Learning from argumentative essay example

Persuasion is a highly challenging art. Entire major programs are devoted to teaching students to write and speak persuasively, including Communications majors, Rhetoric majors, Journalism programs, and some English programs. It comes as no surprise, then, that writing argumentative essays is really difficult for the average undergraduate writer. Even talented writers can buckle under the pressure of selecting a point or thesis and fighting for it with words and evidence.

One fantastic way of learning the art of persuasion is by reading example persuasive essays. Argumentative essays are an age old creative form, dating back to Jonathan Swift and the Federalist Papers, or perhaps even earlier. For centuries, deep thinkers have been using the essay for to stand up for what the believe in, to change hearts and minds, and to call others to action. You can learn how to do the same by reading some example essays and emulating them.

How does one use an argumentative essay as an example? Follow this advice.

Analyze Claims and Arguments

Read your example essay and make note of the writer’s primary claims. Every persuasive essay should have a main thesis, followed by several supplementary claims that support the central thesis. The first claim should be apparent from the outset of the paper, or at least by the end of the introductory paragraph. The supplementary claims should be evident throughout the body paragraphs, and should logically support the initial claim. Chart out how these claims are related to one another, logically. You will want to emulate this structure in your own work.

Review the Evidence

Pay close attention to the factual claims and rhetorical evidence the writer provides. Analyze it closely to see if it logically supports the primary thesis of the paper. Does the writer illustrate clearly how the thesis and the supporting evidence interlock? Are there any alternative ways of seeing the evidence, which fails to support the author’s central thesis? Try to tear the writer’s beliefs and claims apart. Learning how to combat a strong argument is the first step in learning to construct your own strong persuasive material.

Review the Responses to Counter Evidence

A well written persuasive essay should acknowledge the existence of conflicting viewpoints. Further, such papers should actively work to disprove and refute the claims of people who believe differently. See if the paper you are reading acknowledges the beliefs of other people, and see how the writer responds to potential conflicting logic or evidence.