Argumentative Essays

Argumentative Essays
Part 1: The structure of a good argumentative essay
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Slide 1: Slide
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This lesson contains 33 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 1 video.

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Argumentative Essays
Part 1: The structure of a good argumentative essay

Slide 1 - Slide

Lesson goals
- I know what the structure of a good argumentative essay is.
.- I can describe what makes an essay strong/weak, good/bad.

Last week, we discussed how to formulate a strong argument and today we we will discuss what else can help you convince someone of your point (in writing).

Slide 2 - Slide

Just to be clear: What is the purpose of an argumentative essay?
to compare and contrast two different or similar things.
to convince the reader by using logic and evidence
to answer a question through research of the relevant literature
to analyze a piece of literature from different angles

Slide 3 - Quiz

Argumentative Essay Structure
  • Different structures are possible. Usually 4-5 paragraphs
  •  Your exam will be a four paragraph essay.
- Introduction
- Main argument 2
- Counterargument 1
- Conclusion

Slide 4 - Slide

The Title
  • Avoid boring titles (or having no title at all!):
          -> Repeating the statement or only stating the topic.
          -> "Guns Are Good" "Guns in the Netherlands" "Guns"
  • Try to come up with an exciting / interesting/clever title 
          -> "The Controlling Nature of Gun Control Laws"
          -> "Gun Control Laws Are Bulletproof"
Do not centralise your title, no italics/bold/underlining, no full stop,  Use Capital Letters for all words except prepositions and articles.

Slide 5 - Slide

Introduction - Match
Kids with black eyes. Kids crying themselves to sleep. Kids afraid to go to school these are just some of the things that happen when kids are bullied. 
Millions of kids are bullied every month. They are bullied every month. They are bullied physically and emotionally, and made fun of and intimidated in person, online over phones, and almost everywhere. Not enough is being done. 
Bullying should be punished by a fine or jail time because it is too prevalent, it leaves long-lasting emotional and academic scars, and it can lead to suicide. In addition, fines and jail time will prevent further bullying. 
Background info
Thesis statement

Slide 6 - Drag question

§1 - The Introduction 
  • Often general - broad view of topic.
  • Hook =  a catchy sentence or paragraph in the introduction which serves as an attention-grabbing element.
  • Background information (if necessary)
  • Thesis statement. 

Slide 7 - Slide

Suggestions on how to create a hook
  • Start with an interesting fact
  • Share an anecdote
  • Write about a common misconception about your essay topic
  • Start with a rhetorical question

Slide 8 - Slide

Thesis statement
  • The thesis statement is that one sentence that contains the focus of your essay and tells your reader what the essay is going to be about.

  • Example: There should be an absolute ban against smoking in public because second-hand smoke endangers the health of non-smokers.

  • Your thesis statement should be: 
  • clear, concrete
  • without using first person singular (I).
  • affirmative or negative sentence sentence. Not a question!!! 

Slide 9 - Slide

Why is (or isn't) this a good thesis statement:

Grades should be eliminated because they cause anxiety and put unnecessary pressure on students.

Slide 10 - Open question

The Body
  • Each paragraph is focused on one (counter)argument
  • Structure for each paragraph:   
  •  PED 
  • Point Introduction by means of a topic sentence (one sentence that shows what the main argument is that you are going to make) 
  • Example - examples 
  • Development - Sub-arguments, evidence, 
Try to link your paragraphs with content and linking devices to create flow.

Slide 11 - Slide

Another way of doing this is by using 


Slide 12 - Slide

How to structure your body paragraphs using the PEEL method? 
Point: start your sentence with a clear topic sentence that establishes what your paragraph is about. 
Evidence/ Example: here you should use a piece of evidence that helps to reaffirm your iniitial point and develop the argument. 
Explain: next you need to explain exactly how your evidence supports your point. 
Link: you need to link the point you have just made back to your thesis or the following paragraph using a linking word

Slide 13 - Slide

  • Thesis and arguments restated in a different, interesting manner. (ability to reformulate)
  • Preserve, modify or reject the thesis statement. 
  • Possibly call to some sort of action or response. 
  • Thought -provoking ending. 

Slide 14 - Slide

Do not ...
...simply repeat your introduction or thesis.

...introduce any new or significant evidence or example for your main argument. 

Slide 15 - Slide

Length indication.
Your essay should have a proper balance.
essay ±350 words.
introduction ±75 words
body §1 ± 100 words
body §2 ± 100 words
Conclusion ±75 words

Slide 16 - Slide

Language use
  • Avoid slang, colloquialisms, clichés
  • No abbreviations or contractions
  • full sentences
  • no bullet points/lists
  • No first person singular
  • 1 font
  • never use enter in a §
  • skip a line between §s

Slide 17 - Slide

  1. Tenses - perfect tense 
  2. passives
  3. Adverbs
  4. Formal vocabulary (yes fancy words)

Slide 18 - Slide

Practice 1
Look at the essay in the handout. In pairs can you find the mistakes?
5 minutes!

Slide 19 - Slide

Next class
Computer room. Write essay 1

Slide 20 - Slide

So now you know how to build an argument and use the structure of an argumentative essay to your advantage, but what else is important?
1. Rank the three essays with your classmates from worst to best.
2. Write down the strengths and weaknesses of each essay to support your ranking.

Slide 21 - Slide

Essay 1
Essay 2
Essay 3

Slide 22 - Drag question

What did you pay attention to while deciding how to rank the essays?

Slide 23 - Open question

Argumentative Essays
Part 1: The structure of a good argument

Slide 24 - Slide

Lesson goals
- I know the difference between an deductive and inductive argument.
- I know the different levels of counterarguments, from least convincing to most convincing.
-I can formulate a good argument.

So first, let's look at some examples. In the next video, whose arguments are more persuasive to you?

Slide 25 - Slide

Slide 26 - Video

Whose arguments were more persuasive?
Donald Trump's arguments
Joe Biden's arguments

Slide 27 - Quiz

What made the person, whose arguments (or structure of the arguments) you preferred, persuasive?

Slide 28 - Open question

Deductive vs. Inductive Arguments
The stronger of these are deductive arguments, as the conclusion of a deductive argument follows necessarily from the truth of its premises:
-> An argument is valid if the truth of all its premises forces the conclusion to be true.

1st Premise:   All human beings are mortal.
2nd Premise: Sam is a human being.
Conclusion:   Thus, Sam is mortal.

Slide 29 - Slide

Deductive vs. Inductive Arguments
The premises of an inductive argument, by comparison, simply present the conclusion as probable, rather than logically necessary:

1st Premise: My dog is furry.
2nd Premise: My neighbor’s dog is furry.
3rd Premise: Every dog I’ve seen so far has been furry.
Conclusion: The next dog I see will be furry.

Slide 30 - Slide

Deductive vs. Inductive Arguments
Come up with a finite set of premises that illustrate the line of reasoning for the argument. These premises and conclusions constitute your main points, which should act as the main topic for each of your paragraphs.
Normally you would need to include evidence/sources, but for this essay you do no thave to, which means your reasoning has to be sound.

Slide 31 - Slide

How to

Slide 32 - Slide

Now it is time to formulate your own arguments!
Write down: I agree/ disagree, because....

Slide 33 - Slide