“WRITING AN ARGUMENT ESSAY”
Analyzing the approach
An argument essay is usually a discussion of a topic, giving reasons why the writer
holds a particular point of view. Argument essays include 2 types: agree or disagree
and 2 sides of an argument.
Study the task below:
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Present a writing argument or case on an educated reader with no specialist
knowledge of the following topic:
“University education should be restricted to the very best academic students, rather
than being available to a large proportion of young people.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?”
You should use your own ideal, knowledge and experience and support your
arguments with examples and relevant evidence.
Write at least 250 words.
Step 1: read the question
Read the task carefully and decide what kind of essay it is because the type of
question will decide the layout and your idea. The above task is an argument essay:
agree or disagree.
Step 2: underline key words
Key word in the question should be underlined.
(University education /tertiary education /higher education /college education) should
be (restricted /controlled /limitted) to the very (best academic student), rather than
being available to a (large proportion/ most /majority) of (young people).
To (what extent) do you (agree) or (disagree)?
There are two ways of brainstorming to generate ideas.
a) using spider diagrams
- write key topic word(s)
- note down any related ideas or examples that come from to mind
- do the same for other important words from the task
- Group the ideas to become your paragraph topics.
b) using questions
- start with key topic words
- think about the task and ask relevant questions
- group the answer to become your paragraph topics.
Study the following questions and suggest ideas for the task above
What is the main topic?
What is your opinion on
Agree or disagree
Agree or disagree?
what are the reasons to
justify your opinion?
Access should be restricted because:
- not appropriate for economic- technicians needed
more than graduates
- graduate unemployment will rise and create
- better to create vocational further education
access should be widen because:
- individual need technological skills and
- societies need educated citizens in order to
- everyone should have a chance to fulfill their
potential, and university is a part of that
3. Writing an outline
There are various methods of planning, and you should use the method that you are
already familiar with. The most common method of writing an outline is called the
standard outline. Study the following pattern:
- Paragraph 1: main point 1
- Paragraph 2: main point 2
- Paragraph 3: main point 3
• Conclusion This is the sample outline for the task above:
• situation of tertiary education
- paragraph topics:
• individuals need technology and knowledge
• societies need educated citizens in order to develop
• equal for everyone
- Conclusion: restate point of view: disagreement
You should decide on a layout. The easiest is 3773. That means 4 paragraphs:
introduction (3 sentences), one side of argument (7 sentences), the other side (7
sentences) and conclusion (3 sentences). This will give you 20 sentences. That will be
You can use either 3773 or 35553 layouts. It depends on your ideas.
- use 2 paragraphs ( in the body 3773) if you are giving both sides of the
argument or situation: one paragraph for, and one against ( or the opposite)
- use three paragraph( in the body) if you are only giving one side.
- Study the following patterns for the sample layouts
- Finally, even if you are completely confused and your ideas are all mixed up,
you should still make a paragraph. Just skip a line somewhere. Your essay will
be easier to read.
Writing an essay
Writing the introduction
Most academic papers are laid out in such a way that the introduction sets out the
problem, and the paragraphs that follow give supporting arguments for the writer’s
point of view. The introduction is laid out more or less like this:
- Giving necessary background information about the topic;
- Indicating the issue you plan to develop in the body of your essay;
Concluding with a statement that sets out your own opinion on the topic.
Study the following sample introduction for the task above.
In the past, tertiary education was limited to a small proportion of people who were
the most academic students. Today, however, many more young people have the
opportunity of going to university, and I think that this is a much better situation for
Writing the body
The body is the main part of an essay. It should follow the form of your outline with
separate paragraphs for each major topic. Each major topic must be developed fully in
a single paragraph and all the paragraphs should be related to each other in some way.
Each paragraph contain one topic sentence and several sentences that explain and
illustrate the topic sentence ( by giving relevant, accurate reasons of facts; giving
examples, using transition words and phrases)
Study the following sample body for the task above.
Firstly, individuals today need much higher level skills and technical knowledge. For
example, many professionals require advance computer skills and an ability to adapt
to a rapidly changing workplace. Schools do not have the resources to equip students
with these skills, so universities have to fulfill this role.
Furthermore, societies cannot continue to develop unless more citizens are educated.
In order to progress and compete in the modern world, each country needs people who
can develop modern technologies further and apply them in new fields.
Finally, it is only fair that anyone who could benefit from a university education
should have access to one. Therefore, there should be equal opportunities for everyone
to realize their full potential. Going to university is part of this.
