Writing Tips Essay

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HOW TO WRITE AN ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY Chris Endy Department of History California State University, Los Angeles cendy@calstatela.edu You may distribute and print these notes for personal, educational use, so long as you do not alter them. Please email me with suggestions for additions or revisions. Last modified September 2011. In history courses, as in other college classes, your professors will most likely want you to write papers in an argumentative style. This style is distinct from the kinds of writing you might do in other contexts. There is a place in this world for playful, confessional, and informal styles of writing, but that place is typically not in your formal college writing assignments. Instead, you should use these paper assignments to sharpen your skills in argumentative prose. Improving your ability to write argumentative essays will pay off in college and later in life. After you graduate, you will likely find many occasions that require you to use writing to persuade others of a particular point of view. Good argumentative writing depends three specific qualities: -precision in argument and use of terms -grounding in evidence -clarity and concision in prose. The following advice comes in two parts. The first section provides an outline of what a good argumentative essay should look like when it is done. The second section provides a step-by-step process that can lead you to this happy result. PART ONE: THE ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY IN OUTLINE FORM For starters, here’s a very brief outline. Read further to find fuller descriptions of each section. 0. TITLE 1. INTRODUCTION: explain the thesis (be precise but do not present evidence yet) 2. BODY Paragraph #1 Topic sentence (main argument of the paragraph) Specific examples to support the topic sentence Paragraph #2, and so on Same as Paragraph #1 3. CONCLUSION: quick summary of thesis; then muse on

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