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Any of the 40 statements or positions below may be either defended or attacked in an argumentative essay or speech.
Selecting a Position
In choosing something to write about, keep in mind Kurt Vonnegut's advice: "Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about." But be sure to rely on your head as well as your heart: select a topic that you know something about, either from your own experience or from that of others. Your instructor should let you know whether formal research is encouraged or even required for this assignment.
Because many of these issues are complex and wide-ranging, you should be prepared to narrow your topic and focus your approach. Selecting a position is only the first step, and you must learn to prepare and develop your position persuasively. At the end of the following list, you'll find links to a number of argumentative paragraphs and essays.
40 Topic Suggestions: Argument and Persuasion
- Dieting makes people fat.
- Romantic love is a poor basis for marriage.
- The war on terror has contributed to the growing abuse of human rights.
- High school graduates should take a year off before entering college.
- All citizens should be required by law to vote.
- All forms of government-funded welfare should be abolished.
- Both parents should assume equal responsibility in raising a child.
- Americans should have more holidays and longer vacations.
- Participating in team sports helps to develop good character.
- The production and sale of cigarettes should be made illegal.
- People have become overly dependent on technology.
- Censorship is sometimes justified.
- Privacy is not the most important right.
- Drunk drivers should be imprisoned for the first offense.
- The lost art of letter-writing deserves to be revived.
- Government and military personnel should have the right to strike.
- Most study-abroad programs should be renamed "party abroad": they are a waste of time and money
- The continuing decline of CD sales along with the rapid growth of music downloads signals a new era of innovation in popular music.
- College students should have complete freedom to choose their own courses.
- The solution to the impending crisis in Social Security is the immediate elimination of this government program.
- The primary mission of colleges and universities should be preparing students for the workforce.
- Financial incentives should be offered to high school students who perform well on standardized tests.
- All students in high school and college should be required to take at least two years of a foreign language.
- College students in the U.S. should be offered financial incentives to graduate in three years rather than four.
- College athletes should be exempted from regular class-attendance policies.
- To encourage healthy eating, higher taxes should be imposed on soft drinks and junk food.
- Students should not be required to take physical education courses.
- To conserve fuel and save lives, the 55 miles-per-hour national speed limit should be restored.
- All citizens under the age of 21 should be required to pass a driving education course before receiving a license to drive.
- Any student caught cheating on an examination should be automatically dismissed from college.
- Freshmen should not be required to purchase a meal plan from the college.
- Zoos are internment camps for animals and should be shut down.
- University students should not be penalized for illegally downloading music, movies, or other protected content.
- Government financial aid for students should be based solely on merit.
- Nontraditional students should be exempted from regular class-attendance policies.
- At the end of each term, student evaluations of faculty should be posted online.
- A student organization should be formed to rescue and care for the feral cats on campus.
- People who contribute to Social Security should have the right to choose how their money is invested.
- Professional baseball players convicted of using performance-enhancing drugs should not be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame.
- Any citizen who does not have a criminal record should be permitted to carry a concealed weapon.