Have you ever tried to debate (or argue with) someone who just cannot see your point of view? They’re so caught up in what they think is right that they won’t even consider opposing evidence.
It’s frustrating, right?
That’s because, for many situations, choices aren’t easy to make. We live in a world where most issues are in a gray area without clear black-and-white answers. So you need to be able to analyze the nuances of any given situation.
The great thing about writing classes is that they teach you to think about things analytically. That’s why your teacher assigned a pros and cons essay—to teach you to look at both sides of an issue and find your own solution.
If you’ve never written a pros and cons essay, it might be a little intimidating. But don’t worry—with a few tips and examples from Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and Andre the Giant, you’ll be on your way to writing a pros and cons essay like a pro.
What Is a Pros and Cons Essay?
The first step to writing a great pros and cons essay is knowing exactly what it is. It’s pretty simple—in fact, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A pros and cons essay is a type of argumentative essay that encourages you to look at both the pros (positives) and the cons (negatives) of a given topic.
Your essay, however, should not just be a list of pros and cons. Instead, you should synthesize the information, determine your own position on the topic, and state your position clearly.
This is not an “I’m right, you’re wrong” type of essay. Rather, it’s the kind of essay that says, “There are many different points to consider, and after evaluating all of them, here is my opinion.”
Elements to Consider When Writing a Pros and Cons Essay
When you’re writing a pros and cons essay, you must follow two important guidelines.
1. Choose a debatable topic
Choosing a debatable topic allows you to select a balanced number of pros and cons.
2. Give equal weight to both the pros and the cons
You aren’t just making a pros essay or a cons essay. Instead, you’re presenting a well-considered analysis of both sides of an argument.
In fact, in many great pros and cons essays, you cannot tell which side the author favors from just the pros and cons alone—you have to look at the thesis statement and the conclusion.
So now that you know the basics, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. For my topic, I’m choosing one of the greatest, most lucrative cons of all—pro wrestling.
6 Steps to Writing a Spectacular Pros and Cons Essay
The steps to writing a pros and cons essay are similar to writing most other argumentative essays: research, outline, write, and proofread. But I’ll fill in some of the finer points in two additional steps to help you make the most out of your writing experience.
1. Research your topic
Assuming you either have a debatable topic chosen already or your instructor assigned you a specific topic, you should start your research process. Look at credible sources of information.
Bonus Tip: You want to approach your research with an open mind. You may carry an opinion about a certain topic, but try to leave that behind as it may skew the information you gather.
For my topic, Pros and Cons of Being a Pro Wrestler, I might look at biographies of famous wrestlers or the WWE website. Google Scholar is also a great source of information for credible academic articles.
For more information on where to research, read 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper.
2. Brainstorm a pros and cons list
As you research, start pulling information and separating it by pros and cons. This should not be an outline … yet. Instead, it’s more of a freeform list.
My pros and cons list might look something like this:
Pros: Make lots of money, can turn into an acting career, helps with fitness, entertaining fans
Cons: Can get seriously injured, may be typecast in any other acting gigs, deceiving fans
3. Organize your thoughts into an outline
Now that you have your pros and cons fleshed out into a list, it’s time to organize them into an outline. You can sort by all pros first, followed by all cons (or vice versa), or if your pros and cons relate to each other, you can sort them that way. Here’s an example:
- Thesis statement
- Pro: Can expand acting career after wrestling
- Con: May be typecast into physical/action roles
- Pro: Have to stay physically fit
- Con: Often leads to injuries
- Entertaining the masses
- Fooling some fans into thinking the drama is real and that stunts are not planned
- Tied-up loose ends
4. Write a great introductory paragraph
In my example outline, you’ll notice two things under the introduction section—the hook and the thesis statement. The hook gets your readers’ attention and makes them want to learn more. The thesis statement explains your position on the topic and gives a brief preview of your body paragraphs.
My introduction paragraph might go something like this:
Pro wrestling has gone through its ups and downs. As fans realize the true athleticism of each wrestler, this type of entertainment has become more popular than ever, earning the WWE more than half a billion dollars in 2014. There are many different facets of being a pro wrestler. It has positives and negatives just like any other job in the entertainment industry. It is a physically demanding profession and can lead to type-casting in other entertainment roles. However, despite its drawbacks, if actors and athletes turn to pro wrestling for the right reasons, it can be an extremely rewarding career.
5. Fill out the details in your outline
With your thesis statement and outline complete, writing your body paragraphs should be fairly straightforward. To write your body paragraphs, all you need to do is expand the ideas in your outline.
This involves making paragraphs that not only flow from sentence to sentence within the paragraphs, but also between each paragraph. (Read more about essay transitions.)
For this post, I’m not going to write a body paragraph for every single point in my outline, but here’s an example of what I would write for the first body paragraph:
Because pro wrestling is a staged event, it is considered an acting job. A wrestler learns all the skills needed to transition into a full-time movie or television career, such as memorizing lines, doing stunts, interacting with other actors, improvising, and dealing with fans. Many pro wrestlers, such as Andre the Giant and Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), have gone on to very successful acting careers. However, it is difficult to get diverse roles. Andre was almost always typecast as a “giant,” and while Dwayne Johnson has had arguably the most successful acting career out of any pro wrestler, it took him many years to get a serious role.
6. Write your conclusion
You’re almost there. All you need to do is write your conclusion. A good conclusion will do two things: briefly summarize your main points (without restating the thesis statement) and tie up any loose ends.
For my conclusion, I might write this:
Pro wrestling is certainly hard on the bodies and careers of the actors, and may be seen as trickery to the fans. However, it has brought joy to millions of people, including the wrestlers who stay in shape due to the nature of the job and those who move on to more lucrative acting careers. Despite some risks, there are many rewards to be gained, especially if the wrestlers go in with the intention of presenting a pure form of entertainment to the masses.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? After all this, you not only know what a pros and cons essay is, but you also understand each step of the writing process.
Need some more mental fuel before you start to write? Check out these examples for more pros and cons essay examples.
If you’re still not feeling sure about the flow or style of your essay once you write it—or if you just want an extra set of eyes to look it over—send it to the Kibin editors. We can help your essay be a heavyweight champ.