So, you have been assigned the task of writing an argumentative essay (or persuasive essay), and you are staring at a blank piece of paper with no clue where to begin. No worries. Here, we give you step-by-step procedure on how to write an argumentative essay from scratch. Therefore, let’s get cracking.
Any argumentative essay format can be broken down into these basic sections –
Now let’s delve deeper into each of these sections –
Just like any building starts with a foundation stone, your argumentative essay starts with an Introduction. With introduction, not only you lay a strong foundation for your essay but also answer these questions –
But how do you write a good introduction? Semantically introduction can further be broken down into 3 sections –
Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” And imagination is a skill which goes much beyond mere knowledge.
Did you notice how quoting Einstein helped catch your attention? Yep! That’s what hooks are for.
Education Systems are based on memory rather than application. Standardized tests try to assess every student on same parameters whereas as per Gardner (one of the foremost developmental psychologist) there are at-least 7 different kinds of intelligence.
“The purpose of education systems should be to cultivate skills required for 21st century rather than rotten educational practices like information cramming and standardized tests”
Note the usage of word “should”. With this I am making my stance clear. Alternate words which can be used are “Must”, “Ought” etc.
Generally, thesis pave the way to the next section of the essay which is Building up on the Argument. If you notice I mentioned 2 things i.e. education results in information cramming and standardized tests. Now let’s see how to build up on our argument in next section.
Before delving into this section – let me ask you a question.
What’s the difference between an opinion and argument?
An opinion is an individual’s thoughts devoid of any reasoning/facts. For example – “That shirt looks good on you”. Now this is an opinion as it (shirt) looks good to me but might look bad to you. Argument, on the other hand stands on reasons and evidence. Your argument has merit only if there is sound reasoning behind it which is backed by factual evidences.
Therefore, in this section, we provide evidences to support our stand (or claim). If we were to represent it in pictorial form, it would look like this –
Note: Number of claims and evidences per claim is only for representational purposes in above picture.
You might be wondering what is a claim and what constitutes an evidence?
Claim is a statement which is made to support an argument. For example: “Skills are more valuable than education as recruiters hire on skills rather than education”
Evidence is any factional information (from reliable and credible sources) which supports the claim. Please note it is not anecdotal or personal experience but hard information. For example – “According to a recent study done by iCIMS, 74 percent of recruiters said that written and spoken communications were more important than college major. The survey also showed high demand for critical thinking and problem-solving skills which is not taught in college.”
Exact number of claims and evidences doesn’t matter. Care must be taken to ensure that enough claims (which are fully supported by evidences) are made to cover the argument in entirety. Now let’s move to the next section of our argumentative essay format.
The purpose of an argumentative essay is to convince your opponents with reason and pull them to your side. This entails, besides giving your own arguments, listening to their arguments and then proving why their arguments don’t hold any merit through reason. In this section, we are going to do exactly that. We are going to state opponent’s views and then refute their views with reason.
For example – “Those who supports education over skills claim that education makes pupil more aware which in turns make them more suitable for life”
So how do you refute the above claim? By providing hard evidence which shows that just being aware isn’t sufficient. What is more important is how that awareness is put to practical use which is nothing but skill.
Note: This section provides you an opportunity to go over the other side and think from your opponent’s perspective. Hence be creative and try to come up with as many arguments as possible. Being better prepared at this step can knock out your opponents.
Now let’s talk about the last section of argumentative essay format – Conclusion.
As the name suggests, the purpose of this section is to conclude. But how do you do that so that it leaves a lasting impression on your audience?
Simple! Just show them how would the world look like if your argument is implemented (or not implemented). Urge your audience to take the leap of faith to see what you are seeing and then form their opinion.
For example – “If so called educational institutions start putting more emphasis on skills rather than rotten education, more people would become employable, more people would be well fed, more people would become happy. World at large would be a more peaceful place.”
Closing Tip: It helps to first structure your essay format before lunging in to write. Will help you to keep all your thoughts at one place. Now start writing an essay on one of the 150 Argumentative Essay Topics and check yourself.