How to Write an Argumentative Essay from Scratch

author By Mary Boies

Most students dread argumentative writing, yet it is a common academic writing task in many courses. Moreover, we have established that most parents find it even more confusing to guide their children on how to write argumentative essays.

How to write an excellent argumentative Essay

Honestly, writing argumentative essay assignments is tasking as the process entails extensive research of literature and previously published materials on a topic.

Detailed research is necessary, but an even more complex step is the process of coming up with a thesis for an argumentative essay.

If you are struggling to create an excellent argumentative essay because the entire process seems taxing and discouraging, you need not worry. We've got you covered, whether it is for a specific test (IELTS, ACT, SAR, or TOEFL), for a class assignment, or part of coursework.

First, this helpful guide will help you write an argumentative essay, whether you're a student, a teacher, or a parent. You can also get help with writing your argumentative essay by paying an argumentative essay writer on our website. But, first, let's get the facts right.

Definition- What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is a formal essay where you use facts and evidence to support the thesis, which usually entails taking a stance on an issue. To write a good argumentative essay, a student must persuade the readers to understand and support the point of view of their essay concerning a topic by clearly stating their reasoning backed by evidence and examples. Therefore, you have first to choose a side or establish a position on the topic or issue and then develop arguments to persuade the reader to agree with your stance or position.

To write an excellent argumentative essay, which convinces the reader that your position is worth considering or adopting, you need to do three things:

  1. Begin your essay with an attention grabber or essay hook statement that stimulates their reading appetite
  2. Ensure that you have a clear and persuasive thesis that is rightfully placed in the introduction of your essay
  3. You develop the thesis in the body paragraphs of your essay using evidence and by addressing counterarguments as well for a balanced scholarly discussion
  4. You conclude your essay by tying all the main points together, showing why the argument is worthwhile, and leaving your readers with a strong impression or final words that make them think beyond your essay

You are assigned to write argumentative essays to assess your creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, analytical, and writing skills. Besides, since you will be researching and writing, you are also assessed on your research skills. You will be writing many argumentative essays, so you need to master the art of argumentative writing. It is a debate; you have to display your skills and win.

Argumentative Essay vs. Persuasive Essay

We have already discussed the essentials of writing persuasive essays. However, if you read our guide on how to write a persuasive essay, you would agree that even though it is similar to an argumentative essay, there are also glaring differences.

An argumentative essay is an academic paper or assignment where you cover both sides of a given issue. And as you write, you can support either one side more dramatically or support both sides equally.

One major mistake that students, and sometimes parents and teachers, make is confusing one for the other. The difference between argumentative and persuasive essays is not always clear until you look closely and keenly.

Argumentative Essays

Persuasive Essays

Presents the point of view of the author on a certain issue.

Presents the author's point of view to get the reader to support one side.

Are formal compared to persuasive essays

Take a less formal stance compared to argumentative essays

Entails majorly the use of solid evidence drawn from in-depth research.

You use relevant reasons, credible facts, examples, and evidence.

It entails the use of emotional appeal

You can mix data, evidence, personal opinion, and emotions.

It is written to inform the reader about both sides of an issue

It is intended to persuade the reader about the rightness of the author's position

Let the audience know that your perspective or viewpoint is worth consideration when there are also other options that you discern.

Calls the audience to an action that supports the perspective of the author

Now that you know the differences let's look at the strategies you can adopt when writing an argumentative essay. Your professor or instructor will advise you on which one to adopt. But in case none is given, choose one that you are flexible to work with.

Three Techniques/Models to Structure Argumentative Essays

When arguing out a more complicated argument, you need to follow an advanced argumentative essay structure. This applies when writing an essay, and you need to present definitive rebuttals. You can use the Aristotelian or Classic model, Toulmin method, or Rogerian approach when this is your only option.

Classical (Aristotelian) Method

You can write your argumentative essay using the classical approach. It is the most popular model used in argumentative writing and is preferred when making straightforward arguments. It entails researching the issue, presenting arguments for both sides, expressing your perspective or opinion, and proving to the readers the validity of the conclusion.

Therefore, it draws from the use of logos (emotion), ethos (credibility), and pathos (reasoning) to prove the points.

In this approach, the readers are to judge whether your position or stance is right or wrong. First, however, you have to convince your readers that your opinion is plausible, practical, and effective.

