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How to Write an Argumentative Essay

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

4-minute read

  • 30th April 2022

An argumentative essay is a structured, compelling piece of writing where an author clearly defines their stance on a specific topic. This is a very popular style of writing assigned to students at schools, colleges, and universities. Learn the steps to researching, structuring, and writing an effective argumentative essay below.

Requirements of an Argumentative Essay

To effectively achieve its purpose, an argumentative essay must contain:

●  A concise thesis statement that introduces readers to the central argument of the essay

●  A clear, logical, argument that engages readers

●  Ample research and evidence that supports your argument

Approaches to Use in Your Argumentative Essay

1.   classical.

●  Clearly present the central argument.

●  Outline your opinion.

●  Provide enough evidence to support your theory.

2.   Toulmin

●  State your claim.

●  Supply the evidence for your stance.

●  Explain how these findings support the argument.

●  Include and discuss any limitations of your belief.

3.   Rogerian

●  Explain the opposing stance of your argument.

●  Discuss the problems with adopting this viewpoint.

●  Offer your position on the matter.

●  Provide reasons for why yours is the more beneficial stance.

●  Include a potential compromise for the topic at hand.

Tips for Writing a Well-Written Argumentative Essay

●  Introduce your topic in a bold, direct, and engaging manner to captivate your readers and encourage them to keep reading.

●  Provide sufficient evidence to justify your argument and convince readers to adopt this point of view.

●  Consider, include, and fairly present all sides of the topic.

●  Structure your argument in a clear, logical manner that helps your readers to understand your thought process.

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●  Discuss any counterarguments that might be posed.

●  Use persuasive writing that’s appropriate for your target audience and motivates them to agree with you.

Steps to Write an Argumentative Essay

Follow these basic steps to write a powerful and meaningful argumentative essay :

Step 1: Choose a topic that you’re passionate about

If you’ve already been given a topic to write about, pick a stance that resonates deeply with you. This will shine through in your writing, make the research process easier, and positively influence the outcome of your argument.

Step 2: Conduct ample research to prove the validity of your argument

To write an emotive argumentative essay , finding enough research to support your theory is a must. You’ll need solid evidence to convince readers to agree with your take on the matter. You’ll also need to logically organize the research so that it naturally convinces readers of your viewpoint and leaves no room for questioning.

Step 3: Follow a simple, easy-to-follow structure and compile your essay

A good structure to ensure a well-written and effective argumentative essay includes:


●  Introduce your topic.

●  Offer background information on the claim.

●  Discuss the evidence you’ll present to support your argument.

●  State your thesis statement, a one-to-two sentence summary of your claim.

●  This is the section where you’ll develop and expand on your argument.

●  It should be split into three or four coherent paragraphs, with each one presenting its own idea.

●  Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that indicates why readers should adopt your belief or stance.

●  Include your research, statistics, citations, and other supporting evidence.

●  Discuss opposing viewpoints and why they’re invalid.

●  This part typically consists of one paragraph.

●  Summarize your research and the findings that were presented.

●  Emphasize your initial thesis statement.

●  Persuade readers to agree with your stance.

We certainly hope that you feel inspired to use these tips when writing your next argumentative essay . And, if you’re currently elbow-deep in writing one, consider submitting a free sample to us once it’s completed. Our expert team of editors can help ensure that it’s concise, error-free, and effective!

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Argumentative Essay – Outline, Form, and Examples

What is an argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay requires the writer to investigate a specific topic by collecting and evaluating evidence to establish a position on the subject matter.

When preparing to compose a good argumentative essay, utilize the following steps:

Step 1: Select a topic.

Step 2: Identify a position.

Step 3: Locate appropriate resources.

Step 4: Identify evidence supporting the position. ( NOTE: If there is little evidence in support of the claim, consider re-examining the main argument.)

Steps to write an argumentative essay

When gathering evidence, use credible sources . To determine the credibility of the source, consider authority, currency, accuracy, and objectivity:

Who is the author ? Are they an expert in the field? Has a reputable publisher published the work?

How current is the information in the source? Does the currency of the source matter? Does the age of the source impact the content? Is there newer information that disproves the source’s information?

Can other sources verify the accuracy of the information? Does the information contradict that found in other commonly accepted sources?

Is there any evidence of bias, or is the source objective ? Is the research sponsored by an organization that may skew the information?

The following are typically recognized as providing appropriate, credible research material:

Peer-reviewed journals/research papers

Government agencies

Professional organizations

Library databases

Reference books

Credible sources

Writers should avoid using the following sources:

Social media posts

Out-of-date materials

Step 5: Utilize the research to determine a thesis statement that identifies the topic, position, and support(s).

Step 6: Use the evidence to construct an outline, detailing the main supports and relevant evidence.

Steps to write an argumentative essay

Argumentative essay outline

After gathering all of the necessary research, the next step in composing an argumentative essay focuses on organizing the information through the use of an outline:


Attention Grabber/Hook

Background Information: Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the reader needs to know to understand the argument.

Thesis: State the position in connection to the main topic and identify the supports that will help prove the argument.

Topic sentence

Identify evidence in support of the claim in the topic sentence

Explain how the evidence supports the argument

Evidence 3 (Continue as needed)

Support 2 (Continue as needed)

Restate thesis

Review main supports

Concluding statement

Invite the audience to take a specific action.

Identify the overall importance of the topic and position.

Argumentative essay outline

How to write an argumentative essay

Regardless of the writer’s topic or point of view, an argumentative essay should include an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, a conclusion, and works cited.

Background information

Body Paragraphs

Analysis of evidence

Rephrased thesis

Review of main ideas

Call to action

Works Cited

Components of an argumentative essay

Argumentative essay introduction

The introduction sets the tone for the entire paper and introduces the argument. In general, the first paragraph(s) should attract the reader’s attention, provide relevant context, and conclude with a thesis statement.

To attract the reader's attention , start with an introductory device. There are several attention-grabbing techniques, the most common of which consist of the following:

The writer can emphasize the topic’s importance by explaining the current interest in the topic or indicating that the subject is influential.

Pertinent statistics give the paper an air of authority.

There are many reasons for a stimulating statement to surprise a reader. Sometimes it is joyful; sometimes it is shocking; sometimes it is surprising because of who said it.

An interesting incident or anecdote can act as a teaser to lure the reader into the remainder of the essay. Be sure that the device is appropriate for the subject and focus of what follows.

Provide the reader with relevant context and background information necessary to understand the topic.

Conclude with a thesis statement that identifies the overall purpose of the essay (topic and position). Writers can also include their support directly in the thesis, which outlines the structure of the essay for the reader.

Avoid the following when writing the introduction to argumentative writing:

Starting with dictionary definitions is too overdone and unappealing.

Do not make an announcement of the topic like “In this paper I will…” or “The purpose of this essay is to….”

