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.
Does Freedom of Speech Give People the Right to Use Hate Speech?
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist” Salman Rushdie. The quote perfectly sums up the never-ending debate about freedom of speech and hate speech. It is a well-known fact that freedom of speech and expression belongs to the group of fundamental human rights of every person on this planet. Lately, we are witnessing the rising concerns about hate speech, is it protected by this basic human right or freedom of speech should have some limitations? Given the fact that every individual is allowed to express thoughts and beliefs, banning the negative comments would, in fact, deny his or her basic rights i.e. freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech reinforces all other human rights, thus allowing society to develop and progress at a constant rate. The ability to state our opinion and speak freely is pivotal for any change in society. Throughout the history, society evolved thanks to the individuals, great thinkers, brave leaders, who were not scared to express their beliefs. Back in time, those beliefs that were contrary to the typical “mindset” would be considered as hate, a hatred towards their way of life, culture, and tradition. The most reputable professors, experts, and campaigners only confirm that free speech has always been used to fight for change, for better times.
Besides reinforcement of other human rights, free speech is also essential due to the ability to hear others and be heard at the same time. We need to hear other people’s views as well as offering them our own opinions. Unfortunately, one of the fastest-growing problems of our society is that people rarely listen to others and acknowledge their takes on certain topics if they don’t agree with them. We should feel comfortable exchanging ideas and thoughts with those who have opposing views. Experts agree that way there would be less “hate speech” circling around.
We hear or read the term “hate speech” a lot, especially now with the easy internet access and a multitude of social media websites to join. It comes as no wonder why insulting comments and expressing negative ideas are considered a threat to the humanity. A lot of people are anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-gay marriage, and so on. Those who assume hate speech is not a freedom of speech, primarily, focus on the expression of a negative attitude towards certain people and ideas. However, if we start banning people from expressing their beliefs, then what comes next? After one thing, there always comes another and, eventually, the mankind would live in fear of saying anything. The reality is that the society has become oversensitive; everything one does not agree with is considered insulting and branded as hate.
Finally, freedom of speech is the most important human right that every individual has the right to exercise. This freedom comes with the ability to express one’s opinion, regardless of its nature good or bad. What our society needs today are not limitations of free speech, but making efforts to establish dialogues between people with conflicting beliefs. Listening and being heard will go a long way; that way we could build bridges instead of burning them.