Argumentative Essay First

How to Write an Argumentative Essay on any Topic

Published 4/24/2013

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay on any topic which discusses a topic and then makes an argument based on the discussion.

An effective argumentative essay must contain certain elements that will persuade your audience to see things from your perspective. During your essay planning, it’s important to consider your own points, known as the “pro” points, as well as strong arguments for the other side, known as the “con” points in order to shoot them down, making your essay more convincing.

How to Choose a Topic for an Argumentative Essay

In order to write a good essay, you need to find a topic that’s interesting, so that you can easily demonstrate your writing skills and finally get a high grade.

One of the best ways to find a topic for an argumentative essay is to perform a search for topics related to some compelling subject, like politics, religion, abortion, education or home life.

Using the following links, you can find a lot of good topics for your argumentative essay:

200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

50 Argument Essay Topics

100 Argument or Position Essay Topics

Argumentative Essay Structure

Making sure to select the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the best way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.

An argumentative essay is organized according to one of these five patterns: pro-con, con-pro, 3-con, claim / counterclaim or alternating.

PRO-CON Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

In this simple pattern for an argumentative essay, you discuss two pro points and one con point.

This pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each pro or con point.

CON-PRO Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

This pattern for an argumentative essay is very similar to the previous one, but the con point comes first.

The pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each pro or con point.

3-CON Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

In this pattern for an argumentative essay you don’t explicitly present any particular point, but instead refute three con points.

The pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each CON point.

Claim / Counterclaim Pattern

Recommended for advanced school and college essays on any topic.

This pattern for an argumentative essay is more advanced than the previous three, and allows for a more complete development of your argument.

The pattern contains an introduction, a conclusion, and two main parts. In the three paragraphs of the first body part, you refute or rebut three points of the counterclaim. In three paragraphs of the second body part, you make three points in support of your main idea, and provide support for your claims.

Alternating Pattern

Recommended for advanced school and college essays on any topic.

This structure for an argumentative essay provides another option for claim and counterclaim discussion.

The pattern contains an introduction, a conclusion, and three main sections. In two paragraphs of each ,main section,, you refute or rebut one point of the counterclaim and provide one point supporting your claim.

Did you choose an argumentative essay pattern? Great! Now...

After choosing an essay pattern, now all you need is to write your essay, on any topic, according to your chosen structure. Also, be sure to read the A+ writing tips for an argumentative essay on any topic below. Follow these instructions and you will write an excellent argumentative essay.

Writing an A+ Argumentative Essay

Introduction

In an argumentative essay, the introduction is very important. It is where you lay out the main argument that your essay will make, and it gives the reader his/her first impression of your essay.

Start with brief background Information

Every pet owner knows that there are enormous responsibilities that go along with having a cat or dog. You must feed and exercise your pet to keep it physically healthy; you must play with it, and keep it emotionally healthy, too. You have to keep it safe from cars, people, or other animals, and you need to protect other people, property, or pets from your own animal.

Introduce the Topic of Your Essay

There’s another responsibility that not all pet owners think about, however: spaying or neutering, or “fixing.” What does “fixing” your pet mean? Simply put, it means taking your pet to the vet for a quick, cheap surgery that will prevent your pet from ever reproducing.

Explain Why it’s Important

This surgery solves problems that pet owners know about, and some that they might not have considered before.

State Your Position clearly

I believe that all pet owners should be required to have their pets fixed.

Counterclaim refutation paragraph

Clearly state the point

Spaying surgery is expensive.
Spaying surgery is risky.

Persuasively refute or rebut the point using evidence
(logical explanation, facts, statistics, well-known authority opinions)

To refute the point is to prove it is incorrect:

Almost all cities have a fund to help pay for the surgery. Just ask your vet or the local S.P.C.A. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The cost can be as low as $10.

To rebut the point is to prove that it is irrelevant or not powerful enough:

Spaying or neutering when your pet is young and healthy is almost 100% safe.
On other hand, your animal is in much more danger if it is not fixed, for the urge to run away from home will put your pet in extremely dangerous situations.

