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Argumentative Essay Format

Updated: Feb 1, 2017
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What Is an Argumentative Essay?


College or university students, at some point in their academic career, will be tasked with writing an argumentative essay. And, for some, it’s a challenging assignment to do correctly.


An argumentative essay is a type of essay, which centers on a narrowed, asserted thesis statement that argues for one side of a debatable issue. It’s very similar to the persuasive and five-paragraph essays because it involves the student-writer ultimately making a point, an argument – hence the name of the essay type – they will be defending throughout their essay.



If you are looking for argumentative essay examples here is a great one below.




The Five Key Paragraphs:

• An Introduction Paragraph with a topic sentence, a strongly declared Thesis Statement – which is a statement put forward as the essay’s argument, the premise for the rest of the essay – and the points that will be used to defend this assertion, to validate this argument.


• At Least Three Body Paragraphs serving to support and effectively defend the Thesis Statement. Each paragraph will, one at a time, address the three main points the introduction paragraph first said would defend the argument or the Thesis Statement.


• A Conclusion Paragraph – ties the paper together; it also announces that the essay and its argument have come to a close, most times in an effort to solidify its argument.






The Typical Argumentative Essay Format


1. Introduction Paragraph


This is the first paragraph introducing the essay, which includes a strong, engaging topic sentence:


• Most importantly, it will assert a Thesis Statement – the paper’s argument that will be maintained throughout the essay, in this case, a sentence or two declaring the student’s argument.


• The student-writer should also list the three main points that they will use to ultimately defend their original Thesis Statement. By not starting off in this way, the student-writer leaves the reader in the dark about the purpose of their essay, in which case their argument is not a success.


2. Three Body Paragraphs 


Three Body Paragraphs – the (minimum of) three paragraphs that support, evidence, explain and illustrate how the thesis statement is true.


• Each body paragraph should begin with an appropriate Transitional Phrase – First of all, Secondly, Thirdly, Lastly – to indicate to the reader that a new point (meaning one of the three main points) is being examined, put forth and expounded. Again, every body paragraph will be defending the Thesis statement, with each one focusing on just one point at a time.


• Also, before each body paragraph’s main point is illustrated in full, the student must remember to restate their Thesis – but not verbatim as it was stated originally in the Introduction Paragraph, but paraphrased or said in a different but similar way – to keep the reader’s focus on the argument being made or put forth in the essay.


3. Conclusion Paragraph 


Conclusion paragraph serves to tie the paper together so the reader better understands and follows its argument, making sure they are ultimately convinced that the paper’s argument is valid, correct because it was thoroughly defended.


• This final paragraph summarizes the essay, from its original Thesis Statement to its supportive three main points (which were illustrated and expounded on in the body paragraphs, each point being addressed one paragraph at a time).


• The conclusion paragraph of the Persuasive Essay also, generally, begins with a transitional phrase to indicate the conclusion of the essay. Lastly, In conclusion, To sum it up, and Ultimately are the most appropriate ones to use in this case.


• This paragraph may end with the reader offering a counter-argument for their essay, one that may get the reader considering all possible angles, points, and issues pertaining to the argument’s focus.


• Also, given the right opportunity, it benefits the reader if the student-writer poses additional questions that maybe weren’t addressed in their essay, but would ultimately get the reader considering other issues, as well.





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