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- How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips
How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips
Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.
Table of contents
When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.
You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.
The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.
Argumentative writing at college level
At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.
In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.
Examples of argumentative essay prompts
At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.
Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.
- Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
- Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
- Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
- Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
- Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
- Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.
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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.
There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.
The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:
- Make a claim
- Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
- Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
- Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives
The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.
Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:
- Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
- Cite data to support your claim
- Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
- Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.
The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:
- Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
- Highlight the problems with this position
- Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
- Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?
This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.
Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:
- Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
- Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
- Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
- Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.
You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.
Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .
Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.
In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.
Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.
This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.
Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
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An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.
No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.
Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.
The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.
In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.
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What this handout is about
This handout will define what an argument is and explain why you need one in most of your academic essays.
Arguments are everywhere
You may be surprised to hear that the word “argument” does not have to be written anywhere in your assignment for it to be an important part of your task. In fact, making an argument—expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence—is often the aim of academic writing. Your instructors may assume that you know this and thus may not explain the importance of arguments in class.
Most material you learn in college is or has been debated by someone, somewhere, at some time. Even when the material you read or hear is presented as a simple fact, it may actually be one person’s interpretation of a set of information. Instructors may call on you to examine that interpretation and defend it, refute it, or offer some new view of your own. In writing assignments, you will almost always need to do more than just summarize information that you have gathered or regurgitate facts that have been discussed in class. You will need to develop a point of view on or interpretation of that material and provide evidence for your position.
Consider an example. For nearly 2000 years, educated people in many Western cultures believed that bloodletting—deliberately causing a sick person to lose blood—was the most effective treatment for a variety of illnesses. The claim that bloodletting is beneficial to human health was not widely questioned until the 1800s, and some physicians continued to recommend bloodletting as late as the 1920s. Medical practices have now changed because some people began to doubt the effectiveness of bloodletting; these people argued against it and provided convincing evidence. Human knowledge grows out of such differences of opinion, and scholars like your instructors spend their lives engaged in debate over what claims may be counted as accurate in their fields. In their courses, they want you to engage in similar kinds of critical thinking and debate.
Argumentation is not just what your instructors do. We all use argumentation on a daily basis, and you probably already have some skill at crafting an argument. The more you improve your skills in this area, the better you will be at thinking critically, reasoning, making choices, and weighing evidence.
Making a claim
What is an argument? In academic writing, an argument is usually a main idea, often called a “claim” or “thesis statement,” backed up with evidence that supports the idea. In the majority of college papers, you will need to make some sort of claim and use evidence to support it, and your ability to do this well will separate your papers from those of students who see assignments as mere accumulations of fact and detail. In other words, gone are the happy days of being given a “topic” about which you can write anything. It is time to stake out a position and prove why it is a good position for a thinking person to hold. See our handout on thesis statements .
Claims can be as simple as “Protons are positively charged and electrons are negatively charged,” with evidence such as, “In this experiment, protons and electrons acted in such and such a way.” Claims can also be as complex as “Genre is the most important element to the contract of expectations between filmmaker and audience,” using reasoning and evidence such as, “defying genre expectations can create a complete apocalypse of story form and content, leaving us stranded in a sort of genre-less abyss.” In either case, the rest of your paper will detail the reasoning and evidence that have led you to believe that your position is best.
When beginning to write a paper, ask yourself, “What is my point?” For example, the point of this handout is to help you become a better writer, and we are arguing that an important step in the process of writing effective arguments is understanding the concept of argumentation. If your papers do not have a main point, they cannot be arguing for anything. Asking yourself what your point is can help you avoid a mere “information dump.” Consider this: your instructors probably know a lot more than you do about your subject matter. Why, then, would you want to provide them with material they already know? Instructors are usually looking for two things:
- Proof that you understand the material
- A demonstration of your ability to use or apply the material in ways that go beyond what you have read or heard.
This second part can be done in many ways: you can critique the material, apply it to something else, or even just explain it in a different way. In order to succeed at this second step, though, you must have a particular point to argue.
Arguments in academic writing are usually complex and take time to develop. Your argument will need to be more than a simple or obvious statement such as “Frank Lloyd Wright was a great architect.” Such a statement might capture your initial impressions of Wright as you have studied him in class; however, you need to look deeper and express specifically what caused that “greatness.” Your instructor will probably expect something more complicated, such as “Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture combines elements of European modernism, Asian aesthetic form, and locally found materials to create a unique new style,” or “There are many strong similarities between Wright’s building designs and those of his mother, which suggests that he may have borrowed some of her ideas.” To develop your argument, you would then define your terms and prove your claim with evidence from Wright’s drawings and buildings and those of the other architects you mentioned.
Do not stop with having a point. You have to back up your point with evidence. The strength of your evidence, and your use of it, can make or break your argument. See our handout on evidence . You already have the natural inclination for this type of thinking, if not in an academic setting. Think about how you talked your parents into letting you borrow the family car. Did you present them with lots of instances of your past trustworthiness? Did you make them feel guilty because your friends’ parents all let them drive? Did you whine until they just wanted you to shut up? Did you look up statistics on teen driving and use them to show how you didn’t fit the dangerous-driver profile? These are all types of argumentation, and they exist in academia in similar forms.
Every field has slightly different requirements for acceptable evidence, so familiarize yourself with some arguments from within that field instead of just applying whatever evidence you like best. Pay attention to your textbooks and your instructor’s lectures. What types of argument and evidence are they using? The type of evidence that sways an English instructor may not work to convince a sociology instructor. Find out what counts as proof that something is true in that field. Is it statistics, a logical development of points, something from the object being discussed (art work, text, culture, or atom), the way something works, or some combination of more than one of these things?
Be consistent with your evidence. Unlike negotiating for the use of your parents’ car, a college paper is not the place for an all-out blitz of every type of argument. You can often use more than one type of evidence within a paper, but make sure that within each section you are providing the reader with evidence appropriate to each claim. So, if you start a paragraph or section with a statement like “Putting the student seating area closer to the basketball court will raise player performance,” do not follow with your evidence on how much more money the university could raise by letting more students go to games for free. Information about how fan support raises player morale, which then results in better play, would be a better follow-up. Your next section could offer clear reasons why undergraduates have as much or more right to attend an undergraduate event as wealthy alumni—but this information would not go in the same section as the fan support stuff. You cannot convince a confused person, so keep things tidy and ordered.
One way to strengthen your argument and show that you have a deep understanding of the issue you are discussing is to anticipate and address counterarguments or objections. By considering what someone who disagrees with your position might have to say about your argument, you show that you have thought things through, and you dispose of some of the reasons your audience might have for not accepting your argument. Recall our discussion of student seating in the Dean Dome. To make the most effective argument possible, you should consider not only what students would say about seating but also what alumni who have paid a lot to get good seats might say.
You can generate counterarguments by asking yourself how someone who disagrees with you might respond to each of the points you’ve made or your position as a whole. If you can’t immediately imagine another position, here are some strategies to try:
- Do some research. It may seem to you that no one could possibly disagree with the position you are arguing, but someone probably has. For example, some people argue that a hotdog is a sandwich. If you are making an argument concerning, for example, the characteristics of an exceptional sandwich, you might want to see what some of these people have to say.
- Talk with a friend or with your teacher. Another person may be able to imagine counterarguments that haven’t occurred to you.
- Consider your conclusion or claim and the premises of your argument and imagine someone who denies each of them. For example, if you argued, “Cats make the best pets. This is because they are clean and independent,” you might imagine someone saying, “Cats do not make the best pets. They are dirty and needy.”
