In an argument you are making a series of linked statements that are supported with either reasons or evidence. If you’ve been methodical in your preparation for your essay then you should have a few points for the point of view which are going to persuade people to hold.
You take these points and any others – you may have points against your argument so that you can show skill in demonstrating why the opposition is wrong – and you then explain what you mean by that point.
It’s not always clear what a statement (point) means by itself; sometimes it requires explanation. For example, if you were writing an essay for an increase in tobacco taxes, then you may have the point ‘Smoking costs money.’ But it’s not clear what is meant by that. Yes, smoking costs money, but to whom? The smoker? The non-smoker? The NHS? It’s important for your essay that you are always being clear. This is why you have to explain exactly what you mean after you’ve typed your point.
Once you’ve done this then it’s time to support your point with evidence. There are many types of evidence that can be used in an essay. However, if there’s one important thing to remember it is that your essay must always support the point you make. This is why being clear is so important. If you’re clear about your point then you can judge whether the evidence you provide does substantiate that particular point.
So, this is the formula that you’ve now got:
P – Point
Ex – Explain the point
I – Illustrate with evidence
And here’s an example:
Smoking costs far too much money, more than we as a society can afford. (P) The ill health that smoking causes means that we have to pay more in taxes to fund the NHS; it means that there are more welfare claims due to absence and deteriorating health; and it means there is a less productive economy as there are more people missing work due to ill health. All this, at a time of austerity when important services are starting to be cut gives an idea of the price of smoking. (Ex) Studies have shown that £6 billion is spent by the NHS every year to care for the results of smoking on smokers and that these costs will rise as the cost of effective treatment for smoking related diseases increases. (I)
You can see there’s a clear point. It’s explaned so that the reader understands what is meant, and then the evidence that supports the point is relevant.
When you structure the main body of your essay this way, piling point upon point, then you start to have a coherent, structured and powerful argument. This is exactly what you’re looking for. When you add rhetorical techniques to your essay to increase its emotional power then you’ll be writing a very good folio piece. Don’t forget to spend time on your introduction and conclusion.
Here’s the same in video. Remember to sign up to myetutor for more help for Higher English.