Argumentative Essays

Argumentation is everywhere—in congress and courtrooms, in corporate board rooms, at garden club meetings, and in millions of essays, reports, theses, and dissertations written at colleges and universities throughout the world.

Like other types of writing, arguments respond to specific situations: a need is not being met, a person is being treated unfairly, an important concept is misunderstood, an outdated policy needs to be reexamined. Strong arguments respond effectively to such writing contexts.

Sensing your argument's overall scope and direction, you can consider stating your main point. As you do, however, remember that your writing process has barely begun. You don't yet need a final proposition statement for your finished paper, but one to point you forward and help focus your efforts.

One essential characteristic of argument is your sense of an adversary. You aren't simply explaining a concept to someone who will hear you out and accept or reject your idea on its merit. Argument assumes active opposition to your proposition. To win acceptance, then, you must not only explain and support your proposition, but also anticipate and overcome objections that the opposition might raise.

For now, don't worry about your essay's final structure, but consider expanding and developing the points listed on your Pro and Con Chart. Think in terms of paragraphs, and consider developing each point as though you planned to build a paragraph around it.