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How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

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Table of contents

When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

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IV. Types of Argumentation

4.1 Features of an Argument

Terri Pantuso

Argument is not the loud, assertive, unwavering statement of your opinion in the hopes of conquering the opposition. Argument is the careful consideration of numerous positions and the careful development of logically sound, carefully constructed assertions that, when combined, offer a worthwhile perspective in an ongoing debate. Certainly you want to imagine yourself arguing with others—and certainly you want to believe your ideas have superior qualities to theirs—but the purpose of argument in the college setting is not to solve a practical problem or shut down a conversation. Rather, it’s to illuminate, expand, and further inform a debate happening on a worthwhile subject between reasonable, intelligent people. In other words, calling the opposition stupid is not good argument, it’s an ad hominem attack. For a review of this and other logical fallacies, refer to section 3.6 of this text.

Some of the key tools of argument are the strategies that students are asked to consider when doing a rhetorical analysis. Before beginning an argument of your own, review the basic concepts of rhetorical appeals below. As you plan and draft your own argument, carefully use the following elements of rhetoric to your own advantage.

Rhetorical Appeals

The use of data, statistical evidence, and sufficient support to establish the practicality and rationality of your claims should be the strongest element of your argument. To have a logically sound argument, you should include:

  • A debatable and supportable claim
  • Logical reasoning to support your claim
  • Sound evidence and examples to justify the reasoning
  • Reasonable projections
  • Concessions & rebuttals
  • Avoid logical fallacies

The ethical and well-balanced use of all of the strategies above will help you to present yourself as trustworthy and intelligent in your consideration of the topic and in the development of your argument. This balance should include the use of credible, relevant sources which can be accomplished through research methods utilizing the strategies governing your discipline. Following those strategies will build your credibility as a writer of argument, particularly in the college setting, as you pay attention to the needs of the audience with regard to presentation and style. In college, this means that you have used the style manual (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) required for the assignment and appropriate to the audience. In so doing, make certain to cite the sources you have used according to the style manual you are using.

The use of examples and language that evoke an appropriate emotional response in your reader—that gets them to care about your topic—can be helpful in argument. For academic essays, pathos may be useful in introductory sections, concluding sections, or as ways to link various parts of the paper together. However, if your argument is based solely or primarily upon emotional appeals, it will be viewed as weak in an academic setting, especially when data or ethical sources can disprove your claims. Therefore, college writing often puts more emphasis on logos and ethos.

Approaches to Argument

A well-structured argument is one that is carefully and optimally planned. It is organized so that the argument has a continuous building of ideas, one upon the other or in concert with the other, in order to produce the most persuasive impact or effect on the reader. For clarity, avoid repeating ideas, reasons, or evidence. Instead, consider how each idea in your argument connects to the others. Should some ideas come before others? Should you build your reasons from simple to complex or from complex to simple? Should you present the counterargument before your reasons? Or, would it make more sense for you to present your reasons and then the concessions and rebuttals ? How can you use clear transitional phrases to facilitate reader comprehension of your argument? Consider these questions while constructing and revising your argument.

Simple to Complex/Complex to Simple

Whether structuring a paragraph or a research paper, the simple to complex (or reverse) method can be an effective way to build cohesion throughout your writing. Just as the phrase implies, simple to complex is when a writer introduces a simple concept then builds upon it to heighten interest. Sometimes, the opposite structure works to move the reader through your position. For example, if you choose to write on the topic of pollution as it impacts the world, you might begin with the concept of straws and sea turtles. Your simple topic of sea turtles swallowing straws thrown away might then move to the complex issues of consumption, consumerism and disposal. Conversely, if you begin with the broad, complex topic of consumerism, you could then move to the story of the sea turtles as a way of building pathos in the reader. Whichever method you choose, make sure that the relationship between the topics is logical and clear so that readers find validity in your position.

Cause/Effect

The cause/effect method is a way of establishing a reason, or reasons, why something has occurred. For example, if you live in south Texas, then you understand the problem that mosquitoes cause in the hot, humid summer months. While there is no way to eliminate all mosquitoes, there are ways to minimize their growth in your backyard. If you research the ways in which mosquitoes are born, you would understand the importance of things such as emptying containers of all stagnant water so that they cannot incubate or keeping your grass mowed to eliminate areas for them to populate. The process by which you go through to determine the cause of mosquito infestations is the cause and effect method. In argumentation, you might use this method to support a claim for community efforts to prevent mosquitoes from growing in your neighborhood. Demonstrating that process is effective for a logos based argument.

Chronological

Sometimes an argument is presented best when a sequential pattern is used. Oftentimes, that pattern will be based on the pattern of time in which the sequence occurs. For example, if you are writing an argumentative essay in which you are calling for a new stop light to be installed at a busy intersection, you might utilize a chronological structure to demonstrate the rate of increased accidents over a given period of time at that intersection. If your pattern demonstrates a marked increase in accidents, then your data would show a logical reason for supporting your position. Oftentimes, a chronological pattern involves steps indicated by signal words such as first, next, and finally. Utilizing this pattern will walk readers through your line of reasoning and guide them towards reaching your proposed conclusion.

Another method for organizing your writing is by order of importance. This method is often referred to as emphatic because organization is done based upon emphasis. The direction you choose to go is yours whether you begin with the strongest, most important point of your argument, or the weakest. In either case, the hierarchy of ideas should be clear to readers. The emphatic method is often subjectively based upon the writer’s beliefs. If, for example, you want to build an argument for a new rail system to be used in your city, you will have to decide which reason is most important and which is simply support material. For one writer, the decrease in the number of cars on the road might be the most important aspect as it would result in a reduction of toxic emissions. For another writer, the time saved for commuters might be the most important aspect. The decision to start with your strongest or weakest point is one of style.

Style/ Eloquence

When we discuss style in academic writing, we generally mean the use of formal language appropriate for the given academic audience and occasion. Academics generally favor Standard American English and the use of precise language that avoids idioms , clichés , or dull, simple word choices. This is not to imply that these tropes are not useful; however, strong academic writing is typically objective and frequently avoids the use of first-person pronouns unless the disciplinary style and conventions suggest otherwise.

Some writing assignments allow you to choose your audience. In that case, the style in which you write may not be the formal, precise Standard American English that the academy prefers. For some writing assignments, you may even be asked to use, where appropriate, poetic or figurative language or language that evokes the senses. Additionally, instructors should be cognizant of second language learners and the variations in style when writing in a non-native language.

In all cases, it is important to understand what style of writing your audience expects, as delivering your argument in that style could make it more persuasive.

This section contains material from:

“Arguing.” In A Guide to Rhetoric, Genre, and Success in First-Year Writing , by Melanie Gagich and Emilie Zickel. Cleveland: MSL Academic Endeavors. Accessed July 2019. https://pressbooks.ulib.csuohio.edu/csu-fyw-rhetoric/chapter/8-2-arguing/ . Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License .

Pronouncement, affirmation, or endorsement; a declaration or statement of belief, usually positive in nature.

An acknowledgement of at least one aspect of the other side of the argument  that admits or accepts validity or legitimacy.

A counterstatement or counterargument; to offer evidence that opposes the argument that is being made.

Motionless, inactive, idle, or sluggish; a lack of development, growth, or advancement.

A system involving rank. Hierarchical refers to a system that involves a hierarchy. For example, the military is a hierarchical system in which some people outrank others.

To take the position or side of the subject (rather than the object) which is the one doing the observing (rather than being observed); the belief, preference, or understanding of an individual.

A phrase that is not traditionally associated with the meaning that the words provide; idioms cannot be literally translated into another language. For example, when someone is “feeling under the weather,” they are feeling ill.

A stereotyped or corny phrase, expression, or idea that has lost its original meaning from overuse, usually over a long period of time. The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” is an example of a cliché.

A stereotypical or predictable literary convention or device such as a plot point (the damsel in distress), a figure of speech (metaphor, idiom, etc.), or theme or motif (red roses represent true love).

Impartiality or fairness; dispassionate or detached. Also refers to the goal, aim, or intention that someone or a group of people hope to achieve.

Having awareness.

4.1 Features of an Argument Copyright © 2022 by Terri Pantuso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Examples

Argumentative Speeches

Argumentative speech generator.

features of argumentative speech

“Everyone who posts their own opinion is like an expert already.” Take for the example the most recent Philippine national elections. It consisted of five different parties who had their own agenda and own candidate running for president. Months before the elections took place, people have taken up to social media to voice out their opinions on which candidate is the most preferable candidate that would bring the needed change that the Philippines would like to see. Eventually, Rodrigo Duterte won the majority of the vote and remains as the nation’s president until today. You may also see argumentative writings .

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Just like persuasive speaking , the goal of argumentative speeches is not giving an audience a wake-up call, but this type persuasive speech attempts to persuade the audience to alter their viewpoints on a controversial issue. Argumentative speeches aim to radically the opinions already held by the audience. This type of speech is extremely challenging; therefore, the speaker should be careful to choose a topic which he or she feels prepared to reinforce with a strong argument.

What is Argumentative Speeches?

Argumentative Speech Examples Bundle

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Argumentative Speech Format

1. introduction.

Hook : Capture the audience’s attention. Thesis Statement : Clearly state your main argument. Preview : Briefly outline the main points.
Point 1 : Present your first major point with supporting evidence.   Point 2 : Present your second major point with supporting evidence.   Point 3 : Present your third major point with supporting evidence.   Counterarguments : Address and refute opposing viewpoints.

3. Conclusion

Summary : Summarize the main points.   Restate Thesis : Reinforce your thesis in light of the evidence.   Call to Action : Encourage the audience to take a specific action or adopt your viewpoint.

Argumentative Speech Example

Introduction Good morning everyone! Imagine a world where everyone has access to clean water. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for millions of people today. Access to clean water should be a fundamental human right. Today, I will discuss the health, educational, and economic impacts of clean water and why it is essential for everyone.   Body Point 1: Health Clean water is essential for health and survival. Contaminated water leads to numerous diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. According to the World Health Organization, over 2 billion people drink water contaminated with feces, leading to millions of deaths each year. Ensuring access to clean water can drastically reduce these health risks and save lives.   Point 2: Education Access to clean water can improve educational outcomes. When children have clean water, they are healthier and more likely to attend school regularly. UNICEF reports that children lose 443 million school days each year due to water-related illnesses. By providing clean water, we can help students stay healthy and focused on their education.   Point 3: Economy Economically, clean water access boosts productivity and reduces healthcare costs. In areas with clean water, people spend less time sick or fetching water and more time working and contributing to the economy. The World Bank estimates that every dollar invested in clean water and sanitation returns four dollars in economic benefits.   Counterarguments Some argue that providing clean water universally is too expensive. However, investing in clean water infrastructure saves money in the long run by reducing healthcare costs and improving productivity. Moreover, the moral and ethical obligation to ensure everyone has access to clean water outweighs the financial cost.   Conclusion In conclusion, clean water is essential for health, education, and economic productivity. It is a fundamental human right that we must prioritize. By ensuring access to clean water, we can save lives, improve education, and boost economies. Let’s take action today to make clean water accessible to everyone. Thank you for listening.  

Short Argumentative Speech Example

Introduction Good morning everyone! Imagine a world where everyone has access to clean water. Sadly, this is not the reality for millions of people. Access to clean water should be a fundamental human right. Today, I will discuss why clean water is crucial for health, education, and the economy.   Body Health Clean water is vital for health. Contaminated water causes diseases like cholera and typhoid. The World Health Organization reports that over 2 billion people drink unsafe water, leading to millions of deaths each year. Ensuring clean water access can save countless lives.   Education Clean water improves education. Healthy children attend school more regularly. UNICEF states that children lose 443 million school days annually due to water-related illnesses. Providing clean water keeps students in school and enhances their learning.   Economy Clean water boosts the economy. It reduces healthcare costs and increases productivity. The World Bank estimates that every dollar invested in clean water returns four dollars in economic benefits. Investing in clean water infrastructure is both ethical and economically sound.   Counterargument Some argue that universal clean water access is too expensive. However, the long-term savings in healthcare and the boost in productivity far outweigh the initial costs. We have a moral duty to ensure everyone has clean water.   Conclusion In conclusion, clean water is essential for health, education, and the economy. It is a basic human right that we must prioritize. Let’s take action today to ensure everyone has access to clean water. Thank you for listening.  
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How to Write Argumentative Speech

Hook : Start with a statement or question that grabs attention.

