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How to Write an Argument Essay for College

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An argument essay is a class of writing that demands the student to research a topic, gather and analyze proof. It also requires a student to take a stand for or against the given topic.

The central idea behind an argumentative essay is that a writer chooses a position and sticks to it. In an argumentative essay, a writer tries to persuade readers to understand and support their stance concerning a topic by stating their opinions with reasons and backing them up with proof.

An argument essay is sometimes confused with an expository essay. However, there is a difference between both. An argument essay is supposed to be lengthy and well narrated or explained, and that is why it requires students to do lots of research, whereas an expository essay is short and doesn’t require a student to do much research.

Types of Argument

1. The Classical or Aristotelean argument: The Greek philosopher Aristotle started this form of argument. In this type of argument, the writer’s goal is to coax or convince the readers to support your point of view and, at the same time, opposing arguments with solid evidence or proof.

2. Rogerian Argument: In this type of argument. The writer tries to find a central point between the reader and the writer. When the reader does not fully agree with the writer’s view, the writer needs to reach a consensus with readers, thereby creating a win-win situation for both.

The Rogerian argument aims to find and eventually reach a final agreement between the reader and the writer.

3. Toulmin Argument: The Toulmin Argument developed by Stephen Toulmin was for argument analysis. This type of argument focuses on the use of logic to coax the audience. It has a lot of information, and it often depends on the quality of data to narrow the focus of an argument and strengthen the writer’s point of view. This argument type is effective when there are no clear or final solutions to the issues and problems. It also takes into account the difficulty of the situations.

Guidelines on Writing an Argument Essay

  • Choose a debatable topic, most likely one that interests you: If you have the liberty to choose your topics, it is advisable that your topic be something that you are interested in or passionate about and is arguable as well. Determine what your aim or purpose is for the paper. What opinion or idea do you want to prove to your reader? It is vital to discover your purpose clearly before you begin writing your essay.
  • Examine your audience: When choosing a topic, you have to consider the audience – your readers – and plan your work so that they would be able to relate to it.
  • Write a thesis statement: The thesis statement usually appears at the end of a paper’s introductory paragraph. The thesis is a summary of the main point. In the case of an argument essay, the thesis statement will contain your idea, define your position concerning the subject matter.
  • Construct your research findings: This is the most complicated aspect of an argument essay. Suppose you have gone through different research materials and don’t know where to start; the trick is to write extensively as you research and move on to the next stage when you have enough information.

An argument essay is supposed to flow from one paragraph to the next in a straight-thinking sequence. You can arrange this formation by creating an outline to serve as a guide for your writing. An overview will help you to stick to the plan instead of beating around the bush.

  • Evidence: This is the principal aim of the argument essay. After looking into both sides of the subject matter and making your stand, come up with solid arguments for both sides. You can as well come up with points from the opposing side of the subject matter. Researching this is to develop a defense against statements from the opposite side, like in a debate.

Write down your evidence without deviating from the facts and examples that support your argument, not forgetting to highlight the significance of your proof. You can use world organizations leaders’ statements, respected authorities as a reference point, and befitting your work. (Do not forget citations when doing this). Sources help to strengthen your evidence.

  • The essay’s body: Once you have gathered all the information and evidence you need, you can start drafting your paper. Write the body of the document based on the outline you prepared earlier. This outline serves as a director.

Ensure that opposition arguments are also stated and acknowledged, accommodated, or refuted as the case may be. Doing this would influence your position on the subject matter. The body of the letter contains the introductory part, the main body, and the conclusion.

  • Put yourself in your reader’s shoes: What do you suppose your reader would think when he reads your essay? What questions or objections do you think your reader might have? It is always advisable to anticipate your readers’ opinions and counterarguments so that you can address them efficiently. You can address counterarguments through acknowledgment, accommodation, and refutation.
  • Edit your essay: Once you are through with your work, it is imperative to proofread and edit your work. Preferably, you could go to a writing center where professionals could help you in that aspect.


If you still have difficulties writing an argument essay after these guidelines, think of that one time where you successfully persuaded a friend to do something (going to a party, for instance), even when he/she clearly stated they were not interested. Apply that same energy to your argument essay, following the above guidelines, and you would end up with a better result.

It is essential to ensure that whatever source you are getting your evidence from is confirmed and trusted. Give credit to whom credit is due- don’t forget to cite your sources.