Proposal Argument

A proposal argument is a structure of argument that focuses on presenting some kind of proposal as a solution to a problem, outlining the details of the proposal, and providing good reasons to support the proposal.

This type of essay works well if you see a problem you want to fix or see change you want to make. For example, it’s not enough to argue that cigarette smoking is bad for one’s health. Most people would agree. But, you could make a good argument that we need a plan to cut down on teens who are becoming addicted to cigarettes.


Watch the video below to learn more about the structure of a proposal argument.

Video Transcript
Proposal Structure

Creating a well developed argumentative structure is similar to putting together a puzzle. Each piece has certain characteristics and belongs in a particular place to create the whole picture.

Although there may always be variations, a good basic outline for a proposal argument might look like this.

First Piece – In your introduction, which may be more than one paragraph, summarize the details of the problem. End with a thesis that presents your proposal.

Second Piece – Provide a detailed history of the problem. Give your audience background on the issue.

Third Piece – Present your proposal in detail. Explain how it would address the problem, be a better “fix” than current solutions, and exactly how your proposal would work. You need to think about the logistics – money, manpower, workability. This should take several paragraphs.

Fourth Piece – Address the opposing views. What problems might others see in your proposal? Address those and explain why your solution is the best solution to the problem.

Fifth Piece – Finally, in your conclusion, summarize your main points of your essay. This is a good place to give your audience something to do in order to make your proposal a reality.

TIPS: When writing a proposal argument, it’s important that you don’t try to take on too much given the length of your assignment and the time you have to write your essay. Think about proposals that work well given the constraints of the assignment.

If you have a choice in what you write about, find something you feel passionately about. If you’re going to be writing a specific proposal to solve a problem, it helps if you care about the problem.

Think about your audience members as you plan and write. What kind of information do they need? What will be convincing to them? Think about your audience as you work to use ethos, pathos, and logos.

The sample essay on the following page will provide more details about developing this type of argument.

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