Writing the conclusion
Essays should not be finished abruptly with the last main point. The final paragraph
should provide a conclusion. The conclusion should be short and forceful and made up
mainly of restatements or summaries of the points that have been discussed.
The conclusion is very similar to the introduction. However, you should avoid
repeating the same words. This is why a few minutes at the start of the exam writing
down synonyms (words with the same meaning) and related words is very helpful.
Study the following sample conclusion for the task above.
In conclusion, I totally disagree with the statement because I believe that the
increasing availability of tertiary education is vital both of the individual and for
society as a whole. Individuals needs as high a level of education as possible to
achieve their full potential, and in the same way, society in the 21st century cannot
function unless it has large numbers of highly educated people to cope with the
changes to our living and working environment that are likely to occur in the coming
Checking the writing
This final stage is very important for a writing task. Some mistakes can often be found
and corrected by quickly checking through after you have finished writing. So you
should make sure that you can leave yourself a short time to check your writing. You
should use the time particularly to check that you have used correct spelling and
Find and correct ten common mistakes in this extract.
Firstly, individuals today needs /need much higher level skills and technical
knowledge. For example, many professionals require advanced computer skills and
ability to adapt to a rapidly changing workplace. Schools do not have the resources to
equip students with these skills, so universities have to fulfill this role
Furthermore, societies cannot continue to develop if /unless more citizens are
educated. In order to progress and compete in the modern world, each country need
/needs people who can develop modern technologies further and apply it in new field.
1. Presenting and justifying an opinion
It is not completely true to say that…
Many people would disagree with the assertion/ idea that…
It’s hard to believe that…
The fact that… doesn’t mean…
Just because… it doesn’t necessarily follow that…
It may be true that…but
2. Expressing views
I think…/I believe…/ It is my opinion that…/ It seems that…
It’s hard to believe that…
The fact that… doesn’t mean…
Just because….it doesn’t necessarily follow that…
It may be true that… but…
3. Refuting an argument
I am unconvinced that…
I don’t believe that…
It is hard to accept that…
There is little evidence to support that…
It is unjustifiable to say that…
4. Conditional clause
Conditional clauses are often used to introduce of develop argument in
e.g..: if we continue burn fossil at current rates, our economies may be at risk
from rising sseas, more serve storms and more intense droughts.
In addition to if, the following expressions can be to introduce conditional
Unless/as/ so long as/ on condition ( that)/ provided ( that)/ suppose/supposing
1) Writing the introduction
One essay way to write the introduction for an argument or opinion essay
is to write THREE sentence:
- Two about the topic
- One thesis sentence
You can write either Situation or Opinion introductions. There’s not much
difference between them.
Write two sentences to describe the two sides of the present situation. The third
sentence- the thesis sentence –will describe what you are going to do in your
E.g. Topic: does aid to poor countries work?
Sentence 1: For the last fifty years, poor countries have been receiving huge
sums of money from rich donor countries.
Sentence 2: some of this money has improved lives, while much of it has
disappeared or made no difference.
Sentence 3: In this essay, I will discuss some arguments for and against foreign
In this kind you give two opposite opinions in the first two sentences. The third
sentences says what you are going to do.
e.g : Topic: Does space exploration benefit mankind?
Sentence 1: For: Many people are excited about space exploration.
Sentence 2: Against: However, others feel it is a massive waste of money
Sentence 3: This essay will look at some of the arguments for and against space
Read the following introduction to the given topics. As you look at them, try to decide
that they are opinion or situation openings. Also look at the thesis sentences, and
guess if the writer agrees or disagrees.
a) Topic: do athletes deserve their high salaries?
Everyday, we read about new record contracts and salaries earned by sportsmen and
women. Some people do not agree with these huge payments. Others believe that our
sports heroes deserve every penny. This essay will look at some of the arguments for
and against the high salaries of athletes. (Opinion, both agree and disagree)
b) Topic: should dangerous sport be banned?
Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed in sports such as boxing or
motor-racing. Because of this, many are opposed to such sports, and want them to be
stopped or controlled. This essay will look at some of the arguments for and against
banning dangerous sports. (opinion, both agree and disagree)
c) Topic: who should take care of our old people?
In my country, most old people live happily with their children. Increasingly
however, many families cannot take care of their parents. This essay will describe
some of the problems involved with taking care of old people, and discuss who
should be responsible. (situation)
d) Topic: Is money a good motivator?