Once you have thought up some counterarguments, consider how you will respond to them—will you concede that your opponent has a point but explain why your audience should nonetheless accept your argument? Will you reject the counterargument and explain why it is mistaken? Either way, you will want to leave your reader with a sense that your argument is stronger than opposing arguments.
When you are summarizing opposing arguments, be charitable. Present each argument fairly and objectively, rather than trying to make it look foolish. You want to show that you have considered the many sides of the issue. If you simply attack or caricature your opponent (also referred to as presenting a “straw man”), you suggest that your argument is only capable of defeating an extremely weak adversary, which may undermine your argument rather than enhance it.
It is usually better to consider one or two serious counterarguments in some depth, rather than to give a long but superficial list of many different counterarguments and replies.
Be sure that your reply is consistent with your original argument. If considering a counterargument changes your position, you will need to go back and revise your original argument accordingly.
Audience is a very important consideration in argument. Take a look at our handout on audience . A lifetime of dealing with your family members has helped you figure out which arguments work best to persuade each of them. Maybe whining works with one parent, but the other will only accept cold, hard statistics. Your kid brother may listen only to the sound of money in his palm. It’s usually wise to think of your audience in an academic setting as someone who is perfectly smart but who doesn’t necessarily agree with you. You are not just expressing your opinion in an argument (“It’s true because I said so”), and in most cases your audience will know something about the subject at hand—so you will need sturdy proof. At the same time, do not think of your audience as capable of reading your mind. You have to come out and state both your claim and your evidence clearly. Do not assume that because the instructor knows the material, he or she understands what part of it you are using, what you think about it, and why you have taken the position you’ve chosen.
Critical reading is a big part of understanding argument. Although some of the material you read will be very persuasive, do not fall under the spell of the printed word as authority. Very few of your instructors think of the texts they assign as the last word on the subject. Remember that the author of every text has an agenda, something that he or she wants you to believe. This is OK—everything is written from someone’s perspective—but it’s a good thing to be aware of. For more information on objectivity and bias and on reading sources carefully, read our handouts on evaluating print sources and reading to write .
Take notes either in the margins of your source (if you are using a photocopy or your own book) or on a separate sheet as you read. Put away that highlighter! Simply highlighting a text is good for memorizing the main ideas in that text—it does not encourage critical reading. Part of your goal as a reader should be to put the author’s ideas in your own words. Then you can stop thinking of these ideas as facts and start thinking of them as arguments.
When you read, ask yourself questions like “What is the author trying to prove?” and “What is the author assuming I will agree with?” Do you agree with the author? Does the author adequately defend her argument? What kind of proof does she use? Is there something she leaves out that you would put in? Does putting it in hurt her argument? As you get used to reading critically, you will start to see the sometimes hidden agendas of other writers, and you can use this skill to improve your own ability to craft effective arguments.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ede, Lisa. 2004. Work in Progress: A Guide to Academic Writing and Revising , 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Gage, John T. 2005. The Shape of Reason: Argumentative Writing in College , 4th ed. New York: Longman.
Lunsford, Andrea A., and John J. Ruszkiewicz. 2016. Everything’s an Argument , 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Rosen, Leonard J., and Laurence Behrens. 2003. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook , 5th ed. New York: Longman.
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is an argumentative essay?
The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Please note : Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important ( exigence ) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis ( warrant ).
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph essay
A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.
Longer argumentative essays
Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.
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Definition Essay - Writing Guide, Examples and Tips
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Published on: Oct 9, 2020
Last updated on: Jul 17, 2023
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Many students struggle with writing definition essays due to a lack of clarity and precision in their explanations.
This obstructs them from effectively conveying the essence of the terms or concepts they are tasked with defining. Consequently, the essays may lack coherence, leaving readers confused and preventing them from grasping the intended meaning.
But don’t worry!
In this guide, we will delve into effective techniques and step-by-step approaches to help students craft an engaging definition essay.
Continue reading to learn the correct formation of a definition essay.
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What is a Definition Essay?
Just as the name suggests, a definition essay defines and explains a term or a concept. Unlike a narrative essay, the purpose of writing this essay is only to inform the readers.
Writing this essay type can be deceivingly tricky. Some terms, concepts, and objects have concrete definitions when explained. In contrast others are solely based on the writerâs understanding and point of view.
A definition essay requires a writer to use different approaches when discussing a term. These approaches are the following:
- Denotation - It is when you provide a literal or academic definition of the term.
- Connotation - It is when the writer provides an implied meaning or definition of the term.
- Enumeration - For this approach, a list is employed to define a term or a concept.
- Analogy - It is a technique in which something is defined by implementing a comparison.
- Negation - It is when you define a term by stating what it is not.
A single or combination of approaches can be used in the essay.
Definition Essay Types
There are several types of definition essays that you may be asked to write, depending on the purpose and scope of the assignment.
In this section, we will discuss some of the most common types of definition essays.
Descriptive Definition Essay
This type of essay provides a detailed description of a term or concept, emphasizing its key features and characteristics.
The goal of a descriptive definition essay is to help readers understand the term or concept in a more profound way.
Stipulative Definition Essay
In a stipulative definition essay, the writer provides a unique definition of a term or concept. This type of essay is often used in academic settings to define a term in a particular field of study.
The goal of a stipulative definition essay is to provide a precise and clear definition that is specific to the context of the essay.
Analytical Definition Essay
This compare and contrast essay type involves analyzing a term or concept in-depth. Breaking it down into its component parts, and examining how they relate to each other.
The goal of an analytical definition essay is to provide a more nuanced and detailed understanding of the term or concept being discussed.
Persuasive Definition Essay
A persuasive definition essay is an argumentative essay that aims to persuade readers to accept a particular definition of a term or concept.
The writer presents their argument for the definition and uses evidence and examples to support their position.
Explanatory Definition Essay
An explanatory definition essay is a type of expository essay . It aims to explain a complex term or concept in a way that is easy to understand for the reader.
The writer breaks down the term or concept into simpler parts and provides examples and analogies to help readers understand it better.
Extended Definition Essay
An extended definition essay goes beyond the definition of a word or concept and provides a more in-depth analysis and explanation.
The goal of an extended definition essay is to provide a comprehensive understanding of a term, concept, or idea. This includes its history, origins, and cultural significance.
How to Write a Definition Essay?
Writing a definition essay is simple if you know the correct procedure. This essay, like all the other formal pieces of documents, requires substantial planning and effective execution.
The following are the steps involved in writing a definition essay effectively:
Instead of choosing a term that has a concrete definition available, choose a word that is complicated . Complex expressions have abstract concepts that require a writer to explore deeper. Moreover, make sure that different people perceive the term selected differently.
Once you have a word to draft your definition essay for, read the dictionary. These academic definitions are important as you can use them to compare your understanding with the official concept.
Drafting a definition essay is about stating the dictionary meaning and your explanation of the concept. So the writer needs to have some information about the term.
In addition to this, when exploring the term, make sure to check the termâs origin. The history of the word can make you discuss it in a better way.
Coming up with an exciting title for your essay is important. The essay topic will be the first thing that your readers will witness, so it should be catchy.
Creatively draft an essay topic that reflects meaning. In addition to this, the usage of the term in the title should be correctly done. The readers should get an idea of what the essay is about and what to expect from the document.
