What Is Argumentative Writing? Master The Art of Persuasion

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Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

what is argumentative writing

You’ve got an opinion, and you’re not afraid to share it. But how do you convince others to see things your way? That’s where argumentative writing comes in.

Argumentative writing is more than just spouting off your thoughts – you need facts, evidence, and a logical argument to back up your claims. That’s what separates a persuasive piece from a mere rant.

So, whether you’re writing an essay for school, trying to convince your boss to give you a raise, or pitching a new product to a potential client, mastering the art of argumentative writing is key.

Table Of Contents:

What Is Argumentative Writing?

If you’ve ever tried to convince someone to see things your way, you already know the basics of argumentative writing. It’s all about building a case, brick by brick, until the reader has no choice but to agree with you.

But there’s an art to it. You can’t just throw out random facts and expect to win people over.

Nope, argumentative writing is a delicate dance of logic, persuasion, and cold, hard evidence.

So what is argumentative writing?

At its core, argumentative writing is about taking a stance on an issue and backing it up with well-researched facts. It’s not about emotions or personal opinions. It’s about building an airtight argument that leaves no room for doubt.

Think of it like a court case. You’re the lawyer, and your readers are the jury. It’s your job to present the evidence in a way that convinces them to agree with you. And just like in a real court, you can’t rely on flimsy evidence or logical fallacies. You need cold, hard facts.

What is The Purpose of Argumentative Essay Writing?

Ultimately, the goal of writing an argumentative paper is to persuade the reader to agree with your perspective on a controversial topic. You’re not just sharing information – you’re trying to change minds.

But it’s not about strong-arming your readers into submission. The best argumentative essays use logic and evidence to gently guide the reader to a certain conclusion. It’s like a mental map, leading them step by step until they arrive at your point of view.

Key Elements of Argumentative Writing

To create a truly persuasive argumentative essay, you need a few key ingredients:

  • A debatable topic with multiple sides
  • A good thesis statement that’s clear and specific
  • Logical reasoning and transitions
  • Credible, relevant evidence to support your argument
  • Acknowledgment of opposing views
  • A compelling, convincing conclusion

Skip any of these, and your argument will be about as sturdy as a house of cards. But nail them all, and you’ll have a bulletproof essay.

what is argumentative writing

Structure of an Argumentative Essay

Alright, so you’ve got your topic and your evidence. Now it’s time to put it all together into a cohesive argumentative essay structure.

Here’s the typical writing process of a persuasive essay:

Introduction and Thesis Statement

First, write your introduction. Think of it as your opening argument in a courtroom drama. It’s your chance to captivate the jury, provide context for the case, and lay out your main point in a compelling thesis statement. This is the bedrock upon which your entire essay rests, so craft it with care.

Body Paragraphs and Supporting Evidence

Then lay out your case, point by point. Each body paragraph should focus on one main idea, supported by specific facts and examples. And don’t just state the evidence – explain how it logically backs up your argument.

Think of it like building a brick wall. Each piece of evidence is a brick, and your explanation is the mortar holding it all together. Without that mortar, your argument will crumble.

Conclusion and Reiterating Main Points

Finally, nail your closing argument. This is your last chance to drive your point home. Restate your thesis, sum up your main evidence, and leave the reader with a strong impression.

But don’t just rehash what you’ve already said. Use the conclusion to take your argument to the next level – perhaps by posing a new question or calling the reader to action. End on a high note and make it impossible for the reader to disagree with you.

Argumentative Essay Writing Tips

So, you’re gearing up to write an argument essay that packs a punch. Want to make sure it’s ironclad? Here’s how to do it.

Choose a Debatable Topic

The best argumentative essays are about controversial, debatable topics. If everyone already agrees with your thesis, there’s no point in arguing it. Pick something that has multiple sides and tons of evidence to explore.

