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How to Write a Better Argumentative Essay
by Brian Scott

An argumentative essay, also known as a persuasive essay, is an essay written in a formal academic style to a specific format. An argumentative essay involves developing a topic by presenting two opposing sides of an argument. This type of essay differs from a standard essay because its purpose is to state and defend a position on a particular issue. You write around a specific statement and your aim is to convince, or persuade, the reader about the truth of this statement.

Let's look at 10 tips to write a persuasive essay:

1. Understand its purpose

The purpose of an argumentative essay is to demonstrate your attitude or view on a particular statement and to provide information in support of this view. You do need specific skill to write an argumentative essay—to do so effectively, you require time and practice, no matter how opinionated you are. Regardless of your skill as a writer, you may find it challenging to argue your point of view in the context of an argumentative essay.

There is a kind of art form to writing an argumentative essay. You must be clear about your reasoning to differentiate between mere assertions and arguments with substance. This will ensure your essay supports your arguments rather than merely stating your point of view.

2. Do your research

Before you write, study other successful essays written by your peers. Look at the turns of phrase and tools that writers have used to support an assertion. Try to assess if your point of view achieves its aim of convincing a certain point of view, and if so, why.

When you research your own essay, apply the same rigorous standards of academic research as you would for any other type of essay. Argumentative essays require you to know both sides of an issue, regardless of your view. Only by researching effectively can you argue your point of view strongly enough to convince the reader to share your position. Avoid errors or poorly backed-up claims as these will serve only to antagonize the reader and detract from the strength of your argument.

3. Introduction

Always begin by stating the topic and your assertion. Clearly state your position on the issue that you will argue and defend, and outline the background for the subsequent analysis.

4. Main body

The main body of your essay usually includes two separate paragraphs or sections, based on the length of your piece. One paragraph or section will provide the arguments in favor of the assertion; the other will provide the arguments against it. Both should detail all relevant reasons and explanations in their support. Use facts, statistics, third-party testimony, books, articles and real-life examples to support both arguments and convince your reader of the credibility of your view.

5. Conclusion

The conclusion may provide your own opinion, supported by the preceding arguments, or you may choose to restate a balanced view of the topic. Make sure that your conclusion restates and summarizes the most crucial details of the argument.

6. Plan your topic and brainstorm your ideas

When writing an argumentative essay, plan your information carefully to achieve the best result. Start by brainstorming your ideas, and then organize them into two lists - one with negative points and the other with positive points.

7. Be clear about your arguments

You must clearly convey your arguments before you begin. If you are unsure where you stand, then you will be unable to convince your readers about one point of view or another point of view. Use your writing skills to produce well-developed paragraphs with clear explanations and relevant examples, ensuring that each paragraph contains at least two sentences.

8. Use a formal writing style

Stick to your formal essay-writing style always. Writing an argumentative essay may feel more “personal” so avoid colloquialisms and informal writing styles. Aim to keep your tone professional and balanced. Always write in the third person to add gravitas to your argument.

9. Always cite your sources

Make sure you cite your sources if you quote any statistics, expressions or other information.

10. Edit, edit, edit

Always revise your essay. Take time to edit it in good time before your deadline. Check for grammatical and spelling mistakes. Ask yourself if every paragraph is as strong as your supporting arguments can make it.

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