Have to write an argumentative essay? Are you nervous about it? If your answer to both questions is “YES”, then you came to the right place. Sure, writing an essay is always a source of concern for many students, but it doesn’t have to be like that. With a practical guide, you can master the art of writing an argumentative essay before you know it. Here’s how.
The main idea behind argumentative essay is to defend a debatable position on a specific issue with the goal to persuade readers to accept your argument. As a writer, your goal is to choose a side and declare whether you agree or disagree with something. The argument has to be supported by valid and reliable evidence.
The point of this paper is to demonstrate knowledge of the subject and the ability to start, develop, and finalize an argument without losing reader’s attention. The argumentative essay provides a deeper insight into a certain topic, scratches below the surface to highlight some important ideas.
Benefits of writing an argumentative essay
No, your professor doesn’t assign argumentative essay just because he (or she) feels like it. Once you graduate you will realize that every single assignment in school and college had its own purpose. The idea is to help students develop certain skills through work on the task at hand. Skills that you develop with argumentative essays include:
- Anticipating objections – this paper isn’t just about proving you’re right, it also requires addressing opposing views (see below). The writing process entails outlining alternative perspectives and answering questions that reader may have. This allows you to master the art of anticipating objections to understand both sides of the issue. You’ll rely on this skill in your personal and professional life
- Critical thinking – as you analyze the evidence, arguments, and claims you gradually develop and strengthen critical thinking skills. These skills allow you to understand potential weaknesses in your own arguments and assess any subject or idea in an unbiased manner
- Writing skills – it’s simple; practice makes perfection. The more you write, the better your essay writing skills will be. This is one of the most important reasons why professors assign essays
- Logic and rhetoric – argumentative essay helps you master the basic rules of logic such as learning to avoid emotional appeals, writing clear statements rather than generalizations. You’ll also enhance rhetoric skills by emphasizing the importance of the subject and potential outcomes
- Research skills – the secret behind high-quality essays is in thorough research. You’ll need great research skills throughout your academic life, even when you get a job later on
Areas of interest
The beauty of the argumentative essay is that you can write about anything you want including:
- Law and other legal topics
- Advertising and media
Argumentative essay outline
The process of writing an argumentative essay can be very simple when you follow a well-structured outline. Below, you can see how your paper should look like:
- Introduction – first contact between a reader and your essay. This is your chance to make a great first impression, keep reader eager to see how you developed the argument. An introductory paragraph consists of:
- Hook – first sentence or two; catches reader’s attention. It can be a quote, question, anecdote, statistics, etc.
- Background – useful background information about the subject
- Thesis statement – announces the argument you’re going to make or side of the issue that you’ll defend
- Developing the argument – are you pro or against some idea, event, policy etc? Explain why you’re right, create an engaging argument that stirs debate in a reader’s mind too. The number of paragraphs isn’t specified, it depends on claims you make:
- Claim 1 – evidence – each paragraph should start with a claim that contributes to your argument and evidence to support it
- Claim 2 – evidence
- Claim 3 – evidence
- Debunking opposing views – you want a reader to know you’re right and the best way to do so is to debunk some opposing claims in the process. After developing your argument, dedicate a body paragraph or two to opponents’ viewpoints:
- Opposing view 1– refutation – mentions common claims that contradict yours and provides evidence to show why they’re wrong
- Opposing view 2 – refutation
- Conclusion – restates the main premise or argument and summarizes key claims. Describes what could happen if your premise isn’t followed and proposes potential solutions for a certain problem (if applicable)
Now that you know more about the outline to follow when writing the argumentative essay, it’s necessary to learn more about different tips and tricks that make the process easier. Follow these useful strategies while working on your paper:
- Research the subject – this is a must; even if you think you already know everything about the subject, still do a thorough research to get more information and take notes
- Choose claims wisely – the number of claims about your argument isn’t as important as their quality. If you can’t find evidence to support some claim, then don’t include it. Remember, your goal is to convince reader your opinion is the right one and you need evidence-backed claims to do that
- Quality of evidence matters too – Wikipedia, blogs, unreliable websites aren’t really helpful. Argumentative essay is an academic paper that requires the use of reputable sources, journals, publications, books
- Write everything that comes to your mind – take a blank piece of paper (or open MS Word) and write everything that comes to your mind regarding the topic. Don’t think about typos, grammar, claims and such. When you’re done, read everything from top to bottom, eliminate things you can’t use. Then, use the rest to construct your essay
- Give credit where credit is due – to support the claims you need evidence, but don’t forget to include references. When using someone else’s thoughts or ideas to complement your own, you should always give credit where credit is due
- Be concise – don’t use random words and expressions just to reach word count limit. Always be concise and make sure that every word contributes to the meaning of sentence, paragraph, and thereby the entire essay
- Think outside the box – essays should spark a debate and they are often controversial. Feel free to explore your creativity, think outside the box, and approach the subject in a nonconventional manner
Argumentative Essay Topics
In most cases, professor or teacher is the one who assigns a specific topic that students have to discuss. That said, students get to choose their own topics from time to time.
