For and against essays
A "for and against" essay is a formal piece of writing in which a topic is considered from opposing points of view. You should present both sides in a fair way by discussing them objectively and in equal detail. A good essay of this type should consist of:
a) an introductory paragraph in which you clearly state the topic to be discussed, without giving your opinion;
b) a main body in which the points for and against along with your justifications, examples or reasons are presented in separate paragraphs; and
c) a closing paragraph in which you state your opinion or give a balanced consid¬eration of the topic.
Note: Opinion words (I think, I believe, In my opinion, etc.) can only be used in the closing paragraph where you give your opinion on the topic.
Points to consider
• Before you start writing your essay you should make a list of the points for and against.
• Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence which summarises the topic of the paragraph.
e.g. In addition, many people feel reading is a relaxing and worthwhile activity.
• Do not use informal style (e.g. short forms, colloquial language, etc.) or strong language to express your opinion (e.g. I know…, etc.). Express your opinion in a non-emotional way (e.g. It seems that, I therefore feel, etc.).
• Well-known quotations relevant to the topic you are writing about will make your composition more interesting. For example, if you are writing an essay on education, a quotation you may include is: "Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." (Will Durant)
Note: Although these are "balanced" arguments, if you feel that either the for or against side is stronger and should be supported, this side should be presented in paragraphs 4 & 5, thus leading the reader to your conclusion.
state topic (summary of the topic without giving your opinion)
arguments for & justifi¬cations, examples, and/ or reasons
arguments against & justification, examples, and/or reasons
balanced consideration/ your opinion directly or indirectly
Go to Practical Exercises
Useful expressions and linking words/phrases
• To list points:
Firstly, First of all, In the first place, To begin/start with, Secondly, Thirdly, Finally
• To list advantages:
One/Another/A further/An additional (major) advantage of… is … The main/greatest/first advantage of… is …
• To list disadvantages:
One/Another/ A further/An additional (major) disadvantage/drawback of. The main/greatest/most serious/first disadvantage /drawback of… Another negative aspect of…
• To introduce points/arguments for or against:
One (very convincing) point/argument in favour of… / against, A further common criticism of… / It could be argued that…..
It is widely argued maintained that…..
maintain/believe/point out/agree/hold that…
advocate (+ing/noun)/support the view that…
oppose the view that…
are in favour of/against…
are of the opinion that/convinced that…
are opposed to…
• To add more points to the same topic:
in addition (to this), furthermore, moreover, besides, apart from, what is more, as well as, not to mention (the fact) that, also, not only … but also/as well, both … and, There is another side to the issue/question/argument of…
• To make contrasting points:
on the other hand, however, still, yet, but, nonetheless, nevertheless, even so,
it may be said/argued/claimed that,…
others/many people oppose this viewpoint/strongly disagree…, claim/feel/believe this argument is incorrect/misguided
although, though, even though, while, whilst, whereas, despite/in spite of (the fact that), regardless of the fact that
Opponents of … argue/believe/claim that…
The fact that… contradicts the belief/idea that…
While it is true to say that…, in fact…
While/Although …, it cannot be denied that…
Useful expressions and linking words/phrases
• To introduce examples:
for example, for instance, such as, like, in particular, particularly, especially, This is (clearly) illustrated/shown by the fact that… One/A clear/striking/ typical example of (this)… The fact that…. shows/illustrates that…
• To emphasise a point:
clearly, obviously, it is obvious, naturally, of course, needless to say, indeed
• To express reality:
In fact, the fact (of the matter) is, actually, in practice, it is a fact that, in effect
• To make general statements:
as a (general) rule, generally, in general, on the whole, by and large, in most cases
• To make partially correct statements:
to a certain extent/degree, to some extent/degree, in a way/sense, this is partly true (but), to a limited extent, there is some truth in (this), in some cases, up to a point
• To explain/clarify a point:
in other words, that is to say, this/which means that
• To express cause: owing to, due to (the fact that), on account of, on the grounds that, given that, because, as, since
• To express effect: therefore, thus, as a result/consequence, consequently, so, for this reason, if… were to happen, … the effect/result would be…
• To express intention: to, so as to, in order to, so that, with the intention of (+ing)
Go to Practical Exercises on the Use of linking words and phrases
Useful expressions and linking words/phrases: Conclusion expressing balanced considerations/opinion indirectly
All things considered,
Taking everything into account/consideration,
To sum up,
All in all,
……………………. it can be said/claimed that …
……………………. it seems/appears that…
……………………. it would seem that…
……………………. it is likely/unlikely/possible/foreseeable that …
……………………. it is clear/obvious that…
…………………….. there is no/little doubt that …
…………………….. it is true to say that …
…………………….. although it must be said that …
……………………. it may be concluded/said that …
Useful expressions and linking words/phrases: Conclusion expressing opinion directly
All things considered,
Taking everything into account/consideration,
To sum up,
All in all,
…………………………… it is my belief/opinion that …
………………………….. I (firmly) believe/feel/think that …
…………………………… I am convinced that …
…………………………… I am inclined to believe that …
…………………………… I (do not) agree that/with …
- A for and against essay can end in a balanced consideration in which you restate that there are points for and against the topic using appropriate expressions given above.