Evidence supporting or developing the thesis should be in the body paragraphs, not the introduction.

Beginning the essay with general or absolute statements such as “throughout history...” or “as human beings we always...” or similar statements suggest the writer knows all of history or that all people behave or think in the same way.

Argumentative essay thesis

The thesis statement is the single, specific claim the writer sets out to prove and is typically positioned as the last sentence of the introduction . It is the controlling idea of the entire argument that identifies the topic, position, and reasoning.

When constructing a thesis for an argumentative paper, make sure it contains a side of the argument, not simply a topic. An argumentative thesis identifies the writer’s position on a given topic. If a position cannot be taken, then it is not argumentative thesis:

Topic: Capital punishment is practiced in many states.

Thesis: Capital punishment should be illegal.

While not always required, the thesis statement can include the supports the writer will use to prove the main claim. Therefore, a thesis statement can be structured as follows:


No Supports: College athletes (TOPIC) should be financially compensated (POSITION).

Supports: College athletes (TOPIC) should be financially compensated (POSITION) because they sacrifice their minds and bodies (SUPPORT 1), cannot hold

Argumentative essay body paragraphs

Body paragraphs can be of varying lengths, but they must present a coherent argument unified under a single topic. They are rarely ever longer than one page, double-spaced; usually they are much shorter.

Lengthy paragraphs indicate a lack of structure. Identify the main ideas of a lengthy paragraph to determine if they make more sense as separate topics in separate paragraphs.

Shorter paragraphs usually indicate a lack of substance; there is not enough evidence or analysis to prove the argument. Develop the ideas more or integrate the information into another paragraph.

The structure of an argumentative paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, and a transition.

The topic sentence is the thesis of the paragraph that identifies the arguable point in support of the main argument. The reader should know exactly what the writer is trying to prove within the paragraph by reading the first sentence.

The supporting evidence and analysis provide information to support the claim. There should be a balance between the evidence (facts, quotations, summary of events/plot, etc.) and analysis (interpretation of evidence). If the paragraph is evidence-heavy, there is not much of an argument; if it is analysis-heavy, there is not enough evidence in support of the claim.

The transition can be at the beginning or the end of a paragraph. However, it is much easier to combine the transition with the concluding observation to help the paragraphs flow into one another. Transitions in academic writing should tell the reader where you were, where you are going, and relate to the thesis.

Some essays may benefit from the inclusion of rebuttals to potential counterarguments of the writer’s position.

Argumentative essay conclusion

The conclusion should make readers glad they read the paper. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest readers but also enrich their understanding in some way. There are three aspects to follow when constructing the conclusion: rephrase the thesis, synthesize information, and call the reader to action.

Rephrased the thesis in the first sentence of the conclusion. It must be in different words; do not simply write it verbatim.

Synthesize the argument by showing how the paper's main points support the argument.

Propose a course of action or a solution to an issue. This can redirect the reader's thought process to apply the ideas to their life or to see the broader implications of the topic.

Avoid the following when constructing the conclusion:

Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as "in conclusion," "in summary," or "in closing;" although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as trite in writing

Introducing a new idea or subtopic in the conclusion

Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of the paper

Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper

Argumentative essay examples

Examples of argumentative essays vary depending upon the type:

Academic essays differ based upon the topic and position. These essays follow a more traditional structure and are typically assigned in high school or college. Examples of academic argumentative essay topics include the following:

Advantages or disadvantages of social media

Animal testing

Art education

Benefit or detriment of homework

Capital punishment

Class warfare


School uniforms

Universal healthcare

Violence in video games

Argumentative literary essays are typically more informal and do not follow the same structure as an academic essay. The following are popular examples of argumentative literary essays:

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf

“Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell

“Thoughts for the Times on War and Death” by Sigmund Freud

“Does the Truth Matter? Science, Pseudoscience, and Civilization” by Carl Sagan

“Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson


Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 key tips for how to write an argumentative essay.

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General Education


If there’s one writing skill you need to have in your toolkit for standardized tests, AP exams, and college-level writing, it’s the ability to make a persuasive argument. Effectively arguing for a position on a topic or issue isn’t just for the debate team— it’s for anyone who wants to ace the essay portion of an exam or make As in college courses.

To give you everything you need to know about how to write an argumentative essay , we’re going to answer the following questions for you:

  • What is an argumentative essay?
  • How should an argumentative essay be structured?
  • How do I write a strong argument?
  • What’s an example of a strong argumentative essay?
  • What are the top takeaways for writing argumentative papers?

By the end of this article, you’ll be prepped and ready to write a great argumentative essay yourself!

Now, let’s break this down.


What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of writing that presents the writer’s position or stance on a specific topic and uses evidence to support that position. The goal of an argumentative essay is to convince your reader that your position is logical, ethical, and, ultimately, right . In argumentative essays, writers accomplish this by writing:

  • A clear, persuasive thesis statement in the introduction paragraph
  • Body paragraphs that use evidence and explanations to support the thesis statement
  • A paragraph addressing opposing positions on the topic—when appropriate
  • A conclusion that gives the audience something meaningful to think about.

Introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion: these are the main sections of an argumentative essay. Those probably sound familiar. Where does arguing come into all of this, though? It’s not like you’re having a shouting match with your little brother across the dinner table. You’re just writing words down on a page!

...or are you? Even though writing papers can feel like a lonely process, one of the most important things you can do to be successful in argumentative writing is to think about your argument as participating in a larger conversation . For one thing, you’re going to be responding to the ideas of others as you write your argument. And when you’re done writing, someone—a teacher, a professor, or exam scorer—is going to be reading and evaluating your argument.

If you want to make a strong argument on any topic, you have to get informed about what’s already been said on that topic . That includes researching the different views and positions, figuring out what evidence has been produced, and learning the history of the topic. That means—you guessed it!—argumentative essays almost always require you to incorporate outside sources into your writing.  


What Makes Argumentative Essays Unique?

Argumentative essays are different from other types of essays for one main reason: in an argumentative essay, you decide what the argument will be . Some types of essays, like summaries or syntheses, don’t want you to show your stance on the topic—they want you to remain unbiased and neutral.

In argumentative essays, you’re presenting your point of view as the writer and, sometimes, choosing the topic you’ll be arguing about. You just want to make sure that that point of view comes across as informed, well-reasoned, and persuasive.

Another thing about argumentative essays: they’re often longer than other types of essays. Why, you ask? Because it takes time to develop an effective argument. If your argument is going to be persuasive to readers, you have to address multiple points that support your argument, acknowledge counterpoints, and provide enough evidence and explanations to convince your reader that your points are valid.


Our 3 Best Tips for Picking a Great Argumentative Topic

The first step to writing an argumentative essay deciding what to write about! Choosing a topic for your argumentative essay might seem daunting, though. It can feel like you could make an argument about anything under the sun. For example, you could write an argumentative essay about how cats are way cooler than dogs, right?

