You’ve spent quite a bit of time in your English classes writing argumentative essays. You’ve even gotten pretty good at writing on the topics your instructor assigns. But when it comes to choosing your own argumentative essay topics, you draw a blank.
It’s not that there aren’t any good topics to choose from. It’s that you start over-thinking it, wondering if each topic is too cliche, overdone, or just not good enough.
Chances are, all you need to do is relax and find a topic you’re passionate about and, of course, one that’s debatable.
Why Pick Debatable Argumentative Essay Topics?
The name of the essay says it all—argumentative. It would be a lot easier to write an essay on something that people generally agree on, certainly. But that’s not really the point of an argumentative essay.
It’s important to choose debatable argumentative essay topics. You need opposing points that you can counter with your own points.
The world isn’t black and white—there are a lot of gray areas. This is good because it means there are a lot of topics you can choose from.
I’ve listed 70 argumentative essay topics below, phrased as questions, to help get you started. I’ve separated the topics into five categories—legal, moral, social, media, and family. And I’ve even included a helpful link for each topic.
Feel free to use the topics for your own essay or as inspiration to create your own original topic.
14 Legal Argumentative Essay Topics
Argumentative essay topics about legal matters are a popular choice. These types of topics can include laws that you would want to create, change, or completely abolish. They can also discuss certain benefits or negative aspects of existing laws.
You don’t have to get super technical with legal argumentative essays. But you do need to do your research on what the current laws about your chosen topic actually say.
After all, you don’t want to suggest a changing a law that’s already been changed in the way you want.
- Should cigarettes and other tobacco products be outlawed?
- Should prostitution be legal?
- Do the benefits of medical marijuana justify its legality?
- Is the drinking age appropriate (should it be lower, higher, or stay the same)?
- Should nuclear weapons be outlawed worldwide?
- Should the United States put more restrictions on gun ownership and use?
- At what age should girls have access to birth control without the consent of their parents?
- Should cellphone use be banned while driving?
- Does outlawing controlled substances only create a larger black market?
- Should corporations be granted personhood?
- Should juveniles be sentenced to life in prison?
- In what situations, if any, does a woman have a right to an abortion?
- Should restaurants be required to include calories on all menu items?
- Should an added tax be placed on sugary drinks, such as sodas?
14 Moral Argumentative Essay Topics
Moral argumentative essay topics are some of the easiest to get carried away with. They can cover a variety of moral dilemmas, from animal testing to the death penalty.
These topics tend to be very debatable because people have different opinions—and justifications for those opinions—on what they think is right or wrong.
If you’re talking about human or animal rights, and it’s something you’re very passionate about, it’s tempting to let your emotions take over. While it’s good to be passionate in an argumentative essay, remember to keep your thoughts focused and organized.
It’s definitely worth your time to create an outline. It helps ensure you don’t stray off topic. If you need help crafting an outline, review these two resources:
- Is animal testing necessary?
- Should consumers buy items from countries that endorse child labor?
- Do patients have a right to die via physician-assisted suicide?
- Should children’s beauty pageants be banned?
- Are nude photographs appropriate in museums that are open to the public?
- Should schools and businesses give more incentives for people to do volunteer work?
- Are atheists less moral than theists?
- Does freedom of speech give people the right to use hate speech?
- Do people who commit heinous crimes deserve the death penalty?
- Do pre-employment drug tests infringe on personal privacy rights?
- Should employees be able to have visible tattoos in the workplace?
- Are cameras in public places an invasion of privacy?
- Should teens be allowed to have cosmetic surgery?
- Should Dreamers be allowed to stay in the United States?
14 Social Argumentative Essay Topics
Social argumentative essay topics tend to overlap with legal and moral topics. But argumentative topics deal more about how individuals act within society and what kinds of pressures society puts on individuals or groups of people.
This is a pretty broad category. There are a lot of topics to choose from and even more that you could create on your own. If you get stuck on which topic to write about, consider something that personally affects you or someone close to you.