Now that you have a topic in hand, it is time to gather some relevant information. A definition essay is more than a mere explanation of the term. It represents the writerâs perception of the chosen term and the topic.
So having only personal opinions will not be enough to defend your point. Deeply research and gather information by consulting credible sources.
The gathered information needs to be organized to be understandable. The raw data needs to be arranged to give a structure to the content.
Here's a generic outline for a definition essay:
Are you searching for an in-depth guide on crafting a well-structured definition essay?Check out this definition essay outline blog!
6. Write the First Draft
Drafting each section correctly is a daunting task. Understanding what or what not to include in these sections requires a writer to choose wisely.
The start of your essay matters a lot. If it is on point and attractive, the readers will want to read the text. As the first part of the essay is the introduction , it is considered the first impression of your essay.
To write your definition essay introduction effectively, include the following information:
- Start your essay with a catchy hook statement that is related to the topic and the term chosen.
- State the generally known definition of the term. If the word chosen has multiple interpretations, select the most common one.
- Provide background information precisely. Determine the origin of the term and other relevant information.
- Shed light on the other unconventional concepts and definitions related to the term.
- Decide on the side or stance you want to pick in your essay and develop a thesis statement .
After briefly introducing the topic, fully explain the concept in the body section . Provide all the details and evidence that will support the thesis statement. To draft this section professionally, add the following information:
- A detailed explanation of the history of the term.
- Analysis of the dictionary meaning and usage of the term.
- A comparison and reflection of personal understanding and the researched data on the concept.
Once all the details are shared, give closure to your discussion. The last paragraph of the definition essay is the conclusion . The writer provides insight into the topic as a conclusion.
The concluding paragraphs include the following material:
- Summary of the important points.
- Restated thesis statement.
- A final verdict on the topic.
7. Proofread and Edit
Although the writing process ends with the concluding paragraph, there is an additional step. It is important to proofread the essay once you are done writing. Proofread and revise your document a couple of times to make sure everything is perfect.
Before submitting your assignment, make edits, and fix all mistakes and errors.
If you want to learn more about how to write a definition essay, here is a video guide for you!
Definition Essay Structure
The structure of a definition essay is similar to that of any other academic essay. It should consist of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
However, the focus of a definition essay is on defining and explaining a particular term or concept.
In this section, we will discuss the structure of a definition essay in detail.
Get the idea of writing an introduction for a definition essay with this example:
Here is an example of how to craft your definition essay body paragraph:
Types of the Term/Concept
If applicable, the writer may want to include a section that discusses the different types or categories of the term or concept being defined.
This section should explain the similarities and differences between the types, using examples and anecdotes to illustrate the points.
Examples of the Term/Concept in Action
The writer should also include real-life examples of the term or concept being defined in action.
This will help the reader better understand the term or concept in context and how it is used in everyday life.
This example will help you writing a conclusion fo you essay:
Definition Essay Examples
It is important to go through some examples and samples before writing an essay. This is to understand the writing process and structure of the assigned task well.
Following are some examples of definition essays to give our students a better idea of the concept.
Understanding the Definition Essay
Definition Essay Example
Definition Essay About Friendship
Definition Essay About Love
Family Definition Essay
Success Definition Essay
Beauty Definition Essay
Definition Essay Topics
Selecting the right topic is challenging for other essay types. However, picking a suitable theme for a definition essay is equally tricky yet important. Pick an interesting subject to ensure maximum readership.
If you are facing writerâs block, here is a list of some great definition essay topics for your help. Choose from the list below and draft a compelling essay.
Here are some more extended definition essay topics:
- Social media addiction
- Ethical implications of gene editing
- Personalized learning in the digital age
- Ecosystem services
- Cultural assimilation versus cultural preservation
- Sustainable fashion
- Gender equality in the workplace
- Financial literacy and its impact on personal finance
- Ethical considerations in artificial intelligence
- Welfare state and social safety nets
Need more topics? Check out this definition essay topics blog!
Definition Essay Writing Tips
Knowing the correct writing procedure is not enough if you are not aware of the essayâs small technicalities. To help students write a definition essay effortlessly, expert writers of CollegeEssay.org have gathered some simple tips.
These easy tips will make your assignment writing phase easy.
- Choose an exciting yet informative topic for your essay.
- When selecting the word, concept, or term for your essay, make sure you have the knowledge.
- When consulting a dictionary for the definition, provide proper referencing as there are many choices available.
- To make the essay informative and credible, always provide the origin and history of the term.
- Highlight different meanings and interpretations of the term.
- Discuss the transitions and evolution in the meaning of the term in any.
- Provide your perspective and point of view on the chosen term.
Following these tips will guarantee you better grades in your academics.
By following the step-by-step approach explained in this guide, you will acquire the skills to craft an outstanding essay.
Still, if you want to take your essay writing to the next level, CollegeEssay.org is here to assist you.
Our essay writer online is here to help you craft exceptional essays that meet your specific requirements.
Don't hesitate to reach out to us for personalized writing service .
Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)
Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.
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Essay Assignment: Argument of Definition
Definition is a challenging rhetorical mode. Writing definitions, one might be asked to challenge a widely accepted definition, create a controversial definition, or try to figure out if something fits an existing definition. For this assignment, I will require you to find at least two outside sources.
Using at least two library database, book, or ebook sources other than reference works or dictionaries, write a three-page (not counting the Works Cited) definition of a term or phrase in one of the following topics:
A) How has Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm altered the meaning of the Star Wars franchise?
B) Since Babilonia’s essay “The Celebrity Chef” has been written, argue for an expanded definition of the celebrity chef. With what added duties, concerns, activities does the contemporary celebrity chef concern herself? (Don’t use my last sentence’s wording in your essay.)
C) Using several examples, define the ideal video game protagonist (hero or heroine). You may not reuse any sources, ideas, or examples from Essay 1.
D) Write an essay analyzing how conventional definitions of good and evil are called into question in O’Connor’s story “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”
E) Write an essay explaining how a group of workers you have observed, blue-collar or otherwise, appeared to understand and define some important aspect of their work. Refer in detail to individual members of the group and what they had to say. (Their ideas can be cited as personal interviews.)
F) Write a definition of Voodoo outlining the origins and traditional beliefs of this religion or cult. (Which is it, by the way? A good definition should explain.) Remember that facts which aren’t common knowledge would get cited, and so would used patterns of source thinking.
Narrow your focus so your definition is more specific than “defining chefs.” Include a thesis claim about the word being defined.
Write to argue, since you’re redefining a term readers believe they know. Convince us that your claims about the definition are valid. Your readers have a familiarity with the topics. Do not retell them. We’re not “proving” how _____ works, either! Avoid the pitfall of writing an editorial or summarizing blandly. What does the word argue?
Your instructor and classmates are your audience, as with Essay 1.
You may not use dictionary.com definitions in your introduction. (Also, any cited definitions need quotes around used words—something a lot of writers neglect.) No wikis are allowed.
Decide whether your essay will expand, reduce, or alter the meaning of a term . You can adopt a surprising number of strategies for an argument of definition. You will argue that your definition is the most valid one. This means you are competing with other definitions. Some writers try and expand our accepted definition while others attempt to limit a definition’s applications.
Here are some techniques you might use:
- Comparison and contrast
- Negation (saying what something is not)
- Explanations of a process (how something is measured or works)
- Identifications of causes or effects
- Simile, metaphor, or analogy
- Reference to authority
- Reference to the writer’s or others’ personal experience or observation
- Etymology (word origins)
Don’t Forget. . .
