Small Talk Tips And Topics For Argumentative Essays

How to Write an Argumentative Essay on any Topic

Published 4/24/2013

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay on any topic which discusses a topic and then makes an argument based on the discussion.

An effective argumentative essay must contain certain elements that will persuade your audience to see things from your perspective. During your essay planning, it’s important to consider your own points, known as the “pro” points, as well as strong arguments for the other side, known as the “con” points in order to shoot them down, making your essay more convincing.

How to Choose a Topic for an Argumentative Essay

In order to write a good essay, you need to find a topic that’s interesting, so that you can easily demonstrate your writing skills and finally get a high grade.

One of the best ways to find a topic for an argumentative essay is to perform a search for topics related to some compelling subject, like politics, religion, abortion, education or home life.

Using the following links, you can find a lot of good topics for your argumentative essay:

200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

50 Argument Essay Topics

100 Argument or Position Essay Topics

Argumentative Essay Structure

Making sure to select the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the best way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.

An argumentative essay is organized according to one of these five patterns: pro-con, con-pro, 3-con, claim / counterclaim or alternating.

PRO-CON Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

In this simple pattern for an argumentative essay, you discuss two pro points and one con point.

This pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each pro or con point.

CON-PRO Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

This pattern for an argumentative essay is very similar to the previous one, but the con point comes first.

The pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each pro or con point.

3-CON Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

In this pattern for an argumentative essay you don’t explicitly present any particular point, but instead refute three con points.

The pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each CON point.

Claim / Counterclaim Pattern

Recommended for advanced school and college essays on any topic.

This pattern for an argumentative essay is more advanced than the previous three, and allows for a more complete development of your argument.

The pattern contains an introduction, a conclusion, and two main parts. In the three paragraphs of the first body part, you refute or rebut three points of the counterclaim. In three paragraphs of the second body part, you make three points in support of your main idea, and provide support for your claims.

Alternating Pattern

Recommended for advanced school and college essays on any topic.

This structure for an argumentative essay provides another option for claim and counterclaim discussion.

The pattern contains an introduction, a conclusion, and three main sections. In two paragraphs of each ,main section,, you refute or rebut one point of the counterclaim and provide one point supporting your claim.

Did you choose an argumentative essay pattern? Great! Now...

After choosing an essay pattern, now all you need is to write your essay, on any topic, according to your chosen structure. Also, be sure to read the A+ writing tips for an argumentative essay on any topic below. Follow these instructions and you will write an excellent argumentative essay.

Writing an A+ Argumentative Essay

Introduction

In an argumentative essay, the introduction is very important. It is where you lay out the main argument that your essay will make, and it gives the reader his/her first impression of your essay.

Start with brief background Information

Every pet owner knows that there are enormous responsibilities that go along with having a cat or dog. You must feed and exercise your pet to keep it physically healthy; you must play with it, and keep it emotionally healthy, too. You have to keep it safe from cars, people, or other animals, and you need to protect other people, property, or pets from your own animal.

Introduce the Topic of Your Essay

There’s another responsibility that not all pet owners think about, however: spaying or neutering, or “fixing.” What does “fixing” your pet mean? Simply put, it means taking your pet to the vet for a quick, cheap surgery that will prevent your pet from ever reproducing.

Explain Why it’s Important

This surgery solves problems that pet owners know about, and some that they might not have considered before.

State Your Position clearly

I believe that all pet owners should be required to have their pets fixed.

Counterclaim refutation paragraph

Clearly state the point

Spaying surgery is expensive.
Spaying surgery is risky.

Persuasively refute or rebut the point using evidence
(logical explanation, facts, statistics, well-known authority opinions)

To refute the point is to prove it is incorrect:

Almost all cities have a fund to help pay for the surgery. Just ask your vet or the local S.P.C.A. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The cost can be as low as $10.

To rebut the point is to prove that it is irrelevant or not powerful enough:

Spaying or neutering when your pet is young and healthy is almost 100% safe.
On other hand, your animal is in much more danger if it is not fixed, for the urge to run away from home will put your pet in extremely dangerous situations.

Turn this point to the opposite point, thus supporting your thesis

Therefore, there is no way we can agree with this point. Spaying or neutering should be done as soon as you get your pet.

Claim supporting paragraph

Clearly state the point

Spaying is good for the health of your pet.

Provide the supporting evidents (logical explanation, facts, statistics, well-known authority opinions)

Animals who are not fixed can sometimes go crazy trying to find mates. They can injure themselves trying to escape from their homes, or they may fight with other animals when they have escaped. Of course, while running free, they are in danger from cars. And finally, for females who become mothers, we must remember that giving birth is not a safe process.

