How To Write A Short Essay: Construct An Argument

Arguments are many things and we often mistake them for others that they are not. Arguments do not merely abuse others into agreeing with us so that we will shut up and go away. They are also not won by increasing the volume of one’s assertions until the other party’s view cannot be heard above the din. Arguments are groups of statements with the intent of supporting a particular viewpoint. The following lists some simple steps you can take to construct a worthwhile argument.

  1. Pick a side
  2. Trying to write your argument without a clearly stated side will result in an essay that has no direction. If it says nothing there is no way for it to be used to persuade the reader of anything. If your intention is to compare different viewpoints then your essay is not an argument. You can compare and contrast in peace as long as you change your heading to reflect this.

  3. Get some points
  4. Keep your side of the argument fully in mind and ask yourself, “What comes to mind when I think of this?” Let the words just spill out and write them down as they do. If you are not thinking too carefully when you d this you may come across associations between points that you might not have been consciously aware of previously. Get as many ideas together as possible perhaps withing a 10 minute space of time and then stop.

  5. Cull the flock
  6. Not all of the ideas you just brainstormed will be usable. Sometimes you may have just noticed that two of the ideas you put forward both support the same argument in isolation but manage to contradict each other as well. For instance “The children need supervision, they are gifted and often come up with dangerous new experiments” clashes with “The children need supervision, they lack the skill set to perform even simple tasks”. If one is true the other cannot be. There is no need to engage in actions that only serve to weaken your own arguments. Pick the stronger of the two points and discard the other.

With a little practice the creation of a a solid argument will become like second nature to you. If ever you become confused again, simply refer to these points and proceed with confidence.