Types of arguments in essay writing

Published by at November 1st, 2021 , Revised On November 16, 2021

Introduction

An argument is a claim supported by evidence. Simply put, a statement, the ‘what,’ backed up by a ‘how,’ makes an argument. There are three main types of arguments in essay writing as well as generally speaking.

Whether used in professional, business, or personal-life situations, arguments serve to convince another person or a party of your viewpoint. Without arguments, getting even the most basic needs fulfilled would be challenging. They are an integral part of the give-and-take process served by communication. The three main types of arguments in essay are discussed below:

Types of arguments

Following are the three main types of arguments in writing, their definitions, purposes, and structures:

1. Classical/Aristotelian argument

As the name suggests, the Greek mastermind Aristotle proposed the classical or Aristotelian argument.

Objective

Its purpose is to convince an opposition of personal viewpoint(s) using:

  • Ethos (authenticity)
  • Pathos (emotion)
  • Logos (logic)

Structure

  1. Introduce your main claim (hook statement), brief background (called narration), and thesis statement (essay argument).
  2. Provide counterargument of opposing party, proof with details, and reasons to refute this argument.
  3. Present the main body, where you provide proof and reasons (from strongest to weakest, or from most to least obvious) to support your claim.
  4. Conclude by providing reasons to accept your claim; restate the thesis statement and concluding remarks (if any).

2. Toulmin argument

Introduced by Stephen Toulmin, the Toulmin argument model is employed when there is a lack of one absolute truth or solution.

Objective

Toulmin argument aims to present only a single side of an argument, unlike classical argument where both sides are presented, and one is proven right.

Components

  1. Claim
  2. Grounds
  3. Warrant
  4. Backing
  5. Qualifier
  6. Rebuttal

Structure

  1. Introduce your main claim (thesis statement).
  2. Provide evidence and facts to prove your argument in the main body.
  3. Conclude by providing a rebuttal of counterarguments.

Of course, this basic structure is to be followed while writing an essay. However, remember that this structure is to be built around the Toulmin argument’s six components, as mentioned above.

2. Rogerian argument

Perhaps the most’ amicable’ form of argument, Rogerian argument—presented by Carl R. Rogers—involves listing similarities and differences between opposing parties to identify mutual interests.

Objective

The Rogerian argument does not aim to prove any one party right or wrong but instead reach mutual ground between opposing parties. Through this argumentation, differences can be settled between oppositions, so cooperation and understanding are developed.

Structure

  1. Introduce your argument.
  2. Present opposing position.
  3. State your position.
  4. Present a middle ground by joining both sides of the argument to reach a compromise.
  5. Conclude by restating the thesis statement, points of mutual interests, and their benefits.

Which type of argument to use?

To use one type from these three types of arguments in writing depends a lot on the topic given to you. Secondly, look at the facts available to you and see which of the following five types of claims they suit best with.

Types of argumentative claims

  1. Facts look at whether something is true or false.
  2. Definitions look at an argument’s actual meaning.
  3. Values look at an argument’s value, its importance.
  4. Cause and effect claims look at causes of a problem and what effects it has caused.
  5. Policy claims look at what has to be done about a given situation/problem.

Tips for writing the best argumentative essay

  1. Choose the right kind of topic. One that’s quite controversial and, therefore, debatable. That way, you will find much evidence to either support or reject it.
  2. Review some argumentative essay samples before going any further.
  3. Choose the appropriate type of claim to discuss that topic.
  4. Use the type of argument from among the three that best suits your claim.
  5. Gather facts and figures to support your argument. The newer, the better.
  6. Develop an essay outline and stick to it.
  7. Go about your essay as coherently and cohesively as possible. This makes your arguments and supporting claims easy to follow.
  8. Conclude with matching statements like the ones you started with. Do not state anything new in your conclusion.

Now that you know the objectives and structures behind the different types of arguments in an essay, you can go about creating your essay and even your style of argumentation.