- Avoid the overuse of I or you .
- Only papers in MLA format are accepted. Arial and Times are accepted fonts.
- Anticipate problems when you narrow the topic. Sharpen your focus so that you can do a three-page paper on the topic—it’s not a book or a one-page essay, either. A paper that floats around in a topic too big for it receives a poor grade.
- Focus on connotations (readers would bring) and denotations (dictionary definitions). These often clash or reveal boundaries of definitions.
- Close non-examples are ways of bringing focus to an argument of definition.
- If you use examples, make sure they connect to the definition and aren’t just used for shock effect.
- Essay Assignment: Argument of Definition. Authored by : Joshua Dickinson. Provided by : Jefferson Community College. Located at : http://www.sunyjefferson.edu . Project : Arguing Through Writing. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
How to Write a Definition Essay: New Guide with Samples
Understanding What is a Definition Essay
Eristic sophistry was employed by the ultracrepidarian in his quidnunc attempt to impress the aeolist crowd at the symposium.
Be honest, how many times did you read the above sentence to get a gist of it? We bet at least more than once. You might even got a little annoyed trying to make sense of it. Well, that's exactly what brings us to today's main subject, which is to understand the importance of defining things that are not so popular or easy to explain.
Humans have a natural instinct to understand concepts and words when placed in the proper context. However, that might not always be the case. To avoid getting lost in translation, we must understand the words we communicate and be able to explain them to others as well.
No wonder why definition essays are a common assignment in high school and college. However, for this kind of paper, you need to go the extra mile rather than just providing a dictionary definition of a certain word or concept. A definition essay is meant to describe a complex term that has significant background and historical origin.
To save you from wasting your valuable time figuring out what is a definition essay, let's explain frequently used definition essay types and steps for the writing process.
Commonly Used Definition Essay Types
Have you discovered an intriguing term with a rich past that you want to go into in your definition essay? Consider your options and what you can do with them before committing to them.
Following are some suggestions for structuring your definition essay from our rewrite essay service :
- Analysis : Segment the argumentative essay definition topic into components, then define each component separately.
- Classification : What categories does the problem fall under?
- Comparison : Unusual things may be determined by showing how similar or different they are from usual things.
- Details : What traits and other distinctive qualities best reflect the paper's central idea?
- Negation : Explain what your narrative essay definition topic isn't to narrow down what it is.
- Origins and Causes : Where did the theme first appear? What historical details are there? What is the background of the concept?
- Results, Effects, and Uses : Describe the after-effects and uses of the subject.
How to Write a Definition Essay with a Definition Essay Outline
Just like other kinds of writing, a definition essay outline consists of a classic intro-body-conclusion format. However, in this scenario, what you discuss in the body paragraphs is unique and specific to other essays. For example, you can devote body sections to first providing a historical context, then explaining a dictionary definition; afterward, you can even discuss your personal opinion of the term while contrasting it with the expert definition in the other. Finally, you can also convey the term in terms of the cultural definition and implications.
To give you a more detailed outlook on how to write a definition essay, let's dive into the following sections prepared by our research paper writer .
Definition Essay Introduction
The reader is initially introduced to your essay's topic in the introductory part of a definition essay. This implies that it must be extremely informative and compelling enough to convince the reader to read the entire essay. So, the following elements should be included:
A. Hook: Use a catchy phrase or question to grab the reader's attention.
B. Background Information: Briefly explain the topic and why it's important to define it.
C. Thesis Statement: Clearly state the term and your definition of it.
Definition Essay Body Paragraphs
In the body of your essay, deconstruct the phrase into its component pieces, evaluate it from multiple viewpoints, and then give a relevant justification. Depending on the requirements of your assignment, you might need to write more than three paragraphs. You may add additional sections or swap the order around depending on the intricacy of your term. The following can be employed for the body:
A. Historical Definition: Explain the origin and evolution of the term.
B. Dictionary Definition: Provide the official definition and compare it to your own.
C. Personal Definition: Explain your understanding and interpretation of the term using examples and anecdotes.
D. Expert Definition: Cite an expert or scholar's definition and explain how it differs from yours.
E. Cultural Definition: Discuss how the term is used in popular culture and how it reflects societal values.
Definition Essay Conclusion
The final portion, the concluding paragraph, is where you must restate the main points. Follow these steps to structure the perfect ending:
A. Restate Thesis: Summarize your definition and why it matters.
B. Implications: Explain how understanding the term can inform our thinking and behavior.
C. Call to Action: Encourage readers to use the term correctly and to promote accurate definitions in their communities.
20 Definition Essay Topic Ideas
Our dissertation writing help compiled a list of definition essay topics you can use to base your upcoming paper on. From a definition argument essay to an expository essay definition, you can use the following ideas to create a well-structured piece.
- Define the characteristics of the ideal family from your point of view.
- What is the Picture of a Common American Family Show?
- Politicians' Friendships as a Special Phenomenon
- Comparing American Definitions of Freedom with Those of Other Nations
- How Freedom Relates to Money
- Give Your Personal Opinion on What Being Happy Means
- Coping with Depression: What Does It Imply About Happiness?
- Explain the Implications of Corporate Mergers.
- Describe Maternity Leave and the Laws that Apply to It.
- What Are Social Packages, and Why Do They Exist?
- What Are Start-Ups, and How Are They Measured for Success?
- What Would an Excellent Income Look Like in Contemporary America?
- What Ideas and Practices Are Included in Math?
- What are the responsibilities of a programmer?
- Explain what heteronormativity is and discuss its history
- How Might People Interpret the Concept of Brand Loyalty?
- What Do You Consider to Be Personal and Global Success?
- What Motivated People to Write Fanfiction?
- Healthy Sleeping: How Many Hours Are Essential & What Dreams Are Desirable
- Explain the Concept of Phobias and Define Its Components.
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Tips for Definition Essay Writing Process
Writing definition essay examples may be challenging since it requires creating a comprehensive description of a single term that is both scholarly and personal. Choosing a term that delivers enough information for the essay is important, and there are several traditional methods to ensure you understand what it means. The following rules from our essay writer should be kept in mind to create an excellent definition essay:
- Select a word with depth : You want to be informational and bring the new discussion to the table. Therefore, choose a word that is not generic, comes with an interesting background, and has multiple meanings. This way, you have plenty of room for discussion.
- Use personal experiences : Include personal experiences from your life to provide an original viewpoint on the subject. Let's suppose 'success' is the term picked for the definition essay. You may add your personal experiences to the definition in place of merely referencing the dictionary to offer a distinctive take on the term. You may provide an instance when you succeeded in a certain goal but didn't feel completely satisfied. Then, you may make the case that success isn't just about attaining your goals but also about discovering inner fulfillment.
- Employ sensory language : You may help the reader visualize the meaning of the term more vividly and clearly by employing sensory language. For instance, with the term 'love,' you may include descriptions of a warm embrace, the delicacy of Valentine's Day chocolate, the sound of a partner's laughing, or the sight of a sunset shared. This will make your definition essay more interesting and memorable while also improving the reader's comprehension.
- Discuss connotations : Examine the positive and negative associations linked with the term and how they impact its usage. Understanding that words may have emotional implications and meanings beyond their formal definitions is crucial when discussing the good or negative connotations connected with a phrase. For instance, the term 'power' may be used to convey both good traits like strength and influence as well as bad traits like abuse and control.
