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Writing an Argument. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 English 370 Melissa Gunby. What is Argument?. When most people hear the word argument , they think of a verbal fight, or a heated exchange on a show like O’Rielly Report or some other political talk show.

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writing an argument

Writing an Argument

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

English 370

Melissa Gunby

what is argument
What is Argument?
  • When most people hear the word argument, they think of a verbal fight, or a heated exchange on a show like O’Rielly Report or some other political talk show.
  • True argument involves taking a well-thought-out position on a debatable topic – a topic upon which reasonable people may disagree.
  • In a piece of argumentative writing, the goal is to convince a reader of the strength of the ideas through providing evidence and examining the validity of the opposing ideas.
free write
Free Write
  • Look at the picture on page 144 of your textbook
  • Spend five minutes answering one of the writing prompts in the “Focus on Writing” box on page 145.
write a clear thesis statement
Write a clear thesis statement
  • Use words like should, should not, or ought to make your position clear to readers.
    • The federal government should lower the tax on gasoline
    • The city should not build a new sports stadium
  • Present points that support your thesis statement.
    • For example, if you are arguing for the cafeteria on campus to stay open later for evening students, you should be prepared to write several topic sentences the support this.
  • Present convincing evidence.
    • Using specific supporting evidence will strengthen your position.
wait evidence you said we wouldn t have to write a research paper
Wait? Evidence? You said we wouldn’t have to write a research paper!
  • I know I did, but you may need to look up some things for this paper.
  • You can use two types of evidence:
    • Facts. Facts are pieces of information that can be verified. If you make a point, you should be prepared to support it with a fact – like a statistic, observation, or statement generally accepted as true.
    • Examples. Examples are a specific illustration of a general statement. To be convincing, an example should be clearly related to the point you are making.

Address opposing arguments: You can’t write a convincing argument if you don’t present the opposite point of view. Try to imagine what your opponent’s view might be, and show how they are inaccurate or weak.

    • For example, writing an argument about gun control will be stronger if you present the opposite views about the 2nd amendment and discredit it.

Re-state your point in your conclusion

    • It is especially important in an argument essay to give your thesis statement again at the end of the essay to remind your reader of the main point/idea you argued throughout.
organizing an argument
Organizing an Argument

1 – point by point

2 - block

Like compare and contrast, you can do a point by point analysis.

A – your point

B – opposition

C – you

B – opposition

D- you

B- Opposition

You could also do a block structure, leaving all the opposition components to the end (see paragraph stucture on page 147)

transitional words for argument
Transitional Words for Argument
  • Accordingly
  • Admittedly
  • Although
  • Because
  • Certainly
  • Consequently
  • Despite
  • Even so
  • Even though
  • Finally
  • First…second…
  • However
  • In addition
  • In conclusion
  • In face
  • In summary
  • Meanwhile
  • Nevertheless
  • Nonetheless
  • Of course
  • On the one hand…on the other hand
  • Since
  • The first reason…another reason…
  • Therefore
  • Thus
  • To be sure
  • Truly

Be careful with this one. Most people only have two hands, so using it more than twice can be illogical.

practice 11 1
Practice 11-1
  • Please do this quietly, then we will discuss the answers as a class.
evaluating arguments what s wrong with these statements
Evaluating Arguments:what’s wrong with these statements?
  • My roommate, who is an engineering major, is taking a course called Structures of Tall Buildings. All engineers have to know how to design tall buildings.
  • If you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to drink. Therefore, the drinking age should be lowered to eighteen.
  • Cable stations that rely on nauseating reality shows, annoying infomercials for useless products, idiotic talk shows, and second-rate movies should have their licenses pulled.
  • Most young people can’t afford to buy a house in Silicon Valley because they spend too much money on new clothes and computer games
just a few more
Just a few more…
  • If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
  • Whenever I wash my car, it rains. I have discovered a way to end all droughts — get all the people to wash their cars.
  • Either learn how to build a Web site or you won’t be able to get a decent job after college.
  • College professors tend to be sarcastic. Three of my five professors this semester make sarcastic remarks.
  • Ninety percent of the students oppose a tuition increase; therefore, the board of trustees should not pass the proposed increase.
  • How many superheroes can you name?
  • Form into two groups
  • Each group choose a superhero from the list.
  • Spend 15 minutes brainstorming about why your superhero is the best.
    • You should come up with a “thesis statement” and supporting evidence.
  • When the time is up, you will debate.
    • After the debate, we will break down the arguments to see whose was stronger.