An essay is a formal piece of writing which describes, analyses or discusses a particular issue.
The most common types are:
- Opinion essays. They present the writer’s personal opinion of the topic, supported with examples and reasons.
- For and against essays. They present both sides of an issue in a balanced way. In the concluding paragraph you can say why you find one side more convincing than the other.
In this post, I’ll guide you step by step to help you write a good for and against essay.
- Step 1. Tips and Guidelines +sample essay (pdf)
- Step 2. Presentation + sample essay (reinforcing)
- Step 3. Using connectors of contrast
- Step 4. Using connectors of purpose
- Step 5. Write: 53 topics to write about. (pdf)
Step 1. Tips and guidelines+sample essay
1. The first stage in writing is producing ideas. It’s important to dedicate two or three minutes to carefully planning what you are going to say. Make a list of the points for and against. Remember that the key to writing a good balanced essay is to include as many arguments you disagree with as those you agree with. They should be noted impartially although in your conclusion you can say why you find one side more convincing than the other.
2. Producing and organising ideas is one thing. Shaping ideas and the organisation of your writing is another. But often the most difficult part is starting a first draft.
Once you have your first draft pay attention to how you have organised the information into paragraphs and grouped ideas.
Once this is done you can focus on expression. This means looking at sentence structure, tense usage and vocabulary. It’s important to write clearly and economically. This can mean either rephrasing ideas in two sentences instead of one, or rewriting two longer sentences as one shorter sentence. So, go over your first draft, looking for ways of improving sentence structure, tense usage and vocabulary.
3. Organise your essay into three parts:
- Introduction- Paragraph 1- Introduce the topic. The opening should engage the reader’s interest and give a hint of what is to follow.
- Main Body- Normally you have two paragraphs. In Paragraph 2, you state your arguments for and in Paragraph 3, your arguments against.
- Conclusion– In paragraph 4 you refer back to the topic and summarize. Here you can say why you find one side more convincing than the other.
4. It’s important that you begin each paragraph with a main idea and then develop this idea. For a new idea, begin a new paragraph.
5. This is academic writing, so don’t use informal style ( no contractions, colloquial words, or emotional language).
6. Remember to use a variety of structures and vocabulary adequate to your level.
Step 2. Presentation + sample essay (reinforcing ).
Step 3. Using connectors of contrast.
Using connectors is important to express different relationships between ideas. Here, you’ll learn how to use connectors of contrast.
Read the flyer below to learn how to use: despite/in spite of, nevertheless, however, on the other hand, although, even though, though, yet, still, but and while/whereas.
At the end of the flyer there are some interactive exercises to test your knowledge.
Step 3. Using connectors of purpose.
Now we learn how to express purpose with the following words: to, in order to, so as to, for, so that and in case.
Test your knowledge
Step 5. Write: 53 topics to write about.Pdf here
Are you ready to write now? Here’s a compilation of 53 for and against topics to write about from different sites and course books. Take your pick, follow all the tips and guidelines and good luck!
- Should schools start later in the morning?
- Benefits of teaching children second languages early on.
- The pros and cons of single gender classrooms.
- Is sex education the job of parents or of the school?
- The pros and cons of reduction of physical education hours in our current school system.
- The pros and cons of security cameras in schools.
- Pros and cons of a 4-day school week.
- Should parents pay students for good grades?
- The pros and cons of bilingual or dual language education.
- The pros and cons of wearing a uniform.
- The pros and cons of banning junk food in schools.
- Should sexual education be taught in high schools?
- The education a child receives at home from having parents who are positive role models is more important than the academic education a child receives at school. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
- Plastic surgery- vanity or need?
- Is vegetarianism a healthy diet?
- One of the largest parts of government expenditure is health. Some people argue that this money would be better spent on health education on the principle that prevention is better than cure. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
- Should parents be allowed to choose their child’s gender?
- Pros and cons of having exotic animals as home pets?
- Should advertising for plastic surgery be illegal?
- Should priests be celibate?
- What does everyone think about zoo animals? Is it a good or a bad thing?
- Does legal prostitution reduce crime?
- To what extent is the use of animals in scientific research acceptable? Discuss the pros and cons.
- Some people argue that the amount of violence shown in films and on television has led to an increase in violent crimes in society. Do you agree with this argument? Should the government control what is shown on television and in the cinema?
- Should rich countries forgive all debts for poor countries?