It’s not quite that simple . Here are some strategies for choosing a topic that serves as a solid foundation for a strong argument.

Choose a Topic That Can Be Supported With Evidence

First, you want to make sure the topic you choose allows you to make a claim that can be supported by evidence that’s considered credible and appropriate for the subject matter ...and, unfortunately, your personal opinions or that Buzzfeed quiz you took last week don’t quite make the cut.

Some topics—like whether cats or dogs are cooler—can generate heated arguments, but at the end of the day, any argument you make on that topic is just going to be a matter of opinion. You have to pick a topic that allows you to take a position that can be supported by actual, researched evidence.

(Quick note: you could write an argumentative paper over the general idea that dogs are better than cats—or visa versa!—if you’re a) more specific and b) choose an idea that has some scientific research behind it. For example, a strong argumentative topic could be proving that dogs make better assistance animals than cats do.)

You also don’t want to make an argument about a topic that’s already a proven fact, like that drinking water is good for you. While some people might dislike the taste of water, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that proves—beyond the shadow of a doubt—that drinking water is a key part of good health.  

To avoid choosing a topic that’s either unprovable or already proven, try brainstorming some issues that have recently been discussed in the news, that you’ve seen people debating on social media, or that affect your local community. If you explore those outlets for potential topics, you’ll likely stumble upon something that piques your audience’s interest as well.  

Choose a Topic That You Find Interesting

Topics that have local, national, or global relevance often also resonate with us on a personal level. Consider choosing a topic that holds a connection between something you know or care about and something that is relevant to the rest of society. These don’t have to be super serious issues, but they should be topics that are timely and significant.

For example, if you are a huge football fan, a great argumentative topic for you might be arguing whether football leagues need to do more to prevent concussions . Is this as “important” an issue as climate change? No, but it’s still a timely topic that affects many people. And not only is this a great argumentative topic: you also get to write about one of your passions! Ultimately, if you’re working with a topic you enjoy, you’ll have more to say—and probably write a better essay .

Choose a Topic That Doesn’t Get You Too Heated

Another word of caution on choosing a topic for an argumentative paper: while it can be effective to choose a topic that matters to you personally, you also want to make sure you’re choosing a topic that you can keep your cool over. You’ve got to be able to stay unemotional, interpret the evidence persuasively, and, when appropriate, discuss opposing points of view without getting too salty.

In some situations, choosing a topic for your argumentative paper won’t be an issue at all: the test or exam will choose it for you . In that case, you’ve got to do the best you can with what you’re given.

In the next sections, we’re going to break down how to write any argumentative essay —regardless of whether you get to choose your own topic or have one assigned to you! Our expert tips and tricks will make sure that you’re knocking your paper out of the park.


The Thesis: The Argumentative Essay’s Backbone

You’ve chosen a topic or, more likely, read the exam question telling you to defend, challenge, or qualify a claim on an assigned topic. What do you do now?

You establish your position on the topic by writing a killer thesis statement ! The thesis statement, sometimes just called “the thesis,” is the backbone of your argument, the north star that keeps you oriented as you develop your main points, the—well, you get the idea.

In more concrete terms, a thesis statement conveys your point of view on your topic, usually in one sentence toward the end of your introduction paragraph . It’s very important that you state your point of view in your thesis statement in an argumentative way—in other words, it should state a point of view that is debatable.

And since your thesis statement is going to present your argument on the topic, it’s the thing that you’ll spend the rest of your argumentative paper defending. That’s where persuasion comes in. Your thesis statement tells your reader what your argument is, then the rest of your essay shows and explains why your argument is logical.

Why does an argumentative essay need a thesis, though? Well, the thesis statement—the sentence with your main claim—is actually the entire point of an argumentative essay. If you don’t clearly state an arguable claim at the beginning of your paper, then it’s not an argumentative essay. No thesis statement = no argumentative essay. Got it?

Other types of essays that you’re familiar with might simply use a thesis statement to forecast what the rest of the essay is going to discuss or to communicate what the topic is. That’s not the case here. If your thesis statement doesn’t make a claim or establish your position, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.

Example Thesis Statements

Here are a couple of examples of thesis statements that aren’t argumentative and thesis statements that are argumentative

The sky is blue.

The thesis statement above conveys a fact, not a claim, so it’s not argumentative.

To keep the sky blue, governments must pass clean air legislation and regulate emissions.

The second example states a position on a topic. What’s the topic in that second sentence? The best way to keep the sky blue. And what position is being conveyed? That the best way to keep the sky blue is by passing clean air legislation and regulating emissions.

Some people would probably respond to that thesis statement with gusto: “No! Governments should not pass clean air legislation and regulate emissions! That infringes on my right to pollute the earth!” And there you have it: a thesis statement that presents a clear, debatable position on a topic.

Here’s one more set of thesis statement examples, just to throw in a little variety:

Spirituality and otherworldliness characterize A$AP Rocky’s portrayals of urban life and the American Dream in his rap songs and music videos.

The statement above is another example that isn’t argumentative, but you could write a really interesting analytical essay with that thesis statement. Long live A$AP! Now here’s another one that is argumentative:

To give students an understanding of the role of the American Dream in contemporary life, teachers should incorporate pop culture, like the music of A$AP Rocky, into their lessons and curriculum.

The argument in this one? Teachers should incorporate more relevant pop culture texts into their curriculum.

This thesis statement also gives a specific reason for making the argument above: To give students an understanding of the role of the American Dream in contemporary life. If you can let your reader know why you’re making your argument in your thesis statement, it will help them understand your argument better.


An actual image of you killing your argumentative essay prompts after reading this article! 

Breaking Down the Sections of An Argumentative Essay

Now that you know how to pick a topic for an argumentative essay and how to make a strong claim on your topic in a thesis statement, you’re ready to think about writing the other sections of an argumentative essay. These are the parts that will flesh out your argument and support the claim you made in your thesis statement.  

Like other types of essays, argumentative essays typically have three main sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Within those sections, there are some key elements that a reader—and especially an exam scorer or professor—is always going to expect you to include.

Let’s look at a quick outline of those three sections with their essential pieces here:

  • Introduction paragraph with a thesis statement (which we just talked about)
  • Support Point #1 with evidence
  • Explain/interpret the evidence with your own, original commentary (AKA, the fun part!)
  • Support Point #2 with evidence
  • Explain/interpret the evidence with your own, original commentary
  • Support Point #3 with evidence
  • New paragraph addressing opposing viewpoints (more on this later!)
  • Concluding paragraph

 Now, there are some key concepts in those sections that you’ve got to understand if you’re going to master how to write an argumentative essay. To make the most of the body section, you have to know how to support your claim (your thesis statement), what evidence and explanations are and when you should use them, and how and when to address opposing viewpoints. To finish strong, you’ve got to have a strategy for writing a stellar conclusion.

