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WRITING ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAYS In an everyday situation, you may try to convince a friend to have lunch or dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant

instead of at a Chinese one. Or you may try to talk your parents into buying a white motorbike instead of a red one. In a college composition or speech class, the instructor may make an assignment in which you must support or oppose the use of nuclear energy to produce electricity. In the business world, if you sell Kidos ice cream, you, of course want your customers to buy your products instead of a competitors. Therefore, you will try to convince your customers that your products are the best on the market. In any situation, if you strongly agree or disagree on an issue, you will want your reader or listener to accept your point of view. This unit on Writing Argumentative Essays gives you a chance to improve your ability to present a point of view with convincing evidence, to challenge an alternate point of view, to focus on the topic and avoid irrelevancies, and to communicate in a style that is easy to follow and cohesive. Also, various exercises given in the practice and unit assignment enable you to use English accurately, appropriately, and effectively. 1. INTRODUCTION TO PERSUASION 1.1. What is persuasion? Persuasion is an activity we practice every day: convincing your parents to allow you to go out with your boy/girlfriend, persuading a shop assistant to lower a price, convincing a friend to go to the cinema. Written persuasion is sometimes more difficult because the reader does not see your facial expression, hear your voice, or experience your presence. For this reason, writing persuasive or argumentative essays demand careful planning, analysis of your audience, and sufficient evidence to prove to your reader that your opinion is valid: that is, your opinion is worthwhile and should be considered. 1.2. Goals of persuasion There are different goals of persuasion: - To present an opinion to the reader - To explain, clarify, and illustrate that opinion - To persuade the reader that your opinion is valid * To move the reader to action; * To convince the reader that the opinion is correct or, for a hostile audience, * To persuade the reader that your opinion is at least worth considering.

Opinions must be supported by evidence: facts, examples, physical description, and/or personal experience. How much proof is necessary depends on your audience: If your readers will be friends and relatives who will accept your opinion because they like you, you will not need much evidence to persuade them. If your readers will be people who agree with your opinion, you will not need much evidence, and you will not need to include any opposing view. Of course, then you will be writing propaganda: one-sided persuasion for people who agree with you. If your audience will contain people who might not agree with your opinion, then the strength and validity of your evidence must be significant. There are different kinds of evidence available to the writers: personal observation experiences of the writer knowledge of the writer interviews with authorities on the topic research materials

2. PLANNING AN ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY In order to plan an argumentative essay, you should follow the ten main steps listed below: 2.1. Decide upon a topic. E.g.: The disadvantages of American food for foreign students. 2.2. Make a list of arguments. Since every argument (controversy) has E.g.: American food is: 1. quick 2. easy to fix 1. tasteless 2. not fresh 3. too starchy 4. too sweet * Note: The side of the argument that is your opinion will often be longer, because that is what you want to emphasize. 2.3. Decide on a tentative thesis. This is done based on the information you have.

two sides, you should be aware of both sides.

E.g.:

For foreign students, American food is a problem: it is tasteless and not very nutritious.

* Note: An argument (controversy) must have two sides; that is, the argument must be able to be answered both yes and no by different members of the audience. To test your topic, try the although-because sentence. If your topic has two sides, this sentence will give the basic plan for your essay. You may use this test sentence as your thesis statement, or you may form another thesis. E.g.: Although American food is quick and easy to prepare, it is not as good as food from my country because it is tasteless, not often fresh, and has too much sugar and starch to be truly nutritious. 2.4. Select a suitable number of strong arguments, the strongest you have on your list. The number of arguments will depend on the essay assignment, the audience and the available information. 2.5. Organize your arguments in order of importance and strength. Consider your audience: is each of your arguments interesting, valuable and valid for that audience? Arranging the arguments from the least to the most important may help build your argument. 2.6. Use supporting material to prove that each of your argument is strong, viable, and correct. Supporting techniques in argumentation are the same as they are in expository essays: facts, examples, physical description, personal experience 2.7. Select methods of development that will present your arguments in the strongest possible way for your reader. Methods of development include definition, comparison-contrast, process, classification, and cause-effect. 2.8. Look at the counterarguments. If you do not show an awareness of the counterarguments, readers may think either that you have not explored the subject thoroughly, or that you are presenting one-sided propaganda, afraid to admit the counterarguments. 2.9. Anticipate opposition You can use one of the following transitions to introduce the counterargument: Some people think / feel that Although many people feel that It is claimed that Opponents of this position argue that

Another argument against X is Critics of this position point out that It may be objected that Several questions come to mind At this point, one may wonder Certain objections must, of course, be considered E.g.: Of course there are some advantages to American food. First, and perhaps most important for student, American food is generally quick and easy to prepare. 2.10. Refute the counterarguments. You must deal with major objections to your position, either by disproving them or by conceding their truth, but showing that they are not as strong or valid as your arguments . Your refutation must do one of the following: correct your opponents facts: the counterargument is untrue / incorrect. deny that the counterargument is related to the topic: irrelevant. compromise: although the counterargument is true, it is not enough to overcome your arguments: insufficient. E.g.: But although American food is fast and easy to fix, sitting down to a dinner that tastes like cardboard and is not much nutritious makes eating not very worthwhile. (technique: insufficient) Listed below are some useful structures for your refutation: While it is true that I believe Despite the fact that millions of people die every year from lung cancer, my people think it is cool to smoke. Although may people think that , I feel that Although it is often said that , in fact the opposite is true. It is undoubtedly true that However It is often argued that However, it is Some people say that They claim However, I feel Supporters of this viewpoint say that However, it is 3. OUTLINE FOR AN ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY Below are three basic outlines for argumentative essays. Notice that in each outline, one or more of the body paragraphs can be optional (that is, you will choose either to use or not to use that paragraph). The number of body paragraphs will be decided by how big your assignment is.