- Provide real-life examples : Real-world examples may be a useful tool in definition essays to assist explain and demonstrate the meaning of the term being defined. However, make sure the examples you choose for your essay apply to the defined concept. If you're explaining the word 'success,' for instance, you can decide to include instances of successful people from a variety of industries, including business, sports, or the arts.
- Be creative : Using creativity may add interest and engagement to your essay. You may, for instance, employ metaphors, illustrations, or personification without restriction. Another method to be creative is to bring comedy and entertainment to your piece of writing.
Definition Essay Examples
To give you a more clear insight into what a good paper should look like, our custom essay service provided a definition essay example below. If you wish to base yours on this sample, feel free to scrutinize how this example is structured and formatted. Or you can always buy essay cheap and with the highest caliber on our platform!
Academic Writing Help
As we come to an end, we hope you gained a deep understanding of the definition essay structure and motivated you to compose your own definition paper. And no, we're not leaving you in the dark with the very first sentence of the article!
The person who didn't know much about the topic tried to impress the people at the gathering by using arguments that were not honest or accurate.
This is what we meant by that opening. So, if you don't wish to end up like such a person who has no clue about certain topics, use our academic writing help to your advantage. Order essay and let us create extended definition essay topics, a definition analytical essay, or any other forms of writing for you so that you may never feel confused and uninformed.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 strong argumentative essay examples, analyzed.
Need to defend your opinion on an issue? Argumentative essays are one of the most popular types of essays you’ll write in school. They combine persuasive arguments with fact-based research, and, when done well, can be powerful tools for making someone agree with your point of view. If you’re struggling to write an argumentative essay or just want to learn more about them, seeing examples can be a big help.
After giving an overview of this type of essay, we provide three argumentative essay examples. After each essay, we explain in-depth how the essay was structured, what worked, and where the essay could be improved. We end with tips for making your own argumentative essay as strong as possible.
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is an essay that uses evidence and facts to support the claim it’s making. Its purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with the argument being made.
A good argumentative essay will use facts and evidence to support the argument, rather than just the author’s thoughts and opinions. For example, say you wanted to write an argumentative essay stating that Charleston, SC is a great destination for families. You couldn’t just say that it’s a great place because you took your family there and enjoyed it. For it to be an argumentative essay, you need to have facts and data to support your argument, such as the number of child-friendly attractions in Charleston, special deals you can get with kids, and surveys of people who visited Charleston as a family and enjoyed it. The first argument is based entirely on feelings, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven.
The standard five paragraph format is common, but not required, for argumentative essays. These essays typically follow one of two formats: the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.
- The Toulmin model is the most common. It begins with an introduction, follows with a thesis/claim, and gives data and evidence to support that claim. This style of essay also includes rebuttals of counterarguments.
- The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.
3 Good Argumentative Essay Examples + Analysis
Below are three examples of argumentative essays, written by yours truly in my school days, as well as analysis of what each did well and where it could be improved.
Argumentative Essay Example 1
Proponents of this idea state that it will save local cities and towns money because libraries are expensive to maintain. They also believe it will encourage more people to read because they won’t have to travel to a library to get a book; they can simply click on what they want to read and read it from wherever they are. They could also access more materials because libraries won’t have to buy physical copies of books; they can simply rent out as many digital copies as they need.
However, it would be a serious mistake to replace libraries with tablets. First, digital books and resources are associated with less learning and more problems than print resources. A study done on tablet vs book reading found that people read 20-30% slower on tablets, retain 20% less information, and understand 10% less of what they read compared to people who read the same information in print. Additionally, staring too long at a screen has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including blurred vision, dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain, at much higher instances than reading print does. People who use tablets and mobile devices excessively also have a higher incidence of more serious health issues such as fibromyalgia, shoulder and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strain. I know that whenever I read from my e-reader for too long, my eyes begin to feel tired and my neck hurts. We should not add to these problems by giving people, especially young people, more reasons to look at screens.
Second, it is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that the only service libraries offer is book lending. Libraries have a multitude of benefits, and many are only available if the library has a physical location. Some of these benefits include acting as a quiet study space, giving people a way to converse with their neighbors, holding classes on a variety of topics, providing jobs, answering patron questions, and keeping the community connected. One neighborhood found that, after a local library instituted community events such as play times for toddlers and parents, job fairs for teenagers, and meeting spaces for senior citizens, over a third of residents reported feeling more connected to their community. Similarly, a Pew survey conducted in 2015 found that nearly two-thirds of American adults feel that closing their local library would have a major impact on their community. People see libraries as a way to connect with others and get their questions answered, benefits tablets can’t offer nearly as well or as easily.
While replacing libraries with tablets may seem like a simple solution, it would encourage people to spend even more time looking at digital screens, despite the myriad issues surrounding them. It would also end access to many of the benefits of libraries that people have come to rely on. In many areas, libraries are such an important part of the community network that they could never be replaced by a simple object.
The author begins by giving an overview of the counter-argument, then the thesis appears as the first sentence in the third paragraph. The essay then spends the rest of the paper dismantling the counter argument and showing why readers should believe the other side.
What this essay does well:
- Although it’s a bit unusual to have the thesis appear fairly far into the essay, it works because, once the thesis is stated, the rest of the essay focuses on supporting it since the counter-argument has already been discussed earlier in the paper.
- This essay includes numerous facts and cites studies to support its case. By having specific data to rely on, the author’s argument is stronger and readers will be more inclined to agree with it.
- For every argument the other side makes, the author makes sure to refute it and follow up with why her opinion is the stronger one. In order to make a strong argument, it’s important to dismantle the other side, which this essay does this by making the author's view appear stronger.
- This is a shorter paper, and if it needed to be expanded to meet length requirements, it could include more examples and go more into depth with them, such as by explaining specific cases where people benefited from local libraries.
- Additionally, while the paper uses lots of data, the author also mentions their own experience with using tablets. This should be removed since argumentative essays focus on facts and data to support an argument, not the author’s own opinion or experiences. Replacing that with more data on health issues associated with screen time would strengthen the essay.
- Some of the points made aren't completely accurate , particularly the one about digital books being cheaper. It actually often costs a library more money to rent out numerous digital copies of a book compared to buying a single physical copy. Make sure in your own essay you thoroughly research each of the points and rebuttals you make, otherwise you'll look like you don't know the issue that well.
Argumentative Essay Example 2
There are multiple drugs available to treat malaria, and many of them work well and save lives, but malaria eradication programs that focus too much on them and not enough on prevention haven’t seen long-term success in Sub-Saharan Africa. A major program to combat malaria was WHO’s Global Malaria Eradication Programme. Started in 1955, it had a goal of eliminating malaria in Africa within the next ten years. Based upon previously successful programs in Brazil and the United States, the program focused mainly on vector control. This included widely distributing chloroquine and spraying large amounts of DDT. More than one billion dollars was spent trying to abolish malaria. However, the program suffered from many problems and in 1969, WHO was forced to admit that the program had not succeeded in eradicating malaria. The number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa who contracted malaria as well as the number of malaria deaths had actually increased over 10% during the time the program was active.
One of the major reasons for the failure of the project was that it set uniform strategies and policies. By failing to consider variations between governments, geography, and infrastructure, the program was not nearly as successful as it could have been. Sub-Saharan Africa has neither the money nor the infrastructure to support such an elaborate program, and it couldn’t be run the way it was meant to. Most African countries don't have the resources to send all their people to doctors and get shots, nor can they afford to clear wetlands or other malaria prone areas. The continent’s spending per person for eradicating malaria was just a quarter of what Brazil spent. Sub-Saharan Africa simply can’t rely on a plan that requires more money, infrastructure, and expertise than they have to spare.