Good Argumentative Essay Topics
Here are some topics suggestions you should consider:
- Should teenagers be required to obtain parents’ permission to use contraceptives?
- Are athletes overpaid?
- Is the use of animals for research purposes justified?
- Scientists cloned monkeys; are humans next? Is human cloning ethical?
- Should social media platforms regulate comments more thoroughly?
- Is gun control an effective method of reducing crime rates?
- Homeschooling prevents children to adopt various social skills
- Violence in the media makes children violent
- Does existence of Electoral College undermine freedom of American people to choose the leader they want?
- Are beauty pageants exploitive?
- Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
- Should college tuitions be more affordable?
- Should surgeries and medications for all diseases be free for everyone?
- Are schools and teachers responsible for low test scores and bad grades?
Legal argumentative essay topics
- At what age should girls have access to birth control without the consent of their parents?
- Do the benefits of medical marijuana justify its legality?
- Does outlawing controlled substances only create a larger black market?
- Does the US law system offer enough protection for victims of domestic abuse?
- Does Trump’s refusal to take refugees deny basic human rights to people in need?
- In what situations, if any, does a woman have a right to an abortion?
- Is the drinking age appropriate (should it be lower, higher, or stay the same)?
- Is the process of electoral vote fair?
- Online abuse – should court treat it as any other kind of abuse?
- Should cigarettes and other tobacco products be outlawed?
- Should corporations be granted personhood?
- Should the death penalty be abolished?
- Should nuclear weapons be outlawed worldwide?
- Should prostitution be legal?
- Should the United States put more restrictions on gun ownership and use?
Ethical argumentative essay topics
Here are some topic ideas:
- Are atheists less moral than theists?
- Are members of oppressed minority groups kept back by policies which encourage them to see cultures foreign to themselves as innately superior?
- Are nude photographs appropriate in museums that are open to the public?
- Are parents overexposing their children online?
- Do patients have a right to die via physician-assisted suicide?
- Do pre-employment drug tests infringe on personal privacy rights?
- Does freedom of speech give people the right to use hate speech?
- Is animal testing necessary?
- Is death penalty right or wrong?
- Is human reproductive cloning morally acceptable?
- Should children’s beauty pageants be banned?
- Should consumers buy items from countries that endorse child labor?
- Should hunting with the sole purpose to entertain be banned?
- Should schools and businesses give more incentives for people to do volunteer work?
Social argumentative essay topics
Social topics can refer to just about anything, here are some examples:
- Are tattoos acceptable at the workplace?
- At what age should citizens be allowed to vote in the United States?
- Can heterosexual men and women truly be friends with no hopes or expectations of anything more?
- Can online dating replace meeting a person in real life?
- Do prisoners deserve the right to vote?
- Excessive alcohol consumption in minors – does it stem from too much freedom and lack of parental control?
- In what case(s) could it be considered fair for a company to not hire a candidate who smokes cigarettes?
- Is education in the US failing teenagers across the nation? Too much pressure, expensive college enrollment, bullying – what can be done?
- Is there too much pressure on teenagers to go to college?
- Most prisoners released on parole return to prison within 12 months – is it the system’s failure?
- Should more rights be given to immigrants?
- Should the United States make English the official national language?
- Should there be a legal curfew for minors?
- Should women wear less revealing clothing in order to curb men’s catcalling?
- Why online dating websites should be responsible for rapes and murders committed by members who are registered sex offenders
Advertising and media argumentative essay topics
Advertising and media evolved dramatically during last few decades thus posing as an endless source of essay topics. Below, you can see some title ideas:
- Are public service announcements effective?