- Alternatevely, it can end by expressing an opinion, in which case you state, directly or indirectly, that you are either in favour of or against the topic, using appropriate expressions given above.
Go to conclusion expressing opinion directly/indirectly
9 Read the conclusions below and say whether they express a balanced consideration, or the writer's opinion directly/indirectly.
1 To conclude, although it must be said that a sense of responsibility is one of the most important qualities which can be instilled in young people, it should not be forgotten that there are other, equally important qualities.
2 For the above-mentioned reasons, therefore, I firmly believe that if people are taught a keen sense of responsibility towards themselves and others, then they will have the best possible start in life. The way I see it, taking full responsibility for one's own actions is central to leading an honest life.
3 To sum up, it would seem that, once young people know how to take responsibility for their actions, they are better equipped to learn about life. While there are other important qualities, a highly-developed sense of responsibility provides the ideal foun¬dation for personal development.
4 On balance, it seems that a sense of responsibility has a role to play in a young person's development. Never¬theless, when placed alongside other human qualities, such as honesty and integrity, it is by no means the most useful.
10 Read the main body of the for and against essay below on the topic: "Discuss the view that advertising promotes excessive consumerism." Then read the beginnings and endings and say which of the techniques on p. 56 has been used in each one. Finally, replace the bold type words or phrases in the main body with ones similar in meaning.
1. Whether it is on TV, radio or hoardings at the side of the road, advertisements have become a part of our lives, advertising simply a means of informing the public or does it encourage consumers to purchase products they do not really need?
2. Advertising is a powerful and persuasive medium. You may feel this is an intrusion in your daily life, and resent the pressure on you to spend money. Others, however, enjoy the variety which this highly creative industry brings to everyday life.
3. Advertising is an effective way of selling new products, and many people argue that its effectiveness brainwashes us into unnecessary spending. Others, however, disagree. As Jeremy Tunstall says, "Advertising can't sell any product can only help to sell a product the people want to buy."
One of the main arguments for advertising is that it generates wealth for a country. That is to say, taxes paid on goods sold, help governments to pay for essential services such as education and health care. Moreover, the number of jobs created for pro¬ducing, marketing and servicing these goods helps to reduce the unemployment problem, which is also a great advantage for a country's economy.
What is more, advertising raises money for a huge number of sporting events and artistic perfor¬mances which would otherwise not be held. Without sponsorship from companies who advertise their products, these events would disappear due to lack of funding. In other words, although consumerism is promoted through advertising, it is beneficial to both the consumer and society.
On the other hand, advertisements can cause people to be dissatisfied with what they already have, and make them want more. Being exposed again and again to products which one cannot afford produces frustration and dissatisfaction. Further more, not all parents are in a position to afford the goods which their children see advertised and want to possess. This often leads to feelings of inadequacy, especially among the less well-off.
In addition to this, advertising creates materialism and causes people to place too much importance or material goods. The fact that people are prepared to work long hours, or even turn to crime in order to gain the goods on offer, shows that advertising persuade; people to go to great lengths to keep the same standard of living as those they see around them. It is a fact, though, that neither crime nor the stress caused by overwork can benefit society.
