5 Must Read Argumentative Essay Dos and Don’ts

June 9, 2024

Argumentative Essay Dos and Donts

Looking for a guide on argumentative essay dos and don'ts? You've come to the right page.

It’s one thing to know which arguments to present to persuade readers to support your stance, even if they don’t agree with you.

But even a strong point of view won’t be convincing if you don’t structure your arguments in a way that demonstrates solid reasoning backed with convincing evidence.

That’s why, in addition to understanding and strictly adhering to the format of an argumentative essay, you also have to know the dos and don’ts of the assignment to get it right.

Your goal is to persuade your audience to agree with you, so you don’t want to leave them an open opportunity to oppose the ideas you present about the topic and write you off completely.

Key Takeaways

The following is a summary of argumentative essay dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind when working on your essay:

  • Read the assignment’s brief before you start writing.
  • Do use proper citation when writing the essay.
  • Avoid phrases such as “I think” or “I believe” because they only serve to weaken your argument.
  • Don’t use signpost in your essay to give directional sign as doing so is irrelevant and only serves to waste space and time in your argument.
  • Do not repeat the thesis statement in the conclusion of the argument.
  • Do use our argumentative essay writing service if you don’t have the time to write the essay yourself and you need help to get it done.

What's the Goal of This Guide? 

Our goal in this guide is to share with you all the argumentative essay dos and don’ts to help you write an A-grade essay.

Whether your instructor has asked you to argue on a topic related to health care, science, politics, or technology, these dos and don’ts are worth reading and implementing.

By learning and putting these guidelines into consideration as you write your argumentative essay, you’ll easily avoid the common academic writing pitfalls that make it difficult for students to score top marks for their essays.

Argumentative Essay Dos and Don’ts

The following are some of the dos and don’ts that can help you write a more comprehensive argumentative essay on any topic:

1. Do Pay Close Attention to Citation

One of the most important things to observe as you write your argumentative essay is citation.

Your instructor will ask you to use either the MLA or APA format to work on your essay. So it’s important to know how to cite your essay in these formats.

If this is your first time working on an argumentative essay, we highly recommend that you check out our guide in citing sources.

It includes everything you need to learn about work cited, in-text citation, and reference pages.

Citation rules are important, and it’s mandatory that you know all of them.

At the end of the day, your instructor expects to see that you’ve taken citation seriously, or they can deny you important marks for failing to follow the rules.

Some ideas in your argumentative essay will not be your own. Should that be the case, you’ll need to make sure you attribute all their sources before you submit the paper.

It’s fine to paraphrase the work of another author in your essay. However, don’t forget to give that author the credit for his work so you can at least avoid plagiarism.

2. Do Read the Assignment’s Guidelines before You Start

Many students fail their argumentative essays because they didn’t take the time to read the assignment guidelines before writing.

So even if the essay reads well and it’s convincing because it includes all the objective and substantial evidence to support your position, failing to write according to the brief can cost you important marks.

Remember, every school assignment comes with a set of instructions that you need to read and follow to a tee, and an argumentative essay isn’t an exception.

For example, if your teacher asks you to include eight sources in the paper and you only write three or four, you’ll earn fewer marks for failing to meet the minimum requirements.

Spend a few minutes of your time to read the assignment brief. Write down a summary of the brief for clarity, and don’t hesitate to consult your instructor if you’re in doubt. 

3. Don’t Use Phrases Such as “I believe” or “I think”

When someone reads your argumentative essay, they should clearly see from the beginning that you’ve take your time to research the topic before choosing your position and developing your argument.

That way, you won’t have to use phrases that clearly indicate that your statements are weak and difficult to agree with.

To be very precise, we stress that you refrain from using phrases such as “I think” or “I believe” because they can easily weaken your argument.

The last thing you want to do is make your argument sound like an apology for your point of view, which shouldn’t be the case in the first place.

Instead of writing a statement like “I think college should allow all students to access internet”, simply state that “college should allow all students to access the internet. Such a statement is precise and less empathetic.

4. Don’t Signpost in Your Argumentative Essay

Signposting may be a great writing technique, but it doesn’t have a place in argumentative essay writing.

If you think about it, academic readers are not interested in directional signs in a piece of writing, so don’t waste their time by repeating what you said or telling them what you wish to say next.

You need to go straight to the point and present the most important details. So instead of signposting, just say what you have to say. 

5. Don’t Repeat the Thesis Statement in the Conclusion

Writing a conclusion for your argument can be twice as challenging as writing the introduction.

At the very least, many students make the mistake of repeating the thesis statement exactly as it is just to end the essay abruptly. However, that’s the wrong approach.

You need to take the conclusion of the essay seriously and make sure to write it well.

The last paragraph of the essay is your opportunity to tie everything together in a way that shows you’ve demonstrated your research, supported your claims, and done your best to support your position.

Also, never introduce a new idea when concluding your argument. If you have an idea to add to the essay, and you strongly believe that it can support your argument, go right ahead and include it in the body section instead.


Writing an argumentative essay doesn’t have to seem like a rocket science engage.

Really all there is to it is to know what you should do and what you shouldn’t. The writing process should come easy after that.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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