While some teachers consider persuasive papers and argument papers to be basically the same thing, it’s usually safe to assume that an argument paper presents a stronger claim—possibly to a more resistant audience.
For example: while a persuasive paper might claim that cities need to adopt recycling programs, an argument paper on the same topic might be addressed to a particular town. The argument paper would go further, suggesting specific ways that a recycling program should be adopted and utilized in that particular area.
To write an argument essay, you’ll need to gather evidence and present a well-reasoned argument on a debatable issue.
How can I tell if my topic is debatable? Check your thesis! You cannot argue a statement of fact, you must base your paper on a strong position. Ask yourself…
- How many people could argue against my position? What would they say?
- Can it be addressed with a yes or no? (aim for a topic that requires more info.)
- Can I base my argument on scholarly evidence, or am I relying on religion, cultural standards, or morality? (you MUST be able to do quality research!)
- Have I made my argument specific enough?
Worried about taking a firm stance on an issue?
Though there are plenty of times in your life when it’s best to adopt a balanced perspective and try to understand both sides of a debate, this isn’t one of them.
You MUST choose one side or the other when you write an argument paper!
Don’t be afraid to tell others exactly how you think things should go because that’s what we expect from an argument paper. You’re in charge now, what do YOU think?
…use passionate language
…use weak qualifiers like “I believe,” “I feel,” or “I think”—just tell us!
…cite experts who agree with you
…claim to be an expert if you’re not one
…provide facts, evidence, and statistics to support your position
…use strictly moral or religious claims as support for your argument
…provide reasons to support your claim
…assume the audience will agree with you about any aspect of your argument
…address the opposing side’s argument and refute their claims
…attempt to make others look bad (i.e. Mr. Smith is ignorant—don’t listen to him!)
Why do I need to address the opposing side’s argument?
There is an old kung-fu saying which states, "The hand that strikes also blocks", meaning that when you argue it is to your advantage to anticipate your opposition and strike down their arguments within the body of your own paper. This sentiment is echoed in the popular saying, "The best defense is a good offense".
By addressing the opposition you achieve the following goals:
- illustrate a well-rounded understanding of the topic
- demonstrate a lack of bias
- enhance the level of trust that the reader has for both you and your opinion
- give yourself the opportunity to refute any arguments the opposition may have
- strengthen your argument by diminishing your opposition's argument
Think about yourself as a child, asking your parents for permission to do something that they would normally say no to. You were far more likely to get them to say yes if you anticipated and addressed all of their concerns before they expressed them. You did not want to belittle those concerns, or make them feel dumb, because this only put them on the defensive, and lead to a conclusion that went against your wishes.
The same is true in your writing.
How do I accomplish this?
To address the other side of the argument you plan to make, you'll need to "put yourself in their shoes." In other words, you need to try to understand where they're coming from. If you're having trouble accomplishing this task, try following these steps:
- Jot down several good reasons why you support that particular side of the argument.
- Look at the reasons you provided and try to argue with yourself. Ask: Why would someone disagree with each of these points? What would his/her response be? (Sometimes it's helpful to imagine that you're having a verbal argument with someone who disagrees with you.)
- Think carefully about your audience; try to understand their background, their strongest influences, and the way that their minds work. Ask: What parts of this issue will concern my opposing audience the most?
- Find the necessary facts, evidence, quotes from experts, etc. to refute the points that your opposition might make.
- Carefully organize your paper so that it moves smoothly from defending your own points to sections where you argue against the opposition.
Twin College Essay: The Benefits of Being a Twin
Perhaps almost everyone has dreamed of having a twin in their childhood. It seemed to be so beneficial to have an identical copy of oneself that would think and act similarly. For children, having a twin means to have a reliable friend throughout their whole lives, a mate for sharing numerous jokes and playing games, or an invaluable assistant who would always come to help in the time of need. However, having a twin doesn’t lose its advantages even in the adult age. Twins share many interests; they often form bonds that, due to their unique nature, are not possible in any other relationship and it lasts forever. Therefore, being a twin has many benefits.
The advantages of being a twin are especially evident in the early childhood years. “In the early years the twin children develop a trust between themselves” (Safdarmehdi, 2012, para. 2). Sibling rivalry is not such a problem because the kids form an attachment to each other from birth. Furthermore, at an early age, twins need each other because they give each other a sense of support and security. The twins are there for each other as they experience the ups and downs of life and growing up. Academically, socially and emotionally, twins offer each other support which builds their relationship and creates trust between them.
In contrast, the teenage years offer more insight into the disadvantages of being a twin. This is because privacy and sexuality become more important, and rivalry for the attention of the opposite sex and from parents comes into play. For example, in the film Dead Ringers, two identical twins both became successful gynecologists and ended up falling in love with the same woman (Safdarmehdi, 2012, para. 3). After the teenage years, this rivalry and tension between the twins usually fades away. The twins get married and become involved with their own new families. They do not worry as much about what the other twin is up to. However, a close bond between the twins usually still remains. This process of growth, from early childhood through the teenage years and until adulthood, is what makes the twins bond and understand each other at a level other relationships most often do not get to.
