ESSAY STRUCTURE

As with the Issue essay, there is no single “correct,” way to organize an Argument essay. In general, your essay should include an introduction and a conclusion paragraph separated by as at least two body paragraphs in which you develop your critique of the stated argument. The template below spells out this structure in more detail, and each of the sample Analysis of Argument essays we present later follow this basic pattern.

Introductory Paragraph (2-4 sentences)

Try to accomplish three goals in your introductory paragraph:

  • Briefly restate the argument in your own words.
  • Briefly trace the argument’s line of reasoning.
  • Indicate the extent to which the argument is logically convincing.
  • If possible, sum up your arguments in one sentence (or two brief sentences).

Here’s a sample template for the first paragraph that accomplishes these goals:

The author concludes that____________, because ________. The author’s line of reasoning is that ______________. This argument is unconvincing for several reasons; it is____________ and it uses _____________.

First Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)

In the first body paragraph your goal is to critique one of the following:

  • The reasoning of the argument
  • One of the premises of the argument
  • One of the assumptions of the argument

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