5 Laws of College Argumentative Writing

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Your argumentation skills can appear very helpful and literally save you when things are heating up. The capability to prove your point of view without irritating your opponent with it and to prevent a potential conflict before it even starts will certainly gibe you a considerable advantage.

And I hope that’s quite a good motivation for you to get even more interested in learning how to write really impressive argumentative essays, which your professor will assess with a maximum grade.  

The thing is that argumentative writing can help you train and upgrade the mentioned capabilities. Besides, some educators smartly note that practicing oral discussions of controversial issues can also be very beneficial for forming students’ general idea of correct argumentation as well as for encouraging students to put their positions on paper.

Now, if we assume that you already have a topic for an argumentative essay, let’s check a few simple rules of academic argumentative writing. They will work effectively regardless of an issue your professor will ask you to shed light on.

Actually, a controversial topic is Law #0, a foundation to build the piece of writing.

What else should you know then?

1. Choose Your Side

Before you start writing, you should decide which of the two (or probably more) opinions on the assigned issue you’re going to support. It can be quite complicated, especially if you are someone like me. I like to philosophize that everything depends on circumstances and/or my own mood, that today I support one side but tomorrow I might change my mind, etc.

But when you work on an argumentative essay and not a blog post, you should understand clearly which opinion correlates with your own beliefs better. Based on such decision and understanding, you’ll be able to provide good, trustworthy arguments and probably even persuade a reader of their rightness if he or she currently has an opposite point of view.

2. Do Research and Collect Evidence

Even if you know for sure what you want to write in the essay, don’t hurry to start it. Write down your ideas, they will help you. But the research is necessary at least to find out more about the opposite opinions and moods.

Are there any doctors who support abortions? Why have some countries legalized same-sex marriages? You need at least three-five valid sources to be sure that you can comprehend the assigned topic fully, discuss it, introduce your own views on it and support them with convincing evidence.

As you are surfing the Internet and reading articles, you can take notes and start thinking about the sequence and presentation of your arguments. There must be two or three of them. So, you can make an outline and gradually move to planning the structure.   

Girl Typing on Keyboard

3. Stick to the Standard Structure

Yes, to that good old 5-paragraph essay structure. Creativity is fine for descriptive or narrative essays but argumentative writing requires your work to reach its standards.

An intro should mention the core of the issue you’re going to discuss – the main controversy and the reason(s) for it. Also, it should include the so-called thesis statement in which you are expected to state your opinion, referring to the fact that the arguments below can prove it.

The following three paragraphs should introduce and develop your argumentation. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence, presenting one piece of evidence. Then reason it with the help of real facts, statistics, examples, or with the opinions of reputable experts. In the end of the paragraph you can insert an opposite view on the topic because it is considered a good gesture to highlight different opinions in argumentative writing.

By the way, you’d better do that in the second and third paragraphs of your essay, which serve for presenting the first two arguments. As you open each paragraph with a piece of evidence, it will be easier for you to keep your initial position even after you admit that yes, there guys who think differently, and we should put up with them.

Consequently, you should use your strongest argument in the fourth paragraph, exactly before the conclusion. Partly, this is a manipulative strategy, aimed at influencing a reader, making them more willing to accept your opinion despite the fact that they didn’t support it initially. However, in such a case, the end definitely justifies the means.

Like the intro, the conclusion should mention the controversy of the discussed topic but emphasize your personal position. You can also summarize the arguments you make to support it.

4. Don’t Go Too General

Simply put, if you are asked to muse over advantages and disadvantages of the use of modern technology in the education process, you shouldn’t go deep, say, into the history of the Internet or the evolution of smartphones. Just go around the main issue, considering it from different angles.

Of course, if you are writing a research paper that should feature argumentation and be more than 2-page long, you can devote its introductory part to describing the background and then move to the essence of the assignment. However, you should refrain from doing so if the maximal length of your essay is 500-600 words.

5. Consider the Opposite View(s) and Stay Unbiased

I’ve already drawn your attention to first requirement. Unlike persuasive writing that implies almost full disregard of opposite opinions, argumentative writing is more diplomatic. Its purpose is to introduce your opinion on the question but not to impose it on your reader. The latter is the remarkable feature of a persuasive essay.

However, you should also remember that when you describe an alternative or an opposite position, you should do it impartially, even though the very existence of this position may really irritate you. Always stay or at least pretend to be smart and polite, regardless of the topic of your essay.

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