Argumentative Speech Topics Present Your Case Without Persuasion

Argumentative speech topics

Argumentative speeches present a debatable issue with two or more opposing sides. The best argumentative speech topics are controversial with two or more opposing sides, something that the speaker is passionate and knowledgeable about, and relevant to the audience.

When you feel strongly about a position, you might wish to convince others by choosing an argumentative speech topic and presenting the reasons to support your position. Unlike a persuasive speech, where you might use emotion and facts to convince your audience, an argumentative speech stresses the facts that present your position as a valid point of view.

What Is A Argumentative Speech Or Essay?

An argumentive speech offers the listener all the credible facts, relevant reasons, and supporting evidence to show why your position is reasonable and worthy of consideration. The speech might research the topic, present the position opinions about it, and show how your perspective is valid.

You should present the various points of view and counter the opinions and positions others might hold with your own, which you offer as the most logical choice.

Argumentative speech topics

How Does An Argumentative Speech Differ from A Persuasive One?

In a persuasive speech, the speaker is attempting to sway the opinion of others on a topic. Trying to impact someone’s opinions, beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors through this type of public speaking requires strong arguments, verified facts, and emotion. The speech may present an alternative way of thinking, but the speaker quickly refutes it.

Argumentative essays or speeches are sometimes called “persuasive,” “opinions,” or “position” speeches, essays, or papers, but true argumentative pieces lack the emotional appeal of true persuasive presentations.

When choosing a persuasive or argumentative speech topic and formulating your argument, you want to select something broad enough to frame it in multiple ways yet give you the ability to frame it in an original manner. No one wants to read the same old argument again and again.

How you present your topic can make it argumentative or persuasive.

What Is The Value Of This Type Of Speech?

Both argumentive and persuasive essays or speeches are excellent learning activities. Most speeches often include three elements.

  • Ethos (credibility): Speech or essay writing must show the author’s credibility to be effective. While you can certainly try to sway or present opinions without using facts and reputable sources, the argument is not as compelling.
  •  Logos (logic): Using a logical argument to pull others to your viewpoint is one very important tactic speech writers employ. While having a passion for your topic is good and can help you to be interested as you dive in, using logical arguments from credible sources goes a long way with the audience.
  • Pathos (emotion): Whether you are a college student contemplating speech ideas for a class or a person who has been brought in to make an argument on a particular viewpoint, if you feel passionate about a topic, the topic is more likely to resonate with the audience. 

    Using emotion to sway others can be a helpful tool as long as you don’t forget to use facts. This is downplayed in argumentative speeches but essential to persuasive speeches.

Both persuasive and argumentative speeches are essential tools to explain a controversial or important topic as well as try to get others to see your viewpoint. In an argumentative speech, you just want them to see it. In a persuasive one, you want to convince them. Debating a controversial topic is best done with facts and sources, not opinions and arguments.

This handy chart from Western Illinois University shows the difference in the purpose, strategy, and language of the two types of work.

Argumentive vs. Persuasive

When choosing an argumentative speech topic, you should consider the following:

  • Debate Difficulty: You may wish to avoid topics that are difficult to debate or hot-button topics. Hot-button issues like abortion and the death penalty can get people divided and angry. It is hard to be argumentative and not persuasive.
  • Facts: Be certain there are enough facts to substantiate the argument you wish to make and prepare counterpoints.
  • Personal Interest: As the speaker, choosing a topic you are interested in (or passionate about) can help make your research and speech more engaging.
  •  Relevance: The topic should be relevant to the time period or the expected audience. Trending topics are often a good choice.
  •  Understanding Counterpoints: Be certain you can find adequate information on your stance as well as counterpoints.

What Is A Good Argument Topic For School?

Choosing a good argument topic idea may depend on how old you are. This is true because some topics are more relevant to different age groups than others.

Elementary Age Students:

  • Why you should not play too many video games.
  • Why kids should not play violent video games.
  • What age is appropriate to get a child a cell phone?
  • How to be safe using the internet and social media.
  • Why kids should not eat too much fast food.
  • Why should you brush your teeth?
  • Children should have strong limits put on their screen time.
  • Why homeschooling is great for families and children.

Middle School Students:

  • How can cyberbullying get you into trouble?
  • How does childhood obesity impact future adults?
  • Why middle school-age students should have a consistent bedtime.
  • School districts worry too much about test scores.
  • Sports are good for middle school students.
  • Reasons why middle school students should not have a dress code.
  • Middle School students should be allowed to have cell phones in school.

High School Students:

  • Why sex education should be taught in public schools.
  • Why health care should be free for all Americans.
  • Should high schools have a dress code?
  • The electoral college system is antiquated and should be replaced by the popular vote in presidential elections.
  • The minimum wage should be higher in America.
  • Why animal testing should not be legal except for medical purposes.
  • Why professional athletes should not be paid so much money.
  • Why all students should take a gap year before going to college.
  • Reasons all high school students should take a foreign language.

College Students:

  • Why the drinking age should be dropped to 19.
  • Should college be free for all students?
  • Why euthanasia should be legal in certain circumstances.
  • Why each sports team should be held to revenue caps.
  • Reasons why the government should prioritize mental health in America.
  • Why beauty pageants should not exist.
  • Why college athletes should be able to receive compensation without losing eligibility.
  • Things all people should do to lessen their negative impact on the environment.
  • Things we can all do to help combat global warming.
  • The top three human rights issues in the world today.
  • Reasons why health insurance is a scam.
  • Why zoos are inhumane and should all be closed.

What Are Some Timeless Argumentative Topics?

Some topics are timeless, meaning they are always relevant. This includes topics such as why young children should have a routine, or why a set bedtime is so important for children of a certain age.

Timeless arguments could also cover topics like gun control, capital punishment, or abortion that, although they are hot-button topics, have been fiercely debated for many years. When used for argumentative speeches, the speaker should state their viewpoint, without trying to convince the audience which view is right. They just put the various positions out there and present evidence that shows why one opinion is preferred.

As society changes and evolves, new trends generate viewpoints, and people formulate their positions. Sometimes once relevant topics drift away and are replaced with items that feel more important at that moment.

For example, prior to 1994, experts told parents to let babies sleep on their tummies. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development launched a federally financed Back to Sleep public education campaign to fight Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs) that contradicted what generations of parents and grandparents did.

Argumentative speech topics - babies sleep on their backs

What Are Some Trending, Argumentative Topics In 2023?

  • Computer-based or online learning is the best.
  • Why abortion should be a state issue and decision.
  • Are people too dependent on technology?
  • Why people should limit their screen time.
  • Should renewal energy be a priority?
  • At what age should children get a smartphone?
  • Which has made the most impactful contribution: Apple or Microsoft?
  • Reasons why the entire world should operate on the metric system.
  • Should cloning be allowed?
  • Why GMOs should not be allowed in any foods.
  • Why is space exploration important?
  • Why space exploration is a waste of money.
  • Reasons why the government should police illegal immigrants more closely.
  • The unfortunate impacts of climate change.

Pam Berg

A former English teacher and currently an elementary principal in a rural school, Pam has honed her speaking skills in the classroom and before professional groups. Pam enjoys sharing her insights about public speaking almost as much as she enjoys running, which she does daily.

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