How to write an argumentative essay for PSLE English?

An argumentative essay is a type of academic writing where you present arguments about both sides of a topic or issue. The main goal is to take a clear position on the issue and argue it effectively, providing evidence and reasons to persuade your reader to agree with your position. The few types of argumentative essays are:

Classical Argumentative Essay:

  • Presents a balanced view of the issue
  • Ultimately supports one side with evidence
  • For school uniforms: Acknowledges limitation on self-expression but argues that the benefits of reduced distractions and enhanced equality outweigh this concern

Rogerian Argumentative Essay:

  • Seeks to find common ground between differing viewpoints
  • Works towards a compromise
  • For school uniforms: Acknowledges limitation on self-expression but suggests a compromise such as specific casual clothing days

Toulmin Argumentative Essay:

  • Provides substantial evidence to support a claim
  • Addresses potential counterarguments
  • For school uniforms: Provides empirical evidence showing benefits of school uniforms like reduced bullying and improved academic performance, addresses self-expression counterargument

Problem-Solution Argumentative Essay:

  • Presents a specific problem and then offers a detailed solution
  • Highlights the benefits of the proposed solution
  • For school uniforms: Presents the problem of dress code violations and distractions, proposes school uniforms as a solution, elaborates on benefits like reduced distractions and improved equality.

Here are the key elements of an argumentative essay:

1. Introduction: The essay starts with an introduction to the topic. It provides a brief background of the issue, states the writer’s position, and outlines the main points that will be discussed in the essay. The introduction usually ends with a strong thesis statement, which is a clear, concise assertion of the writer’s viewpoint.

2. Body Paragraphs: The body of the essay is where the arguments are presented. Each paragraph should focus on one main point, start with a topic sentence, provide evidence or examples to support this point, and end with a concluding sentence. The arguments should be organized in a logical order, with the strongest or most compelling argument usually presented first.

In an argumentative essay, it’s also important to discuss counterarguments or opposing views. This shows that you have considered different perspectives and makes your own argument stronger. After presenting a counterargument, you should provide a rebuttal or explain why your viewpoint is more convincing or valid.

3. Conclusion: The conclusion sums up the main points of the essay and restates the thesis in light of the evidence provided. It should leave the reader with a clear understanding of your position and why you believe it’s the right one.

An argumentative essay requires good research and critical thinking skills. You need to gather reliable evidence to support your arguments, consider different viewpoints, and present your arguments logically and convincingly. It’s also crucial to use clear, precise language and maintain a formal, objective tone throughout your essay.

Finally, like all types of academic writing, argumentative essays should follow the rules of grammar, punctuation, and style, and be well-structured with clear, concise sentences and paragraphs.

Types of argumentative essay

Classical Argumentative EssayThis type follows a traditional structure: introduction with a thesis, main arguments, counterarguments with refutations, and conclusion.A Classical Argumentative Essay on climate change might have the thesis “Human activity is the primary cause of climate change,” followed by body paragraphs with evidence supporting this, counterarguments refuting opposing views, and a conclusion.
Rogerian Argumentative EssayThis type emphasizes compromise and understanding of opposing viewpoints. Instead of refuting opposing views, the writer finds common ground and proposes a middle-ground solution.A Rogerian Argumentative Essay on gun control might acknowledge the importance of Second Amendment rights while also emphasizing the need for safety, proposing a solution that respects both viewpoints.
Toulmin Argumentative EssayThis type focuses on constructing concise arguments with clear warrants, claims, and evidence. It’s particularly useful when dealing with complex, multifaceted topics.A Toulmin Argumentative Essay on healthcare might include a claim such as “Universal healthcare is a fundamental human right,” with warrants and evidence to support this, including data on health outcomes in countries with universal healthcare.
Problem-Solution Argumentative EssayIn this type of essay, the writer identifies a specific problem and proposes a solution, using persuasive arguments to convince readers that the solution is viable and effective.A Problem-Solution Argumentative Essay on childhood obesity might propose increased physical education in schools and regulation of junk food advertising to children, with arguments to convince readers of the effectiveness of these solutions.

