An argumentative essay is an assignment that asks you to work on a certain theme, get enough information, research the question carefully, come up with a position, and defend it throughout your paper. These papers are commonly assigned as final projects that are written to prove that you have grasped the subject perfectly. Argumentative essays are large and require deep research. Sometimes, they are confused with expository essays, which are less advanced and usually assigned as classroom projects during a semester.
What is an argumentative essay and how to structure it?
To compose an argumentative paper, you will have to conduct a research based on the academic materials and educations sources. Sometimes, students are asked to make a so-called empirical research, which includes interviews, experiments, surveys, and other similar actions. Indeed, research is the main part of argumentative essay writing, because one has to know the topic from the ground up and have a clear understanding of all angles and points that are present before he/she starts discussing it. Only this way, a writer will be able to choose a position and understand the opposite one. These essays need strict reasoning and clear structure:
Provide a context and review your topic in a couple of sentences. Let your readers know what are you going to talk about and why should they care. In the end, provide a thesis statement. This sentence is the most important part of your paper, since it expresses your main idea briefly and decides the entire course of your work. If you don’t come up with a clear and laconic thesis statement, you won’t be able to write a successful essay. So if you have no idea how to make up a thesis, continue reading relevant sources and making notes until you grasp the topic fully.
- Make transitions between sentences and paragraphs
Your body paragraphs need to follow a logical progression and transitions will help you keep everything in a right order. Also, they will make your paper sound as one whole and build a feeling of a natural flow of the language. Make sure that you reveal information gradually to let your reader understand the main argument. Transitions are important to let your ideas unwrap one by one. With them, readers will easily move from one section to another without getting confused.
- Include quotations to support your arguments
An argumentative essay is impossible without quotations from reliable sources. Find enough books, journals, magazines, and other materials to get enough information about the subject. Pay attention to the points related to your position as well as to those that are different from your opinion. You will need both to build a solid argument. Most of your paragraphs will serve to develop a thesis with the help of the evidence you gather during your reading. Make sure that you explain how your claims support a thesis statement.
As we have already said, you should consider and understand the opposite point of view as well. You should include at least a couple of paragraphs where you will discuss this position as well. Make sure to explain why you choose a concrete point of view and why do you think the other one is not as good as the one you choose.
No argumentative essay can be done without solid evidence – statistical, logical, or factual. Any evidence should be connected to your thesis. Don’t forget that you need to mind all points of view when gathering evidence. Writing an argumentative essay, you should discuss other opinions that may not support your own claim, because excluding a conflicting point is perceived as an unethical academic act. There is no need to prove it wrong, but you should inform your readers that it exists.
- Summing up
In the last paragraph, you need to readdress your main arguments and restate a thesis statement. This is your chance to leave a long-lasting positive impression about your work, so make your conclusion sound effective and clear. You shouldn’t include any facts here, just provide a synthesis of everything you have said before and remind why your topic is crucial. Talk about your central ideas briefly and think about a further research that can be done on the same topic. Your last sentence may suggest the direction for other researchers if they decide to discuss the same question.
- Revise, revise, and then revise again
As a rule, argumentative essays are very important and they have serious influence on your final mark. Professors assign them to check your knowledge of the subject and pay special attention to the content. Therefore, you need to check and edit your work for a couple of times before submission. Be sure to delete all spelling errors, typos, grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, etc. Never neglect a necessity to revise your work carefully. What is more, pay special attention to the way your paper is arranged. Are your claims clear enough? Are there any logical mistakes in your work? Can you say that your paper is 100% relevant to the main topic? If you are not sure that you can answer all of these questions, give your work to someone else and ask for an opinion. It is perfect when you have someone competent to criticize your work and give suggestions on how to make it better. If you don’t have a person like that, the only thing left is to criticize yourself honestly. All the weak and irrelevant parts of your paper should be strengthen or deleted.
Your essay is a complete mechanism
Remember that all the points you include in your paper should be relevant to each other and the general question at the same time. Your paper should work as a mechanism, where there are no details that are unnecessary. Imagine that you are having a debate with someone and this is your turn to provide the best arguments that prove your position to be true. When you are having a conversation, it has a beginning, middle, and end. So you cannot just stop a discussion when you are in the middle, can you? This is why your argumentative essay should be full and complete, as any other conversation. Make sure that you follow the structure and provide all of your thoughts in a logical manner. It is important to make yourself clear in every single paragraph you write, so leave no room for doubts or uncertainties.
If you are writing a five-paragraph essay
In most cases, an argumentative essay outline will consist of five paragraphs, where you are expected to unwrap your ideas. This is a very common format for this assignment. If your professor assigned a five-paragraph paper that needs to be argumentative, don’t panic – the formula is the same as in any other academic paper. Only here you need to keep up with a certain amount of ideas. Students are required to compose such tasks to prove that they can work under restrictions and express their opinion in a brief, but clear manner. So if you need to write one, just remember that the structure will look like that:
Write one paragraph, where you will present your topic and state your position.
Provide three ideas and develop each one in a separate paragraph. Your aim is to be clear and laconic, so think carefully which arguments are the most relevant and appropriate to support your position.
The fifth paragraph should be a conclusion. Three previous claims should be restated as well as your thesis statement. Again, avoid adding any new facts or quotations to this paragraph.
Be aware that a five-paragraph paper should not include too many quotations. Make sure that your paper includes no more than 20% of quotes.
If you have been assigned to compose a large argumentative paper, then get ready to make a detailed and complicated research. When you need to discuss a number of sources plus results of your empirical research, then five paragraphs won’t be enough. In this case, you are expected to provide deep and broad context as well as detailed discussion of every crucial and less crucial detail that is relevant to your research. Use credible sources and discuss the background of the topic, include different points of view and then sum everything up in a last paragraph. The number of paragraphs in longer papers is not fixated, so you will have to orient yourself on professor’s instructions.
Now you know everything about argumentative essay writing! So pay special attention to the structure of your paper – make sure that you reveal the arguments in a comprehensive manner and follow a logical direction. Don’t forget to discuss the opposite view or at least state it in your paper. Everything else will depend on the specific instructions you receive from your professor. Still, this general guide reveals the fundamentals that will surely help you become a better essay writer. Follow this advice and good luck with your assignments!