How to Write an Argumentative Essay in AP English

How to Write an Argumentative Essay in AP English

If you are pursuing an AP English language course, you should know how to write an argumentative essay in AP English because your teacher will definitely ask you to write this essay before you complete your course. AP English stands for the Advanced Placement English. It is among the courses that the College Board offers as part of its Advanced Placement Program-

Argumentative essay refers to a writing that requires you to investigate a particular topic or issue, generate or collect and evaluate relevant evidence and use it in establishing your position on that issue or topic- As such, an AP argumentative essay refers to an argumentative essay that is written by students while pursuing an AP English course.

Proper preparation shows that you know how to write an argumentative essay in AP English.

You must show the readers of your argumentative essay that you understood what the assignment required you to do and did it while writing your essay. Readers must see that you conducted adequate research before composing the essay. Your essay must enlighten readers on the rationale behind the position that you take on the issue or topic. Additionally, it must coerce readers to agree with your side of the argument. Therefore, take time to prepare yourself before you start writing your AP English argumentative essay.

Apart from understanding what you are required to do by the assignment, you should be prepared psychologically to write the argumentative essay. This requires you to relax and set your mind so that you can clearly articulate your position in the essay and stick to it throughout.

Simple guidelines on how to write an argumentative essay in AP English

  • Find a topic or issue

If you are not given a topic or issue on which to write your argumentative essay, you ought to find a topic or issue on which to write the essay. Make sure that the topic that you choose interests you the most. Also ensure that your readers will be interested in reading an argumentative essay on that topic or issue.

  • Consider the audience

You should know who the intended audience of your argumentative essay is. Consider whether the topic or issue will have impact on their underlying values and beliefs. Remember that you will face opposition from the readers. Therefore, choose a topic that gives you adequate evidence to support your thesis or position while addressing the opposing arguments.

  • Conduct preliminary research

Once you are psychologically set to write the essay and with clear knowledge of your audience, conduct research on the topic or essay. While conducting research, read all information that you come across regarding the topic or issue. List examples that you can use to support your argument in the essay- Additionally, be careful about stereotypes, bias and prejudice about the topic or issue that you may include in the essay. Read and think critically while conducting research. Make sure that you collect and analyze information that will be relevant in defending your position.

  • Take a position and reassess it

After conducting research, you should be able to take a position on the issue. You should also have adequate information for supporting your claim. The position that you take should enable you to craft a thesis statement for the essay. Your thesis statement should embody the argument of your essay and show readers the perspective that you will take in relation to the topic of the essay.

  • Construct your argument

How you construct and present your argument shows your readers whether you really know how to write an argumentative essay in AP English.

To construct your argument:

  • List down the reasons for taking a particular position on the issue or topic.
  • Consider the appeals that you can use to convince readers to change or to reconsider their current position on the issue and then adopt yours.
  • Number your assertions or points in the order of their plausibility or strength.
  • List potential questions or objections that can be raised under each assertion or point.
  • Consider your response to the questions or objections
  • Consider your response to illogical or illegitimate questions or objections.
Write the introductory paragraph

The introductory paragraph of your argumentative essay is very important because it explains the topic and its importance to the readers. It should also include your thesis statement while outlining the argument. The introductory paragraph sparks the interest of readers while giving them an overview of the entire essay-

To make the introductory paragraph more effective, start with startling statistics, an anecdote, interesting quote or simply tell readers about the significance of the concerns that you will raise in the essay. Also give the history or background of the issue in the introductory paragraphs. You should also use the introductory paragraphs to establish the right tone for the essay.

  • Write the body paragraphs

In the body, you should do the following:

  • Support the claim that you made at the introduction

Provide reasons for taking a particular position and provide convincing evidence. To support your stance on the issue effectively, provide an explanation that goes past simple assertions. Use appropriate appeals, the ethos, logos and pathos. Ethos appeals to the desire for doing the right, good will and good sense of the reader. Pathos appeals to the emotions of the readers such as fear and patriotism. Logos appeals to the logic of the readers. Using these appeals entails providing rational and logical support for the argument or claim that you present to the readers. Be cautious while using logos appeals because you might be tempted to include logical fallacies in your argument.

  • Address opposing arguments

To address opposing arguments, you can agree that the opposing arguments are valid by accepting all or qualifying part of them while explaining what makes your position stronger. Alternatively, you can refute the arguments by stating the reasons why they are weak or invalid.

  • Conclude your argument

The conclusion of your argument should be built from the stated thesis statement. In the conclusion, restate the claim and then tell readers what makes your position on the issue or topic significant. Let readers see how their future is affected by the position. If appropriate, make the last emotional appeal while stating a call for action.

  • Evaluate your essay

After writing your argumentative essay, you should evaluate it to determine if it meets the requirements of the assignment.

To evaluate your essay, ask these questions as you read it:

  • Did you write the essay on the original topic?
  • Did you make changes in the argument or did you stick to your main argument?
  • Are you proud of your argument and the essay?

Your answers to these questions should tell you if you have written a great argumentative essay or not and the most appropriate action to take in refining it.

Avoid common mistakes while writing an argumentative essay in AP English

There are mistakes that you can make in your argumentative essay and show readers that you clearly do not know how to write an argumentative essay in AP English.

They include:

  • Failing to understand the assignment

When you understand the assignment, you will know the perspective to take in your argument, craft a strong thesis statement for the essay and gather adequate and relevant evidence for support your stance.

  • Failing to take a definite stand

You are writing an argumentative essay which means that you should defend a position or opinion on a topic or issue. Therefore, state your opinion unequivocally.

  • Using weak or inappropriate evidence in supporting your claim or position

The strength of your argument depends on the evidence that you provide for your claim or position. If you provide inappropriate or weak evidence, your argumentative essay will be weak. Therefore, provide appropriate, strong and detailed evidence in supporting your stand on the topic.

Additional tips on how to write an argumentative essay in AP English

  • Come up with a controversial thesis statement and then conduct extensive research before writing the essay.
  • Ensure that your essay includes a clear assertion and properly articulated evidence and commentary.
  • Develop your thesis statement properly so that readers can see how you reach to the conclusion in a convincing manner.
  • Although your argumentative essay has many paragraphs and arguments, they should flow fluidly and lead readers to a logical conclusion.
  • Proofread your essay carefully. While proofreading, check for grammatical, typing and spelling errors as well as anything that might be ambiguous.
  • Use real life experiences and examples to show readers that you are passionate about what you are arguing in support of.
  • Use samples as your guide for writing argumentative essay. You can find samples of argumentative essays in AP English here.
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