A "for and against" essay is a formal piece of writing in which a topic is considered from opposing points of view. You should present both sides in a fair way by discussing them objectively and in equal detail. A good essay of this type should consist of:
a) an introductory paragraph in which you clearly state the topic to be discussed, without giving your opinion; b) a main body in which the points for and against along with your justifications, examples or reasons are presented in separate paragraphs; and c) a closing paragraph in which you state your opinion or give a balanced consid¬eration of the topic.
Note: Opinion words (I think, I believe, In my opinion, etc.) can only be used in the closing paragraph where you give your opinion on the topic.
Points to consider
• Before you start writing your essay you should make a list of the points for and against. • Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence which summarises the topic of the paragraph. e.g. In addition, many people feel reading is a relaxing and worthwhile activity. • Do not use informal style (e.g. short forms, colloquial language, etc.) or strong language to express your opinion (e.g. I know…, etc.). Express your opinion in a non-emotional way (e.g. It seems that, I therefore feel, etc.). • Well-known quotations relevant to the topic you are writing about will make your composition more interesting. For example, if you are writing an essay on education, a quotation you may include is: "Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." (Will Durant) Note: Although these are "balanced" arguments, if you feel that either the for or against side is stronger and should be supported, this side should be presented in paragraphs 4 & 5, thus leading the reader to your conclusion.
state topic (summary of the topic without giving your opinion) Main Body
Paragraphs 2 & 3
arguments for & justifi¬cations, examples, and/ or reasons
Paragraphs 4 & 5
arguments against & justification, examples, and/or reasons
balanced consideration/ your opinion directly or indirectly
Go to Practical Exercises
Useful expressions and linking words/phrases
• To list points:
Firstly, First of all, In the first place, To begin/start with, Secondly, Thirdly, Finally • To list advantages:
One/Another/A further/An additional (major) advantage of… is … The main/greatest/first advantage of… is … • To list disadvantages:
One/Another/ A further/An additional (major) disadvantage/drawback of. The main/greatest/most serious/first disadvantage /drawback of… Another negative aspect of… • To introduce points/arguments for or against:
One (very convincing) point/argument in favour of… / against, A further common criticism of… / It could be argued that….. often claimed/suggested
It is widely argued maintained that…..
maintain/believe/point out/agree/hold that…
advocate (+ing/noun)/support the view that…
oppose the view that…
are in favour of/against…
are of the opinion that/convinced that…
are opposed to…
• To add more points to the same topic:
in addition (to this), furthermore, moreover, besides, apart from, what is more, as well as, not to mention (the fact) that, also, not only … but also/as well, both … and, There is another side to the issue/question/argument of… • To make contrasting points:
on the other hand, however, still, yet, but, nonetheless, nevertheless, even so, it may be said/argued/claimed that,…
others/many people oppose this viewpoint/strongly disagree…, claim/feel/believe this argument is incorrect/misguided although, though, even though, while, whilst, whereas, despite/in spite of (the fact that), regardless of the fact that Opponents of … argue/believe/claim that…
The fact that… contradicts the belief/idea that…
While it is true...