This should make writing about that topic come more naturally. Just be sure to rely on facts and not on personal anecdotes. Such anecdotes are more appropriate to the narrative essay realm.
Remember, even though you may be writing about something that affects you personally, the argument essay isn’t usually the place for first person point of view. Most argumentative research papers require you to use third person.
- Is there too much pressure on teenagers to go to college?
- At what age should citizens be allowed to vote in the United States?
- Should more rights be given to immigrants?
- Can heterosexual men and women truly be friends with no hopes or expectations of anything more?
- In what case(s) could it be considered fair for a company to not hire a candidate who smokes cigarettes?
- Should the United States make English the official national language?
- Should women wear less-revealing clothing in order to curb men’s catcalling?
- Do prisoners deserve the right to vote?
- Should there be a legal curfew for minors?
- Can online dating replace meeting a person in real life?
- Does social media create isolation?
- Should welfare recipients be required to submit to drug tests?
- Should adoptive parents be given some form of maternity leave?
- Can video games be a useful learning tool?
14 Advertising and Media Argumentative Essay Topics
Advertising and the media have become nearly inseparable from society as a whole. Essays written on these topics can include various angles.
For instance, you could look at how media (television, news, movies, magazines, social media, etc.) affects society. But you could also look at what should be allowed to be seen or heard through media and advertisements.
Inspiration to create your own advertising or media argumentative essay topics isn’t hard to find. Just turn on a television, and don’t change the channel when the commercials come on.
Pay close attention to all things electronic. You’ll be sure to find something debatable about what you see.
- Should sex be allowed to be portrayed on prime time television?
- Where should networks draw the line for violence on television?
- Should news shows talk about celebrities?
- Do journalists have a duty to eliminate as much bias as possible?
- Is it acceptable for companies to advertise in schools?
- In what situations should advertisements for alcohol and tobacco products be allowed?
- Should warnings and side effects be made more clear in advertisements?
- Is print advertising obsolete?
- Do TV shows and movies have the responsibility of being more diverse?
- Are public service announcements effective?
- Do photoshopped images affect self-image and self-esteem?
- Do reality shows, such as Teen Mom, glorify teen pregnancy?
- Does the media create unrealistic expectations of relationships and marriage?
- Does the media attempt to create hype to influence or scare the public?
14 Family Argumentative Essay Topics
Argumentative essay topics covering family life and values are abundant. That’s because every family is different. Rules in families vary on a case-by-case basis, contrary to laws that govern a state or nation.
Because each family is different, it’s hard to generalize in this type of essay.
However, there’s a ton of research on child development and psychology, marital psychology, and personal stories from parents and their children. You can get enough information to make an argument for any of the topics below (or for a topic of your own).
Not sure where to find sources? Check out 5 Best Sources to Help With Writing a Research Paper.
- At what age should parents talk to their children about sex?
- Do children deserve/need an allowance?
- Is it okay for parents to monitor teens’ Internet use?
- Should parents be able to spank their children?
- Is it acceptable for women to breastfeed in public?
- Should parenting classes be compulsory?
- Should parents push their kids into extracurricular activities, such as music or sports?
- Are children’s rooms really theirs, or do the rooms “belong” to parents’?
- Should single people be able to adopt children as easily as couples?
- Should same-sex couples be allowed to adopt children as easily as heterosexual couples?
- Which parenting style is most effective?
- Should parents pay children for good grades?
- How does helicopter parenting harm (or help) kids?
- At what age should children be allowed to have a cellphone?
Final Thoughts on Choosing Argumentative Essay Topics
As you can see, there are a lot of debatable argumentative essay topics you can choose from (way more than are on this list).
For more ideas, read these posts:
Need to narrow down a broad topic into something more manageable? Read How to Narrow a Topic and Write a Focused Paper.
