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Argument (Persuasive) Paragraph Outline

Argument (Persuasive) Paragraph

The persuasive paragraph or essay is more complex because you must use evidence to support your opinion. Arguments must be about a controversial topic or issue that can be supported or opposed based on evidence, quotes or statistics.

An argument paragraph or essay deals with a controversial topic about an issue that can be supported or opposed based on facts or statistics. The argument must be controversial. You cannot argue about the boiling point of water. In addition, the purpose of a good argument is not to convince people who agree with you, but rather to convince people who disagree agree with you. In a good argument essay, your opinion carries no weight. If you simply write, "I believe X," and the other person writes, "I believe Y," you have a disagreement, but not an argument.

Because of that, an argument essay requires skills you need to write any research essay. One needs to learn how to cite other work using "reporting verbs". One also needs to learn the elements used to appeal to an audience. The types of appeals you can use in an essay are ethos, logos and pathos. Briefly, they are as follows:

"Ethos" relies on the expertise of a person you are quoting.
"Logos" relies on statistics and facts.
"Pathos" relies on emotional appeals related to your argument.

Good arguments require skillful use of modals to strengthen or weaken points of view. In general, you want to use the the modals "should," "must," or "need to" to let people know what you believe should be done (notice the modal!!!).

Modals suggesting uncertainty, such as "would" or "could," can be used to weaken the argument of opponents

Argument essays come in two forms, the block and point-by-point methods.

* The block method starts with the opponent's opinion and then explains why your opponent is wrong, presenting your arguments in three body paragraphs, building to your strongest.
* The point-by-point method presents three arguments by your opponent at the beginning of each body paragraph and you refute each one.

Choose which method you want to try:

The Block Method



Topic Sentence -- the Top Bun

Your topic sentence goes here. If I say I love New York,
I want to add "for three reasons," because that limits the paragraph to those three reasons.


Try to limit your reasons to one word

The Most Important Reason -- the Meat

The Second Most Important Reason -- the Tomato

First (or Least Important) Reason -- The Lettuce

Conclusion -- Bottom Bun

The bottom bun looks a lot like the top bun.
A conclusion can be something as simple as, "Those are the reasons I love New York"