When following the classical argument approach, structure your paper as we highlight here:

  1. Introduce the problem
    • Have a good hook statement
    • Present the background of the problem or issue
    • Write a thesis statement that reflects your position clearly and concisely
  2. Explain your perspective
    • You must provide valid evidence and appropriate examples to support your chosen position or stance. You should, however, only use credible scholarly resources.
  3. Present the Rebuttal
    • Explain the perspectives of your opponent. You can either have this in its own paragraph or refute their points one by one as you present your personal viewpoint or stance.
    • Including a counter paragraph in your essay where you present the opposing arguments demonstrates maturity in your writing. You should provide examples to help your readers understand your position.
    • Ensure that you explain to your readers why the counterclaims are invalid or flawed.
  4. Concluding your arguments
    • Finalize your argumentative essay by synthesizing your arguments and counterarguments. Let your readers investigate the issue widely
    • The conclusion should be memorable, clear, and comprehensive

Toulmin Method

When your argumentative essay or assignment entails presenting complex issues that have no clear truths or when you have a thesis that is a counterargument or rebuttal, you need to use the Toulmin approach.

The Toulmin method helps analyze arguments because it helps to accurately, logically, and comprehensively present a deeper analysis of an issue.

It is a method that suits complicated issues that must be unraveled. It also works by refuting an opposing viewpoint.

The Toulmin approach has seven major components: claim, reasons, warrant, backing, qualifiers, exceptions, and rebuttal.

  1. Claim. This is your viewpoint as the author, the one you aim to prove.
  2. Evidence/Reasons. This refers to the supportive facts drawn from reliable scholarly resources to highlight the practicality of the claim.
  3. Warrant. An element that connects the claim to the evidence.
  4. Backing. Additional reasoning that validates the warrant.
  5. Rebuttal Counterarguments that contradict your position as the author.
  6. Qualifies. A short phrase or word that narrows the capacity of the claim. Examples include typically, fundamentally, majorly, occasionally, or ordinarily, to mention a few.
  7. Exceptions. A specific limitation that indicates when the claim might be invalid.

Rogerian Approach

Like the Toulmin approach, the Rogerian approach strives to find common ground between the two sides of an issue. However, there is a slight difference.

The Rogerian model is applied in highly controversial or complex debates when the parties disagree with each other's position. In this sense, it helps find the agreement by proving the validity of the opposing arguments.

It entails showing that both sides of an argument are right. Therefore, it can be used when presenting to a mixed audience to accommodate either side.

It is a middle-ground approach because you acknowledge the validity of both your thesis and the opposing viewpoint. It is not confrontational and shows some respect that helps convince the readers who are biased against a claim that you are fronting.

To write a good argumentative essay using the Rogerian approach, follow these steps or structure:

  1. Introduce the problem. Present an introduction that gives a proper background of the issue and explains why the reader should care to read your essay.
  2. Summary and analysis of the counterarguments. Present the potential counterarguments or counterclaims from different lenses or points of view. You should also discuss the cases where the opposing claims might be valid to demonstrate open-mindedness and analytical maturity. You will be able to buy the loyalty of the opposition.
  3. Present your position. Take a stance on the issue and validate your stance using evidence, examples, and reasons. You need to convince your audience that your points are equally valid.
  4. Prove the advantages of your position. Drawing from the points you have presented, clearly explain to your opposition how accepting and adopting your viewpoints could benefit them. Bring both sides together and present a middle ground before leaning to your side.
  5. Conclude your argument. Have a balanced conclusion that leaves your audience with questions to answer and decision to make.

You do not have to choose either model or approach when writing an argumentative essay. You can even use different models' elements in a single essay for different parts. However, if you struggle to structure your arguments, choosing one could help you save time.

Related Reading: How to write a synthesis essay.

Argumentative Essay Outline/Structure

The outline below is for the five-paragraph argumentative essay, which we will discuss shortly. If you are writing a longer argumentative essay assignment, you will need a longer body.

I. Introduction

II. Body Paragraphs

III. Conclusion

Argumentative Essay Format

There are two main formats of argumentative essays:

The five-paragraph argumentative essay format is a common approach for writing an argumentative essay. It entails writing the essay in five well-balanced paragraphs. The formation and word count of the paragraphs are as below:

That is as straight as the five-paragraph format can be. It normally applies to short argumentative essays between 500 words and 1650 words or six pages.

Beyond six pages, your essay is considered a longer argumentative essay. These essays debate contentious or complex issues requiring detailed research and essays.

An argumentative essay that discusses several research sources and empirical research will surpass the five paragraphs. In this context, you might use many sources to discuss the context of the topic or issue.

When assigned the longer argumentative essays, 8-15 pages long, you should exhaustively defend your stance and address the counterarguments.  

With the bells and whistles of argumentative essays in place, let's now explore how to write an argumentative essay.

Related Read: How to write an analytical essay.

