Essay on Books vs. Internet

Students are often asked to write an essay on Books vs. Internet in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Books vs. Internet


Books and the internet are two primary sources of knowledge. While books have been around for centuries, the internet is a more recent phenomenon.

Books: The Traditional Route

Books offer a focused and in-depth understanding of topics. They are reliable, and the reader can take their time to absorb information.

Internet: The Modern Approach

The internet provides quick access to vast information. It’s interactive and constantly updated. However, it can be distracting and not always reliable.

Both books and the internet have their strengths and weaknesses. The choice depends on individual preference and the nature of the information sought.

250 Words Essay on Books vs. Internet

In the modern world, the debate between the traditional medium of knowledge, books, and the new-age powerhouse, the internet, is prevalent. Both have their distinct advantages and drawbacks, shaping our learning and knowledge acquisition.

The Case for Books

Books have been a time-tested medium for centuries, offering in-depth, well-researched, and often peer-reviewed information. They provide a tactile experience, aiding memory retention, and promote focused reading without digital distractions. Their linear structure encourages comprehensive understanding and critical thinking.

The Power of the Internet

Contrarily, the internet offers vast, immediate, and diverse information. It facilitates interactive learning through videos, infographics, and online forums. It’s a dynamic platform, allowing real-time updates and global collaboration. However, the internet’s credibility can sometimes be questionable due to unregulated content.

Striking a Balance

While the internet is an incredible tool for quick access to a broad range of information, books remain invaluable for in-depth study and cognitive development. Striking a balance between the two can maximize learning. Utilizing the speed and breadth of the internet, combined with the depth and focus offered by books, can create a holistic learning experience.

In conclusion, neither books nor the internet can be declared superior outright. They serve different purposes and complement each other in the pursuit of knowledge. The key lies in discerning the right tool for the right task, leveraging the strengths of both mediums.

500 Words Essay on Books vs. Internet

The advent of the internet has significantly transformed the way we access, consume, and share information. The traditional reliance on books as the primary source of knowledge has been challenged by the vast, digital expanse of the internet. However, the debate between books and the internet is not a simple one, as each offers unique benefits and drawbacks.

The Charm of Books

Books have been the cornerstone of knowledge for centuries. They offer a tactile and intimate experience that many readers cherish. Reading a book allows for an immersive experience, free from the distractions that are often present with digital platforms. Furthermore, books provide a linear, structured approach to presenting information, which can aid in understanding complex topics.

Books also promote better concentration and improve cognitive abilities. The physical act of turning pages and the lack of hyperlinks leading to other information sources contribute to a more focused reading experience. Additionally, books are often better curated and edited, ensuring a high-quality, reliable source of information.

On the other hand, the internet offers unparalleled accessibility and diversity of content. It enables instant access to an almost infinite amount of information, from scholarly articles to forums, blogs, and multimedia content. This broad spectrum of information can cater to different learning styles and preferences.

The internet also promotes interactivity and collaboration, enabling users to share and discuss ideas, thereby fostering a dynamic learning environment. Moreover, it allows for real-time updates, ensuring that the information is current and relevant.

Drawbacks: Books vs. Internet

Despite their respective merits, both books and the internet have their drawbacks. For books, the information can become outdated, and the physical form limits their accessibility. They also lack the interactive and dynamic nature of online content.

Conversely, the internet, while offering vast resources, can also lead to information overload. The credibility of online content can be questionable, and the constant barrage of hyperlinks and multimedia can be distracting. Moreover, prolonged screen time can lead to health issues like eye strain and can negatively impact sleep patterns.

Conclusion: A Balanced Approach

Books and the internet represent different ends of the information spectrum. While books offer a focused, immersive experience, the internet provides a dynamic, interactive platform for learning. Instead of choosing one over the other, a balanced approach that leverages the benefits of both can lead to a more enriching learning experience.

In conclusion, the debate between books and the internet is less about superiority and more about how we can integrate these resources to enhance our knowledge and understanding. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each can guide us in making informed choices about when to use books and when to turn to the internet.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

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American Libraries Magazine

Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet

By Marcus Banks | December 19, 2017

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. --Neil Gaiman

“Thanks to the internet, we no longer need libraries or librarians.” You most likely hear some variation on that theme pretty regularly.

Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here are 10 reasons why libraries are still better than the internet.

  • Libraries are safer spaces. The internet brings people together, often in enjoyable and productive ways, such as over shared interests (pop culture blogs, fanfic sites) or common challenges (online support groups). But cyberbullying and trolling can leave people reluctant to engage with folks they disagree with or to share their ideas in the first place. Libraries are places where people can gather constructively and all are welcome.
  • Libraries respect history. Web pages are ephemeral, and link rot is a real problem. The content of library collections is much more stable. Printed materials are generally published on acid-free paper, which will not disintegrate. And librarians are leading the way to bring similar stability to the web through services like the Internet Archive and perma.cc .
  • Librarians digitize influential primary sources. While looking at historical artifacts is valuable, repeated physical handling can damage them. Making digital versions of important works available online—as in the National Library of Medicine’s Turning the Pages project —is one solution. Library digitization projects also provide information to people who do not have the resources to travel to a particular library. Librarians are using the emerging technology of the internet to further the timeless mission of providing better access to information. The internet is the platform that enables this progress, but librarians are doing the work.
  • Librarians are leaders in increasing online access to scholarly information. The open access movement makes scholarly articles available to all readers online, and librarians have been strong advocates of the movement for more than a decade. This access is especially critical when reporting the results of medical research, which is often funded by taxpayer dollars.
  • Librarians are publishers. Scholarly publishers still provide the journals and books that researchers develop. But librarians have joined these efforts by becoming publishers themselves. New librarian-led publishing initiatives take full advantage of the web and generally make new work available on an open access basis. One example of library publishing, which is common in academic libraries, is the institutional repository . These repositories collect and preserve the broad range of a college or university’s intellectual output, such as datasets gathered in research studies, computer code used in software development, and conference proceedings.
  • Libraries host makerspaces. Given that makerspaces provide venues for creativity, learning, and community, it only makes sense that libraries champion them. The maker movement has grown rapidly— in 2016 there were 14 times as many makerspaces as in 2006 . Both public and academic libraries host makerspaces . You can learn about makerspaces online, of course. But to visit one you have to venture into the physical world.
  • Librarians can help you sort the real news from the fake. While a plethora of useful, accurate, and engaging content is available online, the web is filled with inaccurate and misleading information. “Click bait” headlines get you to click on the content even if the underlying information is superficial or inaccurate. Misinformation is the spread of deliberate falsehoods or inflammatory content online, such as the Russian-backed ads placed on social media during the 2016 US presidential election . Librarianship has always been about providing objective, accurate, and engaging information that meets the needs of a particular person. This has not changed, and it is why librarians are experts in information literacy .
  • Librarians guide you to exactly what you need. Google is an impressive search engine, but its results can be overwhelming, and many people do not know to filter them by content type (such as .pdf) or website source (such as .gov). Google offers many search tips , which are useful but generic. A conversation with a librarian can clarify exactly what you are looking for and figure out the best way to use Google—or many other resources—to find it.
  • Librarians do not track your reading or search history to sell you things. Amazon’s book purchase recommendation feature is useful for learning about new books. But this usefulness comes at the expense of your privacy because your reading data is valuable business intelligence for Amazon. The same is true for your web searching history, which is why you often see ads for a product for weeks after searching for it just once. Librarians value and protect your privacy .
  • Librarians do not censor. One core value of librarianship, as exemplified by the work of ALA’s Freedom to Read Foundation , is thwarting censorship and allowing the free and full exchange of ideas. The internet is a powerful tool for information sharing, but it takes human advocates to stand for information freedom.