3.1. Outline A I. Introduction (+ thesis statement of intent) II. Background paragraph about topic (optional: depends on assignment, audience, and available material) III. Pro argument #1 (weakest argument that supports your opinion) IV. Pro argument #2 (stronger argument that supports your opinion) V. Pro argument #3 ( strongest argument that supports your opinion) VI. Con (Counter arguments and your refutation) VII. Solution to the problem ( optional: depends on assignment, audience, and available material) VIII. Conclusion (summary + solution, prediction, or recommendation) 3.2. Outline B I. Introduction (+ thesis statement of intent) II. Background paragraph about topic (optional: depends on assignment, audience, and available material) III. Con (Counter arguments and your refutation) IV. Pro argument #1 (weakest argument that supports your opinion) V. Pro argument #2 (stronger argument that supports your opinion) VI. Pro argument #3 ( strongest argument that supports your opinion) VII. Solution to the problem ( optional: depends on assignment, audience, and available material) VIII. Conclusion (summary + solution, prediction, or recommendation) 3.3. Outline C I. Introduction (+ thesis statement of intent) II. Background paragraph about topic (optional: depends on assignment, audience, and available material) III. Counterargument #1 + Pro argument to refute it IV. Counterargument #2 + Pro argument to refute it V. Counterargument #3 + Pro argument to refute it VI. Counterargument #4 + Pro argument to refute it ( optional: depends on assignment, audience, and available material) VII. Solution to the problem ( optional: depends on assignment, audience, and available material) VIII. Conclusion (summary + solution, prediction, or recommendation)

* Note: Your decision on which outline to use for your argumentative essay will depend on the material. For example, if you have parallel and equal numbers of pro and con arguments, you might choose Outline C. If, however, you have only one or two counterarguments, you will choose Outline A or Plan B. In addition, you must consider the audience. If you think that putting the counterarguments first and then building the pro arguments will result in a stronger positive reaction from the audience, then you should choose Outline B. If, instead, you believe that putting your counterarguments near the end of the paper would be more successful, then you should choose Outline A. E.g.: Below are three outlines by student writers for three argumentative essays. Solar Energy: The Energy of the Future Pro source (the Sun) is free plentiful and inexhaustible safe, nonpolluting needs only simple technology Audience: classmates Purpose: to educate and persuade the audience about the coming importance of solar energy Techniques of support: facts, examples, physical description Argumentative thesis: Although solar energy systems are initially costly and presently have relatively low efficiency, we need to develop solar energy because the source is free, inexhaustible, safe, and needs only simple technology. OUTLINE A I. II. III. IV. V. VI. Introduction: explanation of energy problem Background paragraph: about sources of energy Pro #1: resource of the sun is free, plentiful, and inexhaustible Pro#2: safe and nonpolluting Pro#3: simple technology Con: cost and efficiency questions (short- vs. long-term costs and efficiency; initial investment high, but eventually much less expensive; research will increase efficiency) (technique: counterargument is insufficient) VII. Conclusion: brief summary plus the solution to the energy problems (solar energy) and a recommendation to pursue research in solar energy technology. Insufficient Public Transportation Con costly to build a solar energy system low efficiency compared to fossil fuels Study each outline carefully.

Pro Con only 4 short routes with one bus for each nice, helpful bus drivers route runs only 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. buses only come once an hour schedules usually not followed Audience: Director of Public Transportation Purpose: to change and expand the bus system Techniques of support: facts, examples, personal experiences Argumentative thesis: Although this town has a team of nice, devoted bus drivers,, and the bus fare for students is free, this city needs to expand and change its public transportation in order to better serve the citizens. OUTLINE B I. II. III. IV. V. VI. Introduction: statement of the controversy + thesis statement of opinion Con: nice drivers and free fare for university students (true but not related) Pro #1: limited service makes it difficult to go anywhere: 4 short routes and only 1 bus for each route. Pro #2: limited time poses many problem (6a.m. to 6p.m.) Pro #3: limited schedules (buses only come once an hour) and schedules are not always followed. Solution: to establish fares for students and to raise fares for everyone in order to improve service in three areas: more buses, more routes, and better schedules. VII. Conclusion: a summary with emphasis on the solution and a prediction (if improvements are not made). Should We Cut Trees Or Not? timber an Pro indispensable material Con for harmful to the environment causes erosion and landslides need to preserve forests naturally forests destroyed, ugly free fare for university students

modern life forests are renewable problems appropriate management allows total forest land to remain stable harvesting trees is healthy for the forest;

