The Argument Essay: Topic, Purpose, Claim, and Reasons

WRITING CENTER UNDERGROUND

When writing the argument essay, you will be expected to argue a debatable topic, with a clear purpose, strong claim, and clear reasoning.

Huh?

Let’s begin at the beginning.

Picking an Argument Topic

How do you know if your topic will make a good argument? Many topics might be interesting, but not all interesting topics are arguable. When constructing an argument, your topic must be more than a statement of fact; it must be debatable.

How do you know if your argument topic is debatable? Do you offer a strong opinion? If an audience or reader might disagree with your opinion or premise, it’s debatable. You want someone to disagree. That’s what makes an argument.

This confuses students who might have been told to avoid opinion as they write argument essays. The support and research should not be based on opinion, but the topic itself will be opinionated —…

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