How to Format an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay has its own unique criteria. It requires the writer or a student to take a stand while considering other viewpoints. However, one of the most important steps to writing a high-scoring piece is to use the correct argumentative essay format. Want to learn how to format an argumentative essay using the two most popular styles MLA and APA? This is your comprehensive cheat sheet from EssayAxe that will teach you exactly that.

argumentative essay format

Argumentative Essay Format

Are you asking, what are the 3 main parts of an argumentative essay? The three parts are:

  • A strong introductory paragraph with a clear thesis
  • Three body paragraphs substantiated with detailed evidence
  • A compelling conclusion.

The standard argumentative format has three main sections comprised of five paragraphs: one introductory, three body, and one conclusion.

Introduction Section

The introductory paragraph introduces the topic. It should establish the position or stance on a topic and the context of the argumentative essay. Finally, it should end with a thesis statement. You should use logic and factual evidence to prove the thesis statement.

The Body

The format for the argument essay’s body should start with a topic sentence that introduces the discussion of each body paragraph. In addition, every argumentative point must be supported by factual evidence cited from a reputable source.

Body paragraphs should also include counterarguments to the position asserted in the essay to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the topic under discussion.

Concluding Paragraph

The argumentative essay conclusion restates the thesis in a new way. It also includes suggestions for further research. Following this format will help you write and organize an argumentative essay.

The trick to writing a high-scoring argumentative essay is to ensure your claim (a position taken) has logical reasons and relevant evidence. Furthermore, the reasons and evidence should be organized.

Equally important, the evidence from sources should be integrated effectively and the rebuttal supported with logical reasons and evidence. Additionally, use transitions to link and create cohesion among claims, reasons, and evidence. Finally, use a formal style and maintain an objective tone throughout the piece.

argumentative essay format

How to Write an Argumentative Essay Outline

While there are multiple ways to organize an argumentative paper, a great outline will make the text easy to understand. It will also create cohesion. You can structure an argumentative essay using the Toulmin, Aristotelian, or Rogerian format. Nonetheless, a simple outline for an argumentative essay will look like this:

  • Introductory paragraph
  • First body paragraph that has supporting evidence
  • A second paragraph containing supporting evidence
  • Counter argument paragraph
  • Conclusion part

Ensure your outline will lead to a cohesive,\ and flowing argumentative essay.

Argumentative Essay MLA Format

When writing your argumentative essay in Modern Language Association style (MLA), use double space and 12-point Times New Roman. Note that the MLA format argumentative essay doesn’t have a separate title page.

Instead, it has a header on the upper right-hand corner of the page. Besides, the header should contain your last name, space, and a page number. And it should be present throughout the essay.

However, you should write all your title page details in the upper left-hand corner of the first page and start your essay immediately after that. The title page includes your name, supervisor’s name, course, and date. Keep the title centered and use standard capitalization. End the essay with a Works Cited page.

APA Format Argumentative Essay

The American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the most popular academic and professional writing formats. An argumentative essay written in APA has three main sections.

  • The title page
  • The main body
  • The reference page

In some cases, a professor might ask students to include an abstract. In that case, the abstract should be on a new page immediately after the title page. APA abstracts for an argumentative essay are usually 250 words at maximum. Lastly, ensure your abstract also offers the reader an overview of what your paper is all about.
To ensure your argumentative essay APA format is correct, follow the tips below;

Title Page

Typically a title page for an argumentative essay will have these key details:

  • The title or topic being discussed
  • Author’s name
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Course number and name
  • The instructor names
  • Due date

All text throughout this page should have double spaces. The title should also be in upper and lowercase letters. Additionally, it should be in boldface and centered. It should be brief and shouldn’t contain abbreviations.


The most recommended font for argumentative essays is 12-point Times New Roman and 11-point Calibri. However, it’s always best to use the font your professor suggests.

What are the 5 parts of an Argumentative Essay?

Any good argumentative essay will have at least these five elements or parts. A five-paragraph argumentative essay helps students to present their claims clearly. It also leaves enough room to confidently support their views with solid evidence from literary texts and credible research materials.

The five parts are:

  • Claim – the position taken by the student/ what the writer is trying to prove or argue.
  • Reason – provided to support a claim. Reasons are supported by evidence.
  • Evidence – used to support or prove a reason. This can be in the form of statistics, facts, quotations, surveys, etc.
  • Counter-claim – also known as counterargument. This is the opposing position.
  • Rebuttal – refutes or disproves the counter-claim. It also addresses the criticism of the claim.

In an argumentative essay, the claim is in the introduction and in the conclusion. Additionally, the body paragraphs need to be in form of a series of reasons supported by evidence. For arguments that include a counter-claim and rebuttal, additional paragraphs will represent the counter-claim and rebuttal.

Good Argumentative Essay Topics

A good argumentative topic should be informative and debatable. Furthermore, it should also contain extensive information so that it becomes easier to find credible sources. Below are examples of good argumentative topics.

  • Should healthcare be a fundamental human right?
  • Is income inequality a problem in the United States?
  • Do you think socialism is the best economic system?
  • How do you feel about cancel culture?
  • Has the internet made society better?
  • As a society, are we too addicted to our devices?

While there are numerous topics you can base your essay on, it’s best to find a subject that is interesting to you.

Ask for Writing for EssayAxe

Read argumentative essay examples if you need help narrowing a topic or getting a good angle to write about. Better yet, ask our argumentative essay writers for assistance. In addition, if you are having trouble writing an argumentative assignment, contact us now. We offer help with argumentative essay topic selection, writing, and proofreading.

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