Argumentative essay topics are usually worded in one of the following ways
- Are you for or against ... ?
- What are the pros/advantages/merits and cons/disadvantages/drawbacks of ... ?
- (To what extent) do you agree or disagrеe ... ? (this phrasing is preferred by the IELTS)
- Should sth be done?
- Should sth be compulsory?
Here is a list of some of the most common EFL/ESOL Exam topics:
- Are you for or against capital punishment/the death penalty?
- What are the pros and cons of having a car/travelling by car?
- What are the pros and cons of keeping a pet?
- Do you agree or disagrеe that travel broadens the mind?
- Do you agree or disagrеe that censorship is necessary?
- Are you pro-life or pro-choice?
- Are you for or against banning smoking in public places?
- What are the pros and cons of taking a gap year?
- Do you agree or disagrеe that addictions are illnesses OR addictions are curable?
- What are the pros and cons of TV?
- What are the pros and cons of living in the city/in the country?
- What are the pros and cons of mass tourism?
- What are the pros and cons of having only one international language?
- Do you agree or disagrеe that no one is ever free? (What's freedom?)
- What are the pros and cons of being de facto married/arranged marriages? (marriage)
- What are the pros and cons of working while studying? (combining work and studies)
- What are the pros and cons of being an only child/having many siblings?
- Do you agree or disagrеe that inoculations are necessary? (compulsory vaccinations/immunisation)
- What are the pros and cons of doing sport professionally?
- Do you agree or disagrеe that appearances are deceptive?
- Do you agree or disagrеe that it is necessary to keep traditions alive?
- Do you agree or disagrеe that as technology develops traditional cultures will be lost? (the pros and cons of technological advances)
- What are the merits and drawbacks of vegetarianism?
- Should schools have dress codes? (uniform)
- Should students be made to repeat a school year if they fail their exams?
- Do you agree that higher education should be fee-paying?
- What are the merits and demerits of compulsory military service?
- Do you agree that everyone should speak at least one foreign language fluently nowadays?
- What are the pros and cons of being famous/being a celebrity's child?
- Should euthanasia be legalized?
Another common subtype of argumentative writing is the Problem-Solution Essay. The topic is usually phrased as follows
- What should be done to ...?
- What are the most topical *** problems and what should be done to address them?
Various social, global & environmental problems, their causes, effects and possible solutions may have to be discussed.
SOCIAL PROBLEMS: poverty, unemployment, homelessness, single-parent families, crime and violence
GLOBAL PROBLEMS: terrorism, ageing population, overpopulation, AIDS, ethnic strife
ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS: natural disasters, climate change, deforestaion, overfishing, traffic congestion, air pollution, water pollution, land contamination, rubbish disposal, hazardous waste
Finally, you may be required to produce a 3-Aspect Essay (or article, whatever). It might also be the topic of a mini-speech in a Business English Examination, such as BEC Higher.
- What is important when ... ?
- What are the factors (contributing to sth) ... ?
- How to ensure (that sth works) ... ?
If it is a Business English Exam, the student is usually required to say what should be done to perform a certain duty well or how to achieve a certain goal or objective.
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