- The pros and cons of children under the age of 10 playing video games.
- The pros and cons of film, television, and music piracy.
- Should kids under the age of 13 have a phone?
- Advantages and disadvantages of digital spying on kids and teens.
- The pros and cons of owning an electric car.
- Have we become too dependent on technology? Discuss the pros and cons.
- Should students be allowed to have cell phones in elementary and high schools?
- Should we ban the sale of violent video games?
- Some people say that the Internet is making the world smaller by bringing people together. To what extent do you agree that the Internet is making it easier for people to communicate with one another?
- Should pro wrestling be considered a sport?
- Should sport hunting be banned?
- Many people want their country to hold the Olympics. Others believe that international sporting events bring more problems than benefits. Discuss both views and state your opinion.
- In the future, we will have more and more leisure time as machines replace many of the tasks we do at home and work. Discuss the benefits this will bring and also the problem it will cause.
- It is said that travel broadens the mind. What can we learn by travelling to other countries? Should we first explore our own countries? Discuss.
- In many countries tourism is a major part of the economy, but it also causes environmental damage and ruins the places it exploits. It is argued that tourists should pay an additional tax to compensate for this damage. Do you agree?
- Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public, or should a charge, even a voluntary charge, be levied for admittance? Discuss this issue, and give your opinion.
- Unemployment is one of the most serious problems facing developed nations today. What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of reducing the working week to thirty five hours?
- Most high level jobs are done by men. Should the government encourage a certain percentage of these jobs to be reserved for women?
- Should retirement be compulsory at 65 years of age?
- Differences between countries become less evident each year. Nowadays, all over the world people share the same fashions, advertising, brands, eating habits and TV channels. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
- Television has had a significant influence on the culture of many societies. To what extent would you say that television has positively or negatively affected the cultural development of your society?
- Some people like living in a house, while others prefer an apartment. Are there more advantages than disadvantages to living in a house rather than in an apartment?
FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIPS
- The pros and cons of gay marriage.
- Some parents choose not to have a television at home because of the influence on their children. Is this a good or a bad thing?
- Some people believe in the traditional idea that the woman’s place is in the home, while others say that idea is outdated and that women should play an increasingly important role in the workplace of the future. What is your opinion?
- People are now living longer than ever before and many old people are unable to look after themselves. Some people believe that it is the responsibility of families to look after the elderly, while others say governments should provide retirement homes for them where they can be looked after properly. Discuss.
- Are women better parents than men?
- If children behave badly, should their parents accept responsibility and also be punished?
Have you visited my writing section yet?
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Have you ever tried to debate (or argue with) someone who just cannot see your point of view? They’re so caught up in what they think is right that they won’t even consider opposing evidence.
It’s frustrating, right?
That’s because, for many situations, choices aren’t easy to make. We live in a world where most issues are in a gray area without clear black-and-white answers. So you need to be able to analyze the nuances of any given situation.
The great thing about writing classes is that they teach you to think about things analytically. That’s why your teacher assigned a pros and cons essay—to teach you to look at both sides of an issue and find your own solution.
If you’ve never written a pros and cons essay, it might be a little intimidating. But don’t worry—with a few tips and examples from Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and Andre the Giant, you’ll be on your way to writing a pros and cons essay like a pro.
What Is a Pros and Cons Essay?
The first step to writing a great pros and cons essay is knowing exactly what it is. It’s pretty simple—in fact, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A pros and cons essay is a type of argumentative essay that encourages you to look at both the pros (positives) and the cons (negatives) of a given topic.
Your essay, however, should not just be a list of pros and cons. Instead, you should synthesize the information, determine your own position on the topic, and state your position clearly.
This is not an “I’m right, you’re wrong” type of essay. Rather, it’s the kind of essay that says, “There are many different points to consider, and after evaluating all of them, here is my opinion.”
Elements to Consider When Writing a Pros and Cons Essay
When you’re writing a pros and cons essay, you must follow two important guidelines.
1. Choose a debatable topic
Choosing a debatable topic allows you to select a balanced number of pros and cons.
2. Give equal weight to both the pros and the cons
You aren’t just making a pros essay or a cons essay. Instead, you’re presenting a well-considered analysis of both sides of an argument.
In fact, in many great pros and cons essays, you cannot tell which side the author favors from just the pros and cons alone—you have to look at the thesis statement and the conclusion.