Libraries continue to provide benefits that are both tangible—such as community spaces and human interaction—and harder to quantify—access, privacy, intellectual freedom. The internet is an indispensable and irreplaceable tool for modern living. But it is not a library and will not replace the work of librarians.

MARCUS BANKS is a journalist with prior experience as an academic library administrator.

Tagged Under

  • information literacy
  • intellectual freedom
  • makerspaces
  • open access
  • privacy rights


Fake news (illustration by Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries)

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E-Books VS Printed Books: An Argumentative Essay

The norm for school reading is heavy, expensive textbooks. But some have proposed that e-textbooks, available through school tablets or laptops, could be a better alternative. A textbook is a book used to formally define concepts in education. An e-textbook contains the same material, but is not bound to a single physical object. A typical print textbook is not only expensive, costing 50 US$ or more, but also cumbersome to house and maintain. E-textbooks, on the other hand, are easily accessible with most devices and are much less expensive. In this paper, we’ll be discovering why e-textbooks are a better investment than cumbersome print textbooks.

One of the largest factors of resource decisions is the cost, and this applies to textbooks in addition to many other things. Print textbooks are a big investment for a school. The price of print textbooks is high simply because of the amount of materials required to make them. E-textbooks, however, are priced solely on their content, and tend to be much less expensive than print textbooks. Another factor is the costs going forward after the initial purchase. A print textbook is vulnerable to rips, stains, and mildew, and because of this print textbooks must be cared for carefully. If a print textbook falls victim to one of these mishaps, often a new textbook is required. E-textbooks, though, are accessible to all of the school upon purchase, and cannot degrade or be damaged. As a result, E-textbooks are very low maintenance.

The accessibility of the material is also important. With a print textbook, there is only a few copies, or sometimes only one, in circulation. Only one student can use a given book at a time. These problems are eliminated in e-textbooks, which can be accessed by anyone with an authorized device, even simultaneously. In addition, print textbooks are sometimes not allowed to leave the school, forcing students to read at school. However, with an e-textbook, a student can access the textbook from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Something that might not be considered as much is engagement. Many print textbooks look dull and boring just from their size, their rough paper, and their minuscule type. E-textbooks have the advantage of not being associated with a physical weight, and being presented through a screen that can be zoomed in to focus on the content. Print textbooks also have a stereotype applied to them that claims that they are flat, dull, and long-winded, which is only reinforced by their physical medium. But e-textbooks? They are accessed through an electronic device, the same devices that are used to plan outings with friends and chat with fellows. Simply by being accessed through a device that is often considered useful, or even fun, e-textbooks have the advantage of being associated with that usefulness.

Some might say that this is a disadvantage, and that being on a such a device would distract the student’s attention from the textbook. This point becomes moot if the device is issued by the school and does not allow access to distracting services such as social media. Others may claim that print textbooks make the student connect more with the real, physical world. It might do so, but since the connection is through a print textbook, the students might end up associating the dullness of such a book with the physical world.

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Books vs Internet Research (What’s Better?)

Books vs Internet

We all do research on various topics several times a day, many times without even realizing we are doing it. Whether we’re searching for a new recipe or looking to find out how to do something, regardless of the complexity of the task, more often than not, we turn to the almighty Internet for answers rather than searching for them in specialty books. 

While this may seem to work just fine in many cases, what we usually don’t realise is that we’re actually missing out on a lot of information and make the active choice of speed over accuracy or complexity. 

Let’s take a closer look at this “books vs Internet” debate and find out which one is actually better for our research needs.

Which Is Better for Research, the Internet or Books?

Well isn’t this a question for the ages? And unfortunately, the answer is yet to be found. 

Even though many have tried to find a definitive answer, it all seems to come down to a series of factors: 

  • The topic you’re researching
  • How much time you have
  • How in-depth you need your research to be 

Obviously, both reading books and Internet research have a series of benefits and disadvantages when compared to the other. Let’s have a closer look at these pros and cons.

Reading Books for Research –  Benefits and Disadvantages

  • While the Internet has been around for decades, books have proven their value for centuries. So one of the first and most compelling arguments for reading books is that they have been used for hundreds of years as learning tools. Books have played a tremendous role in the development of civilization and have been used for learning by people who pushed the technology ahead time and time again. One would argue that if books were good enough to shape Nikola Tesla into the genius he was, they should be good enough for us. 
  • Despite the unfathomable amount of information available on the Internet today , books tend to better cover the subjects you’re researching. 
  • Books are timeless and convenient. You don’t need any device, battery or a connection in order to open a book and start learning about the topic you’re interested in.
  • Books are easy on the eyes, which would allow you to spend a lot more time researching whatever you need to learn without any strain on the eyes.


  • It takes longer to do research using books than it does using the Internet
  • Books don’t have a search function, so finding specific information using keywords is impossible
  • The cost of using books for research can turn out to be quite high, depending on the topic
  • Books are harder to carry around, so you might not always have access to them from anywhere

Using the Internet for Research – Benefits and Disadvantages

  • The Internet gives you access to more resources than you could ever absorb in a lifetime on any topic
  • The cost for Internet access nowadays is quite low and usually, there’s no limit to how much you are allowed to explore.
  • Internet research is quick, easy and facile. It can be done from anywhere nowadays, as long as you have a device with an Internet connection and a full battery.
  • You can’t trust everything you read on the Internet. We all learned that the hard way, especially in the past couple of years.
  • The information is usually not structured as well as it is in books.
  • The answers we find online to different questions usually only cover the subject superficially

That being said, the battle of Internet vs books ends up a draw in my opinion, at least when looking at the bigger picture. It all depends on the topic you’re researching and how well you need that subject to be covered in your research material. 

Why Are Books Better Than the Internet for Research?

Many times, despite the Internet being quicker, cheaper and sometimes more convenient, the winners of the books vs the Internet battle will be the books. Here’s why.

Let’s say you’re interested in learning a new skill. Maybe you’re thinking of a career change or you just want to explore a certain topic for different reasons. 

Maybe you want to start your own business or simply want to learn how to better run the business you already own. 

A simple Internet search for “how to be a better entrepreneur” could provide some answers. You will find tens, hundreds of articles on different websites with a couple thousands words each, a handful of bullet points and a “recipe for success”, guaranteed to help you achieve your goals. 


But that barely scratches the surface of what you should be learning in order to be a better entrepreneur. A book about management or leadership will contain hundreds of pages of valuable information, structured in an easily understandable manner and with a lot more context, which will help you better understand the topic than a couple of bullet points. 


These books have been written by industry leaders, experts in their field, people who have dedicated their lives to the topic you’re researching and have spent hundreds of hours trying to condense their lifetime of experience into a couple hundred pages for your benefit. 

Most articles you find online nowadays are written by professional content writers who research the topic you’re interested in for a couple of hours, read a couple of other materials for inspiration and spend another couple of hours actually writing the article that is supposed to make you turn your life around. 

Online articles are usually optimized for readability, for better loading times, and for better positions in the search results of your preferred search engine. 

There can’t even be a comparison between a book about leadership and an online search for “how to be a better leader”. How can it be? How can we compare a 200 pages book written by an expert to an online article written by a content writer who had a 3000 words limit for the article and had to follow strict optimization rules?

Can the Internet Replace Books?

That being said, one would tend to believe that books are the ultimate research tool and that the Internet can cover any subject only to a certain extent. That is not necessarily true though.

Again, the topic dictates the ideal research tool more than anything else. 

