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A GCSE Guide to Argumentative Writing Skills: Introducing an Essay

Beverly Abrahams | Thursday June 26, 2014

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, EDEXCEL GCSE, Edexcel GCSE Generic Skills, Edexcel GCSE Skills Resources, EDEXCEL iGCSE, EDEXCEL iGCSE English Language, Paper 2 Reading and Writing, Edexcel iGCSE Generic Skills , Edexcel iGCSE Skills Resources, OCR GCSE, WJEC Eduqas GCSE, Hot Entries, Writing, Creative Writing, AQA English Language , Unit 3 Understanding Texts and Creative Writing, AQA GCSE Generic Skills, AQA GCSE Skills Resources, Edexcel English, Edexcel Unit 3 Creative Responses, OCR GCSE English, OCR GCSE Generic Skills, OCR GCSE Skills Resources, WJEC GCSE English Language, WJEC GCSE Generic Skills, WJEC GCSE Skills Resources, English 0522, Cambridge iGCSE English

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Introducing an Essay

  • This guide has been written with the CIE English Unit 0522 in mind, but it could be equally useful to introduce and practice argumentative writing skills for WJEC, OCR, AQA and Edexcel GCSE and iGCSE.

Where do we start? We all realise the importance of an introduction to an essay. Besides being important because of its content (i.e. ‘what’ it says), it is also important in that it sets the tone for the rest of the essay (i.e. ‘how’ it says it). Therefore, how the introduction is phrased is important. The style and tone of language, or ‘register’, you choose will depend on the type of essay and its intended audience.

Look at the example given below of an introduction to an ‘argumentative’ essay (although, as you’ll read later, all of your essays, including the ones you write for English literature, are by their very nature, ‘argumentative’):

Example Topic: Women are the Weaker Sex

This kind of topic demands a clearly-stated opinion to make clear a particular point of view. The writer should ‘make a stand’ from the very first sentence and then develop their viewpoint argumentatively throughout the essay. Such an essay might begin like this:

‘There is no doubt in my mind that women are equal to men, and it is only perhaps when it comes to physical strength that there is sometimes a significant difference; however, this can hardly be seen as an issue when it comes to equating the sexes.’

The key words in the opening sentences that give the tone of the introduction are:

  • ‘no doubt’ - indicating a degree of firmness, even certainty, of opinion.
  • ‘my mind’ - the writer is relying on his or her own opinion, not those of others.
  • ‘perhaps’ - the writer is reasonably acknowledging that opposing opinions exist and showing a fair open-minded attitude.
  • ‘are equal’ &’equating the sexes’ - these two phrases clearly communicate and stress the viewpoint of...

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