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Text types:. Argumentation. 1. Argumentation Vs persuasion, explanation and demonstration Argumentation deals with a controversial topic, open for discussion. 2. Persuasion (e.g., in advertising) aims at ↓ inducing behaviour obtaining resulting advantages How?

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Text types

Text types:





persuasion, explanation and demonstration

Argumentation deals with a controversial topic, open for discussion.


Persuasion (e.g., in advertising)

aims at

inducing behaviour

obtaining resulting advantages


using all available means



aims at

changing beliefs


using rational means

(i.e. discourse)



The subject of an explanatory discourse is not contested, i.e. there is no argumentation because this subject is not contested



aims at

providing proof

by means of

normative and strictly specified rules

(reasoning and formal logic)


Natural argumentation

canmake use of



"recognized" knowledge

but itrestsprimarily




7 organize your text


  • Processes of conceptualization, i.e. activation and organization of ideas;

  • Processesassociatedwith the linguistictranslating, or formulating, of concepts.

    Problemsat the transition from 1 to 2:


    structure of conceptualrepresentation not necessarilyunidimensional


    structure of languagenecessarilylinear.



somelinguistictoolsallow us to structure the linguisticsequence:

e.g. syntactic subordination and coordination, punctuation, anaphorae, connectives.

Argumentative writingrequires the use of complexlinguistictools, especiallyat the structural level of the connexions to beestablishedbetween the content elements.

9 global requirements
9. Global requirements?

  • Recognizing the existence of a conflict between A and B, i.e. recognizing the presence of arguments

  • Taking a claim

  • Supporting the claim

  • Assigning a (minimal) value to the opposite claim

  • Restrictions to both opposing claims


Goingfrom the initial claim to the contradictory claim in a coherentmanner, imposes to respect somegeneralrules of textcontinuity and progression.

The writer has to ensure the argumentative congruence of successive arguments:

- arguments presenting the same orientation shouldbecoordinated,

- arguments withopposite orientation shouldbelinked by an opposite or concessive device.

Sincethere are twodifferentthemes, there must bethematiccontinuity:

- sentences evoking content 1 shouldbeconnected to claim 1,

sentences evoking content 2 shouldbeconnected to claim 2.


the main problem is indeed to manage simultaneously the conceptual and the textual requirement.

Focus on what
Focus on what?

Perspectives on theseissueshavechangedthroughout the years:

the focus on form dates back to 1966

the focus on the writer in 1976

the focus on content in 1986

simultaneously with the content oriented approach came English for Academic Purposes, an academically-oriented approach, which focused on the expectations of academic readers: in this approach, focus on the reader.

Defining argument

  • The word derives from the Latin “arguere”='to make clear'. The arguer should learn how and when to use three fundamental argumentative appeals. According to Aristotle, a person who wants to convince another may appeal to that person's reason (logos), ethics (ethos), or emotion (pathos).

  • The writer's job is to weave the various appeals into a single convincing argument in order to create a sound, balanced argument.

To argue

about (intransitive value)

  • discutere; litigare

    • to argue about (o over) money

  • argomentare; ragionare; fornire ragioni

    • to argue for/against something

      (transitive value)

  • sostenere; difendere con argomentazioni

    • to argue a point of view

Basic goal of argument

to obtain the reader's consent to your central statement, in spite of active resistance.

Consequently, argument may be

writing organised around a clear thesis...which is substantiated logically and through illustration (Pringle and Freedman, 1985)

  • However, since this definition may be equally applied to exposition, in Crowhurst (1988) argument is also defined as

    that kind of writing which takes a point of view and supports it with either emotional appeals or logical arguments.

    Of course, the writer/locutor has to adjust to the conventions established by the audience they are addressing.

Boundaries between persuasion and argument: exposition, in Crowhurst (1988) argument is also defined as

  • persuasive writing sets out to influence or change an audience's thoughts or actions,

  • an argument is an appeal to a person's sense of reason, emotion and good character.

People who engage in argumentative discourse exposition, in Crowhurst (1988) argument is also defined as

are committed to what they have said or implicated.


if thesis statement not successful

maintain the image of people who play by the rules

persuade reader by using very convincing and reliable grounds (supporting details)