Convince me the argument paragraph
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Convince Me! The Argument Paragraph. Eng 050. Argument Paragraph. “Remember, no one is obligated to take your word for anything.” – M. L. Stein

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Convince Me! The Argument Paragraph

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Convince me the argument paragraph

Convince Me! The Argument Paragraph

Eng 050


Argument paragraph

Argument Paragraph

  • “Remember, no one is obligated to take your word for anything.” – M. L. Stein

  • Those words above perfectly capture the essence of why you write an argument paragraph—because no one needs to take your word. Instead, you need to prove why you believe something through your writing.


Argument paragraph1

Argument Paragraph

  • You argue, or persuade, every day.

    • Your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/BFF to see the movie you want to see (especially if they don’t want to see it)

    • Your parents to let you use the car

    • Your boss to give you time off

  • The ability to successfully persuade in a reasonable and polite manner is a very powerful tool.


Argument paragraph2

Argument Paragraph

  • Let’s read the paragraph one page 315.

    • Are you persuaded by Jesse Jackson’s words?

  • As with everything we have done, writing a good paragraph starts with the critical reading of a good paragraph.

  • Let’s read the paragraph on page 317. With this paragraph, read it closely and identify which statements are facts and which are statements are the author’s opinions.


Argument paragraph3

Argument Paragraph

  • Now let’s go over the questions on page 318.

  • Let’s read another paragraph; this one is on page 319. Then we’ll go over the questions.

  • Have you noticed a pattern? The writers make their points, and produce evidence to explain why their points are correct. In other words, they use a combination of their own opinion along with facts to persuade you of something.


Argument paragraph4

Argument Paragraph

  • Let’s go over the steps on how go prepare for writing this paragraph.

  • First, let’s go over the prompt the book gives us: “Choose a controversial issue on your campus, and write a paragraph that presents your opinion about it. When writing your paragraph, be sure to back up your opinion with reasons.”

    • Make a note of the directions of the prompt.

    • Make a note of any questions you have about the prompt.


Argument paragraph5

Argument Paragraph

  • Now let’s think about the prompt, and some possible topics.

    • Write down some ideas for a topic, then write down your opinions.

    • Try out a few. If you’re having trouble coming up with one, here’s some suggestions:

      • Tenure for teachers. Once a professor gets tenure, he or she in that position until he or she retires, no matter how many complaints there are against him or her. Should it be abolished?

      • Smoking on campus. Should it be banned altogether?


Argument paragraph6

Argument Paragraph

  • Writing Guidelines

    • When you are writing an argument, you must present evidence that backs up your case and convinces your readers to agree with you.

      • Your facts must be true and logical.

        • Remember the example of the husband who said it was his wife’s fault that he erased a computer file because his wife opened a window? Those kinds of non-reasons weaken your case

      • Without solid facts as evidence, you do not have a proper argument paragraph. Instead, it’s an opinion piece.


Argument paragraph7

Argument Paragraph

  • Writing guidelines---Step one

    • State your opinion on the issue in your topic sentence. Remember, this is the blueprint for your paper, so it needs to be clear and concise.

      • Let’s review Jesse Jackson’s first sentence. “If our goal is educational and economic parity—and it is—then we need affirmative action to catch up.”

      • Consider the paragraph you’ll be writing on the controversial topic. To write your topic sentence, begin with your opinion on the subject.


Argument paragraph8

Argument Paragraph

  • Writing guidelines---Step two

    • Find out as much as you can about your audience, because this will influence how you craft your message.

      • Pretend for the moment that you are writing this for the college president. Think about what your tone would be; no doubt it will be very different for Dr. Parker than it would be for your classmates.

    • Jesse Jackson wrote his paragraph for a general audience; that’s who you would want to write your paragraph for.


Argument paragraph9

Argument Paragraph

  • Writing guidelines---Step three

    • Opinions do not count as evidence.

    • Evidence comes in the form of facts, statistics, comments from experts, and personal stories.

      • Say we take the subject of teacher tenure. You can use statistics on how many teachers have tenure, information on poor ratings given to teachers with tenure, or comments from a member of the college administration.

        • You can’t use stories from a friend who had a tenured teacher, or your own opinion as evidence.

      • In this paragraph, you want to achieve a balance.

        • Give your opinion, then use your evidence to prove why you are right


Argument paragraph10

Argument Paragraph

  • Writing guidelines---Step three

    • Let’s look at Jesse Jackson’s evidence.

      • “We are behind as a result of discrimination and denial of opportunity.” --- statement from authority

      • “There is one white attorney for every 680 whites, but only one black attorney for every 4,000 blacks” – statistics

      • “There is one white physician for every 659 whites, but only one black physician for every 5,000 [blacks].”– statistics


Argument paragraph11

Argument Paragraph

  • Writing guidelines---Step four

    • Organize your evidence so that it supports your argument effectively.

      • General to particular—use this method when you know that your readers already agree with you.

        • Start with general statements, then discuss the particulars of your argument.


Argument paragraph12

Argument Paragraph

  • Writing guidelines---Step four

    • Organize your evidence so that it supports your argument effectively.

      • From particular to general, or from one extreme to another—use this method when you know that your readers don’t generally agree with you.

        • This helps you lead your readers through your reasoning step by step as you use your examples to pull them into your way of thinking


Argument paragraph13

Argument Paragraph

  • Writing guidelines---Step four

    • Organize your evidence so that it supports your argument effectively.

      • If we look at Jesse Jackson’s paragraph, you’ll notice that he starts with a general statement, and then organizes his paragraph from the smallest (one what attorney for every 680 whites) to largest (less than 1 percent of all engineers or all of the practicing chemists are black).


