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Making an argument is a common essay approach. Some things cannot be argued, however. For example, you cannot argue whether an apple is more delicious than an orange – it is just opinion and cannot easily be supported by facts. However, you could argue that oranges are more popular than apples if the facts - sales statistics - show it.

Possible arguments:

                  People should not be allowed to marry before 18.

                  Assisted suicide for the terminally ill should be legal.

                  Alcohol should be banned.

                  If men have to join the army, so should women.

                  Acupuncture is not real medicine.

It is important to first find a topic that is arguable, one that creates an interesting argument. As a writer, your primary task is to convince the reader of your argument. Even though you believe ABC to be true, you also need to provide a counter argument, XYZ, to show that you understand opposing arguments. To make your own argument, ABC, more acceptable, you need to refute XYZ in logical manner. If your own viewpoint is too strong, readers will not be convinced. Worse, if it contains too much opinion it might read like propaganda and even lead some towards the opposite idea, XYZ.

Essay Style


Paragraph 1

Hook – to catch the readers attention + thesis statement.



Paragraph 2

Topic sentence + Reason 1 for ABC

Paragraph 3

Topic sentence + Reason 2 for ABC

Paragraph 4

Topic sentence + Reason 3 for ABC

Paragraph 5

Counter argument

Concluding sentence refuting XYZ



Restate the thesis + summary. Some opinion is OK but not too much.


Note: The above style provides more reasons than counter arguments - a simple tactic that work wells but does not always convince intelligent readers.

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Last modified: 02-11-2013