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Three types of argumentative essays and How to Write them

Argumentative essays are common in college. In these essays, you take a side on a topic and back it up with evidence. You need to research, gather evidence, and clearly state your stance. Unlike other essays that try to persuade, argumentative essays rely on solid evidence.

But the strength of argumentative essays depends on how well you make your argument. After picking your main point, you need to organize your essay. There’s no one right way to do it, but there are basic structures you should follow. There are three main structures for argumentative essays in college: Classical or Aristotelian, Toulmin, and Rogerian. Each structure has a different purpose, and which one you choose depends on why you’re writing. Let’s look at each one in detail

Related Article: How to Write an Outstanding Argumentative Essay Paper

Key Takeaways:

  • There are three main types of argumentative essays: classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian.
  • The classical argument relies on ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade the audience.
  • The Toulmin argument focuses on justifying claims with evidence.
  • The Rogerian argument aims to find common ground between opposing parties.
  • Argumentative essays involve different types of claims, including factual, value, policy, causal, and definitional claims.
  • Structuring an argumentative essay involves several important steps, such as choosing a controversial topic, collecting evidence, and addressing counterarguments.
  • Understanding the different types of argumentative essays allows writers to structure their arguments effectively and persuade their audiences.

Are you ready to explore the intricacies of argumentative essays? Let’s dive in and uncover the strengths and characteristics of each type!

The Classical Argument: Persuasion through Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

The classical argument, also known as the Aristotelian model, is the most commonly used type of argumentative essay. It utilizes ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade the audience to a specific viewpoint. Ethos refers to the credibility and authenticity of the writer, pathos aims to evoke emotions in the readers, and logos appeals to logic and reasoning.

The structure of a classical argument essay follows a specific order. It begins with an introduction that presents the main claim or thesis statement. The writer then presents their perspective on the topic, providing evidence and logical reasoning to support their claim. The next step is to consider the opposing side of the argument, acknowledging their viewpoints and addressing any potential counterarguments. This helps to strengthen the writer’s own position by showing a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

After considering the opposing side, the writer provides further evidence and examples to support their claim, appealing to the audience’s logic and reasoning. This is where the logos aspect of the classical argument comes into play. Finally, the essay concludes by summarizing the main points and restating the benefits of accepting the writer’s claim. This structure allows for a logical flow of arguments, making the classical argument essay persuasive and effective.

Elements of the Classical ArgumentDescription
IntroductionIntroduce the main claim or thesis statement
PerspectivePresent the writer’s perspective on the topic with supporting evidence
Opposing SideConsider the opposing side, acknowledge their viewpoints, and address counterarguments
EvidenceProvide additional evidence and examples to support the claim
ConclusionSummarize main points and restate the benefits of accepting the claim

The classical argument essay structure allows writers to effectively persuade their audience by appealing to ethos, pathos, and logos. By understanding and implementing this structure, writers can craft compelling arguments that are logical, emotional, and credible.

The Toulmin Argument: Justifying Claims with Evidence

In argumentative essays, the Toulmin argument, also known as the Toulmin model, provides a structured approach to justifying claims with evidence. Developed by philosopher Stephen Toulmin, this method breaks down an argument into six key components: claim, grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier, and rebuttal. By incorporating these elements, writers can effectively present and support their arguments.

The Structure of a Toulmin Argument

The Toulmin argument follows a specific structure to ensure clarity and coherence. It typically begins with an introduction that presents the main claim or thesis statement. The body paragraphs then provide the grounds or evidence to support the claim, along with the warrant or reasoning behind the claim. The backing offers further support or additional evidence, while the qualifier acknowledges any limitations or conditions of the argument. Finally, the conclusion includes a rebuttal of counterarguments to reinforce the validity of the claim.

To illustrate this structure, consider the following example:

“The use of smartphones should be banned in classrooms.”

