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The Argumentative Essay

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1 The Argumentative Essay
STANDARD ELACC7W1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. a. Introduce claims, acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically. b. Support claims with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text

2 CHOOSING A TOPIC To begin an argumentative essay, you must first have an opinion you want others to share.

3 RESEARCH To be valid, an opinion or point of view must be supported by facts and information. Once you know what you will write about, you will need to do research on the topic. Research through interviewing people, or reading newspapers, books, journals, or Internet articles.


5 General statement (hook) Specific background information
THE INTRODUCTION Think of the introduction as having a funnel shape: General statement (hook) Specific background information Thesis

The first sentence is a general statement designed to attract the reader’s attention. This is the “hook.” The second and perhaps third sentences narrow the idea down to your specific idea. They provide a bit of background about the subject. The last sentence in the introduction must be your thesis.

7 WRITING A HOOK Effective writers use a variety of
7 WRITING A HOOK Effective writers use a variety of engaging introduction techniques. Begin with dialogue: “Are you sure this is safe?” I asked my dad as I struggled into my water skis. Begin with figurative language: The surface of the lake was as smooth and clear as glass. Ask an interesting question: What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever tried? Begin with trivia: Each year in our state, there are nearly 100 serious waterskiing injuries. Begin by painting a descriptive picture of a key object or scene: I reclined gently in the cool water of the alpine lake, the tips of my skis sticking out of the water in front of me. All was silent except for the thrum of the powerful motor of the silver ski boat at the other end of the tow rope.

8 THE THESIS STATEMENT The thesis statement
states your position on the topic sets up the structure for the paper.

9 SUPPORT FOR THE THESIS Support your thesis with three reasons.
Write down each of the three main reasons that support your belief on a separate piece of paper. These are your arguments.

10 Example of Intro Paragraph
More people die driving on Greek roads in a single year than all the U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the fighting began. The road conditions and the mentality that leads to this unnecessary and avoidable loss of life should be changed. Fact to support position and a good hook. The authors position or Thesis Statement.


The first topic sentence of the first paragraph will be the first reason that supports your position. You may even wish to begin the sentence with the word first to focus the reader’s attention on its importance.

13 TRANSITIONS Good writers use transitions to organize and connect ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. first then next last after during until meanwhile soon later before among along against above around behind between below by inside into near outside over through under as also likewise similarly unlike in fact but however yet otherwise although nevertheless on the other hand for this reason especially with respect to again in summary lastly in conclusion therefore as you can see additionally for instance in other words

14 Good writers use transitions.
Using Transitions Good writers use transitions. Read the following portion of a rough draft. Note the absence of transitions. My grandpa and I went camping. I gathered firewood. He pitched the tent. We fished and caught two small trout. We cleaned our catch and cooked it. We cleaned up and put the rest of our food in a bear-proof rig. We sat and talked. We drifted off to sleep under the stars. Now read the revised version of the same passage. Notice how good transitions connect the ideas of the story. Last weekend, my grandpa and I went camping. In the woods behind our campsite, I gathered firewood. Meanwhile, he pitched the tent. In hopes of catching a feast, we fished until dusk. Unfortunately, we caught only two small trout. When we returned to camp, we cleaned our catch and cooked it. Later, we cleaned up and strung the rest of our food in a bear-proof rig twenty feet off the ground between two tall pines. For hours, we just sat and talked. Sometime later, we drifted off to sleep under the stars.

15 FIRST BODY PARAGRAPH Write a topic sentence and three details that support the reason you believe what you believe. Repeat the process until you have three paragraphs with three different reasons and three details to support that reason.

16 BUILDING PARAGRAPHS The final sentence in each paragraph should sum up and make a transition to the main idea of the next paragraph.


18 The Concluding Paragraph
Indicate in the conclusion that you have shown the thesis statement to be true. Relate back to the introduction. State a Call-to-Action, telling the reader what you would like them to do or believe.

19 Good writers use a variety of thoughtful conclusion techniques.
1919 Writing The Closing Good writers use a variety of thoughtful conclusion techniques. Summarize (without being boring or redundant): Through decades of service as America’s primary space vehicle, the space shuttle has certainly earned its place in history. Explain something that you (or a character) learned: Considering all of these facts, it is easy to conclude that the space shuttle fleet is the most advanced and complex collection of machines ever built. End with a relevant, well-known quote: Looking back, the space shuttle era was truly one giant leap for humankind. Make a bold statement: With the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, America willingly concedes its place as the world leader in space travel...for now. End with appropriate action: On July 8, 2011, space shuttle Atlantis roared off the launch pad and into history. End with a Call-to-Action: Please support the Space Program.

Every controversial issue has two sides. Once you can support your position with research, you need to explore what others think.

Write your answers down under the counter-arguments. Now you have the raw material for each paragraph of the argumentative essay.

22 Counter Arguments - Rebuttals
Research what people opposed to your point of view believe. Write down three counter- arguments to your position. Now, address those arguments in a paragraph explaining why your position is a better one.

Look at the three main reasons for your opinion. What objections would others have to each of your reasons? Write these down under each of your reasons. Now you have three arguments and three counter-arguments.

24 How many is that? Intro Paragraph Body Paragraph 1 Body Paragraph 2
Rebuttal Paragraph – other viewpoints Conclusion Paragraph

25 Reflecting on Your Paper
Are you happy with what you have written? Have you made a convincing case for your position? Is it clear that research supports your position? Have you shown that you understand the objections to your position?


27 Remember! Good writing begins with an engaging introduction and a thoughtful conclusion. Effective transitions help organize writing by connecting ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. The organization of your writing should support the message you want to share with the reader.

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