Guide to Composing an Argumentative essay
First Things First
This essay is not a shouting match where you angrily make your points. You are not arguing with
someone in an argumentative essay; you are making a case for something you think to be right. It is up
to the reader to decide whether or not they agree with you. Thus, you want to not just state your
opinion, but to back it up with convincing, supportive evidence and examples.
Brainstorming for Your Essay
What is something about which you feel strongly? What is a current issue under debate? This could be
something simple, such as if a local high school should begin requiring uniforms; it could be more
complex, such as the moral and ethical considerations in stem cell research.
Topics to Avoid
Some topics are too divided or overdone to make a convincing essay. Abortion, the death penalty, and
assisted suicide are emotional and exhausted topics. There are plenty of other things to discuss. Come
up with your own fresh idea!
Form of the Argumentative Essay
Introduction – Provide some historical background for your topic. This would be the
appropriate time to acknowledge the opposing sides’ opinions. State the topic you will
Body – Here is where you provide supporting evidence. This can be scientific studies,
polls, research, and your observations.
Conclusion – Here you summarize your argument. This is your last chance to convince
someone to change their mind.
Problems with Argumentative Essays
One of the biggest pitfalls when writing an argumentative essay is to offer opinions rather than facts as
your support. Be careful! If you think the changing that current color of police uniforms to pink is a
mistake, you must give evidence why. Do not just say you do not like the color pink; that is your
opinion. Provide practical examples, such as: it would be an expensive thing to recall all current police
uniforms and make and replace them with pink ones. You could argue that, historically, policemen have
worn dark-colored uniforms and that people associate blue and black uniforms with authority. You
could argue that a policeman wearing pink could put him/her at risk because he/she is more visible.
Again, support your argument with facts, not with opinions.