Thesis Statement : Clearly state your position on the issue.

Preview : Briefly outline the main points you will discuss.

Point 1 : Present your first major point with supporting evidence.

Point 2 : Present your second major point with supporting evidence.

Point 3 : Present your third major point with supporting evidence.

Counterarguments : Address and refute opposing viewpoints.

Summary : Recap the main points of your argument.

Restate Thesis : Reinforce your thesis statement.

Call to Action : Encourage the audience to take action or adopt your viewpoint.

Uses of Argumentative Speech

  • Debates : In formal debates, participants use argumentative speeches to present their stance on a given topic. They aim to convince judges and the audience by presenting well-structured arguments, backed by evidence and logical reasoning, while refuting the opposing side’s points.
  • Political Campaigns : Politicians use argumentative speeches to persuade voters to support their policies and candidacy. By addressing key issues, presenting solutions, and countering opponents’ arguments, they aim to garner public support and win elections.
  • Legal Proceedings : Lawyers use argumentative speeches in courtrooms to advocate for their clients. They present evidence, construct logical arguments, and address counterarguments to persuade the judge or jury to rule in their favor.
  • Public Policy Advocacy : Activists and advocates use argumentative speeches to promote policy changes. They present data, personal stories, and logical arguments to persuade lawmakers and the public to support their cause.
  • Academic Settings : Students use argumentative speeches in classroom debates and presentations to develop critical thinking and persuasive skills. These speeches help them learn to construct logical arguments and defend their viewpoints effectively.
  • Business Presentations : In the business world, professionals use argumentative speeches to persuade stakeholders, investors, or clients to support projects, investments, or business strategies. By presenting clear arguments and evidence, they aim to influence decision-making.
  • Social and Community Issues : Community leaders and activists use argumentative speeches to address social issues and mobilize support for community initiatives. They aim to raise awareness, change public opinion, and encourage collective action.
  • Environmental Advocacy : Environmentalists use argumentative speeches to promote sustainability and conservation efforts. They present scientific data and logical arguments to persuade the public and policymakers to take action on environmental issues.
  • Educational Outreach : Educators and speakers use argumentative speeches to inform and persuade audiences about important topics, such as health, safety, and social justice. These speeches aim to educate and inspire change.
  • Media and Journalism : Journalists and media personalities use argumentative speeches in opinion pieces and editorials to influence public opinion. They present well-reasoned arguments on current events and issues to persuade their audience.

Making Claims in Argumentative Speaking

In developing a good argumentative speech, it is crucial to have solid claims and basis for your arguments. Taken from  Speech Communication,  Raymond S. Ross clarifies the following definitions present in an argumentative speech:

Claim:   The whole reason for your arguing in the first place. This is based on your opinion.

Grounds:   This is purely based on research. Facts, tables, statistical data, proof of evidence. If you have no grounds to support your claims whatsoever, you will be seen as an ignorant blabbermouth just stating random things without proof. You may also see  speech examples .

Argumentative speeches can be based on the following: a claim of fact, a claim of value, or a claim of policy.

A claim of fact   starts with an incident or a reality that is based on evidence.

A claim of value   is a belief that something is good or bad, right or wrong.

A claim of policy   is a claim that recommends the course of action.

Argumentation requires a firm stand on the positive or a negative side of the said issue. After all, the goal is not to win over your audience, but to dominate the argument as it requires the speakers to not only present their side of the issue, but to also present it with substantial evidence in making the said claim. Argumentative speaking can be carried out in debates. You may also see  motivational speech .

As you organize your said speech, you should have your strongest arguments at the first and the last sentence of your speech. First impressions among the audience are just as important as your closing statement directed to them. It is also important to avoid personal attacks. If you believe in “karma”, that’s exactly what’s going to happen to you once you engage in a fight with someone. After all, what goes around comes around. You may also see  appreciation speech .

Once you start with derogatory remarks and baseless accusations will eventually discredit you as a speaker and you will lose the trust of your audience. Get straight to the point and make use of practicalities in your speech. Don’t beat around the bush too much otherwise, you will lose the interest and the impact you might have with the crowd. You may also see  welcome speech .

Essential Components of an Argumentative Speech:

With the dominating over the argument as the main goal of an argumentative speech in the first place, it is important to understand the components that encompass the said speech in the first place. Listed below are four essential parts of an argumentative speech:

1. Find for a debatable topic

Although it can really be just any topic, make sure that it clearly has both the affirmative and negative side to remain impartial and unbiased to just a single viewpoint. For example, do pineapples really go on pizza?

2. Pick a side

If you have the option to pick a side, that is great as you have picked with a side that is most suited to your beliefs and perceptions about that certain issue. But if not, you will just have to stick with what is given to you and make the most of it. Once you stick with that certain side, make sure to provide all related information surrounding that issue, otherwise, it would confuse the audience on what side you truly belong to. You may also see  appreciation speech .

3. Give some supportable arguments

Research, research, research! And afterwards, conduct more research and verify the gathered data. It cannot be simply your opinions alone, you have to try to include the opinions of other people as well, what other people have to say about it, by providing figures and data that is relevant. Nobody likes an unsupported argument with baseless hearsay. You may also  welcome speech .

4. Refute alternate positions

When an argument is being thrown at you, you learn to throw one back. Are you just going to let the opposing party trample over your side of the argument like a powerless ant? Or, are you going to put up a fight by throwing in arguments of your own? In doing so, you have to provide supporting facts that support your argument. You may also see  leadership speech .

Tips for delivering an argumentative speech:

  • Search for a concrete and controversial argument to use as your base.
  • Arrange your points properly from the first to the last. If it’s in a debate setting, you normally would be assigned to teams of four (first speaker to third speaker, and the person who summarizes everything). Try to coordinate with your members on what points each person would like to throw to the opposition.
  • Sacrifice most of your time and effort for research. All that preparation will have been for nothing, if it is baseless.

Why is an argumentative speech important?

It develops critical thinking, persuasive skills, and the ability to present and defend a viewpoint logically.

How do you choose a topic for an argumentative speech?

Choose a topic that is controversial, interesting, and has sufficient evidence available to support your argument.

What are the key components of an argumentative speech?

An argumentative speech includes an introduction, clear thesis, body with supporting evidence, counterarguments, and a conclusion.

How do you structure an argumentative speech?

Begin with an introduction, state your thesis, provide evidence and reasoning in the body, address counterarguments, and conclude effectively.

What makes a strong thesis statement in an argumentative speech?

A strong thesis is clear, specific, and presents a debatable stance that guides the direction of your speech.

How do you gather evidence for an argumentative speech?

Use reliable sources such as academic articles, books, reputable websites, and expert opinions to gather evidence.

Why is addressing counterarguments important?

Addressing counterarguments strengthens your position by demonstrating awareness and refuting opposing viewpoints.

How do you refute counterarguments in an argumentative speech?

Refute counterarguments by presenting evidence and logical reasoning that disproves or diminishes the opposing viewpoints.

What role does the introduction play in an argumentative speech?

The introduction grabs attention, introduces the topic, and states the thesis clearly.

How do you conclude an argumentative speech?

Summarize key points, restate the thesis in light of the evidence presented, and end with a strong closing statement.

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What are Argumentative Texts? Characteristics, Types and Examples

  • by Mónica Martín Rivas @monicamartinrivas

features of argumentative speech

Learn what argumentative texts are, their key characteristics, types and look at practical examples.

What are Argumentative Texts? Characteristics, Types and Examples 1

Argumentative texts are a form of written communication that seeks to persuade the reader of a particular position or point of view. In this article, we will tell you in depth what argumentative texts are, their distinctive features and the different types that exist, and provide examples to illustrate their use in various contexts.

What is an argumentative text?

An argumentative text is a text whose main aim is to convince the reader of a specific idea, opinion or position. To achieve this, the author presents solid arguments supported by evidence and logical reasoning. These texts may address controversial or debatable topics and usually have an organised structure that includes a clear thesis, development of arguments and a persuasive conclusion.

Characteristics of an argumentative text

What are Argumentative Texts? Characteristics, Types and Examples 3

- Clear thesis: the text presents a main idea or thesis that is defended throughout the document.

- Strong argumentation: the arguments presented are supported by relevant evidence, data and/or examples.

- Coherence and cohesion: the text has a logical and well-organised structure, with paragraphs that connect fluidly.

- Persuasiveness: the purpose of the text is to persuade the reader to accept the author's position.

- Objectivity and subjectivity: although based on objective data, the text may reflect the author's subjective viewpoint or opinion.

Types of argumentative text

What are Argumentative Texts? Characteristics, Types and Examples 5

- Essay: a formal and extensive text that develops a thesis or idea in depth. For example, the book La higuera de las gitanas , by Noelia Cortés.

- Opinion article: a short text that expresses the author's opinion on a specific topic. For example, any of the articles in the opinion section of a newspaper.

- Political speech: an oral or written text that seeks to persuade an audience about certain policies or ideologies. For example, Clara Campoamor's speech in the Spanish Cortes on 1 October 1931.

- Debate: a verbal or written exchange in which two or more people argue about a specific topic. For example, the debate between Clara Campoamor and Victoria Kent, which led to the approval of women's suffrage in Spain.

In short, argumentative texts are a powerful tool in written and oral communication, as they allow us to express opinions, defend positions and persuade recipients about certain ideas or topics. By understanding their characteristics and types, we can improve our writing and communication skills and participate more effectively in discussions and debates on relevant topics in society.

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8 Effective Strategies to Write Argumentative Essays

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In a bustling university town, there lived a student named Alex. Popular for creativity and wit, one challenge seemed insurmountable for Alex– the dreaded argumentative essay!

One gloomy afternoon, as the rain tapped against the window pane, Alex sat at his cluttered desk, staring at a blank document on the computer screen. The assignment loomed large: a 350-600-word argumentative essay on a topic of their choice . With a sigh, he decided to seek help of mentor, Professor Mitchell, who was known for his passion for writing.

Entering Professor Mitchell’s office was like stepping into a treasure of knowledge. Bookshelves lined every wall, faint aroma of old manuscripts in the air and sticky notes over the wall. Alex took a deep breath and knocked on his door.

“Ah, Alex,” Professor Mitchell greeted with a warm smile. “What brings you here today?”

Alex confessed his struggles with the argumentative essay. After hearing his concerns, Professor Mitchell said, “Ah, the argumentative essay! Don’t worry, Let’s take a look at it together.” As he guided Alex to the corner shelf, Alex asked,

Table of Contents

“What is an Argumentative Essay?”

The professor replied, “An argumentative essay is a type of academic writing that presents a clear argument or a firm position on a contentious issue. Unlike other forms of essays, such as descriptive or narrative essays, these essays require you to take a stance, present evidence, and convince your audience of the validity of your viewpoint with supporting evidence. A well-crafted argumentative essay relies on concrete facts and supporting evidence rather than merely expressing the author’s personal opinions . Furthermore, these essays demand comprehensive research on the chosen topic and typically follows a structured format consisting of three primary sections: an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.”

He continued, “Argumentative essays are written in a wide range of subject areas, reflecting their applicability across disciplines. They are written in different subject areas like literature and philosophy, history, science and technology, political science, psychology, economics and so on.

Alex asked,

“When is an Argumentative Essay Written?”

The professor answered, “Argumentative essays are often assigned in academic settings, but they can also be written for various other purposes, such as editorials, opinion pieces, or blog posts. Some situations to write argumentative essays include:

1. Academic assignments

In school or college, teachers may assign argumentative essays as part of coursework. It help students to develop critical thinking and persuasive writing skills .

2. Debates and discussions

Argumentative essays can serve as the basis for debates or discussions in academic or competitive settings. Moreover, they provide a structured way to present and defend your viewpoint.

3. Opinion pieces

Newspapers, magazines, and online publications often feature opinion pieces that present an argument on a current issue or topic to influence public opinion.

4. Policy proposals

In government and policy-related fields, argumentative essays are used to propose and defend specific policy changes or solutions to societal problems.

5. Persuasive speeches

Before delivering a persuasive speech, it’s common to prepare an argumentative essay as a foundation for your presentation.

