An argumentative essay is a free topic text whose objective is to convince or persuade the reader of the ideas presented. Its purpose is to incite in the reader an inclination towards the author’s opinion. In other words, an argumentative essay will always contain elements of an expository essay, since it needs to explain its position on a certain problem or topic. The author, through coherently exposed concepts, will try to justify and demonstrate his reasons. Argumentative essay characteristics structure
Arguing is that, defending the ideas that have been exposed in the essay in a logical and orderly way. The author can even present contrary premises to dismantle them with his reasons, and give more force to his argument.
What is important about this type of essay is the author’s point of view, and the way in which he approaches the argument. They are usually of an academic nature and free subject, as already said, since they reflect the personal opinion of the author, where he tries to demonstrate their validity.
In any case, regardless of whether or not it manages to convince the reader, the argumentative essay will be a starting point to reflect on a topic.
Characteristics of the argumentative essay
An argumentative essay shares a literary language with other types of essay, and in that sense uses metaphors and other rhetorical figures to validate its thesis. It is a space where the subjectivity of the issuer fits, but also conceptual rigor.
In general, an argumentative essay has the following characteristics:
1-Point of view
The author’s point of view is presented in the introduction to the essay, through the thesis with which he adheres.
The analysis is an indissoluble part of the argument, since by contrasting ideas or contrasting the advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons of positions, the author gradually unravels why he assumes a certain position.
Language marks in the argumentative essay
In the argumentative essay, various literary resources can be used:
It uses various argumentative connectors: to start the text, to add new ideas, include examples, draw conclusions, compare, contrast and finish.
- To begin the text, the connectors used are, for example: First of all, To begin, The idea of this essay, What we present… and the like.
- To add ideas and give them order, the following are used: Likewise, In this sense, On the other hand, In other words …, and to exemplify: For example, In fact, Specifically, etc.
- For the conclusions, the following are used: In other words, In conclusion, In short, In short.
- The comparison connectors: Likewise, Likewise, Likewise, Likewise, etc .; those of contrast: On the contrary, As opposed to. And to finish: Finally, Finally, To summarize, etc.
2-Qualifications and designations
Throughout the text, the author will rely on expressions that qualify and designate what he is arguing. An example would be: Argumentative essay characteristics structure
“A conservationist attitude is necessary on the part of all humanity to face a possible environmental catastrophe. The idea is that we can live together on the same planet ”.
3-Formal use of language
An essay is a literary text, and in that sense, the author will use careful language, respecting the grammatical rules and avoiding colloquialisms as much as possible that can make understanding difficult. That does not prevent the language from being close.
From start to finish, the argumentative essay must present an internal coherence between the ideas. That is, you must respect an order when presenting the arguments, so that the reader can follow the reasoning.
What is an argumentative essay for?
In principle, an argumentative essay serves to convince readers of the thesis presented by the author. The essay, by definition, is a text that establishes a theme and reflects on it. Many times the subject discussed generates controversy, and hence the author argues in favor of his thesis.
And although it is the opinion of the author, in an argumentative essay what is important are the foundations it exposes, it is the way in which the issuer, in addition to informing the reader, reasons on the subject and supports his reasons.
This is how you can convince, by showing that your point of view is correct. It is not enough to argue, you must back it up with figures, quotes and other information, always saying where you got it from.
Structure of an argumentative essay
An argumentative essay has a similar structure to other types of essay: introduction, development or arguments and conclusion.
In the introduction, the author will explain what the essay is about. It will do so in a way that engages the reader to keep reading. Apart from pointing out the general theme, it will also indicate which party is going to argue, whether it is for or against, and why.
2-Development or arguments
It is the body of the essay. The arguments are presented in paragraphs; if there is more than one, ideally each paragraph corresponds to one argument. In any case, they must be very clear and explain precisely the reasoning, so as not to lose the reader.
There are one-page argumentative essays, and others that can be a complete book. It does not matter, the important thing is the clarity with which it is argued.
You can even present a rebuttal that offers ideas contrary to your thesis, and the author will counter-argue to demonstrate the validity of his reasons. It is a resource that many authors use to defend their ideas.
You have to start with the most important argument and end with the one that has less relevance, that indicates an order, determined by the author. Argumentative essay characteristics structure
In the conclusion, the author highlights the topic again but in the light of a larger context, showing the reader that thanks to his argumentation, understanding and opinion should change after reading.
