A New Approach to Argumentative Essays

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Happy Monday, everyone!

Argumentative papers are a lot of pressure—not only because our grades depend on them, but because they force us to pick a side. They force us to craft an opinion and thoroughly display it to our professors and T.A.’s in a multipage document. Every now and then, we must argue something controversial—something that our instructors may or may not disagree with on a very personal level.

That, again, is a lot of pressure.

Often I find myself struggling to decide whether or not I should write a paper with an argument that I actually believe in or one that I can more effectively support. I worry about how my argument will be received—fearful that my professor or T.A. will base their entire opinion of me and my values and ideologies on the views I express through my essay.

This kind of anxiety makes it difficult for me to confidently express my ideas.

Luckily, last week, my professor said something that has given me a fresh outlook on argumentative writing, one that I would like to share with you now.

“Essay” comes from the French word, essayer, which means “to try,”

Considering that the word “essay” originates from a word that means “to try,” we can think of essays as trying out an idea. Essays allow us the opportunity to explore a viewpoint, and it does not have to be one that we actually have. This is what makes essay-writing such a crucial and enriching experience. Essay-writing compels us to consider the other side—the many other sides—of a debate. And it forces us to create an argument that has a strong foundation. It forces us to thoroughly understand not only why we are arguing what we are, but how our argument will be received by others. I think that this thought process should be practiced much more regularly in other areas of our lives.

So, the next time you sit down to write an argumentative paper, remember to think of it as an exploration!

 

Post submitted by JoAnna

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