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Argumentative Essay

Let’s face it. We argue all the time. An argumentative essay is meant to gain your reader's assent. The difficulty lies in gaining this assent while facing active opposition.

It’s a fact that people don't always agree on what is true or what is fair. Essays of argument provide an opportunity to examine our own and others' ideas very carefully. Just because we have an opinion about something doesn’t mean we can effectively argue for or against it. In other words, opinions are not arguments.

In essays of argument, we are forced to weigh conflicting claims and to make judgments about the nature of evidence posed by others.

We must examine the various methods of investigation and state our thoughts with clarity and accuracy. We must also learn to respectively consider and critique the arguments of others, particularly if we hope to sway someone to our opinion.

To write a well-rounded argument essay, you need to become an expert in the opposing viewpoint.

One of my friends maintains that the best advice her father ever gave her was to first learn everything about your opponent’s argument, before you develop and state your own.

It turned out to be sound advice as my friend is very good at presenting her arguments. What’s more, her father never lost a court case. He was 76-0 with law suits against him. Not too bad, eh?

Below is an effective outline to use when you write your essay. Don’t forget to include as many of the points as possible to make your argument essay even more effective.

Argument Essay Outline

Paragraph 1: State Your Proposition – Requires a general introduction of the problem plus your opinion about said problem.

Paragraph 2-3: Anticipate Opposition – State history of the problem including failed attempts at resolution of the problem (include sources).

Paragraph 4-6: Expand Your Argument - Extent of the problem i.e., who is affected, how bad is it, etc (include sources)

Paragraphs 7-8: Anticipate Consequences - Repercussions of the problem not being solved. (include sources).

Paragraphs 9-10: Connect with the Facts - Anticipate objections and make concessions while connecting your arguments with the facts.

Paragraph 11: Conclude - Restatement of thesis and summary of main ideas.

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