selective cutting and reforestation solves destroys natural resources

actually increases productivity Audience: general public Purpose: to educate explain the controversy and to persuade the audience that harvesting trees can be environmentally sound Techniques of support: facts, examples Argumentative thesis: Although preservationists believe that cutting trees harms the environment and destroys valuable natural resources, conservationists and forest managers believe that selective harvesting is actually good for forests and for people because it increases productivity and provides jobs and timber. OUTLINE C I. II. III. IV. V. VI. Introduction: basic controversy explained + thesis statement of opinion Con #1 + Pro: forests destroyed (not with good management; reforestation makes forests renewable) Con #2 + Pro: causes erosion and landslides (knowledgeable forest management harvests carefully; selective cutting prevents) Con #3 + Pro: destroys natural resources (timber an indispensable material for modern life; forest industry provides jobs) Con #4 + Pro: harmful to the environment (good management actually helpful to forest; increases productivity) Conclusion: compromise with recommendations: there should be limitations and standards for harvesting trees; must have appropriate forest management so that everyone benefits. 4. HOW TO WRITE ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAYS 4.1. The Introductory Paragraph One easy way to write the introduction for an argumentative essay is to write THREE sentences: TWO about the topic and ONE thesis statement. You can write either Situation or Opinion introductions. Theres not much difference between them. 4.1.1. Situation Introduction Write two sentences to describe the two sides of the present situation. The third sentence the Thesis statement will decide what you are going to do in your essay. Sentence 1 Sentence 2 Sentence 3 One side of the present situation The other side of the present situation Thesis: What you are going to do in your essay

E.g.: Sentence 1 Sentence 2 Sentence 3 (Thesis) Who Should Take Care of Our Old People? In my country, most old people live happily with their children. Increasingly, however, many families cannot take care of their parents. This essay will describe some of the problems involved with taking care of old people, and discuss who should be responsible. Does Aid to Poor Countries Work? For the last fifty years, poor countries have been receiving huge sums of money from rich donor countries. Some of this money has improved lives, while much of it has disappeared or made no difference. In this essay, I will discuss some arguments for and against foreign aid. Should Dangerous Sports Be Banned? Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed in sports such as boxing or motor-racing. Because of this, many people are opposed to such sports, and want them to be stopped or controlled. This essay will look at some of the arguments for and against banning dangerous sports. 4.1.2. Opinion Introduction In this kind, you give two opposite opinions in the first two sentences. The third sentence says what you are going to do. E.g.: Does Space Exploration Benefit Mankind? Sentence for Many people are excited about space exploration. Sentence against However, others feel it is a massive waste of money. Sentence 3 This essay will look at some of the arguments for and against space (Thesis) exploration. Does Space Exploration Benefit Mankind? Space, for many people, really is the final frontier. They are excited

Sentence 1 Sentence 2 Sentence 3 (Thesis)

Sentence 1 Sentence 2 Sentence 3 (Thesis)

Sentence for

by the exploration and potential of space. Sentence against However, not everyone agrees that this money is well-spent. Many people feel that we should solve problems here on earth before Sentence 3 beginning our journey to space. This essay will look at some of the arguments for and against space

(Thesis)

exploration. Do Athletes Deserve Their High Salaries? Everyday, we read about new record contracts and salaries earned by sportsmen and women. Some people do not agree with these huge payments. Others believe that our sports heroes deserve every penny. This essay will look at some of the arguments for and against the high

Sentence 1

Sentence 2 Sentence 3

(Thesis) salaries of athletes. 4.2. The Body The body of the argumentative essay should always be divided into paragraphs because of the following reasons: - The white space or the indentation makes your essay easier to read. - Having paragraphs shows that you have probably put related ideas together. The number of the body paragraphs depends on the essay assignment. For the WRITING TASK 2 of the IELTS test, it is advisable to develop TWO or THREE body paragraphs. Use TWO paragraphs (of about seven sentences each) if you are giving both sides of the argument or situation: one paragraph for, and one against (or the opposite). - agree in one paragraph and then disagree in the second paragraph; or - disagree in one paragraph and then agree in the second paragraph. E.g.: Read the body paragraphs of the essays on the following topics. Animal Testing Many medical treatments and procedures have been developed from experiments on animals. Since animals share many features with humans, scientists use animals to test the safety and effectiveness of newly developed drugs before pilot testing on small groups of patients. Medical teams practice new operating techniques such as transplants on animals. Without animal testing, many procedures or new drugs would be extremely unsafe. However, many people are concerned that animals are suffering unnecessarily and cruelly. They do not believe that every new drug needs to be tested on animals, especially with the huge database of knowledge and modern computer models. They also are worried that many animal tests are ineffective, pointing out that any drugs have had to be withdrawn from the market despite extensive testing. They particularly feel that animal testing should not be used for non-essential products such as cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, and cleaning products. Furthermore, some campaigners would like to see certain tests replaced and more humane methods used.

