Argumentative Essay Complete Guide for TOEFL

07 Jun 2012

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Lin Guoyao
Lin Guoyao's picture
Argumentative Essay Complete Guide for TOEFL

Example Question

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
Police officers should carry guns.
Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer

Introduction

1) Explain Topic
2) Thesis statement

Paragraph 1

3) Topic Sentence
4) Supporting Ideas

Paragraph 2

3) Topic Sentence
4) Supporting Ideas

Conclusion

5) Restate thesis
6) Summarization

1) Explain Topic

Gneral statement about the topic.
No Opinion

Example

Many communities have been debating whether or not police officers should carry guns

Explain both sides

Example

In some situations, guns protect the police officer as well as the public. However, guns often result in injuries and death.

2) Thesis Statement

It should do two things:

Directly answer the essay question
Tell the reader what your opinion is

Example

Normal statement

Police officers should carry guns
Police officers should not carry guns

Stronger statement

Police officers should never carry guns
Police officers should always carry guns

Very strong statement

Regardless of the situation, police officers should never carry guns.
At no time should a police officer ever carry a gun
Regardless of the situation, police officers should always carry guns.

Wrong thesis statement

Police officers work hard
Guns help to protect police officers
Police officers don't need guns

3) Topic Sentence

Must support your thesis

Can be one or more of the following reasons

  1. Academic Reason
  2. Social Resaon
  3. Professional Reason
  4. Cultural Reason
  5. Historic Reason
  6. Environmental Reason
  7. Health Reason
  8. Economic Reason
  9. Biological Reason
  10. Psychological Reason
  11. Emotional Reason
  12. Spiritual Reason
  13. Religious Reason
  14. Personal Reason
  15. Political Reason
  16. Safety Reason
  17. Family Reason

Our example

No police officer should ever carry a gun.

Make a list of all the reasons why.

There is already too much violence in the world.
Police officers don't need protection.
Guns cause more harm than good.
Police officers like to shoot people.
Guns frighten people.
In most cases police officers don't need guns.
Violence of any kind is a bad thing.

For our first topic sentence, we can use phrases such as

First,
First of all,
In the first place,
To begin with,
For one thing.

And this is what our first topic sentence might look like:

First of all, guns cause more harm than good.

For our second topic sentence, we can use these phrases:

Second,
Next,
In addition to the previous point,
More importantly.

And this is what our second topic sentence might look like:

In addition to the previous point, in most cases police officers don't need guns.

4) Supporting Ideas

Here are some things we can use for our supporting ideas:

A personal experience (Recommended)
Something you've heard or read about (Recommended)
A logical argument
Statistical evidence
Factual information
Expert opinion

Example of something we read before

First of all, guns cause more harm than good. There are often stories in the newspapaer about people who are accidentally shot. Moreover, many of these stories involve police officers. If guns had not been involved, these accidents would not have happened. On the other hand, there are very few stories about how a gun has saved somebody's life.

You can use morevoer and on the other hand to help you.

Example of personal experience

In addition to the previous point, in most cases police officers don't need guns. My father, for example, has been a police officer for over 20 years, and he has never had to use his gun. In fact, he says that most people who break the law are unarmed. Thus, it is often unnecessary for police officers to carry guns.

5 - 6) Restate the thesis and summerization

Made small changes to the thesis statement and topic sentences.
This is becuase it's not good to copy the sentences exactly--it's boring for the reader

Example

In conclusion, police officers should not carry guns. Guns usually cause harm to people. Moreover, police officers often don't need them to do their jobs.

Sample Essay (A possible Full Mark)

Many communities have been debating whether or not police officers should carry guns. In some situations, guns protect the police officer as well as the public. However, guns often result in injuries and death. No police officer should ever carry a gun.

First of all, guns cause more harm than good. There are often stories in the newspapaer about people who are accidentally shot. Moreover, many of these stories involve police officers. If guns had not been involved, these accidents would not have happened. On the other hand, there are very few stories about how a gun has saved somebody's life.

In addition to the previous point, in most cases police officers don't need guns. My father, for example, has been a police officer for over 20 years, and he has never had to use his gun. In fact, he says that most people who break the law are unarmed. Thus, it is often unnecessary for police officers to carry guns.

