There have been exactly 18,312 words written here at the Kibin blog on the subject of the argumentative essay. Think I made that number up? Well, prove it.
We’ve written so many blog posts on the subject because it’s by far the most common essay assignment that students face. About the only way to avoid argumentative essays is to not go to school at all.
They are kind of like uncomfortable conversations with your grandma about your future. You can avoid them by just never visiting your grandma, but you should really visit your grandma. Seriously, go visit your grandma.
And since argumentative essays are so ubiquitous, it’s important to me that you can easily access all of the necessary information on how to write them.
So when you’re done counting those 18,312 words (seriously! …maybe), come on back and read the rest of this post containing everything you need to know about the argumentative essay.
The Argumentative Essay: What Is It?
First and foremost, you’ll need to have an understanding of what an argumentative essay is. The last thing you want is to get halfway through your essay only to realize that you’re doing it wrong. It happens.
It’s kind of like a vegetarian getting halfway through dinner and then realizing it’s meatloaf. Honestly, that sounds just as bad for a non-vegetarian. Meatloaf is gross.
So remember: An argumentative essay requires you to pick a debatable topic, do extensive research on it, choose a side in the debate, and then argue for that side by citing the evidence you have gathered.
- This post does a great job of breaking down how to frame your argument.
- If you’re a visual learner, check out this infographic that illustrates the most important elements of your essay.
- Check out this post for a detailed analysis of what makes a strong argument.
After you get some experience as a writer, you start to develop certain strategies that help you tackle an essay in a more efficient way.
The same goes for writing the argumentative essay. You’ll write this type of essay so many times during your college career that you’ll begin to develop a process. However, if this is your first time writing one, you haven’t yet discovered what works best for you.
You could jump from the plane and hope for the best, but perhaps you should learn how to pull the ripcord first.
So it’s important that you read up on the best prewriting strategies before jumping into writing your essay.
- Here’s a post that explains various prewriting strategies that you can easily apply to the argumentative essay.
- Check out this great post on how to outline your argument in a clear and logical fashion.
- It’s important to understand what a finished argumentative essay will look like before you tackle your own, so check out our database full of examples and a post we did analyzing and annotating two examples.
Choosing the Right Topic
The single most important decision you’ll make in this process will be choosing your topic.
You will not like working on an essay for several weeks related to a subject that is of no interest to you. So choose wisely, my friend.
Your face will not melt if you choose poorly (Indiana Jones reference), but you won’t feel good about it.
- Check out this post that includes dozens of amazing argumentative essay topic ideas…or this post with dozens more…or this post with—okay, I jest, but there are at least 80 topics between the two posts for you to dive into!
Finding the Right Resources
The foundation of a strong argumentative essay lies in the research you do.
The entire premise is to argue for one side of a debatable topic. The only way to do that convincingly is to have research to back up your claims.
However, not all sources of information are created equal. The quality of your research can mean the difference between your essay being praised or panned.
So make sure you evaluate your sources to ensure they are reputable and pass the CRAAP test. You must avoid unreliable sources of information! That includes Wikipedia, Facebook posts from Aunt Susan, and state-run Russian blogs.
- If you’re writing your argumentative essay on gun control, fast food, global warming, the death penalty, affirmative action, texting while driving, or cyber bullying, we’ve gathered some quality articles to get you started.
- If you have a broad topic but need to narrow it down, well, we’ve got just the post to help you with that too.
Nailing the Introduction and Ever-Important Thesis
The introduction, which includes the thesis statement, is one of the most important parts of any essay. The argumentative essay is no different.
You want to use the introduction to frame the topic in an interesting way. You can achieve this by starting with a hook sentence that gets your reader interested in your topic.
After your hook, provide any necessary background information that the reader will need before considering your argument.
Then, wrap up your introduction with the backbone of your essay: the thesis. This one sentence should contain the multiple facets of your argument that you plan on tackling in each body paragraph.
- Need help writing your argumentative thesis? Check out our thesis builder.
- We’ve also written two posts full of thesis examples for argumentative essays. Check them out here and here.
Writing the Body Paragraphs
Now that you have your thesis, you can write the body of your argumentative essay.
Each argument or facet of your bigger argument that is contained in your thesis will be explained and proven within one section of the body.
These sections may be one paragraph each (in the case of a five-paragraph structure) or multiple paragraphs each (in the case of a lengthier research paper).
Moreover, the body of your essay should be used to refute any counterarguments that might prevent you from convincing your reader.
Remember the outline you (hopefully) did during the prewriting stage of the essay process?
Make sure you refer back to that outline so that you don’t forget anything.
- Here is a post we did on how to craft the perfect paragraph.
- And of course, no paragraph can be perfect without a stellar topic sentence.
As you conclude your argumentative essay, and we near the end of this blog post, it’s important to review a bit and tie up any loose ends.
In an argumentative essay, you want to repeat and reinforce your argument in your final paragraph.
Then, in a sort of inverse hook, you should release your reader with an intriguing scenario to consider. What would happen if your argument was implemented? Or conversely, what would happen if it wasn’t?
If done correctly, this can cement your argument in the reader’s mind.
If you need some help getting started, I suggest you read some of the argumentative essay examples in our database.
Then, once you have a draft, send it over to the skilled editors at Kibin. They will comb through it for any potentially damaging holes in your argument.
As always, thanks for reading, and good luck!
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
I take my dog Oskar to work with me nearly every day. He rides in a trailer that I tow behind my bike 2.5 miles uphill to the Kibin office. I’m lucky that I work for a place that allows dogs.
Other dog companions aren’t so fortunate. Shouldn’t responsible dog owners be allowed to bring their beloved furballs anywhere they wish?
But, this post isn’t about teaching you to persuade your boss to let you bring your dog to work (although that would be cool). No, the goal of this blog post is to teach you how to write a persuasive essay outline.
