Classic Model for an Argument
No one structure fits all written arguments. However, most college courses require arguments that
consist of the following elements. Below is a basic outline for an argumentative or persuasive essay.
This is only one possible outline or organization. Always refer to your handbook for specifics.
o Your introductory paragraph sets the stage or the context for the position you are arguing for.
o This introduction should end with a thesis statement that provides your claim (what you are
arguing for) and the reasons for your position on an issue.
A. Your thesis:
o states what your position on an issue is
o usually appears at the end of the introduction in a short essay
o should be clearly stated and often contains emphatic language (should, ought, must)
B. Sample Argumentative Thesis
o The production, sale, and possession of assault weapons for private citizens should be
banned in the U.S.
II. Body of your Argument
A. Background Information
o This section of your paper gives the reader the basic information he or she needs to
understand your position. This could be part of the introduction, but may work as its
B. Reasons or Evidence to Support your Claim
o All evidence you present in this section should support your position. This is the heart of
your essay. Generally, you begin with a general statement that you back up with specific
details or examples. Depending on how long your argument is, you will need to devote
one to two well-developed paragraphs to each reason/claim or type of evidence.
o Types of evidence include:
first-hand examples and experiential knowledge on your topic (specific examples
help your readers connect to your topic in a way they cannot with abstract ideas)
Opinions from recognized authorities
The tipsheet on the three logical appeals covers the types of evidence you can use in
1. Claim: Keeping assault...