An argumentative essay is a writing genre that is mainly exercised in academic disciplines. In an argumentative essay, the student is required to defend a specific point or claim while at the same time recognizing and refuting counterclaims. To make a compelling argument about a particular topic or issue, the student needs to present their stance in a clear and coherent manner, backed by a strong evidence. In this article, we present a step-by-step guide on how to write an argumentative essay with an example on free speech.
Definition of an Argumentative Essay
We will start off with the definition of an argumentative essay. This type of writing essentially entails taking a position on a given issue and defending it. It is kind of a persuasive essay as it requires the writer to persuade his or her audience to support the chosen stance on a given topic.
Six-Step Guide on Writing an Argumentative Essay
Step 1: Planning: at this stage, the writer needs to brainstorm ideas and points to consider in the paper. Identify your position and roughly list down some of the points that will support your argument. At this stage, also develop an outline that shows how you will structure your argumentative essay – introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In this outline, specify the point that will be covered in each body paragraph, and the evidence you intend to incorporate into your paper.
Step 2: Introduction/Background: This is the beginning of your essay writing exercise. You need to begin with an outline of the topic, indicating any background information about the topic and saying why the topic is important. Furthermore, you should mention the evidence that you will provide to support your thesis. Speaking of thesis, your final sentence in the introduction should be a thesis statement. This is a concise and clear summary of your claim or the main argument that you will support throughout the paper. The following is an example of an introduction for an argumentative essay on “Limits should be put on Free Speech.”
Background: Free speech is recognized as a basic human right in the international human rights law. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides the rights for people to hold opinions without intrusion. Indeed, free speech is important because it enables people to express their ideas freely, become confident, and participate fully in public discussions. However, uncensored speech may sometimes cause chaos.
Thesis Statement: While free speech should be protected as a basic human right, there should be limits to some forms of speech to prevent harm.
Step 3: Body Paragraphs: The body paragraphs of an argumentative essay includes at least three paragraphs, each with a different idea that supports the thesis or main argument of the essay. The first sentence of each body paragraph should be a topic sentence – the key point that will be argued in the paragraph. After the topic sentence, you should explain the particular point, back it up with research evidence, present opposing points of view, and make a concluding statement for the paragraph. Adding facts and examples makes the author’s argument more credible.
The following is an example of a body paragraph supporting the thesis statement:
Body Paragraph 1: Free speech should be limited to prevent people from abusing the fundamental rights and freedoms of others (Topic Sentence). While it is important to allow people to provide their views in public and media discussions, it is necessary to limit such conversations to harmless speech (Explanation). For example, individuals should not be allowed to appear in the public and the media to intimidate and threaten others either violently or in a way that may that may undermine the dignity of others (Evidence/Analysis). The law should regulate free speech to limit conversations that encourage sexual, physical, and mental violence (Concluding remarks).
Step 4: Conclusion: Now, sum up all your points and make a concluding statement to convince your audience that you have provided an elaborate argument. This should include a restatement of the thesis, following by a short summary of the key points, and finally something to capture the audience’s emotional appeal like an anecdote.
Conclusion: Although free speech is important, some forms of speech should be limited to prevent harm. Perpetrators of hate speech take advantage of free speech to propagate racist, sexist, and criminal messages through various channels. Lack of regulation of speech causes profiling and discrimination of people according to gender, sexuality, and religion. Therefore, it is important to limit free speech to prevent the dissemination of harmful messages.
Step 5: Proofreading: Once you are done with your argumentative essay, you should reread it at least twice to make sure you eliminate all grammatical errors and typos. Proofreading will also help you maintain the required word count and add or subtract points where necessary to make your argumentative essay perfect.
Step 6: Submission: Did you write your argumentative essay for nothing? Well, I guess not. Submit your college paper or whatever it was. If it was just for fun or some article or magazine, go ahead and publish it before someone else does.