Writing to Argue

Writing to argue and writing to persuade have many similarities. So when you’re revising for your exam, much of the information and techniques you revise will be suitable for both papers.
Primarily, writing to argue has two purposes: to argue your point of view whilst taking into account the opposing view and thus trying to persuade the audience to accept your point of view.

When ‘writing to argue’ in your GCSE exam you are required to:
· Put forward a well-considered point of view;
· Offer support for this view;
· Counter other valid points of view.

When writing to argue remember; your aim is not necessarily to 'win' the argument in an obvious manner; instead, you are required to put forward evidence that is logical and well-considered and which acts to support your point of view as well as counter any alternative views. This could encourage the audience to believe your view is better, however they will feel they have come to their own conclusion rather than just accepted yours.

What evidence should you include?

The evidence you present does not have to be factual for exam purposes. Such evidence as statistical evidence you will be allowed to make up. However whatever evidence you use, it does need to be reasonable. The evidence will also need to be convincing and presented convincingly to have the greatest effect. So for example if you include statistic mention the source e.g. “76% of adults over 24 turned out to vote in the 2001 General Election. Source Government Statistics” This helps to make the results seem more plausible.

When writing to argue you will be asked to argue against an opposing/alternate view. HOWEVER, you must not suggest that the opposing view is in any way stupid – they hold a different view that you don’t agree with. You should approach their view in a logical manner, countering their view to suggest your is right. If you don’t the argument is already lost (along with many useful marks!)



Like writing to persuade you should include an introduction, main body and conclusion. The introduction should be as effective as possible by opening with: short sentences, a quote or statistics for example.

The main body should put forward your argument as logically as possible. You could attempt to find some common ground with the audience. Something we all agree on even those who hold opposing views. This allows your piece of writing to come across as respectful of the opposing view. You should also make effective use of lingual techniques, such as rhetorical questions, exaggerations, ‘lists of three’ or even imagery to a small extent. Most importantly you should ensure your views unfold to create a structure for your argument and give a flow to your writing. And remember you must show that you accept and understand your opponents view even if you don’t agree with it.

Your conclusion should state your conviction strongly. Review every one of your main points and tell your reader what action you want them to take. Lastly reinstate why your argument is stronger and more reasonable than the opposing arguments.


Don’t forget to show you understand the format in which you are asked to write. So if it asks for a letter, lay it out on the page like a letter.

The key to a successful argument is to plan well, making sure you write your various points in a progressively convincing order. Try to show that you have planned, as this will gain you many extra marks.


‘Writing to Argue’ example essay
An effective introduction

1. Write a letter to the new editor of your local newspaper arguing that they should seek to produce more articles aimed at teenagers. (27 marks)

15 Chappleworth Lane
Wh2 7RP
10 Christmore Close
Wh3 9TH

12th October 2003

Dear Mr Thomson

I’ve been buying the Springfield Times for over 15 years and have taken delight in seeing it develop into the fine piece of editorial it is today. However, I have increasingly noticed a lack of articles aimed at teenagers. As a new editor you now have the opportunity to do something about this; you now have the opportunity to help the teenagers of today take a greater interest in reading.


The writer would then go on in the main body to start arguing their opinion. As you can see the writer has tried to find a common ground with the writer by praising the newspaper at present, however then moves on to state the main purpose of the letter.

Test Yourself Questions

1. Write an article for your local newspaper where you will argue that more needs to be done to improve relations with ethnic minorities in Britain.
(27 marks)