8 junio, 2024

Argumentative essay: characteristics, structure, example

A argumentative essay It is a free theme text whose objective is to convince or persuade the reader of the ideas presented. Its purpose is to incite in the reader an inclination towards the author’s opinion.

That is to say, an argumentative essay will always contain elements of an expository essay, since it needs to explain its position on a certain problem or topic. The author, through coherently exposed concepts, will try to justify and demonstrate his reasons.

Arguing is that, defending the ideas that have been exposed in the essay in a logical and orderly way. The author can even present contrary premises to dismantle them with his reasons, and give his argument more strength.

The important thing about this type of essay is the author’s point of view, and the way in which he approaches the argument. They are usually of an academic nature and of a free theme, as already said, since they reflect the personal opinion of the author, where he tries to demonstrate its validity.

In any case, regardless of whether or not it manages to convince the reader, the argumentative essay will be a starting point to reflect on a topic.


Characteristics of the argumentative essay

An argumentative essay shares a literary language with other types of essay, and in that sense it uses metaphors and other rhetorical figures to validate its thesis. It is a space where the issuer’s subjectivity fits, but also conceptual rigor.

In general, an argumentative essay presents the following characteristics:

point of view

The author’s point of view is presented in the introduction of the essay, through the thesis with which he adheres.


The analysis is an inseparable part of the argument, since by contrasting ideas or contrasting the advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons of the positions, the author gradually explains why he assumes a certain position.

Language marks in the argumentative essay

Various literary resources can be used in the argumentative essay:


Use various argumentative connectors: to start the text, to add new ideas, to include examples, to draw conclusions, to compare, to contrast, and to finish.

To begin the text, the connectors used are, for example: First of all, To begin, The idea of ​​this essay, What we present… and the like.
To add ideas and give them order, we use: Likewise, In this sense, On the other hand, In other words…, and to exemplify: For example, In fact, Specifically, etc.
For the conclusions, they are used: In other words, In conclusion, In summary, In summary.
The comparison connectors: In the same way, In a similar way, In the same way, Likewise, etc.; those of contrast: On the contrary, In opposition to. And to finish: Finally, Lastly, To summarize, etc.

Ratings and designations

Throughout the text, the author will rely on expressions that qualify and designate what he is arguing for. An example would be:

“A conservationist attitude is necessary on the part of all humanity to face a possible environmental catastrophe. The idea is that we can live together on the same planet.”

formal use of language

An essay is a literary text, and in this sense, the author will use careful language, respecting grammatical rules and avoiding as much as possible colloquialisms that can make understanding difficult. That does not prevent the language from being close.


From beginning to end, the argumentative essay must present an internal coherence between the ideas. That is, you must respect an order when presenting the arguments, so that the reader can follow the reasoning.

What is an argumentative essay for?

In principle, an argumentative essay serves to convince readers of the thesis presented by the author. The essay, by definition, is a text that establishes a theme and reflects on it. Many times the topic discussed generates controversy, and from there the author argues in favor of his thesis.

And although it is the opinion of the author, in an argumentative essay the important thing is the foundations that it exposes, it is the way in which the issuer, in addition to informing the reader, reasons on the subject and supports his reasons.

This is how you can convince, by demonstrating that your point of view is correct. It is not enough to argue, you must back it up with figures, quotes and other information, always saying where you got it from.

Structure of an argumentative essay

An argumentative essay presents a structure similar to other types of essay: introduction, development or arguments and conclusion.


In the introduction, the author will explain what the essay is about. He will do it in such a way that he catches the reader so that he continues reading. Apart from stating the general theme, he will also indicate which part he is going to argue, whether he is for or against and why.

Development or arguments

It is the body of the essay. Arguments are presented in paragraphs; if there is more than one, the ideal is that each paragraph corresponds to an argument. In any case, they must be very clear and explain the reasoning precisely, so as not to lose the reader.

There are one-page argumentative essays, and others that can be a whole book. It does not matter, what is important is the clarity with which it is argued.

