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How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay

You could liken a good introduction in almost any essay, including argumentative essays, to a strong opening statement in a legal trial. In much the same way a legal representative would open or present a case, an essay writer should introduce the problem or topic they will be writing about, give some information on the background, and lay out their primary argument. It is important this is done in a logical, convincing, and intellectual way.     

Start by Finding an Effective Hook

The opening sentence in the introduction paragraph of your argumentative essay should be designed to get the attention of your readers. Asking a thought-provoking question, providing a surprising statistic, telling a personal story, or including a quote at the beginning is a good way to get an audience interested. For example, if you plan on arguing that the smoking of cigarettes should be banned in every public place, a good beginning might be to provide some reliable statistics on smoking, e.g., “the American Medical Council report that twice as many deaths result annually from smoking that from any other cause.” Facts like these usually cause readers to start taking notice.    

Include any Relevant Background Information

It is usual to include any relevant information on a topic’s background since this helps readers better understand the problem or topic. This type of information often means any historical facts that are relevant to the subject and puts it in context. This can prove crucial when the writer is explaining or arguing their main idea(s) or point(s). If, for instance, you are arguing that America’s military should not have a draft, you could then add some information about the history of the USA’s military draft and why it was ended.

Create a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the core or essence of an argumentative essay. This statement should be set out in a single clear and succinctly written sentence. It should summarize the main idea or point you want to get across. It states your stance on a particular problem or topic and it should be counter-arguable insofar as readers might have opposing views. Therefore, a thesis should not be a hard fact that cannot be disputed. In the event, for example, a professor instructs you to write an argumentative essay on a wide-ranging topic such as, say, war, the following thesis statement could be suitable: “Since it is currently incapable of preventing conflicts, it is vital the United Nations is redesigned.” For the rest of your essay you would then explain and elaborate on this central thesis and support it with sound evidence.        

What Should Not be Included

A good introduction paragraph should not be used to explain, describe or analyze an argument. This should be done in the main body paragraphs. It is important an introductory paragraph only introduces the writer’s topic and sets out the main idea(s) or point(s). It should not present any evidence in support of these. In addition, in its capacity as a form of roadmap for an essay, the introduction should not categorically state what the writer will argue or how they will do it. For instance, do not say, “I aim to show that …” These statements are often just “fillers” and do not provide any useful information.  

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