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How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: A Straightforward Guide
February 28, 2024
7 min

How to Write a Killer Argumentative Essay Step by Step

Janna Smith
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Janna Smith
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Argumentative writing has always been one of the most challenging and time-consuming assignment types facing students in schools and colleges. Despite its simple nature, this type of paper can be incredibly hard to handle. It requires solid argumentation, strong persuasive skills, and dedication to handle it right. So, if you face the assignment and wonder how to write an argument paper, it’s quite natural.

The good news is that acing the task can be easy! Despite all the challenges it brings, a solid argumentative paper can be written quickly and effortlessly. In this guide, we’ve gathered the top pieces of advice that will help.

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What Is an Argumentative Essay?

Before we move on and tell you how to write an argument essay, let’s start with the basics and get clear on the definition.

So, what is this type of assignment? 

Basically, an argumentative paper is a short piece of writing aimed at presenting the audience with the author’s stance on a given topic and supporting it with valid argumentation. 

Handling this task requires you to investigate a topic, collect and assess the arguments that support your position, and deliver your arguments in a concise and compelling manner to justify your stance on a topic for your readers.

How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay

When you are ready to start writing your essay, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s what makes a good argumentative essay:

  • Topic - To craft a solid essay, you must pick a topic that gives you enough scope for research and has opposing views.
  • Research - A brilliant argumentative essay should contain valid and up-to-date information on the topic to present it thoroughly.
  • Structure - This paper must be structured well to ensure readability and strengthen your argumentation.
  • Objection - An A-worthy essay must present different viewpoints on the same topic and address opposing opinions through argumentation to strengthen the impact.

Structure of an Argumentative Essay

The impact your argumentative essay makes on readers depends a lot on how well you present your stance on the topic and provide argumentation for your ideas. Hence, the structure matters a lot in this paper.

Argumentative essays follow a standard essay structure. These papers must contain three primary parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. Yet, since this paper requires you to explore different viewpoints on the same topic, the structure is somewhat more precise than it is in other essay types.

To help you get on the right track with your assignment, let’s take a closer look at this essay’s structure.

3 Parts of an Argumentative Essay

As you already know, an argumentative essay consists of three primary parts:

  • Introduction - The opening clause typically consists of a single paragraph. In this paragraph, you must capture the readers’ attention, provide background information on the topic, and make a clear thesis statement that presents your stance on the topic.
  • Body - The body of an essay should consist of 2-3 paragraphs, each of which presents a specific idea related to the topic. It’s crucial that one of the body paragraphs is dedicated to an opposing opinion.
  • Conclusion - The final clause must summarize all the ideas explored in the essay, restate the thesis, and leave the audience with some food for thought.

How Many Paragraphs in an Argumentative Essay

Now that you know more about the paper’s structure, you might be wondering how many paragraphs should be included in your argumentative essay.

The answer to this question typically gets down to the specific essay requirements you received. Depending on the given word count, you might have to include a different number of paragraphs in your paper. 

However, the traditional essay structure implies using a 5-paragraph approach. This approach means including a 1-paragraph introduction, a 3-paragraph body, and a 1-paragraph conclusion in your paper. This is the optimal approach for most word counts.

Steps to Write an Argumentative Essay

Now that you have a general idea of the paper’s structure, you can move on to the primary task ‒ writing your essay. Although it may seem like a major issue to many students, crafting a brilliant argumentative essay is actually simple, as long as you have an actionable plan.

In this part of our guide, we are going to break down the writing process into the primary steps to help you get started with your essay and achieve success. 

Let’s discover the top 3 steps for writing an argumentative essay that you must follow to ace the assignment without a hassle.

Step 1: Topic Selection

If you want to make an argumentative essay that deserves a high grade, the first thing you must do is choose a suitable topic. The topic must give you enough scope for research. At the same time, it must be debatable and have several opposing viewpoints to give you an opportunity to explore it in full.

Step 2: Research

While choosing a topic, you need to do some preliminary research to narrow it down and define the scope of work. After you make a choice, you need to deepen your research to collect enough data for your essay. Use books, scientific articles, and other trusted sources of information to collect the data you need to support your ideas.

Step 3: Writing

Finally, when you have enough data to write an essay, you must start organizing it into a compelling paper. Start by crafting a detailed outline and structuring your ideas. When the outline is ready, write your essay part by part, sticking to the outline.

Pro tip: The introduction of your essay must capture the reader’s attention from the first lines and provide them with the context for understanding your ideas. To make it brilliant, you might want to make it the last part you write. Craft your body and conclusion paragraphs first, and when they are ready, create an attention-grabbing introduction.

How to Start an Argumentative Essay

As was mentioned earlier, an introduction is one of the most crucial parts of your essay. It sets the tone for an entire paper and gets readers engaged in the topic. That is, how you write your introduction will directly affect how your essay will be read and, respectively, what grade it will receive.

Due to this reason, we always encourage students to pay special attention to crafting the introductory clause of their papers. Read on to learn how to make it brilliant and keep your readers engaged!