This probably feels like a big deal! The body and conclusion make up most of the essay, right? Let’s get down to it, then.


How to Write a Strong Argument

Once you have your topic and thesis, you’re ready for the hard part: actually writing your argument. If you make strategic choices—like the ones we’re about to talk about—writing a strong argumentative essay won’t feel so difficult.

There are three main areas where you want to focus your energy as you develop a strategy for how to write an argumentative essay: supporting your claim—your thesis statement—in your essay, addressing other viewpoints on your topic, and writing a solid conclusion. If you put thought and effort into these three things, you’re much more likely to write an argumentative essay that’s engaging, persuasive, and memorable...aka A+ material.

Focus Area 1: Supporting Your Claim With Evidence and Explanations

So you’ve chosen your topic, decided what your position will be, and written a thesis statement. But like we see in comment threads across the Internet, if you make a claim and don’t back it up with evidence, what do people say? “Where’s your proof?” “Show me the facts!” “Do you have any evidence to support that claim?”

Of course you’ve done your research like we talked about. Supporting your claim in your thesis statement is where that research comes in handy.

You can’t just use your research to state the facts, though. Remember your reader? They’re going to expect you to do some of the dirty work of interpreting the evidence for them. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between evidence and explanations, and how and when to use both in your argumentative essay.

What Evidence Is and When You Should Use It

Evidence can be material from any authoritative and credible outside source that supports your position on your topic. In some cases, evidence can come in the form of photos, video footage, or audio recordings. In other cases, you might be pulling reasons, facts, or statistics from news media articles, public policy, or scholarly books or journals.

There are some clues you can look for that indicate whether or not a source is credible , such as whether:

  • The website where you found the source ends in .edu, .gov, or .org
  • The source was published by a university press
  • The source was published in a peer-reviewed journal
  • The authors did extensive research to support the claims they make in the source

This is just a short list of some of the clues that a source is likely a credible one, but just because a source was published by a prestigious press or the authors all have PhDs doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best piece of evidence for you to use to support your argument.

In addition to evaluating the source’s credibility, you’ve got to consider what types of evidence might come across as most persuasive in the context of the argument you’re making and who your readers are. In other words, stepping back and getting a bird’s eye view of the entire context of your argumentative paper is key to choosing evidence that will strengthen your argument.

On some exams, like the AP exams , you may be given pretty strict parameters for what evidence to use and how to use it. You might be given six short readings that all address the same topic, have 15 minutes to read them, then be required to pull material from a minimum of three of the short readings to support your claim in an argumentative essay.

When the sources are handed to you like that, be sure to take notes that will help you pick out evidence as you read. Highlight, underline, put checkmarks in the margins of your exam . . . do whatever you need to do to begin identifying the material that you find most helpful or relevant. Those highlights and check marks might just turn into your quotes, paraphrases, or summaries of evidence in your completed exam essay.

What Explanations Are and When You Should Use Them

Now you know that taking a strategic mindset toward evidence and explanations is critical to grasping how to write an argumentative essay. Unfortunately, evidence doesn’t speak for itself. While it may be obvious to you, the researcher and writer, how the pieces of evidence you’ve included are relevant to your audience, it might not be as obvious to your reader.

That’s where explanations—or analysis, or interpretations—come in. You never want to just stick some quotes from an article into your paragraph and call it a day. You do want to interpret the evidence you’ve included to show your reader how that evidence supports your claim.

Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be saying, “This piece of evidence supports my argument because...”. Instead, you want to comment on the evidence in a way that helps your reader see how it supports the position you stated in your thesis. We’ll talk more about how to do this when we show you an example of a strong body paragraph from an argumentative essay here in a bit.

Understanding how to incorporate evidence and explanations to your advantage is really important. Here’s why: when you’re writing an argumentative essay, particularly on standardized tests or the AP exam, the exam scorers can’t penalize you for the position you take. Instead, their evaluation is going to focus on the way you incorporated evidence and explained it in your essay.


Focus Area 2: How—and When—to Address Other Viewpoints

Why would we be making arguments at all if there weren’t multiple views out there on a given topic? As you do research and consider the background surrounding your topic, you’ll probably come across arguments that stand in direct opposition to your position.

Oftentimes, teachers will ask you to “address the opposition” in your argumentative essay. What does that mean, though, to “ address the opposition ?”

Opposing viewpoints function kind of like an elephant in the room. Your audience knows they’re there. In fact, your audience might even buy into an opposing viewpoint and be waiting for you to show them why your viewpoint is better. If you don’t, it means that you’ll have a hard time convincing your audience to buy your argument.

Addressing the opposition is a balancing act: you don’t want to undermine your own argument, but you don’t want to dismiss the validity of opposing viewpoints out-of-hand or ignore them altogether, which can also undermine your argument.

This isn’t the only acceptable approach, but it’s common practice to wait to address the opposition until close to the end of an argumentative essay. But why?

Well, waiting to present an opposing viewpoint until after you’ve thoroughly supported your own argument is strategic. You aren’t going to go into great detail discussing the opposing viewpoint: you’re going to explain what that viewpoint is fairly, but you’re also going to point out what’s wrong with it.

It can also be effective to read the opposition through the lens of your own argument and the evidence you’ve used to support it. If the evidence you’ve already included supports your argument, it probably doesn’t support the opposing viewpoint. Without being too obvious, it might be worth pointing this out when you address the opposition.


Focus Area #3: Writing the Conclusion

It’s common to conclude an argumentative essay by reiterating the thesis statement in some way, either by reminding the reader what the overarching argument was in the first place or by reviewing the main points and evidence that you covered.

You don’t just want to restate your thesis statement and review your main points and call it a day, though. So much has happened since you stated your thesis in the introduction! And why waste a whole paragraph—the very last thing your audience is going to read—on just repeating yourself?

Here’s an approach to the conclusion that can give your audience a fresh perspective on your argument: reinterpret your thesis statement for them in light of all the evidence and explanations you’ve provided. Think about how your readers might read your thesis statement in a new light now that they’ve heard your whole argument out.

That’s what you want to leave your audience with as you conclude your argumentative paper: a brief explanation of why all that arguing mattered in the first place. If you can give your audience something to continue pondering after they’ve read your argument, that’s even better.

One thing you want to avoid in your conclusion, though: presenting new supporting points or new evidence. That can just be confusing for your reader. Stick to telling your reader why the argument you’ve already made matters, and your argument will stick with your reader.


A Strong Argumentative Essay: Examples

For some aspiring argumentative essay writers, showing is better than telling. To show rather than tell you what makes a strong argumentative essay, we’ve provided three examples of possible body paragraphs for an argumentative essay below.

Think of these example paragraphs as taking on the form of the “Argumentative Point #1 → Evidence —> Explanation —> Repeat” process we talked through earlier. It’s always nice to be able to compare examples, so we’ve included three paragraphs from an argumentative paper ranging from poor (or needs a lot of improvement, if you’re feeling generous), to better, to best.

