An Argumentative Essay How to Before Writing

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An Argumentative Essay

  • How to...

Before Writing...

  • Brainstorm ideas on the subject.
  • Identify the main topics.
  • Use these topics as headings for organising your notes.
  • Decide which side you are on i.e. which arguments are most convincing. Make sure you choose the side that you can fully support.
  • Plan and write an outline for your essay noting down the information you will include in each paragraph.

Example Outline

  • Thesis Statement:
  • Because of its cost, risk and alternatives, the building of nuclear reactors should not continue.
  • Topic Sentence 1:
  • The first problem with nuclear reactors is their cost.
  • Topic Sentence 2:
  • Another problem is the serious consequences of accidents.
  • Refutation:
  • Some people might claim that there is no real alternative to nuclear power.
  • Concluding Statement:
  • In short, although nuclear power is an attractive option, it has too many disadvantages.

Introductory Paragraph

  • Your introduction should:
  • Introduce the topic with a general statement
  • State why it is important
  • State there is a difference of opinion about this topic
  • Thesis statement must state what YOUR claim is and can include the “parts” of the argument you are going to state.

Example Introductory Paragraph

  • There has been much discussion about the use of nuclear power ever since the first reactor was built. People who support nuclear power think that it provides a cheap and effective means of supplying energy needs. However, in reality it is not cheap at all and the dangers are well-known after the accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. The fact is that nuclear power is a tried, tested and failed technology. Because of its cost, risk and alternatives, the building of nuclear reactors should not continue.

Body Paragraphs

  • Arguments for: The reasons “parts” of your thesis statement will be in your body paragraphs.
  • Give clear arguments for your claim with support (examples, statistics, explanations, etc.)
  • Use transition words as you move from paragraph to paragraph (Firstly, secondly, furthermore, in addition, moreover, finally).
  • You can also use any of the transitions from the other essay types as long as they are appropriate for your argument. (You may want to compare/contrast things, give reasons/results, descriptions, definitions etc.)

Refutation Paragraph

  • This is also used to support your claim.
  • Use the counter arguments to show that your idea is the stronger one.
  • Do not focus only on the opposing ideas.

Useful words and phrases

  • When you can think of the opposing opinion but you have not seen it written anywhere:
  • could be claimed
  • It may be asserted that... However,
  • might be argued

Useful words and phrases contd.

  • When you have seen the opposing opinion written in another text:
  • claimed
  • It has been asserted that... However,
  • argued

Example Refutation

  • Some people might claim that there is no real alternative to a new generation of nuclear reactors. However, combined heat and power units, which generate electricity, are already economical for large houses or blocks of flats and smaller units will be on the market next year. Local generation of electricity eliminates the enormous losses of wasted heat in electricity generation by fossil fuels or nuclear reactors. Wind turbines and solar cells on the roof can also provide home solutions and will become more economical as costs come down with mass production.

Concluding paragraph

  • Your conclusion should:
  • Restate the main claim
  • Present one or two general sentences which accurately summarise your arguments which support the main premise
  • Provide a general warning of the consequences of not following the premise that you put forward and/or a general statement of how the community will benefit from following that premise

Your turn

  • Choose one of the topics below, brainstorm and write a thesis statement.
  • Using animals for scientific and medical research
  • Killing animals for food
  • Cloning humans

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