Samples for students to understand the differing ways of presenting an argument:

Classical Argumentative Essay

Here’s a simplified example of a Classical Argumentative Essay on the topic of “School Uniforms”:

Title: The Importance of School Uniforms

Introduction Many students wonder why they have to wear a school uniform. This essay will present arguments supporting the idea that school uniforms are important and beneficial for students.

Thesis Statement School uniforms are necessary because they create a sense of unity, reduce distractions, and promote school spirit.

Argument Firstly, uniforms create a sense of unity among students. When everyone is dressed the same, no one feels left out or superior because of their clothes. It emphasizes that all students are equal.

Counterargument Some people argue that uniforms take away a student’s individuality. They say students should be able to express themselves through their clothes.

Refutation However, self-expression can be manifested in many other ways like their talents, personality, and achievements. Uniforms just simplify clothing choices and level the field for all students, eliminating the pressure to keep up with fashion trends.

Conclusion In conclusion, school uniforms are a crucial aspect of school life. They promote unity, minimize distractions, and encourage school spirit. Despite some opposing views, the benefits of school uniforms far outweigh the drawbacks.

Remember, the objective of an argumentative essay is not just to present your opinion but to present an argument with the pros (supporting ideas) and cons (opposing ideas) of a debatable issue. For younger students like those at the PSLE level, the language used and the complexity of the topic should be age-appropriate. This example is simplified, but still provides a clear argument on a topic relevant to students.

Rogerian Argumentative Essay

Here’s a simplified example of a Rogerian Argumentative Essay on the same topic “School Uniforms”:

Title: Understanding Both Sides: The Debate on School Uniforms

Introduction The subject of school uniforms is a topic of debate among students, parents, and educators. The purpose of this essay is to understand both sides of the argument and find a common ground.

Context Many schools around the world have adopted school uniforms as a part of their policies. Supporters believe uniforms promote unity, reduce distractions, and instill school spirit. However, critics argue that it inhibits individuality and self-expression.

Writer’s Position While I acknowledge the importance of self-expression and individuality, I also believe in the benefits of school uniforms, such as promoting unity and reducing distractions.

Opposing View Opponents of school uniforms argue that enforcing uniforms suppresses a student’s ability to express their individuality and personal style. They believe that clothing is a significant form of self-expression and a part of a student’s identity.

Understanding and Validating the Opposing View I understand and appreciate the perspective of those who advocate for individuality. Indeed, personal style can be an outlet for creativity and self-expression. It’s an essential part of personal development and shouldn’t be suppressed.

Statement of Understanding If we can balance the need for individuality with the benefits that school uniforms offer, we could come up with a solution that meets both sets of needs. Perhaps schools could consider relaxed uniform policies, allowing for customization, or specific days where students are allowed to wear their own clothes.

Conclusion The debate on school uniforms is multifaceted, with valid arguments on both sides. The ideal solution would respect individuality and self-expression while also maintaining the benefits of unity and reduced distractions that come with school uniforms.

Remember, the objective of a Rogerian Argumentative Essay is to not just present your argument, but also understand and present the opposing view in an understanding and respectful manner. The goal is to find common ground or a compromise that could satisfy both parties. For younger students like those at the PSLE level, the language used and the complexity of the topic should be age-appropriate.

Toulmin Argumentative Essay

A Toulmin Argumentative Essay employs a method of reasoning developed by Stephen Toulmin, a British philosopher. This style of argumentation works by presenting the argument, its grounds, and finally establishing the warrants. Here’s a simplified Toulmin-style argumentative essay on the topic of school uniforms for a PSLE student:

Title: The Need for School Uniforms: A Logical Examination

Claim (Thesis Statement)

While school uniforms might limit individual expression, they promote unity and reduce distractions, which are beneficial for the learning environment.

Grounds (Evidence)

Uniforms have been found to promote a sense of community among students, reducing the focus on individual clothing styles and trends. This reduces potential sources of distraction, creating a better learning environment.

Warrant (Justification)

The main purpose of schools is to create a conducive learning environment. Anything that promotes unity and reduces distractions supports this purpose, including the implementation of school uniforms.

Rebuttal (Acknowledging the Other Side)

However, critics of school uniforms argue that they suppress individuality and creativity, which are also essential parts of a student’s growth and development.

