What is the Purpose of an Argumentative Essay?

February 16, 2023

Argumentative writing requires students to learn and examine their ideas in a methodical and clear way. By looking at an issue objectively, they have to draw reasonable conclusions based on justifiable evidence to convince an audience that their side of the issue is true than the position the audience currently holds.

The purpose of the argumentative essay is to evaluate how students conduct their research process to establish credible opinion and persuade readers to share those thoughts. It requires a careful evaluation of claims and judgment of methods of investigation and evidence.

The structure of an argumentative essay remains the same regardless of the topic a student would like to investigate. More importantly, the entire argument must revolve around a clear and a well-defined thesis statement, which appears in the last one or two sentences of the introduction paragraph of your argument.

What is the Main Focus of an Argumentative Essay?

The main focus of an argumentative essay is to convince an audience to understand your side of the argument and support your ideas.

This type of an essay requires you to take only one side, which your audience may not initially agree with. Your job is to use concrete, objective evidence to support your claims and get them to consider your contradicting perspective so you can promote a new belief.

While you’ll defend your position throughout your essay, you also have to recognize the significance of the opposing side. This is where counterarguments often come in.

Looking at both sides of the argument often demonstrates that you took your time to consider the counterclaims that may arise as you explore your topic, and that’s a great way to make your work more authentic and credible.

What are the Four Uses of Arguments?

Think of an argument as a means of developing what you have to say about a subject or an issue rather than an end of communication. More often than not, an argument will help you to inquire, convince, persuade, and negotiate.

To Inquire

One aim of an argument is to form new opinions or questions those you already have. Doing so helps you to reason your way through conflicting ideas and contradictions. You’re on a journey to pursue the truth and you must do so with patience and under normal circumstances.

The primary audience for this type of argumentative writing is you (the writer) and an inquirer who sees the same issue as a concern. If you’ve already learned how to write an exploratory essay, then arguing to convince shouldn’t be difficult.

To Negotiate

In an argument, negotiation is the exploration of varied opinion in an attempt to reach an agreement. This helps with conflict resolution and maintains a reasonable working relationship.

Since dialogues lay the most fundamental role in negotiation, each side of the negotiation has the responsibility to listen to and support a case. It’s only by doing so that both sides can come to a solid agreement.

To Convince

An argument can help you to convince an audience to consider your position on an issue. You do that by making a reasonable case for the position you take. It’s important to understand that convincing is competitive. You’re trying to get people to agree with what you stand for even if they don’t share those beliefs in the first place.

To make a strong conviction, you have to do thoughtful research, analysis, and discussion. Then you have to put your case against that if your readers and try to win their attention. This pretty much one of the strongest aims of an argumentative essay.

To Persuade  

A writer uses rational and stylistic appeals to influence an audience to act upon the persuasion.

While conviction relies heavily on the logic of an argument, persuasion tends to depend on a writer’s persona appeals and emotions. Also, it’s important to note that persuasion tends to exploit the resources of language more than convincing does.

Only one of these four arguments will appear in your argumentative essay. In this type of an essay, you speak to an academic audience with a higher level of intellect and therefore your primary goal should be to convince rather than to negotiate, inquire, or persuade them.

An argumentative essay requires you to base your arguments on reason and evidence without which it’s impossible to convince an audience to accept your view or position on an issue.

What Do You Think is the Primary Concern to Win an Argument?

You need to make a logical case to win an argument. Remember, your audience is a composition of people with a higher level of intellect and they need more than just your thoughts to accept your position on an issue.

If you fail to organize your thoughts in a local way, you may have a difficult time convincing them to consider your position.

Furthermore, your audience has a number of people who aren’t going to buy into your argument at first. They’ll try as much as they can to spot flaws in your logic and use them as weaknesses against your argument. In such a case, you should be ready to use reason and evidence to respond to their counterclaims.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when trying to win an argument is not to take anything personal.

A debate isn’t an opportunity to attack another person in an argument. Rather, it’s your chance to present concrete evidence to support your claim and defend your position.

So as you write your argumentative essay, you should focus on convincing your audience to think of the possibility that your stand in an issue could be more reasonable than the position they currently hold.

What Should Do and Not Do in an Argumentative Essay?

To write a good argumentative essay:

  • You should read the assignment guideline before you start writing. If you’re not sure about any part of the assignment, consult your instructor.
  • Don’t use phrases such as “I think” or “I believe”. Such phrases only serve to weaken your argumentative essay.
  • Do cite sources used in writing your argumentative essay

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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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