How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Key Concepts

  • Always take a clear stance on the topic
  • Continually link back to the topic
  • Use factual evidence, not your personal opinion, to support your argument
  • Close down counter arguments
  • Rather write less than be caught waffling
  • Build your argument from most important to least important evidence 



  • Hook
    • Your first sentence should capture the reader's attention and introduce the theme of the essay
  • Background
    • A short explanation of the context. What is the issue? Who are the stakeholders? Who will be affected?
  • Thesis statement (stance)
    • Most important part
    • State your stance on the topic


  • PEEL paragraphs using clear factual evidence
  • Mention and close down counter arguments


  • Summarise the main points of your argument, once again linking them back to the topic
  • Write a final statement in which you state the future implications of the topic



Dictionary Skills

A common dictionary entry





There are two head words on the top of each page. The left shows the first word and the right shows the last word.


In a normal dictionary, you are given the meaning, pronunciation, different parts of speech and the origin (also referred to as etymology). 

Lexical Terms

Lexical terms form the basic units of a language's lexicon (vocabulary).


Inflection is where a word is changed (usually at the end) to express a grammatical change.



Moral Dilemmas Created by the German State in Fatherland - A literature essay

Literature Essay of 250 - 300 words. — 251 Words

The German Reich is responsible for the majority of the conflict and unhappiness in the people of Germany. This is portrayed through the character Xavier March. At almost every ethical and moral decision there are two options - obey the government or face the consequences. Due to this, March faces a lot of unhappiness in his life, particularly with his family and his status at work.

March’s divorce and his relationship with Pili are of a poor quality and this can be linked to March’s beliefs compared to those of his family. March has the ability to see through the propaganda of the government, and sees Germany for what Germany really is. His family, however, are a prime example of the result of propaganda. March has no passion for the government whilst his son and wife do. This heavy contrast can be seen in March’s relationship with his son. Pili has no actual interest in his father when he sees him, but has his complete attention focused on a boring ride that showcases Berlin. Pili’s relationship with his father is so bad, due to March not indulging in state activities and this being known by his son, that Pili ends up betraying March in the end and calls for March’s arrest. 

March is a non-believer and this is known to his family as well the state which is why he cannot get promoted or bond with his family. 

This is how the state creates moral dilemmas in the life of Xavier March, in the book Fatherland.



Corruption in Fatherland - A Literature Essay

A literature essay of 250 - 300 words. — 256 Words

Corruption is, arguably, the largest theme in the book, Fatherland. In Fatherland, as well as many stories, there are always the good guys and the bad guys. In this plot, the bad guys are the corrupt German officials who support white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Corruption is a large factor in the characteristics of all German officials. There are two types of corruption in the book - corruption of actual laws and the corruption of deceit of the German public and the entire world. 

The officials that break laws and go behind backs for the benefit of themselves are Buhler, Luther and Stuckart. All three were involved in a mass smuggling scheme whilst they were on official work. They did this for many years and stole many paintings which were priceless. Odlio Globocnik and all of his superiors are also a large symbol of corruption in the German government. Globus and his company are responsible for countless amounts of torture as well as murder. They use these mediums in order to get what they want - which is why they are very feared to everyone who knows them. 

The entire higher level of the German government is also subject to corruption due to their fraudulent activities of mass genocide of the Jewish race. The government goes behind the backs of every one below the higher order and kill nearly 6 million jews. The government wasn’t transparent about this to the population of Germany and the entire world. 

This is how corruption is portrayed in the book Fatherland. 



Character Analysis - Charlie Maguire in the book Fatherland

Literature Essay of 250 - 300 Words — 301 Words 

Charlotte Maguire is a main character in the book Fatherland. Her actions and characteristics fuel the plot and contribute to the findings of Xavier March. Charlie can be seen to be independent, intelligent as well as courageous in the story. Maguire is brought into the story by March when he needs information about the murder of Wilhelm Stuckart. From the instant she is brought in her independence and intellect is shown.

A particular show of her courageousness and independence is her general backstory. Charlie Maguire’s parent’s both come from Germany and she lives in New York. Maguire then decides to become a reporter and goes to Germany, on her own will, to report on the lies that her parents' homeland tell the world. This not only shows her independence as an individual but also shows her courageous qualities as well. Her courage and independence are also shown in the final chapter of the book. Maguire has the courage to smuggle top secret files across the German border. This act alone outlines pure courage as the consequences of being caught would result in an almost certain death. 

It can also be seen that Maguire is stubborn in a sense. When March tells her to stay in Berlin whilst he gathers intel in Switzerland, she disobeys the command and comes with anyway. This event, as well as her general attitude towards problems in the story, can show aspects of stubbornness. 