Regardless of the context, an argumentative essay should present a clear thesis statement , provide evidence and reasoning to support your position, address counterarguments, and conclude with a compelling summary of your main points. The goal is to persuade readers or listeners to accept your viewpoint or at least consider it seriously.”

Handing over a book, the professor continued, “Take a look on the elements or structure of an argumentative essay.”

Elements of an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay comprises five essential components:

Claim in argumentative writing is the central argument or viewpoint that the writer aims to establish and defend throughout the essay. A claim must assert your position on an issue and must be arguable. It can guide the entire argument.

2. Evidence

Evidence must consist of factual information, data, examples, or expert opinions that support the claim. Also, it lends credibility by strengthening the writer’s position.

3. Counterarguments

Presenting a counterclaim demonstrates fairness and awareness of alternative perspectives.

4. Rebuttal

After presenting the counterclaim, the writer refutes it by offering counterarguments or providing evidence that weakens the opposing viewpoint. It shows that the writer has considered multiple perspectives and is prepared to defend their position.

The format of an argumentative essay typically follows the structure to ensure clarity and effectiveness in presenting an argument.

How to Write An Argumentative Essay

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an argumentative essay:

1. Introduction

  • Begin with a compelling sentence or question to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Provide context for the issue, including relevant facts, statistics, or historical background.
  • Provide a concise thesis statement to present your position on the topic.

2. Body Paragraphs (usually three or more)

  • Start each paragraph with a clear and focused topic sentence that relates to your thesis statement.
  • Furthermore, provide evidence and explain the facts, statistics, examples, expert opinions, and quotations from credible sources that supports your thesis.
  • Use transition sentences to smoothly move from one point to the next.

3. Counterargument and Rebuttal

  • Acknowledge opposing viewpoints or potential objections to your argument.
  • Also, address these counterarguments with evidence and explain why they do not weaken your position.

4. Conclusion

  • Restate your thesis statement and summarize the key points you’ve made in the body of the essay.
  • Leave the reader with a final thought, call to action, or broader implication related to the topic.

5. Citations and References

  • Properly cite all the sources you use in your essay using a consistent citation style.
  • Also, include a bibliography or works cited at the end of your essay.

6. Formatting and Style

  • Follow any specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or institution.
  • Use a professional and academic tone in your writing and edit your essay to avoid content, spelling and grammar mistakes .

Remember that the specific requirements for formatting an argumentative essay may vary depending on your instructor’s guidelines or the citation style you’re using (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago). Always check the assignment instructions or style guide for any additional requirements or variations in formatting.

Did you understand what Prof. Mitchell explained Alex? Check it now!

Fill the Details to Check Your Score

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Prof. Mitchell continued, “An argumentative essay can adopt various approaches when dealing with opposing perspectives. It may offer a balanced presentation of both sides, providing equal weight to each, or it may advocate more strongly for one side while still acknowledging the existence of opposing views.” As Alex listened carefully to the Professor’s thoughts, his eyes fell on a page with examples of argumentative essay.

Example of an Argumentative Essay

Alex picked the book and read the example. It helped him to understand the concept. Furthermore, he could now connect better to the elements and steps of the essay which Prof. Mitchell had mentioned earlier. Aren’t you keen to know how an argumentative essay should be like? Here is an example of a well-crafted argumentative essay , which was read by Alex. After Alex finished reading the example, the professor turned the page and continued, “Check this page to know the importance of writing an argumentative essay in developing skills of an individual.”

Importance of an Argumentative Essay

Importance_of_an_ArgumentativeEssays

After understanding the benefits, Alex was convinced by the ability of the argumentative essays in advocating one’s beliefs and favor the author’s position. Alex asked,

“How are argumentative essays different from the other types?”

Prof. Mitchell answered, “Argumentative essays differ from other types of essays primarily in their purpose, structure, and approach in presenting information. Unlike expository essays, argumentative essays persuade the reader to adopt a particular point of view or take a specific action on a controversial issue. Furthermore, they differ from descriptive essays by not focusing vividly on describing a topic. Also, they are less engaging through storytelling as compared to the narrative essays.

Alex said, “Given the direct and persuasive nature of argumentative essays, can you suggest some strategies to write an effective argumentative essay?

Turning the pages of the book, Prof. Mitchell replied, “Sure! You can check this infographic to get some tips for writing an argumentative essay.”

Effective Strategies to Write an Argumentative Essay

StrategiesOfWritingArgumentativeEssays

As days turned into weeks, Alex diligently worked on his essay. He researched, gathered evidence, and refined his thesis. It was a long and challenging journey, filled with countless drafts and revisions.

Finally, the day arrived when Alex submitted their essay. As he clicked the “Submit” button, a sense of accomplishment washed over him. He realized that the argumentative essay, while challenging, had improved his critical thinking and transformed him into a more confident writer. Furthermore, Alex received feedback from his professor, a mix of praise and constructive criticism. It was a humbling experience, a reminder that every journey has its obstacles and opportunities for growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

An argumentative essay can be written as follows- 1. Choose a Topic 2. Research and Collect Evidences 3. Develop a Clear Thesis Statement 4. Outline Your Essay- Introduction, Body Paragraphs and Conclusion 5. Revise and Edit 6. Format and Cite Sources 7. Final Review

One must choose a clear, concise and specific statement as a claim. It must be debatable and establish your position. Avoid using ambiguous or unclear while making a claim. To strengthen your claim, address potential counterarguments or opposing viewpoints. Additionally, use persuasive language and rhetoric to make your claim more compelling

Starting an argument essay effectively is crucial to engage your readers and establish the context for your argument. Here’s how you can start an argument essay are: 1. Begin With an Engaging Hook 2. Provide Background Information 3. Present Your Thesis Statement 4. Briefly Outline Your Main 5. Establish Your Credibility

The key features of an argumentative essay are: 1. Clear and Specific Thesis Statement 2. Credible Evidence 3. Counterarguments 4. Structured Body Paragraph 5. Logical Flow 6. Use of Persuasive Techniques 7. Formal Language

An argumentative essay typically consists of the following main parts or sections: 1. Introduction 2. Body Paragraphs 3. Counterargument and Rebuttal 4. Conclusion 5. References (if applicable)

The main purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to accept or agree with a particular viewpoint or position on a controversial or debatable topic. In other words, the primary goal of an argumentative essay is to convince the audience that the author's argument or thesis statement is valid, logical, and well-supported by evidence and reasoning.

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Great article! The topic is simplified well! Keep up the good work

Excellent article! provides comprehensive and practical guidance for crafting compelling arguments. The emphasis on thorough research and clear thesis statements is particularly valuable. To further enhance your strategies, consider recommending the use of a counterargument paragraph. Addressing and refuting opposing viewpoints can strengthen your position and show a well-rounded understanding of the topic. Additionally, engaging with a community like ATReads, a writers’ social media, can provide valuable feedback and support from fellow writers. Thanks for sharing these insightful tips!

wow incredible ! keep up the good work

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You'll no doubt have to write a number of argumentative essays in both high school and college, but what, exactly, is an argumentative essay and how do you write the best one possible? Let's take a look.

A great argumentative essay always combines the same basic elements: approaching an argument from a rational perspective, researching sources, supporting your claims using facts rather than opinion, and articulating your reasoning into the most cogent and reasoned points. Argumentative essays are great building blocks for all sorts of research and rhetoric, so your teachers will expect you to master the technique before long.

But if this sounds daunting, never fear! We'll show how an argumentative essay differs from other kinds of papers, how to research and write them, how to pick an argumentative essay topic, and where to find example essays. So let's get started.

What Is an Argumentative Essay? How Is it Different from Other Kinds of Essays?

There are two basic requirements for any and all essays: to state a claim (a thesis statement) and to support that claim with evidence.

Though every essay is founded on these two ideas, there are several different types of essays, differentiated by the style of the writing, how the writer presents the thesis, and the types of evidence used to support the thesis statement.

Essays can be roughly divided into four different types:

#1: Argumentative #2: Persuasive #3: Expository #4: Analytical

So let's look at each type and what the differences are between them before we focus the rest of our time to argumentative essays.

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays are what this article is all about, so let's talk about them first.

An argumentative essay attempts to convince a reader to agree with a particular argument (the writer's thesis statement). The writer takes a firm stand one way or another on a topic and then uses hard evidence to support that stance.

An argumentative essay seeks to prove to the reader that one argument —the writer's argument— is the factually and logically correct one. This means that an argumentative essay must use only evidence-based support to back up a claim , rather than emotional or philosophical reasoning (which is often allowed in other types of essays). Thus, an argumentative essay has a burden of substantiated proof and sources , whereas some other types of essays (namely persuasive essays) do not.

You can write an argumentative essay on any topic, so long as there's room for argument. Generally, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one, so long as you support the argumentative essay with hard evidence.

Example topics of an argumentative essay:

  • "Should farmers be allowed to shoot wolves if those wolves injure or kill farm animals?"
  • "Should the drinking age be lowered in the United States?"
  • "Are alternatives to democracy effective and/or feasible to implement?"

The next three types of essays are not argumentative essays, but you may have written them in school. We're going to cover them so you know what not to do for your argumentative essay.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative essays, so it can be easy to get them confused. But knowing what makes an argumentative essay different than a persuasive essay can often mean the difference between an excellent grade and an average one.

Persuasive essays seek to persuade a reader to agree with the point of view of the writer, whether that point of view is based on factual evidence or not. The writer has much more flexibility in the evidence they can use, with the ability to use moral, cultural, or opinion-based reasoning as well as factual reasoning to persuade the reader to agree the writer's side of a given issue.

Instead of being forced to use "pure" reason as one would in an argumentative essay, the writer of a persuasive essay can manipulate or appeal to the reader's emotions. So long as the writer attempts to steer the readers into agreeing with the thesis statement, the writer doesn't necessarily need hard evidence in favor of the argument.

Often, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one—the difference is all in the approach and the evidence you present.

Example topics of a persuasive essay:

  • "Should children be responsible for their parents' debts?"
  • "Should cheating on a test be automatic grounds for expulsion?"
  • "How much should sports leagues be held accountable for player injuries and the long-term consequences of those injuries?"

Expository Essay

An expository essay is typically a short essay in which the writer explains an idea, issue, or theme , or discusses the history of a person, place, or idea.

This is typically a fact-forward essay with little argument or opinion one way or the other.

Example topics of an expository essay:

  • "The History of the Philadelphia Liberty Bell"
  • "The Reasons I Always Wanted to be a Doctor"
  • "The Meaning Behind the Colloquialism ‘People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones'"

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay seeks to delve into the deeper meaning of a text or work of art, or unpack a complicated idea . These kinds of essays closely interpret a source and look into its meaning by analyzing it at both a macro and micro level.

This type of analysis can be augmented by historical context or other expert or widely-regarded opinions on the subject, but is mainly supported directly through the original source (the piece or art or text being analyzed) .

Example topics of an analytical essay:

  • "Victory Gin in Place of Water: The Symbolism Behind Gin as the Only Potable Substance in George Orwell's 1984"
  • "Amarna Period Art: The Meaning Behind the Shift from Rigid to Fluid Poses"
  • "Adultery During WWII, as Told Through a Series of Letters to and from Soldiers"

body_juggle

There are many different types of essay and, over time, you'll be able to master them all.

A Typical Argumentative Essay Assignment

The average argumentative essay is between three to five pages, and will require at least three or four separate sources with which to back your claims . As for the essay topic , you'll most often be asked to write an argumentative essay in an English class on a "general" topic of your choice, ranging the gamut from science, to history, to literature.

But while the topics of an argumentative essay can span several different fields, the structure of an argumentative essay is always the same: you must support a claim—a claim that can reasonably have multiple sides—using multiple sources and using a standard essay format (which we'll talk about later on).

This is why many argumentative essay topics begin with the word "should," as in:

  • "Should all students be required to learn chemistry in high school?"
  • "Should children be required to learn a second language?"
  • "Should schools or governments be allowed to ban books?"

These topics all have at least two sides of the argument: Yes or no. And you must support the side you choose with evidence as to why your side is the correct one.

But there are also plenty of other ways to frame an argumentative essay as well:

  • "Does using social media do more to benefit or harm people?"
  • "Does the legal status of artwork or its creators—graffiti and vandalism, pirated media, a creator who's in jail—have an impact on the art itself?"
  • "Is or should anyone ever be ‘above the law?'"

