Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas and Writing Prompts

Updated on September 23, 2012

What is an Argumentative Essay?

Before you can choose a topic and begin writing your essay, you should understand what an argumentative essay is. An argumentative essay is a biased form of writing, because it is typically written with the intent to get readers to agree with the opinions of the author. Usually, the topics for this type of essay are controversial. A good argumentative essay gives the pros and cons of the issue, and explains why the side of the author is the best side. The goal in the essay should be persuade readers to believe the views of the author.


If you are choosing a topic for an elementary or middle school aged child, try to keep the topics simple. Most of the ideas, found on the left, can be adapted to fit this age group. Examples:

- Should animals be kept in zoos?

- What is the most important day of the year, and why?

- What is your favorite book? Persuade your readers to read the book.

If you are choosing a topic for high school or college, choose a more complex topic that requires more thought. Choose a topic that allows for research and examples. Most of the ideas, found to the left, can be used by this age group.

20 Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas

A good topic for an argumentative essay should be an issue that is 2-sided. The author should choose a side, and then research to find examples that prove his or her points. There are many great topics for this kind of essay. Ideas include:

1) Many people are required to pass a drug test before being hired for a job. Some people believe that you should also be required to pass a drug test before receiving any kind of government assistance, such as food-stamps. Do you agree or disagree?

2) To spank or not to spank? Is spanking your child an effective way of disciplining? Should it be considered child abuse? Should spanking be allowed in schools again? How does spanking really effect a child?

3) Many high schools and middle schools (even some elementary schools) are now requiring students to take up to 4 years of a foreign language. Should schools force students to take a foreign language or should it be a choice?

4) It is not a hidden fact that many people eat an unhealthy diet. It has been suggested that junk food, like candy and soda, should carry a higher tax than healthy alternatives to encourage and reward healthy eating. Is this a good or bad idea?

5) Many people believe that there shouldn't be a national or state drinking age. Do you agree or disagree? If you believe that there should be a drinking age, what should it be?

6) In this day and age, it is not uncommon to pass by a young child that is chatting or texting on a cellphone. Many debate what an appropriate age to own a cellphone is. What do you think and why?

7) Should elderly drivers be required to retake a driver's test in order to keep their driver's license? If so at what age should this be required? Is their driving experience enough to ensure that they are safe drivers, or should they have to retake the test to make sure their skills and capabilities still make them capable of driving safely?

8) It has been suggested that high schools should offer financial rewards for students that have good attendance and maintain a certain GPA. The argument is that high schools should prepare students for the real world. In the real world, jobs pay you. Do you think this is a good or bad idea?

9) Some high schools now allow free access to condoms to their students. This idea has caused many parents to become outraged, because they feel this encourages their child to have sex. On the other side of the argument, many believe that this could help prevent unwanted teen pregnancy and the spread of STD's. How do you stand on the issue?

10) What rights should gay couples have? Should they be allowed to get married. Should they be allowed to adopt children? Why or why not?

12) It has been suggested that breastfeeding in public is offensive, especially when children are in the area. Others feel that this is ridiculous, because breastfeeding is a natural part of human nature and has been around since the dawn of human existence. Should breastfeeding in public be illegal?

13) It is a fact that the earth's population is growing rapidly. Many people fear that the earth will soon become too over-populated, and there will not be enough room or food for everyone. It has been suggested that there should be a government-enforced law, that each family should only be allowed to have 2 children. Is this a good or bad idea? Would this be a violation of human rights?

14) Choose a stereotype and prove it wrong. Are blondes really stupid? Are all cheerleaders superficial? Are all Asians smart and nerdy?

15) Many people blame fast food restaurants, like McDonald's, for the obesity epic in North America. Should these restaurants be held accountable or should customer's be held accountable for their actions? Should fast food restaurants be required to offer healthier alternatives and educate their customers on these choices?

16) Should commercials be allowed to target children or is this an unfair manipulation of a young mind? Should unhealthy food be promoted to children in ways like a cute cartoon mascot for sugary cereals or advertising toys in fast food happy meals? Are children really capable of understanding what a commercial is?

17) Are gender specific schools (all boy/all girl schools) sexist or a good idea to prevent many problems in schools? Are these schools beneficial or harmful to students?

18) Most women are able to take a maternity leave from work. Should men be given paternity leave from work, and should their leave be as long as a mother's?

19) Most children are required to attend school for 7-8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Should teachers be allowed to force children to work even longer days by adding homework? Does homework really help the child learn or is it just adding too much pressure on them and robbing them of the ability to "just be kids"?

20) Should animal testing be banned or at least regulated? Is it more acceptable to test an animal if it could lead to a life saving medicine than to test makeup on an animal? Where does the line on animal rights need to be drawn?

Choose a topic you are passionate about, and writing will be easier and more fun!
Choose a topic you are passionate about, and writing will be easier and more fun! | Source

It's time to start writing.........

Hopefully, you can find at least one topic on the list above that inspires you to write an excellent argumentative essay. Try to find a topic that you feel very passionate about, because it will turn out to be a better essay and will be much more enjoyable to write. Good luck and happy writing!

Polls just for fun....What's your opinion?

Do you think that animal testing should be banned?

See results

What is an appropriate age for a child to own their own cellphone?

See results

Should men be given paternity leave from work?

See results


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