All of the example paragraphs are for an essay with this thesis statement: 

Thesis Statement: In order to most effectively protect user data and combat the spread of disinformation, the U.S. government should implement more stringent regulations of Facebook and other social media outlets.

As you read the examples, think about what makes them different, and what makes the “best” paragraph more effective than the “better” and “poor” paragraphs. Here we go:

A Poor Argument

Example Body Paragraph: Data mining has affected a lot of people in recent years. Facebook has 2.23 billion users from around the world, and though it would take a huge amount of time and effort to make sure a company as big as Facebook was complying with privacy regulations in countries across the globe, adopting a common framework for privacy regulation in more countries would be the first step. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg himself supports adopting a global framework for privacy and data protection, which would protect more users than before.

What’s Wrong With This Example?

First, let’s look at the thesis statement. Ask yourself: does this make a claim that some people might agree with, but others might disagree with?

The answer is yes. Some people probably think that Facebook should be regulated, while others might believe that’s too much government intervention. Also, there are definitely good, reliable sources out there that will help this writer prove their argument. So this paper is off to a strong start!  

Unfortunately, this writer doesn’t do a great job proving their thesis in their body paragraph. First, the topic sentence—aka the first sentence of the paragraph—doesn’t make a point that directly supports the position stated in the thesis. We’re trying to argue that government regulation will help protect user data and combat the spread of misinformation, remember? The topic sentence should make a point that gets right at that, instead of throwing out a random fact about data mining.

Second, because the topic sentence isn’t focused on making a clear point, the rest of the paragraph doesn’t have much relevant information, and it fails to provide credible evidence that supports the claim made in the thesis statement. For example, it would be a great idea to include exactly what Mark Zuckerberg said ! So while there’s definitely some relevant information in this paragraph, it needs to be presented with more evidence.

A Better Argument  

This paragraph is a bit better than the first one, but it still needs some work. The topic sentence is a bit too long, and it doesn’t make a point that clearly supports the position laid out in the thesis statement. The reader already knows that mining user data is a big issue, so the topic sentence would be a great place to make a point about why more stringent government regulations would most effectively protect user data.

There’s also a problem with how the evidence is incorporated in this example. While there is some relevant, persuasive evidence included in this paragraph, there’s no explanation of why or how it is relevant . Remember, you can’t assume that your evidence speaks for itself: you have to interpret its relevance for your reader. That means including at least a sentence that tells your reader why the evidence you’ve chosen proves your argument.

A Best—But Not Perfect!—Argument  

Example Body Paragraph: Though Facebook claims to be implementing company policies that will protect user data and stop the spread of misinformation , its attempts have been unsuccessful compared to those made by the federal government. When PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a Federal Trade Commission-mandated assessment of Facebook’s partnerships with Microsoft and the makers of the Blackberry handset in 2013, the team found limited evidence that Facebook had monitored or even checked that its partners had complied with Facebook’s existing data use policies. In fact, Facebook’s own auditors confirmed the PricewaterhouseCoopers findings, despite the fact that Facebook claimed that the company was making greater attempts to safeguard users’ personal information. In contrast, bills written by Congress have been more successful in changing Facebook’s practices than Facebook’s own company policies have. According to The Washington Post, The Honest Ads Act of 2017 “created public demand for transparency and changed how social media companies disclose online political advertising.” These policy efforts, though thus far unsuccessful in passing legislation, have nevertheless pushed social media companies to change some of their practices by sparking public outrage and negative media attention.

Why This Example Is The Best

This paragraph isn’t perfect, but it is the most effective at doing some of the things that you want to do when you write an argumentative essay.

First, the topic sentences get to the point . . . and it’s a point that supports and explains the claim made in the thesis statement! It gives a clear reason why our claim in favor of more stringent government regulations is a good claim : because Facebook has failed to self-regulate its practices.

This paragraph also provides strong evidence and specific examples that support the point made in the topic sentence. The evidence presented shows specific instances in which Facebook has failed to self-regulate, and other examples where the federal government has successfully influenced regulation of Facebook’s practices for the better.

Perhaps most importantly, though, this writer explains why the evidence is important. The bold sentence in the example is where the writer links the evidence back to their opinion. In this case, they explain that the pressure from Federal Trade Commission and Congress—and the threat of regulation—have helped change Facebook for the better.

Why point out that this isn’t a perfect paragraph, though? Because you won’t be writing perfect paragraphs when you’re taking timed exams either. But get this: you don’t have to write perfect paragraphs to make a good score on AP exams or even on an essay you write for class. Like in this example paragraph, you just have to effectively develop your position by appropriately and convincingly relying on evidence from good sources.


Top 3 Takeaways For Writing Argumentative Essays

This is all great information, right? If (when) you have to write an argumentative essay, you’ll be ready. But when in doubt, remember these three things about how to write an argumentative essay, and you’ll emerge victorious:

Takeaway #1: Read Closely and Carefully

This tip applies to every aspect of writing an argumentative essay. From making sure you’re addressing your prompt, to really digging into your sources, to proofreading your final paper...you’ll need to actively and pay attention! This is especially true if you’re writing on the clock, like during an AP exam.

Takeaway #2: Make Your Argument the Focus of the Essay

Define your position clearly in your thesis statement and stick to that position! The thesis is the backbone of your paper, and every paragraph should help prove your thesis in one way or another. But sometimes you get to the end of your essay and realize that you’ve gotten off topic, or that your thesis doesn’t quite fit. Don’t worry—if that happens, you can always rewrite your thesis to fit your paper!

Takeaway #3: Use Sources to Develop Your Argument—and Explain Them

Nothing is as powerful as good, strong evidence. First, make sure you’re finding credible sources that support your argument. Then you can paraphrase, briefly summarize, or quote from your sources as you incorporate them into your paragraphs. But remember the most important part: you have to explain why you’ve chosen that evidence and why it proves your thesis.

What's Next?

Once you’re comfortable with how to write an argumentative essay, it’s time to learn some more advanced tips and tricks for putting together a killer argument.

Keep in mind that argumentative essays are just one type of essay you might encounter. That’s why we’ve put together more specific guides on how to tackle IB essays , SAT essays , and ACT essays .

But what about admissions essays? We’ve got you covered. Not only do we have comprehensive guides to the Coalition App and Common App essays, we also have tons of individual college application guides, too . You can search through all of our college-specific posts by clicking here.

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples

Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

Essay type Skills tested Example prompt
Has the rise of the internet had a positive or negative impact on education?
Explain how the invention of the printing press changed European society in the 15th century.
Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
Describe an object that has sentimental value for you.

In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.

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Table of contents

Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.

An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.

Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:

  • The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
  • The body presents your evidence and arguments
  • The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance

The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.

Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.

The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.

A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.

Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.

A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.

Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.

A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.

Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

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Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.