So now that you know the basics, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. For my topic, I’m choosing one of the greatest, most lucrative cons of all—pro wrestling.
6 Steps to Writing a Spectacular Pros and Cons Essay
The steps to writing a pros and cons essay are similar to writing most other argumentative essays: research, outline, write, and proofread. But I’ll fill in some of the finer points in two additional steps to help you make the most out of your writing experience.
1. Research your topic
Assuming you either have a debatable topic chosen already or your instructor assigned you a specific topic, you should start your research process. Look at credible sources of information.
Bonus Tip: You want to approach your research with an open mind. You may carry an opinion about a certain topic, but try to leave that behind as it may skew the information you gather.
For my topic, Pros and Cons of Being a Pro Wrestler, I might look at biographies of famous wrestlers or the WWE website. Google Scholar is also a great source of information for credible academic articles.
For more information on where to research, read 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper.
2. Brainstorm a pros and cons list
As you research, start pulling information and separating it by pros and cons. This should not be an outline … yet. Instead, it’s more of a freeform list.
My pros and cons list might look something like this:
Pros: Make lots of money, can turn into an acting career, helps with fitness, entertaining fans
Cons: Can get seriously injured, may be typecast in any other acting gigs, deceiving fans
3. Organize your thoughts into an outline
Now that you have your pros and cons fleshed out into a list, it’s time to organize them into an outline. You can sort by all pros first, followed by all cons (or vice versa), or if your pros and cons relate to each other, you can sort them that way. Here’s an example:
- Thesis statement
- Pro: Can expand acting career after wrestling
- Con: May be typecast into physical/action roles
- Pro: Have to stay physically fit
- Con: Often leads to injuries
- Entertaining the masses
- Fooling some fans into thinking the drama is real and that stunts are not planned
- Tied-up loose ends
4. Write a great introductory paragraph
In my example outline, you’ll notice two things under the introduction section—the hook and the thesis statement. The hook gets your readers’ attention and makes them want to learn more. The thesis statement explains your position on the topic and gives a brief preview of your body paragraphs.
My introduction paragraph might go something like this:
Pro wrestling has gone through its ups and downs. As fans realize the true athleticism of each wrestler, this type of entertainment has become more popular than ever, earning the WWE more than half a billion dollars in 2014. There are many different facets of being a pro wrestler. It has positives and negatives just like any other job in the entertainment industry. It is a physically demanding profession and can lead to type-casting in other entertainment roles. However, despite its drawbacks, if actors and athletes turn to pro wrestling for the right reasons, it can be an extremely rewarding career.
5. Fill out the details in your outline
With your thesis statement and outline complete, writing your body paragraphs should be fairly straightforward. To write your body paragraphs, all you need to do is expand the ideas in your outline.
This involves making paragraphs that not only flow from sentence to sentence within the paragraphs, but also between each paragraph. (Read more about essay transitions.)
For this post, I’m not going to write a body paragraph for every single point in my outline, but here’s an example of what I would write for the first body paragraph:
Because pro wrestling is a staged event, it is considered an acting job. A wrestler learns all the skills needed to transition into a full-time movie or television career, such as memorizing lines, doing stunts, interacting with other actors, improvising, and dealing with fans. Many pro wrestlers, such as Andre the Giant and Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), have gone on to very successful acting careers. However, it is difficult to get diverse roles. Andre was almost always typecast as a “giant,” and while Dwayne Johnson has had arguably the most successful acting career out of any pro wrestler, it took him many years to get a serious role.
6. Write your conclusion
You’re almost there. All you need to do is write your conclusion. A good conclusion will do two things: briefly summarize your main points (without restating the thesis statement) and tie up any loose ends.
For my conclusion, I might write this:
Pro wrestling is certainly hard on the bodies and careers of the actors, and may be seen as trickery to the fans. However, it has brought joy to millions of people, including the wrestlers who stay in shape due to the nature of the job and those who move on to more lucrative acting careers. Despite some risks, there are many rewards to be gained, especially if the wrestlers go in with the intention of presenting a pure form of entertainment to the masses.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? After all this, you not only know what a pros and cons essay is, but you also understand each step of the writing process.
Need some more mental fuel before you start to write? Check out these examples for more pros and cons essay examples.
If you’re still not feeling sure about the flow or style of your essay once you write it—or if you just want an extra set of eyes to look it over—send it to the Kibin editors. We can help your essay be a heavyweight champ.
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