At college and university, you’ll face plenty of assignments. The argumentative essay is the most common one! Sometimes it’s even required by middle school and high school students. When you first get the instructions, it seems like a pretty simple and interesting paper to write. But as you make progress through the process, the assignment may turn out more challenging than expected.
It’s no wonder why so many students give up somewhere along the way.
But you won’t give up. There are simple tips to follow, and you’ll complete this assignment step by step.
First, let’s start by explaining what an argumentative essay is. Then, we’ll cover the argumentative essay format and we’ll wrap up with tips on how to write it.
Definition: What Is an Argumentative Essay?
The argumentative essay is a type of academic paper that requires you to investigate a topic and establish your own position on it. This means that you’ll need to dig through several resources to establish a point of view if you don’t already have one. But this stand will still be your own. You’ll simply use the sources to support the arguments that prove your point.
When you compare different types of essays, the argumentative is similar to the expository one.
But many professors make a difference between these assignments. The argumentative paper requires much more research and is usually longer in length. The expository essay, on the other hand, is shorter and doesn’t require that much research. It’s often assigned in class as a writing exercise.
Argumentative Essay Structure
To understand what the argumentative essay is, it’s best to look at its structure. The argumentative essay should have specific sections. If you deviate from that format, your professor will conclude that you didn’t follow their instructions and didn’t write an argumentative essay in the first place.
These are the parts of argumentative essay to cover:
You should never start with an overly general introduction. This is a single paragraph of your argumentative essay. It serves to present the topic and lead the reader towards the specific thesis statement.
If, for example, you write a thesis statement that animal shelters should not be funded by a government’s budget, you can start by explaining how much money the citizens actually pay for these shelters. Then, at the end of the introductory paragraph, you’ll write a clear, concise, and well-defined thesis statement.
- Body Paragraphs
The argumentative essay usually consists of five paragraphs. Two are reserved for the introduction and conclusion, so you’re left with three paragraphs for the body. You’ll have one topic sentence per paragraph, and you’ll support it with the evidence you gathered during the research process.
Each topic sentence should be directly related to the thesis statement.
Many teachers and online guides tell students to restate the thesis in the conclusion. No; that’s not enough for good concluding paragraph. This is your last chance to impress the reader and make a strong point.
Yes; you’ll synthesize the arguments you presented throughout the body in a way that proves the thesis statement. But this should be done without any repetition that would make the reader bored.
Tips: How to Write an Argumentative Essay
So now you know what an argumentative essay is made of.
The only question is: how do you write a good one? We have few important tips for you:
- Choose a Good Topic
You cannot opt for an overly general topic. “Homeless dogs,” for example, wouldn’t make a good topic for an argumentative essay, since it’s not specific enough. A more specific topic would be: “Should the citizens be paying money for homeless dog shelters?”
You get the difference, right?
If you have no idea how to form topics, you can search for argumentative essay ideas online. You’ll surely get inspired by the examples, but it’s still better to come up with your own topic. Just do some research on the general theme and stick to the aspect you’re mostly attracted by.
- Always Write an Outline
We already talked about the format of an argumentative essay: intro, body, conclusion. If you don’t form an outline that specifically tackles the points you’re going to cover in each of those sections, you’ll get lost in your own words.
It’s easy to start talking about something, get too excited and start making digressions. Your professor won’t be impressed by digressions. They want to see a clean flow that logically goes from one point to another. To achieve such an effect, you absolutely need the outline.
Although the outline takes some time for you to plan, it saves you time. It’s not a paradox. When you have this plan, you’ll be much faster during the actual writing process because you’ll already know what to write.
- Mind the Transitions
If you’re going to write the essay in five paragraphs, each of them devoted to a specific argument, how are you going to maintain the flow?
Transitions are the answer. The transitional sentence should refer to the idea of the previous paragraph and connect it with a new idea that’s being addressed at the current paragraph.
Here’s an example of such a transition:
Although the U.S. government pledges to protect animals, it subsidizes abusive predator control programs, which kill thousands of wild animals per year.
Obviously, the previous paragraph was about the way the Government regulates animal protection, and this one is going to be about the actions that collide with such policies. This transitional sentence will connect those two parts of the paper.
- Start Early
That’s the most important tip that anyone could give. This is going to be a challenging assignment, based on detailed research. To get all information, process it and come up with your own arguments, you need time.
That’s why it’s important to start as soon as you get the instructions. It’s possible to get stuck somewhere along the process, so you’ll find solutions for the writer’s block. If you don’t manage, you’ll at least get essay writing help on time.
The sooner you start working on this assignment, the less pressuring it will be. Remember that!