Fifty Topic Ideas for an Argumentative Essay

So, you have spent many hours working hard to write argumentative essays for your English (and perhaps other) classes. It is even likely you have become quite effective at writing essays on topics assigned by your instructors. However, when you are asked to choose topics by yourself for different argumentative essays, it may be that you get stuck.  

The problem is not a lack of great topics that you can select from, but rather than you are prone to over-thinking topics. For instance, you may find yourself wondering if one topic has been written about too often, if another is too much of a cliché, or that some other one is not sufficiently good. Yet, there is every chance that all you need to do is identify some topic you feel passionately about - and one that can be debated of course!

Why Choose a Debatable Topic for Your Argumentative Essay?

The term “argumentative essay” says everything you need to know. It is often much easier to write about a topic that the majority of people are in agreement about, but that misses the point of this type of essay.

It is quite crucial to select a topic that is debatable for an argumentative essay because part of your task will be to counter opposing views with your own viewpoint. Therefore, you need a topic that has opposing viewpoints. A lot of things in the world are not clear-cut because many issues are “gray” in some respects. This is good since it means you have a great choice of topics available to you.

Below is a list of fifty possible topics for an argumentative essay. As a way of helping you get started, these are phrased in the form of questions and are separated into five logical groupings, e.g., in groups that relate to family, legal, media, moral and social issues.  

You are welcome to use any of these topics when you have an essay to write or they may provide inspiration to help you develop an original and unique topic of your own.

Ten Topic Suggestions for an Argumentative Essay on the Family and Related Issues 

There are numerous topics that concern the family, e.g., topics that deal with the establishment of families, life within families, the values upheld by families, and so on. The reason for this is that there are many types of family and each one is somewhat different. The rules and values practiced by the different families can vary greatly from one situation to another, regardless of the laws that pertain to any particular nation or state.

Since every family is very different, too much generalization hardly seems possible and should be avoided in essays of this type. If, however, you research a topic such as child psychology and development, relationship psychology, or listen to various stories from children and their parents, it is likely you will get sufficient information to develop a good argument on any one of the following topics or on a topic you develop yourself.   

  1. Should parents be permitted to smack their kids?
  2. Should classes on parenting be made compulsory?
  3. Does a child need or deserve a weekly or monthly allowance?
  4. Is breastfeeding in public an acceptable practice?
  5. Who does the room a child occupies belong to – the child or their parents?
  6. What is the right (or best) age for parents to discuss sex with their offspring?
  7. Should parents monitor how much their teenage children use the Internet?
  8. Is it right for parents to pay for their children to get better grades?
  9. Should it be as easy for a single person to adopt a child as it is for a couple?
  10. Is it right for parents to push their children into participating in out-of-school activities e.g. in sports, music, etc.?  

Ten Topic Suggestions for an Argumentative Essay on a Variety of Legal Issues

Legal type topics are popular for argumentative essays. These topics are wide-ranging and may include any law you might like to see changed, created, or abolished altogether. Subjects like these can also be used to discuss the positive and/or negative sides of any laws that are already in place. 

An argumentative essay on a particular area of law does not necessarily have to become hugely technical, but you should make sure you properly research and are up-to-date on any law(s) that pertain to the topic you are writing about. For instance, you would not want to recommend amending a law that already has been amended in the manner you are suggesting.  

  1. Should greater restrictions be placed on the use and ownership of guns in the USA?
  2. Are the medical benefits of marijuana sufficient justification for making this drug legal?
  3. Should there be an outright ban on cigarettes and all other tobacco-based products?
  4. Is it true that the outlawing of controlled substances is more likely to create a bigger illegal market for these substances?
  5. Do you think the current drink-driving age is correct or should it raised or lowered?
  6. Should the USA legalize prostitution?
  7. Should personhood be granted to corporations?
  8. In what circumstances, if there are any, should women have the right to abort an unborn child?
  9. Should there be a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons?
  10. What is the appropriate age to give girls access to contraception without their parents’ consent? 

