How to Write an Argumentative Essay - a Complete Guide
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How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Writing a good argumentative essay either for your university, college or high school requires a strong language that will work towards compelling your readers into believing into your points and the arguments you make on a given issue. Most students write a weak argumentative essay since they do not know what is expected from such type of an essay. Writing an argumentative essay starts with understanding the required format. Secondly, you should use a professional tone in your paper.

Using professional tone in the argumentative essay requires the student to put across their claim and offer a rebuttal to the argument. However, the rebuttal made on various points of view should be supported using credible facts, research, and findings. It is also important for you to understand that using weak points or unreliable facts to support your claim or points in the argumentative essay may make your potential supporters turn against you. Additionally, this may also make your essay lose convincing power or even become useless.

Since argumentative essay seeks to articulate your opinion on a given issue and then support it with reasons and evidence, you should ensure to come up with a compelling argumentative essay topic. To effectively analyze the issue in question, you should develop a balanced assessment in the essay, use persuasive language, and provide strong evidence. You can watch the following video for more details about this essay.

What is an argumentative essay?

Argumentative essay definition: this is an essay that has a greater level of persuasion to the reader, compelling them to accept or agree with your point of view or the claim. However, this conviction does not come on a silver plate; you need to provide evidence, support, and research evidence or evince data that aligns with your claim. This helps the readers to agree with your claim through drawing a connection and conclusion that backs up your argument.

The first step towards developing an argumentative essay is choosing a topic that has more one clear side. You cannot use one-sided topics for your argumentative essay. Secondly, generate, gather, and evaluate credible and reliable sources that you will use to support your claim. An argumentative essay is built on three main elements: introduction, body, and conclusion. Indicate clear and strong support on your subject and have facts supporting the claim and offer an unprejudiced counter-argument.

Argumentative essays are often assigned as a homework to students and if you’re experiencing issues with it, you can always get homework help here. You will be definitely satisfied with the result!

Argumentative essay thesis format

Question and answer

A thesis statement provides a concise summary of your claim and main points about a given subject or topic for your argumentative essay and shows your stance on that particular topic. A thesis statement that assumes a question and answer format turn the topic into a question in the first part, and the second part provides an answer to the problem. For example, though some people argue that college degree is not an important life, research shows that over 60% of people living above poverty levels have a college degree.

Refute objectives

This method of crafting a thesis statement present one side of the argument and then offers a refuting side at the end. In this case, the first side of the statement claims while the second parts provide a rebuttal to the first part. For example, though some people argue that college degree is not an important life, research shows that over 60% of people living below poverty levels have no college degree.


The roadmap is the strongest approach to developing a thesis statement. The approach uses few words to present the three or more points that you will focus on your argumentative essay.

Example: While some people think that college degree is not important in life, research shows that people who have studied up to this level have high employment opportunities, innovativeness. Therefore, a college education provides an avenue where people learn new things, develop professional networks, increase their creativity and innovation, which translates to job opportunities and financial income thus reducing their poverty levels.

Argumentative essay outline

An argumentative essay consists of four main sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Developing your argument
  3. Refuting the opposing arguments
  4. Conclusion

In every argumentative essay format, there must be an introduction. This part includes background information about your argument. Develop a thesis statement where you make your claim. In the next section, you build evidence for your claim. This evidence should be support with facts, research, or data from credible sources. In the next section, you develop refuting opponents’ arguments, which is objective and unbiased. Finally, you develop the argumentative essay conclusion

How to write an argumentative essay: step by step

Start with an attention-grabbing hook

An argumentative essay introduction involves laying your foundation. The introduction starts with a hook statement. This helps to attract the attention and interest of the readers and creates an urge to know more. For instance, you need to make a choice even in circumstances where there is nothing to choose from.

Provide some background and context

After the hook statement, you should start an argumentative essay by providing sufficient background details about your topic. This background information provides an overview of your subject, topic, or ideas and why it is interesting to argue it in an essay. The background information tries to answer some questions such as; why is the topic important, why is the issue predominant, who are the people involved, among others.

State your argumentative essay thesis

In most formal essays, the thesis statement is written as the last sentence in your introduction.  Rather than defending your position or points at this point, you should come up with a statement indicating your position on the topic as opposed to defending it.

Introduce your evidence

While writing the argumentative essay, most people make a claim but forget to support it with evidence. Evidence, in this case, is a tool used to validate your argument. Therefore, whenever you make a claim, always provide supportive evidence. Evidence is defined as factual data or information sourced from credible and reliable sources. Personal anecdotal and knowledge does not qualify as evidence.

Transition into body

The transition shows the connection from one paragraph to another. Use transition words, which help the reader to follow the flow of ideas effectively. Some of the words that are used to indicate transition are; Besides, moreover, further, besides, equally important, furthermore just but to mention a few. As you transition from one body paragraph to another, you should use such words to prevent the reader from getting lost.