Who Learns Faster: Children or Adults? It is undoubtedly true that children seem to learn very quickly. In just a few years, they can learn how to play a musical instrument, speak one or even two new languages, and deal with many subjects at school. They even have time for sports and hobbies, and become experts in their favorite pastimes. However, how much of this is social pressure and how much is genetic? I am convinced that while children's brains have a natural ability to absorb new information as part of their developmental growth, much of their achievement is because of social pressure. Schools force them to take many subjects. Parents force them to practice new sports or to learn music. Even their playmates force them to become better at computer games or to read Harry Potter novels faster. In summary, children may enjoy learning, but their environment also is a big motivating factor. Adults on the other hand are supposed to be poor learners. However, I disagree with people who say that adults cannot learn quickly. Adults have many skills that compensate for the decline in the ability of the brain to grasp and remember new material. They can organize their learning by setting times for reading or practice. They can build on skills and experiences they know already. Adults usually cannot learn to do ballet or to play the violin, but even despite these physical challenges, their motivation can often be higher than a child's. Unfortunately, society does not encourage many adults to learn. People are busy with families and work, and some adults may feel that further learning is pointless, since they have already achieved many goals at work or in their personal life. College and Success in Life Success in life can be achieved in different ways. Many magazines and television programmes tell us that success means having a lot of money, having a fulfilling career, and being powerful. In contrast, most religious and spiritual organizations claim that success means finding spiritual happiness and being at peace with God and with yourself. Another idea of success focuses on relationships - being surrounded by people who love you and care about you, spending time with family and friends. A university education can help you achieve some types of success, but it makes little or no difference to whether or not you are successful in other areas of life. Undoubtedly, a university education is essential if you want to have a career in a profession such as law, engineering, teaching, or medicine. However, you do not need a university degree to

become a wealthy and powerful movie star, sports star or businessperson. In fact, a university education does not generally enable you to achieve spiritual happiness, or to have successful relationships with family and friends.

Use THREE paragraphs (of about five sentences each) if you are only giving one side. - agreeing in all three paragraphs; or - disagreeing in all three paragraphs. E.g.: Read the body paragraphs of the essays on the following topics. Animal Testing Those against the use of animal testing claim that it is in humane to use animals in experiments. I disagree completely. It would be much more inhumane to test new drugs on children or adults. Even if it were possible, it would also take much longer to see potential effects, because of the length of time we live compared to laboratory animals such as rats or rabbits. Opponents of animal testing also claim that the results are not applicable to humans. This may be partly true. Some drugs have had to be withdrawn, despite testing. However, we simply do not have alternative methods of testing. Computer models are not advanced enough, and testing on plants is much less applicable to humans than tests on animals such as monkeys. Until we have a better system, we must use animal testing. A further point often raised against animal testing is that it is cruel. Some of the tests certainly seem painful, but the great majority of people on this planet eat meat or wear leather without any guilt. Where is their sympathy for animals? Furthermore, animals clearly do not feel the same way as humans, and scientists are careful to minimize stress in the animals, since this would damage their research. Animal Testing Animal testing allows scientists to test and create new drugs. Animals such as monkeys or rabbits have similar physical processes to humans. This allows scientists to test the effects of certain drugs. If a drug produces adverse effects in animals it is probably unfit for human use.

Animal testing is cheap. There is a large supply of animals for medical research. Animals are easily bred, and maintained safely in controlled labs. The costs of testing in humans would be extremely high. Many people argue that animal testing is cruel. In some cases this is true. However it would be much more cruel to test new drugs on people or children, or to let people die because there was not enough information about a drug. Furthermore, legislation in most countries sets standards for animal treatment, and laboratories have guidelines to prevent cruelty. Should Dangerous Sports Be Banned? Some sports are nothing but an excuse for violence. Boxing is a perfect example. The last thing an increasingly violent world needs is more violence on our television. The sight of two men (or even women) bleeding, with faces ripped open, trying to obliterate each other is barbaric. Other sports, such as American football or rugby, are also barelyconcealed violence. Some people argue that the players can choose to participate. However this is not always the case. Many boxers, for example, come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are lured by money or by social or peer pressure and then cannot escape. Even in richer social groups, schools force unwilling students to play aggressive team sports, claiming that playing will improve the students' character (or the school's reputation), but in fact increasing the risk of injury. Even where people can choose, they sometimes need to be protected against themselves. Most people approve of governments' efforts to reduce smoking. In the same way, governments need to act if there are unacceptably high levels of injuries in sports such as football, diving, mountaineering, or motor-racing. 4.3. The Concluding Paragraph The conclusion is the end of the essay. It is the last part of the essay and it is the part that the reader may remember most. It should be clear and avoid confusing the reader. The conclusion is very similar to the introduction. However, you should avoid repeating the same words. A good conclusion will: - rephrase the question;

- summarize the main ideas; - give your opinion, if you havent given it already; - look to the future (say what will happen if the situation continues or changes); - NEVER add new information. E.g.: Read the concluding paragraphs for the topic given below and pay attention Should We Test Products on Animals? I agree that we need to make sure that animals who are used for testing new products have the minimum of suffering. However, I am convinced that animal testing is necessary, and that it will continue to benefit humans in new and wonderful way. Should We Beat Children? In conclusion, physical punishment can be a useful method of discipline. However, it should be the last choice for parents. If we want to build a world with less violence, we must begin at home, and we must teach our children to be responsible. Is Education Important? In conclusion, although there are undoubtedly some problems with increased levels of education, I feel strongly that the country can only progress if all its people are educated to the maximum of their ability. Who Are the Better Parents men or women? I think this is not an either/or question. Both men and women have strengths and skills that are important for childrens psychological growth. We need to ensure that both parents play an important role in the family in order to give children a good start in life. Who Learns More Quickly? Adults or Children? Finally, I feel that we cannot generalize about children or adults being better learners. It depends on the situation and the motivation of the person, and the level of enthusiasm he or she has for learning. Should Dangerous Sports Be Banned? In summary, our society would be healthier if more people took part in sports of all kinds. We should continue to try to prevent accidents and injures. However, we should also ensure that sports are challenging, exciting, and above all, fun. 5. COMMON MISTAKES IN AN ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY (LOGICAL FALLACIES) & FUNDAMENTALS FOR LOGICAL ANALYSIS to how they are written.

