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If there’s one writing skill you need to have in your toolkit for standardized tests, AP exams, and college-level writing, it’s the ability to make a persuasive argument.Effectively arguing for a position on a topic or issue isn’t just for the debate team—it’s for anyone who wants to ace the essay portion of an exam or make As in college courses.The first step to writing an argumentative essay deciding what to write about!
While some people might dislike the taste of water, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that proves—beyond the shadow of a doubt—that drinking water is a key part of good health.
To avoid choosing a topic that’s either unprovable or already proven, try brainstorming some issues that have recently been discussed in the news, that you’ve seen people debating on social media, or that affect your local community.
—if you’re a) more specific and b) choose an idea that has some scientific research behind it.
For example, a strong argumentative topic could be proving that dogs make better assistance animals than cats do.) You also don’t want to make an argument about a topic that’s already a proven fact, like that drinking water is good for you.
In argumentative essays, you’re presenting your point of view as the writer and, sometimes, choosing the topic you’ll be arguing about.
You just want to make sure that that point of view comes across as informed, well-reasoned, and persuasive.You have to pick a topic that allows you to take a position that can be supported by actual, researched evidence.(Quick note: you could write an argumentative paper over the general idea that dogs are better than cats—or visa versa!You’ve got to be able to stay unemotional, interpret the evidence persuasively, and, when appropriate, discuss opposing points of view without getting too salty.In some situations, choosing a topic for your argumentative paper won’t be an issue at all: the test or exam will choose it for you.For example, if you are a huge football fan, a great argumentative topic for you might be arguing whether football leagues need to do more to prevent concussions. No, but it’s still a timely topic that affects many people.And not only is this a great argumentative topic: you also get to write about one of your passions!Argumentative essays are different from other types of essays for one main reason: in an argumentative essay, you decide what the argument will be.Some types of essays, like summaries or syntheses, don’t want you to show your stance on the topic—they want you to remain unbiased and neutral.Consider choosing a topic that holds a connection between something you know or care about and something that is relevant to the rest of society.These don’t have to be super serious issues, but they should be topics that are timely and significant.