Maguire also is the polar opposite of the “ideal” women in Germany, during that time period. She openly indulges in alcohol, nicotine as well as cosmetics. She is also a woman that could never be pictured as a housewife due to her independence, courage and passion for the truth. This is how the character of Charlotte Maguire is portrayed in the book Fatherland. 



The Character of Xavier March - Literature Essay/Character Sketch

250 - 300 Word Literature Essay — 251 Words

In the book, Fatherland, the main character is Xavier March and this character fuels the plot line of the story with his attitude towards the German government as well as his level of curiosity. 

Xavier March can be seen to fuel the plot along in the book. The entire plot of the story revolves around Xavier trying to figure out what is actually going on with the deaths of 3 top class German leaders. Without the curiosity and the attitude of Xavier March, the plot would not advance as fast and in the manner that it does. A prime example of March’s curiosity showing would be when he is told to get off the Buhler case, but instead goes ahead and conducts an inspection of Buhler’s house because he wants to see what’s going on.

March also has a very unique attitude towards the German Reich, when compared to the general census of the population. March can see past the propaganda of the government and sees the government for what it really is - a communist and elitist society. The reader knows that March’s attitude is like this due to his will to pursue a case that openly exposes the government as well as various incidents in the story - one such incident would be his lack of his promotion due to his superiors being aware of his lack of belief. His official dossier also points this out. 

These characteristics of his (attitude and curiosity) make him the protagonist of this story Fatherland.


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Deception and Betrayal in Fatherland - Literature Essay

250-300 Word Literature Essay — 293 Words


In the book Fatherland a significant amount of deception and betrayal can be seen throughout the plot line as well as the main characters. The entire plot line of the book is based on deception. A man, in a high ranking German position, feels as if he is being deceived by the government as well as his superiors; and this launches the plot along - as this detective tries to solve the case. Xavier March fuels his will to solve the Buhler case with the curiosity as to what the government was trying to avoid. In the end, it turns out the government was playing a game of deception with their people as well as the world. The German government makes use of heavy propaganda in order to make people think that they are the greatest nation on Earth. This can be seen by the boy Pili in the story. Pili betrays his dad and causes him to suffer greatly because he believes the government is right and all March does, is wrong.

Betrayal can be predominantly seen by the main character of Max Jaeger in the book. Whilst March is investigating and discovering significant leads, Max Jaeger exposes all of these new findings to the “bad-guys” in the story - the Gastapo. Max Jaeger follows betrayal to the very end, and in the final scene of the book the audience is shown that Max Jaeger still tries to extort a dying Xavier March, in order to gain information on the whereabouts of his girlfriend. All of the information Max Jaeger exposes, as well as things that he does, end up significantly hindering Xavier March near the end of the story.

This is how deception and betrayal can be seen in the book Fatherland. 

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Simple, Compound and Complex Sentences


A simple sentence only has one main idea and clause.

Campbell ate pizza.

Connor hit the ball.


Compound sentences have two main ideas. They have two independent clauses that have equal importance. You will always find a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS) or a semicolon separating a compound sentence.

Yangeni bought a new pair of shoes and Luke played a soccer game.

Jamison decided to swim without any clothes at school; swimming in the nude is not acceptable and he faced a disciplinary hearing.


A complex sentence is where there are subordinate clauses linked to the main idea. One clause in the sentence is the main idea.

Unless the students do the work, they are not leaving the classroom!

All the fans were doubting that Manchester United would beat Chelsea until Paul Pogba scored a hat-trick against them.



Parts of Speech


Common noun: 

All known objects.

Ball, light, iPad, trophy



A word that refers to an object or person.

Personal pronouns: refer to people or things - I, you, she , he

Possessive pronouns: indicate ownership - hers, yours, mine, ours

Reflexive pronouns: reflect back on the noun - self, selves, herself, himself

Interrogative pronouns: interrogate or ask questions - who, whose, to whom, what, which

Demonstrative pronouns: point out a specific person or thing - this, that, these, those

Indefinite pronouns: refer to things in a general way - one, someone, they, you, anyone

Relative pronouns: perform the functions of conjunctions - who, whom, whose, that, which, what


Proper nouns: 

Names of anything.

John, Manchester United, MacBook


Abstract nouns:

Intangible things that cannot be seen or touched, but can be felt.

Joy, sadness, depression, happy


Collective nouns: 

Names of groups of things.

A gaggle of geese. A swarm of bees. A school of fish.



A verb is a doing word.


