Argumentative Essay

When you have an opinion and try to convince your listener or reader to accept your opinion, you are agreeing with or disagreeing with something. For example: In an everyday situation, you may try to convince a friend to go somewhere or in a composition or speech class, the instructor may make an assignment in which you must support or oppose the use of nuclear energy to produce electricity. If you agree or disagree on an issue, you will want your reader or listener to accept your point of view.

There are a few types of argumentative compositions such as:

  1. Advantages and disadvantages
  2. Expressing opinions/providing solutions to problems
  3. Expressing arguments for and against a topic
  4. Compare and contrast something or somebody


* An argument follows when two groups disagree about something.

* People can have different opinions and can offer reasons in support of their arguments. However, sometimes it might be difficult to convince the other group because the argument could be based on a matter of preference, or religious faith.

* Therefore, arguments of preference, belief or faith are NOT the type of arguments. The kind of argument that can be argued logically is one based on an opinion that can be supported by evidence such as facts.

* An argumentative essay is also one that attempts/tries to change the reader’s mind, to convince the reader to agree with the point of view of the writer.

* For that reason, the argumentative essay attempts to be highly persuasive and logical. For example, a thesis such as “My first experiences with Americans were shocking” has a central idea ‘shocking’ but it is not really strongly persuasive, and it is certainly not argumentative.

* When you write an argumentative essay, assume that the reader disagrees with you. But please remember that your reader is no less intelligent than you.

* So, write objectively, logically and respectfully. Try to understand your opponent’s point of view. If you do not, you are not likely to convince the reader.


  • An important point to recall is that when writing to an argumentative essay, your reader may not agree with you.
  • Writing to persuade is, therefore, more challenging and more imposing than many other types of writing.
  • Your goal may be to change your readers’ minds or move them to action.
  • Your goal may be to sell a program, defend an idea, or disprove an opponent.
  • In all these instances, you should consider writing to persuade as an important method for shaping your environment toward your vision of reality. 

To write well developed paragraphs:

  • Avoid strong feelings (don’t say: nobody does this, or it is impossible to disagree with me)
  • Use generalizations (e.g. people say/believe/consider)
  • Do not use generalization (e.g. everybody believes that…..)
  • Do not use strong personal expressions (e.g. I think)
  • Use linking words (e.g. therefore, although, however etc.)
  • Use sequencing (e.g. firstly, secondly, lastly)
  • Make reference to other sources (e.g. The government claims that…)
  • Give examples – not personal thoughts (e.g. products such as sprayer can destroy the environment)
  • Give up banal introductions. Write something more original (Don’t write: This topic has been important since ancient times. When? Too vague = unclear)