How to Write an Argumentative Essay That Takes a Strong Stance and Supports It

You know what feels incredible? Winning an argument! Whether you’re going head to head in a debate or winning a mock trial in class, successfully arguing your side of the story is such a rewarding experience you won’t soon forget it.

And that’s because you’ve used logic to your advantage while leaving your competitor scratching their head. It feels good to win, and logic can help you get there.

What is logic you may ask? Logic is essentially using certain strategies to reason with someone else. And while there are many types of both formal and informal logic, all of them revolve around being rational and using good judgment to make and support your claim.

You may not realize it, but you argue in class discussions, on assignments, and as part of assessments every day in school. Plus, many adults get paid to argue for a living in careers like law, law enforcement, sales, and copywriting.

So, mastering the art of developing good arguments in academic essays can be beneficial in both school and your future career. And the best place to start is by learning how to write a good argumentative essay in class.

What is an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is essentially a piece of academic writing in which you take a side on a particular topic and make an argument based on it in a rational and very logical way.

While certain topics may get you all fired up, which is totally natural, you don’t want your argumentative essay to sound like a verbal altercation. Instead, you want to sound like a cool, calm, and collected person who thinks deeply about certain topics and who can use supporting evidence to back up their claim.

Remember, this assignment is your chance to demonstrate to readers that you can investigate a topic thoroughly and collect enough evidence to prove that the side you’ve taken makes the most sense to any reasonable person.

Your goal here is to make your reader think. It is not to convince them of anything, per se, which makes the focus of an argumentative essay slightly different from a persuasive essay in that regard.

At the end of the assignment, you’ve done your job correctly if your reader understands where you're coming from, opposing arguments and why you’ve taken the side that you have. They should be able to pinpoint exactly what your claim is and what evidence you’ve included to support that claim.

Mastering the art of writing arguments is like any other formal writing that you do. With time and practice, your arguments will get better. And your reader will be able to think critically about the opposing position you have taken, in turn, asking themselves how they feel about it as well.

Requirements for a Good Argumentative Essay

To receive a top grade on your argumentative essay writing, discuss all of the requirements with your teacher before you begin and make sure that you’re meeting all of them along the way.

Your teacher is most likely looking for:

  • An approved topic
  • Pre-writing assignments like graphic organizers and outlines
  • A strong claim
  • Valid evidence that supports your claim
  • That you followed the basic argumentative essay format
  • Grammatically-correct writing

If at any time you’re unsure of what the requirements are, check in with your teacher and refer back to this list for help.

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Topics for Argumentative Essays

If you can identify more than one side to a story, it’s possible to write an argument about it. And that makes writing an argumentative essay more fun than, say, other formal essays or pieces of writing—because you have endless options to choose from. Plus, you can even decide to write about the view opposing yours to keep things interesting.

For example, let’s say you decide to research and write about a new policy at your school. As soon as you heard about it, you knew that you didn’t agree with it. But, you decide to go ahead and stretch your argumentative writing muscle a bit and write your essay about the new policy at school being a good idea and all the reasons your classmates should support it.

Having the ability to draft a logical argument is a great skill to have both now and in the future.

And here are 10 topics for an argumentative essay you might want to consider diving into:

    • Should animal testing be banned?

    • Is abortion morally wrong?

    • Do video games encourage violent behaviors?

    • Should explicit rap lyrics be censored?

    • Does fracking harm the environment?

    • Is global warming real?

    • Does white privilege actually exist?

    • Should student loans be forgiven?

    • Does gun control stop gun violence?

  • Is mainstream media biased?

Do any of these draw your eye? If not, the good news is that you have plenty of opportunities to form an argument just by looking around you. And your teacher can help you decide which topic works best for this particular assignment.

how to write an argumentative essay

Argumentative Essay Structure

The argumentative essay structure you will use for this assignment is the standard 5 paragraph essay:

  • An introduction with a strong claim
  • The first body paragraph with strong supporting points
  • The second body paragraph with strong supporting points
  • The third body paragraph with strong supporting points
  • A conclusion that rephrases the main points of the entire essay

Of course, the 5 paragraph essay structure is just a starting point. Depending on your grade, you may be required to write additional body paragraphs. Or, you may decide to write additional body paragraphs on your own to make your argument stronger.

Either way, a good argumentative paper becomes a great argumentative paper when you follow the basic essay structure, have a plausible claim, and provide as much solid evidence as possible to support what you’re saying. Some teachers will even require you to include an additional paragraph in which you refute the other side of the argument which means you discuss why other people might disagree with you and show why they would be wrong in doing so.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Forming a sound argument in your head is very similar to writing an argument out in essay format—in that they both require you to be logical in how you go about them.

First, you want to choose a topic that you can take a clear stance on. You definitely don’t want to write about anything that you could go either way about, so select a topic that you’re sure you have a strong opinion on one way or the other.

Second, start planning your essay out with the help of a graphic organizer. The graphic organizer you use will help you map out an outline for your essay and will serve as a place to collect all of the supporting evidence you’ll use to back up your claim.

Next, start writing your first draft. Be sure that you incorporate all of extensive research and the information you’ve gathered previously while still staying calm as you write. A good argumentative essay will not sound as if you are yelling at the reader. Rather, it will sound like you are thinking intelligently about the issue and are sharing evidence that your opinion is valid.

Then, review the first draft and make any necessary changes to it. Asking for another person’s advice will also help you improve what you’ve written so far.

Lastly, complete a final draft and turn it in. Your assignment is now complete.

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Argumentative Essay Examples

If you want to get good at something—like really good at something—the best way to approach it is to watch an expert do it first then try it out on your own. Teachers do this, doctors do this, and even servers at restaurants do this when they’re just starting out.

Not only does this practice show you how something is done for the first, but it also inspires you to do it in ways you may not have thought of on your own. So, it’s also a good idea to repeat the process later on even if you may have tried something once before.

And writing is no exception. If you’ve written an argumentative essay before, there’s always room to improve.

So, check out these argumentative essay examples and see what you can learn from them before you start writing one of your own:


You can become an expert at winning arguments simply by learning the science of logic. And once you know how to take a strong stance on a topic and support it with plenty of evidence, winning arguments—orally or in written form—becomes that much easier.

While many people hear the word argument and automatically think of a heated exchange by two or more angry people, arguments are really just an interaction between people with opposing views. And gaining practice in developing logical arguments can help you both in school and in your present and future career.

So, what’s stopping you? Use what you’ve learned today to start crafting your best argumentative paper yet. You can do this!

About the author

Penelope Lively is an Associate Professor at the Department of English at Indiana University Bloomington. She is a distinguished academic who has written extensively on various topics related to English literature. With a PhD degree from Tufts University, she is a highly qualified and respected scholar in her field.

She has extensive experience in teaching essay writing. She is known for her innovative and effective teaching methods that help students develop their writing skills. Lively has a talent for breaking down complex writing concepts into manageable steps, making it easier for students to understand and apply them.

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