Introduction to Academic Writing
English A, Fall 2011
Department of English
Assignment 1: Argumentative Essay
In this, the main assignment for this part course, you are to write an essay in which
you contrast two viewpoints on a topic and argue for one of them. Over the coming
weeks, you will work through several drafts of this essay, with the goal of producing
in the end a highly polished and well-written text, which will form the basis for your
grade in Part 1 of the course.
Description of the essay
The starting point of the assignment is to fill in the blanks in the following state-
“When it comes to ____, many people are of the opinion that ____, but my
perspective is actually that ____.”
Within this frame, you are free to choose any topic that constitutes a reasonable
subject (see the next page for some examples). Your classmates and your teacher
will assist you in choosing a topic. Note that you are not required to use this exact
sentence in your essay but may adapt it as needed.
The essay should be between 700 and 800 words in length and consist of around
five paragraphs of text. Give your essay a relevant title. If you consult sources, you
will need to name them in a brief list of references. You may also use footnotes.
Keep these two points in mind while writing this essay:
1. Your goal should be to present not just one perspective on your chosen topic,
but two, examining the differences between them and explaining why you
believe one of them is preferable.
2. Remember that the essay is inherently analytical: You are asked to analyze,
not just describe the two perspectives. Such careful analysis forms the basis
of all academic writing.
How to begin
You will begin work...