How To Write an Argumentative Essay : The Best Format and Illustration.

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

All college students, at one point in their learning, come across argumentative essays. At first, this kind of essay may be viewed as a difficult or complex type of essay to write. No, it should not be if you have us by your side.

This guideline is from a university professor who is part of the Preeminent Writers Team. So before you read it, we want to assure you that you are going through a tried and tested guideline by an expert from our field.

For you to understand how to write an argumentative essay as a college student, we will first tell you what an argumentative is, what you need to know as a college student before, and when writing a college student.

Our guideline also entails samples of college argumentative essays to clearly illustrate to you how your argumentative essay should look like. Now let us go straight to the point :

1. What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of college essay where a student is required to provide a clear assertion or argument about some topic or issue. In this kind of essay, a college student is required to have a standpoint on a particular topic and stick by it.

Remember, while writing an argument essay, you should know that an academic argument is quite different from a regular, emotional argument.

In verbal arguments participants are often indulged in a heated and unreasonable debate. However the goal of an argumentative essay is completely different. Here, a student is required to present a specific argument that is well reasoned, detailed, and supported with verifiable facts from literary sources.

Additionally, in normal verbal arguments, participants are often concerned about who is is right and wrong regarding a specific issue or topic.

However, in an argumentative essay, we require college students to present a thoughtful and well-researched argument essay that supports one side of a topic logically without being emotional.

Argumentative Paper Format

Now that we have known what argumentative essay is, let us go straight into the big elephant in the room; how to format an argumentative essay.

The topic of an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay must have a well-defined topic that tells the readers what the student has decided to talk about. In this case, you will not simply title your essay as a "an argumentative essay", no, we need a specific title that tells us your position on the subject matter.

An example of a good argumentative essay is; Universities should adopt online learning approaches amid Coronavirus Pandemic. In this topic, we have a clear stand, that is, for universities to adopt online learning amid a pandemic.

You will notice that our chosen topic is debatable. You, the reader, of this argumentative essay guideline might have different thoughts or views, that is, you may believe that universities should not open amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.

An argumentative essay, as said earlier, is an essay that is mainly based on debates.

Introduction of An Argumentative Essay.

  • From the topic of an argumentative essay, we head to the introduction. Remember, when we gave you the argumentative topic; Universities should adopt online learning approaches amid Coronavirus Pandemic, you had questions like, "so what", "why would you advocate for online education amid coronavirus pandemic", and so on..."

  • Well, the introduction section is the first section of our argumentative essay that tells the readers what to expect in our essay and our argument in the essay. Remember, our argument is the thesis statement.

  • Take a look at how your introduction section of the argumentative essay should look like;

  • 1-2 paragraphs: Your introduction paragraph should be within one to two paragraphs. If you are writing a short essay below 10 pages, please, adhere to one paragraph, and you can include two paragraphs if the argumentative essay is long, say above 10 pages of length.

  • PURPOSE of your argumentative essay: This is the claim/argument present in your paper. An argumentative essay must have a strong argumentative thesis written and located within the last part of your introduction paragraph.

  • Our thesis statement for online learning would be: Universities should adopt the online learning amid coronavirus because this would ensure completion of course syllabi on time, would keep the studenst


  • Make your introductory paragraph interesting. How can you draw your readers in?

  • What background information, if any, do we need to know in order to understand your claim? If you don’t follow this paragraph with a background information paragraph, please insert that info here.


  • If you’re arguing about a literary work—state author + title

  • If you’re arguing about an issue or theory – provide brief explanation or your of issue/theory.

  • If you’re arguing about a film—state director, year + title  STATE your claim at the end of your introductory paragraph

Background Paragraph

  • 1-2 paragraphs tops; Optional (can omit for some papers).

  • Also, sometimes this info is incorporated into the introduction paragraph (see above).

  • PURPOSE: Lays the foundation for proving your argument. o Will often include:

 Summary of works being discussed;

 Definition of key terms

 Explanation of key theories

Supporting Evidence Paragraph

  • #1 PURPOSE: To prove your argument. Usually is one paragraph but it can be longer.

  • Topic Sentence: What is one item, fact, detail, or example you can tell your readers that will help them better understand your claim/paper topic? Your answer should be the topic sentence for this paragraph.

  • Explain Topic Sentence: Do you need to explain your topic sentence? If so, do so here. o Introduce Evidence: Introduce your evidence either in a few words (As Dr. Brown states ―…‖) or in a full sentence (―To understand this issue we first need to look at statistics).

  • State Evidence: What supporting evidence (reasons, examples, facts, statistics, and/or quotations) can you include to prove/support/explain your topic sentence?

  • Explain Evidence: How should we read or interpret the evidence you are providing us? How does this evidence prove the point you are trying to make in this paragraph? Can be opinion based and is often at least 1-3 sentences.

  • Concluding Sentence: End your paragraph with a concluding sentence that reasserts how the topic sentence of this paragraph helps up better understand and/or prove your paper’s overall claim.

Supporting Evidence Paragraph #2, 3, 4 etc.

  • Repeat above

Counterargument Paragraph

  • PURPOSE: To anticipate your reader’s objections; make yourself sound more objective and reasonable.

  • Optional; usually 1-2 paragraphs tops o What possible argument might your reader pose against your argument and/or some aspect of your reasoning? Insert one or more of those arguments here and refute them.

  • o End paragraph with a concluding sentence that reasserts your paper’s claim as a whole.

Conclusion Part 1 : Sum Up Paragraph

  • PURPOSE: Remind readers of your argument and supporting evidence.

  • Conclusion you were most likely taught to write in High School.

  • Restates your paper’s overall claim and supporting evidence.

Conclusion Part 2: Your “So what ” Paragraph

o PURPOSE: To illustrate to your instructor that you have thought critically and analytically about this issue.

o Your conclusion should not simply restate your intro paragraph. If your conclusion says almost the exact same thing as your introduction, it may indicate that you have not done enough critical thinking during the course of your essay (since you ended up right where you started).

o Your conclusion should tell us why we should care about your paper. What is the significance of your claim? Why is it important to you as the writer or to me as the reader? What information should you or I take away from this?

o Your conclusion should create a sense of movement to a more complex understanding of the subject of your paper. By the end of your essay, you should have worked through your ideas enough so that your reader understands what you have argued and is ready to hear the larger point (i.e. the "so what") you want to make about your topic.

o Your conclusion should serve as the climax of your paper. So, save your strongest analytical points for the end of your essay, and use them to drive your conclusion

o Vivid, concrete language is as important in a conclusion as it is elsewhere-- perhaps more essential, since the conclusion determines the reader's final impression of your essay. Do not leave them with the impression that your argument was vague or unsure.

o WARNING: It's fine to introduce new information or quotations in your conclusions, as long as the new points grow from your argument. New points might be more general, answering the "so what" question; they might be quite specific. Just avoid making new claims that need lots of additional support.

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