Argumentative Articles

Any fan can have an opinion. It takes a thinker, though, to make an argument—and being fanatically thoughtful is precisely what earned you the right to publish argumentative articles on B/R in the first place.

What's an "argumentative" article?

For B/R's purposes, an "argumentative article" is one that explicitly announces an opinion-based argument in its headline. Argumentative titles are typically distinguished by phrases like "Should," "Must," or "Reasons That."

When is it most relevant?

There's never a "wrong" time for an argumentative article, but you should generally try to key your arguments on current events. If a topic's making headlines—or even if it's just getting play from the folks you talk sports with—it's fair game for your full rhetorical fury.

How can I live up to B/R standards?

The most quintessentially "Bleacher Report" arguments are those which combine the passion of a sports bar with the rigor of a classroom. To strike the right balance, you should always...

Entice your audience.

The best argumentative ledes hook readers with bold claims or intriguing questions built around popular keywords. For the record, that's not an invitation to provoke just for the sake of provocation—but you should always open with a line that's likely to pull potential skeptics into the flow of your argument.

State your thesis.

Obvious: Every argumentative article should be predicated on a definitive thesis statement. Less obvious: Said thesis statement needs to appear in the article's first three paragraphs, where it can most effectively engage readers who might otherwise miss the point and click away.

Distinguish your viewpoint.

As you might have noticed, the Internet isn't exactly short on argumentative sports content. In formulating your thesis, it's important to qualify, rebut, or otherwise play off flock-like conventional wisdom—lest readers get the impression that you're just another sheep bleating into the void.

Develop your argument.

An undeveloped "argument" is really just an opinion in an echo chamber. Whenever you publish an argumentative article on B/R, you'll need to expound your thesis through a series of two or more constituent sub-arguments, with the ultimate goal of showing skeptics exactly why you're right and they're wrong.

Know your facts.

If an undeveloped "argument" is just an opinion, an unsupported one is just a rant. That's why B/R writers are instructed to buttress every argumentative statement with at least one hard fact—and to leave the evidence-free rhetoric to experts like Skip Bayless.

Focus your rhetoric.

When you're arguing with your buddies on a lazy Sunday afternoon, an occasional tangent is totally appropriate. When you're arguing with your readers on a busy Monday morning, on the other hand, you're better off skipping the digressions and sticking to the point.

Project your conclusion.

Not sure how to wrap things up? Start, simply, by retracing the logical path from your thesis to your conclusion—and then go one step further by explaining what that conclusion means in a forward-looking context.

Where can I learn more?

For in-depth discussion of the principles outlined above, be sure to check out...

Analysis: Ranked Lists »

Writer Education Resources

Questions About Engagement?