How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Guide

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

16 min



How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Guide

There are 4 main types of essays in English language. In the argumentative essay, you must express your conviction on the formulated problem, agree or disagree with the author's position. In your answer, you must give two arguments based on knowledge, life, or reading experience.

A box is nothing more than an expression of one's conviction on the proposed problem. However, to argue correctly, you need to follow specific rules.

Let's say you have been assigned to express your position in an essay ("Is it good to be kind?", "What do you think, what is friendship for?"). Saying something like "Yes / No" or giving a monosyllabic answer is the most convenient way, but it won't count as a fact. Remember, presenting a box isn't just about agreeing or disagreeing but also explaining why you think so.

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An essay is an info message that confirms the truth of a statement or a concept. There are three main styles of arguments:

  • Logical fact;
  • Illustrative examples;
  • Authoritative opinions, resources from which you can draw inspiration.

The first group includes evidence that follows from the very logic of the thought process. It is also called rational argument.

Illustrative facts "reveal" the position with visual confirmation. As a picture, stories used from personal (own life, cases that happened with friends and acquaintances) or ordinary human experience (world culture, history).

Authoritative opinions also work flawlessly. Statements of world art (writers, artists, actors, social media, and others) are considered facts that do not require further proof. The entire evidence base must be reliable: use only credible sources. Also, discussions in defense or refutation of the position.

Do not confuse this type of essay with its "brother" - the expository essay. Here you do not have to prove something persistently, your main task is to analyze a certain topic, which is carried out using facts, statistics, links to various studies, and reports.

Descriptive vs. Argumentative Essay

Everyone should be able to write a work-description. And it doesn't matter if you are getting a technical degree or education in humanities. For successful communication with other people, it is crucial to correctly describe objects, phenomena, or actions and logically present a conviction in such a description.

A descriptive essay is a work that represents the signs, properties, qualities of a person, object, or phenomenon. Descriptive essay examples indicate the correct sequence of teaching the material. For your paper, you can read a sample, just for inspiration, the paper itself must be unique.

In the text, the essay provides several proofs of different styles, following each other, working on contrast, and looking impressive. To prove the legitimacy of a declaration, select positive examples of illustration or resources of other authors.

The fact must be clear and outlined. To do this, each new piece of information in the letter should start with a new line. You can use one discussion, but you need to give a comprehensive analysis of the topic's work.

The Function of the Argumentative Essay

Creating something new that no one has ever created before, involves completely different parts of the brain and soul that sleep while doing other tasks. A student who knows what he has to do also gains a deeper understanding of the subject. 

The essay teaches us to think with the tension that allows us to overcome some atypical tasks, look for non-standard solutions, and communicate these findings and answers. Writing an essay helps navigate and learn not only language and literature but also successfully comprehend other subjects - mathematics, physics, drawing, and other resources.

This, although it seems paradoxical, is a well-known teaching practice. Even better, when you create truly ingenious creations from your sample.

Models for Argumentative Essays

The parameter is information that proves the validity of the position. The same rules apply when choosing sources. Argumentation can occupy a significant part of the text. A useful fact is official data or info from documents. A wrong box is someone's personal subjective opinion expressed in the media or blog.

A fact can only be accurate and reliable information. If something can be argued using numbers and graphs, this must done. An empirical study carried out by the work creator can also be used, but only if the experiment is carried out correctly.

Arguments and examples should strictly follow the basic idea. One item - one box, follow this rule, and do not overload the text; two, three points will be enough for a document, if you have a sample, follow it.

In this context, it is worth talking about the two most common approaches to argumentation.

Rogerian Approach

This approach will help those who seek to compromise, rather than relying solely on themselves.

  • Present the opposing side to the reader.
  • Explain why some people support this idea.
  • Find weaknesses in the argument.
  • Show ways to solve these problems with your position.
  • Introduce a compromise: how will both sides win if they accept the opposite point of view?

Toulmin Approach

This approach is more commonly used in academic writing.

Main Argument elements:

  • Claim - this is the main idea of the whole argument.
  • Data - whatever the statement refers to.
  • Warrant - these are assumptions that show how and why such a statement is obtained from the available data.
  • Backing - this is an additional piece of evidence that the author uses to strengthen the basis.
  • Rebuttal - it is a statement that indicates a limitation of the statement.
  • Qualifier limits the validity of a statement and/or describes the conditions under which a statement is true.
  • An argument containing all the elements will reflect both strengths and weaknesses.

The idea is not to beat the other side or break up counter-arguments, but to get as close to the truth or realistic, workable solutions as possible.

What Are the Parts of an Argumentative Essay?

Argumentative essay outline

The composition is reasonably free in the choice of the style and focus of the topic, expressing your point of view. Despite the multitude of the rules, the outline of the essay must be strictly observed. Traditionally, it defines the staging and disclosure of the three main points of the argument essay composition:

  • introduction paragraph;
  • main body;
  • the final part.

In the absence of one of the three parts, the pattern of the entire composition is broken. This is considered a mistake and is taken into account when evaluating the whole conclusion piece.

