Present your arguments

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 12:00am

When do you need to make your essay argumentative? When the topic is controversial and you have to show your stance with good support, it is not enough just to present your one-sided arguments. You need to take into account the opposing views. You have to mention the counter-arguments and to refute them.

Let's work on the following topic which is obviously controversial and see how we can make a good argumentative essay out of it.

Some people think that animals should be treated the same as humans, but others don't. Write an essay, saying whether you are for or against such a view.


Before you write, you have to decide on your stance.

Let's say you agree that animals should be treated the same as humans. You have to give three reasons why you think so.

Reason 1: animals have rights too

Reason 2: animals' homes are unlawfully (according to Nature's law) intruded by humans

Reason 3: 'do as we would be done by' (will we use humans as guinea pigs in experiments?)

We can adopt the three-tier approach: writer's view + counter-argument + refutation.


Sample paragraph on Reason 1:

Firstly, we have to understand that humans are just one type of animal on earth. Even though we are more intelligent than other animals, that does not mean we have more rights to live than they. Animals have every right to live on earth just as each of us. It seems justified to domesticate animals, or to put it more precisely, to enslave them. Not many of us would defend the rights of animals to live freely. Cows, horses, dogs, sheep and many others are kept to cater for our needs. Even wild animals are captured to provide entertainment in circus, zoo, and anywhere our fancies prefer. This is simply outrageous.

First, the paragraph brings out the topic sentence saying that animals have rights too. Then we see one of the opposing views that human needs should be satisfied at the expense of animals. The last sentence is an outburst of a refutation.

Sample paragraph on Reason 2:

Secondly, we would not allow burglars to go free if they broke into other people's houses. Yet we humans are intruding into wild animals' habitats and worse still we destroy their homes, drive them away or even slaughter them. But we are not punished for these atrocities. We all tend to think that their land is ours, and they only live and die for us. What arrogance and ignorance

it is!

Again we see that the second paragraph is composed of three parts. First, the writer's view i.e. it is unlawful to intrude into animals' homes; then, the counter-argument saying that their land is ours; lastly, a refutation.

Sample paragraph on Reason 3:

Finally, if I say we should use humans as guinea pigs to test our newly invented or discovered medicine, many people will make their strongest protest. Why don't we complain when we see animals suffering severe agony in laboratories? Even if we accept that animals do not have as many rights as we do, we should not deny them the right not to suffer. When will we hold the same attitude towards humans and animals? When will we treat animals the same way we treat humans? As a proverb goes, 'Do as we would be done by.' Does this only apply in man-to-man relationships?

Note here that refutation can also be presented as rhetorical questions.