A verb is finite when it contains all of the three things:

  • Subject
    • Is the verb being done by something
  • Tense 
    • Present
    • Past
    • Future
  • Number
    • Singular
    • Plural

She swam yesterday.



Verbs which don't have one of the aforementioned attributes.

A call was made for clarification.


The Infinitive

Whenever "to" proceeds a verb.

To run. To play. To swim.



A verb used to form the tense, mood and form of other verbs.

Eg: could, can, may, might, shall, etc.



A transitive verb is a verb that can directly take an object.

He played football. // "played" links the subject and the object.



A participle is a adjective or noun formed from a verb.

Eg: boiling water // Hearing a loud noise // In both of these cases the verb acts against the noun and is therefore an adjective. 

You can get present and past participles. Present always ends in "ing" and past can end in "ed", "en" and a variety of other two letter combinations.


The linking verb

Links a noun to a noun or a noun with an adjective. If the word that follows the linking verb is not a noun, it is known as the complement. The verb has to be is, am, or are. 


Mood of the verb

Three main moods

  1. Indicative
    1. Used to express a fact or provide information
  2. Imperative
    1. Expresses instructions or commands
  3. Subjunctive
    1. Express when something is unlikely or to express a wish, doubt or uncertainty.



Adjectives are words that describe a noun.

The bright and fluorescent colour of the ball was distracting.


Descriptive or adjectives of quality

These are the most commonly used adjectives - loyal, intelligent, creative, motivated


Proper adjectives

Proper nouns used as adjectives - South African people


adjectives of quantity or number

How many - several, most, a few


adjectives of order

Position - first, second, last


demonstrative adjectives

Which object (this differs to demonstrative pronouns as pronouns point to a person and an adjective points to an object) - that book


Possessive adjectives

Belonging to (differs to possessive pronouns as it can be directly next to the noun) - my house


Interrogative adjectives

Which one - which, what, whose



Adverbs are words that describe how a verb is done.

He ran quickly.  They swam effortlessly.


Types of adverbs

  • Manner
    • quickly, fast, slowly
  • Place
    • here, there, anywhere
  • Time
    • today, tomorrow, yesterday
  • Frequency
    • always, never, 
  • Degree


sentence modifiers

comparative Adverbs




Conjunctions are words that join sentences together.

The boy was fast and the girl was clever. The mountain was steep but he didn't care about that.


A conjunction is co-ordinating when it allows both sides of the sentence to have equal importance - this creates a compound sentence. The mainly used coordinating conjunctions can be remembered using a simple anagram: FANBOYS.

  • F
    • For
  • A
    • And
  • N
    • Nor
  • B
    • But
  • O
    • Or
  • Y
    • Yet
  • S
    • So


A subordinating conjunction or pronoun is used for a clause that has less importance than another.

Example: They were all screaming until Lesedi killed the spider.


These are words which relate words or phrases to each other.

Manchester United's trophy lies next to Paul Pogba's bed.

Apple has the money from their lawsuit with Samsung in their bank account. 


An exclamation.

Ah! Oh no! 




Loose, Periodic and Mixed Sentences

Types of Sentences

Background Knowledge - IMPORTANT 

A dependent clause can be seen by a dependent marker word - such as when. 

When the boy went to school...

An independent clause is a complete thought by itself and can remain in a sentence, alone. We can think of the independent clause as the main idea of a sentence.

He saw his team playing the football game.

Periodic Sentence

The dependent clause comes first and then the independent.

When the boy went to school, he saw his team playing the football game.

Loose Sentence

The independent clause comes first and then the dependent follows.

He saw his team playing the football game when he went to school.

Mixed Sentence

This is where the independent clause (main idea) is in the middle of the sentence.

When Pogba's strike hit the net, Manchester United had won the game and the Champion's League title.

In this sentence the main idea is that Manchester United had won the game. The rest of the sentence is additional information. 



You Cannot Know the Fears I Have - A poem by Shabbir Banoobhai

The Poem

you cannot know the fears i have
as i think about you

i fear that i shall live only at your laughter
lie awake long nights while you sleep
so loneliness does not trouble you
nor hunger, nor thirst

overwhelm your waking world with wonder
with the music of other worlds, your earlier home
read to you poems written the night before
while you smiled bewildered

or just when my very breathing begins to depend on you
even as your tiny fingers close around mine
some insensitive thing
crushes your butterfly spirit

shadows of a sun-darkened land
flow over you
and the eclipse
closes your eyes

i cannot live with the thought of having you, loving you
any other way
a day without such care
has no meaning

we shall find for you a name
your name shall bring light


Shabbir wrote this poem to his future child. The poem is all about a hypothetical argument with himself as to whether he should have the child. Shabbir is scared that his child won't get an education and will be oppressed by Apartheid. In the end, Shabbir makes the decision that he will have the child for the child could change the world. 