- Do journalists have a duty to eliminate as much bias as possible?
- Do teenagers drink and smoke because advertisements make them think it is “cool” to do so?
- Do TV shows and movies have the responsibility of being more diverse?
- How “fake news” trend changes a political and social life?
- How do reality shows impact society?
- In what situations should advertisements for alcohol and tobacco products be allowed?
- Is it acceptable for companies to advertise in schools?
- Is print advertising obsolete?
- Sex and violence on TV – how do they change us?
- Should news shows talk about celebrities?
- Should sex be allowed to be portrayed on prime-time television?
- Should warnings and side effects be made more clear in advertisements?
- Spikes in violence on TV co-occur with violence on the streets – what can be done?
- Where should networks draw the line for violence on television?
Family argumentative essay topics
Here are some ideas:
- At what age should parents talk to their children about sex?
- Do children deserve/need an allowance?
- Is a child’s room really theirs, or is it their parents’?
- Is it acceptable for women to breastfeed in public?
- Is it okay for parents to monitor teens’ internet use?
- Should all people who want to have kids undergo a psychological evaluation prior conceiving?
- Should parenting classes be compulsory?
- Should parents be able to spank their children?
- Should parents buy presents for kids to motivate them to study and do their homework?
- Should parents pay children for good grades?
- Should parents push their children to do things they don’t want?
- Should parents push their kids into extracurricular activities such as music or sports?
- Should single people be able to adopt children as easily as couples?
- Staying married for the sake of children only harms them, why?
- Why helicopter parenting never works?
- Why should all kids have certain chores on a daily basis?
Don’t have enough time to write an essay on your own? Or maybe you need help with a certain aspect of argumentative essay writing? We’ve got you covered. Here are different ways you can get help with this assignment.
Essay topic generator
There is no need to waste hours trying to come up with an interesting topic when you can use Edusson Magic Help to find a perfect title. All you have to do is to enter a keyword and press enter. Plus, you can click on the category of your interest or search by alphabet. It’s that easy!
In order to assess your strengths and weaknesses adequately, it’s always practical to read someone else’s paper. Why? As you read and observe how a writer developed the argument, you recognize both good and bad sides of their essay. Later, you transmit this knowledge to your own writing process. Edusson’s Magic Help has a number of essay examples that you can use to get motivated, learn, and practice.
Finished writing your essay? If you are the DIY type of person, then you probably want to evaluate the paper and correct mistakes on your own. RobotDon can help you with that. The cute, hard-working robot runs a detailed analysis of the paper and displays plagiarism score, sentence structure, readability, word use, and other factors that play a role in the quality of your essay.
Essay writing service
If you don’t have enough time to write an argumentative essay on your own (or you need a custom-made example), that’s not a problem. Edusson’s writers can do it for you. Just create your order, check bids, and choose ideal writer. All our writers are highly skilled, educated, and ready to write the essay based on your needs and preferences.
Essay editing service
Need someone to evaluate your paper objectively and correct your mistakes? Say no more, Edusson also gathers a team of editors and proofreaders who ensure your essay is 100% essay free. They go beyond correcting spelling and grammar errors but also focus on sentence structure, references, style, formatting, argument strength, evidence, and much more.
21 Writing Prompts for Design Students
Article by David Barringer November 10, 2009
Filed Under: Inspiration , design educators , students , Article , Voice
Several design instructors have confessed to me, in casual conversation, their struggles to inspire students to write. Students complain about writing: always have, always will. Design students are no exception. Writing is boring. Writing is all about rules. Writing has nothing to do with me. Writing doesn't matter. But students don't find all writing boring or irrelevant or burdened by rules. They complain mainly about the nature of their school writing assignments. So how can design teachers make writing more interesting for their students?
It's a great problem. I came up with 21 prompts that are dramatic, provocative, fun, urgent and personal.
Assignments that require research tempt students to copy entries from Wikipedia or other online sources. Designed to defeat that urge, these prompts depend on personal information or perspective. Some involve parodies, which promote awareness of language by demanding that the student bring one kind of language into a new and jarring context (like, say, writing about a rifle through language typically used to advertise a new baby stroller). To combat charges of irrelevant subject matter, I geared many prompts to involve popular culture, technology, and current trends and debates, but most importantly they demand the student to write persuasively—that is, engage in argument in order to persuade a specific person of some specific thing.