Though these are worded differently than the first three, you're still essentially forced to pick between two sides of an issue: yes or no, for or against, benefit or detriment. Though your argument might not fall entirely into one side of the divide or another—for instance, you could claim that social media has positively impacted some aspects of modern life while being a detriment to others—your essay should still support one side of the argument above all. Your final stance would be that overall , social media is beneficial or overall , social media is harmful.

If your argument is one that is mostly text-based or backed by a single source (e.g., "How does Salinger show that Holden Caulfield is an unreliable narrator?" or "Does Gatsby personify the American Dream?"), then it's an analytical essay, rather than an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay will always be focused on more general topics so that you can use multiple sources to back up your claims.

Good Argumentative Essay Topics

So you know the basic idea behind an argumentative essay, but what topic should you write about?

Again, almost always, you'll be asked to write an argumentative essay on a free topic of your choice, or you'll be asked to select between a few given topics . If you're given complete free reign of topics, then it'll be up to you to find an essay topic that no only appeals to you, but that you can turn into an A+ argumentative essay.

What makes a "good" argumentative essay topic depends on both the subject matter and your personal interest —it can be hard to give your best effort on something that bores you to tears! But it can also be near impossible to write an argumentative essay on a topic that has no room for debate.

As we said earlier, a good argumentative essay topic will be one that has the potential to reasonably go in at least two directions—for or against, yes or no, and why . For example, it's pretty hard to write an argumentative essay on whether or not people should be allowed to murder one another—not a whole lot of debate there for most people!—but writing an essay for or against the death penalty has a lot more wiggle room for evidence and argument.

A good topic is also one that can be substantiated through hard evidence and relevant sources . So be sure to pick a topic that other people have studied (or at least studied elements of) so that you can use their data in your argument. For example, if you're arguing that it should be mandatory for all middle school children to play a sport, you might have to apply smaller scientific data points to the larger picture you're trying to justify. There are probably several studies you could cite on the benefits of physical activity and the positive effect structure and teamwork has on young minds, but there's probably no study you could use where a group of scientists put all middle-schoolers in one jurisdiction into a mandatory sports program (since that's probably never happened). So long as your evidence is relevant to your point and you can extrapolate from it to form a larger whole, you can use it as a part of your resource material.

And if you need ideas on where to get started, or just want to see sample argumentative essay topics, then check out these links for hundreds of potential argumentative essay topics.

101 Persuasive (or Argumentative) Essay and Speech Topics

301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Top 50 Ideas for Argumentative/Persuasive Essay Writing

[Note: some of these say "persuasive essay topics," but just remember that the same topic can often be used for both a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay; the difference is in your writing style and the evidence you use to support your claims.]

body_fight

KO! Find that one argumentative essay topic you can absolutely conquer.

Argumentative Essay Format

Argumentative Essays are composed of four main elements:

  • A position (your argument)
  • Your reasons
  • Supporting evidence for those reasons (from reliable sources)
  • Counterargument(s) (possible opposing arguments and reasons why those arguments are incorrect)

If you're familiar with essay writing in general, then you're also probably familiar with the five paragraph essay structure . This structure is a simple tool to show how one outlines an essay and breaks it down into its component parts, although it can be expanded into as many paragraphs as you want beyond the core five.

The standard argumentative essay is often 3-5 pages, which will usually mean a lot more than five paragraphs, but your overall structure will look the same as a much shorter essay.

An argumentative essay at its simplest structure will look like:

Paragraph 1: Intro

  • Set up the story/problem/issue
  • Thesis/claim

Paragraph 2: Support

  • Reason #1 claim is correct
  • Supporting evidence with sources

Paragraph 3: Support

  • Reason #2 claim is correct

Paragraph 4: Counterargument

  • Explanation of argument for the other side
  • Refutation of opposing argument with supporting evidence

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

  • Re-state claim
  • Sum up reasons and support of claim from the essay to prove claim is correct

Now let's unpack each of these paragraph types to see how they work (with examples!), what goes into them, and why.

Paragraph 1—Set Up and Claim

Your first task is to introduce the reader to the topic at hand so they'll be prepared for your claim. Give a little background information, set the scene, and give the reader some stakes so that they care about the issue you're going to discuss.

Next, you absolutely must have a position on an argument and make that position clear to the readers. It's not an argumentative essay unless you're arguing for a specific claim, and this claim will be your thesis statement.

Your thesis CANNOT be a mere statement of fact (e.g., "Washington DC is the capital of the United States"). Your thesis must instead be an opinion which can be backed up with evidence and has the potential to be argued against (e.g., "New York should be the capital of the United States").

Paragraphs 2 and 3—Your Evidence

These are your body paragraphs in which you give the reasons why your argument is the best one and back up this reasoning with concrete evidence .

The argument supporting the thesis of an argumentative essay should be one that can be supported by facts and evidence, rather than personal opinion or cultural or religious mores.

For example, if you're arguing that New York should be the new capital of the US, you would have to back up that fact by discussing the factual contrasts between New York and DC in terms of location, population, revenue, and laws. You would then have to talk about the precedents for what makes for a good capital city and why New York fits the bill more than DC does.

Your argument can't simply be that a lot of people think New York is the best city ever and that you agree.

In addition to using concrete evidence, you always want to keep the tone of your essay passionate, but impersonal . Even though you're writing your argument from a single opinion, don't use first person language—"I think," "I feel," "I believe,"—to present your claims. Doing so is repetitive, since by writing the essay you're already telling the audience what you feel, and using first person language weakens your writing voice.

For example,

"I think that Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

"Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

The second statement sounds far stronger and more analytical.

Paragraph 4—Argument for the Other Side and Refutation

Even without a counter argument, you can make a pretty persuasive claim, but a counterargument will round out your essay into one that is much more persuasive and substantial.

By anticipating an argument against your claim and taking the initiative to counter it, you're allowing yourself to get ahead of the game. This way, you show that you've given great thought to all sides of the issue before choosing your position, and you demonstrate in multiple ways how yours is the more reasoned and supported side.

Paragraph 5—Conclusion

This paragraph is where you re-state your argument and summarize why it's the best claim.

Briefly touch on your supporting evidence and voila! A finished argumentative essay.

body_plesiosaur

Your essay should have just as awesome a skeleton as this plesiosaur does. (In other words: a ridiculously awesome skeleton)

Argumentative Essay Example: 5-Paragraph Style

It always helps to have an example to learn from. I've written a full 5-paragraph argumentative essay here. Look at how I state my thesis in paragraph 1, give supporting evidence in paragraphs 2 and 3, address a counterargument in paragraph 4, and conclude in paragraph 5.

Topic: Is it possible to maintain conflicting loyalties?

Paragraph 1

It is almost impossible to go through life without encountering a situation where your loyalties to different people or causes come into conflict with each other. Maybe you have a loving relationship with your sister, but she disagrees with your decision to join the army, or you find yourself torn between your cultural beliefs and your scientific ones. These conflicting loyalties can often be maintained for a time, but as examples from both history and psychological theory illustrate, sooner or later, people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever.

The first two sentences set the scene and give some hypothetical examples and stakes for the reader to care about.

The third sentence finishes off the intro with the thesis statement, making very clear how the author stands on the issue ("people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever." )

Paragraphs 2 and 3

Psychological theory states that human beings are not equipped to maintain conflicting loyalties indefinitely and that attempting to do so leads to a state called "cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance theory is the psychological idea that people undergo tremendous mental stress or anxiety when holding contradictory beliefs, values, or loyalties (Festinger, 1957). Even if human beings initially hold a conflicting loyalty, they will do their best to find a mental equilibrium by making a choice between those loyalties—stay stalwart to a belief system or change their beliefs. One of the earliest formal examples of cognitive dissonance theory comes from Leon Festinger's When Prophesy Fails . Members of an apocalyptic cult are told that the end of the world will occur on a specific date and that they alone will be spared the Earth's destruction. When that day comes and goes with no apocalypse, the cult members face a cognitive dissonance between what they see and what they've been led to believe (Festinger, 1956). Some choose to believe that the cult's beliefs are still correct, but that the Earth was simply spared from destruction by mercy, while others choose to believe that they were lied to and that the cult was fraudulent all along. Both beliefs cannot be correct at the same time, and so the cult members are forced to make their choice.

But even when conflicting loyalties can lead to potentially physical, rather than just mental, consequences, people will always make a choice to fall on one side or other of a dividing line. Take, for instance, Nicolaus Copernicus, a man born and raised in Catholic Poland (and educated in Catholic Italy). Though the Catholic church dictated specific scientific teachings, Copernicus' loyalty to his own observations and scientific evidence won out over his loyalty to his country's government and belief system. When he published his heliocentric model of the solar system--in opposition to the geocentric model that had been widely accepted for hundreds of years (Hannam, 2011)-- Copernicus was making a choice between his loyalties. In an attempt t o maintain his fealty both to the established system and to what he believed, h e sat on his findings for a number of years (Fantoli, 1994). But, ultimately, Copernicus made the choice to side with his beliefs and observations above all and published his work for the world to see (even though, in doing so, he risked both his reputation and personal freedoms).

These two paragraphs provide the reasons why the author supports the main argument and uses substantiated sources to back those reasons.

The paragraph on cognitive dissonance theory gives both broad supporting evidence and more narrow, detailed supporting evidence to show why the thesis statement is correct not just anecdotally but also scientifically and psychologically. First, we see why people in general have a difficult time accepting conflicting loyalties and desires and then how this applies to individuals through the example of the cult members from the Dr. Festinger's research.

The next paragraph continues to use more detailed examples from history to provide further evidence of why the thesis that people cannot indefinitely maintain conflicting loyalties is true.

Paragraph 4

Some will claim that it is possible to maintain conflicting beliefs or loyalties permanently, but this is often more a matter of people deluding themselves and still making a choice for one side or the other, rather than truly maintaining loyalty to both sides equally. For example, Lancelot du Lac typifies a person who claims to maintain a balanced loyalty between to two parties, but his attempt to do so fails (as all attempts to permanently maintain conflicting loyalties must). Lancelot tells himself and others that he is equally devoted to both King Arthur and his court and to being Queen Guinevere's knight (Malory, 2008). But he can neither be in two places at once to protect both the king and queen, nor can he help but let his romantic feelings for the queen to interfere with his duties to the king and the kingdom. Ultimately, he and Queen Guinevere give into their feelings for one another and Lancelot—though he denies it—chooses his loyalty to her over his loyalty to Arthur. This decision plunges the kingdom into a civil war, ages Lancelot prematurely, and ultimately leads to Camelot's ruin (Raabe, 1987). Though Lancelot claimed to have been loyal to both the king and the queen, this loyalty was ultimately in conflict, and he could not maintain it.

Here we have the acknowledgement of a potential counter-argument and the evidence as to why it isn't true.

The argument is that some people (or literary characters) have asserted that they give equal weight to their conflicting loyalties. The refutation is that, though some may claim to be able to maintain conflicting loyalties, they're either lying to others or deceiving themselves. The paragraph shows why this is true by providing an example of this in action.

Paragraph 5

Whether it be through literature or history, time and time again, people demonstrate the challenges of trying to manage conflicting loyalties and the inevitable consequences of doing so. Though belief systems are malleable and will often change over time, it is not possible to maintain two mutually exclusive loyalties or beliefs at once. In the end, people always make a choice, and loyalty for one party or one side of an issue will always trump loyalty to the other.

The concluding paragraph summarizes the essay, touches on the evidence presented, and re-states the thesis statement.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 8 Steps

Writing the best argumentative essay is all about the preparation, so let's talk steps:

#1: Preliminary Research

If you have the option to pick your own argumentative essay topic (which you most likely will), then choose one or two topics you find the most intriguing or that you have a vested interest in and do some preliminary research on both sides of the debate.

Do an open internet search just to see what the general chatter is on the topic and what the research trends are.

Did your preliminary reading influence you to pick a side or change your side? Without diving into all the scholarly articles at length, do you believe there's enough evidence to support your claim? Have there been scientific studies? Experiments? Does a noted scholar in the field agree with you? If not, you may need to pick another topic or side of the argument to support.

#2: Pick Your Side and Form Your Thesis

Now's the time to pick the side of the argument you feel you can support the best and summarize your main point into your thesis statement.

