How to Write an Argument
- Make your main claim up front. The main claim (or thesis) should usually go in the first paragraph of your argument, and it should be very prominent. The reader should be left with no doubt as to what you are arguing.
- Make sure the claim is controversial or likely to provoke doubt. If no one doubts the claim, then there’s no reason to make an argument! The point has to be somehow debatable.
- Anticipate your reader’s doubts. When they read your thesis, what will readers think? Why might they doubt it? You have to think about the counterargument (see section 6) in order to make your argument really strong. Once you’ve got an idea of what the reader’s doubts will be, you can come up with ways to respond to them.
- Use logic. While there are many techniques you can use in an argument, logic is the most effective, especially in academic writing. Logic is not a simple skill! It takes years to learn this ancient art form, but the best way to learn is to practice. You can start by reviewing the basic fallacies, or logical errors.
When to Use Argument
An argument is the backbone of an academic essay. Whenever you write an essay, it should be built around an argument. In addition to academic essays, though, argument can also be useful in creative writing. This is particularly true if you’re writing some kind of epic where one character needs to be a great public speaker, arguing intensely with a crowd. With these characters, you want the reader to feel the power of your character’s argument, and for that to work you have to write it well!