Set the ratio on the amount of text in the first paragraph, the central part, and the conclusion. Remember that the main body should be the largest, the opening should be half as small, and the end should be the smallest. Any deviations in the volume of one or another part of the essay will negatively affect the entire work. Therefore, assess your text and it will not become an example for others.

There is another critical element of essay composition. We are talking about a topic sentence. Begin each part of your work with a topic sentence that will focus the reader's attention in what will be discussed next. Then gradually argue your points of view.

A Well-Structured Thesis Statement

We have a question - how do you write a thesis statement for an argumentative essay? You probably missed this point, so let's figure it out together. The article's abstracts are its necessary provisions, briefly formulated to convey the text's content concisely, confirming goals, objectives, methods, results of the research described, and the conclusions made by the author.

After getting acquainted with the thesis statement for essay writing, the reader should understand the essence of the presented work, its novelty, and relevance. In a narrow sense, the position is an abbreviated version of a scientific article, conveying the essence of a more voluminous work concisely.

Sometimes this is taught in high school, college, but first-year students are forced to study the genre's pattern independently. To avoid confusion, stick to the thesis statement plan (topic, goal, task) and review samples of other creators.


First, let’s look at the critical signs of the introductory paragraph:

  • Laconic (introduction and derivation took together - no more than one-third of the entire work).
  • Connection with the text topic, with the central part, and the completion of the essay writing.
  • In the introduction, you need to find a place for the problem of the original version.

In the end, refer to the introductory materials.

The introduction organizes the entire text, so you need to be very serious about choosing its form and content. The opening leads to the text's problem, which logically moves to the creator's position and your reasoned attitude to the problem.

Use interesting facts, unusual comparisons at the beginning, tell a story from your own or someone else's experience. Describe the problem, provide an example, tell us why someone should read your text. If you have any background information, you should present it in this part of the text. It prepares the reader for whatever you are about to put in the main body of the essay.

Supporting Body Paragraphs

Divide the text into paragraphs - the elementary rule of text design. One thought - one item. Some do not understand this and send the text without paragraphs: as it is, by a stream of consciousness.

Break the text into smaller parts so that the person could understand you. To rest your eyes, in the end. To make it easier to find where you finished reading before getting distracted. The only thing that is worse than a text without paragraphs is a text that abuses formatting: bold, italic, bold, italic

The rule of the writing process is to divide the text into items. This is a way to manage attention: the reader sees small pieces of writing and is tempted to read them. If the text is divided into sections, this is good, but it can be better.

Your Persuasive Conclusion

Since this section is highlighted for summary purposes, the student must draw a conclusion. Only in this paragraph will the work please you with a high mark. Extracts from the text support the results. The final item summarizes the importance of the work.

The volume of the abstract's final section cannot be more than the introductory part's size. If we talk as a percentage of all work, then 5 to 10 percent are allocated for the derivation. It would help if you did not stretch the text by inserting phrases that do not carry a semantic load.

After carefully reading the central part, you can begin to collect phrases and info. In this box, the retelling should consist of informative theses. These phrases will become the filling of an essential section of the work. There may be several derivations, but each subsequent point flows smoothly.

Transitional Phrases

Transitive verbs must be followed by an appendix to get a complete sentence filled with content. Many dictionaries do not disregard this property of verbs. And provide us with info about the transitivity or intransitivity of words.

There are transition words in every text, although different programs monitor their presence, motivate the author to reduce the number. They belong to the category of stop words.

Without these phrases, articles will be annoying and inconvenient to read. In the desire to write juicy, not dry text, transition words are essential. The phrase "very important" is an example of transition words. More examples: "because", "besides", "the best", "probably". Some services consider these words garbage, but they can argue that transitional phrases are used in moderation.

How To Outline an Argumentative Essay

Replacing a fact with a paraphrase is one of the most popular mistakes school children make. Writing is reasoning, so the examples you provide should support your position or develop a thought. You are not competing in the ability to memorize the works of the school curriculum. It is necessary to show that you can analyze what you have read, embed it in your experience and your declaration.

There is a legend in schools, the college, that one can argue one's position only with examples from fiction - this is not true. The essay rules say that you should rely primarily on your reading experience. There is no such rule that tell students that they can only use classical pieces. And it also doesn’t concern fiction. You choose how the paper looks like, what facts you need to provide. Consider these rules to create the perfect story. State the events the way you see fit.

Elements of an Argumentative Essay

The most common classical pattern of the text includes an introduction, central part, derivation. This pattern often has an info speech, a report. Nowadays, welcoming trade speeches differ in free composition, primarily determined by the situation and the addressee.

In the course of experiments, it was found that what is best remembered and assimilated is given at the beginning. Or at end of the message, this is due to the action of the so-called psychological law of the "edge." Therefore, it is essential to consider the content of the introduction and derivation.

Any text can be attributed to a particular style. Style is usually understood as a kind of literary language that performs a specific function in communication. Therefore, the methods are called functional.


Own position is the opinion of the student writing the essay on the problem of the original text. Not on any issue from those in the version, but on the one you have chosen. Your thoughts, emotions, feelings.

