The most important argumentative essay writing tips revolve around two central concepts: passion and research. Once you decide on a topic you feel strongly about, start putting your thoughts down on paper and building an outline. That will eventually translate into the actual argumentative essay. Here are a few tips to consider as you formulate your ideas into a cohesive presentation.
Argumentative Essay Writing Tips
Find a Good Argument
First, find a concrete (and potentially controversial) argument to use as your base. This is the best way to keep your reader hooked. Is there a stance you can take that contrasts the “typical” world view on the topic?
Truly, the sky's the limit when it comes to finding a heated topic to present. Find out what people are talking about on social media or your favorite news outlets, and see if you can take an interesting approach to the subject.
Pick a Topic You’re Passionate About
As you search for topics, you’ll probably find several hot button areas. However, just because it’s a potentially controversial topic doesn’t mean you should write about it. Make sure it’s a topic you actually care about. It will make all the ensuing research far more enjoyable. This is one of the most important argumentative essay rules (second to research).
If you pick a topic you’re passionate about, your dedication and passion to the topic will shine through your writing. When there is no passion in an argumentative essay, the reader can easily get disinterested. If you do not believe in what you’re writing, no one else will.
If you’d like some ideas, here are our Top 10 Argumentative Essay Topics.
Research as Much as Possible
As you conduct your research, be sure to read about your own topic as well as opposing viewpoints. You can’t make a good argument if you don’t understand where the other side is coming from. This can make argumentative essays a little more labor-intensive than other types of essays.
You have to not only backup your own opinion with solid data, but you also have to point out why the opposing argument doesn’t work. The more you can flesh out a good argument and back it up with research, the stronger your essay will be.
Gather All Your Facts
Out of all the tips for writing an argumentative essay, researching as much as possible is probably the most important. So, let’s expand on that a little bit. What good is an argumentative essay if there are no facts? You need facts to support your opinion on a controversial topic.
These are known as supporting details. For more on how to gather them, check out What Are Supporting Details?
To avoid looking like an amateur, you need verifiable facts that will substantiate your argument. Without these facts, you risk looking unprofessional and unprepared. Offer statements made by leaders of world organizations or respected authorities. Cite statistics and figures that relate to your topic. Share a small narrative that illustrates how your topic has evolved over time.
Formulate an Outline
As you research, it can be difficult to weigh your findings in the balance. What’s worthy of inclusion? What’s not as important? This is where an outline comes in. An argumentative essay outline will help you lay out your facts, choose the strongest elements, and map them out effectively.
Establish the three core sections of your essay -- introduction, body, and conclusion -- and then set out subsections with bullet points. Once you see your ideas gathered and mapped out like this, you’ll be able to move forward with writing your essay.
Mind Your Formatting
If your essay isn’t formatted well, it will detract from the effectiveness of the potentially sound argument you’re trying to make. You can look at an essay as having three broad sections:
- Introduction - A typical essay will have an introductory paragraph or two that contains your thesis statement (or your statement of belief) and offers a bit of a tease as to WHY the reader should continue reading.
- Body - The body of your essay will contain the meat of your argument. This is where you’ll include relevant facts, statistics, narratives, testimonials, and more. The body is your chance to leverage various modes of persuasion too, like appeal to emotion or logic.
- Conclusion - Finally, your conclusion will offer a brief summary of what has been written. It’ll reiterate how the “meat” of your essay ties back into your thesis statement and why your stance is correct. You might consider ending with a rhetorical question or some other striking comment.
Let Your Passion Bleed Through
Although research is paramount, passion is second in line. Think about the last time a friend told you to buy a new product or watch some new TV show. They were probably highly passionate and swayed you to have a look. The same must be true for your next argumentative essay. Get behind your stance, back it up with credible sources, and seek to change the world, one mind at a time.
The cousin to argumentative essays is the expository essay. These require you to explore an idea, evaluate the evidence, and then explain your opinion. With your argumentative skills under your belt, we’re sure you’ll excel in this format, too! Here are some expository essay writing tips to help you do your best if the time should ever come.