Turn this point to the opposite point, thus supporting your thesis

Therefore, there is no way we can agree with this point. Spaying or neutering should be done as soon as you get your pet.

Claim supporting paragraph

Clearly state the point

Spaying is good for the health of your pet.

Provide the supporting evidents (logical explanation, facts, statistics, well-known authority opinions)

Animals who are not fixed can sometimes go crazy trying to find mates. They can injure themselves trying to escape from their homes, or they may fight with other animals when they have escaped. Of course, while running free, they are in danger from cars. And finally, for females who become mothers, we must remember that giving birth is not a safe process.

Restate the argument as a proved thesis

For the ordinary pet owner, all these reasons should be strong enough to convince them to “fix” their dear pet.

Conclusion

The conclusion of an argumentative essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion reiterates your point, and reminds the reader that you have convinced them of your argument. The conclusion is the last part of the essay that your reader will experience.

Restate (do not repeat) your claim

No matter how you look at it, there’s really no valid reason not to spay or neuter your pet.

Briefly recount the arguments

Whether you consider the potential suffering of unborn animals, the health and comfort of your own pet, or your own convenience as a pet owner, you must agree that the facts all show that spaying or neutering is the way to go.

End by showing the importance of your conclusion

It’s not only the convenient choice, but also the morally right choice, and one that all pet owners should make.

Finalizing your Work

Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.

There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:

  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
  • Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
  • Ensure that your title page is done as required
  • Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine

Sure, you’re a lover not a fighter. I am too. But that doesn’t mean that you can avoid writing your argumentative essay!

Since you have to write an argumentative essay, you might as well learn how to write it well, right?

I’ve said it time and time again—there’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page. Putting together an argumentative essay outline is the perfect way to turn your blank document into a ready-to-use template. All you have to do is fill in the blanks!

In this blog post, I’m going to share with you how to create an argumentative essay outline. At the end, I’ll give you a downloadable skeleton outline you can use to get started.

Structure of the Argumentative Essay Outline

If you distill your argumentative essay outline down to its basics, you’ll find that it’s made of four main sections:
  1. Intro
  2. Developing Your Argument
  3. Refuting Opponents’ Arguments
  4. Conclusion

That’s not so bad! There’s really nothing to be afraid of.

Here’s how your argumentative essay outline would look if you turned it into a pretty picture:

Each of these four sections requires some important elements. Let’s break those down now.

Argumentative Essay Outline Section 1: Your Intro

Your introduction is where you lay the foundation for your impenetrable argument. It’s made up of a hook, background information, and a thesis statement.

1. Hook. Your first sentence is comprised of a “hook.” Don’t know what a hook is? A hook is a sentence that grabs your reader’s attention just like a good Jackie Chan movie grabs the attention of a martial arts fan.

Let’s say I’m writing an argumentative essay about why American people should start eating insects.

My hook could be, “For those interested in improving their diets and the environment, say ‘goodbye’ to eating chicken, fish, and beef and ‘hello’ to eating silk worms, crickets, and caterpillars.”

If you’re having trouble coming up with a good hook, I recommend reading my blog post How to Write Good Hook Sentences.

2. Background information. The next part of your intro is dedicated to offering some detailed background information on your topic.

Try answering the following questions:

What is the issue at hand? Who cares? Where is this issue prevalent? Why is it important?

For example, “Insects are abundant, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable. Currently, people in the United States shun the idea of eating insects as part of their diets, favoring instead less nutritious and environmentally destructive food options, such as beef and pork. The UN recently issued a statement calling for more world citizens to embrace the many benefits of eating insects.”

3. Thesis. Your thesis typically makes up the last sentence of your intro paragraph. This is where you clearly state your position on the topic and give a reason for your stance.

For example, “A diet of insects can help fix problems related to starvation, obesity, and climate change, and therefore, United States citizens should learn to rely on a variety of insects over chicken, beef, and fish as their main source of protein and nutrition.”

Notice the word “should” in my thesis statement? Using this word makes it clear I’m taking a stance on the argument.

You’ll also notice that my thesis statement sets up the three claims I’m going to expand on later: a diet of insects can help fix problems related to starvation, obesity, and climate change.