Steps to Writing an Argumentative Essay that Rocks

When writing an argumentative essay, consider it a debate or conversation with another party.

For instance, if you are to discuss the effects of social media use among the youth, you have to highlight what side you support and give a reason.

After presenting your reasons, you should also give a counterclaim that expresses the reasons for the other side, then refute the idea.

In this sense, an argumentative essay needs to be logical and complete. You have to leave no doubt that might lead to questioning your intent or argument.

To write a good argumentative essay, take these steps.

1. Choose a good Argumentative Topic

The first step is to read your essay prompt to help you choose a good topic. Sometimes, your professor can give you a list of argumentative essay topics to choose from and write an essay. However, you might be given the freedom to choose a topic in other instances. When left to select an argumentative topic, have these points or tips in mind:

When you select a good topic, your next task is to craft a good essay title it. Remember, the title of an essay is its entry point for your readers; make it short, clear, and memorable.

2. Choose your position

You need to identify your opinions to take your position or stance on an issue or topic. Therefore, come up with a claim, argument, and opinion.

A claim, in this context, is a confident statement or something true but may not be proven/supported. An argument refers to the position on an issue or topic organized by a claim or claims supported by evidence and reasons. Finally, an opinion refers to personal thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and views on a topic or issue that evidence cannot substantiate. Another important thing is brainstorming the warrants, which are explanations that connect the evidence to the claims.

 You will find your position when you develop claims, arguments, and opinions.

You can use the template below:


Evidence and Reasons


Warrant (connection)




Do this both for your point of view and that of your opponents or the opposing sides.

When you have your position, acknowledge the other side by coming up with a counterclaim. A counterclaim challenges the claims and discusses the limitations. A counterclaim can appear anywhere in argumentative writing as long as they challenge the claims. A counterclaim is not a counterargument; the latter acknowledges the other viewpoints on the topic. However, a counterclaim is helpful to strengthen your credibility by forcing you to think deeply about your arguments and question their plausibility and merits.

1. Come up with a thesis statement

To create a powerful argumentative essay outline, you need to develop a good thesis statement that will define the direction of the body paragraphs. Then, you can easily develop an argumentative essay thesis when you have your counterclaims, claims, evidence, reasons, and warrant.

A good thesis is the cornerstone of your essay. To write a good thesis:

A strong thesis statement states the claim, your stance on the claim, and the main points you will support your perspective on within your selected topic. It should guide you when developing points for your essay.

2. Research for Ideas and Points

Do in-depth research to write a perfect argumentative essay that your teacher will admire. In researching, you should write notes on the examples, evidence, and facts you can use to validate your arguments.

Focus on credible scholarly sources so that your essay is academically fit. For this, you need to consider the date of publishing. Besides, ensure that your mind is on the topic so that you select relevant sources that you can use to make valid connections to your claims and evidence. Finally, as you research widely, you will gain expertise by reading peer-reviewed articles, comparing and contrasting stances, and making meaningful conclusions.

3. Draft an outline

We cannot emphasize the importance of an essay outline. It is tiring and wasteful to stare at a blank screen while the clock is ticking. Do not underestimate the power of a good essay outline.

An argumentative essay outline helps you plan, structure, organize and compose an essay that will leave your professor with only one option; giving you the full marks or at least the top marks.

We have presented an outline for an argumentative essay elsewhere in this outline; check it and adapt it if necessary.

4. Write your argumentative essay

You now know what falls where and how to present each point with the outline done. You can take a break and begin writing when you are settled. You are like a marathoner who has prepared well; all you have to do is work on your tactic and deliver.

At this argumentative essay writing stage, fill in the blanks in your outline. Trust us; you are ahead of 95% of the students in your class if you have a good outline. Besides, you have conquered and trampled over writer's block because you have almost everything in place.

Write the introduction.

Most students wonder how to start or begin an argumentative essay. Yet, it is the same process for a standard academic essay. The introduction is meant to hook your readers, present the background on the topic, present the thesis, and signpost the ideas in your argumentative essay. The latter is usually practical and effective in extended essays where you need to summarize the organization or structure of your paper.

Write the body paragraphs.

The body paragraph of an argumentative essay is where the whole show takes place. Here is where you develop your arguments in detail, and present evidence, analysis, and reasoning that can convince your readers that your thesis statement is strong, valid, and true.

Assuming you are writing the typical five-paragraph argumentative essay format, it means that you will need to have three well-developed paragraphs. However, you will need more paragraphs for longer essays, which might further be divided into sections, each denoted with headings and subheadings.

For every paragraph, ensure that you tackle a single idea or point. Besides, each paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a concluding statement. The topic sentence contributes to the overall argument and should relate to the thesis. Finally, as you write the paragraphs, ensure that you adequately use the relevant linking words to enrich the flow of your essay.