The student's conviction may not be the same as the author's. This is normal, and sometimes an opposite point of view is even welcomed. The idea of the creator is far from authoritative; the creator is not still right. Don't be afraid to write your thoughts.

But always think that it is your position that you will need to argue in the future. Therefore, you should not write about your very radical views because problems with a parameter may arise.

We write by analogy with the position of the author. We express our conviction using cliché phrases or other means. We try to do without complicated and tedious expressions. 1-3 sentences are enough.


Reasoning identifies and describes the causes and relationships of any phenomena. A position is placed at the beginning. A declaration, the truth of which must be proved with arguments and convincing evidence. The paper can be based both on reasoning-statements and on reasoning-refutation.

The writer is allowed not to use only direct facts, but sometimes also information from other sources. When building evidence, the author of a paper can rely on personal experience, newspaper and magazine publications, films, provide examples from life and literature.

Argumentation in an essay-reasoning should take up at least 2/3 of the total volume. The optimal number of facts for a small paper is three. Personal experience can serve as a fact, but remember that this is the least convincing information.


The proof is a logical operation to substantiate the judged truth using other true beliefs. It performs a kind of cognitive role. A person constructs the text with a particular purpose. For example, make sure that knowledge is real and linked with whether this thought is correct and why?

In the process of proof, the real grounds sought from which this knowledge follows. This is significantly different from inference, which solves a cognitive task - finding what follows from the existing premises.

If a certain scheme can represent the process of proof, it will look like this:

  • What you want to prove.
  • The evidence supports the chosen position.
  • What manifestations does it have?

The answers to these questions reveal the concepts of place, grounds, and demonstration that are part of the text pattern.


By argumentative discourse, we mean dialogue-dispute, dialogue-conversation. If the remarks are thematically interconnected, then there is a chance that you wrote the text well.

We use counterarguments to create convincing text successfully. They become the basis of everything written; our goal is to create a document on the pretext of influencing factors that will affect the human mind.

Dialogue is the interlocutor's remarks, which file with counterarguments. And a set of factors that carry a convincing message. Sometimes we defend our opinion through counterarguments, touching upon conflicting positions, such as talking about politics.

The dialogical unity components' connection is characterized either by the subordinate relationship of replicas or by the ray connection. This is a combination of ingredients when the position is the thematic core.

Types of Argument Claims

Your task is to substantiate the idea. And this means turning a dubious or contradictory idea into an acceptable and understandable one for the audience.

This can be an idea that does not contradict the values and interests of readers. Then the audience will perceive this opinion as plausible, correct in terms of a certain norm.

A rhetorical fact consists of position and justification. Justification is a set of boxes, formulations of thoughts, through which the rhetorician seeks to make the situation acceptable to the audience. In terms of pattern and content, the rhetorical fact includes three components: scheme, top, reduction.

A schema is the logical form of a given particular fact. The construction of the document must comply with the rules of logic. This outline will show that we did an excellent job at the core of the text. The readers will conclude that you can think deeply and critically, conveying the correct position through simple facts.

Main Types of Arguments

Argumentation is a full or partial justification of the acceptability or inadmissibility of the position. Depending on the task - what we justify and how completely, the following argumentation styles can be distinguished:

  • a full justification of the acceptability of the position - proof;
  • a full explanation of its inadmissibility - refutation;
  • a partial account of the acceptability of the fact - confirmation;
  • a partial reason for its ineligibility is criticism.

Theoretical argumentation is based on reasoning without direct reference to experience. It is built using deduction - deduction of logically necessary consequences from previously adopted provisions. The empirical fact is based on factual judgment based on experience.

How to Format an Argumentative Essay

There are several requirements for the design of a writing essay:

  • The subject of the article is written without quotes. They are relevant only if the topic is a quotation or the work. The relevant argumentative essay topic should be not only attractive but also understandable for society.
  • If you use an epigraph at the beginning of your work, write it on the right side of the sheet without quotation marks.
  • Divide the text into items. It is challenging to read reliable text that is not divided into parts. It will be much easier to express your thoughts, passing from one to another.
  • If you use dates in your text, format them digitally: Arabic characters for the number and year, Roman for the century. Other numbers are provided in the form of a copy.
  • Watch your handwriting. The text must be clear and legible. Don't give the teacher unnecessary trouble.
  • Choose one style for editing: MLA or APA format.
  • Proofread the text for plagiarism. You can use special programs for this.

Tips for Good Argumentative Essay

You can and even probably need to use reference books and read already written essays to write yours. You can't find outstanding works just like that. If you still read an article that fits your topic and want to rewrite it under your work's guise, it will give a bad result. After all, before you, many people could do the same thing as you, then the texts will be the same.

Behind the impulses of creativity, one must not forget what they want from you. The essential thing is to reveal the topic. Sometimes it is helpful to formulate your paper's subject for yourself as a question to which you will answer.

The composition must start from the end. Then you will indicate what kind of reasoning you will end with, and having written the central part, you can write the introductory part so that what statement does not differ from what you wrote as a result. What is the example of an essay you are looking for?

Please stick to the composition that we described, only under such conditions can you create the text of your dreams. Use as many creative ideas as possible to make the document academically compliant and enjoyable.

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I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

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