Argument paragraph14

Argument Paragraph

  • Now let’s do our usual sample paragraph.

    • I’m going to choose the topic I referred to earlier, which is that smoking should be banned from campus altogether.

      • Note to smokers: Don’t be offended! It’s just a personal preference. Also, you can always argue the other side.

    • Now I need to do brainstorming on why I feel it should be banned. When you are doing your own brainstorm, detail the reasons for your thinking.


Argument paragraph15

Argument Paragraph

  • Why I think smoking should be banned from the campus altogether

    • Creates extra trash around the campus in the form of cigarette butts and ashes

      • This in turn creates extra work for the maintenance staff, taking their time away from other maintenance matters

    • Unfair to non-smokers who have to smell the second-hand smoke as they walk along campus


Argument paragraph16

Argument Paragraph

  • Safety issue: poses a fire hazard (half-lit cigarettes too close to something flammable and … poof!)

  • Causes multiple interruptions in class time from smokers who take multiple breaks

  • Would discourage smoking among students and keep them smoke free (at least while on campus)

  • So I’ve got some reasons…but I can’t use them all because I’m writing a paragraph and need to choose my strongest arguments. Which do you all think are the strongest?


  • Argument paragraph17

    Argument Paragraph

    • Here’s the list again:

      • Creates extra trash around the campus in the form of cigarette butts and ashes

      • Unfair to non-smokers who have to smell the second-hand smoke as they walk along campus

      • Safety issue: poses a fire hazard

      • Causes multiple interruptions in class time from smokers who take multiple breaks

      • Would discourage smoking among students


    Argument paragraph18

    Argument Paragraph

    • Okay, I’m going with the following.

      • Safety issue: poses a fire hazard (half-lit cigarettes too close to something flammable and … poof!)

      • Not fair to non-smokers to be exposed to dangerous second-hand smoke that ingest known carcinogens

      • Causes multiple interruptions in class time from smokers who take multiple breaks

    • Why did I choose the ones I chose? Because I felt the most comfortable arguing those points.


    Argument paragraph19

    Argument Paragraph

    • Now it’s time for the topic sentence. Here’s few ideas:

      • Smoking should be banned from the DCCC campus because of the safety, health, and lack of focus issues this habit can cause.

      • Smoking may be popular among DCCC students, but this unhealthful habit can compromise the safety of the campus, the health of all campus inhabitants, and the learning of student smokers who take frequent breaks; therefore, it should be banned from campus.

      • While smokers have a right to enjoy this unhealthful habit, smoking on the DCCC campus causes risks in terms of safety, health, and student focus.

    • Note what I did here: I discussed in general terms the points I’m planning to cover.


    Argument paragraph20

    Argument Paragraph

    • Safety issue: poses a fire hazard (half-lit cigarettes too close to something flammable and … poof!)

      • Smoking poses a fire hazard to the campus. A half-lit cigarette butt, carelessly tossed, could easily start a fire, as could a match the user thinks is extinguished, but really isn’t.

    • Not fair to non-smokers to be exposed to dangerous second-hand smoke, which is a known carcinogen

      • Another issue is the dangers the cigarette smoke poses to non-smokers. You can’t walk through the campus without inhaling at least some smoke from the students who practice this habit.Second-hand smoke is a known carcinogen, and it can aggravate the breathing of students with pulmonary issues such as asthma. This is not fair to students who choose not to smoke.


    Argument paragraph21

    Argument Paragraph

    • Causes multiple interruptions in class time from smokers who take multiple breaks

      • Another aspect of student smoking that is frequently overlooked is the amount of time this wastes in class. Students attending lengthier classes may leave the classroom several times during the class period, interrupting their own learning and the learning of other students.


    Argument paragraph22

    Argument Paragraph

    Smoking may be popular among DCCC students, but this unhealthful habit can compromise the safety of the campus, the health of all campus inhabitants, and the learning of student smokers; therefore it should be banned from campus. Firstly, smoking poses a fire hazard to the campus. A half-lit cigarette butt, carelessly tossed, could easily start a fire, as could a match the user thinks is extinguished (but really isn’t). Another issue is the dangers that cigarette smoke poses to non-smokers. You can’t walk through the campus without inhaling at least some smoke from the students who practice this habit. Not only is second-hand smoke a known carcinogen, it can aggravate the breathing of students with breathing-related difficulties, such as asthma. This is not fair to students who choose not to smoke. And finally, a frequently overlooked aspect of smoking on campus is the amount of time this wastes in class. Students attending lengthier classes may leave the room several times during the three-hour period, causing interruptions in their own learning, and disrupting class time to the detriment of their fellow students. The campus would gain so much by putting such a ban in place, and with any luck, the smokers might lose something in the process---the habit of smoking.


    Argument paragraph23

    Argument Paragraph

    • What do we think of this paragraph? Are you comfortable doing one on your own? We’ll be working on argument as part of our final assignment for the next several weeks.


    Argument paragraph24

    Argument Paragraph

    • And let’s not forget our checklist:

      Subjects and verbs

      • Does each sentence have one of each of these? And do the tenses of the sentence and verb “agree”?

        Pronouns

      • Do your pronouns “agree” with each other?

        Modifier Errors

      • Are your modifiers as close as possible to the words they modify? Are any of your modifiers dangling or misplaced?


    Argument paragraph25

    Argument Paragraph

    • Checklist continued

      Punctuation and mechanics

      • Are your sentences punctuated correctly?

      • Are your words capitalized when necessary (and not capitalized when not necessary)?

        Word choice and Spelling

      • Did you choose the correct words? Remember, when it doubt look them up, or use another word.

      • Spelling—Again, look up words you aren’t sure of.


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