Queries & Answers

This is in continuation of the segment started two months back. Thanks a lot for your response. I hope this write-up will also be very helpful in your preparation.

Q. What should be the length of an argument paragraph and how many such paragraphs, at least, should be there in an essay?

Ans. Generally, an argument paragraph is more detailed as compared to other paragraphs. Its minimum length, in my opinion, should be 120 words. It should, however, not go beyond 160 words. As far as the number of such paras in an essay is concerned, you should bear in mind a thumb rule: argument paras normally constitute fifty percent of the essay in every context. So, there should be minimum 8-10 paras in your essay depending upon the requirement of the topic and available material.

Q. Is it necessary to elaborate on every single sub-point in a separate argument paragraph?

Ans. it is neither necessary nor possible. Usually, in the first 5-6 paragraphs, the rule of “one para, one sub point” is followed, and in the last 2-3 paras, all the remaining sub-points are summarized. Some aspirants have a misunderstanding regarding this very aspect; they give only as many sub-points in the outline as they, in their view, can elaborate on in separate paragraphs. This decreases the number of arguments. While making outline, you may give 15-16 sub-points in the argument part and then explain them in 8-10 paras following the procedure mentioned above.

Q. What are the tips regarding argument paragraphs?

Ans. Argument paragraphs are the most important ones in an essay. In importance, they are the immediate followers of the introductory para which doubtlessly tops the importance chart. The following guidelines can be helpful in writing argument paragraphs:

i. In argument paras, the focus is not on the language but on the effective conveyance of the message. Usually, difficult vocabulary that is allowed to be used in introductory paragraphs is avoided while writing argument paras.

ii. Every argument paragraph starts with paragraph statement which is followed by explanation and evidence. So, it means:

Argument para = Para statement + Explanation of the statement + Evidence

iii. In paragraph statement, you will describe your argument in a direct and unambiguous way. After this statement, you would explain your statement in one-two sentences which would be followed by 7-8 sentences carrying evidence. The following weightage chart will explain you further the overall structure of the argument para:

  • Paragraph statement                        10% of the para
  • Explanation of the statement         20% of the para
  • Evidence                                             70% of the para

iv. Evidence part of the para is the actual spirit of it. Evidence should be based on facts and figures, references, quotes, illustrations and data. This is the part the quality of which determines the overall quality of your essay. You should be extremely logical and reasonable while writing argument paras.

v. You should keep in mind that in every argument para, you have to prove something. When you complete your para, do ask yourself whether you have been able to successfully prove or not what you wanted to prove. If the answer comes in negative, add more justification and evidence to your para. You should not end till the job is successfully done.

vi. Never hesitate to use Schedule / Table / Diagram if it is needed to substantiate your argument. Some teachers advise students not to use such things. But, I fully endorse it as I myself used many tables / schedules in my CSS essay paper of 2009 and remained successful.

vii. Your style of giving arguments should be of a lawyer who pleads his case before a judge in the court. What does it mean? It means, you should be highly confident and convincing while writing argument paras. After reading your argument para, the examiner should be highly convinced that you have successfully presented your case.

viii. Never end your argument para abruptly. Explain well and explain enough before you move to the next one.

ix. Never use words like “Hence it is proved…….” at the end of the paragraph. Similarly, never use the words “In my opinion” or “in my view” while writing argument paragraph. It is understood whatsoever you are writing is based on your opinion.

x. Avoid repetition of arguments and evidence.


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