Argumentative Essay Help

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Many students have a difficult time understanding how to write an argumentative essay outline. Unlike typical school essays, argumentative essays require that the student convince the reader of his or her point of view. In order for the reader to fully understand your viewpoint, it is critical to write your argumentative essay with a strong thesis and a proper flow so that the person reading your essay understands your thought process. Students, who are able to successfully write a proper argumentative essay, show that they are not only good writers, but also good critical thinkers. Below, I have written an outline that shows the proper steps to writing an argumentative essay. 

Argumentative Essay Outline


A. Hook

i. Grab the reader’s attention

ii. Between 2-3 sentences on average

iii. Types

  1. Personal/2nd hand experience
  2. Quotes/Statistics/Interesting or Original Facts
  3. Hypotheticals (Suppose or What If)
  4. Historical/Current Events Reference
B. Background Information

i. Only needs to be 1-2 sentences (short!)

ii. Give a little general information on the topic itself, and transitions to thesis

c. Thesis

i. Restate topic + Opinion + Reasons (2-3, preferably 3)

Body Paragraphs

A. Topic sentence

i. Transition + Main Idea + Reason from thesis

B. Move from general (topic sentence), to specific (support/details)

C. Don’t go straight from the topic sentence into your example. Set up the example

D. Support/Examples/Details

i. See Hook Types

ii. Refutation of opposing argument

  1. Explain relevance of support, i.e. explain WHY the example is important!
  2. Repeat for each body paragraph


A. Paraphrase thesis and reasons

B. Clincher

i. Relate back to the hook

ii. Leave the reader thinking AFTER having read the paper

iii. Should not be more than a couple of sentences


Things to Consider

Fully understanding the outline above will allow you to become a much more efficient writer of argumentative essays. If you approach an argumentative essay topic with this outline in mind, you will know what is expected of you in each paragraph. Instead of wasting time on figuring out the structure, you can now focus your energy on how to properly answer the question. Remember that the steps to writing an argumentative essay starts with a simple outline. Below, I have listed supplementary support types that you can use to write your hook or write your examples in your body paragraphs to back up your thesis.


Supplementary Support Types                           

The sample support types will all answer the following question:

What are the qualities of a good leader?


Use events or situations experienced by the speaker to support. These can be fabricated if necessary, but they MUST remain believable.

“First off, leaders should be charismatic. Charisma makes people want to follow that leader. For example, I voted for one of my good friends in a class election because she is very charismatic. People always want to spend time with her, and they hang on her every word. I voted for her because that quality will help her do important things for our school.”


Use events or situations experienced by others to support. These can be fabricated if necessary, but they MUST remain believable

“First off, leaders should be charismatic. Charisma makes people want to follow that leader. My dad told me that when he was in the army, his commanding officer was extremely charismatic.  All the men loved him, and each man would take a bullet for him. Charisma is very important, since the leader must command others who follow him.”


Use well-known quotes, proverbs, or adages to support. Quotes require explanation and must be related to the reason.

“First off, leaders should be inspirational. Gandhi once said ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ He was a man who inspired with his words and with his actions, and millions of Indians followed him on his quest for Indian independence.”


Use original facts or relevant statistics to support. Do not use if you do not know the correct statistics.

“To begin with, leaders must be caring. Good leaders will take interest in the people who follow them.  In a survey of 1000 business leaders who were asked why they like leadership roles, the number one response was that they liked seeing people grow. This kind of caring for their followers is crucial, and definitely a quality that I would want in a leader.”


Create an imaginary, yet plausible situation, where the outcome or consequence supports your reason. Usually takes the form of WHAT IF or SUPPOSE.

“First off, leaders must be loyal to their supporters. What if a presidential candidate promises a series of specific reforms in order to receive the votes of his or her followers? What if after they are elected, they forget about those promises and pursue their own agenda? This president will find that their support disappears in a heartbeat. Loyalty is crucial to being a good leader.”


Reference a historical or current event to support. Must be contextualized, meaning the speaker should not assume that the listener is immediately familiar with the event or person being referenced.

“First of all, leaders must be calm in the face of adversity. In 1962, President Kennedy weathered an event dubbed the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviets had placed nuclear missiles in Cuba and threatened to launch. Even though the threat was real and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were pushing for a pre-emptive strike, Kennedy held fast and stayed calm. The end result was the removal of the missiles without an invasion, because of Kennedy’s cool demeanor in the face of a difficult situation.


Acknowledge, and then refute an argument opposed to your opinion, thus creating support.

“Furthermore, leaders must know how to make fast decisions. Many would argue that a leader should ponder all sides of a situation before deciding, and that quick decision-making is rash. However, leaders do not often have the luxury of time, such as in sports matches, in combat, or even in business.  A delayed decision can often lead to disastrous consequences, which would have been prevented had the leader been skilled at thinking quickly.


Go and Write your Essay Papers!

Writing an argumentative essay is not easy and comes with practice. Now that you know the basics of how to write an argumentative essay outline, go and start practicing. Once you get the hang of it, you will realize that writing argumentative essays will not only help you in school, but also out in the real world as well.