For example, if you’re looking to learn how to cook better or simply want to try out new recipes from time to time, the Internet is probably the only place you will ever need to look from now on. The amount of information about cooking available online renders most cookbooks rather useless nowadays, especially if we take into account that the information is available online in different formats, which also includes video.

argumentative essay on books vs internet

Why would you read how to cook a dish when you can watch that dish being cooked and learn this way?

On the other hand, the Internet won’t be as effective as a learning tool if you want to learn a more complex activity such as trading. The more complicated the skill you want to learn or the task you want to accomplish, the better off you are doing your research from actual books rather than the Internet.

Stock trading books

Then again, there are certain topics however that give you no choice, where research from books vs the Internet research is a battle that is lost by books before it even starts. 

I am referring to novelty subjects such as cryptocurrencies, digital marketing, app development. Since these topics are rather recent and became popular as books decreased in popularity, chances are you’re better off searching for information / tutorials online than in a library, simply because very few (or none) books have been written about them.

As you can see, and as I mentioned earlier, there is no definitive answer for this “reading books vs Internet” debate when it comes to doing research. The topic is the most important and decisive factor.

Why Are Textbooks Better Than the Internet?

When it comes to school learning though, despite the obvious benefits of also having access to the Internet, learning from books or textbooks is essential. Why?

First of all, because all textbooks are written by professionals, not by ghost writers or content writers. If you really want to learn about statistics for example, the better choice is, obviously, to use a textbook. It is written by a statistics professor who spent his life learning and teaching this subject. 

Another important aspect of textbooks and another reason why they are a much better learning tool in school is that they were structured in a specific way that allows you to better grasp the concepts and to understand and learn the subject. 

Their authors feed you information progressively, building your knowledge from the bottom up, in a manner and a rhythm that has been optimized over decades of experience teaching that specific subject. 

No online resource can replace that. The Internet can be a great supplement though. For those who want to learn more than what’s in the textbook, the Internet could be a good place to gather additional information. 

Do We Learn More on the Internet Than From Books?

Well, nobody really knows. Over the past decades, many things shifted towards the online environment, including education. Even though most of the school learning is still done with textbooks, the ratio of Internet vs books research tends to favor the former.

If we take into consideration how often we open up a browser to search for information and compare it with how often each of us opens a book to get that same information, it’s probably safe to assume that we do most of our learning online.

That is not necessarily a good thing though. As I mentioned, we can’t always believe everything we read on the Internet and we don’t always find correct or accurate information about the topic we’re interested in. Moreover, the information about any topic we find online barely scratches the surface of that particular subject when compared to a book.

Bottom Line

All in all, there shouldn’t really be a battle of books vs the Internet. We believe that the best results when it comes to research is combining the two rather than sticking to only one. Combining book reading with online research is bound to yield the best results. And considering how easy that becomes when you use a reading tracker app like Basmo , why wouldn’t you?

Getting the best of both worlds is incredibly easy. Basmo is an app available both on iOS and Android devices, designed for book lovers who want to take their hobby further. 

Basmo allows you to:

  • Take notes while reading , which is especially useful whenever you read to learn rather than for pleasure. And since the app is already on your mobile device, combining the information you find online with what you find in the books becomes extremely easy.
  • Scan book pages and save important information as notes or quotes, which again can make your life a lot easier when combining online research with book reading
  • Create reading lists , which makes it a lot easier to line up all the books you want to read, in the order you want or have to read them
  • Analyze your time spent reading , raising your awareness in regards to your reading habits and reading speed
  • Set reading goals , a schedule and reminders , allowing you to become a more organized and efficient reader, regardless whether you do it for learning or for pleasure

Ready for the world’s first AI Chatbot for books? Start a chat with any book!

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argumentative essay on books vs internet

Books vs. Internet

What's the difference.

Books and the internet are both valuable sources of information and entertainment, but they differ in several ways. Books offer a tangible and immersive reading experience, allowing readers to disconnect from the digital world and engage with the text on a deeper level. They provide a sense of nostalgia and tradition, with their physical presence and the ability to flip through pages. On the other hand, the internet offers instant access to a vast amount of information, making it a convenient and efficient tool for research and learning. It also provides interactive features, such as videos and forums, that enhance the learning experience. However, the internet can be overwhelming and distracting, with the constant temptation of social media and other online distractions. Ultimately, both books and the internet have their own unique advantages and it is up to the individual to choose the medium that best suits their needs and preferences.


Further Detail


Books and the Internet are two powerful sources of information that have revolutionized the way we access knowledge. While books have been around for centuries, the Internet is a relatively new invention that has rapidly gained popularity. Both mediums have their own unique attributes and advantages, and in this article, we will explore and compare the various aspects of books and the Internet.


One of the key advantages of the Internet is its unparalleled accessibility. With just a few clicks, you can access a vast amount of information from anywhere in the world. Whether you are at home, in a coffee shop, or on the go, as long as you have an internet connection, you can access a wealth of knowledge. On the other hand, books require physical access. You need to visit a library or bookstore to find the book you are looking for. This can be time-consuming and may not always be convenient, especially if you live in a remote area with limited access to libraries.

Furthermore, the Internet allows for real-time updates and instant access to the latest information. Websites and online platforms are constantly updated, ensuring that you have access to the most recent developments. Books, on the other hand, may become outdated over time, especially in rapidly evolving fields such as technology or science.

Depth of Information

Books are known for their in-depth analysis and comprehensive coverage of a particular subject. Authors spend months or even years researching and writing a book, ensuring that it provides a deep understanding of the topic. Books often contain detailed explanations, examples, and case studies that allow readers to delve into a subject and gain a thorough understanding. On the contrary, the Internet can sometimes provide superficial or incomplete information. With the abundance of user-generated content and the ease of publishing online, it can be challenging to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones. This can lead to misinformation or a lack of depth in the information obtained from the Internet.

However, the Internet also offers a wide range of resources that can complement the information found in books. Online articles, scholarly journals, and research papers provide additional perspectives and up-to-date information that can enhance one's understanding of a subject. The Internet allows for a more diverse range of opinions and viewpoints, which can be beneficial for research and critical thinking.


When it comes to portability, the Internet has a clear advantage. With smartphones, tablets, and laptops, you can carry a vast library of information in your pocket. Whether you are traveling or commuting, you can access the Internet and browse through articles, e-books, or online resources. On the other hand, books can be bulky and heavy, making them less convenient to carry around. If you want to have access to multiple books, you would need to carry a bag or choose a few select titles to take with you.

However, it is worth noting that books do not require any external devices or power sources to be read. You can read a book anytime, anywhere, without worrying about battery life or internet connectivity. Books are also more durable and resistant to damage compared to electronic devices, which can be prone to technical issues or accidental damage.

Reading Experience

The reading experience offered by books and the Internet differs significantly. Books provide a tactile experience that many readers find enjoyable. The feel of turning pages, the smell of ink and paper, and the ability to physically highlight or annotate text are all aspects that contribute to the unique experience of reading a book. Books also offer a distraction-free environment, allowing readers to focus solely on the content without the temptation of notifications or ads.

On the other hand, the Internet offers a more interactive reading experience. Hyperlinks, multimedia content, and the ability to search for specific keywords or phrases make it easier to navigate and find information quickly. The Internet also allows for user engagement through comments, forums, and social media platforms, enabling readers to discuss and share their thoughts on a particular topic.

