What are inductive and deductive arguments?

In a logical argument, the pattern in which you present evidence and then draw a general conclusion is called inductive. This term can also be used to describe a method of approaching your essay material, particularly in an argumentative essay. You are using this method in an essay even when you state the general conclusion first and present the supporting evidence in successive paragraphs. In fact, in essays it is customary to begin with the general conclusion as a thesis statement.
Another type of organization borrowed from logical argument is called deductive. With this pattern, you begin with a generalization and then apply it to specific instances. In a timed writing, you might be given a statement such as "It's better to be safe than sorry," and then asked to agree or disagree, providing examples that support your view. With such essays, you aren't proving or disproving the truth of a statement, but offering an opinion and then supporting it with examples.