You might not realize it, but writing makes the world go ’round. Huffington Post lays out some reasons why writing is more important than it’s ever been. As author Tomas Laurinavicius puts it, “In fact, the importance of writing has perhaps increased in the last decade or so, thanks to trends in technology. Most folks communicate via email, text, or social media, and hence, many millions of pieces of information are flowing between us through the written word every day. In matters of business, when every second counts, strong writing makes the difference between smooth operations and clumsy footing.”
Writing isn’t only important for business or academics, either. You use a wide variety of different writing styles in your daily life, even if you don’t think of it. That’s why it’s important to learn about different styles of writing, so you can learn what to focus on and how you can improve each one.
Argumentative writing is a particularly tricky one. For one thing, argumentative writing involves navigating conflicting opinions by its very nature. People get defensive when their ideas are being challenged or being asked to change. Tempers can flare, and people can get edgy. This negates your opportunity to actually change or influence someone’s thinking.
We’re going to look at some effective argumentative essay writing tips to help you master this particular art form.
What Is Argumentative Writing?
Argumentative writing is a form of persuasive writing. It’s one of the three main types of thesis statements, alongside analytical essays and expository essays. Unlike analytical or expository essays, however, argumentative writing does have an opinion and an angle. You’re trying to convince your readers of something. It’s still got to be laid out like an official essay, however; so argumentative essays are different than something like an opinionated blog post or personal status update.
Now let’s take a look at some specific effective argumentative essay writing tips.
#1: Start With An Argument
The argument is the cornerstone of argumentative essay writing. It’s the nucleus around which you will construct the rest of your essay. It will also inform the research you conduct, the formatting of your essay, even the language you will use to convince your readers.
You’ll want to pick an argument that’s well-supported enough to yield enough research to flesh out your essay. You’ll also want to think about the public perceptions of your argument, as well. You’ll need to consider the people you’re trying to convince. You’ll have to imagine some of their counter-arguments so you can address them with your argumentative essay.
#2: Craft Your Thesis
Once you’ve settled upon your central argument, started your research, and considered your intended audience, the next step is to craft your thesis statement. This is similar to constructing your case, but refined and condensed. It boils your central argument down to one sentence, ideally, or into an easily understandable concept, at the very least.
Think of the thesis statement as the ‘elevator pitch’ for your argumentative essay. An elevator pitch, if you don’t know, is a Hollywood term for how you’d sell an idea over the span of an elevator ride. It helps you get really clear on your argument.
It’s a good idea to come up with your thesis statement before beginning your research in earnest. It helps make sure you don’t waste precious time making wrong turns and going down blind alleys during the research phase.
#3: Do Your Research
Now that you know what position you’re taking for your argument and settled on your thesis statement, you’re ready to begin researching in earnest. Finding research for your argumentative essay is an art form all its own. Or, even more specifically, a science.
It’s not difficult to find evidence to research to support pretty much any argument in the information age. Consider OurHollowEarth.com, a website that states that the Earth is hollow and populated by The Twelve Tribes Of Israel. The website looks legit. It’s even got some high-quality backlinks. The mid-90s web design may be a giveaway that something’s amiss. The argument that UFOs actually come from the Hollow Earth to defend the ancient tribes that live there might be another clue.
Not only do you need to find the right information to support your argument, you also need to consider where that information is coming from. Do your best to find research from high-quality sources. Scientific studies and articles from peer-reviewed journals are the classic sources for academic papers, for instance. Published books are another authoritative research resource. Be careful with self-published books, however, as there’s less quality control over what gets published these days.
Don’t just research your own argument, either. You’ll want to do some research around the opposing argument as well. Think of writing your argumentative essay like preparing for a debate. While your opponent won’t be in the same space at the same time, they’re still your intended audience. While you’ll also want to consider people that already agree with your argument, you want to watch out about preaching to the choir. You’ve only got so much time to prepare your argumentative essay.
#4: Lay Out Your Argument Logically
Now that your research is underway and you know what points you’re trying to make, it’s time to decide on the format for your essay and then get to writing! Although every essay is different, the skeleton of every essay is the same: intro, body, conclusion.
The intro is where you’ll lay out your thesis, as well as snaring your reader’s attention. The conclusion is where you’ll reiterate your main point and attempt to leave your reader with a lasting impression. Both of these are fairly simple, often as little as one paragraph.
The body of your argumentative essay is where you’ll spend most of your time and focus. Although every piece is different, with differing lengths and requirements, a good rule of thumb is to have three supports in favour of your thesis. This will inform the format of the body of your argumentative essay, as well.
Think of each argument as a subheading. The supporting argument would be the title, so to speak, with the following content backing up the initial support.
Once you get the format of your argumentative essay down, it practically writes itself!
Writing an argumentative essay isn’t just a useful skill to help you get through school. It’s something you’ll use throughout your life, especially in today’s text-heavy world. You’ll use these skills throughout your career as well as in your personal life. Learning how to write argumentative essays will serve you well in all kinds of surprising ways.
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