There is no single “correct” way to organize an Analysis of Argument essay. In general, your essay should include an introduction and a conclusion paragraph separated by at least two body paragraphs in which you develop your critique of the stated argument. The template demonstrates this structure in more detail, and each of the sample essays presented in this course follows this basic pattern.

Note: The numbers of sentences indicated for each paragraph are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

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1. 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).

The following is 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 _____________.

2. 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

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

First of all, ____________________________ is based upon the questionable assumption ________________________________. That _______________, however, _________________. Moreover, ________________________.

3. Second Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)

The purpose of the second body paragraph is to address one of the following:

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

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

Secondly, the author assumes that_________________________.
However, __________________________. It seems equally reasonable to assume that____________________.

4. Third Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)

In this 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

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

Finally, _______________________________________. The author fails to consider__________________________________. For example, __________________. Because the author’s argument _________________.

5. Final Paragraph (2-3 sentences)

In the final paragraph, your goals are to:

  • Summarize your critique of the argument
  • State the main point of your essay

The final paragraph is not the place to introduce new arguments or issues.

Sample template:

In sum, ______________________. However, ____________________; on balance, _____________________.

The numbers of sentences indicated for each paragraph are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

Don’t be a Parrot

The transitional phrases used here are purposely simplistic; do not simply “parrot” them word-for-word in your essay or adopt a fill-in the blank approach. If you do, your essay might appear stilted or contrived.

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