A To sum up, it is true to say that advertising does provide some benefits. However, do you not agree that the drawbacks of a greedy, materialistic society far outweigh the advantages, and we need to be careful that we do not lose sight of what is most important - a spirit of co-operation rather than competition?
B To conclude, it must be said that, while advertising may create jealousy and inequality in society, without it v would lose a valuable source of revenue which is used for the benefit of the majority. What would our lives be like without advertisements?
C In conclusion, I believe that advertising exists to generate wealth by encouraging people to spend unnecessarily. It fosters greed and breeds dissatisfaction while distracting us from focusing on more vital things. As Marion Harper Jr said, "Advertising is found in societies which have passed the point of satisfying the basic animal needs."
11 Read the four topic sentences below and match each with the corre-sponding paragraph. Does each topic sentence adequately summarise the argument it presents? What would a suitable introduction and con¬clusion be for this essay?
"Living in a foreign country cannot be better man living in your own.” Discuss.
a Furthermore, people who move to a foreign country may be regarded with suspicion and treated unfairly.
b On the other hand, living abroad can be a way to escape a variety of problems presented in one's country of birth.
c. One argument in favour of saying in one`s native country is that the problems of adapting to a new way of life cannot always be overcome.
d. Finally, it may be said that by living in a foreign country, people are able to establish a greater understanding between nations.
The fact of the matter is that, even in cases where the language is the same, there are other changes, such as cultural differences, which an out¬sider might find difficult to adjust to. Even the weather can force some people to return to their country of origin. For example, take an Inuit and an Amazonian Indian. They would almost certainly find it impossi¬ble to adapt to the extreme climates of each other's native homes.
In countries with a large number of immigrants there are often social problems, and immigrants stand out as being "different" and even in¬ferior. As a consequence, the host country may react in a variety of ways, from open hostility and racism to depriving the immigrants of the right to equal pay.
For example, war, political or religious intolerance, and natural ca¬tastrophes are among the reasons for people seeking a new home in a foreign land. In such cases, people are often able to start a new life abroad with greater freedom and a higher standard of living.
That is to say, by working and living among foreigners, some of the bar¬riers between countries can be broken down, helping to create a more peaceful world. Needless to say, better diplomatic relations would be of benefit to all.
12 Which of the following are arguments in favour and which are arguments against the topic: "School plays a more important role than die family in shaping one's personality." Discuss. Suggest examples/justification for each argument. Finally, write the composition in about 350 words.
1. Moreover, so much of the school day is devoted to competition and prepa¬ration for examinations that there is little time left for personality develop¬ment.
2. On the other hand, most children have a closer relationship with their parents than with their teachers.
3. An additional argument in support of school is that young people are exposed to a wide variety of subjects.
4. One point in favour of the role of schools is that it is at school where chil¬dren first learn to socialise.
5. Furthermore, children usually spend five years of their lives at home before they even go to school.
6. What is more, the average child spends as many as eight hours a day in school.
PLANNING & ORGANISATION
• There is an alternative paragraph plan you may use when writing for and against essays. When following this plan you present both an argument in favour and the opposing viewpoint in the same paragraph.
In such essays the arguments for and against must be equal in number.
State topic (summary of topic without stating your opinion)
first argument for & against
second argument for & against
give balanced consideration/ your opinion expressed directly/indirectly
- You may include more paragraph in the main body if you wish to include more points
13 "Greater freedom does not necessarily lead to greater happiness” Discuss.
Read the model and say which argu¬ments have been presented in each paragraph. Do the topic sentences clearly summarise the content of each paragraph? Finally, underline all the useful expressions and linking words or phrases and replace them with ones similar in meaning.
Over the years, mankind has recognised the need for personal and social freedom, and this is perhaps one of the m important social advancements ever made. However, whether it has led to increased personal happiness is highly debatable; many people would argue that greater freedom has led to increased social disorder and personal dissatisfaction.
