The Main Ingredients of an Argumentative Paper

The argumentative paper involves five main ingredients: 1) thesis [claim, proposition, main idea]; 2) context [background, framework, setting]; 3) reasons [support, evidence]; 4) counter-arguments [objections, contrary considerations]; and 5) responses [refutations, answers to objections]. These ingredients can be put together or organized in a good many different ways. In a very short, very simple argumentative paper, the last two may not appear at all; so the absolute minimum ingredients are: thesis, context, and supporting reasons; and the thesis should appear prior to the reasons (it will also usually be restated after the reasons). As you plan and write your argumentative paper, keep these things circulating in your head!
The following table includes some of the basic guidelines a writer should follow when writing an argumentative paper.

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