My intent is to get writers thinking about the uses of language, about audience and authorial intention, about jargon and slang and context and how language works or doesn't work in different ways on different people at different times.
Repurpose existing writing
Students already write on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and email. Most email services, such as Gmail, save all emails. This material may be selectively gathered and repurposed in a variety of ways, such as for collages, found poetry or dramatized conversations.
- Write a found interview. Make a list of 10 questions lifted from real magazine interviews. Imagine these questions are asked of you. Answer them using only writing you have already written, such as in emails, on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter or other online places. Edit for punctuation and grammar to fit in with the style and format of the magazine interview, but keep your answers conversational and as unaltered in substance as possible (that is, you must rely on what you have already written, and include citations to where you originally wrote your text, e.g., “email to C.B., 12/4/2007”.).
- Explain a conversation. Find a long back-and-forth email, instant-message, or text-message conversation between you and someone else. Try to find a conversation on a single topic, if possible, such as deciding where to eat dinner, what to do over the weekend or where to go for vacation. If you can't find one, then you may use any long conversation or series of emails or instant messages. Select only your own messages. Do not include the messages of anyone else. Copy and paste them into a new document. After each message you previously sent, write a note that explains what you meant. Define any jargon, slang or personal jokes so that a general reader may understand your meaning. Explain your intention in writing a certain message (to amuse, to persuade, to distract, to annoy, to criticize, to forgive, to clarify, etc.). And report on whether or not your writing successfully conveyed your intent and had its intended effect on the other person.
Repurpose existing forms
Starting with existing forms is a great way to ease students into writing. Students can download real forms online, such as tax forms, police forms, accident reports, résumé templates, query letters, immigration forms, consumer-complaint forms, opt-out forms and more. Instructors can also create their own forms in order to allow greater space for certain entries. And forms as a category does not necessarily have to limit you to actual forms or templates—blogs, product reviews, holiday cards, opinion columns and letters of resignation, for example, also follow conventions. The dramatic twist, however, is for students to fill out the forms unconventionally. Students should be encouraged to write outside the lines, literally and figuratively.
- Fill out an application for a home-equity line of credit, but as Winnie the Pooh, Dorothy, one of the three little pigs or Darth Vader.
- Apply for life insurance, but as an immortal teen vampire.
- File a complaint as a witness to a crime, but a crime committed by a video-game character.
- Register a consumer-complaint form, but as a plugged-in resident of the Matrix, the owner of a misbehaving Transformer robot or a child who mistakenly believes he can return his parents and order new ones.
- Fill out a customer-feedback form for an online dating service, but as a character from a fairy tale, such as Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Princess, Beauty and the Beast, etc.
- Rewrite a food or restaurant review from a local newspaper as if it pertained to a year in your own life—as if what was being reviewed was not the restaurant but this year you lived through. Replace language referring to the restaurant and the food with descriptions of your own life during that year, but keep some of the descriptive language concerning décor, flavors, dining experience, etc., so that this sensory and critical language now applies to your life or episodes during this year.
- Write a simple log of your day—where you go, who you meet—but as if you were under surveillance. You should refer to yourself as “the suspect,” to your friends as “contacts,” to authorities as “agents,” etc.
- Write a short blog entry for five days in a row in which you know the real world is a reality TV show; everyone around you mistakenly believes this is real life and not a show; and you are a critic charged with reviewing each day's episode for a distant audience who wants to know which parts of the day to watch and which to skip, using their TiVos and satellite TVs.
- Create a product label. Choose a product: your backpack, a coat pocket, dorm room, car interior, desktop, desk drawer, box of stuff, a closet or even your own head. Name this product. Brand it. Give it a slogan. Then provide a kind of extended label in which you list ingredients, product claims, product comparisons, consumer-test results, warnings, side effects and customer endorsements. Follow-up assignment: Write a celebratory review of this product to persuade the company not to discontinue it.