Firstly, it is true that people are now more at liberty to choose how to live their lives. For example, in the Western world at least, the choice of where to live, what career to pursue and which religion to follow has never been greater. In addition to this people have more leisure time in which to enjoy a wider range of recreational activities. On the other hand, it r be argued that this increased freedom can lead people to take things for granted and expect too much from life. As an example of this, the greater choice of material goods available has resulted in people quickly growing bored with t possessions. Consequently, no sooner have they acquired something new than they tire of it. They find short-term happiness in material goods and entertainment, but boredom and frustration soon send them looking for fresh distractions.
Secondly, social and moral attitudes have become less rigid. This has allowed for a greater variety of lifestyles and n freedom in human relations. This is illustrated by the fact that pupils and teachers now treat each other as equals, and parent-child relationships are now much more relaxed. Nevertheless, some people believe that this increase in free has resulted in the escalation of social problems. They argue that the current lack of discipline has given rise to a breakdown in the traditional family and the decay in educational standards as well as the rise in juvenile delinquency. Thus, it may be said that society is becoming more and more dangerous because of the very fact that people are more open-minded than they were in the past.
To conclude, there is evidence both to support and refute the view that greater freedom does not necessarily le: greater happiness. On the one hand, people have more opportunities to raise their standard of living. On the other hand, the many examples of protests, strikes and criminal activities which are a feature of modern society are a sign that, although people may be free, they are not necessarily happier.
14 Read the following arguments and match each argument in favour of using animals for entertainment with the corresponding argument against. Then, following the paragraph plan (the second one), say which arguments you would include in each paragraph. Finally, write a clear topic sentence for each paragraph.
Arguments for using animals for entertainment.
1. Zoos can be educational and also help to increase the numbers of endan-gered species through controlled breeding programmes.
2. Animals used in television programmes, advertisements and films are very appealing and attract large audiences.
3. Circus animals are loved, well-treated and only perform for short periods.
4. Racing animals have a very short working life and are well-treated throughout.
Arguments against using animals for entertainment.
a Animals are forced to perform unnatural acts for the pleasure of the pub¬lic.
b Keeping animals in cages so the public can see them is unnecessary because documentaries produced today take away the need for such places.
c With new technology and special effects, there is no need to use live ani¬mals as realistic models can be used instead.
d Racing animals have gruelling training schedules and are often placed in unnecessary danger.
DISCUSS and WRITE
The discussion clock
• When considering a topic you may refer to the discussion clock, which will help you think of ideas when planning your essay.
• Referring to the discussion clock is a useful “brainstorming” technique, as it helps you examine a topic from various viewpoints and decide on ideas/points to include in your essay.
• Keep in mind that a topic may not relate to all the aspects presented in the discussion clock.
• Remember that for each viewpoint you have thought of, there is usually an opposing argument. Think of the opposing arguments when planning your essay.
15 Read the following composition topic and answer the questions below.
"Should countries encourage tourism?" Discuss.
• What are the two sides of the question?
• Which of the following arguments are for and which against?
1. The desire to attract tourists to a certain area often encourages govern-ments to improve local facilities.
2. Over-development leads to ugly, crowded tourist spots and environ¬mental damage.
3. The impact of tourism may destroy the local way of life.
4. Many people claim that tourism is an important source of income.
5. A country's economy may become so dependent on tourism that it is weak¬ened.
6. Tourism allows people to experience other cultures.
• What aspects of the discussion clock do these arguments deal with?
• Can you think of any additional argu¬ments?
• Which paragraph plan would you fol¬low to write this essay?
• Which arguments would you include and in what order?
• Which techniques would you use to begin and end your essay?
• Which useful phrases and linking words could you use?
16 Now, using the information from your answers to the above questions, write the essay in about 350 words.
Taken from "Successful Writing Proficiency" by Virginia Evans
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Alexa Rain 3 months agofrom egypt
A lot of inspired topics and issues,
you always help in finding ways by arrange your reader thinking and informative things.
i am big fan of you.
Virginia Kearney 4 months agofrom United States
Hi Christina--My articles on how to write can help you! Find them by looking to the side or on my profile page. Or just use Google and type what you need with my name.
Christinaaa 4 months ago
I'm trying to write an argument research paper on social media and mental illness or social media and relationships but I'm having trouble narrowing my topic and creating the key points for my paper.
