Argumentative essays defend your point of view regarding a particular topic and are designed to get readers to also agree with the same view.
1. Name_______________________________________________ Class____________ Argumentative Essay Writing In an argumentative essay, your job is make the reader agree with your opinion about a controversial topic. You have to (1) state your opinion, (2) give reasons to support your opinion, and (3) argue against the opposite opinion. Overall, you must convince the audience that your side of the argument is correct. To convince the audience, your essay must be balanced—it must include your viewpoint and the opposing viewpoint, or counterargument. Even though you are arguing only one side of an issue, you must think about what the other side would say about your opinion. After you give the counterargument, you must refute it by showing that it is wrong. If your essay is balanced, a reader is more likely to agree with you. The most common type of argumentative essay has six paragraphs. Like all essays, it begins with an introduction and ends with a conclusion. In between are the body paragraphs where you must do three things: support your opinion, present the opposing point of view, and tell why that viewpoint is wrong. Hook INTRODUCTION Paragraph 1 Connecting/Background Information Main idea Statement/Thesis Statement Support 1 (first reason) Paragraph 2 Explanation, detail, example Explanation, detail, example Support 2 (second reason) Paragraph 3 Explanation, detail, example Explanation, detail, example Support 3 (third reason) BODY Paragraph 4 Explanation, detail, example Explanation, detail, example Opposite Side Counterargument 1 Paragraph Refutation (ATTACK) 5 Counterargument 2 Refutation (ATTACK) Repeat your thesis statement in different words CONCLUSION Paragraph 6 Suggestion/Opinion/Prediction for the future Studying an Argumentative Essay The following essay argues for the use of school uniforms. Discuss the Preview Questions with the class. Then read the example essay and answer the questions that follow. Preview Questions 1. Did you wear a uniform when you went to school? 2. Some people believe that children are too materialistic these days. For example, they may be too interested in wearing expensive brand name clothes. What is your opinion? Matthew Barbee, 2015 1
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4. TOPICS FOR ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAYS What is a great topic for an argumentative essay? Obviously, it should be an issue that you feel strongly about, know something about, and would like to share your opinion about. What is your opinion, why do you feel this way? Can you think of some reasons why people might disagree with you? When you choose a topic, consider these two questions: Does the topic have two sides? How much do you know about the topic? Look at the list of argumentative topics below. What is your opinion about each topic? Are they two sides of each topic? Topics for Argument Banning cigarettes Banning violent video games Requiring school uniforms Using animals for medical research Mandating military service Requiring a test for people who want children Lowering the drinking age to 18 Banning cell phones in schools Getting rid of zoos Requiring a year of study abroad ACTIVITY Identifying Topics for Argumentative Essays Read these eight topics. Put a check mark () next to the ones that could be good topics for argument essays. _________1. The first time I flew in a plane. _________2. University education should be free. _________3. How and why birds fly south for the winter. _________4. High school teachers need a higher salary. _________5. Steps needed to get a driver’s license. _________6. Legalizing gay marriage. _________7. Increasing tax on imported food. _________8. How to become a karate master. Can you think of three additional topics that would be excellent for an argumentative essay? 1. __________________________________________________________________________________ 2. __________________________________________________________________________________ 3. __________________________________________________________________________________ TOPICS FOR ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAYS After you choose a topic, think about what you know about it. What do you know about your side of the argument and what do you know about the opposite side of the argument? A good way to organize your ideas is to use a Pro & Con T-chart. [Pro = in favor of thesis statement, Con = against thesis statement] If you cannot think of several ideas for one or both sides, you should do more research about that topic or choose a different topic. Matthew Barbee, 2015 4
5. Here is a Pro & Con T-Chart for an essay about cell-phones being allowed in classrooms. Thesis statement: Cell phones should not be allowed in university classrooms. PRO CON 1. Cell phones distract students from 1. Cell phones can easily be turned off learning if they send messages or play and kept out of sight. games in class. 2. University students are not children and 2. Cell phones might ring in class and cellphones are important in an emergency. disturb the teacher. 3. Cell phones can be useful tools for education 3. Students could use cell phones to cheat such a being used as a dictionary or to make on tests. memos. ACTIVITY Brainstorming Supporting Ideas Read the thesis statements and complete the Pro & Con T-charts. Write three ideas to support each statement. Then write three ideas against each statement. Finally, choose an original topic and write a thesis statement of your own. Then fill in the pros and cons for your new topic. 1. Thesis statement: Adults should be required to pass a test before they can become parents. PRO CON 1. 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. 2. Thesis statement: The drinking age in Japan should be lowered to 18 years old. PRO CON 1. 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. 3. ORIGINAL Thesis statement: _____________________________________________________________ PRO CON 1. 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. Matthew Barbee, 2015 5
6. Name_______________________________________________ Class____________ Original Student Writing: Argument Essay Brainstorming will help you get started with your argumentative essay. In this section, you will choose a topic for your essay, write your thesis statement, think about several supporting ideas for your opinion, and think about the ACTIVITY Planning your Essay Follow the steps below to develop ideas for an argument essay. 1. First, choose any other topic and thesis statement that you want to write about. Remember that the topic must have more than one point of view to qualify as an argument. Essay topic: _____________________________________________________________________________ Thesis statement: ________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Now brainstorm ideas about your topic. Fill out the Pro & Con T-Chart with as many ideas as you can. PRO CON 1. 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. 4. 4. 5. 5. 3. Look at your Pro & Con T-chart again. Choose three reasons from your PRO list that support your thesis most effectively and circle them. You now know what your major supporting information will be. 4. Now give attention to opposing points of view. In the box below, choose two counterarguments from your CON list and write a refutation for each. Counterargument (from CON list) Refutation (ATTACK - Why is it wrong?) 1. 2. Matthew Barbee, 2015 6
7. ACTIVITY Planning with an Outline Try to complete the following outline before you begin writing your essay. You may use more support sentences if you need. And try to use complete sentences when it is possible. 1. Introduction (Paragraph 1) A. Hook: ____________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ B. Connecting Information:______________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ C. Thesis Statement: __________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Body A. First Reason (Paragraph 2) topic sentence: _______________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ 1. _____________________________________________________________________________ Support 2. _____________________________________________________________________________ 3. _____________________________________________________________________________ B. Second Reason (Paragraph 3) topic sentence: ____________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ 1. _____________________________________________________________________________ Support 2. _____________________________________________________________________________ 3. _____________________________________________________________________________ C. Third Reason (Paragraph 4) topic sentence: ______________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ 1. _____________________________________________________________________________ Support 2. _____________________________________________________________________________ 3. _____________________________________________________________________________ D. Counterargument (Paragraph 5) 1. Counterargument #1: ___________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ Refutation (attack): _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ 2. Counterargument #2: ___________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ Refutation (attack): _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ 3. Conclusion (Paragraph 6) A. Restated Thesis: ____________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ B. Opinion/Suggestion/Prediction: _______________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ Matthew Barbee, 2015 7