5.1. Logical Fallacies 5.1.1. Hasty Generalization: Jumping to conclusions. E.g.: All required university courses are boring. Science fiction books are not worth the time it takes to read them. Solution: Avoid words like every, all and nothing, and qualify statements. 5.1.2. Stereotype: A form of hasty generalization, applied to people. E.g.: Happy families make happy children. All English teachers have green eyes. Women psychologists cant be trusted. Solution: Qualify and specify your statements; prove with valid evidence. 5.1.3. Oversimplification: Severe reduction of choices, sometimes limited to an either/or dilemma. E.g.: Whats wrong with this country? Just one thing. There are 11.5 million women who started but never finished high school. Love it or leave it. (Either love it or leave it.) Solution: Qualify your statements; identify all causes and effects. 5.1.4. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: (After this, therefore because of this.) X happened before Y; therefore X caused Y. E.g.: He got straight As because he smoked a cigarette before every class. The rooster crowed. The sun rose. Therefore the rooster made the sun rise. Solution: Make sure that time is not the only thing linking cause and effect. 5.1.5. Red Herring: A statement that has no direct relevance to the topic. E.g.: Crime, communism, and delinquency are on the rise. Therefore we had better abolish the federal income tax. Solution: Be precise in distinguishing the relevant from the irrelevant. 5.1.6. False Authority: Arguing that a person who is competent in one field will necessarily be competent in another. E.g.: James Johnson is a good congressman. Therefore he would be a good preacher / teacher / president / garbage collector. Since Dr. Kissinger taught at Harvard, his ideas about foreign policy must be right. Solution: Be certain that your sources are authorities in their fields. 5.1.7. Statistics: False use of numbers proves nothing. E.g.: Super-Slim Artificial Yogurt will help you lose weight because it has only calories per ounce.

Solution: Ask yourself specific questions about statistics: Source? Applicability? Thorough study or mere speculation? Recent or dated? Local, national, international data? 5.1.8. Vice and Virtue Words: The use of words that connote bad or good emotional reactions in the reader. E.g.: Do you want your sons or daughters to fall victim to this Communist conspiracy? Or die at the hands of this menace? The first choice of discriminating travelers is Holiday Inn, a prestige hotel for those who expect the best. Solution: Use connotative words, but be sure that you have logical proof to support what you say. 5.2. Fundamentals for Logical Analysis - Always remember never to say always and never (and all and none, and everyone and nobody). Reasonable thinking should be reflected in reasonable language. All-inclusive statements can rarely be proved. Qualify and specify. - Even if you are sure that one thing is the cause of another, it may not be the only cause. Be careful not to oversimplify. - Suspicious words like undoubtedly and obviously are often followed by hasty generalizations and oversimplifications. - Any opinion you have must be qualified and specified, and must be supported completely with facts, examples, or personal experience. 6. SAMPLES OF ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAYS 6.1. Sample 1 THE RIGHT TO DIE A difficult problem that is facing society is the legalization of euthanasia, another word for mercy killing. Euthanasia is a method of causing death painlessly to end suffering. People who are in a coma because of accidents and elderly people who are terminally ill because incurable diseases are being kept alive by artificial means. They do not have chance to recover, but American laws do not allow doctors to end their lives. However, in my opinion, euthanasia should be legalized for several reasons. The first and most important reason to support euthanasia is that these patients have no chance of recovery. They can never lead normal lives and must be kept alive by life-support machines such as respirators to help them breathe and feeding tubes to provide them with nutrition. They are clearly more dead than alive and will never be able to live a normal life. For example, after Samuel, an infant, had swallowed a balloon, he stopped breathing. The balloon was removed,

but the lack of oxygen had cause brain damage and left him an irreversible coma. Samuel was unable to breathe without the aid of a respirator, and there was no hope for his recovery. Another reason to support mercy killing is that medical costs are very high. Today the cost of a hospital room can be as much as $1,450 per day for basic care, which does not include the cost of specialized care or the use of special equipment. The high cost of medical care can cause financial problems for the family. For example, Charles Adkins eighty-two-year-old wife lived in a nursing home in a coma for four years. Since there was no chance for her recovery, Mr. Adkins requested that the medical staff withhold treatment. However, his pleas were ignored. Soon after she died, Mr. Adkins was billed $250,000 for his wifes medical care. The courts ordered him to pay the bill, which must have placed a terrible financial burden on him. The final reason to support the legalization of euthanasia is that the family suffers. The nurses and other hospital staff can give the terminally ill patient only minimum care. Thus, the family must spend time caring for the special needs of their loved one. For instance, Nancy Cruzan was kept alive on life-support machines for eight years. She would never recover from her vegetative state. However, during those years, her loving, caring parents visited her regularly. In the end, because terminally ill patients have no chance to recover and to live normal lives. they should be allowed to die with dignity. Therefore, the family should have the right to ask doctors to turn of the life-support machines or to stop further medical treatment. To prolong life artificially when there is no hope for the future is a tragedy both for the patients and for their loved ones. 6.2. Sample 2 FORMAL EXAMINATIONS In the past three decades, the use of formal examinations has become less frequent in many countries. The educational systems in some societies, however, are still dominated by formal examinations. I believe that, to a certain extent, examinations can give an unfair assessment of a students ability. Even though examination results have been used extensively as a means of assessment in the past, there are times when they do not appear to reflect a students ability accurately. Firstly, examinations can be unfair in several ways. For example, the whole career of a candidate depends upon what he or she does on a certain day and hour of an exam. If the candidate is ill, or if he or she has had some emotional trauma, these factors could have a negative effect on the students exam results. Furthermore, some students do not perform well under pressure and require a longer time to reach useful conclusions. Even though they may have studied diligently,