Your thesis will be the basis of your entire essay, so make sure you know which side you're on, that you've stated it clearly, and that you stick by your argument throughout the entire essay .

#3: Heavy-Duty Research Time

You've taken a gander at what the internet at large has to say on your argument, but now's the time to actually read those sources and take notes.

Check scholarly journals online at Google Scholar , the Directory of Open Access Journals , or JStor . You can also search individual university or school libraries and websites to see what kinds of academic articles you can access for free. Keep track of your important quotes and page numbers and put them somewhere that's easy to find later.

And don't forget to check your school or local libraries as well!

#4: Outline

Follow the five-paragraph outline structure from the previous section.

Fill in your topic, your reasons, and your supporting evidence into each of the categories.

Before you begin to flesh out the essay, take a look at what you've got. Is your thesis statement in the first paragraph? Is it clear? Is your argument logical? Does your supporting evidence support your reasoning?

By outlining your essay, you streamline your process and take care of any logic gaps before you dive headfirst into the writing. This will save you a lot of grief later on if you need to change your sources or your structure, so don't get too trigger-happy and skip this step.

Now that you've laid out exactly what you'll need for your essay and where, it's time to fill in all the gaps by writing it out.

Take it one step at a time and expand your ideas into complete sentences and substantiated claims. It may feel daunting to turn an outline into a complete draft, but just remember that you've already laid out all the groundwork; now you're just filling in the gaps.

If you have the time before deadline, give yourself a day or two (or even just an hour!) away from your essay . Looking it over with fresh eyes will allow you to see errors, both minor and major, that you likely would have missed had you tried to edit when it was still raw.

Take a first pass over the entire essay and try your best to ignore any minor spelling or grammar mistakes—you're just looking at the big picture right now. Does it make sense as a whole? Did the essay succeed in making an argument and backing that argument up logically? (Do you feel persuaded?)

If not, go back and make notes so that you can fix it for your final draft.

Once you've made your revisions to the overall structure, mark all your small errors and grammar problems so you can fix them in the next draft.

#7: Final Draft

Use the notes you made on the rough draft and go in and hack and smooth away until you're satisfied with the final result.

A checklist for your final draft:

  • Formatting is correct according to your teacher's standards
  • No errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Essay is the right length and size for the assignment
  • The argument is present, consistent, and concise
  • Each reason is supported by relevant evidence
  • The essay makes sense overall

#8: Celebrate!

Once you've brought that final draft to a perfect polish and turned in your assignment, you're done! Go you!

body_prepared_rsz

Be prepared and ♪ you'll never go hungry again ♪, *cough*, or struggle with your argumentative essay-writing again. (Walt Disney Studios)

Good Examples of Argumentative Essays Online

Theory is all well and good, but examples are key. Just to get you started on what a fully-fleshed out argumentative essay looks like, let's see some examples in action.

Check out these two argumentative essay examples on the use of landmines and freons (and note the excellent use of concrete sources to back up their arguments!).

The Use of Landmines

A Shattered Sky

The Take-Aways: Keys to Writing an Argumentative Essay

At first, writing an argumentative essay may seem like a monstrous hurdle to overcome, but with the proper preparation and understanding, you'll be able to knock yours out of the park.

Remember the differences between a persuasive essay and an argumentative one, make sure your thesis is clear, and double-check that your supporting evidence is both relevant to your point and well-sourced . Pick your topic, do your research, make your outline, and fill in the gaps. Before you know it, you'll have yourself an A+ argumentative essay there, my friend.

What's Next?

Now you know the ins and outs of an argumentative essay, but how comfortable are you writing in other styles? Learn more about the four writing styles and when it makes sense to use each .

Understand how to make an argument, but still having trouble organizing your thoughts? Check out our guide to three popular essay formats and choose which one is right for you.

Ready to make your case, but not sure what to write about? We've created a list of 50 potential argumentative essay topics to spark your imagination.

Courtney scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology. She is passionate about bringing education and the tools to succeed to students from all backgrounds and walks of life, as she believes open education is one of the great societal equalizers. She has years of tutoring experience and writes creative works in her free time.

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What is an Argumentative Essay? How to Write It (With Examples)

Argumentative Essay

We define an argumentative essay as a type of essay that presents arguments about both sides of an issue. The purpose is to convince the reader to accept a particular viewpoint or action. In an argumentative essay, the writer takes a stance on a controversial or debatable topic and supports their position with evidence, reasoning, and examples. The essay should also address counterarguments, demonstrating a thorough understanding of the topic.

Table of Contents

  • What is an argumentative essay?  
  • Argumentative essay structure 
  • Argumentative essay outline 
  • Types of argument claims 

How to write an argumentative essay?

  • Argumentative essay writing tips 
  • Good argumentative essay example 

How to write a good thesis

  • How to Write an Argumentative Essay with Paperpal? 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay is a type of writing that presents a coherent and logical analysis of a specific topic. 1 The goal is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or opinion on a particular issue. Here are the key elements of an argumentative essay: 

  • Thesis Statement : The central claim or argument that the essay aims to prove. 
  • Introduction : Provides background information and introduces the thesis statement. 
  • Body Paragraphs : Each paragraph addresses a specific aspect of the argument, presents evidence, and may include counter arguments. 

Articulate your thesis statement better with Paperpal. Start writing now!

  • Evidence : Supports the main argument with relevant facts, examples, statistics, or expert opinions. 
  • Counterarguments : Anticipates and addresses opposing viewpoints to strengthen the overall argument. 
  • Conclusion : Summarizes the main points, reinforces the thesis, and may suggest implications or actions. 

features of argumentative speech

Argumentative essay structure

Aristotelian, Rogerian, and Toulmin are three distinct approaches to argumentative essay structures, each with its principles and methods. 2 The choice depends on the purpose and nature of the topic. Here’s an overview of each type of argumentative essay format.

)

Introduce the topic. 
Provide background information. 
Present the thesis statement or main argument.

Introduce the issue. 
Provide background information. 
Establish a neutral and respectful tone. 

Introduce the issue. 
Provide background information. 
Present the claim or thesis. 

Provide context or background information. 
Set the stage for the argument. 

Describe opposing viewpoints without judgment. 
Show an understanding of the different perspectives. 

Clearly state the main argument or claim. 

Present the main argument with supporting evidence. 
Use logical reasoning. 
Address counterarguments and refute them. 

Present your thesis or main argument. 
Identify areas of common ground between opposing views. 

 Provide evidence to support the claim. 
Include facts, examples, and statistics. 
 

Acknowledge opposing views. 
Provide counterarguments and evidence against them. 

Present your arguments while acknowledging opposing views. 
Emphasize shared values or goals. 
Seek compromise and understanding. 

Explain the reasoning that connects the evidence to the claim. 
Make the implicit assumptions explicit. 

Summarize the main points. 
Reassert the thesis. 
End with a strong concluding statement.

Summarize areas of agreement. 
Reiterate the importance of finding common ground. 
End on a positive note.

Provide additional support for the warrant. 
Offer further justification for the reasoning. 
Address potential counterarguments. 
Provide evidence and reasoning to refute counterclaims. 
Respond to counterarguments and reinforce the original claim. 
Summarize the main points. 
Reinforce the strength of the argument.

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Argumentative essay outline

An argumentative essay presents a specific claim or argument and supports it with evidence and reasoning. Here’s an outline for an argumentative essay, along with examples for each section: 3  

1.  Introduction : 

  • Hook : Start with a compelling statement, question, or anecdote to grab the reader’s attention. 

Example: “Did you know that plastic pollution is threatening marine life at an alarming rate?” 

  • Background information : Provide brief context about the issue. 

Example: “Plastic pollution has become a global environmental concern, with millions of tons of plastic waste entering our oceans yearly.” 

  • Thesis statement : Clearly state your main argument or position. 

Example: “We must take immediate action to reduce plastic usage and implement more sustainable alternatives to protect our marine ecosystem.” 

2.  Body Paragraphs : 

  • Topic sentence : Introduce the main idea of each paragraph. 

Example: “The first step towards addressing the plastic pollution crisis is reducing single-use plastic consumption.” 

  • Evidence/Support : Provide evidence, facts, statistics, or examples that support your argument. 

Example: “Research shows that plastic straws alone contribute to millions of tons of plastic waste annually, and many marine animals suffer from ingestion or entanglement.” 

  • Counterargument/Refutation : Acknowledge and refute opposing viewpoints. 

Example: “Some argue that banning plastic straws is inconvenient for consumers, but the long-term environmental benefits far outweigh the temporary inconvenience.” 

  • Transition : Connect each paragraph to the next. 

Example: “Having addressed the issue of single-use plastics, the focus must now shift to promoting sustainable alternatives.” 

3.  Counterargument Paragraph : 

  • Acknowledgement of opposing views : Recognize alternative perspectives on the issue. 

Example: “While some may argue that individual actions cannot significantly impact global plastic pollution, the cumulative effect of collective efforts must be considered.” 

  • Counterargument and rebuttal : Present and refute the main counterargument. 

Example: “However, individual actions, when multiplied across millions of people, can substantially reduce plastic waste. Small changes in behavior, such as using reusable bags and containers, can have a significant positive impact.” 

4.  Conclusion : 

  • Restatement of thesis : Summarize your main argument. 

Example: “In conclusion, adopting sustainable practices and reducing single-use plastic is crucial for preserving our oceans and marine life.” 

  • Call to action : Encourage the reader to take specific steps or consider the argument’s implications. 

Example: “It is our responsibility to make environmentally conscious choices and advocate for policies that prioritize the health of our planet. By collectively embracing sustainable alternatives, we can contribute to a cleaner and healthier future.” 

features of argumentative speech

Types of argument claims

A claim is a statement or proposition a writer puts forward with evidence to persuade the reader. 4 Here are some common types of argument claims, along with examples: 

  • Fact Claims : These claims assert that something is true or false and can often be verified through evidence.  Example: “Water boils at 100°C at sea level.”
  • Value Claims : Value claims express judgments about the worth or morality of something, often based on personal beliefs or societal values. Example: “Organic farming is more ethical than conventional farming.” 
  • Policy Claims : Policy claims propose a course of action or argue for a specific policy, law, or regulation change.  Example: “Schools should adopt a year-round education system to improve student learning outcomes.” 
  • Cause and Effect Claims : These claims argue that one event or condition leads to another, establishing a cause-and-effect relationship.  Example: “Excessive use of social media is a leading cause of increased feelings of loneliness among young adults.” 
  • Definition Claims : Definition claims assert the meaning or classification of a concept or term.  Example: “Artificial intelligence can be defined as machines exhibiting human-like cognitive functions.” 
  • Comparative Claims : Comparative claims assert that one thing is better or worse than another in certain respects.  Example: “Online education is more cost-effective than traditional classroom learning.” 
  • Evaluation Claims : Evaluation claims assess the quality, significance, or effectiveness of something based on specific criteria.  Example: “The new healthcare policy is more effective in providing affordable healthcare to all citizens.” 

Understanding these argument claims can help writers construct more persuasive and well-supported arguments tailored to the specific nature of the claim.  

If you’re wondering how to start an argumentative essay, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with the argumentative essay format and writing process.

  • Choose a Topic: Select a topic that you are passionate about or interested in. Ensure that the topic is debatable and has two or more sides.
  • Define Your Position: Clearly state your stance on the issue. Consider opposing viewpoints and be ready to counter them.
  • Conduct Research: Gather relevant information from credible sources, such as books, articles, and academic journals. Take notes on key points and supporting evidence.
  • Create a Thesis Statement: Develop a concise and clear thesis statement that outlines your main argument. Convey your position on the issue and provide a roadmap for the essay.
  • Outline Your Argumentative Essay: Organize your ideas logically by creating an outline. Include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each body paragraph should focus on a single point that supports your thesis.
  • Write the Introduction: Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention (a quote, a question, a surprising fact). Provide background information on the topic. Present your thesis statement at the end of the introduction.
  • Develop Body Paragraphs: Begin each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that relates to the thesis. Support your points with evidence and examples. Address counterarguments and refute them to strengthen your position. Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs.
  • Address Counterarguments: Acknowledge and respond to opposing viewpoints. Anticipate objections and provide evidence to counter them.
  • Write the Conclusion: Summarize the main points of your argumentative essay. Reinforce the significance of your argument. End with a call to action, a prediction, or a thought-provoking statement.
  • Revise, Edit, and Share: Review your essay for clarity, coherence, and consistency. Check for grammatical and spelling errors. Share your essay with peers, friends, or instructors for constructive feedback.
  • Finalize Your Argumentative Essay: Make final edits based on feedback received. Ensure that your essay follows the required formatting and citation style.

