Argumentative Essays

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that requires you to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the given topic in a concise manner. This essay type commonly features in many competitive exams. The aim of an argumentative essay is to convince the reader to agree with you on the given topic.
As the name suggests, an argumentative essay is composed of arguments supported by facts, statistics, expert opinions etc. to justify your stand on the topic. You can also cite instances from your personal experiences to reinforce your viewpoints. Arguments of religious faith or beliefs should be avoided.
Structure of Argumentative Essay:
The argumentative essays can be organized in the following ways:
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Paragraph 1: (Argument 1 with supporting examples, facts, etc.)
Paragraph 2: (Argument 2 with supporting examples, facts, etc.)
Paragraph 3: (Argument 3 with supporting examples, facts, etc.)
Paragraph 4: (Counterargument and its refutation)
Paragraph 1: (Summary of other side’s arguments.)
Paragraph 2: (Refutation of counterarguments 1, 2 and 3.)
Paragraph 3: (Arguments 1, 2 and 3.)
Another way of organization is to develop a paragraph each with arguments and refutation of counterarguments.
Examples of Argumentative essay topics:
  • The Internet has been overly commercialized. Agree or disagree?
  • Cross-cultural marriages contribute to racial tolerance.
  • Financial rewards are the only way to gain employee loyalty.
  • Should academic achievement be a primary consideration for college admission?
  • Is Technology Making Us Smarter or Dumber?

Strategies to write a good Argumentative essay:
  • Language skills:
    Avoid any illogical or unnecessary shifts in tense, voice or discourse (direct/indirect speech). You need to maintain consistency and clarity in the essay. Some of the words or phrases that can be used to present arguments:
    To introduce the argumentation:
    It is true that..
    I concede..
    To illustrate..
    For instance/example..
    On one hand..
    To introduce the opposing position:
    At the same time..
    Opponents of this idea claim that..
    Although it is true that..
    Some people may disagree with..
    Those who disagree may say..
  • Evaluate your essay in terms of the following criteria:
    There should be no off-topic ideas that do not relate to the central theme of the essay. Make sure that your arguments are relevant to the topic at hand.
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    Ensure that your arguments are supported by facts, statistics, expert opinion and relevant examples. You can explain, compare, discuss causes and effects, and describe people, places, events and objects as a part of your argumentation. Also, the opposing arguments should be refuted justifiably.
    Structure of the essay:
    The arguments presented in the essay should follow a proper logical sequence leading to the required conclusion. Transitional words and phrases used should follow the logic of your argumentation well.
    Choice of words:
    Use effective vocabulary to depict your stand in the essay. Also, the language used in the essay shouldn’t be informal. Lastly, check your essay for any punctuation, grammatical or spelling mistakes.
Do's and Don'ts of writing an Argumentative Essay:
    •Try to break apart the statement into components or discrete areas of consideration. 
    •    “Hedge” your position by qualifying your viewpoint and acknowledging others. In doing so, you won’t appear wishywashy, but rather thoughtful and scholarly. Approach the issue essay as an intellectual exercise, not as a forum for sharing your personal belief system.
    •    Admit and respond to the chief weakness of your position as well as to the chief merits of an opposing position. In doing so, use varied theoretical techniques.
    •    Explain how each example you mention illustrates your point. Anyone can simply list a long string of examples and claim that they illustrate a point. But the readers are looking for incisive analysis, not fast typing (or writing).
    •    Do not waste time second-guessing what the reader might agree (or disagree) with. Readers are trained to be objective. So do not try to anticipate what a reader would consider a “correct” position (politically or otherwise) on an Issue.
    •    Be reluctant to take a strong stance on an issue, but avoid coming across as fanatical or extreme.
    •    Overdo it when it comes to drawing on personal experiences to support your position. Try instead to demonstrate a breadth of both real world and academic experience. Try to impress the reader with either your vast knowledge of trivia or your technical knowledge of the topic at hand.
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