Virginia Kearney 5 months agofrom United States
Hi Rosie--You have a good topic and an interesting personal connection. I'd suggest that you do a frame story introduction and conclusion. Start with your situation and then stop part-way through and ask the question: should you call CPS? Then do your answer and tell why or why not. Finish with telling the end of your story. See my articles on "How to write an argument paper" and "How to write a position paper" for full instructions.
rosie 5 months ago
Wondering how to write a position essay. Topic should you call Child Protective Services. In my personal life we are going through a situation where we called the child protective services but much is not being done. Was thinking if I choose this topic I could write some of our family's frustration about the situation, don't know how to go about writing this essay
Virginia Kearney 6 months agofrom United States
Khen--You can find help if you look for my articles about how to write different kinds of position or argument papers. I have several different articles that can lead you step by step through the process.
Khen 6 months ago
Can you please help me in my position paper?
Virginia Kearney 7 months agofrom United States
Roami, You have an interesting idea. I think one way for you to get some good information to start your paper is to research why local languages are not included in the instruction first. Next, you might want to interview some people to find out their positions and to get some quotes on this topic. Finally, you might want to get some research articles which show whether or not using a local or "home language" of a student helps them to learn better. In the United States, research has shown that students who receive some instruction in their own language at least at first often do better in the long run than a child who is "fully immersed" in English. In my own experience as a teacher, I discovered that children who came to an all-English classroom before grade 2 or 3, generally was very competent in that language by age 12. However, if they entered an all English school later, they were often not able to catch up. However, that only works if the child is in a school where no one else speaks their native language (as is often true in the U.S. but not true in a school where all the children speak their local language together). You have a wonderful topic and one that is very important for your country to consider. I wish you great success in your paper.
roami 7 months ago
pls, i need u to look into this position topic for me. Should local languages be made as compulsory as religious languages in schools
Virginia Kearney 9 months agofrom United States
Hi Sam, you might want to try my article about Funny Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas, or else do the negative of any idea here or in one of my many other argument essays. In a "devil's advocate" paper, you want to go against what most people think. Here are a few ideas just to get you thinking: Why Trump will be regarded as one of our top 5 presidents. Why we should leave ISIS alone. Why race is less a problem in America than Europe. Why the leader of North Korea isn't really crazy.
Sam 9 months ago
I have this assignment of playing the role of devil's advocate and I can't think of a good topic!
( I personally prefer a political related topic).
Virginia Kearney 12 months agofrom United States
Aidyn-You add a very interesting position topic. I had not thought about schools making rules against fasting but it certainly could hurt a child's performance in school if they were fasting for a longer period than a day or two. That could cause a school to be concerned. Thanks for your comment and idea.
Aidyn Krikorian 12 months ago
I greatly appreciate your website, and I have a suggestion for a topic. "Should we allow fasting or other religious acts in schools?" This topic facsinates me and I do hope you will consider it. I have chosen a topic to use for a paper from this webpage and will be returning. Thank you, Aidyn.
Virginia Kearney 12 months agofrom United States
Rose--You did not mention what aspect of culture you are writing about which makes it hard to help you. However, for example, if you are writing a paper arguing to people that only like modern music that classical music is worth listening to, you could start by talking about what you agree with about modern music and acknowledge why people of your generation might prefer to listen to it. Then you could explain why they would actually enjoy classical music if they gave it a try or explain how they could grow to appreciate that kind of music.
rose lasu 12 months ago
I need help on my regerian Argument eassy on culture. I dont now how to start it, Does anyone knows how.thanks
Preston Heard 14 months ago
These are great topics for the upcoming research essays. I will definitely be using one of them. Thank you for this resource!
Aaron Gibson 14 months ago
Excited for your class this semester!
Matt Hartman 14 months ago
This article along with many of the other articles you have written will be very helpful this semester! I'm looking forward to your class!
Virginia Kearney 16 months agofrom United States
Look for my articles about how to write argument or position essays for lots of ideas on how to introduce essays and find sources. Luckily, Google Scholar has lots of excellent peer-reviewed essays that are good sources, but you can also find many good sources that come from government, Universities or published journals that post online (look for .gov, .edu or a journal that also appears in print). One easy way to start your introduction is to tell a story about a student who is generally shy (or maybe bullied) but gets excited (and more included by others) when they are able to share about their own culture during a multiculturalism unit.
jenn 16 months ago
I am doing an Apa essay on "should schools be required to teach multiculturalism" any idea on how I should start my intro and what sources I should use?
