ESSAY STRUCTURE

As with the Issue essay, there is no single “correct” way to organize an Argument essay.

Introductory Paragraph (2-4 sentences)

Try to accomplish three goals in your introductory paragraph:

  • Briefly restate the argument in your own words.
  • Briefly trace the argument’s line of reasoning.
  • Indicate the extent to which the argument is logically convincing.
  • If possible, sum up your arguments in one sentence (or two brief sentences).

The following is a sample template for the first paragraph that accomplishes these goals:

The author concludes that____________, because ________. The author’s line of reasoning is that ______________. This argument is unconvincing for several reasons; it is____________ and it uses _____________.

First Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)

In the first body paragraph, your goal is to critique one of the following:

  • The reasoning of the argument
  • One of the premises of the argument
  • One of the assumptions of the argument

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

First of all, ____________________________ is based upon the questionable assumption ________________________________. That _______________, however, _________________. Moreover, ________________________.

The purpose of the second paragraph is to address one of the following:

  • The reasoning of the argument
  • One of the premises of the argument
  • One of the assumptions of the argument

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

Secondly, the author assumes that_________________________.
However, __________________________. It seems equally reasonable to assume that____________________.

Third (and optional Fourth) Body Paragraph

In this paragraph, your goal is to critique one of the following:

  • The reasoning of the argument
  • One of the premises of the argument
  • One of the assumptions of the argument

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

Finally, _______________________________________. The author fails to consider__________________________________. For example, __________________. Because the author’s argument _________________.

Final Paragraph (2-3 sentences)

In the final paragraph, your goals are to:

  • Summarize your critique of the argument
  • State the main point of your essay

The final paragraph is not the place to introduce new arguments or issues. Sample template:

In sum, I agree that______________________. However, ____________________; on balance, _____________________.

The numbers of sentences indicated for each paragraph are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

Do not be a Parrot

The transitional phrases used here are purposely simplistic; do not simply “parrot” them word-for-word in your essay or adopt a fill-in the blank approach. If you do, your essay might appear stilted or contrived.

Next LSAT: September 21st

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