Qualifier (Mitigating the Claim)

While it’s true that school uniforms might limit individual expression to some extent, it’s important to note that there are other ways in which students can express themselves, such as through their work, ideas, participation in extracurricular activities, and more.


Therefore, while it’s important to acknowledge and respect the role of individuality and creativity in a student’s development, it’s equally critical to foster a conducive learning environment. The adoption of school uniforms helps to achieve this balance by promoting unity and reducing distractions.

Remember, a Toulmin Argumentative Essay is about being precise, presenting the arguments, backing them with evidence (grounds), justifying your claims (warrant), acknowledging the opposing view (rebuttal), and sometimes modifying the claim with a qualifier. This style of argumentation is logical and clear, which can be effective, especially in educational contexts.

Problem-Solution Argumentative Essay

A Problem-Solution Argumentative Essay focuses on identifying a particular issue and then proposing a solution to resolve it. Here’s an example of a problem-solution style argumentative essay on the topic of school uniforms for a PSLE student:

Title: School Uniforms: A Solution to Dress Code Violations


Many schools around the world face issues concerning dress code violations. These violations often lead to distractions, and in some cases, even bullying. One proposed solution to this problem is the implementation of school uniforms.


The frequent dress code violations in schools disrupt the learning environment and, at times, cause conflicts among students. These issues can make it difficult for students to concentrate on their studies, impacting their academic performance.


The implementation of school uniforms can significantly reduce these problems. With uniforms, there would be clear guidelines on what is acceptable to wear at school, thus reducing the possibility of dress code violations. School uniforms can also help in promoting a sense of unity among students and decrease distractions in the classroom, as students would focus more on learning rather than on what others are wearing.

Benefits of the Solution

With the implementation of school uniforms, students can focus more on their academics and less on their attire. Uniforms could also reduce the instances of bullying related to clothes, as everyone would be dressed the same, leaving no room for clothing-based judgment.


Some argue that implementing school uniforms might limit students’ self-expression. However, this argument overlooks the fact that self-expression can occur in various ways outside of clothing, such as through individual thoughts, talents, and participation in extracurricular activities.


Although school uniforms might not be the perfect solution, they do offer a plausible way to address issues concerning dress code violations and distractions in schools. Therefore, it might be worth considering implementing school uniforms to create a more conducive learning environment.

This style of argumentative essay is particularly useful when there’s a clear problem that needs to be addressed, and you can propose a potential solution.

Explanation and Comparison of the four types of argumentative essays

Here’s a comparison and contrast of the four types of argumentative essays using the topic of “School Uniforms”:

  1. Classical Argumentative Essay: This type of essay usually presents a well-balanced view of the issue at hand but ultimately argues in favor of one side. In the school uniforms example, a classical argumentative essay might start by acknowledging the perspective that school uniforms can limit self-expression. Still, it would ultimately argue that the benefits of reduced distractions and enhanced equality outweigh this concern.
  2. Rogerian Argumentative Essay: This approach seeks to find common ground between differing viewpoints and works towards a compromise. In the school uniforms example, a Rogerian essay might acknowledge that school uniforms could limit self-expression but could suggest a compromise, such as having specific days where students are allowed to wear casual clothes, hence maintaining self-expression while still enjoying the benefits of uniforms.
  3. Toulmin Argumentative Essay: This essay focuses on providing substantial evidence to support a claim while addressing potential counterarguments. In the school uniforms example, a Toulmin essay might provide empirical evidence from schools where uniform policies have been implemented, showing reduced bullying and improved academic performance, effectively arguing for the benefits of school uniforms while also addressing the counterargument on self-expression.
  4. Problem-Solution Argumentative Essay: This essay style presents a specific problem and then offers a detailed solution, highlighting the benefits of the proposed solution. In the school uniforms example, the essay presents the problem of frequent dress code violations and distractions, suggests the implementation of school uniforms as a solution, and then elaborates on the potential benefits of this solution, such as reduced distractions and improved equality.

In essence, while each type of argumentative essay takes a slightly different approach, all are designed to convince the reader of a particular point of view. The type of essay chosen depends on the specific context and the audience’s potential receptivity to different styles of argumentation.

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