A written argument is not the same as a verbal argument with a friend – which is often full of passion and you say strongly what you think. When you write to argue, your audience are strangers not friends. This means a more formal, fair and well-structured approach is likely to work best.
A written argument can work well when it is presented as a debate between opposing views. This can help make you seem much more fair-minded and that you have weighed up the pros and the cons before coming to your own view.
Imagine the following article has appeared in your local paper:
Ashfield Park is threatened with closure next month as a local business has applied for planning permission to turn the area into a car park. Local residents have begun a fierce campaign to save the park, which is a popular walking spot for young children and the elderly, as well as home to the war memorial and many wildlife species.
You might be asked to write to your local paper, arguing that the park should be preserved.
It is clear in the article that there is a debate and that other strongly held views exist. Therefore, it wouldn’t be convincing to simply state your own single view. It wouldn't even be enough just to list all the good things about the park. That would be ignoring other views – as if they didn’t matter.
An effective argument presents different viewpoints. For instance, the park might well be a wonderful natural habitat; but it also likely costs a lot to maintain; and it might be a good place to walk; but the town is clogged with cars. An argument is a debate and requires you to present the main ideas for and against.
It helps to link these differing viewpoints logically. This is done using connectives, for example, 'however others might disagree…' or 'although different views exist, for example…'.
Connectives act like signposts to guide your reader through the debate that you present. They create a fluent and logical structure that helps to suggest fairness and balance. If done well, they can also make the contrasts clear between the two sides in favour of your view.
When you are writing an argument, it is important to start with a plan which starts with a list of views both for and against the topic.
You can see from the example how the use of a connective can help the argument to flow smoothly and seemingly logically: '…in town; however, to take away a green space…'. There are many connectives and they often work well after a semicolon as this creates a useful 'pause and emphasis effect'.