The Passionate Shepherd to His Love - A poem by Christopher Marlowe

The Poem

Come live with me and be my love, 

And we will all the pleasures prove, 

That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields, 

Woods, or steepy mountain yields. 


And we will sit upon the Rocks, 

Seeing the Shepherds feed their flocks, 

By shallow Rivers to whose falls

Melodious birds sing Madrigals. 


And I will make thee beds of Roses

And a thousand fragrant posies, 

A cap of flowers, and a kirtle

Embroidered all with leaves of Myrtle; 


A gown made of the finest wool

Which from our pretty Lambs we pull; 

Fair lined slippers for the cold, 

With buckles of the purest gold; 


A belt of straw and Ivy buds, 

With Coral clasps and Amber studs: 

And if these pleasures may thee move, 

Come live with me, and be my love. 


The Shepherds’ Swains shall dance and sing

For thy delight each May-morning: 

If these delights thy mind may move, 

Then live with me, and be my love.



This poem is a great example of pastoral poetry. Pastoral poetry idealises rural living. 


There is a predominant tone of longing ad romance in this poem.


  • Rhyme scheme: Rhyming couplet

This rhyme scheme is particularly apt to this poem because Marlowe is trying to seduce a women and be a couple.

  • General:  This poem is pretty simple.

This is apt because he wants to live a simple lifestyle.

  • This poem is a pastoral lyric. 
  • Written in iambic tetrameter
  • Each stanza is a quatrain


Whilst the diction can be seen as sweet and romantic, it can be seen that this poem is pleading and lovesick. He can be seen as demanding as well as manipulative by using very idyllic and unrealistic (using hyperboles). 

Imagery and Symbolism


  • A lot of natural scenery
    • Such as the waterfall and fields
  • Emphasizes beauty that he will experience with his love
  • Riches and a well lived life


  • The places that he speaks of as well as the scenery
    • Shows how much her love means to him


Marlowe is trying to seduce a women. This can be seen throughout the poem but a particular quote would be:

"Come live with me and be my love"

Figurative language 

  • There a lot of enjambment
    • Used to emphasise all the places that the poet and his love will go
      • The places are so vast that the speaker is saying it cannot fit on one line
  • Alliteration creates a song like atmosphere
  • The use of consonance makes the poem sound tranquil
    • "Shallow rivers to whose falls"
  • The final stanzas have a refrain
    • This adds to the persuasion in the poem. 


Errors of Style


Errors of Style



A play on words. Not necessarily an error of style but still included in the section for examination purposes.

Example: My mom just took away my mood ring: I don’t know how I feel about it.

Ambiguity/Misrelated participle

This is where the sentence can have more than one meaning. The participle isn't only qualifying one noun.

Example: Each of us saw her duck.

As seen above, the sentence here does not specify whether they actually saw her animal duck or they saw her duck (verb).


A phrase or opinion that is overused and is not original. 

Example: The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

This phrase can be seen in many places and is clichéd.



Speaking around the point and not speaking about the topic that was given - being evasive.

Example: “Our father who art in heaven” instead of God

Circumlocution is similar to verbosity in this sense.



Using too many words to say something that could be said in fewer.

Example: The device which increases atomic vibration in objects is broken. 

Instead of saying, “The microwave is broken”, the above is used. Too many words were used to explain something that could’ve been explained in fewer.



Including parts of information that mean the same thing in the same sentence. 

Example: He died in the fatal car accident. 

In the sentence above, we can see that “fatal” and “died” mean more or less the same thing in the sentence and one is not necessary. 


Comma splice error

Two independent clauses are connected with a comma.

Example: Messi is the best football player in the world, Ronaldo can compete with Messi for the Ballon 'd Or

In the sentence above it can be seen that each of the clauses that are joined could stand by themselves. This indicates a comma splice error.


Error of concord

This is where the concord of a sentence is incorrectly written. 

Example: The people was playing.

The sentence above should be The people were playing. The concord is the word that qualifies the participle to the noun. The correct concord has to be used depending on the plurality of the subjects in the sentence. 



The incorrect word is used in the sentence. The outcome is usually comical.

Example: The head monster is in charge of the school.

Head monster was used instead of headmaster. Children usually make these mistakes.



The first and last letters are swapped around.

Example: Tease my ears // Ease my tears

Children often make this mistake.



"Only" and "Even" must be directly in front of the word they qualify.









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