Rhetorical analysis

A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.

The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.

The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

Literary analysis

A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.

Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.

The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.

Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

  • In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
  • In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
  • In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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Argumentative Essays

Argumentative Essay

Ever felt like you're banging your head against the wall trying to write a convincing argumentative essay? You're not alone. Surveys show over 70% of high school and college students grapple with this challenge.

Don’t want to be a part of the statistics? Then, let's dive into the nuts and bolts of writing an argumentative essay and discover how to make your points stick.

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of academic writing where the author presents a claim or viewpoint on a specific topic and supports it with evidence, reasoning, and counterarguments.

Unlike other types of essays that might aim to inform or entertain, the primary goal of an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to adopt the author's perspective or take a particular action.

It typically follows a structured format, including an introduction with a clear thesis statement, body paragraphs presenting supporting evidence and arguments, and a conclusion that reinforces the main points and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Through logical reasoning and compelling evidence, the writer aims to convince the audience of the validity of their stance while acknowledging and addressing opposing viewpoints. Use our argumentative essay writing service if you want to boost your grades and save free time.

When to Write an Argumentative Essay?

Argumentative essays are commonly assigned in academic settings, such as high school and college, where critical thinking and persuasive writing skills are valued. They assess students' ability to research, analyze, and present arguments effectively.

Professors may assign argumentative essays as part of coursework in various subjects, including English, history, social sciences, and philosophy, to encourage students to engage with complex issues and develop their perspectives.

Outside the university walls, argumentative essays are written in the following settings:

Journalism and Opinion Pieces Journalists often write argumentative essays in opinion pieces, editorials, or columns to express their views on current events, political issues, or societal trends.
Public Advocacy and Activism Advocates and activists frequently use argumentative essays to raise awareness about social justice issues, advocate for policy changes, and mobilize support for their causes.
Business and Marketing Professionals in business and marketing may write argumentative essays as part of proposals, marketing strategies, or policy documents to persuade stakeholders, clients, or consumers.
Social Media and Blogging Influencers often write argumentative essays on social media platforms, blogs, or online forums to share their opinions, engage in debates, or influence public discourse on various topics ranging from politics to lifestyle choices.
Legal and Policy Analysis Lawyers, policymakers, and analysts may craft argumentative essays to argue a court case, propose legislative changes, or analyze the implications of specific laws or policies.

Argumentative Essay Key Elements

Key elements of an argumentative essay include:

Clear Thesis Statement

The essay should start with a concise thesis statement that clearly presents the author's main argument or viewpoint.

Evidence and Research

Argumentative essays rely on evidence and research to support the claims made by the author. This evidence can come from numerous sources, including scholarly articles, statistics, expert opinions, and real-life examples.


Acknowledging and addressing counterarguments strengthens the essay's credibility and demonstrates the author's ability to engage with different perspectives. This can be done by presenting counterarguments and refuting them with evidence and reasoning.

Logical Structure

The essay should have a logical structure that guides the reader through the argument. This typically includes an introduction, body paragraphs with supporting evidence and arguments, and a conclusion to reinforce the main points.

Coherent Organization

Each paragraph should focus on a single point or aspect of the argument, and there should be clear transitions between paragraphs to ensure the essay flows smoothly.

Persuasive Language

The author should use persuasive language and rhetorical devices to effectively communicate their argument and convince the reader of its validity. This includes logic, reasoning, emotional appeals, and persuasive techniques such as ethos, pathos, and logos.

Critical Analysis

Argumentative essays should involve critical analysis and evaluation of the evidence presented. This includes the reliability and relevance of sources, the strength of arguments, and logical conclusions based on the evidence presented.

If you need assistance with this assignment, there’s an option of telling our experts, ‘ write paper for me ,’ and they will lend you a hand shortly.

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step-by-Step?

Writing an argumentative essay can be easier if you break down the process into a series of clear steps that will help you create a coherent composition. Here is a step-by-step guide:

which is a characteristic of an argumentative essay brainly

Choose a Topic

  • Select a debatable topic that interests you and has enough research material available.
  • Ensure the topic is neither too broad nor too narrow.

Conduct Research

  • Gather information from reliable sources such as books, academic journals, reputable websites, and experts in the field.
  • Take notes and organize your research to support your argument.

Develop a Thesis Statement

  • Produce a strong thesis statement that outlines your main argument.
  • Your thesis should reflect your position and provide a roadmap for your essay.

Draw up an Outline

  • Plan the structure of your essay, including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
  • Organize your points logically and determine where to include counterarguments.

Write the Introduction

  • Start with a hook to grab the reader's attention (e.g., an interesting fact, a question, or a quote).
  • Provide background information on the topic to set the context.
  • End the introduction with your thesis statement.

Write the Body Paragraphs

  • Each paragraph should focus on a single point that supports your thesis.
  • Start with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Provide evidence, such as facts, statistics, quotes, or examples, to back up your point.
  • Analyze the evidence and explain how it supports your thesis.
  • Include a counterargument in one of the paragraphs and refute it with evidence and reasoning.

Write the Conclusion

  • Summarize the main points of your essay without introducing new information.
  • Restate your thesis in a new way to reinforce your argument.
  • End with a strong closing statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader, such as a call to action or a thought-provoking idea.

Revise and Edit

  • Review your essay for clarity, coherence, and logical flow.
  • Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and proper punctuation.
  • Ensure all sources are correctly cited and included in your bibliography.

Argumentative Essay Example

The necessity of universal healthcare: a moral and economic imperative.

Universal healthcare is a contentious issue in many countries, especially in the United States, where the debate often revolves around the feasibility and morality of providing health services for all citizens. Advocates argue that healthcare is a fundamental human right and should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation. Opponents, however, often cite such a system's high costs and potential inefficiencies. This essay argues that prevalent medical aid is a moral obligation and an economic necessity, providing numerous benefits that outweigh the initial financial burdens.

Healthcare as a Human Right

First and foremost, the principle that medical aid is a human right underpins the argument for prevalent healthcare. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, explicitly states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their family, including therapeutic care. Denying individuals access to healthcare due to their inability to pay is fundamentally unjust and contravenes this basic human right. In a society that values equality and justice, ensuring that all individuals can access medical services is morally imperative.

Economic Benefits

Beyond the moral arguments, it also presents significant economic advantages. Critics often argue that the costs of implementing such a system are prohibitively high. However, this perspective fails to consider the long-term economic benefits. Universal medical aid can lead to a healthier population, reducing the overall burden of disease and increasing productivity. People with access to regular therapeutic care are less likely to suffer from severe health conditions requiring expensive treatments. Preventative care, more accessible in a unified system, can catch diseases early, leading to lower healthcare costs overall.

Furthermore, prevalent healthcare can eliminate the administrative costs associated with private insurance. According to a study by the American Medical Association, administrative costs in the U.S. medical system are significantly higher than in countries with nationwide therapeutic care. By streamlining the system, resources can be more efficiently allocated to patient care rather than administrative overhead.

