that present both sides of your issue.
  3. Organize that research: Find the three strongest points supporting you opinion – these will be the points to be included in your essay. Find the opposing arguments on each of these three points and summarize those as well.
  4. An outline is a must: A good argumentative essay has to really be tightly organized. If it’s not, the writer tends to just ramble aimlessly. So, put together a basic outline, nothing formal.

Sample Outline

Topic: The Iran Nuke Deal

Position: In Favor of it (this will become your thesis statement in your introduction

  1. Introduction – state your topic and your thesis and give a few facts about Iran’s nuclear capabilities currently
  2. Body Paragraphs
  • Argument One: If we don’t “do” the deal, Iran will have a nuclear weapon very shortly anyway.
  • Argument Two: The other countries have already agreed to it and will lift their sanctions.
  • Argument Three: We will incur the anger of our very supportive allies whom we need
  • Opposing Argument One: the deal is not good enough – we need to go back and get more
  • Opposing Argument Two: We did not get our prisoners out as a part of this deal
  • Opposing Argument Three: The deal is only good for 10 years – what then?

   3. Conclusion - this deal just makes sense. In fact, what is the alternative is we don’t accept this deal? Another war in the Middle East?

Now you are ready to write your essay. And, if you don’t like the Iran Nuke Deal as a topic, choose something like gay marriage, abortion, immigration or student loan reform. There are just lots of possibilities, but select something you feel strongly about – you’ll write a better essay.

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