Argumentative Essay Checklist

Argument Essay Checklist
 Has a clear thesis/claim that accurately responds to the prompt (defends,
challenges, or qualifies)
 Has an informative, background-giving lead-in to the claim that is neither too
general nor cliched.
 Has a claim that draws on politics, culture, history, science, religion,
economics, literature, art, psychology, sociology, law, or any other major
academic area of thought
Body Paragraphs:
 Each discuss a different facet of the argument and builds on each another
 Don’t double dip between paragraphs and type of evidence used in a
previous paragraph. (Don’t keep repeating the same point with a different
version of the same type of evidence (Brittany Spears and Christina
 Each have a clear topic sentence that extends, elaborates, or qualifies the
 Each contain at least two pieces of evidence from either experience,
observation, or reading (or whatever else the prompt may specify) which
are, at the very least, mildly different from one another (they don’t double
dip unless one piece of evidence is provided immediately after the other in
order to further solidify a point)
 Have a smooth connection (using transitions) between the pieces of evidence
that is connected to the topic sentence and, as result, elaborates on the claim
 Provide counterarguments with rebuttals (particularly of the claim is
defending or challenging)
 Provide a logical concluding sentence or thought (if it’s developed through a
number of sentences)
 Do not begin or end with quotes. The writer’s voice is dominant and the
sources are used to support it
 Clearly summarizes the important components of the essay: the thesis and
body paragraph content
 Concludes with an interesting or provocative thought (Yes, this is ambiguous
but this is where creative thought comes in. Some guiding questions might
be: How is the topic relevant? What does this say about our culture? What
does what has been discussed mean for our future?)
 Uses precise language and avoids generalities and repetition
 Has proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation
Uses varied sentence structure (long, short, periodic, cumulative, complex,
compound, compound-complex, simple sentences, with parallel syntax, etc.)
Uses wide-ranging vocabulary (this doesn’t mean using the biggest, most
difficult-to-spell or most recently learned vocabulary words just for the sake
of using them; it just means not using simplistic, general diction.
Is formal (It doesn’t mean trying to ìsound sophisticatedî, over stating what
can be said simply. It just states what is meant directly and precisely without
using informal, conversational language)