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What is an Argument Essay?
With the rise of social media, opinions are shared as though they are truth! However, opinion does not make truth. And your opinion alone will probably not convince anyone to agree with you. The question is, how do you make it more likely that people will agree with you?
One way is to use the tools of persuasion and argument to show your readers that your point of view is the best one. Follow it up with support from academic resources that helps to build your case, and you are on your way to developing a solid argument. You might not change anyone’s mind, but at least you will reveal the foundation for your opinion, and give them something to think about.
You may choose your topic, but I urge you to be creative and don’t choose something too obvious, too common, too broad, or too controversial. I’ve read dozens of papers on making marijuana legal, assisted suicide, abortion, the death penalty, and school uniforms. Avoid these and other over discussed topics. There is a link on the Class Resource Module to help you brainstorm about topics…you may also use Google to figure out what to write about.
What makes a good Argument Essay?
A good argument essay will use a mix of logic and emotion. Logic builds your case, but to convince someone to agree with you, you must engage them emotionally.
A good argument essay does not rely on isolated examples, but instead, considers the majority data. Just because something happened one time, doesn’t make it overall truth. There are always exceptions, leave room for them, but make sure you understand what the data says.
A good argument essay relies on organization. You must organize your points in a way that they build your case. Ideally you need at least three points that support your stance. There is no official right way to do this, but ideally you want to start strong and finish strong with your points, while hiding your weaker point in the middle. I suggest putting a more emotional point last that will stay with your audience. If you don’t have something on the emotional side, then try to end with a point that might impact the most readers.
A good argument essay does not include your personal experience. Leave yourself out of it. You actually discredit yourself when you speak your opinion with “I believe” or “I think” statements.
Lastly, a good argument essay does not rely on values. For example, abortion rarely works as an argument topic because most of the values around being against abortion are faith based, However, we don’t all share the same faith, so asking someone to treat your faith as though it is truth, is problematic. Rely on FACTS and logical arguments rather than values. Facts cannot be argued, but values are rarely shared.
The essay should be at least 3 full pages in length. (Full pages mean at least 3/4 of the way down the final page). You may only use 3rd person, do not use 1st or 2nd person. Use MLA formatting according to MLA 8th edition. You must present an MLA formatted Works Cited page complete with at least 3 Academic Sources. You must also work your sources into the paper, integrating at least 3 quotes into the essay.
How will it be graded?
25-Requirements met, MLA format, 3 pages, 3rd person only.
25-Grammar, Spelling, Capitalization, Subject/Verb agreement, Punctuation use, and more!
25-Argument and Support, 3 Academic sources, 3 Quotes integrated, Varied types of support, General claims supported.
25-Organization and Flow, Follows thesis statement, Smooth transitions, Makes sense, Writing is orderly.
NOTE: If you do not use academic sources or fail to add an MLA formatted Works Cited page, you will lose an automatic 20 points. If you use first person throughout the essay, you will lose 10 points.