A very positive thing about identical twins is that if they get along and they can help each other in some of life’s sticky situations. For instance, if one twin is sick, but simply cannot miss an appointment, date or meeting, the other twin can replace them. This type of assistance depends on how close the twins are and if they have the same skills. For example, one twin said her sibling is like a partner who completes what needs to be done when she cannot. She said, “On the days when I am busy I know that Lucas will cover my back and get all the bottles at night (Arnold, 2011, para. 3).
It is important to note that ‘perfect’ relationships are not always present and cannot always be achieved between twins. A lot depends on their environment, upbringing and genes. Most twins, particularly identical ones, enjoy a very special and close relationship based on trust because of growing up together and having many more things in common than regular siblings. Additionally, as with any close relationship, emotions can run from love to hate but the love between twins usually triumphs.
Therefore, there are many benefits of being a twin. Having a twin is like having your soul mate with you right from birth. Twins, especially identical ones, reflect each other’s images. In childhood, twins give each other a sense of security. They start to form their relationship based on mutual support and understanding. In the teenage years, twins may experience problems connected to sexuality and privacy, and they often start rivalry for the attention of the opposite sex and parents, but as they grow up that rivalry usually fades away.
A very valuable thing is that twins can help each other in difficult situations, using the similarity in their appearance. In addition, twins can experience complicated and ambiguous feelings towards each other, but usually the relationship they form lasts forever.
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Argumentative Essay Example II: Should Parents Monitor Their Children’s Internet Use?
XXI century marked the Digital age in the human history and humanity was introduced to the Internet. It covers every field of specialization today, starting at any information humanity ever acquired on out to online communication between individuals. Access to the Internet requires interaction with a computer, that is proved by numerous researches to be injurious to health in an often use. Usually, it is linked to obesity, irregular sleep cycles and shorter duration sleep, impaired vision, and loss of social skills and we should to be anxious about our children’s health. But there are latent and more dangerous threats the Internet is linked to that we need to protect our children from.
Protection of the personal information, while you are searching the web, is critically important, especially while using social networks like Facebook, as it is the most popular way of communication with other people. Kids often are unaware of what information should not be shared with an online community, and in doing so, they can incur themselves to the danger that the internet possesses. Using this information sexual and other predators can stalk children on the Internet, taking advantage of their innocence, abusing their trust and, perhaps, ultimately luring them into hazardous personal encounters (“Teenagers and the Internet”, 2017). Maybe it would be too harsh to track their activities on the internet, without them knowing because every individual has a right to privacy, but it is necessary to talk with children about possible consequences of posting their personal information on the Internet.
As children grow and spend more time at school, parents are often afraid of them to fall into bad associations. It happens because they don’t know the difference between right and wrong; therefore they cannot distinguish a bad company from good. And if something like that happens there could be a possibility that some of their friends could be trying to convince them to do drugs, shoplift or do something against family’s moral code. The better way of dealing with it would be to talk about it in a neutral way, but if nothing helps to oversee child’s personal messages and to prevent it from happening if suspicions are satisfied will be a right decision. The more child grows, the less he talks to his parents about what is going on in his life, about his friends, and where he goes after school. There may be no need to be worried, as he merely visits the cinema with his friends and by not telling his parents he tries to state a right of privacy and protect it. But he also could be bullied and threatened at school and afraid to complain to parents. More importantly, with the development of the technologies, such harassment can run on and on any place your child goes and can happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It could be rumors sent by email, mean text messages, emails or posted on social networks, along with embarrassing images, videos, sites or fake profiles (Pogue, 2017). Whether done using technology or in person, the effects of bullying are similar: they could be reaching for alcohol and drugs, or skipping school, or have lower self-esteem, or even health problems (Cold et al., 2017). Whether a child experiences bullying or he is not the object of harassment but is a bully himself, parents should not make a hasty decision to spy child’s activity on the internet, as it will make things only worse. The best way is to be comfortably talking to the kid, asking guiding questions about what is going on in their life and how to stand up to bullies or why the behavior of harassing other children is not the best to establish social status.
Children may also unwittingly expose their families to online risks by accidentally downloading malware. Malware is a computer program that is installed without the knowledge of permission of the victim with an intention to steal personal data from the computer like passwords, parent’s bank account, and other sensitive information (“Teenagers and the Internet”, 2017). This program downloads and installs onto itself while you are visiting untrusted sites or by phishing. Phishing is the use of emails that try to trick people into clicking on malicious links and attachments, usually containing offers of things at a dramatically reduced price or even for free. With the development of targeted advertising, it became much easier to guess what an individual is interested in, as it analyzes the browsing history on your computer. Young people are easy marks for scams because they have not yet learned to be wary.
The Internet can pose dangers to kids, but it is not the Internet to blame. In fact, it can open doors of wonder for children that previous generations could not even have dreamed of. The best foundation for protecting against internet threats is educating your children and establishing comfortable communication with them fulfilled with trust and understanding, so they are willing to talk about what is going on in their lives.
Cold, Flu & Cough et al. “4 Dangers Of The Internet.” Webmd, 2017, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/4-dangers-internet#1.
Pogue, David. “How Dangerous Is The Internet For Children?.” Nytimes.Com, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/technology/personaltech/28pogue-email.html?mcubz=1.
“Teenagers And The Internet.” Huffpost, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suren-ramasubbu/teenagers-and-the-internet_b_7012050.html.