How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Basic Guidelines

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Basic Guidelines

General Argumentative Essay Guidelines

At any one point in college, you will always have a looming essay coming your way. In which case, your teacher wants to evaluate how deeply you have understood the relevant topics that have taught in class. In other cases, the instructor might also be looking to grade your writing skills. This encompasses how clearly and concisely you have developed the ideas in your essay.

In one way or the other, you will most possibly come across an argumentative essay. In this task, you are usually required to show arguments on both sides of a subject that has been provided. Depending on your approach, both sides may end up level, or one may carry more weight than the other. It is all contingent on which side your arguments seem to be leaning towards.

To write an argumentative essay that stands out, you, first and foremost, have to pay close attention to the structure. This dictates how you will develop the rest of your essay as it provides the framework for progression. As such, it is essential to consult with either your teacher or faculty on the requirements of this essay.

However, most argumentative essays will take a standard structure. We, therefore, recommend adopting the following approach.

Argumentative Essay Structure

As far as such an argumentative essay goes, the following is the basic structure that you should always keep in mind.

  • Introduction – Typically, it should be just about 5 sentences. It should clearly demonstrate that you have a decent understanding of the argument.
  • Assumption without justification – In the second paragraph, identify the main assumptions that are likely to be false, hence weakening the author’s conclusion. The objective is not to nullify the conclusion but to demonstrate that more in-depth research would have shown the author his argument’s flaws. This can be achieved in 6 sentences.
  • Weak evidence – This is the paragraph where you pick out another assumption from the argument and illustrate how a better approach, in terms of reasoning or proof, weakens the argument. 5 sentences suffice for this paragraph.
  • Unconcise language – This is an optional paragraph in the essay where you target the author’s terminology and vagueness. Unless you have enough time on your hands, you should not necessarily consider this part.
  • Augmenting the argument – This is where you extend an olive branch to the author. Therefore, you should include ideas that you think would strengthen the author’s central ideas. Here, you are demonstrating how more evidence could support and defend the author’s argument. Similarly, this should take up about 4 sentences.
  • Conclusion – This is where you reiterate the initial thesis and where the author needs to put in more work. The reader should easily identify why and how you found the argument inconclusive. The conclusion is typically short and will only take about 3 sentences.

It is also worth considering that argumentative essays do vary in and of themselves. You should, therefore, be keen on the particular format required before you set out on writing.

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