In conclusion, police officers should not carry guns. Guns usually cause harm to people. Moreover, police officers often don't need them to do their jobs

I am The Lin.

Lin Guoyao
Lin Guoyao's picture
Tips for Argumentative Essays

Good words to use

Argue
Some people argue that television is a complete waste of time.

Claim
Some people claim that television is a complete waste of time.

Maintain
Some people maintain that television is a complete waste of time.

Assert
Some people assert that television is a complete waste of time.

Insist
Some people insist that television is a complete waste of time.

Contend
Some people contend that television is a complete waste of time

Top 10 big mistakes

  1. Never use abbreviations
  2. Never end a sentence with three dots...
  3. Don't use slang
  4. Don't use emoticons :-)
  5. Don't use big words and complicated language
  6. Never memorize a text
  7. Do not begin a sentence with a conjunction (and, but, or)
  8. Do not use contractions
  9. Do not write more than 5 paragraphs
  10. Never leave a sentence, paragraph, or idea incomplete

I am The Lin.

Lin Guoyao
Lin Guoyao's picture
64 Essay Topics for Argumentative Essay

 

  1. It is acceptable for parents to use physical force to discipline their children.
  2. Scientific and technological advances are always good.
  3. Life is easier today than it was 500 years ago.
  4. It is important to keep up with the latest fashions.
  5. It is not possible to eliminate poverty.
  6. A job that requires a lot of thinking is more difficult than a job that requires no thinking.
  7. It is more important to study science and technology than to study the arts and humanities.
  8. The cheapest product is always the most economical product.
  9. A successful life is a happy life.
  10. Poor people have more difficult lives than rich people.
  11. Making a bad decision is better than making no decision.
  12. It's better to work for someone than to work for yourself.
  13. Money can't buy happiness.
  14. Police officers should not carry guns.
  15. There should be no minimum age for drinking alcohol.
  16. Large cities should ban cars from the city center.
  17. Learning from experience is better than learning from a book.
  18. It's better to find information in a library than on the internet.
  19. Television violence contributes to violence in society.
  20. An intelligent person is an educated person.
  21. There will always be violence in the world.
  22. Medical care should be free for everybody.
  23. It is sometimes good to lie.
  24. A good teacher is a strict teacher.
  25. It is impolite to criticize other people.
  26. Immigrants to a country should be forced to learn that country's language.
  27. Animals should be free; people should not keep them in zoos.
  28. The government should pay for colleges and universities--education should be free for everybody.
  29. Religion should not be taught in public schools.
  30. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
  31. It is important to know how to play a musical instrument.
  32. Military service should be compulsory.
  33. It is possible to know something about a person by the way he or she dresses.
  34. Governments should limit foreign imports in order to protect jobs.
  35. Extroverts are better leaders than introverts.
  36. Women are better teachers than men.
  37. It is not important to know about what a politician does in his personal life.
  38. The best way to motivate people is through money.
  39. The best jobs are the ones that pay a lot of money.
  40. Computers have complicated people's lives.
  41. Boys are most influenced by their fathers; girls are most influenced by their mothers.
  42. People have too much free time nowadays.
  43. It is better to have many acquaintances than to have only a few close friends.
  44. Learning new things should always be fun.
  45. Success is only achieved through discipline and hard work.
  46. A written test can never measure a person's intelligence.
  47. Animals should never be used to test new drugs or medical treatments.
  48. Watching television is a waste of time.
  49. Some people have too much money.
  50. A person always acts in his own self-interest.
  51. It is important to be actively involved in your community.
  52. All politicians are corrupt.
  53. The best teacher a person will ever have is a parent.
  54. Not everything that is learned is contained in books.
  55. Movies and television negatively influence the way people live and behave.
  56. Success comes from hard work--there is no luck involved.
  57. It is better to live in a small town than in a big city.
  58. University students should be required to attend all their classes.
  59. It is better to learn by yourself than with a teacher.
  60. It is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a big city.
  61. It is good to work while attending school.
  62. People should sometimes do things that they do not enjoy doing.
  63. Television, newspapers, and magazines pay too much attention to the lives of famous people.
  64. It is better to live in one place your entire life than to live in several different places.

I am The Lin.

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