How to Effectively Write an Argumentative Essay

Argumentative Essay

Opinions are a dime-a-dozen so there isn’t anything inherently original or outstanding as the next one. There will always be a contrarian to these opinions and their need to explain their side. The way you write about it, however, can give girth and power behind it so that these arguments have a persuasive meaning and critical thoughts. Writing about a personal opinion is more than just spouting your idea to others, but rather a way of communicating your thought process and critical thinking skills.

Whether you’re writing for your highschool teachers or your psychology professor, writing an academic argumentative essay is a way to flex your critical thinking skills and deliver a well-thought out argument to your readers. Strong opinions are only strong on the legs they stand on, so writing a well-written persuasive essay is crucial to make your point seen and heard. To reinforce an argumentative essay you’ll need some help from a good structure and foundation, solid evidence and undeniable reasoning. Together, these will build that iron-clad argumentative essay you’ve been longing for.

What is an Argumentative Essay?

The main idea behind an argumentative essay is to prove an opinion right or wrong based on evidence collected by and analyzed by the writer. The student must research and investigate a topic and generate arguments against or for this opinion and establish a clear cut position that does not waiver or change throughout. Simply put, you must prove your side to your reader. There are typically several degrees at which an argumentative essay can be written – from an opinion on a high-school reading book, to a major controversial topic discussed in more professional circles. But the logic and the paper itself is written similarly. 

What is the content that needs to be included?

Within an argumentative essay, there must be certain points and paragraphs that deal with arguments and developing them. Contentwise, you should include the following:

  • A clear and concise thesis statement that presents your opinion about the topic. Its extremely important to note that it should be absolutely clear what your position on the topic is, so that your reader is prepared for your following reasoning.
  • Evidence that supports your thesis statement should also be included to provide information from all different sides. This can include factual, logical, statistical or anecdotal evidence to support your thesis, and can emphasize your argument by using a variety of types.
  • An interesting introduction and a perfectly summarized conclusion are important for tying your essay together. It should contain the same position in both paragraphs. 

How do I Write An Argumentative Essay?

There isn’t a right or wrong way to write a solid argumentative essay; rather, there are techniques and skills that can be employed to convey your ideas and give them merit and a foundation. But along with those techniques are structural, lexical, and critical ways of writing an effective essay.

  1. Develop a strong thesis

It’s important that you can work with a thesis that has some expert support or knowledge so you can have plenty of evidence to sort through and filter. A strong thesis should also be something reasonable to agree with and not completely outlandish and irrational. It should also be something that has not generally agreed upon by the rest of society or field. The purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade someone that your take is a valid and even a good one. 

  1. Organization is your main vehicle 

Delivering your thesis and evidence to your audience should be one of the most important aspects of your essay. Using a robust structure of paragraphs and a clear introduction and conclusion can effectively relay your information to the reader, and is in fact, one of the best ways to do so. Organizing your paragraphs in a logical manner will lead your reader to the answers they’re looking for without them even knowing it. Of course there’s more than one method of organizing your argument, and one may be better than another depending on the essay topic itself.

  • The Toulmin Method uses logical reasoning to present an argument. This is one of the more straightforward, as it uses a standard structure of thesis, data, bridge, and a foundation. They also include the counter-thesis just to be familiar with both sides, but eventually come back with a rebuttal to return to your main thesis.  
  • The Rogerian Method uses a tactic similar to compromise between two sides to show empathy and that you understand both sides. This is good for controversial topics, to seem less biased and more agreeable. 
  • The Classical Method uses facts and definitions to explain your argument and make it very clear that your information and argument is correct. It plays on the evidence given and how both sides can be understood but one will be a clear answer.
  1. Upgrade Your Lexis and Grammar

The words you use are important as well, it shows that you have the vernacular to speak about the topic at length and that people reading can trust the content you have written. This means reading up on the thesaurus and finding the appropriate synonym, and finding other ways to say similar things. Grammar should also be taken into account, using complex structures to emphasize facts and to remain consistent in your writing. This will help others get a better idea if you’re actually knowledgeable about the topic and can express yourself in several ways. Here’s some interesting ways to spice up your essay with grammar:

  • Use linking words/conjunctions to further organize your ideas at a sentence and paragraph level
  • Use formal words and phrases commonly found in news articles and academic essays
  • Use the passive voice construction to put the main information in the beginning of a sentence if needed.
  • Use relative clauses and their reduced forms to give more information about a certain talking point
  1. Avoid Common Mistakes in an Argument Essay

  • Don’t overuse pronouns and expletive phrases – “It is/There are” are some examples of phrases best used scarcely. 
  • Don’t repeat words and phrases too much. The text gets stale and dull, so its much better to use synonyms or paraphrase your original sentences. 
  • Avoid inconsistent verbiage, like multiple tenses in one sentence, or a misuse of gerund/infinitive phrases
  • Avoid over complicating words and phrases. Just because it’s longer doesn’t mean it’s better. Paraphrase in a way where it’s not too wordy

Overall, writing an argumentative essay will require some critical thinking and some great writing styles to be effective. Take the time to perfect the essay, and things will fall into place where they should be.