Social Stability and Equity

Universal medical care also promotes social stability and equity. In countries without such aid, the uninsured often forgo necessary treatments, leading to worsened health outcomes and financial ruin due to medical debt. This situation exacerbates social inequalities, as low-income individuals and families are disproportionately affected. Nationwide therapeutic aid helps level the playing field, ensuring that all citizens, regardless of socioeconomic status, access essential health services. This equity is crucial for fostering social cohesion and reducing the societal divides that contribute to instability.

Counterarguments and Rebuttals

Opponents of universal healthcare often argue that it leads to longer wait times and lower quality of care. While it is true that some countries with prevalent healthcare systems experience longer wait times for certain procedures, this issue can be mitigated through efficient management and adequate funding. Additionally, the quality of care in ecumenical systems is often comparable to, if not better, in countries with private wellness systems. For instance, the World Health Organization ranks therapeutic systems in countries with all-inclusive coverage, such as France and Sweden, among the best in the world.

Another common argument against nationwide healthcare is that it stifles innovation by limiting pharmaceutical and medical company profits. However, many countries with universal healthcare still lead in innovation. The public sector can and does fund significant research and development, and a state system can still offer incentives for private innovation.

In conclusion, universal healthcare is both a moral obligation and an economic necessity. It ensures that all individuals have access to the medical care they need, promotes social equity, and can lead to a more efficient and cost-effective therapeutic system. While challenges are associated with nationwide medicine, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Societies that prioritize the health and well-being of all their members are more just, stable, and prosperous.

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How Do You Start an Argumentative Essay?

To start an argumentative essay, begin with a compelling hook to grab the reader's attention, such as a quote, a question, or a startling fact. Follow the hook with background information to provide context for the issue at hand. Conclude the introduction with a powerful thesis statement outlining your main argument.

What Are the 5 Main Parts of an Argumentative Essay?

The five main parts of an argumentative essay are the introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, counterargument, and conclusion. The introduction sets the stage for the essay, while the thesis statement clearly presents the main argument. Body paragraphs provide evidence and analysis to support the thesis, the counterargument addresses opposing viewpoints, and the conclusion summarizes the key points and restates the thesis in light of the evidence presented.

How to End an Argumentative Essay?

To end an argumentative essay, restate your thesis in a new way to reinforce your argument. Summarize the main points discussed in the body paragraphs to highlight the strength of your case. Finish with a strong closing statement or call to action that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Students often face numerous challenges with argumentative essays, including difficulty developing a strong thesis, structuring their arguments coherently, and providing sufficient evidence to support their claims. Additionally, they may struggle with addressing counterarguments effectively and maintaining a formal and persuasive tone throughout the essay.

These challenges can be compounded by time constraints and a lack of confidence in their writing abilities. A thesis writing service can help students overcome these obstacles by providing expert guidance, well-researched content, and a polished final draft.

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  • Argumentative Essays - Purdue OWL® - Purdue University. (n.d.). https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
  • Suggestions for Developing Argumentative Essays | Student Learning Center. (n.d.). https://slc.berkeley.edu/writing-worksheets-and-other-writing-resources/suggestions-developing-argumentative-essays

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This Clarence Thomas Dissent Reveals His Favorite Tactic for Constitutional Mayhem

This is part of  Opinionpalooza , Slate’s coverage of the major decisions from the Supreme Court this June. Alongside  Amicus , we kicked things off this year by explaining  How Originalism Ate the Law . The best way to support our work is by joining  Slate Plus . (If you are already a member, consider a  donation  or  merch !)

Justice Clarence Thomas is a master at the art of bogus history—rewriting the past to give the Constitution a new, dubious meaning that happens to align with the Republican Party platform. Even by his own lofty standards, the justice outdid himself in Moore v. U.S. , last week’s major tax case. Thomas’ dissent is a masterwork of partisan historical revisionism, manipulating reality so seamlessly that an unsuspecting reader might actually think he is telling the truth. He isn’t, not even close: Thomas’ goal in Moore is to eviscerate the 16 th Amendment, which legalized the federal income tax in 1913. And, as is so often the case, the justice marshals his argument by diminishing a progressive constitutional amendment as some illegitimate affront to the Framers’ original, divinely inspired design. At this point, it is unclear whether Thomas even acknowledges the full validity of the amendments that made this nation more equal and egalitarian. He is, at a minimum, committed to reading many hard-fought post–Civil War constitutional reforms out of the law altogether.

Conservative attorneys manufactured Moore as a preemptive challenge to a potential future “wealth tax” on affluent Americans’ net assets, including personal property. They seized upon an obscure 2017 provision of the Trump-era tax cuts that taxed shareholders of U.S.–owned corporations located overseas by collecting money on undistributed income. These lawyers argued that the tax was unconstitutional under the 16 th Amendment, which allows Congress “to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.” The word income , they argued, has a “realization requirement”—meaning that the money must reach a taxpayer’s pockets before the government takes a cut of it. This theory would forestall a wealth tax, since Elon Musk, for instance, hasn’t yet made money on the tens of billions of dollars in Tesla stock he owns.

The Supreme Court wound up ducking the “realization” issue altogether, holding simply that a company’s undistributed income can be attributed to its shareholders. Thomas wrote an angry dissent chastising the majority for “ignoring” the larger question. He embarked upon a journey through a version of history that had not, in fact, occurred, to shrink the 16 th Amendment down to a “narrow meaning” that only “slightly altered” the original Constitution. In the process, he elevated a muddy accommodation for slavery over a signal triumph of the Progressive Era. That’s business as usual for our amateur historian in chief.

Thomas’ sleight of hand revolves around the direct tax clause of the original Constitution. This provision was part and parcel of the three-fifths compromise, which counted enslaved people as three-fifths of a person for purposes of representation and certain taxes. There was, at the time, a common form of taxation that imposed a “head tax” on each individual taxpayer. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention called this a “direct tax.” In exchange for counting slaves as three-fifths of a person with regard to representation—boosting its share of seats in Congress—the South agreed to count slaves as three-fifths of a person with regard to any future “direct tax.” The slave states demanded and received another safeguard: Any direct tax had to be “apportioned” among the states according to their population (with each slave counting as three-fifths of a person). This system would impose wildly disparate tax burdens on Americans and has always been seen as basically impossible.

Thus, as professor Bruce Ackerman has definitively shown , the direct tax emerged as a sordid trade-off with the slave states, giving “a fig-leaf for antislavery Northerners opposed to the explicit grant of extra representation for Southern slaves.” Yes, the South got extra representation because of its slaves, but it also had to pay more taxes—except that the delegates all knew that new direct taxes were highly unlikely, in part because of how this compromise was structured. In fact, they weren’t even sure what a direct tax might look like , beyond the head tax imposed on individuals. Famously, by James Madison’s account, when one delegate asked the convention “what was the precise meaning of direct taxation,” nobody answered . In 1796 the Supreme Court clarified that a head tax was “direct,” as would be an express tax on land. But nothing else qualified.

