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09/04/2019

how to write a good argumentative essay?

QUESTION
how to write a good argumentative essay?
how to write a good argumentative essay

ANSWER
My strategy has always been to reduce my argument to a few basic premises, and then show why each of the premises are true, then how the argument evolves from those premises.

Stick (mostly) with your strongest points. If you feel the need, you can counter likely arguments against your points within your essay (don’t just ignore them…if you can think of them, you should be able to think of some reply to them).

For example, if arguing for something like capital punishment, what grounds are you most ‘stable’ on? Probably best not to frame it as a moral issue, as you leave yourself open to attack. The best argument that I can think of would be in terms of drain on resources of keeping people locked up for life. The biggest ‘opening’ in the argument that I can see is how can you be sure you have the right person?

So, you frame the argument in terms of the drain that these people imprisoned for life put on financial resources, how its unfair to ask the tax payer to support someone who contributes nothing to society, and that there do exist cases where there is *no* reasonable doubt about the guilty party (for example the guy in BC who murdered prostitutes for years, and chopped them up and fed them to his pigs).

You could potentially, at this stage as a side note, bring in how it offers closure to the families of the people involved etc., but personally I might stay away from that angle.

Arguing against, I’d focus on the certainty, and the ‘sliding scale’ aspect of things. Once we’re OK with capital punishment for someone who murders 30 people, what about someone who murders one person? If we say something is OK once, you’ve established that there are criteria that make it OK. Is that a moral judgment we’re willing to live with? Might also focus on the idea that the legal system is built around rehabilitation, and deterrent, not retribution, etc.

Hope that gives you an idea of my style, but you really need to find a style that works for you.

Hope that helps.