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The Writer’s Reference Book



Arguing in an academic essay challenges the writer to examine his and others’ ideas. Not every opinion can be argued effectively. When you pick a topic, you should avoid writing about issues that cannot be won. Popular argumentative essays are on gun control, abortion, capital punishment, freedom of speech, and euthanasia (the right to die). Many heated discussions come out of daily news stories, such as whether violent video games are linked to violence and should be banned.

It may be helpful to read a few issues of news magazines before choosing your stance on a topic. Once you pick a topic, do the research. Talk to the experts, go to the library, read books, journals, articles. Find out the history of your problem and whom it affects. Know the facts – consider reporting anecdotes and percentages, remembering to attribute this information to the source. When you are researching your topic, be sure to read the pros and cons of your case. You need to be informed of the side against your position, so you can anticipate the reader’s objections.

An argumentative essay’s thesis statement should include the main reasons for its assertion such as: Because of A, B has not yet been able to prove itself. You must try to interest the reader, never bore them; inform the reader, never confuse them.


Unless your professor instructs you to do so, steer clear of using the first person when writing an argumentative essay. Also, do not begin statements with the words, “I feel,” or “I think.” We know you are thinking, which is why you are writing.

Get to the main point and speak with authority.

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