Writing an Argumentative Essay Its not as hard as it sounds!

For some general writing tips, check out this awesome video!

When writing an argumentative essay, you take an issue and argue either for or against it. The goal of this essay is to convince your reader to believe in your side of the issue. This could also be a call to action, where you convince the reader to adopt a certain behavior. Your argument should be based in proven FACTS and logic, but can also utilize emotion to convince the reader. An essay should include quotes from experts, proven facts, examples, and sound reasoning, without jumping to conclusions.

Before you start, you need to find an issue that is complicated, with at least two opposing sides. If it is not a contentious subject, like cigarettes are bad for you, there will be nothing to argue. Then you need to choose which side you will defend.

For this essay you will choose a topic that has something to do with the environment. That is the only parameters you have, but once you have your thesis statement, you must get it approved by me BEFORE you begin writing. This is just so I can make sure your argument is on the right track and will be specific enough to write about.

1. Make your thesis statement, stating the main building blocks of your argument and what you are arguing for. For example, an effective argumentative essay thesis might look like this: “The United States ought to switch their energy dependence from nonrenewable sources to clean, renewable sources of energy like solar and hydropower so that their carbon emissions decrease and the number of available jobs increases.” This states exactly what you are arguing, switching from nonrenewable sources to renewable sources, and the main reasons why you are arguing that.

You want to be able to write the exact opposite of your thesis statement, as the opposing side, and if you cannot do that, then your thesis statement is not contestable enough. Make sure that your thesis is as specific as possible!! You only have two pages, so if your thesis is not specific enough you will not fully argue all the aspects of the issue, making your argument automatically less believable. For help structuring your essay, check out http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/essay-structure

2. Decide on your audience. Whenever you are writing, you want to know who you are writing to. This will help you know how to form your audience because knowing what your audience believes can help you know how to argue for or against your issue. In this case, you will be writing to your classmates.

3. RESEARCH!! This is a key aspect of almost any essay. You need to know what you are going to argue and how to best argue. This includes knowing your topic inside and out, and having lots of facts in your argument arsenal. These facts should be from reliable sources. You also could interview professionals on the subject.

4. Organize the structure of your essay. For this essay, you will follow the 5-paragraph essay form. Your first paragraph should introduce the topic and end with your thesis statement. Each of the three body paragraphs should be about one of your main three facts, and have supporting details and facts. In each body paragraph you need at least three convincing details, facts or quotes from experts. Be sure to write as though you are disproving the opposing side of the issue, and trying to sway the reader into your belief. Confront the opposing view in your essay and point out possible mistakes in their argument and include evidence that contradicts what they state. Your final paragraph should draw together all of your evidence and tie it together in a convincing way.

5. EDIT!!! Another important step of any essay you write is editing. The first draft you write is always going to be a rough draft, no matter how experienced an essay-writer you are. The best way to edit your essay is to have another person read it, but if that isn’t an option, at least read it through on your own. When editing, first look for ideas and content. Does the argument make sense? Are there any logical fallacies or holes in the arguement? Is it convincing? Does the introduction effectively introduce what you are going to talk about? Does the thesis statement contain all three of your main points? Does the conclusion make sense, and convince the reader?

After you have your paper edited for content and rewrite it a second time, you will then edit it for format and grammar. Is it in the correct format, as per your guidelines and rubric from me? Are there any grammatical mistakes? If so, fix them. Does it have a title that is creative and eye-catching? Is your name on it???? A helpful website for this is http://www.grammarcheck.net/editor/

6. TURN IT IN!!!! Be confident in your writing. All your hard work will pay off. Now, relax.


Created with images by Sean MacEntee - "finish line"

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