Writing to argue

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Tutor: Joel

Summary

Writing to argue

In a nutshell

An argumentative essay is an important skill to learn, whether you are writing about an academic topic or delivering a speech for a debate. In this summary, you will learn how to write an argument and what you can include. 



What is writing to argue?

Argumentative writing is a method of presenting an idea or issue in a reasoned way. Writing to argue is different from writing to persuade as you must explain your reasoning for why your point of view is correct, but also offer a counterargument explaining why an alternative point of view is incorrect or not as convincing.



Plan

Planning your main points, evidence and counterarguments before you begin writing is a good idea. You'll know what arguments to use and how to arrange them effectively if you plan ahead of time. A table is a good planning structure to use. With a table, you can place your arguments in support and against while being able to visualise if your work will be balanced.



Structure

Like all writing styles, when writing to argue you must have a strong logical structure. Whenever you write an argument, you should clearly communicate your main points to your reader.


Structure

What to include

Introduction
Set up your main points in a concise yet strong introduction.
Argument body
Each point should be separated into a new paragraph within your essay. Use "PEEL" (Point Evidence Explain Link) with each paragraph to evidence and explain each point.
Conclusion
Reiterate each of your key points in your conclusion to remind the reader of your overall argument.



What to include

Language

If you want to make your point more persuasive, add emotive language and compelling vocabulary.


Direct address

You can use direct appeal to the reader as one of the strongest methods to convince them that your arguments are relevant to them.


Clarity

The argument can be more effectively communicated with simple, easy-to-read phrasing.


Opposing arguments

Make your argument balanced by explaining counter-arguments. However, remember to state how your argument is superior to the counter.


Hyperbole

When someone uses hyperbole, they do so to emphasise a point; they don't mean it literally.


Rhetorical question

A rhetorical question is used to make the reader stop and think about a topic but isn't meant to be answered as the answer should be obvious. When used effectively, a rhetorical question can persuade the reader into following your argument.


Facts and evidence

Using strong pieces of evidence in your writing can make your argument more effective and convincing. 


Sonic devices

Sonic devices such as alliteration (repetition of an initial sound) and onomatopoeia (a word that imitates a real-life sound) are used to amplify, accentuate or enhance your argument.


Discourse marker

A discourse marker is a phrase that serves as a link between two arguments.



Tips

  • Support every argument with evidence to make your point more convincing.
  • Think about who the target audience of this argument is. Does their background change the language you will use in your argument?
  • Organise your arguments before you start writing. How do your arguments and points link?
  • If you present your own viewpoints along with opposing viewpoints that you dispel, your overall argument will be stronger and more persuasive.

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Exercises

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Should you plan a written argument?

How is writing to argue different than writing to persuade?

What is writing to argue?

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