Your Guide to Forming an Argument


The argumentative essay — more than just an assignment, but rather, an art form. You’re faced with a five page essay on a required reading or prompt and now have to form an argument in favor of or against a topic. These essays are very useful when aiming to convey a message about something you strongly believe or do not believe in, yet can be very challenging to begin and complete. I myself used to have trouble forming such arguments, but I have now narrowed this daunting process into a few simple steps:

1. The Thesis

Your thesis statement is the most integral parts of your essay. Your entire paper should revolve around the claim you want to make, even from the beginning. The claim is the first step of formulating your argument; it is like the foundation of a house, as you need it to build your argument upon. Place your claim in your introduction paragraph and clearly state what you believe in order that your audience knows the point you’re trying to convey from the very beginning.

Example: “The Pearce Center for Professional Communication is Clemson’s leading resource for improving communications because of its hard-working, intelligent interns, beautiful facilities, and its effective social media presence”.

2. Provide Background

The audience not only needs to know your opinion but also about the overall topic of your paper. Provide readers with context behind why your claim is so important. Research why your topic is relevant, but don’t provide too much information to where the audience is overloaded with info. This should be included with your introduction or a part of your second paragraph.

3. Expanding the Foundation of Your Argument

This third step is relatively easy, once you have your claim. This is the time where you begin to expand upon why you believe in your claim. This is the perfect opportunity to bring in do research, stats, or quotes from the text, as I previously mentioned, to show why you believe your argument is valid. This should be the main body, or the longest part, of your essay.

4. The Opposition

The opposing side, the losing team. In every argumentative essay, it is necessary to include and address the opposition. Your audience will  be able to see both sides of the argument, and draw conclusions for themselves. However, this is your chance to prove why the other opposing side is wrong and why your argument is valid. This should come right before your conclusion, and should take up about a paragraph or two of your essay.

5. The Conclusion

After arguing your claim, and providing all the necessary backing, it is time to summarize it all. Along with your summary, be sure to suggest solutions that retreat back to the introduction. Restate your thesis, and provide a little blurb about the opposition as well.! After that, you should have a clear, concise conclusion paragraph.

If you can round up all of these steps, you should be well on your way to an outstanding argumentative essay!




Written By: Thomas Marshall


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