Cost is an important factor to consider when comparing books and the Internet. Books, especially new releases or specialized textbooks, can be quite expensive. Building a personal library can require a significant investment. Libraries provide a cost-effective alternative, but they may not always have the specific books you need. On the other hand, the Internet offers a vast amount of free information. Many websites, blogs, and online platforms provide valuable content without any cost. However, it is important to be cautious and verify the credibility of the sources to ensure the accuracy of the information obtained.

Additionally, the Internet has opened up new opportunities for self-publishing and digital distribution, allowing authors to reach a wider audience without the need for traditional publishing channels. This has led to the availability of free or low-cost e-books, further reducing the financial barrier to accessing information.

In conclusion, both books and the Internet have their own unique attributes and advantages. The Internet offers unparalleled accessibility, real-time updates, and a wide range of resources, while books provide in-depth analysis, a tactile reading experience, and a distraction-free environment. The Internet is more portable and cost-effective, but books offer durability and a sense of permanence. Ultimately, the choice between books and the Internet depends on personal preferences, the nature of the information needed, and the specific context in which it will be accessed. Both mediums have their place in our modern world, and by leveraging their respective strengths, we can maximize our access to knowledge and information.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.

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Learning Objectives

  • Examine types of argumentative essays

Argumentative Essays

You may have heard it said that all writing is an argument of some kind. Even if you’re writing an informative essay, you still have the job of trying to convince your audience that the information is important. However, there are times you’ll be asked to write an essay that is specifically an argumentative piece.

An argumentative essay is one that makes a clear assertion or argument about some topic or issue. When you’re writing an argumentative essay, it’s important to remember that an academic argument is quite different from a regular, emotional argument. Note that sometimes students forget the academic aspect of an argumentative essay and write essays that are much too emotional for an academic audience. It’s important for you to choose a topic you feel passionately about (if you’re allowed to pick your topic), but you have to be sure you aren’t too emotionally attached to a topic. In an academic argument, you’ll have a lot more constraints you have to consider, and you’ll focus much more on logic and reasoning than emotions.

A cartoon person with a heart in one hand and a brain in the other.

Argumentative essays are quite common in academic writing and are often an important part of writing in all disciplines. You may be asked to take a stand on a social issue in your introduction to writing course, but you could also be asked to take a stand on an issue related to health care in your nursing courses or make a case for solving a local environmental problem in your biology class. And, since argument is such a common essay assignment, it’s important to be aware of some basic elements of a good argumentative essay.

When your professor asks you to write an argumentative essay, you’ll often be given something specific to write about. For example, you may be asked to take a stand on an issue you have been discussing in class. Perhaps, in your education class, you would be asked to write about standardized testing in public schools. Or, in your literature class, you might be asked to argue the effects of protest literature on public policy in the United States.

However, there are times when you’ll be given a choice of topics. You might even be asked to write an argumentative essay on any topic related to your field of study or a topic you feel that is important personally.

Whatever the case, having some knowledge of some basic argumentative techniques or strategies will be helpful as you write. Below are some common types of arguments.

Causal Arguments

  • In this type of argument, you argue that something has caused something else. For example, you might explore the causes of the decline of large mammals in the world’s ocean and make a case for your cause.

Evaluation Arguments

  • In this type of argument, you make an argumentative evaluation of something as “good” or “bad,” but you need to establish the criteria for “good” or “bad.” For example, you might evaluate a children’s book for your education class, but you would need to establish clear criteria for your evaluation for your audience.

Proposal Arguments

  • In this type of argument, you must propose a solution to a problem. First, you must establish a clear problem and then propose a specific solution to that problem. For example, you might argue for a proposal that would increase retention rates at your college.

Narrative Arguments

  • In this type of argument, you make your case by telling a story with a clear point related to your argument. For example, you might write a narrative about your experiences with standardized testing in order to make a case for reform.

Rebuttal Arguments

  • In a rebuttal argument, you build your case around refuting an idea or ideas that have come before. In other words, your starting point is to challenge the ideas of the past.

Definition Arguments

  • In this type of argument, you use a definition as the starting point for making your case. For example, in a definition argument, you might argue that NCAA basketball players should be defined as professional players and, therefore, should be paid.


Essay Examples

  • Click here to read an argumentative essay on the consequences of fast fashion . Read it and look at the comments to recognize strategies and techniques the author uses to convey her ideas.
  • In this example, you’ll see a sample argumentative paper from a psychology class submitted in APA format. Key parts of the argumentative structure have been noted for you in the sample.

Link to Learning

For more examples of types of argumentative essays, visit the Argumentative Purposes section of the Excelsior OWL .

Contributors and Attributions

  • Argumentative Essay. Provided by : Excelsior OWL. Located at : https://owl.excelsior.edu/rhetorical-styles/argumentative-essay/ . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Image of a man with a heart and a brain. Authored by : Mohamed Hassan. Provided by : Pixabay. Located at : pixabay.com/illustrations/decision-brain-heart-mind-4083469/. License : Other . License Terms : pixabay.com/service/terms/#license


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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to write an a+ argumentative essay.



You'll no doubt have to write a number of argumentative essays in both high school and college, but what, exactly, is an argumentative essay and how do you write the best one possible? Let's take a look.

A great argumentative essay always combines the same basic elements: approaching an argument from a rational perspective, researching sources, supporting your claims using facts rather than opinion, and articulating your reasoning into the most cogent and reasoned points. Argumentative essays are great building blocks for all sorts of research and rhetoric, so your teachers will expect you to master the technique before long.

But if this sounds daunting, never fear! We'll show how an argumentative essay differs from other kinds of papers, how to research and write them, how to pick an argumentative essay topic, and where to find example essays. So let's get started.

What Is an Argumentative Essay? How Is it Different from Other Kinds of Essays?

There are two basic requirements for any and all essays: to state a claim (a thesis statement) and to support that claim with evidence.

Though every essay is founded on these two ideas, there are several different types of essays, differentiated by the style of the writing, how the writer presents the thesis, and the types of evidence used to support the thesis statement.

Essays can be roughly divided into four different types:

#1: Argumentative #2: Persuasive #3: Expository #4: Analytical

So let's look at each type and what the differences are between them before we focus the rest of our time to argumentative essays.

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays are what this article is all about, so let's talk about them first.

An argumentative essay attempts to convince a reader to agree with a particular argument (the writer's thesis statement). The writer takes a firm stand one way or another on a topic and then uses hard evidence to support that stance.

An argumentative essay seeks to prove to the reader that one argument —the writer's argument— is the factually and logically correct one. This means that an argumentative essay must use only evidence-based support to back up a claim , rather than emotional or philosophical reasoning (which is often allowed in other types of essays). Thus, an argumentative essay has a burden of substantiated proof and sources , whereas some other types of essays (namely persuasive essays) do not.

You can write an argumentative essay on any topic, so long as there's room for argument. Generally, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one, so long as you support the argumentative essay with hard evidence.

Example topics of an argumentative essay:

  • "Should farmers be allowed to shoot wolves if those wolves injure or kill farm animals?"
  • "Should the drinking age be lowered in the United States?"
  • "Are alternatives to democracy effective and/or feasible to implement?"

The next three types of essays are not argumentative essays, but you may have written them in school. We're going to cover them so you know what not to do for your argumentative essay.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative essays, so it can be easy to get them confused. But knowing what makes an argumentative essay different than a persuasive essay can often mean the difference between an excellent grade and an average one.

Persuasive essays seek to persuade a reader to agree with the point of view of the writer, whether that point of view is based on factual evidence or not. The writer has much more flexibility in the evidence they can use, with the ability to use moral, cultural, or opinion-based reasoning as well as factual reasoning to persuade the reader to agree the writer's side of a given issue.

