Argumentative Essay- Guide #2

Following up on Guide #1, this post will delve deeper into how arrange the body of your argumentative essay. To keep it simple, I will only introduce 2 formats in this post. It is essentially 1 “formula”, with 2 usages.

As mentioned in Guide #1, you should have 1-2 paragraphs to support your stand. These 1-2 paragraphs should be made up of your strongest agruments, written in the PEEL format.

Then, you have your opponent’s/dissident’s paragraph, AND a counter to this dissident’s paragraph.

At the looks of it, you should have 3-4 solid paragraphs for your body of your argumentative essay. So how should you go about re-arranging these paragraphs? That is the purpose of this post today.

Take the following question for eg.:
Parents often believe that is better to be safe than sorry. Do you consider young people in Singapore to be too protected?

Ignoring all complicated assumptions and deeper analysis of the question, it essentially asks you to agree or disagree whether young people in Singapore are too protected by their parents. Below, I will use “agree” and “disagree” to very simply refer to these 2 stances for illustration purposes.

Assume your stand is AGREE.

Method 1.

  1. Introduction
  2. Agree 1
  3. Agree 2
  4. Disagree (Dissident’s Paragraph)
  5. Agree (Turning the tables)
  6. Conclusion

Method 2.

  1. Introduction
  2. Disagree (Dissident’s Paragraph)
  3. Agree (Turning the tables)
  4. Agree 1
  5. Agree 2
  6. Conclusion

That’s it! As you can see, the difference in both methods is whether or not I choose to begin with my dissident’s views or consider them in the 3rd paragraph. One thing to note though, is that you should always end with a paragraph that supports your stand– in this case, an agree paragraph. Why? It doesn’t make sense to say you agree with a statement, and end your body of the your essay with your opponent’s views; you won’t be doing yourself a favour.

Another question I commonly get from my students is “Do you need 2 of paragraphs to support your stand (in this case, Agree 1  & 2)?” Do you need to? No. Will it be good? Yes.

For those students who are struggling with time management, you can focus on having 1 paragraph that supports your stand. However, because you cut down on quantity, you do need to make up for quality. Meaning, you should ensure that that 1 paragraph of yours is solid, furnished with ample examples and logical explanation. Of course, all of your paragraphs should be solid. However, since you only have 1 paragraph to rely on now, it should be your strongest paragraph.

That’s all, folks!


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