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If there’s one writing skill you need to have in your toolkit for standardized tests, AP exams, and college-level writing, it’s the ability to make a persuasive argument.Effectively arguing for a position on a topic or issue isn’t just for the debate team—it’s for anyone who wants to ace the essay portion of an exam or make As in college courses.
Consider choosing a topic that holds a connection between something you know or care about and something that is relevant to the rest of society.
These don’t have to be super serious issues, but they should be topics that are timely and significant.
While some people might dislike the taste of water, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that proves—beyond the shadow of a doubt—that drinking water is a key part of good health.
To avoid choosing a topic that’s either unprovable or already proven, try brainstorming some issues that have recently been discussed in the news, that you’ve seen people debating on social media, or that affect your local community.
In that case, you’ve got to do the best you can with what you’re given.
In the next sections, we’re going to break down how to write any argumentative essay—regardless of whether you get to choose your own topic or have one assigned to you!Ultimately, if you’re working with a topic you enjoy, you’ll have more to say—and probably write a better essay.Another word of caution on choosing a topic for an argumentative paper: while it can be effective to choose a topic that matters to you personally, you also want to make sure you’re choosing a topic that you can keep your cool over.Another thing about argumentative essays: they’re often longer than other types of essays. Because it takes time to develop an effective argument.If your argument is going to be persuasive to readers, you have to address multiple points that support your argument, acknowledge counterpoints, and provide enough evidence and explanations to convince your reader that your points are valid.Argumentative essays are different from other types of essays for one main reason: in an argumentative essay, you decide what the argument will be.Some types of essays, like summaries or syntheses, don’t want you to show your stance on the topic—they want you to remain unbiased and neutral.It can feel like you could make an argument about anything under the sun.For example, you could write an argumentative essay about how cats are way cooler than dogs, right? Here are some strategies for choosing a topic that serves as a solid foundation for a strong argument.For example, if you are a huge football fan, a great argumentative topic for you might be arguing whether football leagues need to do more to prevent concussions. No, but it’s still a timely topic that affects many people.And not only is this a great argumentative topic: you also get to write about one of your passions!