Instead of being forced to use "pure" reason as one would in an argumentative essay, the writer of a persuasive essay can manipulate or appeal to the reader's emotions. So long as the writer attempts to steer the readers into agreeing with the thesis statement, the writer doesn't necessarily need hard evidence in favor of the argument.

Often, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one—the difference is all in the approach and the evidence you present.

Example topics of a persuasive essay:

  • "Should children be responsible for their parents' debts?"
  • "Should cheating on a test be automatic grounds for expulsion?"
  • "How much should sports leagues be held accountable for player injuries and the long-term consequences of those injuries?"

Expository Essay

An expository essay is typically a short essay in which the writer explains an idea, issue, or theme , or discusses the history of a person, place, or idea.

This is typically a fact-forward essay with little argument or opinion one way or the other.

Example topics of an expository essay:

  • "The History of the Philadelphia Liberty Bell"
  • "The Reasons I Always Wanted to be a Doctor"
  • "The Meaning Behind the Colloquialism ‘People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones'"

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay seeks to delve into the deeper meaning of a text or work of art, or unpack a complicated idea . These kinds of essays closely interpret a source and look into its meaning by analyzing it at both a macro and micro level.

This type of analysis can be augmented by historical context or other expert or widely-regarded opinions on the subject, but is mainly supported directly through the original source (the piece or art or text being analyzed) .

Example topics of an analytical essay:

  • "Victory Gin in Place of Water: The Symbolism Behind Gin as the Only Potable Substance in George Orwell's 1984"
  • "Amarna Period Art: The Meaning Behind the Shift from Rigid to Fluid Poses"
  • "Adultery During WWII, as Told Through a Series of Letters to and from Soldiers"


There are many different types of essay and, over time, you'll be able to master them all.

A Typical Argumentative Essay Assignment

The average argumentative essay is between three to five pages, and will require at least three or four separate sources with which to back your claims . As for the essay topic , you'll most often be asked to write an argumentative essay in an English class on a "general" topic of your choice, ranging the gamut from science, to history, to literature.

But while the topics of an argumentative essay can span several different fields, the structure of an argumentative essay is always the same: you must support a claim—a claim that can reasonably have multiple sides—using multiple sources and using a standard essay format (which we'll talk about later on).

This is why many argumentative essay topics begin with the word "should," as in:

  • "Should all students be required to learn chemistry in high school?"
  • "Should children be required to learn a second language?"
  • "Should schools or governments be allowed to ban books?"

These topics all have at least two sides of the argument: Yes or no. And you must support the side you choose with evidence as to why your side is the correct one.

But there are also plenty of other ways to frame an argumentative essay as well:

  • "Does using social media do more to benefit or harm people?"
  • "Does the legal status of artwork or its creators—graffiti and vandalism, pirated media, a creator who's in jail—have an impact on the art itself?"
  • "Is or should anyone ever be ‘above the law?'"

Though these are worded differently than the first three, you're still essentially forced to pick between two sides of an issue: yes or no, for or against, benefit or detriment. Though your argument might not fall entirely into one side of the divide or another—for instance, you could claim that social media has positively impacted some aspects of modern life while being a detriment to others—your essay should still support one side of the argument above all. Your final stance would be that overall , social media is beneficial or overall , social media is harmful.

If your argument is one that is mostly text-based or backed by a single source (e.g., "How does Salinger show that Holden Caulfield is an unreliable narrator?" or "Does Gatsby personify the American Dream?"), then it's an analytical essay, rather than an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay will always be focused on more general topics so that you can use multiple sources to back up your claims.

Good Argumentative Essay Topics

So you know the basic idea behind an argumentative essay, but what topic should you write about?

Again, almost always, you'll be asked to write an argumentative essay on a free topic of your choice, or you'll be asked to select between a few given topics . If you're given complete free reign of topics, then it'll be up to you to find an essay topic that no only appeals to you, but that you can turn into an A+ argumentative essay.

What makes a "good" argumentative essay topic depends on both the subject matter and your personal interest —it can be hard to give your best effort on something that bores you to tears! But it can also be near impossible to write an argumentative essay on a topic that has no room for debate.

As we said earlier, a good argumentative essay topic will be one that has the potential to reasonably go in at least two directions—for or against, yes or no, and why . For example, it's pretty hard to write an argumentative essay on whether or not people should be allowed to murder one another—not a whole lot of debate there for most people!—but writing an essay for or against the death penalty has a lot more wiggle room for evidence and argument.

A good topic is also one that can be substantiated through hard evidence and relevant sources . So be sure to pick a topic that other people have studied (or at least studied elements of) so that you can use their data in your argument. For example, if you're arguing that it should be mandatory for all middle school children to play a sport, you might have to apply smaller scientific data points to the larger picture you're trying to justify. There are probably several studies you could cite on the benefits of physical activity and the positive effect structure and teamwork has on young minds, but there's probably no study you could use where a group of scientists put all middle-schoolers in one jurisdiction into a mandatory sports program (since that's probably never happened). So long as your evidence is relevant to your point and you can extrapolate from it to form a larger whole, you can use it as a part of your resource material.

And if you need ideas on where to get started, or just want to see sample argumentative essay topics, then check out these links for hundreds of potential argumentative essay topics.

101 Persuasive (or Argumentative) Essay and Speech Topics

301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Top 50 Ideas for Argumentative/Persuasive Essay Writing

[Note: some of these say "persuasive essay topics," but just remember that the same topic can often be used for both a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay; the difference is in your writing style and the evidence you use to support your claims.]


KO! Find that one argumentative essay topic you can absolutely conquer.

Argumentative Essay Format

Argumentative Essays are composed of four main elements:

  • A position (your argument)
  • Your reasons
  • Supporting evidence for those reasons (from reliable sources)
  • Counterargument(s) (possible opposing arguments and reasons why those arguments are incorrect)

If you're familiar with essay writing in general, then you're also probably familiar with the five paragraph essay structure . This structure is a simple tool to show how one outlines an essay and breaks it down into its component parts, although it can be expanded into as many paragraphs as you want beyond the core five.

The standard argumentative essay is often 3-5 pages, which will usually mean a lot more than five paragraphs, but your overall structure will look the same as a much shorter essay.

An argumentative essay at its simplest structure will look like:

Paragraph 1: Intro

  • Set up the story/problem/issue
  • Thesis/claim

Paragraph 2: Support

  • Reason #1 claim is correct
  • Supporting evidence with sources

Paragraph 3: Support

  • Reason #2 claim is correct

Paragraph 4: Counterargument

  • Explanation of argument for the other side
  • Refutation of opposing argument with supporting evidence

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

  • Re-state claim
  • Sum up reasons and support of claim from the essay to prove claim is correct

Now let's unpack each of these paragraph types to see how they work (with examples!), what goes into them, and why.

Paragraph 1—Set Up and Claim

Your first task is to introduce the reader to the topic at hand so they'll be prepared for your claim. Give a little background information, set the scene, and give the reader some stakes so that they care about the issue you're going to discuss.

Next, you absolutely must have a position on an argument and make that position clear to the readers. It's not an argumentative essay unless you're arguing for a specific claim, and this claim will be your thesis statement.

Your thesis CANNOT be a mere statement of fact (e.g., "Washington DC is the capital of the United States"). Your thesis must instead be an opinion which can be backed up with evidence and has the potential to be argued against (e.g., "New York should be the capital of the United States").

Paragraphs 2 and 3—Your Evidence

These are your body paragraphs in which you give the reasons why your argument is the best one and back up this reasoning with concrete evidence .

The argument supporting the thesis of an argumentative essay should be one that can be supported by facts and evidence, rather than personal opinion or cultural or religious mores.