Restate the argument as a proved thesis

For the ordinary pet owner, all these reasons should be strong enough to convince them to “fix” their dear pet.

Conclusion

The conclusion of an argumentative essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion reiterates your point, and reminds the reader that you have convinced them of your argument. The conclusion is the last part of the essay that your reader will experience.

Restate (do not repeat) your claim

No matter how you look at it, there’s really no valid reason not to spay or neuter your pet.

Briefly recount the arguments

Whether you consider the potential suffering of unborn animals, the health and comfort of your own pet, or your own convenience as a pet owner, you must agree that the facts all show that spaying or neutering is the way to go.

End by showing the importance of your conclusion

It’s not only the convenient choice, but also the morally right choice, and one that all pet owners should make.

Finalizing your Work

Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.

There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:

  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
  • Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
  • Ensure that your title page is done as required
  • Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine
Types of Papers: Argument/Argumentative

While some teachers consider persuasive papers and argument papers to be basically the same thing, it’s usually safe to assume that an argument paper presents a stronger claim—possibly to a more resistant audience.

For example:  while a persuasive paper might claim that cities need to adopt recycling programs, an argument paper on the same topic might be addressed to a particular town.  The argument paper would go further, suggesting specific ways that a recycling program should be adopted and utilized in that particular area.

To write an argument essay, you’ll need to gather evidence and present a well-reasoned argument on a debatable issue.

How can I tell if my topic is debatable? Check your thesis!  You cannot argue a statement of fact, you must base your paper on a strong position. Ask yourself…

  • How many people could argue against my position?  What would they say?
  • Can it be addressed with a yes or no? (aim for a topic that requires more info.)
  • Can I base my argument on scholarly evidence, or am I relying on religion, cultural standards, or morality? (you MUST be able to do quality research!)
  • Have I made my argument specific enough?

Worried about taking a firm stance on an issue?

Though there are plenty of times in your life when it’s best to adopt a balanced perspective and try to understand both sides of a debate, this isn’t one of them.

You MUST choose one side or the other when you write an argument paper!

Don’t be afraid to tell others exactly how you think things should go because that’s what we expect from an argument paper.  You’re in charge now, what do YOU think?

Do…

Don’t…

…use passionate language

…use weak qualifiers like “I believe,” “I feel,” or “I think”—just tell us!

…cite experts who agree with you

…claim to be an expert if you’re not one

…provide facts, evidence, and statistics to support your position

…use strictly moral or religious claims as support for your argument

…provide reasons to support your claim

…assume the audience will agree with you about any aspect of your argument

…address the opposing side’s argument and refute their claims

…attempt to make others look bad (i.e. Mr. Smith is ignorant—don’t listen to him!)

Why do I need to address the opposing side’s argument?

There is an old kung-fu saying which states, "The hand that strikes also blocks", meaning that when you argue it is to your advantage to anticipate your opposition and strike down their arguments within the body of your own paper. This sentiment is echoed in the popular saying, "The best defense is a good offense".

By addressing the opposition you achieve the following goals:

  • illustrate a well-rounded understanding of the topic
  • demonstrate a lack of bias
  • enhance the level of trust that the reader has for both you and your opinion
  • give yourself the opportunity to refute any arguments the opposition may have
  • strengthen your argument by diminishing your opposition's argument

Think about yourself as a child, asking your parents for permission to do something that they would normally say no to. You were far more likely to get them to say yes if you anticipated and addressed all of their concerns before they expressed them. You did not want to belittle those concerns, or make them feel dumb, because this only put them on the defensive, and lead to a conclusion that went against your wishes.
The same is true in your writing.

How do I accomplish this?

To address the other side of the argument you plan to make, you'll need to "put yourself in their shoes."  In other words, you need to try to understand where they're coming from.  If you're having trouble accomplishing this task, try following these steps:  

  1. Jot down several good reasons why you support that particular side of the argument. 
  2. Look at the reasons you provided and try to argue with yourself.  Ask: Why would someone disagree with each of these points?  What would his/her response be?  (Sometimes it's helpful to imagine that you're having a verbal argument with someone who disagrees with you.) 
  3. Think carefully about your audience; try to understand their background, their strongest influences, and the way that their minds work.  Ask:  What parts of this issue will concern my opposing audience the most? 
  4. Find the necessary facts, evidence, quotes from experts, etc. to refute the points that your opposition might make.
  5. Carefully organize your paper so that it moves smoothly from defending your own points to sections where you argue against the opposition.

Sample Papers

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