How to Write an Argumentive Essay

The purpose of an argumentative essay is to express a one-sided point of view on a particular subject. Argumentative essays present the facts of a specific point of view and attempt to persuade the reader. These types of essays are commonly assigned in introductory English or writing classes as an effective way to teach students to write persuasively, present facts and even to conduct some research. Argumentative essays are basically written like other types of essays and must include an introduction, a thesis statement, body paragraphs and a conclusion. They also strictly present a single side of an issue.

Choose a topic. The best types of topics for argumentative essays are issues, about which the writer will argue a specific side. It is best to stay away from overdone, overly controversial topics, like abortion or the death penalty. These topics have been written about extensively, and most people already have a pre-formed opinion about them, so it will be difficult to present information that will persuade a reader.

Write a thesis statement. The thesis is a one-sentence statement that sums up the essay's topic and main point. The thesis should state the topic that you have chosen and clearly express which side of the issue will be argued.

Write an introductory paragraph. This is the first paragraph in the essay, and it should include some type of attention-getter, like a quotation or statistics. The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the introduction.

Write at least three clear body paragraphs that support the thesis. Each body paragraph should stick to a specific subtopic within the issue being argued. It is important to fully argue the point by using direct language and facts, and providing examples to illustrate the facts.

Write a conclusion paragraph that sums up the essay's main points and restates the thesis statement. New ideas should not be expressed in the conclusion. Do not contradict any information that has already been presented in the body.

  • Include information from reliable sources as supporting material for your argument. If you plan to use source information, be sure to cite it in the text of your essay and on a works-cited page.
About the Author

Erica Sweeney is a freelance writer and editor based in Little Rock, Ark. She has a master's in journalism from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her work has been published at, Arkansas Times, Aging Arkansas and Arkansas Business.