The body of the argumentative essay is made up of several paragraphs. These paragraphs present separate evidence that supports your thesis. Each paragraph consists of a topic sentence that provides the claim, this is followed by supporting sentences that provide the evidence, and finally, develop a conclusion. The supporting sentences should include statistics, examples, and research evidence to support your position. The concluding sentence connects back to your position in the essay.

Make a conclusion

When writing your argumentative essay conclusion, you should take a note of three key points. First, you should reinstate your thesis statement. This includes stating why the topic is important. For example, acquiring a college education is an important step towards reducing poverty levels. In most cases, the conclusion you make should mirror your introduction.

Secondly, you should capture the picture of your topic in real life based on your argument and how you are going to implement it.  Make sure that this part gets your audience get to visualize the implication and what will happen if what you propose is put into practice. Finally, you should come up with a closing statement that creates a clear picture of the world as you would like it to perceive by the audience. This ensures that the validity convinces your readers of your argument.

Tips for better argumentative essay

Provide evidential support

While writing an argumentative essay, most people make claims but forget to support them by providing evidential support.  Evidential support is what probably your tutor or lecturer is looking for in your argumentative essay. Therefore, as you write your argumentative essay, it important to provide evidence to support the claim you make. Evidence is factual information, data, or findings from reliable and credible sources.

Make sure you have clear and logical transition

A good argumentative essay requires you to include clear and logic transition words. Transition words help the reader to connect from point to point in paragraphs and sentences. Some of the words that you can use to introduce your examples are; such as, including, notably, mostly, namely, for example, for instance. While writing a list of items/in sequence, you can use the following transition words; firstly, secondly, thirdly, besides, finally, to conclude, also, lastly, moreover, additionally, to begin with. To introduce an alternative viewpoint while maintaining logic and transition, use the following word; rather, again, in contrast, alternatively, although, in fact, though, in comparison, on the other hand, and alternatively.

Proofread and revise carefully

After you finish writing your argumentative essay, take your time to proofread it to remove mistakes that annoy your readers. An argumentative essay that has silly mistakes may turn away your potential supporters to your idea, invite unnecessary critics and worst of all may earn you a poor grade. You can use your word check tool or other tools that are available online. When proofreading, the following items should be on your checklist; spelling, alignment of tense, sentence construction, subject word agreement, transition hook, thesis statement, punctuation, proper citations, and referencing. Moreover, you have a close peer-review your work to identify some of the hidden mistakes. We strongly recommend you to learn how to revise an essay before doing it.

Get familiar with 3 types of argument strategies

1. Classical argument strategy

In this approach, you first write the problem and your proposed solution. Focus on convincing your audience to believe that your ideas are better. Your audience either lacks a strong opinion to your answer or maybe uninformed. As such, your main job is to make your audience agree with your position on a given topic or subject.  The basic outline of the classical argument is as follows:

Introduction:  here you should attract the attention and the interest of the readers by stating the question or problem you will address in your essay and why it is important.

Background: in this part, you should provide facts and context about the problem.

Thesis: you should provide a thesis statement where you state your claim and your main argument.

Refutation: in this part, you provide convincing evidence as an explanation to why the opposing argument is invalid or not valid.

Conclusion:  here, you summarize your main points and implications.  You should also state why your position is the best.

2. Rogerian Argument

This argument tries to persuade the audience by identifying the point of agreement.  It is mostly used in highly polarized debates.  These are debates where all the sides do not want to listen to each other. In this argument, you are trying to convince the audience that the opposing arguments are valid. As such, your arguments are based on a neutral ground. The basic outline for Rogerian argument is as follows:

Presenting the issue:  here you should present your topic, subject, or issue and discuss the importance of addressing it.

Summarize the opposing arguments:  here, you list your points and their validity in different situations. This helps to show that you understand and acknowledge the opposing sides and your open-mindedness.  Through this approach, the opposing side is willing to hear you out.

Stating your point: Rather than showing that you are correct, you will show situations where your points are valid

Finally, you should say why we should adopt your positions. Here, you appeal to the opposing sides that there are benefits of embracing your points. Therefore, you should appeal to them to adopt your points

3. Toulmin Model of Argument

As opposed to appealing to the commonalities, this method uses logic and politely qualifies to limit the argument on points that can be agreed by the opposing sides.  It uses the following argumentative essay format:

  • Makes a claim: this is the thesis that you aim to prove
  • Evidence: this is factual support to your claim.
  • Warrant: you explain how your data supports the claim.
  • Backing: provide additional reasoning and logic to support your warrant.
  • Rebuttal: here, you provide potential arguments made against your claim.
  • Qualifier: this is a phrase that provides the limit to your claim.
  • Exceptions: Here, you provide a description, further stating the limits to your claim.
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