Additionally, the widespread use of chloroquine has created drug resistant parasites which are now plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa. Because chloroquine was used widely but inconsistently, mosquitoes developed resistance, and chloroquine is now nearly completely ineffective in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 95% of mosquitoes resistant to it. As a result, newer, more expensive drugs need to be used to prevent and treat malaria, which further drives up the cost of malaria treatment for a region that can ill afford it.
Instead of developing plans to treat malaria after the infection has incurred, programs should focus on preventing infection from occurring in the first place. Not only is this plan cheaper and more effective, reducing the number of people who contract malaria also reduces loss of work/school days which can further bring down the productivity of the region.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways of preventing malaria is to implement insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). These nets provide a protective barrier around the person or people using them. While untreated bed nets are still helpful, those treated with insecticides are much more useful because they stop mosquitoes from biting people through the nets, and they help reduce mosquito populations in a community, thus helping people who don’t even own bed nets. Bed nets are also very effective because most mosquito bites occur while the person is sleeping, so bed nets would be able to drastically reduce the number of transmissions during the night. In fact, transmission of malaria can be reduced by as much as 90% in areas where the use of ITNs is widespread. Because money is so scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa, the low cost is a great benefit and a major reason why the program is so successful. Bed nets cost roughly 2 USD to make, last several years, and can protect two adults. Studies have shown that, for every 100-1000 more nets are being used, one less child dies of malaria. With an estimated 300 million people in Africa not being protected by mosquito nets, there’s the potential to save three million lives by spending just a few dollars per person.
Reducing the number of people who contract malaria would also reduce poverty levels in Africa significantly, thus improving other aspects of society like education levels and the economy. Vector control is more effective than treatment strategies because it means fewer people are getting sick. When fewer people get sick, the working population is stronger as a whole because people are not put out of work from malaria, nor are they caring for sick relatives. Malaria-afflicted families can typically only harvest 40% of the crops that healthy families can harvest. Additionally, a family with members who have malaria spends roughly a quarter of its income treatment, not including the loss of work they also must deal with due to the illness. It’s estimated that malaria costs Africa 12 billion USD in lost income every year. A strong working population creates a stronger economy, which Sub-Saharan Africa is in desperate need of.
This essay begins with an introduction, which ends with the thesis (that malaria eradication plans in Sub-Saharan Africa should focus on prevention rather than treatment). The first part of the essay lays out why the counter argument (treatment rather than prevention) is not as effective, and the second part of the essay focuses on why prevention of malaria is the better path to take.
- The thesis appears early, is stated clearly, and is supported throughout the rest of the essay. This makes the argument clear for readers to understand and follow throughout the essay.
- There’s lots of solid research in this essay, including specific programs that were conducted and how successful they were, as well as specific data mentioned throughout. This evidence helps strengthen the author’s argument.
- The author makes a case for using expanding bed net use over waiting until malaria occurs and beginning treatment, but not much of a plan is given for how the bed nets would be distributed or how to ensure they’re being used properly. By going more into detail of what she believes should be done, the author would be making a stronger argument.
- The introduction of the essay does a good job of laying out the seriousness of the problem, but the conclusion is short and abrupt. Expanding it into its own paragraph would give the author a final way to convince readers of her side of the argument.
Argumentative Essay Example 3
There are many ways payments could work. They could be in the form of a free-market approach, where athletes are able to earn whatever the market is willing to pay them, it could be a set amount of money per athlete, or student athletes could earn income from endorsements, autographs, and control of their likeness, similar to the way top Olympians earn money.
Proponents of the idea believe that, because college athletes are the ones who are training, participating in games, and bringing in audiences, they should receive some sort of compensation for their work. If there were no college athletes, the NCAA wouldn’t exist, college coaches wouldn’t receive there (sometimes very high) salaries, and brands like Nike couldn’t profit from college sports. In fact, the NCAA brings in roughly $1 billion in revenue a year, but college athletes don’t receive any of that money in the form of a paycheck. Additionally, people who believe college athletes should be paid state that paying college athletes will actually encourage them to remain in college longer and not turn pro as quickly, either by giving them a way to begin earning money in college or requiring them to sign a contract stating they’ll stay at the university for a certain number of years while making an agreed-upon salary.
Supporters of this idea point to Zion Williamson, the Duke basketball superstar, who, during his freshman year, sustained a serious knee injury. Many argued that, even if he enjoyed playing for Duke, it wasn’t worth risking another injury and ending his professional career before it even began for a program that wasn’t paying him. Williamson seems to have agreed with them and declared his eligibility for the NCAA draft later that year. If he was being paid, he may have stayed at Duke longer. In fact, roughly a third of student athletes surveyed stated that receiving a salary while in college would make them “strongly consider” remaining collegiate athletes longer before turning pro.
Paying athletes could also stop the recruitment scandals that have plagued the NCAA. In 2018, the NCAA stripped the University of Louisville's men's basketball team of its 2013 national championship title because it was discovered coaches were using sex workers to entice recruits to join the team. There have been dozens of other recruitment scandals where college athletes and recruits have been bribed with anything from having their grades changed, to getting free cars, to being straight out bribed. By paying college athletes and putting their salaries out in the open, the NCAA could end the illegal and underhanded ways some schools and coaches try to entice athletes to join.
People who argue against the idea of paying college athletes believe the practice could be disastrous for college sports. By paying athletes, they argue, they’d turn college sports into a bidding war, where only the richest schools could afford top athletes, and the majority of schools would be shut out from developing a talented team (though some argue this already happens because the best players often go to the most established college sports programs, who typically pay their coaches millions of dollars per year). It could also ruin the tight camaraderie of many college teams if players become jealous that certain teammates are making more money than they are.
They also argue that paying college athletes actually means only a small fraction would make significant money. Out of the 350 Division I athletic departments, fewer than a dozen earn any money. Nearly all the money the NCAA makes comes from men’s football and basketball, so paying college athletes would make a small group of men--who likely will be signed to pro teams and begin making millions immediately out of college--rich at the expense of other players.
Those against paying college athletes also believe that the athletes are receiving enough benefits already. The top athletes already receive scholarships that are worth tens of thousands per year, they receive free food/housing/textbooks, have access to top medical care if they are injured, receive top coaching, get travel perks and free gear, and can use their time in college as a way to capture the attention of professional recruiters. No other college students receive anywhere near as much from their schools.
People on this side also point out that, while the NCAA brings in a massive amount of money each year, it is still a non-profit organization. How? Because over 95% of those profits are redistributed to its members’ institutions in the form of scholarships, grants, conferences, support for Division II and Division III teams, and educational programs. Taking away a significant part of that revenue would hurt smaller programs that rely on that money to keep running.
While both sides have good points, it’s clear that the negatives of paying college athletes far outweigh the positives. College athletes spend a significant amount of time and energy playing for their school, but they are compensated for it by the scholarships and perks they receive. Adding a salary to that would result in a college athletic system where only a small handful of athletes (those likely to become millionaires in the professional leagues) are paid by a handful of schools who enter bidding wars to recruit them, while the majority of student athletics and college athletic programs suffer or even shut down for lack of money. Continuing to offer the current level of benefits to student athletes makes it possible for as many people to benefit from and enjoy college sports as possible.
