What are the main features of a good argument essay?

Every essay has the same basic structure, with variable elements and tricks to fill out those main parts. For instance, an informational paper has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The same can be said for an argumentative essay, just with different elements. Writing an effective argumentative paper can be done in just a few short steps, using the following main features.

  • The first thing that every good argumentative paper needs is an introduction. The introduction is going to contain three parts: a lead/hook, a bridge, and a claim. The lead/hook is what grabs your reader’s attention. The bridge focuses on the broad nature of the lead/hook and connects that to the claim. Your claim is going to do two important jobs: first, it is going to tell the reader which side of the argument you are on, and second, it is going to “road map” the supporting reasons why you are taking that stance. Both parts are vital to your claim and the beginning of your paper.
  • The body paragraphs of your paper need to follow along with the order in which you listed them. This is an aesthetic touch that shows your organization and development of your point. As such, you third and final point should be your strongest point and should be written in the most intriguing way possible. This will help to keep your reader’s attention as they are now more than half way through your paper.
  • Somewhere in the body paragraphs, a counterclaim needs to be included in some way. This is unique to the argumentative essay, as you have to acknowledge the opposing side’s viewpoints. There are two main strategies for including the counterclaim.
  • The first way is to include it as its own unique paragraph. With this strategy, you need to briefly inform the reader about the opposing viewpoint of each of your supporting reasons. Many people teach students this style and they include it as the final body paragraph before the conclusion. However, I tend to propose this paragraph either be the first body paragraph or the second, depending on how strong your writing is.
  • The other option, and more sophisticated style, is to highlight the counterclaim as a part of each body paragraph, that way you can refute the opposing viewpoint with your stronger writing and highlighting of your viewpoint.
  • Finally, you need a conclusion. And yes, this really is an important component of your writing! The conclusion allows you to end in a powerful manner, rather than just slapping a couple sentences on your paper. Utilize this paragraph to remind your reader of what they read, and then leave them with something to think about as they put down your paper and reenter the world around them.

    Argumentative essays are meant to be thought-provoking, not only to the writer but to the reader as well.

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