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Argumentative essay writing tips

Here are eight strategies to craft a compelling argumentative essay: 

  • Choose a Clear and Controversial Topic : Select a topic that sparks debate and has opposing viewpoints. A clear and controversial issue provides a solid foundation for a strong argument. 
  • Conduct Thorough Research : Gather relevant information from reputable sources to support your argument. Use a variety of sources, such as academic journals, books, reputable websites, and expert opinions, to strengthen your position. 
  • Create a Strong Thesis Statement : Clearly articulate your main argument in a concise thesis statement. Your thesis should convey your stance on the issue and provide a roadmap for the reader to follow your argument. 
  • Develop a Logical Structure : Organize your essay with a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point of evidence that contributes to your overall argument. Ensure a logical flow from one point to the next. 
  • Provide Strong Evidence : Support your claims with solid evidence. Use facts, statistics, examples, and expert opinions to support your arguments. Be sure to cite your sources appropriately to maintain credibility. 
  • Address Counterarguments : Acknowledge opposing viewpoints and counterarguments. Addressing and refuting alternative perspectives strengthens your essay and demonstrates a thorough understanding of the issue. Be mindful of maintaining a respectful tone even when discussing opposing views. 
  • Use Persuasive Language : Employ persuasive language to make your points effectively. Avoid emotional appeals without supporting evidence and strive for a respectful and professional tone. 
  • Craft a Compelling Conclusion : Summarize your main points, restate your thesis, and leave a lasting impression in your conclusion. Encourage readers to consider the implications of your argument and potentially take action. 

features of argumentative speech

Good argumentative essay example

Let’s consider a sample of argumentative essay on how social media enhances connectivity:

In the digital age, social media has emerged as a powerful tool that transcends geographical boundaries, connecting individuals from diverse backgrounds and providing a platform for an array of voices to be heard. While critics argue that social media fosters division and amplifies negativity, it is essential to recognize the positive aspects of this digital revolution and how it enhances connectivity by providing a platform for diverse voices to flourish. One of the primary benefits of social media is its ability to facilitate instant communication and connection across the globe. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram break down geographical barriers, enabling people to establish and maintain relationships regardless of physical location and fostering a sense of global community. Furthermore, social media has transformed how people stay connected with friends and family. Whether separated by miles or time zones, social media ensures that relationships remain dynamic and relevant, contributing to a more interconnected world. Moreover, social media has played a pivotal role in giving voice to social justice movements and marginalized communities. Movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and #ClimateStrike have gained momentum through social media, allowing individuals to share their stories and advocate for change on a global scale. This digital activism can shape public opinion and hold institutions accountable. Social media platforms provide a dynamic space for open dialogue and discourse. Users can engage in discussions, share information, and challenge each other’s perspectives, fostering a culture of critical thinking. This open exchange of ideas contributes to a more informed and enlightened society where individuals can broaden their horizons and develop a nuanced understanding of complex issues. While criticisms of social media abound, it is crucial to recognize its positive impact on connectivity and the amplification of diverse voices. Social media transcends physical and cultural barriers, connecting people across the globe and providing a platform for marginalized voices to be heard. By fostering open dialogue and facilitating the exchange of ideas, social media contributes to a more interconnected and empowered society. Embracing the positive aspects of social media allows us to harness its potential for positive change and collective growth.
  • Clearly Define Your Thesis Statement:   Your thesis statement is the core of your argumentative essay. Clearly articulate your main argument or position on the issue. Avoid vague or general statements.  
  • Provide Strong Supporting Evidence:   Back up your thesis with solid evidence from reliable sources and examples. This can include facts, statistics, expert opinions, anecdotes, or real-life examples. Make sure your evidence is relevant to your argument, as it impacts the overall persuasiveness of your thesis.  
  • Anticipate Counterarguments and Address Them:   Acknowledge and address opposing viewpoints to strengthen credibility. This also shows that you engage critically with the topic rather than presenting a one-sided argument. 

How to Write an Argumentative Essay with Paperpal?

Writing a winning argumentative essay not only showcases your ability to critically analyze a topic but also demonstrates your skill in persuasively presenting your stance backed by evidence. Achieving this level of writing excellence can be time-consuming. This is where Paperpal, your AI academic writing assistant, steps in to revolutionize the way you approach argumentative essays. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use Paperpal to write your essay: 

  • Sign Up or Log In: Begin by creating an account or logging into paperpal.com .  
  • Navigate to Paperpal Copilot: Once logged in, proceed to the Templates section from the side navigation bar.  
  • Generate an essay outline: Under Templates, click on the ‘Outline’ tab and choose ‘Essay’ from the options and provide your topic to generate an outline.  
  • Develop your essay: Use this structured outline as a guide to flesh out your essay. If you encounter any roadblocks, click on Brainstorm and get subject-specific assistance, ensuring you stay on track. 
  • Refine your writing: To elevate the academic tone of your essay, select a paragraph and use the ‘Make Academic’ feature under the ‘Rewrite’ tab, ensuring your argumentative essay resonates with an academic audience. 
  • Final Touches: Make your argumentative essay submission ready with Paperpal’s language, grammar, consistency and plagiarism checks, and improve your chances of acceptance.  

Paperpal not only simplifies the essay writing process but also ensures your argumentative essay is persuasive, well-structured, and academically rigorous. Sign up today and transform how you write argumentative essays. 

The length of an argumentative essay can vary, but it typically falls within the range of 1,000 to 2,500 words. However, the specific requirements may depend on the guidelines provided.

You might write an argumentative essay when:  1. You want to convince others of the validity of your position.  2. There is a controversial or debatable issue that requires discussion.  3. You need to present evidence and logical reasoning to support your claims.  4. You want to explore and critically analyze different perspectives on a topic. 

Argumentative Essay:  Purpose : An argumentative essay aims to persuade the reader to accept or agree with a specific point of view or argument.  Structure : It follows a clear structure with an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs presenting arguments and evidence, counterarguments and refutations, and a conclusion.  Tone : The tone is formal and relies on logical reasoning, evidence, and critical analysis.    Narrative/Descriptive Essay:  Purpose : These aim to tell a story or describe an experience, while a descriptive essay focuses on creating a vivid picture of a person, place, or thing.  Structure : They may have a more flexible structure. They often include an engaging introduction, a well-developed body that builds the story or description, and a conclusion.  Tone : The tone is more personal and expressive to evoke emotions or provide sensory details. 

  • Gladd, J. (2020). Tips for Writing Academic Persuasive Essays.  Write What Matters . 
  • Nimehchisalem, V. (2018). Pyramid of argumentation: Towards an integrated model for teaching and assessing ESL writing.  Language & Communication ,  5 (2), 185-200. 
  • Press, B. (2022).  Argumentative Essays: A Step-by-Step Guide . Broadview Press. 
  • Rieke, R. D., Sillars, M. O., & Peterson, T. R. (2005).  Argumentation and critical decision making . Pearson/Allyn & Bacon. 

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay (With Features & Structure)

  • Post author: Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC
  • Post published: September 12, 2021
  • Post category: Scholarly Articles

How To Write An Argumentative Essay : The Virtue’s English Dictionary (Encyclopaedic Edition) defines an Essay as a literary composition intended to prove some particular point or illustrate a particular subject. We all had at one time and the other written an essay. Did we ever consider the type and format of such writings? Of course there could be more than one type of essay writing incorporated or employed in a single writing.

Essays can be argumentative, expository, narrative and descriptive. These are the four main types of essay. There could be combination of two or more of these four types of essay employed in one essay. For instance, elements of descriptive essay can be found in an argumentative essay. This does not make it any less an argumentative essay.

Narrative Essay tells a story. There is usually a central point at which the writing is centered. The story could be from personal experience and of course can be figurative. Narrative essay gives an account of an event in a well-structured plot.

Descriptive Essay is a writing that attempts to describe an event, experience, object, person, place, idea or anything capable of being described. In other words, the essay attempts to characterize a given event, idea, person or place.

An expository essay attempts to explain, explicate, elucidate, illustrate, uncover and clarify a given concept or event.

This article is targeted at discussing how to write an argumentative essay.

Argumentative essay from the word “ Argument ”, according to Virtue’s English Dictionary (Encyclopaedia Edition) defines argument as a subject of a discourse or writing; a reason offered for or against something; a debate, controversy, discussion and a process of reasoning. Therefore argumentative essay can be defined as a debatable writing which upon choosing a stance, attempts to persuade and convince the mind of the readers into finding reasons with the points established by the writer.

How to write an argumentative essay step by step

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Table of Contents

How to write an argumentative essay step by step

The goal of an argumentative essay is to convince the mind of the readers that your position is preferable and should be considered. In order to produce a logical and sound argumentative essay, it is important that the writer be well abreast with the features of an argumentative essay. This guides the writer not to derogate from the argumentative genre of essay intended, and also to render a logically structured and sound essay.

For a writing to be considered argumentative, it has to conform to a particular format and fulfil certain requirement, otherwise one may be writing any other type of essay in the thought of an argumentative one. This would lead us to discussing the features of an argumentative essay together with the structure.

Also see: How to introduce yourself in a debate

Features of Argumentative Essay

The main five features of an argumentative essay are:

a. Introduction and Thesis

b. Opposing and Qualifying Ideas

c. Evidence in Support of Claim

d. Style and Tone of Language

e. Compelling Conclusion

a. Introduction and Thesis: An argumentative essay must begin with introduction. This is simply to give the general introduction of the topic to be discussed. The introduction shall then include the thesis which is the writer’s point of view.

b. Opposing and Qualifying Ideas: While writing an argumentative essay, the writer has to state and acknowledge the possible points and ideas of the opposing side which are certainly not in his favour. Acknowledging those points and ideas enable lay a grounded foundation of his own points by juxtaposing the sides. This also has a way of arousing the interest of the readers to finding reasoning with your points.

c. Evidence in Support of Claim : A good argumentative essay should has a strong evidence to support the claims asserted. Evidence in the context of an argumentative essay is simply the information sourced for and logically analyzed for the purpose of justifying a stated claim. A writer is expected to source for articulated, logical and statistical points to support the claims asserted.

d. Style and Tone of Language : The language and tone of an argumentative essay must be persuasive and convincing. The tone must be confident enough to lure or compel the mind of the readers into finding reasons with the argument of the writer.

An argumentative essay should be well paragraphed. Paragraphing contributes to the logicality of the structure as well as suggest the appropriate intended tone of the writer.

Style is the manner of expression and choice of words employed by the writer, whereas tone is the attitude of the writer towards the topic and the audience.

e. Compelling Conclusion : An argumentative essay should have a compelling conclusion. Compelling here means that it has to be sound and convincing. The conclusive point should resolve the thriving issues implicated in the course of the argument.

features of an argumentative essay

There are basically four parts of an argument. They include:

b. Counterclaims

d. Evidence

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a. Claims: Claim is simply as assertion stated as a fact and backed up with evidence. It is also known as thesis. It fact includes the writer’s position in an argumentative essay. Assertion of claim directs the readers mind to the writer’s position, purpose and line of argument. Typical example of claim – “ Gold Values More That Silver”

b. Counterclaim: Counterclaim is also known as counterargument.  It is the point of view of the opposing side of an argument which is capable of weakening the argument of the writer. The writer is however expected to raise these points and discredit them in his own favour by marshaling out points which is capable of rendering them wrong, inapplicable or invalid.

The writer is advised not to avoid those points which seem to be against his line of argument as this can leave doubts in the mind of the readers or audience. The writer is expected to acknowledge them and criticize them to his or her own advantage.

Also see: How to become a successful lawyer: 10 Qualities you need

c. Reasons: An argumentative essay should incorporate points and facts which are the suggested reasons why the writer’s line of argument should be considered. Therefore, a reason is a kind of justification for the writer’s claims.

d. Evidence: Evidence includes objectively verifiable facts which demonstrates and strengthens the writer’s claim. They are those verifiable facts which the writer can show in order to establish his point of view for the purpose of tilting the mind of the audience into affirming the claims asserted, and finding reasons with the writer’s line of argument.