A mistake that is made often, especially in writing thesis, is introducing new arguments. The conclusion should close the issue, not open a new controversy.
Taking into account that the essay is only a contribution, it is good to recognize and guide (in any case) the possible investigations that others want to carry out, starting from that initial reading.
How to do an argumentative essay step by step
1-Choice of theme
To write an argumentative essay, you must first select a topic about which you have knowledge or about which you feel some inclination.
Suppose we want to write about the effect that happiness (or feeling happy) has on the body and overall health. It interests us from a physiological point of view. So we would already have a tentative topic: “The effect of happiness on the body.”
Although we have an idea on the subject, it is necessary to document as much as possible, to inquire in various sources. We must remember that, although we present a personal opinion, if we want to argue it must be with reasons, in this case, scientific.
What substances are produced in the brain when we feel happy? Can happiness be a constant state? Is it possible to feel happy even when you are going through difficulties? Is it possible to stay healthy by being happy?
By virtue of these questions, we will search for information, and for this we will resort to legitimate sources (neurological, psychological, scientific studies) that support our thesis.
The above questions can serve as a skeleton to order the preparation of the essay.
When we have the ideas in order, we will proceed to write a first draft, which will further define the topics to be discussed.
You have to be consistent: develop ideas in a logical way. That also means structuring the sentences logically, and then the paragraphs. If our thesis is that happiness has a specific effect on the body, we will have to argue step by step. Argumentative essay characteristics structure
For example, to establish the existence of hormones produced in the brain (endorphins) when the person feels good and happy, and also, the existence of substances that are toxic when the person is stressed, angry, sad or worried, which also produces the brain.
If the person becomes ill with these toxic substances, it is possible to think that benevolent substances can also heal the body. Hence, then, the importance of properly managing stress would be highlighted to prevent toxicity from deteriorating health.
The coherence of the essay, linguistic and stylistic cohesion, the succession of ideas and arguments, syntax and spelling will be thoroughly reviewed. If it is noticed that there is some “jump” in the order of the ideas, then it will be necessary to correct it.
It is advisable to make the initial outline and follow it, although it can be modified in the course of writing and review.
Example of argumentative essay
Next, we present an argumentative essay whose title is “To conserve the environment is to conserve human life on Earth.” To facilitate understanding, the beginning, development and conclusion are indicated.
In recent years, the environment has been the subject of discussion in several international meetings, where the most powerful powers in the world have come together to try to reach agreements that involve the most industrialized countries and those that pollute the most.
2-Development and arguments
Interestingly, the nations that pollute the most are currently the two strongest economic powers, China and the United States, followed by the European Union, India, Russia and Japan.
The objectives of these international agreements are to fight against global warming and climate change, and for this they agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions , since it is calculated that they are the cause of the increase in temperature on Earth.
China, which until at least 10 years ago did not seem to care about the pollution of its cities, has been one of the most important actors in the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, and at present, it is one of the countries that carry out large-scale production of infrastructure for the transition to solar energy and other renewable sources. Apparently, the Asian giant has understood the risks of climate change. Argumentative essay characteristics structure
However, the United States, one of the most powerful countries in the world, left these agreements after the arrival of Donald Trump to the presidency, claiming that they are a brake on the economic growth of his country.
It also alleges that the studies on climate change are not conclusive, and that it is more economical to continue exploiting coal mines and oil fields than to invest in energy production based on clean sources.
The immediate stance of the North American president is obvious, as well as the irresponsibility in discarding all the scientific work carried out by thousands of professionals, such as biologists, geologists, ecologists, who account for environmental deterioration.
If the temperature of the planet continues to rise, it will affect the ecological balance, from plants to larger animals, including humans.
Little by little the viability of human life will be restricted, the progressive desertification of the lands will cause the rivers to dry up. Water will be lacking, and what are we without water? Water is life, without water there is none: it is a simple equation. And if we talk about the pollution of the oceans, the problem goes on and on.
It is necessary to assume a proactive and responsible attitude in the conservation of the environment. It concerns us all equally, no country will be saved if we go to extinction. So both nations and individuals must take action on the matter.
It is not about believing or not in climate change. Climate change doesn’t make tornadoes, but it does make them stronger and more intense; it causes unforeseen floods, polar ice melts, species disappear.
In a century we have done what nature has not done in millions of years: destroy the conditions for human life to exist. If we want to continue living on Earth with water, food and air to breathe, we must make changes. Argumentative essay characteristics structure
The planet will go on without us. We can’t go on without him.