How to Write an Argumentative Essay?

Posted on June 6, 2016

The time has come for you to write an argumentative essay, but if you’re like many college students, this task might seem overwhelming. We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to help you with writing this specific type of essay.


How to Write an Argumentative Essay?

One of the first things you need to understand about how to write an argument essay would be the format. These types of essays require a specific format that guides the reader to see and understand the author’s point of view. How do you write an argumentative essay? The format is as follows:

  • Title
  • Introduction: the chance to explain the thesis to your readers. (Remember to stay brief!)
  • Body: Broken up into separate paragraphs.
  • Paragraph 1: The topic sentence, better known as your main arguing point. Include specific examples of supporting evidence for your topic sentence.
  • Paragraph 2: Paragraph two (and all those following) should be formatted the same way as paragraph one. In these paragraphs, you should be refuting your opponent’s argument. This is usually saved for the last two or three paragraphs before the conclusion.
  • Conclusion: A quick summary of your thesis as well as a discussion on your stance on the implications of the thesis.

When you are familiar with how to write an argumentative essay, you can start writing. The writing process can seem complex, but if you have all the right tools and know how, you can write a successful paper.

For those who do not know how to write a good argumentative essay, the process may seem difficult. We break down the process step by step so you can easily write an argumentative essay.

The Process of Writing Argumentative Papers – From Start to Finish


Step 1

Keep clear notes throughout the course. You should also make sure to follow all class readings and try your best to attend every single class. Identify the big questions your professor is asking throughout the course. Keeping clear and concise notes will help you recognize the themes your professor is trying to emphasize. If you find that you are confused about something at any point in the course, take time to speak to your professor so they can clarify any uncertainties you may have.

Step 2

Read your assignment carefully. Be sure you fully understand the task and its directions before you begin researching and planning your essay. Once again, if you are not sure about something, speak to your professor.

Step 3

Gather evidences and build your outline. This is the most in depth step of writing an argumentative essay. This step is also how to write a good argumentative essay since the evidence you gather will affect how your essay will turn out.

Review any notes, readings, or class handouts to find evidence related to the assignment.

Begin sorting the evidence into categories as you begin to identify them.
Find a method of sorting that works best for you (T-charts, excel spreadsheets, or the use of 3×5 cards). As you begin to gather and sort sources, you will begin to notice there will be clusters of information that can be useful to answering or supporting the bigger questions. Your groups will contain clusters of information that are similar. Some will be small and others will be big.

Think about how each of the clusters can become a paragraph. If the clusters are big, split them into two paragraphs. Similarly, if you have a multitude of smaller clusters, these can be combined into one paragraph or left out if they are not suitable for your argument.

Arrange your clusters in a tentative order. This will soon become the outline of your paper.

Step 4

Write the rough draft. Follow the outline of your clusters and start piecing together the paper. Follow the format outline as listed above.

Keep in mind that drafting is not perfecting! Drafting is used for finding out if ideas are relevant or not, what works and what doesn’t. This part of the writing process allows you to test our ideas and examples and you should not be afraid to go back and edit or rearrange your paragraphs. Sometimes completely removing a section will make the overall paper stronger.

Just in case you change your mind or come up with other ideas, you should keep track of all drafts and their ideas until you are finalizing the paper. That way, you have not lost work you have already done.

Make sure your revisit your introduction occasionally to make sure the flow and arguments in your essay make sense and support the introduction. How to write an argumentative essay well will depend on how the drafting process goes.

Step 5

Create your title.

Step 6

Take a break. Give yourself a day or so to get your mind off of the essay. When you come back to the draft, you will be seeing the essay with fresh eyes and it might just spark the breakthrough you need if you have gotten stuck or confused about an argument.

Step 7

Time to revise the draft. Print off the draft on a clean piece of paper and grab a pen. Start marking down mistakes or circling changes or edits you want to make. At this stage, your ideas will start to become clearer.

Step 8

Finalize all your edits and changes and type your argumentative essay.

How to Write a Good Argument Essay?


Now you know process of how to write argumentative essays, but now you might be wondering ‘How do I write a college argumentative essay?’ When you need to know how to write for a college argumentative essay, there are several tips and tricks you should bear in mind. First and foremost, the format and the writing process will be the same as described above. What college professors are looking for when it comes to reading a good argumentative essay are:

  • precision in your argument
  • correct use of terms
  • grounding use of evidence
  • clear and concise prose

In the revision process, (Step Seven as above), you should take care to pay attention to the following questions associated with how do I write an argumentative essay that is a good argument essay:

  1. Did the introduction clearly establish and explain the thesis?
  2. Are the supporting paragraphs in a logical order?
  3. Does each of my paragraphs start with a topic sentence?
  4. Does each of my paragraphs have enough evidence to support the topic sentence of the paragraph?
  5. Is each sentence clear and concise and free of grammar and spelling mistakes?
  6. Which sentences need trimming down or removal altogether?
  7. Can I shorten any long quotations?
  8. Are my citations accurate and adequate?

These are all questions that you can be sure your professor will take notice of if you have not addressed them before handing in the paper. In addition, you should ask yourself ‘How do I write a college argumentative essay?’

These additional tips will help eliminate any negative aspects in your argumentative essay. How to write an appropriate essay includes all the before mentioned subjects as well as the following:

  • Avoid the use of slang words and casual language.
  • Remove any run on sentences.
  • Do not use a passive voice.
  • Do not end a paragraph that introduces the next paragraph. This is a bad habit that is often used in a middle and high school, but should not be used at a college level for writing argumentative essays.
  • Avoid using the Thesaurus too excessively.
  • Use past tense when writing about past events or statements.
  • Avoid the use of unattributed quotations.
  • Write with parallel structure.
  • Avoid sentences fragments.
  • Always be sure to cite your sources thoroughly and in the appropriate manner.
  • Remember grammatically speaking ‘who’ is referring to people, ‘that’ is referring to things.

When it comes to college level essay writing, the tips listed above as well as the questions, should be implemented into your paper. In fact, these simple mistakes that can be corrected in the drafting process. Give yourself some time to go over your first rough draft so you can be absolutely sure that you have not made any of the above ‘simple mistakes’. This is especially important for citations as colleges take plagiarism very seriously and even if you have made an honest mistake in your citations, you can still be at risk of penalization from your college.

How to Write an Effective Argumentative Essay?

Now that you know the process of writing an argumentative essay, and how to write good argumentative essays, there are a few things you should keep in mind so you are able to write an effective argumentative essay.

The purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to see your side of the argument. An effective argumentative essay will fully change the readers’ point of view on the topic and even convince them to change argumentative sides.

Tips for writing an effective argumentative essay include:

  1. Finding reliable and relevant sources besides your notes and what is discussed in class.
  2. Writing in a way that readers can understand and empathize with your point of view.
  3. Using a ‘hook’ for your first sentence. This will engage readers and keep them reading.
  4. Properly using claims and evidences (claims support your side of the argument and can be disputed; evidences are factual and are used to back up your claims).
  5. Correctly refute your opponent’s argument in a professional manner.

In your conclusion, restate your argument and paint a picture of a world in where your argument is (or is not) implemented.

Stay true to your side of the argument. If you are not consistent, your readers will become confused.

Now that you know the writing process of an argumentative paper, and how to write it well and effectively, you can be sure to turn in an essay that your professor will be impressed with. Keep in mind the drafting process is where all the magic happens. Pay attention to the details of your argument, as well as the details within your paper so you can be sure to write an argumentative essay that sways the readers.

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