and know the subject matter thoroughly, their performance does not reflect their ability. For these students, examinations appear to be unfair. Yet, some people believe that examinations make people work hard. They assume that in order to do well, students need to work throughout the course as they know they will have to prove themselves at the end. However, in many ways, exams have the opposite effect. Some candidates merely cram so that they can perform quickly for the demands of the test. Other forms of assessment, such as course work and oral presentations, are a more accurate reflection of how hard students work. In the assessment of their ability, students diligence, initiative, deductive reasoning and organizational skills are considered, which are important indicators of ability but are rarely tested in a formal examination. In conclusion, even though formal examinations have been used in the past, they should no longer be used as the only means of assessment because they can be an unfair indication of the students overall ability. In the long term, other less formal means of assessment such as course work or oral presentations are a more useful indicator of the skills required in adult life and, therefore, a more accurate indication of a students ability. 6.3. Sample 3 ANIMAL TESTING Medical research involving animals has dramatically improved the health of the human race. Without animal testing, the cure for polio would not exist and diabetics would suffer or die from their disease. Despite these benefits, some people believe that animals should be not be used for testing medical techniques and drugs. This essay will outline the advantages of animal testing. Animal testing allows scientists to test and create new drugs. Animals such as monkeys or rabbits have similar physical processes to humans. This allows scientists to test the effects of certain drugs. If a drug produces adverse effects in animals it is probably unfit for human use. Animal testing is cheap. There is a large supply of animals for medical research. Animals are easily bred, and maintained safely in controlled labs. The costs of testing in humans would be extremely high. Many people argue that animal testing is cruel. In some cases this is true. However it would be much more cruel to test new drugs on people or children, or to let people die because there was not enough information about a drug. Furthermore, legislation in most countries sets standards for animal treatment, and laboratories have guidelines to prevent cruelty. Opponents of animal research also say that information from animals does not apply to humans. They point to certain commercial drugs which have been withdrawn because of sideeffects in humans. While it is true that animal systems differ from human systems, there are enough similarities to apply information from animals to humans.

Animal rights campaigners claim that we dont need new tests because we already have vast amounts of information. However, many new deadly infections appear every year and new treatments and drugs are needed to combat these deadly plagues. Animal testing is needed in the world we live in. Our responsibility is to manage the animals in our care and balance their suffering against the good that comes from them. 6.4. Sample 4 EDUCATION: LOSING ITS VALUE Today, it seems to be universally accepted that increased education is a good thing. Thousands of colleges and millions of students spend vast amounts of time and money chasing pieces of paper. But what is the value of these qualifications? This essay will discuss whether education has been devalued. Supporters of education (usually teachers or educators, or those who have an interest in stopping people thinking for themselves) say that increased levels of education will open doors for students. Certificates, diplomas, and degrees are held up as a status symbol, a passport to a private club of money and power. However, the truly powerful are not those who have taken degrees, but people who have stood back and looked at what is really important in life. They have seen opportunity and followed dreams. These people are found in every part of society. Like many brilliant people, Einstein was a weak student at math. Like many successful businessmen, Bill Gates never completed college. Like many inventive and creative people, Edison never went to school. The greatest religious teachers do not have letters after their name, but have looked into their hearts for meaning. Similarly, the worlds political leaders do not have masters degrees or doctorates. These are the people who shaped our century, and they are too busy with real life to spend time in the paper chase. Students in college are being sold an illusion. They are made to believe that selfunderstanding and society approval will come with the acquisition of a piece of paper. Instead of thinking for themselves, and finding their own personality and strengths, they are fitted like square pegs into round holes. The role of education is to prepare masses of people to operate at low levels of ability in a very limited and restricted range of activities. Some of these activities are more challenging than perhaps the assembly lines of the past, but still the ultimate purpose is equally uninteresting. More worryingly, despite the increased level of education, people are still not genuinely expected to think for themselves. In fact, the longer years of schooling make the job of brainwashing even easier. There is still a role for study, research, and education. However, we need to examine our emphasis on education for the sake of a piece of paper, and to learn the real meaning and revolutionary challenge of knowledge.

