English 9 Honors Constructing an Argument
Approaching the Prompt • Read the quote/prompt first. • Decide what it is asking you to do—circle the verbs. • Common prompt words: • Defend • Refute • Qualify
Creating your Argument • Spend the first 5 minutes reading/understanding the prompt. • Decide what stance you will take and create your argument. • Brainstorm for possible evidence to support your stance. • Construct a claimthat includes your stance (topic) and elements of support (reasons why you agree or disagree).
IMPORTANT! • The exact wording of the prompt/quote should rarely make its way into your claim. • Why? • The best arguments are a reflection of your individual thoughts. • This should be your own unique idea which is drawn from the quote. • GOOD: The truth is, innocence is fragile: it can be taken, can be given away, and most importantly it can be lost as proven through both literary examples and personal experience. • BAD: I agree with Tiffany Madison and will use examples from “Marigolds” and personal experience to show my argument.
The Evidence • The most important part of creating an argument is the support material. • You MUST have at least 2 reasons to support/prove that your argument is a valid one. • No evidence = weak argument • Strong arguments rely on ethos, pathos, logos • Evidence should be drawn from literature, history, observations or personal experience
Acknowledgement of Counter-Arguments • Once you have presented the evidence to support your stance on the issue, it is important to acknowledge the “other side.” • Acknowledge and consider that others may disagree with your position, but strongly discuss why you believe your position is valid. • This will come in at the end.
Wrapping It Up • Restate your claim. • Discuss how your opinion connects to the real-world. • This usually compels people to think or act.
Style/Content Reminders • No 1st/2nd person (with the exception of personal experience) • Sophisticated structure is expected. • Avoid overuse of the verb “to be”—try to use more vivid action verbs • Your essays must not contain too much plot summary; you should only be focused on using information from a story to support your claim (evidence)
Scoring Guidelines • 8-9: Exceptional, mature prose, solid content • 6-7: Adequate, prose is good, content is valid • 5: Average, limited evidence or explanation • 3-4: Inadequate, prose is weak, misunderstood prompt • 1-2: Poor, little control of grammar, does not respons to prompt at all