This argumentative essay follows the Rogerian model. It discusses each side, first laying out multiple reasons people believe student athletes should be paid, then discussing reasons why the athletes shouldn’t be paid. It ends by stating that college athletes shouldn’t be paid by arguing that paying them would destroy college athletics programs and cause them to have many of the issues professional sports leagues have.
- Both sides of the argument are well developed, with multiple reasons why people agree with each side. It allows readers to get a full view of the argument and its nuances.
- Certain statements on both sides are directly rebuffed in order to show where the strengths and weaknesses of each side lie and give a more complete and sophisticated look at the argument.
- Using the Rogerian model can be tricky because oftentimes you don’t explicitly state your argument until the end of the paper. Here, the thesis doesn’t appear until the first sentence of the final paragraph. That doesn’t give readers a lot of time to be convinced that your argument is the right one, compared to a paper where the thesis is stated in the beginning and then supported throughout the paper. This paper could be strengthened if the final paragraph was expanded to more fully explain why the author supports the view, or if the paper had made it clearer that paying athletes was the weaker argument throughout.
3 Tips for Writing a Good Argumentative Essay
Now that you’ve seen examples of what good argumentative essay samples look like, follow these three tips when crafting your own essay.
#1: Make Your Thesis Crystal Clear
The thesis is the key to your argumentative essay; if it isn’t clear or readers can’t find it easily, your entire essay will be weak as a result. Always make sure that your thesis statement is easy to find. The typical spot for it is the final sentence of the introduction paragraph, but if it doesn’t fit in that spot for your essay, try to at least put it as the first or last sentence of a different paragraph so it stands out more.
Also make sure that your thesis makes clear what side of the argument you’re on. After you’ve written it, it’s a great idea to show your thesis to a couple different people--classmates are great for this. Just by reading your thesis they should be able to understand what point you’ll be trying to make with the rest of your essay.
#2: Show Why the Other Side Is Weak
When writing your essay, you may be tempted to ignore the other side of the argument and just focus on your side, but don’t do this. The best argumentative essays really tear apart the other side to show why readers shouldn’t believe it. Before you begin writing your essay, research what the other side believes, and what their strongest points are. Then, in your essay, be sure to mention each of these and use evidence to explain why they’re incorrect/weak arguments. That’ll make your essay much more effective than if you only focused on your side of the argument.
#3: Use Evidence to Support Your Side
Remember, an essay can’t be an argumentative essay if it doesn’t support its argument with evidence. For every point you make, make sure you have facts to back it up. Some examples are previous studies done on the topic, surveys of large groups of people, data points, etc. There should be lots of numbers in your argumentative essay that support your side of the argument. This will make your essay much stronger compared to only relying on your own opinions to support your argument.
Summary: Argumentative Essay Sample
Argumentative essays are persuasive essays that use facts and evidence to support their side of the argument. Most argumentative essays follow either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model. By reading good argumentative essay examples, you can learn how to develop your essay and provide enough support to make readers agree with your opinion. When writing your essay, remember to always make your thesis clear, show where the other side is weak, and back up your opinion with data and evidence.
Do you need to write an argumentative essay as well? Check out our guide on the best argumentative essay topics for ideas!
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.
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What is Argument?
Though most people think of argument as a disagreement between two parties, its definition as a literary device is a bit different. In academic writing, an argument usually represents the writer’s position on a particular issue, often in the form of a thesis statement or claim to be supported with subsequent reasoning and evidence . In literary writing, an argument is a brief summary of a work that precedes a chapter, book, or canto .
Use of Argument in Literature
The use of argument became common during the Renaissance as a means of keeping readers oriented throughout large literary works. These small summaries often appeared in prose at the beginning of a poem or section of a poem. The use of argument allows readers to anticipate meaning in the text and focus on the writer’s intentions.
Common Argument Examples
In our everyday life, we use different arguments in our discussions to convince others to accept our viewpoints. We do it in the same way in literature, meaning we state what we believe is true, and then we gradually build an argument around it to make others believe it is true as well.
For example, the subject of an argument might be, “The internet is a good invention.” Then, we support this contention with logical reasons, such as “It is a source of endless information,” and “It is a hub of entertainment,” and so on. In the end, we conclude the argument by giving our verdict.
Examples of Argument in Literature
Let us now analyze a few examples of argument from literature:
Example #1: David Copperfield (By Charles Dickens)
Charles Dickens starts his novel David Copperfield with this literary argument:
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
The above opening line is considered one of the best opening lines of a novel. It becomes the main statement or argument of the novel, as the whole novel depicts the adventures of the narrator , David. Many people let him down, and many others support him in hard times . In the end, he alone was not the hero of his life, but there were others who deserve the same status.
Example #2: Paradise Lost (By John Milton)
John Milton provides his argument or purpose of the poem in the first five lines of Paradise Lost , Book I:
“Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste Brought Death into the World, and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till one greater Man Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat…”
In the above lines, Milton states the reasons why man was thrown out of Eden, what is the reason for all our “woes,” and how “one greater Man” (Jesus Christ) restored our status. The rest of the epical poem develops this argument – to “justify the ways of God to men”.
Example #3: Pride and Prejudice (By Jane Austen)
Similarly, the opening lines of Jane Austen ’s Pride and Prejudice give a suitable example of argument:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
The plot of the novel revolves around this argument. We see girls and their parents hunting for rich bachelors. The eligible bachelors seem to have no other worries in their life except looking for beautiful partners. Hence, we see a game of matchmaking occupying the entire novel.
Example #4: Rime of the Ancient Mariner (By S. T. Coleridge)
S. T. Coleridge appended his argument at the beginning of his poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner . He writes:
“How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country.”
Coleridge gives us a summary of his poem in a nutshell.
Function of Argument
Literature, on face value, may be seen as a tool to entertain us – with attractive verse , with sweet melody, or with a story with instances of humor or emotion displayed by interesting characters . However, this is not its ultimate aim. Writers consider literature as a powerful tool in their hands to shape or reform our thinking. Arguments come into play at this time. Writers carefully play with words, as well as giving reasons and examples, to persuade us to their points of view. Our outlook is molded by words that also entertain us.
50 Argumentative Essay Topics
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- M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
- B.A., History, Armstrong State University
An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and take a position on it. You'll need to back up your viewpoint with well-researched facts and information as well. One of the hardest parts is deciding which topic to write about, but there are plenty of ideas available to get you started.
Choosing a Great Argumentative Essay Topic
Students often find that most of their work on these essays is done before they even start writing. This means that it's best if you have a general interest in your subject, otherwise you might get bored or frustrated while trying to gather information. (You don't need to know everything, though.) Part of what makes this experience rewarding is learning something new.
It's best if you have a general interest in your subject, but the argument you choose doesn't have to be one that you agree with.
The subject you choose may not necessarily be one that you are in full agreement with, either. You may even be asked to write a paper from the opposing point of view. Researching a different viewpoint helps students broaden their perspectives.
Ideas for Argument Essays
Sometimes, the best ideas are sparked by looking at many different options. Explore this list of possible topics and see if a few pique your interest. Write those down as you come across them, then think about each for a few minutes.
Which would you enjoy researching? Do you have a firm position on a particular subject? Is there a point you would like to make sure to get across? Did the topic give you something new to think about? Can you see why someone else may feel differently?