6.5. Sample 5 SHOULD DANGEROUS SPORTS BE BANNED? YES! Millions of people play sport every day, and, inevitably, some suffer injury or pain. Most players and spectators accept this risk. However, some people would like to see dangerous sports such as boxing banned. This essay will examine some of the reasons for banning certain sports. Some sports are nothing but an excuse for violence. Boxing is a perfect example. The last thing an increasingly violent world needs is more violence on our television. The sight of two men (or even women) bleeding, with faces ripped open, trying to obliterate each other is barbaric. Other sports, such as American football or rugby, are also barely-concealed violence. Some people argue that the players can choose to participate. However this is not always the case. Many boxers, for example, come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are lured by money or by social or peer pressure and then cannot escape. Even in richer social groups, schools force unwilling students to play aggressive team sports, claiming that playing will improve the students' character (or the school's reputation), but in fact increasing the risk of injury. Even where people can choose, they sometimes need to be protected against themselves. Most people approve of governments' efforts to reduce smoking. In the same way, governments need to act if there are unacceptably high levels of injuries in sports such as football, diving, mountaineering, or motor-racing. I accept that all sports involve challenge and risk. However violence and aggression should not be permitted in the name of sport. Governments and individuals must act to limit brutality and violence, so that children and adults can enjoy and benefit from sport. 6.6. Sample 6 SHOULD RICH COUNTRIES HELP POORER ONES? Today, the world is becoming more and more closely linked. Trade has increased and the movement of people between countries is greater than ever before. However, billions of people still live in poverty, and in many places, the gap between rich and poor is widening. This essay will look at the arguments for and against helping poor countries. There are many reasons for helping poor countries. First of all, there are humanitarian reasons. Like individuals who give to charity, many countries feel it is their religious, social, or moral duty to help people in other countries who are suffering from famine, drought, war, or disease. However, many rich countries also donate money for political or diplomatic reasons. They want to maintain a relationship of dependency with the recipient, or simply to influence the government and direction of the country. A further reason why many countries help poorer ones is for economic reasons. The donors may want to control the supply of commodities such as oil,

water, or wheat. Alternatively, the richer country may want to ensure markets for their own products, whether these are planes, computers or shoes. However, aid is not necessarily the best way to help a country. For one thing, billions of dollars of aid often goes missing, into corrupt governments or inefficient administration. A second point is that many foreign aid projects are unsuitable for the target country. Many agencies build huge dams or industrial projects that fail after a few years or that do not involve the local people. Furthermore, much aid returns to the donor. This can be in the form of expensive specialized equipment and experts from the donor country. There are many other ways we can help poor countries. Opening up trade barriers, so that poor countries can sell their goods is one way. Another is to remove subsidies so that imported goods from poorer countries can compete fairly. A third method is to forgive debts. Many poor countries have huge interest repayments on old loans. The needs of the poorer countries may seem obvious. However, although our humanity makes us want to help eliminate poverty and suffering, we must examine the real needs of poor countries and implement solutions that will benefit both them and us. 6.7. Sample 7 WHO LEARNS FASTER CHILDREN OR ADULTS? Small children seem to learn very quickly, while adults sometimes appear to lose the ability to pick up new subject such as languages, music, games, or computer programs. In this essay, I will discuss whether children or adults make the best learners. It is undoubtedly true that children seem to learn very quickly. In just a few years, they can learn how to play a musical instrument, speak one or even two new languages, and deal with many subjects at school. They even have time for sports and hobbies, and become experts in their favorite pastimes. However, how much of this is social pressure and how much is genetic? I am convinced that while children's brains have a natural ability to absorb new information as part of their developmental growth, much of their achievement is because of social pressure. Schools force them to take many subjects. Parents force them to practice new sports or to learn music. Even their playmates force them to become better at computer games or to read Harry Potter novels faster. In summary, children may enjoy learning, but their environment also is a big motivating factor. Adults on the other hand are supposed to be poor learners. However, I disagree with people who say that adults cannot learn quickly. Adults have many skills that compensate for the decline in the ability of the brain to grasp and remember new material. They can organize their learning by setting times for reading or practice. They can build on skills and experiences they know already. Adults usually cannot learn to do ballet or to play the violin, but even despite these physical challenges, their motivation can often be higher than a child's. Unfortunately, society does not

encourage many adults to learn. People are busy with families and work, and some adults may feel that further learning is pointless, since they have already achieved many goals at work or in their personal life. In conclusion, I feel that we cannot generalize about children or adults being better learners. It depends on the situation and the motivation of the person, and the level of enthusiasm he or she has for learning. 6.8. Sample 8 SHOULD SMOKING BE BANNED? It has become fashionable in the world today to condemn smoking. However, although I feel that smoking can be harmful, I do not think it should be banned completely. Let me deal first with the positive side of smoking. First, smoking undoubtedly helps many people to relax. For some, it even improves concentration. Many people like to smoke before exams or when they are relaxing with friends. A further point is that governments throughout the world make huge profits from levying taxes on cigarettes. This provides funds which are used for building schools, hospitals and other public amenities. The tobacco industry also employs tens of thousands of people throughout the world, particularly in poorer countries like Zimbabwe or India. Without cigarettes, these people would have no jobs. I would also argue that people should have the right to choose whether they smoke or not. People should not smoke in a room where there are non-smokers but surely they should be free to smoke elsewhere. The arguments against smoking are well known. Smoking has been shown to be dangerous to health. Heart disease, bronchitis and lung cancer have all been linked. A further issue is that smoking costs governments millions of pounds because of the large number of people who need treatment in hospitals for smoking related problems. There is also concern today about passive smoking. Recent research has shown that nonsmokers can suffer health problems if they spend long periods of time among people who do smoke. In general, I think the world would be a better place without cigarettes. However, the decision as to whether to smoke or not should be for each individual to make. 6.9. Sample 9 COLLEGE AND SUCCESS IN LIFE It is very difficult to answer the claim that a person needs a university education to be successful in life because success in life means different things to different people. This essay starts

