Argumentative Essay Format - Middle School

Argumentative Essay Format - Middle School

Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay deals with presenting an argument that discusses both sides of a problem. One side may exist more persuasively than the other or both sides may be balanced. However, the essay is tailored to favor the writer’s position. The basic structure includes:

The introduction – hook (attention grabber), background details, and thesis statement

The Body – the paragraphs that discuss the major arguments

Counter Argument – to refute an opposing side and enhance the supporting claim

Conclusion – restating the thesis statement, summarizing main points, call to attention or final remarks


Argumentative Essay Models

Asides the classical model outlined above for structuring an argumentative essay, we also have the Toulmin and Rogerian models. The former comprises an introduction with a claim or thesis followed by supporting data. Warrants are then listed for the purposes to backup the claim with backing and contrary arguments. The Rogerian model, on the other hand, compares two options, respectively lists strengths and weaknesses, and provides a recommendation after analysis.

Literature Samples for An Argumentative Essay

#1 Put a Little Science in Your Life (by Brian Greene)

“When we consider the ubiquity of cellphones, iPods, personal computers and the Internet, it’s easy to see how science (and the technology to which it leads) is woven into the fabric of our day-to-day activities. When we benefit from CT scanners, M.R.I. devices, pacemakers and arterial stents, we can immediately appreciate how science affects the quality of our lives. When we assess the state of the world, and identify looming challenges like climate change, global pandemics, security threats and diminishing resources, we don’t hesitate in turning to science to gauge the problems and find solutions.


And when we look at the wealth of opportunities hovering on the horizon—stem cells, genomic sequencing, personalized medicine, longevity research, nanoscience, brain-machine interface, quantum computers, space technology—we realize how crucial it is to cultivate a general public that can engage with scientific issues; there’s simply no other way that as a society we will be prepared to make informed decisions on a range of issues that will shape the future.”

Both paragraphs specify about two scientific fields: digital products and biotechnology. It adds the supporting details and names too.


#2 Boys Here, Girls There: Sure, If Equality’s the Goal (by Karen Stabiner)

“The first objections last week came from the National Organization for Women and the New York Civil Liberties Union, both of which opposed the opening of TYWLS in the fall of 1996. The two groups continue to insist—as though it were 1896 and they were arguing Plessy v. Ferguson—that separate can never be equal. I appreciate NOW’s wariness of the Bush administration’s endorsement of single-sex public schools, since I am of the generation that still considers the label “feminist” to be a compliment—and many feminists still fear that any public acknowledgment of differences between the sexes will hinder their fight for equality.”

The author presents an opposition to the argument of separation between public schools. It is well supported with evidences of the court case.


#3 The Flight from Conversation (by Sherry Turkle)

“We’ve become accustomed to a new way of being “alone together.” Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another, and also elsewhere, connected to wherever we want to be. We want to customize our lives. We want to move in and out of where we are because the thing we value most is control over where we focus our attention. We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party.”

The argument is presented in the first person plural dialogues, however, reflects part of a greater argument rather than the essay.


Final Words

An argumentative essay compares the two sides of an essay. Nonetheless, the author’s aim is to present one side to be more agreeable than the other, so that readers may understand the perspective where he/she is coming from. This typical essay is about presenting a case before an audience in a persuasive manner and illustrating the bigger picture. 

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