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ENGL 1101: Watjen - Summer 2010   Tags: _english, english1101  

This guide was specifically created to help you with your Argument and Persuasion Essay.
Last Updated: Jul 22, 2010 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Assignment Print Page

What is an Argument and Persuasion Essay?

The argument and persuasion essay presents a position on a controversial topic and presents that position in a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The body of the essay presents three cogent reasons, supported by evidence, why your position is the most sensible or logical one. The topic can be any subject in which you have an interest. The evidence used in your paper to support your assertion—in the form of direct quotations and paraphrases—should support your viewpoint or observations and not be the essay itself. 


What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is a specific declaration that summarizes the point of view you will express in your paper. It is the basic stand you are taking, the opinion you are expressing and the assertion you will prove as reasonable about an issue. It is your controlling idea, tying together and giving direction to all other elements in your paper. Your thesis statement is the greatest unifying aspects of a paper, acting as the mortar that holds together the body of your essay, summarizing the main points of the paper "in a nutshell," and pointing toward the paper's development and the evidence you will use to support your position.


What is the format?

The essay must:

  • Be word processed.
  • Be 2-3 pages in length / 750-1000 words.
  • Be double-spaced.
  • Have 1 inch margins on all sides.
  • Use a 12 point font/Times New Roman.
  • Have a Works Cited page as a final separate page, not to be counted as one of the 2-3.
  • Follow EXACTLY MLA format as outlined in Harbrace.
  • Contain 2 to 3 valid sources.
  • Include a copy of material quoted or paraphrased.


  • Include a clearly stated thesis statement that includes your position and the points you will be making about your topic.
  • Always address opposing viewpoints and refute your opposition by pointing out why your position is the more valid one, and when possible, your rivals’ error in thinking or analysis.
  • Avoid use of personal pronouns. Phrases like “In my opinion” dilute the impact of your writing. Use an authoritative tone when writing about your topic.
  • Use sources that are experts in their field, educated, and unbiased.
  • Use logos, ethos, and pathos to persuade your reader. First present factual evidence, use persuasive words and phrases that appeal to the readers’ emotions, and when possible, explain why your position is the most ethical one.
  • Make certain your paper is not expository in nature. In other words, you are not just gathering information about a topic and then regurgitating in an essay. This essay MUST take a position about a controversial issue and support it with evidence.
  • Proofread paper carefully. Because this paper is written outside of class, grading will be more rigorous and points deducted for typos, misspelled words, and punctuation and grammar errors will be greater and permanent.

Where to go for outside help...

  • Harbrace for MLA citing sources and compiling the Works Cited page.
  • Online MLA citation examples at:
  • The Tutorial Center, open Mondays through Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • The GHC Library staff
  • Appointments with instructor

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