People are motivated by different things. Some employees have financial goals,
others have professional goals, and others have personal goals. The same
incentives cannot work for all. This essay outlines some of the reasons why cash is
not always a suitable motivator for excellent employees. (situation, disagree)
2. Writing the body
Paragraphs make the body of the essay look good. If your paragraph is in good
shape, your body will look good and feel good.
Here’s what you need to have in a body paragraph.
- Topic sentence
- Argument or reason1
- Example, explanation, or supporting detail
- Argument or reason 2
- Example, explanation ,or supporting detail.
- Or argument or reason
- Example, explanation, or supporting detail.
Study the following paragraph:
Topic: Is education being devalued?
- Topic sentence: people have several arguments against the need for degrees.
- Argument or reason 1: they say that having so many graduates devalues a
- Example, explanation, or supporting detail: people lose respect for the
- Argument or reason 2: it is also claimed that education has become a rat
- Example, explanation , or supportig detail: … since graduates have to
complete for jobs even after years of studying
- Argument or reason 3: another point is that studying for such a long time
leads to learners becoming inflexible.
- Example, explanation,or supporting detail: by that I mean that they know
a lot about one narrow subject, but are unable to apply their skills.
- Example, explanation, or supporting detail( you can have one, two, or
even more of these for every idea): employers, on the other hand, prefer
more flexible and adoptable workers.
Read the following paragraph:
Many people think that the Internet will replace books and newspapers
because it is cheaper and quicker. As well as that, it is easier to use.
Comment: Bad ! The writer put two ideas together- “cheaper” and
“quicker”. He or she didn’t explain how the Internet is cheaper and
quicker. And is the Internet really “easier to use”? the ideas are good, but
the development is weak.
Now practice developing ideas the following sentences. ( you can explain
or develop the ideas by giving relevant, accurate reason or facts; and / or
a. The Internet is cheaper than newspaper. The Internet assists us to
perceive from many sources with merely several ten thousand of VND
per month. However, each newspaper costs around 5000 VND on
average, and only provides us with information of specific fields.
b. for me, the internet is easier to use. If you desire to seek a certain
information, you can simply type the keyword on a searching server,
numerous relevant pages will be immediately available for you. In
contrast, it’s difficult for us to find out our demand on many pages in
3. writing the conclusion
read the following introductory paragraphs and write the
relevant conclusion for each. The first has been done for you as
a. Introductory paragraph:
In the pursuit of scientific and technological progress, the mankind are facing
more and more risk than before. Should we accept these risks or failures in the
development of human science or technology? There are some reasons for us to
challenge the risks.
In conclusion, it is important for people to accept the risks in the pursuit of
scientific and technological progress. What we must do is to study all the science
subjects intensively in order to avoid the reoccurring of risks.
b. Introductory paragraph:
Some people claim that school uniform take away of the students’
individuality and freedom, but it is quite possible for children to wear
school uniforms and still be free individuals. I think school uniforms are
an excellent idea and all schools should adopt them.
In brief, school uniforms, on one hand, train the students with regularity;
on the other hand, they don’t confine the pupils from presenting their
personalities. As a beauty of the school, students should be asked to wear
c. Introducing paragraph
d. Introductory paragraph:
Many people use physical punishment to discipline their children. Others
prefer to use different methods to reward good behavior or punish
misbehavior. This essay will look at some of the arguments for and
against physical punishment or children.
In summary, children cannot properly grow up if they are maltreated by
physical penalties. However, these sanctions may be judiously applied in
special situations when the kids could not be advised by words.
- Read the following task and write an outline it.
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Present a written argument or case to an educated reader with no
specialist knowledge of the following topic:
People who have original ideas are of much greater value to society than
those who are simply able to copy the ideas of others well.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
You should use your own ideas, knowledge and experience and support
your arguments with examples and relevant evidence.
Write at least 250 words.
I-Introduction: In modern society, creativity is more appreciated than the
rewording of others’ ideas. However, the mankind annually sustains
damages from the criminals’ deception. This essay will discuss some
aspects for and against the originality.
* Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence: It’s not completely true to say that the copiers contribute
nothing to our public.
- People generalizing inherent works only help us clearly understand and
have a synthetic knowledge about them.
- Yet, only this can’t make any progress.
- The new generation based on these legacies to invent.
* Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence: Our society gradually develops due to the inventions.
- The writer compose their works.