- Catalog your beliefs. Write down five of your personal beliefs. These beliefs have to relate to you personally. Express them in a single, simple sentence, such as “I believe I was born in Chicago,” “I believe I am taller than both my parents” or “I believe no one ever found out I stole a candy bar.” Next, select a mail-order catalog, such as for clothes, toys, books or computers. Imagine your beliefs as products to be sold in this mail-order catalog. Rewrite the catalog copy to apply to your beliefs as if they were products in this particular catalog. Name your beliefs. Indicate colors, sizes, a product description, instructions for use, warranties, and return and exchange policies.
- Write an early memoir. Imagine writing your memoir at age 3 (at the end of your terrible twos) or at age 6 (after your first year of kindergarten). Find an existing, melodramatic memoir. Match the tone and mood of the existing memoir, but write the title, subtitle, blurbs, back-cover summary, author biography, dedication, author's note, foreword (written by someone else) and acknowledgements for your memoir at age 3 or 6.
- Remake a magazine. Identify your mania. Find one thing you obsess over, such as a type of music, a band, a designer, an art form, a product, a style, a brand, a city, a type of food, a hobby, a craft, a movie, a book or a celebrity. Then choose a real magazine that has nothing to do with your obsession. If your obsession is a rock band, then choose Field & Stream magazine. If your obsession is chocolate, then choose a political magazine like The Nation. If your obsession is chess, then choose a teen magazine like Tiger Beat. The assignment is to write about your obsession in the style of that real magazine. Write all the cover text, the table of contents, the editor's letter, and three short reader letters in the mood and style of the existing magazine, but all content should relate to your obsession.
- Draft your own “About” copy. (a) Select a career-placement or staffing company. Visit its website, and copy the description on the “About Us,” “Services” and/or “What We Do” pages of its website, which describe what kind of company it is and the work it does. Rewrite the text into a love letter in which you are describing your virtues to a person you wish to date. Keep as much of the jargon in your letter as possible. (b) Select a zoo. Visit its website, and copy the description on the “About Us,” “Animal Care” and/or “Educational Programs” pages of its website. Rewrite the text into a response to your previous love letter. Either reject or accept the relationship, retaining as much jargon as possible in your response.
Make a case using hot topics for persuasive writing
A useful structure for persuasive writing is the Argument/Objection/Reply form. The writer begins by informally listing all conceivable arguments for and against a proposition. Choosing a side in the first paragraph of the essay proper, the writer begins with the strongest argument. In the second paragraph, the writer envisions an opponent's strongest objection to that particular argument. In the third paragraph, the writer replies to that objection. The fourth paragraph begins a new, second-best argument in support of the writer's position, and the cycle repeats. A standard essay of this form sets out the three strongest arguments in support of the writer's position.
- To reduce credit-card theft, a new credit card scans the thumbprint of the card owner before each transaction. Do you agree that this will reduce credit-card theft? Argue for or against this new scanning technology as a deterrent, including objections to your argument and replies to these objections.
- Write down what a single judge says about a single contestant during one episode of a reality-TV show, such as American Idol, Project Runway or Top Chef. Disagree with the judge's conclusions. Make your own critique of the contestant's performance, and explain in detail why you are right and the judge is wrong.
- A new technology allows drivers to display messages to other drivers. Using a projected light display, like a hologram of sorts that hovers above the roof of the vehicle, a driver may post a text message visible to other drivers. Argue for or against the use of this new technology. If you are for this new technology, address any restrictions you would want imposed. If you are against this new technology, address any exemptions or exceptions you can envision.
- A new mini-projector comes standard with cellphones. Users can project text messages at great distances. They can project words that run across billboards as easily as they can project words on the clothing of passersby. Argue for or against the use of this new personal technology. If you defend this new technology, address any restrictions you would want imposed. If you oppose this new technology, address any exemptions or exceptions you can envision.
- A new classroom rule prohibits the use of any and all personal portable electronic devices. Argue that your laptop computer should not count as a “personal portable electronic device,” and then argue that, even if it does count as that, there should be an exception for computers. Explain why.
- Currently companies can monitor your movements online (what you click on, how you shop, what you read, what forms you fill out, what words you use in your emails), but they are now pushing for a new law that would extend this power to the real world. Should companies be able to use any and all available technology (like cellphones, GPS chips, wireless connectivity, and surveillance cameras) to monitor your movements anywhere? Argue for or against this proposition. Address whether or not you think an opt-out power would be a good defense for individuals who want to protect their privacy. Also address whether or not you would allow your parents the same, greater or less power to monitor your movements.