Writing an Argumentative Essay

Writing an Argumentative Essay
The argumentative essay, although bearing many similarities to the persuasive (argument) essay, has several very distinct differences.
The objective of a persuasive essay is to “win” the reader over to your side of an argument, while the primary objective of an argumentative essay is just to show that you have a valid argument, allowing the reader either to adopt your position or to “agree to disagree”.
Another difference between the two types of essay is that in the persuasive essay, although you acknowledge the opposing view, only one side of the issue is debated. An important part of the argumentative essay is to use evidence both to substantiate one’s own position and to refute the opposing argument.

The final difference between the argumentative essay and the argument (persuasive) essay is the organization of the composition. The persuasive essay follows the basic essay format as displayed in the example.Now that you know how to format an argumentative essay, it’s time to begin writing.
Again, as in the persuasive essay, state your thesis objectively. Don’t use first person. Instead of saying, “I don’t think global warming is worth worrying about”, you might say, “A two degree rise in temperature over the last hundred years makes global warming a trivial problem.”

Now that you have ‘put the gloves on” be prepared to back up your thesis with facts. Use statistics, expert quotations, and other evidence in support of your thesis and in rebuttal of counter claims. In addition, all counter claims should be backed with solid evidence as well.

As you research your material, anticipate objections and be prepared to make concessions. This will help you to research and write your thesis as if you were debating a real person instead of a piece of paper!

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make in writing an argumentative essay is to substitute their opinions for facts. Remember that each claim you make must be supported by solid evidence if your argument is to hold up to counter claims and objections.

Although in an argumentative essay you don’t have to win the reader over to your side, your objective at the least should be to persuade them to “agree to disagree” with your position and accept it as another point of view that merits further thought and discussion.

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