Learn how to write an argumentative essay

If you don’t know how to write an argumentative essay, here you will find some tips.

An argumentative or for & against essay is a type of a discursive essay in which you discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a particular topic i. e. you study the topic from opposing points of view. You have to present both sides of an argument with the same objectivity and with appropriate and detailed justifications (examples, teasons).

A “For & Against” essay consists of:

  • an introduction in which you introduce the topic in a general way without stating your opinion;
  • a body in which you present the points for and against supported with appropriate justifications and written in different paragraphs;
  • a conclusion in which you state your opinion or give a balanced view of the topic.

Steps How to Write an Argumentative Essay

  1. Read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand what you need to write.
  2. Make a list of pros and cons befoe you start writing an essay.
  3. Write the title of your essay.
  4. Use a formal style.
  5. Make a general statement to introduce the topic.
  6. Write about the advantages and disadvantages of the arguments for and against in separate paragraphs.
  7. Use a new paragraph to introduce each new topic.
  8. Support your main ideas with arguments.
  9. Use linking words and discurse markers.
  10. Summarise your arguments at the end of your essay.
  11. You should include your own opinion, but don’t use informal expressions.
  12. Use opinion phrases only in the concluding paragraph.
  13. Check that you have written the required number of words.

Useful Phrases

To list points

to begin with, to start with, in the first place, for one thing, secondly, thirdly, finally, on the one hand, on the other hand

To add more points to the topic

also, furthermore, what is more, in addition to, besides, a further positive (negative) aspect of this is …

To list advantages

the first (main, most) important advantage of; the main argument for; another (a further, an additional) advantage of; it is often suggested (believed, thought, argued) that …; many people argue; some people believe (suggest, feel) that …

To list disadvantages

the main disadvantage, the most important drawback, the main argument against, another (additional) disadvantage of; some (many) people are against …

To introduce examples (reasons)

for example, for instance, like, such as, because, since, therefore, whereas, for this reason

To show contrast

however, although, even though, nevertheless, in spite of, despite of, but, in contrast, in fact, actually

To conclude

to conclude, in conclusion, to sum up, to summarise, finally, lastly, all in all, taking everything into consideration

Giving opinion

In my opinion (view), …

My view (opinion) is that …

It is my belief (opinion, view) …

It seems to me …

As far as I am concerned, …

I think (feel, believe) …

To practice this type of essay writing, write an argumentative essay on the following topics:

  • Electronic books
  • Human cloning
  • Euthanasia
  • GM food
  • HIV positive students should be integrated into regular classes
  • Body piercing
  • Using animals in testing cosmetics
  • Capital punishment
  • Young parents should be supervised by their parents for at least a year
  • Going to school by bicycle
  • Pros and cons of spending the holidays with your parents