by defining three different ideas of success. Following this, it looks at which types of success are dependent on a university education. Success in life can be achieved in different ways. Many magazines and television programmes tell us that success means having a lot of money, having a fulfilling career, and being powerful. In contrast, most religious and spiritual organizations claim that success means finding spiritual happiness and being at peace with God and with yourself. Another idea of success focuses on relationships - being surrounded by people who love you and care about you, spending time with family and friends. A university education can help you achieve some types of success, but it makes little or no difference to whether or not you are successful in other areas of life. Undoubtedly, a university education is essential if you want to have a career in a profession such as law, engineering, teaching, or medicine. However, you do not need a university degree to become a wealthy and powerful movie star, sports star or businessperson. In fact, a university education does not generally enable you to achieve spiritual happiness, or to have successful relationships with family and friends. In conclusion, there are many different types of success. A university education may help you to achieve professional success in some careers. However, it will not help you to achieve success in other areas of your life such as your spiritual life or your relationships. 6.10. Sample 10 RETIREMENT AGE When should people be made to retire? 55? 65? Should there be a compulsory age limit? Many old people work well into their 70s and 80s, running families, countries or corporations. Other people, however, despite being fit and highly talented, are forced to retire in their or even earlier because of company or national regulations. This essay will examine whether people should be allowed to continue working for as long as they want or whether they should be encouraged to retire at a particular stage. There are several arguments for allowing older people to continue working as long as they are able. First of all, older employees have an immense amount of knowledge and experience which can be lost to a business or organization if they are made to retire. A second point is that older employees are often extremely loyal employees and are more willing to implement company policies than younger less committed staff. However, a more important point is regarding the attitudes in society to old people. To force someone to resign or retire at 60 or 65 indicates that the society does not value the input of these people and that effectively their useful life is over. Allowing older people to work indefinitely however is not always a good policy. Age alone is no guarantee of ability. Many younger employees have more experience or skills than older staff,

who may have been stuck in one area or unit for most of their working lives. Having compulsory retirement allows new ideas in an organization. In addition, without age limits, however arbitrary, many people would continue to work purely because they did not have any other plans or roles. A third point of view is that older people should be rewarded by society for their lifes labor by being given generous pensions and the freedom to enjoy their leisure. With many young people unemployed or frustrated in low-level positions, there are often calls to compulsorily retire older workers. However, this can affect the older individuals freedom and right - to work and can deprive society of valuable experience and insights. I feel that giving workers more flexibility and choice over their retirement age will benefit society and the individual. 6.11. Sample 11 DRUG ABUSE: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS Drug abuse is rife in many countries. Billions of dollars are spent internationally preventing drug use, treating addicts, and fighting drug-related crime. Although drugs threaten many societies, their effects can also be combated successfully. This essay looks at some of the effects of drug use on society, and suggests some solutions to the problem. Drug abuse causes multiple problems for countries and communities. The medical and psychological effects are very obvious. Addicts cannot function as normal members of society. They neglect or abuse their families, and eventually require expensive treatment or hospitalization. The second effect is on crime. Huge police resources are needed to fight smuggling and dealing. Criminal gangs and mafia underworlds develop with the money from drugs. However, the menace of drugs can be fought. Education is the first battle. Children need to be told at home and in school about drugs. People need to be aware of the effects so that they can make avoid this problem. A second approach is to increase police manpower and powers to stop dealers and to enforce the law. However the main target should be the user. Families and counselors need to talk to children and people at risk. Parents need to look at their children and help them to Jobs are needed to give people a role in society. In conclusion, although the problem of drugs may seem impossible to eliminate, there are concrete steps that can be taken to weaken the hold of drugs on society. The danger from drugs is too great to ignore. 6.12. Sample 12 TELECOMMUTING: WILL IT CHANGE THE WORLD? Telecommuting will have major effects in the worlds of work and family life. However, its biggest effect will be in the area of individual freedom, responsibility, and time management. Work and workplaces will alter dramatically. Offices may become smaller, as fewer desks are needed. There will be greater need for high-bandwidth connections to link the office and the

home, and even homes to other homes, as other employees and supervisors also begin working at home. Hours spent commuting, traffic jams, and fights for parking should diminish, as workers make fewer journeys or work staggered hours. Family life will also change. Workers, both husbands and wives, can arrange their work around family commitments such as taking children to school, cooking, leisure activities, etc. However, households will also have to set aside areas for work - particularly if both spouses are telecommuting. However, although the ideas of more time at home and less time traveling are attractive, there are some drawbacks to telecommuting. People may feel unable to escape their work, and may even work longer or more unsocial hours. The quality of work may suffer because of the reduced face-to-face interaction with other employees. There may be delays if other workers are not immediately available. Telecommuters may feel isolated or unmotivated, or insecure about decisions. A major change will be in the way people think about work as a place or an institution. Instead, they will focus on the task or product. Workers may feel less loyal to a company and more inclined to change jobs or work part-time or on contract. In conclusion, the effects are difficult to predict because they depend on the extent to which telecommuting becomes popular. However, telecommuting could be the start of a major societal shift, possibly as big as the Industrial Revolution which created our present ideas of work.