How to Set Up an Argumentative Essay
As a student, it's likely you'll be required to write an argumentative essay at some point. Used to establish a stance on a particular topic, a well-written argumentative essay requires supporting evidence along with acknowledging opposing points of view. While there are various ways to set up an argumentative essay, the five-paragraph format includes an introductory paragraph, three evidentiary paragraphs and a concluding paragraph. Following the five-paragraph format can help you successfully convey your position.
Begin with a title page. It includes your name and general information such as the name of your school, the course’s professor’s name, the date and the title. Craft a title that concisely conveys the purpose of your paper. Center all information on the title page. Keep in mind that the information required on title pages and its formatting varies among schools, so check your school’s guidelines before submitting your paper.
The Hook and Thesis
Next, write the first sentence of your introductory paragraph, which is referred to as the hook. The purpose of the hook is to peak your readers’ interest, so they'll feel compelled to continue reading your essay. Hook strategies include using a statistic, an extraordinary fact or a personal anecdote. Follow the hook with a few sentences that give background information on your topic, and include additional sentences to explain the importance of your topic. Conclude this paragraph with your thesis statement, which is your position on the topic.
Write the next three paragraphs to support your position. Make sure that each of these paragraphs includes its own general idea that supports your thesis statement. Begin each with a topic sentence. Include a fact, example or detail in your topic sentence to help readers understand your position. In each paragraph, include statistics, quotes, facts or examples to support your topic sentence. According to the Odegaard Writing & Research Center, you should include an opposing point of view in one of these evidentiary paragraphs to show that you acknowledge opposition.
Don't introduce new information in your concluding paragraph. Refrain from restating your thesis, but be sure to reiterate why your topic is important. According to Austin Peay State University, you should synthesize the information presented in your essay in your concluding paragraph.
End your paper with a reference page. Use APA or MLA style, depending on your institution’s preference.
Based in Atlanta, Melissa Nicholas has been writing features articles since 1995. She was a features writer and columnist for “The Gainesville Times” newspaper and “The Island Packet” newspaper. During that time, she received Associated Press awards for features writing and for newspaper page design.