Jun 17 2022

8 Argumentative Essay Dos and Don’ts

Stefani Holloway photo Stefani Holloway Content strategist and writer
Writing Advice

There’s more to writing an argumentative essay than picking a topic, conducting research, and putting pen to paper. You have to structure your assignment such that it allows you to present your claim, defend your stance with facts and evidence, and address counterarguments with rebuttals.

Original: SourceHaving looked at several samples of argumentative essays from across different topics, we noticed that many students make common mistakes that cost them many essential marks.

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In this guide, you will learn about the dos and don’ts of argumentative essays, so you can follow standard guidelines for the assignment and avoid common mistakes that can cost you essential marks and deny you an A grade.

5 Dos of Argumentative Essays

The following are significant insights that can help you write a more persuasive argumentative essay on any topic.

1. Do start the essay with a hook

An introduction can make or break your essay, so it’s crucial to spend enough time working on this section to get it right. Start with a solid hook that can grab your reader's attention enough to keep them reading past the introduction to the argument.

The hook is usually the essay's opening statement, and it’s usually one or two sentences long. Moreover, your hook should easily transition to the thesis, which summarizes what the argument you wish to present in the essay centres around.

2. Do include a thesis statement

The central message of your argumentative Essay should come right after writing the hook. The thesis of an argument should be one sentence long, but you can stretch it to two sentences if it makes sense.

Remember, every claim you introduce in the body paragraphs must relate to the thesis. So it’s essential to make sure that the central theme of your message is clear.

Don’t just write a thesis statement blindly. It would help if you did enough research on the topic and then came up with a clear central theme that you can argue for with concrete evidence and reason in the body part of the argumentative essay.

Make sure the thesis statement is contentious, concise, and coherent.

3. Do use an outline to organize your ideas

An argumentative assignment won’t fit into a one-paragraph essay. You will need multiple arguments and evidence to support the claims you make in the thesis. That’s why organizing your thoughts in a logical order is important.

The general rule is that every paragraph should support its idea. Start with a topic sentence, which is a claim in the case of an argument. Follow this with evidence to support your opinions. Then, conclude with a closing sentence (or link), making sure it transitions the reader to the next consecutive paragraph.

4. Do include counterarguments in the essay

The structure of an argumentative essay requires that you include counterclaims in your work.

Some people will support your belief in a debate and those who oppose your position on an issue. The opposition comes up with counterarguments, which challenge the central theme of the discussion.

By accounting for counterclaims in your essay, you make it clear to the reader that you recognize the opposing side of the issue and have considered them in your research. Doing so also takes away the element of biasness and strengthens your arguments.

5. Do have strong rebuttal for counterclaims

Some people won’t agree with your point of view. Often, they will present counterarguments to explain that your position on the issue is wrong. These counterclaims require rebuttal, a vital element to include in your argument.

A rebuttal is a response you give to an opponent, demonstrating that the position they hold on an issue is wrong or doesn’t have sufficient evidence to justify their claim. You can read more about rebuttals in an argument here.

3 DON’Ts of Argumentative Essay

The following are some of the mistakes that you shouldn’t make when writing an argumentative essay:

1. Don't use statements such as "I believe”

Anyone reading your argumentative essay should know that you spent time researching the subject and developing a solid case for your point of view before writing it up. That way, you won't have to resort to terms like "I think" or "I believe" because they only serve to weaken your argument.

For example, instead of writing a statement such as “I think pregnant women should get access to free medical care,” write, “Pregnant women should get access to free medical care.” Such a statement is clear and less compassionate.

You don't want to appear as if you're apologizing for your position. So don’t use terms that make it seem like you’re making an apology in the Essay.

2. Don’t signpost

An argumentative essay does not necessitate the use of signposting. Repetition and explanation of what you want to say next are not attractive to academic readers. Save their time by not giving them directional cues in your writing.

Go straight to the point instead, and focus on the most critical aspect of your argument. IN other words, instead of trying to point them in the right direction, say what you have to say and move on to the next point.

3. Don’t repeat the thesis statement in the conclusion

Many students repeat the thesis statement word for word in the conclusion of their argumentative essay, but that’s the wrong way to end an essay.

Instead of repeating the thesis statement in the concluding paragraph, demonstrate that you’ve done your research, backed your assertions, and tried your best to defend your stance in a way that ties everything in the body section of the essay together.

Also, never introduce a new idea in the concluding paragraph of your essay. If you're confident that a new thought will strengthen your argument, add it to the body section of the essay.

last edit at Jun 20 2022