And if you’d like a few more argument essay tips, take a look these posts:
Once you’re ready to come up with a thesis, check out these argumentative thesis statement examples.
Not sure what a completed argument essay should look like? Read 2 Argumentative Essay Examples With a Fighting Chance.
When picking your topic, keep in mind that it’s much easier to write about something that you already have interest in. In fact, that’s true even if you don’t know a whole lot about it. Researching the topic will allow you to learn more about what fascinates you.
And if you pick something you actually like, writing the essay will be more enjoyable.
If you’ve wrapped up your argument but think there may be a few holes in your logic, send your essay over to the Kibin editors. They’ll help give you the winning edge in whatever you’re debating.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
You’ve probably argued with people before, maybe with your parents, siblings, or friends. Heck, you may have even been in a fight or two, but get ready to put away the harsh words and heavy gloves because writing an argument essay is a totally different beast.
Writing a winning argument essay may seem tough, but knowing more than just the basics can make all the difference. In this post, I’ll start by reviewing fundamentals, and then we’ll dive right into the tools you’ll need to write an argument essay worthy of the big ‘A.’
So…What IS an Argument Essay?
Because even Batman started somewhere…
You may already know about some of the argument essay fundamentals, and that’s awesome. But wait—there’s more. A winning argument essay includes some very important techniques that you’ll want to use, so keep reading. I’ll tell you all about them.
It all starts with the thesis—your claim about an issue that interests you. Throughout the rest of the paper, you support this claim through appealing to the audience and using logic, emotion, and valid sources. A counterargument and rebuttal are commonly used in this type of essay as well.
This is what a typical argument essay’s structure looks like in outline form:
- Intro and thesis
- Supporting paragraphs: 1, 2, 3, etc.
- Counterargument paragraph(s)
- Rebuttal paragraph(s)
Where do you begin, then? There is much more to writing a winning argument essay than just a good structure. So let me take you through the process, step-by-step, and soon you’ll be arguing your way through your topic like a pro—just as good at Batman is at fighting crime and saving the day.
Be original. Your professor wants to read your specific ideas about an interesting issue that means something to you. There are a lot of great argument topics out there, but many students over the years have come up with the same arguments on the same issues.
Brainstorm some issues that mean something to you. It’s easier to write on a topic you actually care about. Your professor has probably read a gazillion papers on abortion or legalizing marijuana. You won’t impress your prof by following in the footsteps of so many predictable students who came before you.
Instead, spice things up, and take the road less traveled.
That’s right, Sherlock—it’s research time! Whether or not you’re still in the brainstorming phase, getting to know more about your topic is vital to writing a winning argument essay.
Through research, you’ll learn about what arguments have been and are being made about your topic. This can be especially useful if you haven’t settled on a thesis yet. If you already have your claim in mind, then the research process can help you find strong sources to support your argument. Make use of your university’s library and research databases, Google Scholar, or news sites to find good info on your topic. Avoid Wikipedia—it’s not always accurate.
Is it good, or is it CRAAP? No, that’s not a misspelling! You cannot just use any old source—you have to make sure that your sources accurately support your argument using current information. Apply the CRAAP test to all your sources to make sure they’re not actually crap.
Catch More Flies With Honey
Language is everything. It’s good to keep in mind that an argument is not a rant. Instead, you’re trying to persuade your audience that your point of view is valid. Respectfully address your audience, and consider their ideas too. Really think about your audience or opposition—each is different, and you’ll need to carefully appeal to their specific ideas about an issue.
How is this done? Take it away, Aristotle!
Ethos, logos, and pathos. More than just being a long-dead Greek guy, Aristotle has a lot to do with how we create winning arguments today. He came up with the concepts of ethos, logos, and pathos, and how to apply them toward strong arguments. Let’s quickly break these concepts down:
If you’ve found credible sources to back up your argument, then you already have ethos covered.