50 Possible Topics
A number of these topics are rather controversial—that's the point. In an argumentative essay, opinions matter and controversy is based on opinions, which are, hopefully, backed up by facts. If these topics are a little too controversial or you don't find the right one for you, try browsing through persuasive essay and speech topics as well.
- Is global climate change caused by humans?
- Is the death penalty effective?
- Is our election process fair?
- Is torture ever acceptable?
- Should men get paternity leave from work?
- Are school uniforms beneficial?
- Do we have a fair tax system?
- Do curfews keep teens out of trouble?
- Is cheating out of control?
- Are we too dependent on computers?
- Should animals be used for research?
- Should cigarette smoking be banned?
- Are cell phones dangerous?
- Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy?
- Do we have a throwaway society?
- Is child behavior better or worse than it was years ago?
- Should companies market to children?
- Should the government have a say in our diets?
- Does access to condoms prevent teen pregnancy?
- Should members of Congress have term limits?
- Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?
- Are CEOs paid too much?
- Should athletes be held to high moral standards?
- Do violent video games cause behavior problems?
- Should creationism be taught in public schools?
- Are beauty pageants exploitative ?
- Should English be the official language of the United States?
- Should the racing industry be forced to use biofuels?
- Should the alcohol drinking age be increased or decreased?
- Should everyone be required to recycle?
- Is it okay for prisoners to vote (as they are in some states)?
- Is it good that same-sex couples are able to marry?
- Are there benefits to attending a single-sex school ?
- Does boredom lead to trouble?
- Should schools be in session year-round ?
- Does religion cause war?
- Should the government provide health care?
- Should abortion be illegal?
- Are girls too mean to each other?
- Is homework harmful or helpful?
- Is the cost of college too high?
- Is college admission too competitive?
- Should euthanasia be illegal?
- Should the federal government legalize marijuana use nationally ?
- Should rich people be required to pay more taxes?
- Should schools require foreign language or physical education?
- Is affirmative action fair?
- Is public prayer okay in schools?
- Are schools and teachers responsible for low test scores?
- Is greater gun control a good idea?
- Preparing an Argument Essay: Exploring Both Sides of an Issue
- Controversial Speech Topics
- Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
- Bad Essay Topics for College Admissions
- 25 Essay Topics for American Government Classes
- How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech
- Topic In Composition and Speech
- How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement
- 40 Writing Topics for Argumentative and Persuasive Essays
- MBA Essay Tips
- 61 General Expository Essay Topic Ideas to Practice Academic Writing
- Expository Essay Genre With Suggested Prompts
- Topical Organization Essay
- Middle School Debate Topics
- Supporting Detail in Composition and Speech
- 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper
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- Definitional Argument Essay
For a definitional essay, you need to write an argument that a borderline or contested case fits (or does not fit) within a particular category by classifying that particular case and defining the category.
Definitional arguments require a definition of key terms:
Example: Joe is too bossy.
Define “bossy” and provide examples of his bossy attitude (poor listening skills, shouting at people, making decisions without asking committee—these are what define “bossy” in your argument.
Example : Low-carb diets are dangerous.
Define what constitutes “low-carb” and define what you mean by “dangerous.” Cite studies showing harmful effects, how substances affect the body, etc.
The criteria section of your argument explains and illustrates your criteria.
The match section of your argument persuades the reader that your example meets those criteria.
Example: Although the Hercules Shoe Company is nonpolluting and provides a socially useful product, [CLAIM] it is not a socially responsible company [BECAUSE CLAUSE] because it treats its workers unjustly.
Criteria Part: What points must be met for a company to be deemed “socially responsible”?
- (1) Research how others have defined your term (dictionaries, judicial opinions, expert testimony, etc.
- (2) Use your own critical thinking to make your own extended definition.
Match Part : In what ways does the shoe company meet those points?
- (1) Supply examples of how this and other situations meet your criteria.
- (2) Give other evidence about how your example meets your criteria.
For your Definitional Argument Essay :
- introduce the issue and state the claim
- define key terms
- present your first criterion and argument that your case meets your definition
- present your second criterion and argument that your case meets your definition
- present your third criterion and argument that your case meets your definition (if necessary)
- anticipate and respond to possible objections/arguments
- conclude with return to the “big picture,” what is at stake, why your argument is important, etc.
Definitional Argument Essay Proposal
- What vague or arguable term, phrase, or situation are you defining?
- What scenario are you going to use to introduce your claim?
- What is your first (1) criterion and (2) argument that your case meets your definition?
- What is your second (1) criterion and (2) argument that your case meets your definition?
- What is your third (1) criterion and (2) argument that your case meets your definition?
- What are your (1) anticipated objections/arguments and (2) responses to them?
- How will you conclude with return to the “big picture,” what is at stake, why your argument is important, etc?
- Definition Argument. Provided by : Martin's College English. Located at : http://www.oercommons.org/courses/definitional-argument-essay/view# . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Table of Contents
Instructor Resources (Access Requires Login)
- Overview of Instructor Resources
An Overview of the Writing Process
- Introduction to the Writing Process
- Introduction to Writing
- Your Role as a Learner
- What is an Essay?
- Reading to Write
- Defining the Writing Process
- Videos: Prewriting Techniques
- Thesis Statements
- Organizing an Essay
- Creating Paragraphs
- Editing and Proofreading
- Matters of Grammar, Mechanics, and Style
- Peer Review Checklist
- Comparative Chart of Writing Strategies
- Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)
- Citing Paraphrases and Summaries (APA)
- APA Citation Style, 6th edition: General Style Guidelines
- How to Write a Definition Essay
- Critical Thinking
- Video: Thesis Explained
- Effective Thesis Statements
- Student Sample: Definition Essay
- Introduction to Narrative Essay
- Student Sample: Narrative Essay
- "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell
- "Sixty-nine Cents" by Gary Shteyngart
- Video: The Danger of a Single Story
- How to Write an Annotation
- How to Write a Summary
- Writing for Success: Narration
- Introduction to Illustration/Example Essay
- "She's Your Basic L.O.L. in N.A.D" by Perri Klass
- "April & Paris" by David Sedaris
- Writing for Success: Illustration/Example
- Student Sample: Illustration/Example Essay
- Introduction to Compare/Contrast Essay
- "Disability" by Nancy Mairs
- "Friending, Ancient or Otherwise" by Alex Wright
- "A South African Storm" by Allison Howard
- Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast
- Student Sample: Compare/Contrast Essay
- Introduction to Cause-and-Effect Essay
- "Cultural Baggage" by Barbara Ehrenreich
- "Women in Science" by K.C. Cole
- Writing for Success: Cause and Effect
- Student Sample: Cause-and-Effect Essay
- Introduction to Argument Essay
- Rogerian Argument
- "The Case Against Torture," by Alisa Soloman
- "The Case for Torture" by Michael Levin
- How to Write a Summary by Paraphrasing Source Material
- Writing for Success: Argument
- Student Sample: Argument Essay
- Grammar/Mechanics Mini-lessons
- Mini-lesson: Subjects and Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Subject Verb Agreement
- Mini-lesson: Sentence Types
- Mini-lesson: Fragments I
- Mini-lesson: Run-ons and Comma Splices I
- Mini-lesson: Comma Usage
- Mini-lesson: Parallelism
- Mini-lesson: The Apostrophe
- Mini-lesson: Capital Letters
- Grammar Practice - Interactive Quizzes
- De Copia - Demonstration of the Variety of Language
- Style Exercise: Voice