ClaimThe use of smartphones should be banned in classrooms.
GroundsResearch studies have shown that smartphone use in classrooms leads to distractions and reduced academic performance.
WarrantBased on the evidence, it can be inferred that banning smartphones would create a more focused learning environment and improve academic outcomes.
BackingAdditional studies have also demonstrated that students who are not distracted by smartphones are more engaged and participate actively in class discussions.
QualifierWhile there may be some cases where smartphones can enhance learning, the overall negative impact outweighs the potential benefits.
RebuttalOpponents argue that smartphones can be used for educational purposes, but strict enforcement of smartphone policies can address this concern.

By structuring the argument in this way, writers can effectively present their claims and provide evidence to support them, making the Toulmin argument a powerful tool in persuasive writing.

The Rogerian Argument: Finding Common Ground

The Rogerian argument, also known as the Rogerian model, is a unique approach to argumentative writing that emphasizes communication, collaboration, and finding common ground between opposing viewpoints. Developed by psychologist Carl R. Rogers, this method aims to foster understanding and empathy instead of promoting confrontation or winning debates.

In a Rogerian argument essay, the structure is different from the classical or Toulmin models. Instead of immediately presenting the writer’s position, the essay begins by acknowledging the opposing viewpoint in a respectful and unbiased manner. This acknowledgment is crucial in building trust and establishing a foundation for productive dialogue.

After acknowledging the opposing position, the writer can then present their own perspective, focusing on shared goals, values, or interests that both sides can agree on. This middle ground solution aims to find commonalities and points of agreement between the conflicting parties. The emphasis is not on convincing the opponent to change their stance, but rather on constructing a mutually acceptable solution that benefits both sides.

Structure of a Rogerian Argument Essay
1. Introduction– Acknowledgment of the opposing position
2. Writer’s own perspective– Focus on shared goals/values/interests
3. Middle ground solution– Propose a mutually acceptable solution
4. Conclusion– Highlight the benefits of compromise

By adopting a Rogerian approach, writers can promote constructive dialogue and strive for mutual understanding rather than confrontation. This method recognizes the complexity of issues and encourages empathy and respect for differing viewpoints. It is a valuable tool for addressing highly controversial topics and fostering meaningful discussions.

Different Types of Argument Claims

When writing an argumentative essay, it’s important to understand the different types of claims that can be made to persuade your audience. Each type of claim serves a specific purpose and requires different types of evidence and reasoning. Here are the main types of argument claims:

Factual Claims

A factual claim asserts a statement as a fact based on evidence. It aims to provide objective information that can be verified and supported by data or research. Factual claims are often used in scientific or informational essays where the goal is to present accurate and unbiased information.

Value Claims

Value claims express personal opinions or judgments about what is right, wrong, good, or bad. They are subjective in nature and are based on personal values, beliefs, or moral principles. Value claims are commonly used in persuasive essays to argue for or against specific ideas, actions, or behaviors.

Policy Claims

Policy claims propose specific actions or changes that should be implemented to address a problem or improve a situation. These claims focus on advocating for a particular course of action and often involve government policies, laws, or regulations. Policy claims are commonly found in argumentative essays that aim to influence decision-makers or bring about social change.

Causal Claims

Causal claims establish cause-and-effect relationships between events or phenomena. They argue that one event or action leads to another, based on evidence and logical reasoning. Causal claims are often used in essays that analyze the impact of certain factors or events and explain why they occur.

Definitional Claims

Definitional claims clarify the meaning of terms or concepts. They aim to provide a clear definition or interpretation of a word, idea, or phenomenon. Definitional claims are commonly used when there is a disagreement or confusion about the meaning of a particular term, and the writer seeks to offer their interpretation or understanding.

Understanding the different types of argument claims allows writers to effectively present their arguments and persuade their audience. By choosing the most appropriate type of claim for their purpose and providing strong evidence and reasoning, writers can create compelling and convincing argumentative essays.

Steps to Structure an Argumentative Essay

Structuring an argumentative essay effectively is crucial for presenting a strong and persuasive argument. By following these steps, you can ensure that your essay is well-organized and engaging, capturing the attention of your readers and convincing them of your viewpoint.

1. Choose a Controversial Topic

The first step in structuring your argumentative essay is selecting a topic that is debatable and sparks interest. Choose a topic that has multiple viewpoints and enough evidence to support your argument.