Virginia Kearney 17 months agofrom United States
Bebe--You don't tell me whether your paper is a research paper or not, but I've written many articles on how to write different sorts of essays. You can use the search engine on HubPages to find them, or look at the links that usually appear when you pull up one of my articles. Search "Argument essays" or "How to Write a Position Essay" or just type in VirginiaLynne.
To start a paper on your topic, I think I would use a story in the introduction showing a miscommunication when people don't talk face to face.
bebe 17 months ago
Hey . Can you please help me in my position paper . I dont how to start . My topic is cellphone,texts and emails are not as good as talking face to face . It is from yours sample :) thank you
B-RAD 24 months ago
I think that is video gaming good or bad is a great topic to choose.
Virginia Kearney 2 years agofrom United States
Yes Alsaifl, I think that "What is beauty?" could be a topic. You are right that your answer would be a definition claim.
Jumanah Alsaif 2 years ago
Is the topics What is true beauty? (definition) a good topic for a position paper? I was thinking of writing how the definition of beauty is different for each individual
Brittany Adams 14 2 years ago
Thank you so much for posting! This helps a lot with my writing!
Tariq Ali Khan 2 years ago
Excellent work buddy! Thank you so much !
Kristen Howe 2 years agofrom Northeast Ohio
Great topics for a variety of essays for everyone who needs to be inspired. Voted up for useful!
Joanna 3 years ago
That Tom Hanks video is hilarious. These ideas are very thought-provoking and inspiring!
Virginia Kearney 3 years agofrom United States
Cindy A. So glad I was able to give you some good information!
Cindy A. 3 years ago
Unbelievable. You have helped me enormously. Thank you so much
Bluerider 3 years ago
Thank you for these great topics.
VJG 3 years agofrom Texas
This would be an interesting article for school students. They always seem to struggle for essay ideas.
Virginia Kearney 3 years agofrom United States
Hi Safa--Here are the main steps:
1. Choose a question you are going to write about. Then think about what your answer to the question is going to be.
2. Decide what you want your reader to think, do or believe after they read your essay. That is your thesis (the answer to your question).
3. Decide who you want to persuade to believe this (that is your reader or audience). Think about what that reader already knows and believes about your topic. That will help you develop your arguments. The reader should not be someone who already believes what you do. If they do, you aren't really arguing are you?
4. Think of at least 3 reasons why your reader should believe your thesis. Those reasons will be the main body part of your essay.
5. Think of examples or evidence which supports each of those reasons. That is what you will use to support those three reasons.
6. What objections will your reader have? Write those out and also your answers to those objections. This will be a paragraph after your reasons.
7. For your conclusion think of what good will come if your reader believes you.
I've written more in detail about this in my article: https://owlcation.com/academia/How-to-Write-an-Arg...
Virginia Kearney 4 years agofrom United States
Hi katha- if you look at the bottom right blue box I have the links to sample essays. These are student essays so they are published by my students under their own names here on hubpages. Maybe I should move these up on the page so you can find them more easily.
Virginia Kearney 4 years agofrom United States
Samarah--Yes I think that vaccinating children is a very good topic. You can also narrow that to particular types of vaccinations that are new like the chickenpox vaccine or the HPV. Another possible argument on this topic is whether or not it is true that vaccines are the main reason for better health in people today than in the past.
samarah15 4 years ago
Is the right to vaccinate children a good topic?
Virginia Kearney 4 years agofrom United States
I think you can do something related to obesity or how different types of food are good or bad for your health. Or you can talk about GMO foods or organic or locally grown produce.
Virginia Kearney 5 years agofrom United States
Xstatic--I love the fact that you do have a position on everything--I like to look at all sides of things and that is great as an instructor teaching positions, because I can play the devils advocate, but sometimes I do need to just nail down my own point of view!
Jim Higgins 5 years agofrom Eugene, Oregon
A great "how to" for position papers. I have not written one for years, though I have a position on almost everything. Useful Hub and well done as usual.