Here are some of the most controversial topics that have spawned great debates:

  • Banning mobile phones in schools
  • Animal testing
  • Social media addiction
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Cloning
  • School uniforms should be required
  • Abortion
  • Capital punishment
  • Free college
  • Homework should be banned
  • Violent video games should be banned
  • All police officers should carry guns
  • Student loans
  • Tobacco and alcohol bans
  • Climate change
  • Universal healthcare
  • Homeschooling vs. traditional schooling
  • Euthanasia
  • Mandatory vaccination
  • Humans colonizing other planets
  • Legalization of drugs
  • Legalization of prostitution
  • Alternative energy

Conduct Thorough Research

After you have chosen a topic, it’s time to gather evidence.

You can’t argue effectively without the facts to back you up. Dive deep into credible sources – academic journals, reputable news outlets, expert interviews. The more evidence you have, the stronger your argument will be.

Outline Your Essay

Before you start writing, sketch out the structure of your essay.

Start with a topic sentence. What main points will each body paragraph cover, and what evidence will you use to support them?

Having a blueprint will keep you focused and make the actual writing much easier.

Use Strong Evidence and Examples

The heart of any argumentative essay is its evidence. Make sure each claim you make in your writing is backed up by facts, statistics, studies, or other logical proof. And use vivid examples to illustrate your points and make them more concrete for the reader.

Address Opposing Views

A strong argumentative essay doesn’t present just one side – it also addresses and refutes the opposing view.

Acknowledge the other perspectives on the topic and use evidence to explain why they’re incorrect or incomplete. This shows you’ve really done your research.

Edit and Revise Your Work

Once you’ve got a draft, the real work begins.

Go through your essay with a fine-toothed comb, checking for logical flow, persuasive language, grammar mistakes, and more.

Don’t be afraid to cut, rearrange, or rewrite sections to make your argument as strong as possible.

what is argumentative writing

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Argumentative Writing

Writing essays can be tricky, even for the pros. Watch out for these common mistakes that could trip you up along the way.

Failing to Address Counterarguments

If you ignore the other side of the argument, you’re essentially sticking your head in the sand. A good argumentative essay acknowledges and refutes the opposing viewpoints. Otherwise, your piece is just a written speech.

Relying on Emotional Appeals

You might be inclined to sprinkle emotional language and personal stories throughout your argumentative essay, hoping to tug at your readers’ heartstrings.

Resist that urge.

In argumentative writing, logic and evidence are your most powerful tools.

Overusing emotional appeals can make your argument appear weak and unconvincing, causing your readers to question your credibility. Stick to the facts and let them speak for themselves.

Lacking Credible Evidence

An argument is only as good as the evidence that backs it up. If you’re using outdated, unreliable, or incomplete sources, your whole essay will suffer. Make sure each claim is supported by current, credible facts from authoritative sources.

Straying from the Main Argument

It’s easy to get sidetracked, especially when you’re passionate about a topic. But if you stray too far from your main thesis, you’ll confuse and lose your readers.

Stay laser-focused on proving your central argument, and cut any irrelevant info.

Argumentative Essay Examples

Sometimes the best way to learn is by example. Reading argumentative essays can show you what works in terms of choosing a topic, crafting a thesis, structuring your argument, and more.

Here are some of the most influential argumentative essays throughout history:

  • “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” by Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift
  • “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell
  • “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau
  • “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell
  • John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address

Each of these texts presents a compelling argument using the tools of logic, evidence, and persuasive language. Study how they hook the reader, lay out their reasoning, and drive their point home. Then try to emulate those techniques in your own writing.

With these tips and examples in mind, you’re well on your way to writing an argumentative essay that would hold up in any court of public opinion.

Remember – it’s all about building a logical, evidence-based case that leaves your readers no choice but to agree with you.

Challenge The Status Quo and Make Your Reader Think

Argumentative writing is all about taking a stand, backing it up with evidence, and convincing your reader to join your side.

Want to write a powerful argumentative essay? Be clear, logical, and persuasive. Take on those counterarguments directly and paint a vivid picture with concrete examples.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to tackle any argumentative writing challenge that comes your way.

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with gratitude,

Julia

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