Evidence can be factual, logistical and or statistical but in all, it has to be verifiable.

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Writing a Compelling Argument

On writing a compelling argument, the writer must be meticulous in considering the points on which his or her argument should base, otherwise one may end up antagonizing his or her own point of view. Employment of fallacies should be avoided as much as possible. The writer should be careful not to make hasty generalization. Understanding the opposing point of view is a key element because this goes a long way guiding the writer in preparing the evidence and defence. For an argument to be compelling, the writer must clarify and resolve every point raised in order that questions would not be created in the minds of the audience. The writer’s point must be realistic, practicable and obtainable.

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It is advised that the conclusion be as explicit as possible and at the same time, concise and precise. In other words, conclusion should be straight to the point and exhume confidence.

In all, an argumentative essay must be suggestive and convincing, otherwise the purpose of the essay would be entirely defeated.

features of argumentative speech

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Praxis Core Writing

Course: praxis core writing   >   unit 1, argumentative essay | quick guide.

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features of argumentative speech

Argumentative essay (30 minutes)

  • states or clearly implies the writer’s position or thesis
  • organizes and develops ideas logically, making insightful connections between them
  • clearly explains key ideas, supporting them with well-chosen reasons, examples, or details
  • displays effective sentence variety
  • clearly displays facility in the use of language
  • is generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • organizes and develops ideas clearly, making connections between them
  • explains key ideas, supporting them with relevant reasons, examples, or details
  • displays some sentence variety
  • displays facility in the use of language
  • states or implies the writer’s position or thesis
  • shows control in the organization and development of ideas
  • explains some key ideas, supporting them with adequate reasons, examples, or details
  • displays adequate use of language
  • shows control of grammar, usage, and mechanics, but may display errors
  • limited in stating or implying a position or thesis
  • limited control in the organization and development of ideas
  • inadequate reasons, examples, or details to explain key ideas
  • an accumulation of errors in the use of language
  • an accumulation of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • no clear position or thesis
  • weak organization or very little development
  • few or no relevant reasons, examples, or details
  • frequent serious errors in the use of language
  • frequent serious errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • contains serious and persistent writing errors or
  • is incoherent or
  • is undeveloped or
  • is off-topic

How should I build a thesis?

  • (Choice A)   Kids should find role models that are worthier than celebrities because celebrities may be famous for reasons that aren't admirable. A Kids should find role models that are worthier than celebrities because celebrities may be famous for reasons that aren't admirable.
  • (Choice B)   Because they profit from the admiration of youths, celebrities have a moral responsibility for the reactions their behaviors provoke in fans. B Because they profit from the admiration of youths, celebrities have a moral responsibility for the reactions their behaviors provoke in fans.
  • (Choice C)   Celebrities may have more imitators than most people, but they hold no more responsibility over the example they set than the average person. C Celebrities may have more imitators than most people, but they hold no more responsibility over the example they set than the average person.
  • (Choice D)   Notoriety is not always a choice, and some celebrities may not want to be role models. D Notoriety is not always a choice, and some celebrities may not want to be role models.
  • (Choice E)   Parents have a moral responsibility to serve as immediate role models for their children. E Parents have a moral responsibility to serve as immediate role models for their children.

How should I support my thesis?

  • (Choice A)   As basketball star Charles Barkley stated in a famous advertising campaign for Nike, he was paid to dominate on the basketball court, not to raise your kids. A As basketball star Charles Barkley stated in a famous advertising campaign for Nike, he was paid to dominate on the basketball court, not to raise your kids.
  • (Choice B)   Many celebrities do consider themselves responsible for setting a good example and create non-profit organizations through which they can benefit youths. B Many celebrities do consider themselves responsible for setting a good example and create non-profit organizations through which they can benefit youths.
  • (Choice C)   Many celebrities, like Kylie Jenner with her billion-dollar cosmetics company, profit directly from being imitated by fans who purchase sponsored products. C Many celebrities, like Kylie Jenner with her billion-dollar cosmetics company, profit directly from being imitated by fans who purchase sponsored products.
  • (Choice D)   My ten-year-old nephew may love Drake's music, but his behaviors are more similar to those of the adults he interacts with on a daily basis, like his parents and teachers. D My ten-year-old nephew may love Drake's music, but his behaviors are more similar to those of the adults he interacts with on a daily basis, like his parents and teachers.
  • (Choice E)   It's very common for young people to wear fashions similar to those of their favorite celebrities. E It's very common for young people to wear fashions similar to those of their favorite celebrities.

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Module 10: Persuasive Speaking

Structure of a persuasive speech, learning objectives.

Identify characteristic structures of a persuasive speech.

In many ways, a persuasive speech is structured like an informative speech. It has an introduction with an attention-getter and a clear thesis statement. It also has a body where the speaker presents their main points and it ends with a conclusion that sums up the main point of the speech.

The biggest difference is that the primary purpose of an informative speech is to explain whereas the primary purpose of a persuasive speech is to advocate the audience adopt a point of view or take a course of action. A persuasive speech, in other words, is an argument  supported by well-thought-out reasons and relevant, appropriate, and credible supporting evidence.

We can classify persuasive speeches into three broad categories:

  • The widely used pesticide Atrazine is extremely harmful to amphibians.
  • All house-cats should  be kept indoors to protect the songbird population.
  • Offshore tax havens, while legal, are immoral and unpatriotic .

The organizational pattern we select and the type of supporting material we use should support the overall argument we are making.

The informative speech organizational patterns we covered earlier can work for a persuasive speech as well. In addition, the following organization patterns are especially suited to persuasive speeches (these are covered in more detail in Module 6: Organizing and Outlining Your Speech):

  • Causal : Also known as cause-effect, the causal pattern describes some cause and then identifies what effects resulted from the cause. This can be a useful pattern to use when you are speaking about the positive or negative consequences of taking a particular action.
  • Problem-solution : With this organizational pattern, you provide two main points. The first main point focuses on a problem that exists and the second details your proposed solution to the problem. This is an especially good organization pattern for speeches arguing for policy changes.
  • Problem-cause-solution: This is a variation of the problem-solution organizational pattern. A three-step organizational pattern where the speaker starts by explaining the problem, then explains the causes of the problem, and lastly proposes a solution to the problem.
  • Comparative advantage : A speaker compares two or more things or ideas and explains why one of the things or ideas has more advantages or is better than the other.
  • Monroe’s motivated sequence : An organizational pattern that is a more elaborate variation of the problem-cause-solution pattern.  We’ll go into more depth on Monroe’s motivated sequence on the next page.
  • Structure of a Persuasive Speech. Authored by : Mike Randolph with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

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How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech

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The purpose of a persuasive speech is to convince your audience to agree with an idea or opinion that you present. First, you'll need to choose a side on a controversial topic, then you will write a speech to explain your position, and convince the audience to agree with you.

You can produce an effective persuasive speech if you structure your argument as a solution to a problem. Your first job as a speaker is to convince your audience that a particular problem is important to them, and then you must convince them that you have the solution to make things better.

Note: You don't have to address a real problem. Any need can work as the problem. For example, you could consider the lack of a pet, the need to wash one's hands, or the need to pick a particular sport to play as the "problem."

As an example, let's imagine that you have chosen "Getting Up Early" as your persuasion topic. Your goal will be to persuade classmates to get themselves out of bed an hour earlier every morning. In this instance, the problem could be summed up as "morning chaos."

A standard speech format has an introduction with a great hook statement, three main points, and a summary. Your persuasive speech will be a tailored version of this format.

Before you write the text of your speech, you should sketch an outline that includes your hook statement and three main points.

Writing the Text

The introduction of your speech must be compelling because your audience will make up their minds within a few minutes whether or not they are interested in your topic.

Before you write the full body you should come up with a greeting. Your greeting can be as simple as "Good morning everyone. My name is Frank."

After your greeting, you will offer a hook to capture attention. A hook sentence for the "morning chaos" speech could be a question:

  • How many times have you been late for school?
  • Does your day begin with shouts and arguments?
  • Have you ever missed the bus?

Or your hook could be a statistic or surprising statement:

  • More than 50 percent of high school students skip breakfast because they just don't have time to eat.
  • Tardy kids drop out of school more often than punctual kids.

Once you have the attention of your audience, follow through to define the topic/problem and introduce your solution. Here's an example of what you might have so far:

Good afternoon, class. Some of you know me, but some of you may not. My name is Frank Godfrey, and I have a question for you. Does your day begin with shouts and arguments? Do you go to school in a bad mood because you've been yelled at, or because you argued with your parent? The chaos you experience in the morning can bring you down and affect your performance at school.

Add the solution:

You can improve your mood and your school performance by adding more time to your morning schedule. You can accomplish this by setting your alarm clock to go off one hour earlier.

Your next task will be to write the body, which will contain the three main points you've come up with to argue your position. Each point will be followed by supporting evidence or anecdotes, and each body paragraph will need to end with a transition statement that leads to the next segment. Here is a sample of three main statements:

  • Bad moods caused by morning chaos will affect your workday performance.
  • If you skip breakfast to buy time, you're making a harmful health decision.
  • (Ending on a cheerful note) You'll enjoy a boost to your self-esteem when you reduce the morning chaos.

After you write three body paragraphs with strong transition statements that make your speech flow, you are ready to work on your summary.

Your summary will re-emphasize your argument and restate your points in slightly different language. This can be a little tricky. You don't want to sound repetitive but will need to repeat what you have said. Find a way to reword the same main points.

Finally, you must make sure to write a clear final sentence or passage to keep yourself from stammering at the end or fading off in an awkward moment. A few examples of graceful exits:

  • We all like to sleep. It's hard to get up some mornings, but rest assured that the reward is well worth the effort.
  • If you follow these guidelines and make the effort to get up a little bit earlier every day, you'll reap rewards in your home life and on your report card.

Tips for Writing Your Speech

  • Don't be confrontational in your argument. You don't need to put down the other side; just convince your audience that your position is correct by using positive assertions.
  • Use simple statistics. Don't overwhelm your audience with confusing numbers.
  • Don't complicate your speech by going outside the standard "three points" format. While it might seem simplistic, it is a tried and true method for presenting to an audience who is listening as opposed to reading.
  • 100 Persuasive Speech Topics for Students
  • 100 Persuasive Essay Topics
  • 50 Argumentative Essay Topics
  • Examples of Great Introductory Paragraphs
  • How to Write a Persuasive Essay
  • 5 Tips on How to Write a Speech Essay
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • How To Write an Essay
  • Writing an Opinion Essay
  • 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper
  • How to Structure an Essay
  • What Is Expository Writing?
  • Ethos, Logos, Pathos for Persuasion
  • Definition and Examples of Analysis in Composition
  • Audience Analysis in Speech and Composition
  • How to Write a Good Thesis Statement

Persuasive Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples

What is a persuasive speech.

In a persuasive speech, the speaker aims to convince the audience to accept a particular perspective on a person, place, object, idea, etc. The speaker strives to cause the audience to accept the point of view presented in the speech.

The success of a persuasive speech often relies on the speaker’s use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Success of a persuasive speech

Ethos is the speaker’s credibility. Audiences are more likely to accept an argument if they find the speaker trustworthy. To establish credibility during a persuasive speech, speakers can do the following:

Use familiar language.

Select examples that connect to the specific audience.

Utilize credible and well-known sources.

Logically structure the speech in an audience-friendly way.

Use appropriate eye contact, volume, pacing, and inflection.

Pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions. Speakers who create an emotional bond with their audience are typically more convincing. Tapping into the audience’s emotions can be accomplished through the following:

Select evidence that can elicit an emotional response.

Use emotionally-charged words. (The city has a problem … vs. The city has a disease …)

Incorporate analogies and metaphors that connect to a specific emotion to draw a parallel between the reference and topic.

Utilize vivid imagery and sensory words, allowing the audience to visualize the information.

Employ an appropriate tone, inflection, and pace to reflect the emotion.

Logos appeals to the audience’s logic by offering supporting evidence. Speakers can improve their logical appeal in the following ways:

Use comprehensive evidence the audience can understand.

Confirm the evidence logically supports the argument’s claims and stems from credible sources.

Ensure that evidence is specific and avoid any vague or questionable information.

Types of persuasive speeches

The three main types of persuasive speeches are factual, value, and policy.

