Copying with Writing: Structuring the Argumentative Essay

In order for your argumentative essay to make sense, it needs to be presented in a well-structured piece of writing that anticipates your reader’s logic. This isn’t as hard as might sound. Structuring an argumentative essay generally means including an introduction, paragraph body, and a conclusion, and ensuring that your evidence is presented in a logical order within essay’s paragraph body.

Argumentative Essay Mapping

If you’re new to writing argumentative essays you should familiarize yourself with mapping. Assuming you’ve already brainstormed your ideas and have a general sense of your main topics and thesis, you can follow this exercise to ensure your essay is well-structured to be easily understood by your reader.

    Step 1) Write Out Your Thesis Statement Even if you haven’t flushed out your final thesis, write out your central argument in a sentence or two to help guide you through the rest of the exercise. Make sure it’s argumentative and not descriptive. You want to present your own idea rather than following the logic of your sources.

    Follow your thesis statement with a sentence that answers why it’s important for reader’s to read your argument. This is only a narrative and won’t appear in your essay but will certainly help you lay the foundation for a structured essay.

    Step 2) Write Out Your Main Arguments

    After you’ve written your thesis and have answered why it’s important that your readers know your argument, you should proceed to write out each piece of evidence you have in proving your argument. You may find writing sentences like “To prove my claim, the first thing a reader should know is…” and “The next thing a reader should know is…” and so on until you have a complete narrative of your essay.

    Reviewing this narrative will help you make adjustments to your essay’s logic and sequence. Since this piece of writing isn’t in stone you’ll be able to make adjustments and reorganize until you feel you can effectively get your point across.

Creating Your Outline

Developing an outline will be a lot easier now that you have a narrative and a general sense of your paper’s logic. You’re outline could follow one of many templates but a generic 5-paragraph argumentative outline is perhaps the easiest and most widely used, and it should suit your purposes quite nicely.

Here’s an example:


  • I. Topic sentence 1 / Argument point 1
  • a. Supporting evidence 1
  • b. Supporting evidence 2
  • II. Topic sentence 2 / Argument point 2

  • a. Supporting evidence 1
  • b. Supporting evidence 2
  • III. Topic sentence 3 / Argument point 3
  • a. Supporting evidence 1
  • b. Supporting evidence 2


An introduction presents your reader with a general guide of the content they should expect in your essay. It should be general but contain a clear and specific thesis statement of your central argument as well as include an answer to the question: Why are you making this argument?

Each body paragraph consists of a topic sentence and 2 – 3 supporting pieces of evidence. In a 5-paragraph argumentative paper you will have three body paragraphs. This means there are three separate topic sentences or arguments, each of which support your thesis statement.

A conclusion caps off the argumentative essay by restating or summarizing all of the main points in the body paragraph and how they relate to your central argument.