For example, if you're arguing that New York should be the new capital of the US, you would have to back up that fact by discussing the factual contrasts between New York and DC in terms of location, population, revenue, and laws. You would then have to talk about the precedents for what makes for a good capital city and why New York fits the bill more than DC does.

Your argument can't simply be that a lot of people think New York is the best city ever and that you agree.

In addition to using concrete evidence, you always want to keep the tone of your essay passionate, but impersonal . Even though you're writing your argument from a single opinion, don't use first person language—"I think," "I feel," "I believe,"—to present your claims. Doing so is repetitive, since by writing the essay you're already telling the audience what you feel, and using first person language weakens your writing voice.

For example,

"I think that Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

"Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

The second statement sounds far stronger and more analytical.

Paragraph 4—Argument for the Other Side and Refutation

Even without a counter argument, you can make a pretty persuasive claim, but a counterargument will round out your essay into one that is much more persuasive and substantial.

By anticipating an argument against your claim and taking the initiative to counter it, you're allowing yourself to get ahead of the game. This way, you show that you've given great thought to all sides of the issue before choosing your position, and you demonstrate in multiple ways how yours is the more reasoned and supported side.

Paragraph 5—Conclusion

This paragraph is where you re-state your argument and summarize why it's the best claim.

Briefly touch on your supporting evidence and voila! A finished argumentative essay.


Your essay should have just as awesome a skeleton as this plesiosaur does. (In other words: a ridiculously awesome skeleton)

Argumentative Essay Example: 5-Paragraph Style

It always helps to have an example to learn from. I've written a full 5-paragraph argumentative essay here. Look at how I state my thesis in paragraph 1, give supporting evidence in paragraphs 2 and 3, address a counterargument in paragraph 4, and conclude in paragraph 5.

Topic: Is it possible to maintain conflicting loyalties?

Paragraph 1

It is almost impossible to go through life without encountering a situation where your loyalties to different people or causes come into conflict with each other. Maybe you have a loving relationship with your sister, but she disagrees with your decision to join the army, or you find yourself torn between your cultural beliefs and your scientific ones. These conflicting loyalties can often be maintained for a time, but as examples from both history and psychological theory illustrate, sooner or later, people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever.

The first two sentences set the scene and give some hypothetical examples and stakes for the reader to care about.

The third sentence finishes off the intro with the thesis statement, making very clear how the author stands on the issue ("people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever." )

Paragraphs 2 and 3

Psychological theory states that human beings are not equipped to maintain conflicting loyalties indefinitely and that attempting to do so leads to a state called "cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance theory is the psychological idea that people undergo tremendous mental stress or anxiety when holding contradictory beliefs, values, or loyalties (Festinger, 1957). Even if human beings initially hold a conflicting loyalty, they will do their best to find a mental equilibrium by making a choice between those loyalties—stay stalwart to a belief system or change their beliefs. One of the earliest formal examples of cognitive dissonance theory comes from Leon Festinger's When Prophesy Fails . Members of an apocalyptic cult are told that the end of the world will occur on a specific date and that they alone will be spared the Earth's destruction. When that day comes and goes with no apocalypse, the cult members face a cognitive dissonance between what they see and what they've been led to believe (Festinger, 1956). Some choose to believe that the cult's beliefs are still correct, but that the Earth was simply spared from destruction by mercy, while others choose to believe that they were lied to and that the cult was fraudulent all along. Both beliefs cannot be correct at the same time, and so the cult members are forced to make their choice.

But even when conflicting loyalties can lead to potentially physical, rather than just mental, consequences, people will always make a choice to fall on one side or other of a dividing line. Take, for instance, Nicolaus Copernicus, a man born and raised in Catholic Poland (and educated in Catholic Italy). Though the Catholic church dictated specific scientific teachings, Copernicus' loyalty to his own observations and scientific evidence won out over his loyalty to his country's government and belief system. When he published his heliocentric model of the solar system--in opposition to the geocentric model that had been widely accepted for hundreds of years (Hannam, 2011)-- Copernicus was making a choice between his loyalties. In an attempt t o maintain his fealty both to the established system and to what he believed, h e sat on his findings for a number of years (Fantoli, 1994). But, ultimately, Copernicus made the choice to side with his beliefs and observations above all and published his work for the world to see (even though, in doing so, he risked both his reputation and personal freedoms).

These two paragraphs provide the reasons why the author supports the main argument and uses substantiated sources to back those reasons.

The paragraph on cognitive dissonance theory gives both broad supporting evidence and more narrow, detailed supporting evidence to show why the thesis statement is correct not just anecdotally but also scientifically and psychologically. First, we see why people in general have a difficult time accepting conflicting loyalties and desires and then how this applies to individuals through the example of the cult members from the Dr. Festinger's research.

The next paragraph continues to use more detailed examples from history to provide further evidence of why the thesis that people cannot indefinitely maintain conflicting loyalties is true.

Paragraph 4

Some will claim that it is possible to maintain conflicting beliefs or loyalties permanently, but this is often more a matter of people deluding themselves and still making a choice for one side or the other, rather than truly maintaining loyalty to both sides equally. For example, Lancelot du Lac typifies a person who claims to maintain a balanced loyalty between to two parties, but his attempt to do so fails (as all attempts to permanently maintain conflicting loyalties must). Lancelot tells himself and others that he is equally devoted to both King Arthur and his court and to being Queen Guinevere's knight (Malory, 2008). But he can neither be in two places at once to protect both the king and queen, nor can he help but let his romantic feelings for the queen to interfere with his duties to the king and the kingdom. Ultimately, he and Queen Guinevere give into their feelings for one another and Lancelot—though he denies it—chooses his loyalty to her over his loyalty to Arthur. This decision plunges the kingdom into a civil war, ages Lancelot prematurely, and ultimately leads to Camelot's ruin (Raabe, 1987). Though Lancelot claimed to have been loyal to both the king and the queen, this loyalty was ultimately in conflict, and he could not maintain it.

Here we have the acknowledgement of a potential counter-argument and the evidence as to why it isn't true.

The argument is that some people (or literary characters) have asserted that they give equal weight to their conflicting loyalties. The refutation is that, though some may claim to be able to maintain conflicting loyalties, they're either lying to others or deceiving themselves. The paragraph shows why this is true by providing an example of this in action.

Paragraph 5

Whether it be through literature or history, time and time again, people demonstrate the challenges of trying to manage conflicting loyalties and the inevitable consequences of doing so. Though belief systems are malleable and will often change over time, it is not possible to maintain two mutually exclusive loyalties or beliefs at once. In the end, people always make a choice, and loyalty for one party or one side of an issue will always trump loyalty to the other.

The concluding paragraph summarizes the essay, touches on the evidence presented, and re-states the thesis statement.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 8 Steps

Writing the best argumentative essay is all about the preparation, so let's talk steps:

#1: Preliminary Research

If you have the option to pick your own argumentative essay topic (which you most likely will), then choose one or two topics you find the most intriguing or that you have a vested interest in and do some preliminary research on both sides of the debate.

Do an open internet search just to see what the general chatter is on the topic and what the research trends are.

Did your preliminary reading influence you to pick a side or change your side? Without diving into all the scholarly articles at length, do you believe there's enough evidence to support your claim? Have there been scientific studies? Experiments? Does a noted scholar in the field agree with you? If not, you may need to pick another topic or side of the argument to support.

#2: Pick Your Side and Form Your Thesis

Now's the time to pick the side of the argument you feel you can support the best and summarize your main point into your thesis statement.