Types of persuasive speeches

A factual persuasive speech focuses solely on factual information to prove the existence or absence of something through substantial proof. This is the only type of persuasive speech that exclusively uses objective information rather than subjective. As such, the argument does not rely on the speaker’s interpretation of the information. Essentially, a factual persuasive speech includes historical controversy, a question of current existence, or a prediction:

Historical controversy concerns whether an event happened or whether an object actually existed.

Questions of current existence involve the knowledge that something is currently happening.

Predictions incorporate the analysis of patterns to convince the audience that an event will happen again.

A value persuasive speech concerns the morality of a certain topic. Speakers incorporate facts within these speeches; however, the speaker’s interpretation of those facts creates the argument. These speeches are highly subjective, so the argument cannot be proven to be absolutely true or false.

A policy persuasive speech centers around the speaker’s support or rejection of a public policy, rule, or law. Much like a value speech, speakers provide evidence supporting their viewpoint; however, they provide subjective conclusions based on the facts they provide.

How to write a persuasive speech

Incorporate the following steps when writing a persuasive speech:

Step 1 – Identify the type of persuasive speech (factual, value, or policy) that will help accomplish the goal of the presentation.

Step 2 – Select a good persuasive speech topic to accomplish the goal and choose a position .

How to write a persuasive speech

Step 3 – Locate credible and reliable sources and identify evidence in support of the topic/position. Revisit Step 2 if there is a lack of relevant resources.

Step 4 – Identify the audience and understand their baseline attitude about the topic.

Step 5 – When constructing an introduction , keep the following questions in mind:

What’s the topic of the speech?

What’s the occasion?

Who’s the audience?

What’s the purpose of the speech?

Step 6 – Utilize the evidence within the previously identified sources to construct the body of the speech. Keeping the audience in mind, determine which pieces of evidence can best help develop the argument. Discuss each point in detail, allowing the audience to understand how the facts support the perspective.

Step 7 – Addressing counterarguments can help speakers build their credibility, as it highlights their breadth of knowledge.

Step 8 – Conclude the speech with an overview of the central purpose and how the main ideas identified in the body support the overall argument.

How to write a persuasive speech

Persuasive speech outline

One of the best ways to prepare a great persuasive speech is by using an outline. When structuring an outline, include an introduction, body, and conclusion:

Introduction

Attention Grabbers

Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way; ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic without requiring a response.

Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.

Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, typically done using data or statistics.

Provide a brief anecdote or story that relates to the topic.

Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.

Provide information on how the selected topic may impact the audience .

Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.

Give the thesis statement in connection to the main topic and identify the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose.

Identify evidence

Summarize its meaning

Explain how it helps prove the support/main claim

Evidence 3 (Continue as needed)

Support 3 (Continue as needed)

Restate thesis

Review main supports

Concluding statement

Give the audience a call to action to do something specific.

Identify the overall importan ce of the topic and position.

Persuasive speech topics

The following table identifies some common or interesting persuasive speech topics for high school and college students:

Persuasive speech topics
Benefits of healthy foods Animal testing Affirmative action
Cell phone use while driving Arts in education Credit cards
Climate change Capital punishment/death penalty Fossil fuels
Extinction of the dinosaurs Community service Fracking
Extraterrestrial life Fast food & obesity Global warming
Gun violence Human cloning Gun control
Increase in poverty Influence of social media Mental health/health care
Moon landing Paying college athletes Minimum wage
Pandemics Screen time for young children Renewable energy
Voting rights Violent video games School choice/private vs. public schools vs. homeschooling
World hunger Zoos & exotic animals School uniforms

Persuasive speech examples

The following list identifies some of history’s most famous persuasive speeches:

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address: “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You”

Lyndon B. Johnson: “We Shall Overcome”

Marc Antony: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Ronald Reagan: “Tear Down this Wall”

Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I a Woman?”

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Characteristics of a Persuasive Speech

Persuasive speeches are designed to convince the audience of a speaker's point of view. If you're writing one, every element -- from your opening statement, to the main body and conclusion -- must reinforce that goal. Good persuasive speeches share several common characteristics. Those qualities include an opening statement that grabs interest, evidence that establishes your credibility and a conclusion that compels the listener to support your position or take action.

Attention-getting Introductions

A persuasive speaker engages his audience from the start. One way is to open with a simple declarative statement and details that support your position. For example, a speaker on global warming might begin by saying, "There is little doubt that the planet is warming," states "Presentation" magazine. In your next few sentences, offer statistics to show how the Earth's climate is changing in ways that have negative impacts on human, animal and plant life. Lastly, introduce the consequences by saying something like, "If the ice caps melt, a vast majority of our countries' borders will be underwater."

Authority to Speak

Success in persuasive speaking hinges on how favorably the speaker's audience evaluates his credibility or competence. A speaker can draw on his expertise in an industry or subject to pre-empt common objections that an audience might raise. For example, a climatology professor or meteorologist would draw on his specialized knowledge to refute assertions that sudden climate shifts aren't serious. Credibility also comes from personal experience, which might prove more relevant to an ex-offender arguing the need to reform the criminal justice system, for example.

Logical Presentation

Structure is important for managing the flow of information in persuasive speeches. Most speakers make just two or three main points, with special emphasis on the first and last ones. One common option is problem-solution organization, in which you cite a problem and propose a way of addressing it. For more complex issues, consider the stock issues format of describing the problem, the harms that result and how you might remedy them. In other cases, it may be sufficient to make points sequentially, from beginning to end. Whatever format you use, make sure it's easy to follow.

Smart Pacing

Good speakers recognize the value of a balanced presentation. Many of the best remembered historical speeches are the shortest -- like the Gettysburg Address, which runs only 300 words, according to "Time" magazine. Time your speech while you're practicing it, so you can cut repetitious or unnecessary phrases. Also, make sure you spend roughly the same time on each main point. This approach gives your speech a steady, measured pace that's important in maintaining credibility with an audience.

Stirring Conclusions

The closing paragraph is your last opportunity to persuade listeners. You'll briefly review the main points once more, and then you'll state the actions you want audience members to take. For example, your global warming speech might close with an outline of measures -- such as planting more trees or starting recycling programs -- to ease pressure on the environment. Then finish with a statement that summarizes your purpose.

For example, you might say, "These steps won't solve our problems overnight, but if everyone pitches in, they can change our planet for the better."

  • Presentation Magazine: Example of a Persuasive Speech -- Global Warming
  • Presentation Magazine: How to Write a Persuasive Speech
  • The University of Pittsburgh: Speaking in the Disciplines -- Credibility
  • The University of Pittsburgh: Speaking in the Disciplines -- Persuasive Speaking
  • The University of Pittsburgh: Speaking in the Disciplines -- The Importance of Organization
  • TIME Magazine: 6 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Speech (On Any Topic)

Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Make a claim. Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim. Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim) Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives. The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays.

  2. 4.1 Features of an Argument

    A well-structured argument is one that is carefully and optimally planned. It is organized so that the argument has a continuous building of ideas, one upon the other or in concert with the other, in order to produce the most persuasive impact or effect on the reader. For clarity, avoid repeating ideas, reasons, or evidence.

  3. Argumentative Speeches

    An argumentative speech is a type of speech where the speaker takes a position on a controversial issue and presents arguments to persuade the audience to adopt a similar viewpoint. The goal is to convince the audience through logical reasoning, evidence, and emotional appeal. Argumentative Speech Bundle Download.

  4. What are Argumentative Texts? Characteristics, Types and Examples

    Characteristics of an argumentative text. - Clear thesis: the text presents a main idea or thesis that is defended throughout the document. - Strong argumentation: the arguments presented are supported by relevant evidence, data and/or examples. - Coherence and cohesion: the text has a logical and well-organised structure, with paragraphs that ...

  5. 6.6: Features of an Argument

    A well-structured argument is one that is carefully and optimally planned. It is organized so that the argument has a continuous building of ideas, one upon the other or in concert with the other, in order to produce the most persuasive impact or effect on the reader. For clarity, avoid repeating ideas, reasons, or evidence.

  6. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    An argumentative essay comprises five essential components: 1. Claim. Claim in argumentative writing is the central argument or viewpoint that the writer aims to establish and defend throughout the essay. A claim must assert your position on an issue and must be arguable. It can guide the entire argument.

  7. How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

    When you're writing a persuasive essay, you need more than just an opinion to make your voice heard. Even the strongest stance won't be compelling if it's not structured properly and reinforced with solid reasoning and evidence. Learn what elements every argumentative essay should include and how to structure it depending on your audience in this easy step-by-step guide.

  8. How to Write an A+ Argumentative Essay

    An argumentative essay attempts to convince a reader to agree with a particular argument (the writer's thesis statement). The writer takes a firm stand one way or another on a topic and then uses hard evidence to support that stance. An argumentative essay seeks to prove to the reader that one argument —the writer's argument— is the ...

  9. 9.3: The Argumentative Essay

    In an academic argument, you'll have a lot more constraints you have to consider, and you'll focus much more on logic and reasoning than emotions. Figure 1. When writing an argumentative essay, students must be able to separate emotion based arguments from logic based arguments in order to appeal to an academic audience.

  10. What is an Argumentative Essay? How to Write It (With Examples)

    An argumentative essay presents a specific claim or argument and supports it with evidence and reasoning. Here's an outline for an argumentative essay, along with examples for each section: 3. 1. Introduction: Hook: Start with a compelling statement, question, or anecdote to grab the reader's attention.

  11. 9.2: Introduction to Argumentative Essays

    An academic argument asserts a claim and supports that claim with evidence. The goal of an argument is to convince readers that the writer's position is reasonable, valid, and worthy of consideration. Therefore, an argumentative thesis statement needs to be not only clear and focused, but also debatable, assertive, and reasoned.

  12. How to Write an Argumentative Essay (With Features & Structure)

    e. Compelling Conclusion: An argumentative essay should have a compelling conclusion. Compelling here means that it has to be sound and convincing. The conclusive point should resolve the thriving issues implicated in the course of the argument. features of an argumentative essay. There are basically four parts of an argument. They include: a ...

  13. Argumentative essay

    A. Kids should find role models that are worthier than celebrities because celebrities may be famous for reasons that aren't admirable. Because they profit from the admiration of youths, celebrities have a moral responsibility for the reactions their behaviors provoke in fans. B.

  14. English Composition I: Rhetorical Methods-Based

    The Purpose of Argument in Writing. The idea of an argument often conjures up images of two people yelling and screaming in anger. In writing, however, an argument is very different. An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue in writing is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way.

  15. Argumentative Essay

    Argumentative essays should feature transition words and logical connecting words to form a cohesive argument and a fluid piece of writing. The five-paragraph essay is a typical approach for ...

  16. Structure of a Persuasive Speech

    Identify characteristic structures of a persuasive speech. In many ways, a persuasive speech is structured like an informative speech. It has an introduction with an attention-getter and a clear thesis statement. It also has a body where the speaker presents their main points and it ends with a conclusion that sums up the main point of the speech.

  17. 4.2 Features of an Argument

    4.2 Features of an Argument. Terri Pantuso. Argument is not the loud, assertive, unwavering statement of your opinion in the hopes of conquering the opposition. Argument is the careful consideration of numerous positions and the careful development of logically sound, carefully constructed assertions that, when combined, offer a worthwhile ...

  18. How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech

    The purpose of a persuasive speech is to convince your audience to agree with an idea or opinion that you present. First, you'll need to choose a side on a controversial topic, then you will write a speech to explain your position, and convince the audience to agree with you. You can produce an effective persuasive speech if you structure your ...

  19. Persuasive Speeches

    The three main types of persuasive speeches are factual, value, and policy. A factual persuasive speech focuses solely on factual information to prove the existence or absence of something through substantial proof. This is the only type of persuasive speech that exclusively uses objective information rather than subjective.

  20. Persuasive Speech Definition, Types & Features

    Persuasive speech is intended to convince an audience to accept a certain opinion, fact, or viewpoint. Its importance is found in politics, advertising, education, activism, and any other field in ...

  21. Characteristics of a Persuasive Speech

    Persuasive speeches are designed to convince the audience of a speaker's point of view. If you're writing one, every element -- from your opening statement, to the main body and conclusion -- must reinforce that goal. Good persuasive speeches share several common characteristics. Those qualities include an opening statement that grabs interest ...