You can even present a rebuttal that offers ideas contrary to your thesis, and the author will counterargue to demonstrate the validity of your reasons. It is a resource that many authors use to defend their ideas.

You have to start with the most important argument and finish with the one with the least relevance, that indicates an order, determined by the author.


In the conclusion, the author highlights the topic again but in the light of a larger context, showing the reader that thanks to his argument, understanding and opinion should change after reading.

A mistake that is often made, especially when writing degree theses, is to introduce new arguments. The conclusion should close the topic, not open a new controversy.

Taking into account that the essay is only a contribution, it is good to recognize and guide (in any case) the possible investigations that others want to carry out, starting from that initial reading.

How to write an argumentative essay step by step

choice of theme

To write an argumentative essay, you must first select a topic about which you have knowledge or about which you feel some inclination.

Suppose we want to write about the effect happiness (or feeling happy) has on the body and overall health. We are interested from a physiological point of view. So we would already have a tentative theme: «The effect of happiness on the body.»

document yourself

Even if we have an idea on the subject, it is necessary to document as much as possible, investigate various sources. It must be remembered that, even if we present a personal opinion, if we want to argue it must be with reasons, in this case, scientific ones.

What substances are produced in the brain when we feel happy? Can happiness be a constant state? Is it possible to feel happy even when you are going through difficulties? Is it possible to maintain health while being happy?

By virtue of these questions, we will search for information, and for this we will resort to legitimate sources (neurological, psychological, scientific studies) that support our thesis.


The previous questions can serve as a skeleton to order the preparation of the essay.


When we already have the ideas in order, we will proceed to write a first draft, which will further define the topics to be discussed.

You have to be coherent: develop ideas logically. That also means structuring sentences logically, and then paragraphs. If our thesis is that happiness has a certain effect on the body, we must argue step by step.

For example, establishing the existence of hormones produced in the brain (endorphins) when the person feels good and happy, and likewise, the existence of substances that are toxic when the person is stressed, angry, sad or worried, which also produces the brain.

If the person gets sick with these toxic substances, it is possible to think that the benevolent substances can also cure the organism. From there, then, the importance of managing stress properly to prevent the toxic from deteriorating health would be highlighted.


The coherence of the essay, linguistic and stylistic cohesion, the succession of ideas and arguments, syntax and spelling will be exhaustively reviewed. If you notice that there is a «jump» in the order of ideas, then it will have to be corrected.

It is advisable to make the initial outline and follow it, although it can be modified in the course of writing and revision.

argumentative essay example

Below we present an argumentative essay whose title is «Conserving the environment is conserving human life on Earth.» To facilitate its understanding, the beginning, development and conclusion are indicated.


In recent years, the environment has been the subject of discussion at various international meetings, where the world’s most powerful powers have come together to try to reach agreements involving the most industrialized countries and those that pollute the most.

Development and arguments

Interestingly, the nations that pollute the most are currently the two strongest economic powers, China and the United States, followed by the European Union, India, Russia, and Japan.

The objectives of these international agreements are to fight against global warming and climate change, and for this they agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since it is estimated that they are the cause of the increase in temperature on Earth.

China, which until at least 10 years ago did not seem to care about the pollution in its cities, has been one of the most important actors in the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, and at present, is one of the countries carrying out large-scale production of infrastructure for the transition to solar energy and other renewable sources. Apparently, the Asian giant has understood the risks of climate change.

However, the United States, one of the most powerful countries in the world, withdrew from these agreements after the arrival of Donald Trump to the presidency, alleging that they are a brake on the economic growth of his country.

It also alleges that studies on climate change are not conclusive, and that it is more economical to continue exploiting coal mines and oil fields than to invest in the production of energy based on clean sources.

The immediate position of the North American president is obvious, as well as the irresponsibility in discarding all the scientific work carried out by thousands of professionals, such as biologists, geologists, ecologists, who account for environmental deterioration.

If the planet’s temperature continues to rise, it will affect the ecological balance, from plants to larger animals, including humans.

Little by little the viability of human life will be restricted, desertification…

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