Your thesis will be the basis of your entire essay, so make sure you know which side you're on, that you've stated it clearly, and that you stick by your argument throughout the entire essay .

#3: Heavy-Duty Research Time

You've taken a gander at what the internet at large has to say on your argument, but now's the time to actually read those sources and take notes.

Check scholarly journals online at Google Scholar , the Directory of Open Access Journals , or JStor . You can also search individual university or school libraries and websites to see what kinds of academic articles you can access for free. Keep track of your important quotes and page numbers and put them somewhere that's easy to find later.

And don't forget to check your school or local libraries as well!

#4: Outline

Follow the five-paragraph outline structure from the previous section.

Fill in your topic, your reasons, and your supporting evidence into each of the categories.

Before you begin to flesh out the essay, take a look at what you've got. Is your thesis statement in the first paragraph? Is it clear? Is your argument logical? Does your supporting evidence support your reasoning?

By outlining your essay, you streamline your process and take care of any logic gaps before you dive headfirst into the writing. This will save you a lot of grief later on if you need to change your sources or your structure, so don't get too trigger-happy and skip this step.

Now that you've laid out exactly what you'll need for your essay and where, it's time to fill in all the gaps by writing it out.

Take it one step at a time and expand your ideas into complete sentences and substantiated claims. It may feel daunting to turn an outline into a complete draft, but just remember that you've already laid out all the groundwork; now you're just filling in the gaps.

If you have the time before deadline, give yourself a day or two (or even just an hour!) away from your essay . Looking it over with fresh eyes will allow you to see errors, both minor and major, that you likely would have missed had you tried to edit when it was still raw.

Take a first pass over the entire essay and try your best to ignore any minor spelling or grammar mistakes—you're just looking at the big picture right now. Does it make sense as a whole? Did the essay succeed in making an argument and backing that argument up logically? (Do you feel persuaded?)

If not, go back and make notes so that you can fix it for your final draft.

Once you've made your revisions to the overall structure, mark all your small errors and grammar problems so you can fix them in the next draft.

#7: Final Draft

Use the notes you made on the rough draft and go in and hack and smooth away until you're satisfied with the final result.

A checklist for your final draft:

  • Formatting is correct according to your teacher's standards
  • No errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Essay is the right length and size for the assignment
  • The argument is present, consistent, and concise
  • Each reason is supported by relevant evidence
  • The essay makes sense overall

#8: Celebrate!

Once you've brought that final draft to a perfect polish and turned in your assignment, you're done! Go you!


Be prepared and ♪ you'll never go hungry again ♪, *cough*, or struggle with your argumentative essay-writing again. (Walt Disney Studios)

Good Examples of Argumentative Essays Online

Theory is all well and good, but examples are key. Just to get you started on what a fully-fleshed out argumentative essay looks like, let's see some examples in action.

Check out these two argumentative essay examples on the use of landmines and freons (and note the excellent use of concrete sources to back up their arguments!).

The Use of Landmines

A Shattered Sky

The Take-Aways: Keys to Writing an Argumentative Essay

At first, writing an argumentative essay may seem like a monstrous hurdle to overcome, but with the proper preparation and understanding, you'll be able to knock yours out of the park.

Remember the differences between a persuasive essay and an argumentative one, make sure your thesis is clear, and double-check that your supporting evidence is both relevant to your point and well-sourced . Pick your topic, do your research, make your outline, and fill in the gaps. Before you know it, you'll have yourself an A+ argumentative essay there, my friend.

What's Next?

Now you know the ins and outs of an argumentative essay, but how comfortable are you writing in other styles? Learn more about the four writing styles and when it makes sense to use each .

Understand how to make an argument, but still having trouble organizing your thoughts? Check out our guide to three popular essay formats and choose which one is right for you.

Ready to make your case, but not sure what to write about? We've created a list of 50 potential argumentative essay topics to spark your imagination.

Courtney scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology. She is passionate about bringing education and the tools to succeed to students from all backgrounds and walks of life, as she believes open education is one of the great societal equalizers. She has years of tutoring experience and writes creative works in her free time.

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Argumentative Essays

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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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Argumentative Essay: Online Learning and Educational Access

Conventional learning is evolving with the help of computers and online technology. New ways of learning are now available, and improved access is one of the most important benefits available. People all around the world are experiencing improved mobility as a result of the freedom and potential that online learning provides, and as academic institutions and learning organisations adopt online learning technologies and remote-access learning, formal academic education is becoming increasingly legitimate. This essay argues the contemporary benefits of online learning, and that these benefits significantly outweigh the issues, challenges and disadvantages of online learning.

Online learning is giving people new choices and newfound flexibility with their personal learning and development. Whereas before, formal academic qualifications could only be gained by participating in a full time course on site, the internet has allowed institutions to expand their reach and offer recognized courses on a contact-partial, or totally virtual, basis. Institutions can do so with relatively few extra resources, and for paid courses this constitutes excellent value, and the student benefits with greater educational access and greater flexibility to learn and get qualified even when there lots of other personal commitments to deal with.

Flexibility is certainly one of the most important benefits, but just as important is educational access. On top of the internet’s widespread presence in developed countries, the internet is becoming increasingly available in newly developed and developing countries. Even without considering the general informational exposure that the internet delivers, online academic courses and learning initiatives are becoming more aware of the needs of people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and this means that people from such backgrounds are in a much better position to learn and progress than they used to be.

The biggest argument that raises doubt over online learning is the quality of online courses in comparison to conventional courses. Are such online courses good enough for employers to take notice? The second biggest argument is the current reality that faces many people from disadvantaged backgrounds, despite the improvements made in this area in recent years – they do not have the level of basic access needed to benefit from online learning. In fact, there are numerous sources of evidence that claim disadvantaged students are not receiving anywhere near the sort of benefits that online learning institutions and promoters are trying to instigate. Currently there are many organisations, campaigns and initiatives that are working to expand access to higher education. With such high participation, it can be argued that it is only a matter of time before the benefits are truly realised, but what about the global online infrastructure?

There is another argument that is very difficult to dispel, and that is the response of different types of students to the online learning paradigm. Evidence shows that there are certain groups of students that benefit from college distance learning much more than other groups. In essence, students must be highly motivated and highly disciplined if they are to learn effectively in their own private environment.

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130 New Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Questions on everything from mental health and sports to video games and dating. Which ones inspire you to take a stand?

argumentative essay on books vs internet

By The Learning Network

Note: We have an updated version of this list, with 300 new argumentative writing prompts .

What issues do you care most about? What topics do you find yourself discussing passionately, whether online, at the dinner table, in the classroom or with your friends?

In Unit 5 of our free yearlong writing curriculum and related Student Editorial Contest , we invite students to research and write about the issues that matter to them, whether that’s Shakespeare , health care , standardized testing or being messy .

But with so many possibilities, where does one even begin? Try our student writing prompts.

In 2017, we compiled a list of 401 argumentative writing prompts , all drawn from our daily Student Opinion column . Now, we’re rounding up 130 more we’ve published since then ( available here as a PDF ). Each prompt links to a free Times article as well as additional subquestions that can help you think more deeply about it.

You might use this list to inspire your own writing and to find links to reliable resources about the issues that intrigue you. But even if you’re not participating in our contest, you can use these prompts to practice the kind of low-stakes writing that can help you hone your argumentation skills.

So scroll through the list below with questions on everything from sports and mental health to dating and video games and see which ones inspire you to take a stand.

Please note: Many of these prompts are still open to comment by students 13 and up.