In this post, I’ll break down the components of a good persuasive essay. I’ll also set you up with a downloadable outline template that you can use when you are ready to persuade your teacher to give you a better grade in English class this semester.
What is a Persuasive Essay Anyway?
The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince your readers that your viewpoint is the right viewpoint. In a persuasive paper, you pull out all the stops to say, “It’s my way or the highway!”
Unlike argumentative essays, where facts reign supreme, you don’t necessarily have to use researched, absolute facts to support your persuasive paper.
The goal of your persuasive paper is to persuade by any means necessary. If that involves including emotional anecdotes or stories instead of facts, that’s fine.
Don’t believe me? Ask any politician. When it comes to powers of persuasion, the facts don’t necessarily matter.
While including actual facts and evidence can be an effective way to persuade, it’s okay to play dirty in a persuasive essay. Make your readers laugh, cry, or quake in fear as long as it gets them to believe that what you are saying is true.
That said, you can’t go in and write your essay without any direction. To really persuade someone in your persuasive essay, you have to be smoooooth. You have to have finesse. To be smooth and finesseful (not a word, by the way), you should start with an outline.
Here’s an example of a persuasive essay outline:
Persuasive Essay Outline Intro
First, it’s important to select a topic that you can take a stand for.
Let’s say we’re writing about animal rights. I’m not talking about your typical “people shouldn’t hurt animals” essay. I’m talking about bestowing actual human rights on to my favorite animal: dogs.
1. Write a hook. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Always start your introduction with a strong hook. Make your audience want to read your essay.
For example, “Your dog is smarter than your baby, and more useful and loyal too. Plus, your dog will never, ever turn into an angsty teenager. If dogs are such good people, why don’t they have rights?”
Define your audience. This is a sentence or two that helps your reader define himself as being a member of your target audience. In my example, I’m specifically speaking to dog owners who live in Portland, Oregon.
For example, “For all Portland dog companions who have ever been turned away from a restaurant, disallowed access to transit, or rejected from a public park, it’s time to stand up for your pet’s rights—and your rights too!”
2. Present your thesis statement. Here is where you get to the meat of your persuasive essay and define the exact viewpoint that you want your audience to adopt.
Much as you would in an argumentative essay, you must take a stance on your topic. No wishy-washy “eh, I could go either way” stuff allowed.
Pick a side. Stick to it. Defend it to the end!
For example, “The dogs of Portland deserve the same rights and privileges as granted to our youngest humans, such as the right to visit restaurants, ride buses, walk off-leash, and go to the cinema so long as they are accompanied by a responsible human companion.”
Persuasive Essay Outline Body Paragraphs
The exact number of body paragraphs you include will depend on the parameters of your assignment and your topic. A bigger assignment and/or topic will require more reasons and paragraphs. A smaller assignment and/or topic will require fewer reasons and paragraphs. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m including three example reasons.
Each reason you come up with can be emotionally charged, logically irrefutable, or ethically binding—so long as it’s persuasive. In addition, each persuasive reason you offer should be supported by a fact or an example.
Body Paragraph 1
- Reason #1. Portland dogs are as smart as young children and often make for more polite companions.
- Fact or example 1: Dogs are capable of learning up to 250 words and can easily go with the flow of human interactions.
- Fact or example 2: Dogs are quieter and less disruptive than the average two-year-old human.
Body Paragraph 2
- Reason #2. Portland dogs should be able to walk leash-free if they are accompanied by their human companions; in most cases, wearing a leash is unnecessary.
- Fact or example 1: Dogs can be easily trained to walk alongside their human companions without a leash or restraint.
- Fact or example 2: In a recent survey, 65% of Portland dog owners said that walking a dog on a leash is more of a hassle than walking a dog leash-free.
Body Paragraph 3
- Reason #3. More rights for Portland dogs means more rights for Portland’s dog companions.
- Fact or example 1: Dog companions will have more choices of places where they can spend time with friends and family without having to leave beloved pets behind.
- Fact or example 2: Dog companions won’t have to deal with the trouble of hiring a dog-walker while at work or a pet-sitter for short weekend getaways.
Persuasive Essay Outline Conclusion
Now that you have outlined your reasons and supporting facts and examples, it’s time to seal the deal in your essay’s conclusion. Your conclusion should contain the following important components:
1. Brief summary. Remind your audience of why this topic is important.
For example, “Dogs all across Portland are being unfairly denied the basic right to accompany their human companions to public places. It’s time for Portland dog owners to stand up for their furry friends.”
2. Benefits to the reader. Explain how acting on this issue will benefit your audience.
For example, “Not only will taking a stand for your canine benefit dogs everywhere, it will also benefit you. Next time you want to take a weekend away, ride the bus to work, or enjoy a matinee, you won’t have to worry about who will take care of your dog while you are away. This issue is about your rights as a dog companion too.”
3. Acall to action. What do you want your readers to do now that they’ve (hopefully) subscribed to your viewpoint on the topic?
For example, “Vote ‘yes’ on Portland City Ballot initiative 14 this election. It’s time to stand up for the rights of our most loyal friends.”
Downloadable Persuasive Essay Outline Template and Additional Resources
Now that you have a better idea of what it takes to create a persuasive essay outline, go forth and persuade the world!
I created the above visual outline using the online mind-mapping app at text2mindmap. It’s a great resource to brainstorm your persuasive essay topic, or create a visual persuasive essay outline.
Here is another useful persuasive essay outline builder that I found during my research.
Finally, here is a Persuasive Essay Outline Template (Word doc) I created just for you.
Feel free to use it to get started.
Once your writing is complete, be sure to have an editor review your essay for you. After all, you don’t want all your preparation to be for nothing.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.