Starting An Argumentative Essay With A Question

Question/Answer format: To make your topic idea into a thesis you need to turn the topic idea into a question first. Examples:

  • Does divorce cause serious problems for the children? (fact)
  • What is "domestic violence?" (definition)
  • What are the causes of divorce? (cause)
  • How important is it for couples to avoid divorce? (value)
  • What can you do to make your marriage divorce-proof? (proposal)

Answer: Your question often can be the title of your paper, or it can be the last line of the introduction. Your answer to this question is your thesis.

Example: The most important way to make your marriage divorce-proof is to make sure you have carefully prepared for that commitment.

Refute Objections: You might want to put an introductory phrase in the first part of your thesis to show that you are refuting other ideas about the answer.

Example: While some people think there is no way to divorce-proof your marriage, studies have shown that there are fewer divorces when people carefully prepare for that commitment.

Roadmap: An additional way to make a strong thesis is to do a "Roadmap" which tells in just a few words the three or more main points you will cover.

Example: While some people think there is no way to divorce-proof your marriage, studies have shown that there are fewer divorces when people carefully prepare for that commitment by taking time to get to know the other person before becoming engaged, spending time with one another's family and friends, talking about hot-button issues like finances, and getting extensive premarital counseling.


Writing introductions to argumentative essays



Lets look again at the introduction from the model essay on Marine Parks:


A simple introduction to an argumentative assignment has four parts. Read the following description of the parts. Then circle the sentences in the introduction above which cover each part and write the number for each part in the margin next to it, e.g. for the first part draw a circle around the sentence(s) that introduce(s) the topic and write "1" in the margin next to it.

Check your answer here




Now put the following sentences into the correct order. They make up the introduction to an argumentative essay about the issue of whether Australia should become a republic.

Check your answer here




Print out the answer to task 2. Then circle the sentences which cover each of the four parts of argumentative essay introductions and write the number for each part in the margin next to it, just as you did for the introduction to the marine parks essay in Task 1.

Check your answer here

©Bill Daly, 1997



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