In its simplest form, an argument consists of a thesis statement and supporting evidence. However, argumentative essays frequently use inductive and deductive reasoning and other specialized strategies to win audience approval and overcome potential opposition.
ELEMENTS OF AN ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY
The introduction of your argumentative essay orients your readers to your subject. Here you can show how your subject concerns your audience, establish common ground with your readers, and perhaps explain how your subject has been misunderstood.
Your thesis statement can appear anywhere in your argumentative essay. Most often, you state your thesis in your introduction. However, if you are presenting a highly controversial argument—one to which you believe your readers might react negatively—you may postpone stating your thesis until later in your essay.
In this section, you can briefly present a narrative of past events, an overview of others’ opinions on the issue, definitions of key terms, or a review of basic facts.
Arguments in Support of Your Thesis
Begin with your weakest argument, and work up to your strongest. If all your arguments are equally strong, you might begin with those with which your readers are already familiar and therefore perhaps more likely to accept.
Refutation of Opposing Arguments
If the opposing arguments are relatively weak, summarize and refute them after you have made your case. However, if the opposing arguments are strong, concede their strengths and then discuss their limitations before you present your own arguments.
Often, the conclusion restates the major arguments in support of your thesis. Your conclusion can also summarize key points, restate your thesis, remind readers of the weaknesses of opposing arguments, or underscore the logic of your position. Many writers like to end their arguments with a strong last line, such as a quotation or a statement that sums up the argument.