The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-03-10 11:46:44
What is an argumentative essay?
The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important (exigence) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis (warrant).
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph essay
A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.
Longer argumentative essays
Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.
We are glad to introduce You our database of free Argumentative essay samples. These examples of Argumentative essays are to help you understanding how to write this type of essays.
The leading tone in an argumentative essay is the position of proving that the presented point of view is the correct one and possesses more truthful arguments than any other opinions. The author through proper reasoning, inducting and making conclusions, must prove the assertions or the theories of the argumentative essay. If the author fails to apply the reasons and conclusions to the topic of the essay such essay is considered to be an unsubstantiated opinion.
List of our examples of argumentative essays :
Death Penalty for Children
negative effects of television
Games and Violence
Good and Bad Teachers
Economics and prostitution
Fashion and Identity
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Is money an effective motivator at work
Moral Difference Between Hitting a Computer and Hitting a Person
Mass Media essay
Preventing violence against women
Radio industry and Technology
View all (49 examples) on one page (titles only)
Healthy food essay Good nutrition can help prevent disease and promote health. Consumption of important fruits and vegetables ensures lower level of mortality and reduces various degenerative diseases,During lifetime an individual consumes 30 tons of food on average in seemingly endless dietary varieties.Nutrition is deemed functional on condition that it beneficially influences various body functions. Weight issues have always influenced American society, involving health, psychological and socio-emotional considerations.
Child Obesity Essay The main causes of obesity are: the decreased level of nutrients intake, and sedentary lifestyle.For example, the intake of fast food meals tripled between 1977 and 1995, and calorie level magnified four times during the same period. Nevertheless, it is insufficient explanation of phenomenal rise in the obesity levels in the well-developed countries. Overall, obesity is a significant health and social problem, which has reached pandemic levels.
Alcohol abuse essay: Teenagers Addiction Alcohol addiction is largely featured by general tolerance for alcohol with periodically increasing amounts to achieve the same degree of satisfaction,Alcohol addiction is mostly featured by psychological and physical dependence on daily basis.The need for alcohol is present when a person craves alcohol and cannot limit actual amounts or whenever a drinker enlarges alcohol consumption to feel high.
View All Argumentative Essay Examples on Health
Birth order essay The first child converts the marriage of two people into a real family. Ordinarily, the parents are young and rather inexperienced and sometimes even not ready for the child. Parents try to dedicate all their free time to their child and to apply as many educational techniques as it is possible, nevertheless these techniques often contradict each other and it may result is the constant anxiety of the child. First-borns are very often over-protected, as their parents make the majority of decisions for them.
Differentiated instruction Essay DI eliminated the necessity to make the student equal for they are not from the very beginning. What is more important, according to DI is to find the filed in which the student will reveal all his potential. A differentiated classroom opens the door to many opportunities. For instance the students can work both individually and in groups depending on their preferences. The DI teacher does not simply provide the academic material but he makes it an integral part of student’s knowledge.
Good and Bad Teachers essay Therefore there is much more to a teacher than high professionalism. What makes kids hardly wait until the lesson starts in one cases and hating the subject in others? Of course high professionalism in the field of the taught subject is very important, but when it comes to being a bad or a good teacher this is not the weightiest factor. A good teacher is a person who not just reproduces the knowledge he got.
View All Argumentative Essay Examples on Social issues
China’s market The reason of this level of popularity is very simple – if the company stars producing something in China it automatically gets high demand on its products. The rate of the return of their investments is very high and everybody seems to be in gain. But… The main point is that China gets way more.Chinese companies get western technologies and this becomes the leading power of their economics for the moment.
Competition in food industry essay As it has been mentioned before, on the key issues of the competition in the food industry is the quality of products. The quality of food-products is achieved through the well-coordinated process of cooperation of food retailers, manufacturers, suppliers of ingredients and food makers (Partos, 2005). If any of these links perform a disorganized and unqualified activity it always results in a damaged product and a damaged product is always a guarantor of health problems of the consumer.
Human Resource Development Essay HRD has radically changed in the last years and nowadays it corresponds to the demands on the level of large business organizations and governmental institutions. Its impact on the functioning of any organization is being analyzed by the major experts. What is one of the best sides of HRD is that it has become a synthesis of many vital global aspects including occupational psychology, organizational behavior and theories of learning.
View All Argumentative Essay Examples on Business
Women rights essay (Justice vs. environment) In such patriarchal societies the notion of justice is based not on human right but on the local interpretation of law with the transformed principles of morality, dignity and law complied with universal values. There are patriarchal societies where justice is the synonym of the dominance of men over women, the defense of human rights and equality is a myth.