Ten Topic Suggestions for an Argumentative Essay Concerning the Media 

These days, media and advertising are almost an integral part of every society. An essay on a media topic could, for example, discuss what effects the media in its various forms – news bulletins, television, magazines, social media, movies, and so on - has on society, and what information people should be able to see and hear in advertisements and through the media. 

It is not difficult to find inspiration for a topic on media or advertising for an argumentative essay. You just need to switch on your television and stay with one channel as the commercials are played.

Pay careful attention to anything to do with electronic products, and it is almost certain you will find a debatable topic according to what you hear and/or see.

  1. Should celebrities be talked about on news programs?
  2. How acceptable is it, if at all, for companies to be allowed to advertise in educational institutions, especially in schools?
  3. Have journalists a duty to report in an unbiased manner?
  4. Is it acceptable to portray or discuss matters of a sexual nature on daytime TV?
  5. Has print or paper advertising become obsolete?
  6. How effective are announcements about public services?
  7. Should advertisements be clearer in the way they draw attention to warnings and product side effects?
  8. What can or should television networks do to curtail programs and/or scenes that involve violence?
  9. Have movie makers and television producers a responsibility to be more wide-ranging and diverse?
  10. Should ads for tobacco and alcohol be permitted and, if so, in what circumstances?

Ten Topic Suggestions for an Argumentative Essay on Moral Matters

It is often easy to become emotional and let topics that deal with moral issues carry you away. Topics like these often cover a wide range of moral and ethical dilemmas from, say, punishment by death to carrying out tests on animals. These issues are usually very open to debate since most people have different opinions – and different reasons for their opinions – when it comes to deciding right from wrong.   

If or when you are discussing the rights of humans or animals, and you feel passionately about these matters, there is a great temptation to allow yourself to get overcome by your feelings and emotions. In addition, even though it is a good thing to show passion in an argument and in this type of essay, it is important to keep all your thoughts and ideas in focus and to ensure these are well organized.

It is certainly worthwhile taking time to develop an essay outline to help you stay focused on your topic.

  1. Which group are less moral – atheists or theists?
  2. Is it really necessary to conduct tests on animals?
  3. Is it appropriate for publicly-accessible museums to exhibit nude pictures?
  4. Are the rights of an individual infringed by drugs testing prior to an offer of employment?
  5. Is it ethical for consumers to buy products from a country that sanctions the employment of children?
  6. Should people be given more encouragement by businesses and schools to do voluntary work?
  7. When someone commits a terrible crime, do they deserve to be punished by death?
  8. Should beauty contests involving children be outlawed?
  9. Should people have the right to make hate speeches by virtue of having the right to free speech?
  10. Should patients be allowed to die with the help of a physician?  

Ten Topic Suggestions for an Argumentative Essay on Social Issues

There can sometimes be an overlap between argumentative essays that deal with social topics and those that deal with moral and legal matters. However, social topics are usually more concerned with how people act and behave within society and the types of societal pressures that are put on people – in both an individual and group capacity.

This category is quite broad, which means there is a wide choice of ready-made topics and many more that you can develop by yourself.  

In the event you are not sure what topic to choose, think about something that affects yourself or someone you love on a personal level. It is likely this will make it easier and more natural for you to write about your chosen topic. Just make sure you base your writing on factual information rather than on personal experiences or anecdotes since these are more suitable for narrative writing.   

  1. Should English be made the official language of the USA?
  2. Should immigrants be given more rights?
  3. Do teenagers feel too pressurized by society to get a college education?
  4. Is it possible for women and men of heterosexual orientation to really be just friends without expectations or hopes of more?
  5. If women want to prevent men from catcalling, should they wear more modest clothing?
  6. What is the appropriate age at which US citizens should be permitted to cast a vote?
  7. Should minors be required to adhere to a legally-imposed curfew?
  8. Does Internet dating adequately replace the traditional personal meeting variety?
  9. Should prisoners be given voting rights?
  10. Is it ever appropriate or fair for an organization to refuse to employ a cigarette smoker and, if so, in what circumstances is this appropriate?