Writing the Argumentative Essay choosing a topic

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Writing the Argumentative Essay


  • To begin an argumentative essay, you must first have an opinion you want others to share.


  • Once you know what you will write about, you will need to do research on the topic.


  • states your position on the topic
  • sets up the structure for the paper.


  • Support your claim with REASONS for it.
  • Write down each of the 3 main REASONS that support your CLAIM on your notes/graphic organizer).
  • These are your ARGUMENTS.


  • Every controversial issue has two sides.
  • Once you can support your position with research, you need to explore what others think.


  • Look at the three main reasons for your opinion.
  • What objections would others have to each of your reasons?
  • Write these down under each of your reasons. Now you have three arguments and three counter-arguments.


  • Write your answers down under the counter-arguments.
  • Now you have the raw material for each paragraph of the argumentative essay.


  • When introducing the topic, think about the audience first.
  • How much does the audience know about the topic?
  • Is the audience likely to be friendly or hostile to your position?
  • How can you “hook” the audience’s attention?


  • Second and perhaps third sentences narrow the idea down to your specific idea.
  • The last sentence in the introduction must state your CLAIM.


  • Think of the introduction as having a funnel shape:
  • General statement (hook)
  • Specific information
  • Claim

Example of Intro Paragraph

  • More people die driving on Greek roads in a single year than all the U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the fighting began. The road conditions and the mentality that leads to this unnecessary and avoidable loss of life should be changed.
  • Fact to support position and a good hook.
  • The authors position or Thesis Statement.


  • The first topic sentence of the first paragraph will be the first reason that supports your position.


  • In each body paragraph, provide a reason for your argument along with two or three detail sentences that support/elaborate your ideas.

Counter-claims and Rebuttals

  • Next, address those counter-claims in a paragraph explaining and offer a rebuttal stating why your position is a better one.
  • Research what people who oppose your point of view believe. Write down these possible counter-claims/arguments.


  • The final sentence in each paragraph should summarize the ideas expressed and/or make a transition to the main idea of the next paragraph.

Concluding Paragraph

  • Indicate in the conclusion that you have shown the claim statement to be true.
  • Summarize your main points. How can your create a powerful ending to your argument?
  • Add a “call to action” statement
  • (BUT, do not include any new information in a conclusion paragraph; if you have not mentioned something yet in the paper, it is now too late!)

What is not effective

  • Saying the opposing viewpoint is “stupid.”
  • Good essays are clear, calm and factual.
  • Prove it instead with your evidence!
  • Saying negative things about groups or individuals that have different view points.
  • This does not support your position but makes you seem petty instead.

How many is that?

  • Intro Paragraph
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • (writer’s choice!)
  • Counter-claim/Rebuttal Paragraph – other viewpoints
  • Conclusion Paragraph

Reflecting on Your Paper

  • Are you happy with what you have written?
  • Have you made a convincing case for your position?
  • Is it clear that research supports your position?
  • Have you shown that you understand the objections to your position?

Reflecting on Your Paper

  • Have you made a strong case for your argument?
  • Have you shown that you understand the objections to your position?
  • Is it clear that your position is stronger and outweighs possible objections?
  • Did you call on your reader to take an action to show support?

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