Logos is the logical appeal to your audience. Use data, charts, and other forms of scientifically measurable evidence to show your audience the hard facts.
Logos is important, and having good sources can help you support your ideas with strong logic that will likely persuade your audience. But you also want to make sure that your own writing’s logic is rock-solid from beginning to end. That means avoiding logical fallacies.
This YouTube video provides a great way to learn more about logical fallacies and why they should be avoided when writing your winning argument essay.
Pathos is the emotional appeal, which allows you to add a bit of humanity to your argument. You can use real-world accounts, anecdotes of individuals troubled by the issue you’re arguing for/against, or language that appeals to specific members of your audience in a meaningful way. For example, if you’re arguing to parents about the merits of vaccination, you’ll want to focus on their concerns for their children’s well-being.
Did you know that sentence-level language is also important? Check out this awesome infographic that shows you what language to include in your argument essay. The right tone is vital, and through a good balance of logos and pathos, your argument will win over your audience.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Don’t plagiarize.Your sources should be used to reinforce your assertions (and thus your thesis) in each body paragraph—you don’t want to scaffold from the work of others. Focus on your own ideas first, and add evidence later.
You may be wondering how to do this effectively. No worries! Here is an easy-to-follow formula for your body paragraphs to help you get started:
- Assertion: Claim that argues a part of the issue in support of the thesis.
- Reasoning: States why assertion is valid.
- Evidence: Information from your sources that supports the assertion.
- Analysis: Your explanation of why/how this evidence supports the assertion.
You must explain how your evidence matches up with what you have to say. You can’t just make a claim and provide the evidence, expecting the audience to make the connection for you. So be sure you’re following this formula, and you should be fine.
That said, you need a strategy for using these sources appropriately. Good news—there are a few easy ways to do this: paraphrasing, direct quotes/dialogue, and summary.
And be sure to double-check with your professor about the citation requirements. When you cite your sources, you’ll want to make sure you’re following the right format, whether it be APA, MLA, CMS, etc.
Counterargument and Rebuttal
You may be worried about using a counterargument in your argument essay—don’t be. Contrary to popular belief, using a counterargument actually makes your stance stronger.
This approach allows you to show your audience that you’ve carefully considered an opposing viewpoint, have analyzed findings that don’t jibe with yours, and found a way to refute them. If done well, a counterargument and rebuttal can help you seal the deal when writing a winning argument essay.
Counterargument and rebuttal components
Clearly detail another author’s opposing viewpoint. Summarize this information from the author’s source material, which you found during your research. Don’t just assume that readers will be aware of this opposing argument—that can throw them off entirely.
Explain to the reader why you disagree with the opposition’s stance on the issue. You may want to focus on how the argument is fallacious (has logical fallacies) or contains outdated information. If you can poke holes in the opposition’s credibility as an authority on the subject, then you’ve just about won.
But hang on—you’re not done yet. Just like with your supporting body paragraphs, you have to reinforce your assertions about the opposition with reason and evidence.
If the argument is fallacious, explain the fallacies you see and why these weaken the argument. If the evidence is poor or outdated, offer new evidence that trumps the old info.
Whatever the case, just be sure you’re prepared to support what you say when you tackle someone else’s work and views. That’s a major key to writing a winning argument.
The Finish Line in Sight
We’ve reviewed the fundamentals behind writing an argument essay, and now you know the specifics behind what makes a winning argument essay.
Just remember that an argument essay needs the following in order to win that big ‘A’:
- Good organization
- An original, interesting topic
- Top-notch research
- Audience-oriented language
- Ethos, logos, and pathos
- Summary, paraphrasing, and direct quotes with appropriate citations
- Counterargument and rebuttal
Still want to see how it’s done? Check out the great examples in our argument essay database.
Okay—now you’re ready to wow your professor with your original topic, well-supported thesis, and strong evidence. And you should also let our awesome editor team proofread your argument essay to make sure it really is a winner.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.