Here are even more example argumentative thesis statements.

Let’s talk about adding those claims to our argumentative essay outline now.

Argumentative Essay Outline Section 2: Developing Your Argument

Now that you have filled in the general points of your topic and outlined your stance in the introduction, it’s time to develop your argument.

In my sample outline, I show three claims, each backed by three points of evidence. Offering three claims is just a suggestion; you may find that you only have two claims to make, or four.

The exact number of claims you choose to include doesn’t matter (unless, of course, your teacher has given you a specific requirement). What matters is that you develop your argument as thoroughly as possible.

1. What is a claim? A claim is a statement you make to support your argument.

For example, “Bugs are highly nutritious and eating them can fix the problem of hunger and malnutrition in the United States.”

Great! So I’ve made my claim. But who’s going to believe me? This is where evidence comes into play.

2. What is evidence? For each claim you make, you need to provide supporting evidence. Evidence is factual information from reliable sources.

It is not personal knowledge or anecdotal.

For example, “Researchers at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States state that ‘Termites are rich in protein, fatty acids, and other micronutrients. Fried or dried termites contain 32–38 percent proteins.’“

My outline shows three pieces of evidence to support each claim, but you may find that each claim doesn’t necessarily have three pieces of evidence to back it.  Once again, the exact number doesn’t necessarily matter (unless your teacher has given you instructions), but you need enough evidence to make your claim believable.

Once you have gathered your evidence to support your claims, it’s time to add the next important element of your argumentative essay outline: refuting your opponents’ arguments.

Let’s talk about that now.

Argumentative Essay Outline Section 3: Refuting Opponents’ Arguments

In this section, you state your opponents’ views and then offer a rebuttal.

For example, “Opponents of insect eating from the Beef Council of America say that it is too difficult and time consuming to catch crickets, so it is not easy to gather enough food for a meal, whereas a cow is large and contains a lot of meat for many meals.”

Oh diss! We know the Beef Council just wants us to keep eating McD’s hamburgers and skip the cricket soup. (By the way—I just made that up. The Beef Council did not say that. In your essay, make sure to use real facts.)

Now it’s time to set the opponents straight with a refutation that is full of hard evidence and that will bring them to their knees.

For example, “According to researchers Cerritos and Cano-Santana, the best time to harvest crickets is to catch them in the hour just before sunrise when they are least active. What’s more, it is easy to develop the infrastructure to farm crickets in a way that is more sustainable than cattle farming.”

Booyah! The Beef Council has been served (crickets).

Once you have refuted your opponents’ viewpoints, it’s time to sail to the finish line with your conclusion.

Argumentative Essay Outline Section 4: Conclusion

In your conclusion, you are going to accomplish two important tasks.

1. Restate the importance of your issue. Similar to what you did in your introduction, you want to restate why this topic is critical.

For example, “Simply by incorporating insects into their diets, U.S. citizens can improve the sustainability and nutrition of the American diet.”

2. Paint a picture of the world if your argument is (or is not) implemented. In the final part of your conclusion, make your audience think about the ramifications of your argument. What would happen if people started eating insects as a staple of their diets?

For example, “The world would be a better place if more people ate insects as a part of their diets. Fewer people would go hungry, more people would get the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients they need to live healthy lifestyles, and our planet would be relieved of the burden of an unsustainable food system.

Closing with a clear picture of the world as you would like it to be can leave your reader convinced that your argument is valid.

Download the Argumentative Essay Outline Template

Once you break it down, writing an argumentative essay outline isn’t that daunting.

Download this skeleton Argumentative Essay Outline to get started.

Before you go off into the sunset and use my outline template, make sure that you are following the guidelines specific to your course. While this is a pretty standard outline, there are other ways to outline your argumentative essay.

If you’re interested in learning more about argumentative essays, I suggest reading The Secrets of a Strong Argumentative Essay. Want even more knowledge? Check out this argumentative essay infographic!

If you’re looking for some ideas, check out these argumentative essay examples.

When you have your argumentative essay and outline ready to go, you can always have one of our awesome editors give it a second look.

Good luck!

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

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