The First Step in Creating an Argumentative Essay Is a Hook

If you aren’t sure how to start your essay, here is some universal advice to keep in mind ‒ make a hook.

A hook is the first sentence or two of an introductory paragraph. Its primary goal is to engage the readers and make them want to read further. Traditionally, a hook can be any of the following:

  • Quote;
  • Rhetorical question;
  • Shocking fact;
  • Anecdote;
  • Statistics, etc.

To start your essay the right way, carefully think about a hook that will capture your readers’ attention and help you set the tone for your essay. Make sure it aligns with the overall topic and brings some value.

Top Tips for Writing an Introduction Paragraph for Argumentative Essay

Here are several tips that should help you write a killer introduction for your essay:

  • Open with a hook that drives attention.
  • Provide general background information to help the readers understand the topic and the ideas you present further.
  • Create a clear thesis statement that consists of one or a few sentences and represents your primary argument on the topic.
  • Don’t be afraid to refine your thesis statement along the way.
  • If relevant, signpost the structure of your essay to let the readers know what they will see further.
  • Revise and edit your introduction meticulously, as it’s one of the most crucial parts of your essay.

6 Types of Arguments

Needless to say, argument claims are the central elements of an argumentative essay. But did you know that there are different types of argument claims? If not, here’s an overview of the top 6 types that you should know about:

  1. Fact - This type of claim makes an argument based on a proven fact. It can be a finding from a study, statistics, etc.
  2. Definition - This type of argument is meant to support your ideas through the context and definition of relevant terms.
  3. Value - This type of argument provides the value of a specific point. It can examine its characteristics, worth, etc.
  4. Cause - This is an argument that explores the causes of certain events or issues.
  5. Comparison - This type of argument makes a claim based on comparing different objects, aspects of these objects, etc.
  6. Policy - This argument makes an assertion about a specific action or solution that should be applied to the described situation.

All these argument types can be used in an argumentative essay. A harmonious blend of different claim types can help you add depth to your essay. 

Read on, and we will tell you how to use them right!

Tips for Using Argument Claims in Your Essay Effectively

As was mentioned earlier, there are six types of argument claims, and using them all in your essay can help you achieve the best results. Now, you might be wondering how to use them right.

The first thing you need to know is that every argument you make in your essay (regardless of the type) must have three qualities. It must be:

  • Assertive;
  • Specific;
  • Provable.

In practice, this means that every claim you make must assert your position on the topic, provide specific details that support your stance, and be able to be proven with evidence. If you keep this formula in mind, your argumentative essays will be as convincing and impactful as possible.

What else should you know? If you want to make convincing arguments in your essays, here are a few extra tips that will help:

  • Make sure your topic is arguable. Ideally, it must have opposing views to give you enough space to argue and prove your stance.
  • Make your stance as clear as possible. Every argument you make should sound uniform and well-aligned.
  • Consider the audience you are writing for. Knowing your audience can help you pick the right types of arguments to make the best impact.
  • Support your arguments with factual data from valid and up-to-date resources.

Writing an A-Worthy Argumentative Essay: Wrapping Up

An argumentative essay is a common type of assignment in schools and colleges. Regardless of your academic level and major, chances are that you are going to face this assignment type multiple times throughout your academic journey. So, if you want to achieve academic success, you must know how to handle this type of paper right.

After reading this article, you know that writing a killer argumentative essay isn’t as hard as it seems. If you break down the process into the right stages and follow expert tips, handling the task gets much simpler. 

And now you have everything you need to ensure success. Let’s quickly wrap it all up to help you get on the right track.

Prepare Well

The first element for success is proper preparation. Before you get to the task, make sure you:

  • Understand the assignment requirements and standards;
  • Keep in mind different types of argument claims that you can use;
  • Pick a good, arguable topic that gives you enough space for research and representation of your stance;
  • Know the conventional structure of this paper type.

Approach the Work Wisely

After you prepare for the writing process, make sure you also get the task done wisely:

  • Start with thorough research and collect valid data.
  • Make an outline to structure your paper well and simplify the writing process.
  • Write the body and conclusion paragraphs first, and then get back to your introduction to make it flawless.
  • Start an intro with a solid hook to grab attention.
  • Blend different types of arguments for the best impact.
  • Focus on a single idea/claim in each body paragraph.
  • Don’t forget about careful proofreading and editing.

FAQ

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What Is the Last Step to Creating an Argumentative Essay?

Now that you know how to organize your essay and how to make impactful arguments, there is one more thing you must keep in mind ‒ editing is the last yet the most crucial stage of the writing process.

Just like it is with any other academic paper, proofreading and editing your argumentative essay is the final stage of the process that lets you refine your paper and ensure the best quality. Hence, you should never skip this stage.

Before proofreading your paper, let it sit aside for some time to get back to it with a fresh mind. Don’t hesitate to use different digital tools to simplify the process. And be sure to give your essay a second pair of eyes when possible to ensure that you don’t miss any mistakes.

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