Remember the times you had to seek permission from parents to take the car or go for that night out with your buddies?? How nicely you put forth your arguments to anything they said to stop you!!! No matter whatsoever points they came up with, you had your defence ready. And ultimately, you won it of course. And hey, all you out there who hadn’t been able to convince your folks don’t lose heart. Look back and ponder… there would have been instances when you put forth your point, defended it and proved it. So, you have it in you, that quick thinking, reasoning ability which makes you smart. But still do you get stressed out when it comes to assignments consisting of argumentative essays?? Well, there is nothing to worry. In this post, we shall try to solve for you the puzzle of argumentative essays or may be it would be better to say that we shall just help you as you solve the puzzle yourself.
In academic writing, one mostly comes across some main kinds of essays: expository, persuasive, analytical and argumentative essays. In expository essays, you just explain the different facets of a topic, while in analytical essays, you break it into components, analyse each part and present it. In descriptive essays, you create a vivid account about a topic while in a narrative essay, you tell a story with a definite purpose. In persuasive essays, you use all examples and evidences to convince or persuade the reader to believe what you are saying. And the smartest of them all, the argumentative essays are the ones which are somehow similar to persuasive essays but still different. In these essays, you put forth your argument, then give several evidences to support it and also give valid points to refute possible counter arguments, so in a way, you persuade but in style and indirectly.
First things first…so…what do we understand by an “argument”? Simply said argument refers to expressing a particular point of view on a topic and then defending the same with relevant evidences. Your opinion as well as the way you defend it would determine the strength of your argument. Take care to see that your essay does not just seem like one big information dump. Your professors and your books already know a lot of facts, there’s hardly any point in just collecting those and making an essay. You are going to be evaluated on how you form your opinion and how you use the knowledge to practically defend your claim or view. Applicability of the knowledge, clarity of concept and reasoning prowess are the qualities that would make you stand out. In an argumentative essay, one needs to present an argument with both its pros and cons justifying each one of these with valid evidences.
While writing argumentative essays, the first and foremost act is that of planning. You need to study the topic in detail, research into it, then analyse its different facets and then go on fitting in the pieces of the puzzle. In this, counter arguments can be of great help to you. Confused? Well, when you thought that you would tell Mom that you are going to college and not to a movie; did you not plan out that what if mom asks why I am not carrying books??? And then, may be you thought of carrying a satchel anyways just in case somebody doubts. Well, that’s the simplest example of counter argument I guess. When in your essay, you put forward your argument, then think of all the counter arguments that can be possibly raised and then structure your evidences and reasoning to counteract them. In that way, you would end up with an argumentative essay that has given focus to the different possible perspectives of the topic and hey that’s what’s sought too, isn’t it? It is a good habit to write as if you are debating with somebody over the topic. In that way, you can touch all the different aspects of the issue.
The structure of the argumentative essay will be something like this – you start with an introduction in which you first express what your essay is going to deal with and put forward your argument to the readers. Thereafter, you have to put in your research findings. So, next you can take up one evidence at a time and discuss it justifying your argument. You can deal with one evidence in one paragraph and so on and so forth. Remember to cite the sources of your evidences. You might get different evidences for your argument, but when you write the essay, keeping the word limit in consideration, use the strong evidences only because those would help you to make the desired impact. And yeah, keep the stronger evidences in the beginning and end of the essay; the not-so-strong evidences can be fitted in the middle part of the essay. When you have given the evidences, next you can discuss possible counter arguments and how you refute them with your own reasoning. Once all that is done, you can pen down your concluding lines in a convincing fashion. In the conclusion, just don’t restate your argument; instead put it across in a witty manner, summarising all the points justifying the same. Remember that your reader may or may not agree with your viewpoint on the scenario but you should focus on putting across a strong argument defended with solid evidences so that when one finishes reading your essay, irrespective of whether he agrees or differs from your views, he would definitely ponder over what you just enlightened him with.
Like in any good piece of writing, coherence and consistency are very important in an argumentative essay as well. Remember a piece of advice- even the most beautiful pearls would fail to create beauty until and unless they are finely strung on a necklace. So, when you write your essay, take care to see that as you make transition from one evidence to the other, your reader doesn’t lose the connection at any point. Just assume your entire essay is one long beautiful stream and the reader has to go through it; you are used to it, you can jump over and go but the reader is naïve and needs stepping stones if you want him to cross the stream from the starting point to the end point.
Make thorough research into each evidence you are going to use to back up your claim statement. Stay up to date in this area; many a times it so happens that what was true 10 years back is falsified by now, so cautiously check and recheck the truthfulness and validity of your evidences before you pen them down. Use assertive sentences because unless you are confident about what you are bringing to the table, it would be foolish to expect readers to believe what you are feeding them. Avoid plagiarism of any kind when you write your essay. You cannot outsmart your readers by copying from somewhere. And don’t try to present false evidences just because you have to defend your stand. Readers are not passive either. When you write, make smooth transitions to cater to the most naïve readers too but don’t think you can fool them saying anything and everything. Be logical, be witty and add your own personal touch to your essay to make it stand out in the crowd.
Like every important task, when it comes to argumentative essays, there are Do’s and Don’ts here as well. Use formal language in a stylish and assertive fashion. Make sure to give credits wherever it is due in the form of citations and bibliography. Provide strong reasoning and consider opposition’s points and refute them. Do not use weak verbs like “I feel” “It may be” etc. Don’t just give an opinion; give a judgment and a strong one at that. If you are not completely sure about something, don’t bluff about it. Don’t claim expertise in areas where you have little or no knowledge. Don’t write expecting that everybody is going to accept and agree with your view point. Don’t try to foul mouth anybody in an attempt to make your argument stronger; that would just create a wrong image of the writer in the reader’s mind.
Good argumentative essays share few common points which include a strong opinion, logical and well-grounded evidences, clarity of concept, crisp and concise writing .Emotions make you go all mushy, but it is arguments which set the adrenaline rushing through your body. All of us have that streak within us, and if we can just tap it effectively and present it smartly, we can surely come up with an excellent argumentative essay. So, next time, you have to write one, just relax… take a deep breath… and just think about it. Inside your mind or may be with your friends, family or whoever you are comfortable with, just discuss the topic, observe its different facets. Browse the web, read books and find evidences for and against the several aspects of it. Make a blueprint, and slowly start filling in your thoughts, polish it and present it with wit. You and your professor both are going to get a masterpiece.
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