Suppose, for instance; you choose the Rogerian approach. In that case, you can- in one paragraph, begin by acknowledging the merits of the opposing viewpoints and then highlight the problems or flaws of the opposition. Ensure that your paragraphs adhere to the writing guidelines for efficiency, flow, and coherence.

In the supporting sentences, you can make a claim that links your argument to your thesis statement. Here, you aim to explain how the point validates and fortifies the central message of your essay.

You also need to defend the claim with factual data and supporting evidence. These include logical ideas, elaborations, examples, statistics, and references. Be sure to cite everything as per the preferred citation style. Finally, have a concluding statement summarizing the claim's overall significance to your thesis statement.

Write the conclusion

After writing/developing the body paragraphs, you must write a reasonable conclusion for your argumentative essay. This is the only way to end an argumentative essay. The conclusion summarizes and reflects on your arguments in the body of your essay.

As you indulge in writing your conclusion, take care not to introduce any new ideas. Instead, it would help to restate the thesis � paraphrase it to close the loop, which should be the first sentence of your conclusion. And when doing so, use assertive language so your audience can connect to your authority.

You then need to summarize the sub-arguments in your essay as they are presented in the body paragraphs. Finally, remind your audience of your discussion, scope, and direction in the body paragraphs.

Finally, present an overall concluding statement to end your argumentative essay outline. The concluding statement should be memorable, clear, and concise. It should express the universal significance of the information and let your readers think further beyond just the topic.

5. Edit and Proofread your Argumentative Essay

The final step before submitting for grading is to edit and proofread your essay so that you leave no room for losing marks. Editing should be done after you have taken a break immediately after writing.

You can ask your peer, friend, or parent to read your essay and help you spot the mistakes. Likely enough, if they are keen, you might identify minor or major errors. Alternatively, you can hire an essay proofreader to read your essay and make the necessary adjustments.

The process should technically turn your first draft into a final draft. Focus on grammar, spelling, syntax, flow, linking words, sentences, citations, and general formatting.

Ensure that all the arguments relate to the thesis. Besides, ensure that you have met the specified word count and that your paper is coherent. Your essay should adhere to the paragraphing rules.

Where necessary, re-read the examples and decide whether they make sense or should be replaced or scrapped. Next, assess whether your counterarguments and counterclaims bear the weight they ought to.  Finally, evaluate the conclusion of your essay, and judge if it will leave your readers yearning for more.

And when everything is correct, submit the essay within the deadline. Suppose you cannot complete an argumentative essay on any subject. In that case, our experts at EssayManiacs will help you write a good essay.

How to Title an Argumentative Essay

You might have noticed that we touched on titling your essay somewhere in the guide. The title is vital to an argumentative essay because it creates the first impression. You only have one line to please or entice your readers, so it must be done well.

When selecting a heading for your essay, consider the following tips:

Qualities of an Excellent Argumentative Essay

Now that you have all the bells and whistles on the steps and what an argumentative essay is, let's explore the features that can make your argumentative essay stand out from those written by your peers:

  1. Your arguments should be clearly stated within your thesis statement.
  2. The thesis statement must be clear, concise, and defined. It should appear in your introduction paragraph.
  3. Always explain why the topic is important (exigence) in the introduction
  4. There is a clear and logical transition between the introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs. Use relevant linking words to create a good flow.
  5. The body paragraphs must have solid evidence that backs a single idea
  6. The conclusion should readdress the thesis statement in light of the evidence you have provided in your essay.
  7. Cite all the information you have used from various sources in your paper.

Final Remarks

We are honored to have you visit our website and our blog page. This article offers some helpful advice on structuring an argumentative essay and some great examples and topics to inspire you to write one for your use. We hope that you have found the information insightful and helpful all together.

As you can see from this definitive guide, writing an argumentative essay entails investigating different sides of a specific issue or topic to inform the readers instead of expressly persuading them as with persuasive essays.

You must demonstrate good research, organization, synthesis/analytical, and critical thinking skills when writing an argumentative essay. In addition, to write a strong paper, you need to have solid arguments and counterarguments supported by substantial evidence.

Finally, if your friends need assistance writing argumentative essays, please share the link to this article. We also have essay tutors who can take you through the process using samples based on instructions from class.


When writing this guide, apart from depending on the experiences and expertise of our essay writers and editors, we also consulted some sources, including:

You can use these sources to expand your knowledge about writing argumentative essays. Nevertheless, our comprehensive guide has all the basics that can equip you to become a pro in argumentative essay writing.

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