Pause here and turn to Thomas’ account, which elides almost all the above. According to the justice, the direct tax clause was part of a “delicate” constitutional balance carefully hammered out at the Constitutional Convention to protect states from an overbearing federal government. Dismissing the clause’s roots in slavery, Thomas claimed that it embodied “federalism principles” designed to give “state governments a fiscal safe haven against expanding federal authority.” The limitation, by his telling, was meant to temper “the destructive force of the federal taxing power,” preventing “unjust taxes” that intrude on state sovereignty. He totally whitewashes the real basis of the clause—a fierce dispute between North and South over the Constitution’s accommodations for slavery.

Somehow, it gets even worse. Turning back to actual history, the Supreme Court understood the direct tax clause in its accurate historical context until 1895, when it abruptly struck down the federal income tax in a notorious case called Pollock . As professors Joseph Fishkin and William Forbath illustrate in their book The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution , the court of this period was dead set upon enshrining the legal supremacy of wealthy individuals and corporations. To that end, it redefined the phrase direct tax to encompass income for the first time. And because it was functionally impossible to apportion a tax among the states, the decision essentially outlawed any federal income tax.

There was not much law in Pollock : Rather, the five justices in the majority based their decision on overt hostility toward a fairer tax system. Justice Stephen Field wrote that the income tax constituted “class legislation” that discriminated against rich people, indistinguishable from a special tax on Protestants or Jews. Field framed the tax as a violation of the equality principles enshrined in the post–Civil War amendments. This claim was especially perverse because, as Justice John Marshall Harlan pointed out in dissent, the direct tax clause was rooted in slavery, and the postwar amendments were designed to rid the Constitution of the institution’s stain.

Predictably, Thomas embraces Pollock as the correct reading of the original Constitution. But Americans of the era disagreed. Progressive reformers mobilized to ratify the 16 th Amendment, one of their most enduring victories, in 1913. The amendment marked a “ massive political repudiation ” of the court’s oligarchical constitutionalism, overruling Pollock and handing Congress the sweeping power to tax income “from whatever source derived.” To Thomas, however, the 16 th Amendment was barely a footnote, a “narrow” change that “left everything else in place, including the federalism principles bound up” in the direct tax clause. (These are “principles” that Thomas just made up.) In Thomas’ account, this groundswell of nationwide support for the income tax—culminating in a grueling and successful crusade to amend the Constitution—was a mere technical tweak with extremely limited effect.

Which leads to the justice’s final, most antidemocratic attempted move in his Moore dissent: transforming the 16 th Amendment from a populist expansion of Congress’ taxing power into a novel restriction on that power. Recall that the amendment allows taxation of income, “from whatever source derived.” There is a wealth of evidence that lawmakers included this phrase to ensure that courts would not artificially narrow the definition of income —a word that was, at the time , widely understood in broad terms , encompassing both realized and unrealized gains . Yet Thomas spurned the historical record in favor of some characteristic sophistry: The word derived , he wrote (without any evidence or support), is a “near-synonym” for realized . It therefore “points to the concept of realization” as an extratextual limitation on Congress’ taxing power.

Responding to Thomas’ opinion, the legal historian Fishkin derided this word game as “an absolute classic of the genre” in which Thomas excels: “to read language that is quite obviously on its face intended to be as broad as possible as instead narrowing language.” The purpose of that phrase, he told me, “was not the word derived . It was the word whatever . It meant—because this was a point of contention at the time—that even income from land could be taxed. It didn’t matter what source the income was derived from. That’s the straightforward and obvious meaning.” Fishkin added, “The word derived happens to be the one he’s playing games with, but really, the text doesn’t matter here. There’s always a word somewhere you can use. The point is that he wants to put in a realization requirement.” And Thomas, ostensibly a committed textualist and originalist, brazenly manipulated both text and history to do it.

There is a profound irony here. The Supreme Court’s 1895 decision in Pollock was obviously wrong , invalidating more than three decades of the income tax. The American people ratified the 16 th Amendment to overrule Pollock . Yet the court initially refused to accept the amendment: It defied the will of the people in 1920’s Eisner v. Macomber , elevating Pollock ’s repudiating interpretation of the vestigial direct tax clause over the 16 th Amendment to limit income taxes once again. Macomber was a hallmark of the court’s Lochner era , when it regularly rewrote the Constitution to favor moneyed interests. It abandoned that approach several years into the New Deal, in the face of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s court-packing threat. With Thomas’ Moore dissent, history is repeating itself. The justice wants to turbocharge the direct tax clause (like the Supreme Court did in 1895) and mutilate the 16 th Amendment (like the Supreme Court did in 1920) to reduce the tax burdens on the ultrawealthy. Why? Legal realists can debate the impact of his billionaire friends on Thomas’ jurisprudence.

But there’s another, more explicit bias at work: He simply does not grant constitutional amendments the same respect that he gives to the original Constitution. His jurisprudence is inspired by “natural law,” a theory that interprets the Constitution as, essentially, a divine revelation to the founders that codifies rights bestowed by a higher authority . Under this view, the product of the Constitutional Convention was nearly perfect, minus its accommodation for slavery—yet, as his Moore dissent illustrates, the justice is willing to downplay or write off this glaring defect when necessary.

Thomas will embrace the 14 th Amendment’s equal protection clause to outlaw affirmative action , but he otherwise gives remarkably short shrift to the Reconstruction amendments. These amendments fundamentally altered the balance of power between states and the federal government, giving Congress vastly more authority to enforce a panoply of civil rights. But Thomas routinely interprets them as marginalia at best— shooting down , for instance, Congress’ prerogative to stamp out race discrimination in voting. In these opinions, the justice insists on enforcing aspects of the original Constitution that, he claims, allow states to suppress civil rights and civil liberties without federal interference. The Reconstruction amendments, in his preferred narrative, fall away as an irrelevant relic rather than the radical transformation of the Constitution that they were meant to be.

In Moore , the 16 th Amendment gets the Thomas treatment. His (misleading) account of the amendment’s enactment largely erases the progressive reformers who pushed it over the finish line—as if, to his mind, they have no legitimate role to play in the story of our founding charter. They are written off as interlopers who foolishly tinkered with our God-given Constitution, inserting errors that must be corrected by black-robed rulers who just know better. It’s a frighteningly arrogant approach to judging, one that effectively closes off amendments as a way to fix the court’s mistakes. The Constitution begins with the declaration “We the People” and invites future generations to help build a “more perfect union.” But to Thomas, the wealthy white men who wrote those words got almost everything right the first time, and the people must never be trusted to build upon their flawed work.

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