Chapter 6: Argument (Argumentative) / Persuasive Papers

Writing > Persuasive Papers


Introduction to Argument / Persuasive Papers

This chapter outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an English academic argument paper. Students are often asked to write persuasive papers and, instead, they end up submitting an expository paper. If you would like to compare the difference between the two papers, there is a chapter in this text dedicated to expository essays.

Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience. Be advised that English essays are not drafted the same way as French essays are written.

Before learning about argumentative essays, it is useful to define what the word “argument” can mean, in the context of academic writing. The following are relevant definitions taken from


/ˈɑr gyə mənt/


  1. a discussion involving differing points of view; debate: They were deeply involved in an argument about inflation.

  2. a process of reasoning; series of reasons: I couldn't follow his argument.

  3. a statement, reason, or fact for or against a point: This is a strong argument in favor of her theory.

  4. an address or composition intended to convince or persuade; persuasive discourse.

  5. subject matter; theme: The central argument of his paper was presented clearly.

Next Steps

  1. Use the menu to navigate to the sub-chapters in this chapter (Chapter 6) to explore the details surrounding the content and structure of of the argumentative / persuasive essay.

  2. Check out some "model" essays that received a high grade on the Model Essays website.

Maintaining this website requires alerts and feedback from the students that use it when they see a problem or have a suggestion.

Attribution information for this page: Allen Brizee (OWL Purdue)
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