What is A Persuasive/Argumentative Essay?

Argumentative essays are very common in examinations. It uses facts and evidences to present arguments about an issue from two different perspectives. Sometimes, you could be impartial and not in favour of either side. However, it is usually easier to take on one side and persuade the reader to agree with your viewpoint. Personal opinions not backed by facts and evidences should be avoided at all times.

Structure of Persuasive/Argumentative Essay:

1. Introduction
– Start with a hook to stir up the reader’s interest.
– Address the issue with a topic sentence. Provide readers with background on the topic so as to allow them to better understand the issue that is being presented.
– State your thesis. The thesis statement is a one or two sentence that clearly presents your paper’s main point, main idea, or main message. (State your position/stand) Your paper’s thesis statement will be addressed and defended in the body paragraphs and the conclusion.

What is a Topic Sentence?

Every topic sentence will always have a topic and a controlling/supporting idea. (topic sentence = topic + controlling idea)

Example: Smoking is bad for everyone because it can cause fatal diseases such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer.
Topic: ‘Smoking is bad for everyone’
Controlling idea: ‘because it can cause fatal diseases such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer.’

2. White blood cells help fight infections by attacking bacteria, viruses and germs that invade the body.
Topic: ‘White blood cells help fight infections’
Controlling idea: ‘by attacking attacking bacteria, viruses and germs that invade the body’

3. Education helps us to lead a good and healthy life.
Topic: ‘Education helps us’
Controlling idea: ‘to lead a good and healthy life’

What Makes a Good Thesis Statement?

A good thesis statement must not be too general and must be debatable, focusing on just one idea.

Example of a bad thesis statement:
Fried food is bad for health.

A preferred thesis statement:
Fried food should be banned in schools as it is high in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, resulting in childhood obesity.

2. Three body paragraphs (Development of argument)
– Each body paragraph should cover a different idea or piece of evidence and contain a topic sentence that clearly and concisely explains why the reader should agree with your position.

(Please note that students in college level are expected to write longer essays. The number of paragraphs is not predetermined. The essay follows this structure: beginning, middle and end)

3. Conclusion
– Re-assert topic, restate the thesis/viewpoint without cutting and pasting the introduction and finally end the essay with a call for action.
– You should not present any new arguments in your conclusion.
-Call for action or overview future research possibilities

A call for action example: Schools should regulate their nutrition programs by replacing fried food with wholesome choices and educate students on the importance of healthy eating.

Remember to use transitional words and phrases as they make essays more coherent.

Argumentative/Persuasive essays typically revolve round four themes:
Education, Environment, Science & Technology and Social. All students should read widely and intensively on these areas, collect data so they are able to write essays with sound reasoning and back up argument with solid evidences.

Check out readings/videos on the four themes.