An argument is a main idea or thesis presented in a text, and for which the author will present evidence throughout the text.
Typically, we talk of argument when we talk of persuasive or argumentative writing. In a persuasive essay or speech, the author presents an argument or claim, and then attempts to convince us that he or she is right.
However, some literary texts also make claims or statements, as well.
President presents an argument for why Congress should approve military action, laying out reasons and evidence to support such a move.
Teenage girl presents an argument to her parents regarding why she needs a cell phone that will allow her to text and use the internet.
Lawyer presents an argument in his opening statement that details why his client is innocent.
Businessman writes a proposal for a new product line, arguing that the new line will be popular and will make the company money.
Examples of Argument in Literature
From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
From Charles Dickens' David Copperfield:
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
Literary Terms Examples