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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Other Frequently Assigned Papers

Writing Arguments

Steps to Writing an Argument

State Your Thesis or Proposition

In argument, the thesis is also called a proposition. Your proposition should do the following:

  • define your argument’s scope by stating its situation or context; and

  • make clear what assertion you are going to debate. 

You may “hook” your readers by stating your argument as a question. Because many questions lack a point of view, however, be sure a question leads to a proposition, and that your proposition makes a claim that is open to debate. Your proposition should state something that your readers feel uncertain about and about which you find arguments for both sides of the issue.

Sometimes students have an opinion they intend to address and support. Then, after reviewing information on the topic, they decide that they have to modify or change their opinion. This is all part of the writing process. When you do research, you may find new information or evidence that changes your argument. Your proposition can be modified during the draft stage.

To help you get started at this stage, brainstorm and freewrite about what you already know about the topic. Asking—and answering—the following questions can get you started on your assignment.

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