Technology & Social Media

1. Do Memes Make the Internet a Better Place? 2. Does Online Public Shaming Prevent Us From Being Able to Grow and Change? 3. How Young Is Too Young to Use Social Media? 4. Should the Adults in Your Life Be Worried by How Much You Use Your Phone? 5. Is Your Phone Love Hurting Your Relationships? 6. Should Kids Be Social Media Influencers? 7. Does Grammar Still Matter in the Age of Twitter? 8. Should Texting While Driving Be Treated Like Drunken Driving? 9. How Do You Think Technology Affects Dating?

10. Are Straight A’s Always a Good Thing? 11. Should Schools Teach You How to Be Happy? 12. How Do You Think American Education Could Be Improved? 13. Should Schools Test Their Students for Nicotine and Drug Use? 14. Can Social Media Be a Tool for Learning and Growth in Schools? 15. Should Facial Recognition Technology Be Used in Schools? 16. Should Your School Day Start Later? 17. How Should Senior Year in High School Be Spent? 18. Should Teachers Be Armed With Guns? 19. Is School a Place for Self-Expression? 20. Should Students Be Punished for Not Having Lunch Money? 21. Is Live-Streaming Classrooms a Good Idea? 22. Should Gifted and Talented Education Be Eliminated? 23. What Are the Most Important Things Students Should Learn in School? 24. Should Schools Be Allowed to Censor Student Newspapers? 25. Do You Feel Your School and Teachers Welcome Both Conservative and Liberal Points of View? 26. Should Teachers and Professors Ban Student Use of Laptops in Class? 27. Should Schools Teach About Climate Change? 28. Should All Schools Offer Music Programs? 29. Does Your School Need More Money? 30. Should All Schools Teach Cursive? 31. What Role Should Textbooks Play in Education? 32. Do Kids Need Recess?

College & Career

33. What Is Your Reaction to the College Admissions Cheating Scandal? 34. Is the College Admissions Process Fair? 35. Should Everyone Go to College? 36. Should College Be Free? 37. Are Lavish Amenities on College Campuses Useful or Frivolous? 38. Should ‘Despised Dissenters’ Be Allowed to Speak on College Campuses? 39. How Should the Problem of Sexual Assault on Campuses Be Addressed? 40. Should Fraternities Be Abolished? 41. Is Student Debt Worth It?

Mental & Physical Health

42. Should Students Get Mental Health Days Off From School? 43. Is Struggle Essential to Happiness? 44. Does Every Country Need a ‘Loneliness Minister’? 45. Should Schools Teach Mindfulness? 46. Should All Children Be Vaccinated? 47. What Do You Think About Vegetarianism? 48. Do We Worry Too Much About Germs? 49. What Advice Should Parents and Counselors Give Teenagers About Sexting? 50. Do You Think Porn Influences the Way Teenagers Think About Sex?

Race & Gender

51. How Should Parents Teach Their Children About Race and Racism? 52. Is America ‘Backsliding’ on Race? 53. Should All Americans Receive Anti-Bias Education? 54. Should All Companies Require Anti-Bias Training for Employees? 55. Should Columbus Day Be Replaced With Indigenous Peoples Day? 56. Is Fear of ‘The Other’ Poisoning Public Life? 57. Should the Boy Scouts Be Coed? 58. What Is Hard About Being a Boy?

59. Can You Separate Art From the Artist? 60. Are There Subjects That Should Be Off-Limits to Artists, or to Certain Artists in Particular? 61. Should Art Come With Trigger Warnings? 62. Should Graffiti Be Protected? 63. Is the Digital Era Improving or Ruining the Experience of Art? 64. Are Museums Still Important in the Digital Age? 65. In the Age of Digital Streaming, Are Movie Theaters Still Relevant? 66. Is Hollywood Becoming More Diverse? 67. What Stereotypical Characters Make You Cringe? 68. Do We Need More Female Superheroes? 69. Do Video Games Deserve the Bad Rap They Often Get? 70. Should Musicians Be Allowed to Copy or Borrow From Other Artists? 71. Is Listening to a Book Just as Good as Reading It? 72. Is There Any Benefit to Reading Books You Hate?

73. Should Girls and Boys Sports Teams Compete in the Same League? 74. Should College Athletes Be Paid? 75. Are Youth Sports Too Competitive? 76. Is It Selfish to Pursue Risky Sports Like Extreme Mountain Climbing? 77. How Should We Punish Sports Cheaters? 78. Should Technology in Sports Be Limited? 79. Should Blowouts Be Allowed in Youth Sports? 80. Is It Offensive for Sports Teams and Their Fans to Use Native American Names, Imagery and Gestures?

81. Is It Wrong to Focus on Animal Welfare When Humans Are Suffering? 82. Should Extinct Animals Be Resurrected? If So, Which Ones? 83. Are Emotional-Support Animals a Scam? 84. Is Animal Testing Ever Justified? 85. Should We Be Concerned With Where We Get Our Pets? 86. Is This Exhibit Animal Cruelty or Art?

Parenting & Childhood

87. Who Should Decide Whether a Teenager Can Get a Tattoo or Piercing? 88. Is It Harder to Grow Up in the 21st Century Than It Was in the Past? 89. Should Parents Track Their Teenager’s Location? 90. Is Childhood Today Over-Supervised? 91. How Should Parents Talk to Their Children About Drugs? 92. What Should We Call Your Generation? 93. Do Other People Care Too Much About Your Post-High School Plans? 94. Do Parents Ever Cross a Line by Helping Too Much With Schoolwork? 95. What’s the Best Way to Discipline Children? 96. What Are Your Thoughts on ‘Snowplow Parents’? 97. Should Stay-at-Home Parents Be Paid? 98. When Do You Become an Adult?

Ethics & Morality

99. Why Do Bystanders Sometimes Fail to Help When They See Someone in Danger? 100. Is It Ethical to Create Genetically Edited Humans? 101. Should Reporters Ever Help the People They Are Covering? 102. Is It O.K. to Use Family Connections to Get a Job? 103. Is $1 Billion Too Much Money for Any One Person to Have? 104. Are We Being Bad Citizens If We Don’t Keep Up With the News? 105. Should Prisons Offer Incarcerated People Education Opportunities? 106. Should Law Enforcement Be Able to Use DNA Data From Genealogy Websites for Criminal Investigations? 107. Should We Treat Robots Like People?

Government & Politics

108. Does the United States Owe Reparations to the Descendants of Enslaved People? 109. Do You Think It Is Important for Teenagers to Participate in Political Activism? 110. Should the Voting Age Be Lowered to 16? 111. What Should Lawmakers Do About Guns and Gun Violence? 112. Should Confederate Statues Be Removed or Remain in Place? 113. Does the U.S. Constitution Need an Equal Rights Amendment? 114. Should National Monuments Be Protected by the Government? 115. Should Free Speech Protections Include Self Expression That Discriminates? 116. How Important Is Freedom of the Press? 117. Should Ex-Felons Have the Right to Vote? 118. Should Marijuana Be Legal? 119. Should the United States Abolish Daylight Saving Time? 120. Should We Abolish the Death Penalty? 121. Should the U.S. Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Weapons? 122. Should the U.S. Get Rid of the Electoral College? 123. What Do You Think of President Trump’s Use of Twitter? 124. Should Celebrities Weigh In on Politics? 125. Why Is It Important for People With Different Political Beliefs to Talk to Each Other?

Other Questions

126. Should the Week Be Four Days Instead of Five? 127. Should Public Transit Be Free? 128. How Important Is Knowing a Foreign Language? 129. Is There a ‘Right Way’ to Be a Tourist? 130. Should Your Significant Other Be Your Best Friend?


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