The Ultimate Guide To Argumentative Essay Format

November 29, 2022 F WP
Argumentative essay format

The Ultimate Guide To Argumentative Essay Format

Table of Contents

Writing is an integral part of teaching and learning. At the core of each writing type, the aim of the writer is to convince the readers that whatever he is putting down is the truth or at least a version of it. Essay writing has been the part and parcel of academic activities for centuries. Out of all the essay types, argumentative essay writing has the only goal to persuade or convince the reader by taking a stance on an issue.

As a student, if you are asked to write an argumentative essay but don’t know exactly how to format it, fret not! This blog covers the definition of an argumentative essay, its elements, format, and argument type. Keep on reading to master the art and craft of argumentative writing in one go!

What Is An Argumentative Essay?

If the name is any indication, argumentative essay writing is about convincing or persuading the readers that one side of the argument is true. Instead of relying upon emotionally-charged language and tone, writers need to be objective and neutral in their discourse. The structure of an argumentative essay is similar to that of descriptive or narrative essays, but the rigidity in structure is more in line with the expository essay.

Writers need to either go in favor or against the argument and then prove to the readers that the stance they have taken is indeed correct, through logic, reasoning, evidence, and proofs. That’s why it is one of the toughest types of essays that require skills and training. As for the different argument types and their usage, we will cover them in the closing sections of this post.

Elements of An Argumentative Essay

Elements of an essay can be considered the building blocks of a thing. When it comes to essays, they have often common building blocks that can keep them erect and allow them to face opposition. When we talk about the elements of an argumentative essay, we will cover the things or requisites that make or define these essay types. Without even one of them, the essay is incomplete. So, let’s take a look at the essentials of argumentative essay writing.

Thesis Statement

If you are a high school or college student, you might not need any introduction with the thesis statement. A thesis statement is the summation of the main argument or idea of the essay. It is a condensed form of the writer’s stance covered in either a single bold and brief sentence or a small paragraph. It allows the readers to see what the overall tone, stance, and depth of an essay will be. That’s why it comes in the closing lines of the introduction where it bridges the section with the main body.


Support is the lifeline of the argument and sub-claims propounded by the writer. When we talk about support, it is about providing references and citations from credible sources to back up the writer’s stance. The supported search should start with primary sources, including publications of highly distinguished scholars. Then, come the secondary sources which can be internet-based but fairly acceptable in the researchers’ fraternity. As students would have understood by now, there is no point in simply presenting your argument if they do not have solid support to give it legs to stand on.


Logic and reasoning are other important parts of argumentative essay writing. It is primarily used to bridge different sections to make sense of the closing lines of one by connecting it with another. As the most commonly-used weapon to convince readers, mathematical logic on top of common reasoning is the highlight of most argumentative essays. Students in schools and colleges might not have a solid command of steering the logic and using it to make ends meet. This requires practice and learning but it can be mastered with time.


Counterclaims or rebuttals are the opposing sides of the argument or the stance of the writer. This is only natural to have people disagreeing with you when you take a stance. In argumentative essay writing, this is not only anticipated but welcomed because it allows the writers to further investigate the matter and prepare responses to the opposition beforehand. Also, some argumentative essay types require writers to provide an almost equal number of pieces of evidence for both sides of the argument. So, counterclaims and rebuttals should not only be expected but addressed from early on.

Formatting An Argumentative Essay

Now that we have covered the major elements of an argumentative essay, let us take a look at the mechanism through which we can work them into an interplay. As a writer, your job is to enhance the face value of each section and element in a way that when they are all combined, they become more than the mere sum of their parts.

With that in mind, let us format an argumentative essay.

Opening Paragraph

There is no introduction needed for the opening or introduction of an essay. These are rhetorical or contextual lines at the beginning of every essay that writers have already read elsewhere. The beginning is the hook that can lure the readers in. After a good, strong hook comes the background information or context of the issue or the essay question. In the closing lines of the opening paragraph, writers need to put down a thesis statement.

Main Body

The main body of an argumentative essay is the meat and bones of the whole essay, as is the case with other essays. It has elements in play, including argument building, evidential information, counterclaims and rebuttals, and so on. Whereas other sections just hint at the presence of an element, this section makes them come to work and play. That’s why writers get to have three out of five paragraphs in a typical essay for this section.


Just like an introduction, a conclusion is self-explanatory, at least at the outset. But when you need to compose a winning essay, it takes a lot of skills and effort to master it. A conclusion summarizes the whole discussion of the essay in a memorable and catchy manner. This allows the readers to better understand it and make sure that they haven’t missed a point. The closing lines of the conclusion should be covered with an exceptional command to ensure the message is listened to across the board.

Types of Arguments

An argumentative essay is as good as the argument-building method and technique or approach that was used in its development. As students would have already known, there is more than one single type of argument-building approach in argumentative essay writing. Teachers might not specifically tell them to employ a technique for their essays. So, they have to learn and master them so that they may be able to use them in their essays. Here are the three major approaches toward argument building in argumentative essays.
Aristotelian (Classical)

As the name indicates, this approach toward argument-building was developed by Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, and thinker. Later on, it was perfected by Arab and European scientists and rhetoricians. This is one of the most common approaches that is used in argumentative essays. The premise is simple: writers will analyze both sides of the argument and then one side is proven right based on the evidential information.


Rogerian model of argument builds sides to not the only one angle of the argument. It was developed by Carl R. Rogers and is used by writers who want to explore both sides of the argument and make it clear to the readers that there is indeed a middle ground to the whole debate. To say the least, this model works on collaboration and cooperation. This is mostly covered in academic papers and research papers.


Developed and propounded by Stephen Toulmin, this approach to argument building is about taking a hard look at one side and showing it to be true. Unlike the classical and Rogerian approaches, it only considers one side of the argument it considered it to be true or right. The elements of this approach include a claim, grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier, and rebuttal. The model is reminiscent of the essay writing method, starting with an introduction, to the main body, and the conclusion.


The two common argumentative essay formats are the block and chain structure. The block structure bundles argument in one section and their proofs and evidence in the other section. However, the chain structure puts an argument and its evidence in a single whole.

The five parts of an argumentative essay are as follows:

  • Opening
  • Thesis statement
  • Argument
  • Evidence
  • Closing

The best way to start an argumentative essay is by setting a hook. It can be any literary device, like a question, a statement, or a statistic. This will lure the readers in and make them invested in the idea or the premise of the essay.

A good argument has the following characteristics that must be balanced to form a solid argument:

  • Understand the question
  • Form a preliminary opinion
  • Research and strengthen
  • Add supporting evidence
  • Address rebuttals

There is no way you can skip a thesis statement in an argumentative essay. It is an essential part of all types of essays and argumentative essays are no exception. A thesis provides a gist of the writer’s stance to the readers.

The three basic parts of an argumentative essay are these:

  • Argument
  • Support
  • Counterclaims

Summing Up The Discussion

Argumentative essay writing is a tough nut to crack for students in schools and colleges. The part and parcel of an argumentative essay is its argument that can be developed through one of the many ways. We have amply covered the three major approaches in argument building and how writers can leverage them to produce riveting works.

We hope that this resource will help them in understanding the mechanics and dynamics of argumentative essay writing and enable them to come up with great ideas. If students are not up for the task to write the essays themselves, PerfectEssay will be at your disposal.

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