Select one of the following:


Argue either for or against one of the following:  


1)    Allowing or prohibiting guns on college campuses


2)    Monitoring U. S. citizens’ phone and internet conversations to detect potential terrorist threats


3)    Using animals for research


4)    Making English the official language of the United States


5)    Charging violent juveniles as adults


6)    If  none of the above topics appeal to you, you may instead write your argument essay on any of the topics under Work or Everyday Life on page 189 of Real Essays.




Your essay will include an introduction, a conclusion, and three body paragraphs. Each body paragraph will provide concrete examples to prove your thesis statement. Your word count will fall between 500-700 words.




The essay must be at least five paragraphs long and include an opposing position (also known as a counterargument). Your evidence against the counterargument is your rebuttal (where you explain and answer the concerns of the opposing side). You do not need to conduct research for this paper; however, if you do, be sure to document it correctly with in-text citations and a Works Cited page. This link at the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University is another good source to review:


Your goal is to take a definite position on your topic and then use concrete examples to make your case. In your rebuttal section, you will show you understand the other side’s position, but your responsibility is to provide reasons to persuade your reader to your side. Feel free to use real-life examples to demonstrate what you mean, if appropriate. Stay away from generalities and deal with specifics.




You are to include an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.  In this assignment, you will specifically use the following format:


  1. Brief Introduction: Your intention in the introduction is twofold: to grab your reader’s interest and to clearly state what you will prove in your body paragraphs. There are several ways to begin, and you may already have a favorite technique. It could be a short anecdote, or a definition, or even a question, for example. A definition works well in an argument paper. The introduction should end with a clear, arguable thesis statement, informing your reader exactly what your position is on the subject. You may or may not include the three reasons you will expand upon in your body paragraphs. Do not be wishy-washy. You are either for or against the issue. For example, if you decide to argue that guns should be prohibited on campus, your thesis might be: While individuals have the right to protect themselves, allowing guns on college campuses should be prohibited for legal, moral, and safety reasons. Or, you might simply state: While individuals have the right to protect themselves, allowing guns on college campuses should be prohibited.  Of course, should I select this thesis, the burden would be on me to make my case, and I would then focus on each of these three reasons in my body paragraphs. My third point, safety, would require my strongest evidence. It’s important to read the section in Chapter one of Real Essays that explains how to avoid using logical fallacies in your argument (pages 9-11).  You must rationally and clearly present your position for or against one of the approved topics.  Think of it a bit like arguing in a court of law.
  2. Three Body Paragraphs:  Each body paragraph should provide concrete examples to demonstrate what you mean by each of the reasons mentioned in your thesis. You should do this in the order mentioned in the thesis.       Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that includes a key word or phrase from your thesis. Your most important body paragraph should be your last one. Each body paragraph should consist of at least six to eight (6 to 8) sentences. In order to make your paragraphs interesting, try to include an anecdote or other interesting facts. Include transitional words and/or phrases to move your reader from one paragraph to another and from one sentence to another (see the file on Using Transitions).
  3. Brief Conclusion:  Summarize your key points. The conclusion should be no more than two or three sentences.


Point of View: 


Use the third-person (ex. he, she, they, it) point of view.  You may use plural first-person pronouns if they are appropriate.  For example, you may say in our society.  You don’t need to say I think or I believe because these ideas will be all of your own thoughts in your own words.  Don’t use you, your, or yours.  Second-person pronouns shouldn’t be used in formal academic writing.




Your tone should be serious for this essay. You must use objective, impartial, unbiased language. (No exclamation marks, inflammatory words, etc.). Remember that you need to be persuasive, and no one will come to your side if you denigrate their position.   




Choice of words should be suitable for a college-educated audience.  For example, o.k. kids, and mom should be revised (acceptable, children, mother). Do notuse contractions (ex. don’t, can’t, it’s). Don’t use informal abbreviations, such as etc.




Review the Instructions for All Essays and the How to Format Your Essays files under Lessons to make sure you’ve met all the criteria for a solid essay.                        


Place the assignment in the correct Week 7 Drop Box




  • Does the content in your paper meet the objectives of the assignment? Is your essay on one of the approved topics? Did you include a refutation section? Did you avoid logical fallacies?
  • Does your thesis clearly state your argument?
  • Are concrete examples used to support your argument?
  • Are your body paragraphs focused and organized? Is the paper well organized? 
  • Does the paper follow the formatting instructions? Is there a heading? Is there a descriptive title?
  • Are improvements needed with respect to grammar, mechanics, and writing style?

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