2. Decide the Type of Claim and Argument Structure

Determine the type of claim you want to make in your essay, whether it is a factual claim, value claim, policy claim, causal claim, or definitional claim. This will help you shape your arguments and evidence accordingly.

3. Collect Facts and Evidence

Gather relevant facts, data, and evidence to support your claims. This can include statistics, research studies, expert opinions, anecdotes, or real-life examples. Ensure that your evidence is credible and supports your argument effectively.

4. Develop an Outline

Create a clear and logical outline for your argumentative essay. This will help you organize your thoughts, structure your paragraphs, and ensure a coherent flow. Divide your essay into introduction, body paragraphs (each presenting a separate argument), and a conclusion.

5. Study Examples

Study examples of well-written argumentative essays to get a better understanding of how to effectively structure and present your arguments. Analyze the organization, use of evidence, and persuasive techniques employed by experienced writers.

6. Write a Compelling Introduction

In the introduction, begin with an attention-grabbing hook and provide some background information on the topic. State your arguable claim and briefly outline the main arguments you will present in the body of your essay. Make sure your introduction is clear, concise, and engaging.

7. Present Logical Arguments with Evidence

In the body paragraphs, present each argument in a separate paragraph. Start with a topic sentence that introduces the argument, provide supporting evidence and examples, and explain how the evidence supports your claim. Use logical reasoning to strengthen your arguments and make sure they flow smoothly.

8. Address Counterarguments

Acknowledge and address counterarguments to strengthen your position. Anticipate potential objections and provide rebuttals to show that you have considered different viewpoints and can effectively counter them. This will make your essay more convincing and demonstrate your ability to engage in critical thinking.

9. Conclude with a Restatement and Call to Action

In the conclusion, restate your thesis statement and summarize your main arguments. Emphasize the importance of your claim and provide a call to action or a thought-provoking question to leave a lasting impression on your readers.

By following these steps, you can structure your argumentative essay effectively and increase the chances of persuading your audience to agree with your viewpoint. Remember to continuously revise and edit your essay for clarity, coherence, and persuasive power.


Understanding the three types of argumentative essays – classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian – allows writers to structure their arguments effectively and persuade their audiences. Each type has its own unique approach and strengths, catering to different situations and audiences.

In the classical argument, writers utilize ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade the audience. This approach appeals to logic, emotions, and the credibility of the writer, making it a persuasive choice.

The Toulmin argument, on the other hand, focuses on justifying claims with evidence. By breaking down the argument into various components and presenting evidence, writers can make a strong case for their viewpoint.

The Rogerian argument emphasizes collaboration and finding common ground. By acknowledging opposing viewpoints and striving for a mutually acceptable solution, this approach promotes understanding and compromise.

When choosing the appropriate type of essay for your argument, carefully consider your claims, provide strong evidence, and address counterarguments. By following these steps and utilizing the different types of argumentative essays, you can create a well-structured and persuasive essay that effectively conveys your point of view.

Related Article: Three Main Ways to Present Arguments in Argumentative Essays


What are the three main types of argumentative essays?

The three main types are the classical argument, the Toulmin argument, and the Rogerian argument.

What is the structure of a classical argument essay?

The structure includes introducing the main claim, presenting the writer’s perspective, considering the opposing side, providing evidence, and concluding with the benefits of accepting the claim.

What is the Toulmin argument and its structure?

The Toulmin argument justifies claims with evidence and includes six components: claim, grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier, and rebuttal.

What is the structure of a Rogerian argument?

The structure includes acknowledging the opposing position, presenting the writer’s own perspective, proposing a middle ground solution, and concluding with the benefits of compromise.

What are the different types of argument claims?

There are factual claimsvalue claimspolicy claimscausal claims, and definitional claims.

What are the steps to structure an argumentative essay?

The steps include choosing a topic, deciding the claim and structure, collecting evidence, developing an outline, studying examples, writing an introduction, presenting logical arguments, addressing counterarguments, and concluding with a restatement of the thesis and a call to action.

How can understanding the types of argumentative essays improve my writing?

Understanding the types allows you to structure your arguments effectively and persuade your audience more successfully.

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