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ARGUMENTATION

A WRITING THAT PERSUADES


Understand What Argument Is
• Argument is writing that takes a position on
an issue and gives supporting evidence to
persuade someone else to accept, or at least
consider, the position. Argument is also used
to convince someone to take (or not take) an
action.
Continuation
• Argument helps you persuade to see things
your way, or at least to understand your
position. Argumentation is a kind of popular
kind of essay because it forces students to
think on their own: They have to take a stand
on an issue, support their stand with solid
reasons, and support their reasons with solid
evidence.
Four Basics of Good Argument

• It takes a strong and definite position.


• It gives good reasons and supporting evidence
to defend the position.
• It considers opposing views.
• It has enthusiasm and energy from start to
finish.
Main Point in Argument

• Your main point in argument is the position


you take on the issue (or topic) about which
you are writing. When you are free to choose
an issue, choose something that matters to
you.
• In argument, the thesis statement or topic
sentence usually includes the issue/topic and
your position about it.
THESIS STATEMENT
Example:

• ISSUE/TOPIC POSITION

Day-care facilities should be provided at a low


cost to employees
The Introductory Paragraph

• The introductory paragraph contains an


explanation of the issue, which is a necessary
part of an argumentative essay. However, you
may also begin an argumentative essay with a
more engaging introduction – with surprising
statistics, for example, or with a dramatic story.
• If you write an attention-getting introduction,
you may need to explain the issue in a second
introductory paragraph and write your thesis
statement at the end of this paragraph.

Support in Argument

• A strong position must be supported with


convincing reasons and evidence. Remember
that you want to persuade readers that your
position is the right one. Use strong reasons
and supporting evidence that will be
convincing to your audience, consider
opposing views, and end on a strong note.
Reasons and Evidence

• The primary support for your position is the reasons you give. Your
reasons need to be supported by evidence, such as facts, examples,
and expert opinions.

• FACTS: Statements or observations that can be proven. Statistics -


real numbers from actual studies – can be persuasive factual
evidence.
• EXAMPLES: Specific information or experiences that support your
position.
• EXPERT OPINIONS: The opinion of someone who is considered an
expert in the area or topic you are exploring in your paper. The
person must be known for his or her expertise in your topic. For
example, the opinion of the head of the FBI about the benefits of a
low-fat diet is not strong evidence. The FBI director is not an expert
in the field of nutrition.
Examples
• POSITION: It pays to stay in college.
• REASON: College graduates generally earn
more than people without degrees.
• EVIDENCE/FACT: Community-college
graduates earn 58 percent more than high
school graduates and 320 percent more than
high school dropouts.
Examples
• POSITION: Genetically modified foods should be
banned until they have been thoroughly tested
for safety.
• REASON: Currently, nobody is certain about the
effects of such foods on humans and animals.
• EVIDENCE/EXAMPLE: The government and the
biotech industry have not produced convincing
evidence that such foods are as safe or nutritious
as foods that have not been genetically modified.
Examples
• POSITION: The drug Ritalin is overprescribed
for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD) in children.
• REASON: It is too often considered as a
“wonder drug.”
• EVIDENCE/EXPERT OPINION: Dr. Peter Jensen,
a pediatric specialist, warns, “I fear that ADHD
is suffering from the ‘disease of the month’
syndrome, and Ritalin is its ‘cure.’”
NOTE!
• As you choose reasons and evidence to
support your position, consider what your
audience is likely to think about your view of
the issue. Are they likely to agree with your,
to be uncommitted, or to be hostile? Think
about what kinds of reasons and evidence
would be most convincing to a typical
member of your audience.
NOTE!
• To find good reasons, you may want to consult
outside sources, either at the library or on the
Internet. However, you have to process
properly the borrowed information or data
from outside sources. You summarize,
paraphrase, or directly quote the information
(refer to the succeeding part of this handout
for the discussion of each method).

The Conclusion

• Your conclusion is your last opportunity to


convince readers of your position. Make it
memorable and dramatic. Remind your
readers of the issue, your position, and the
rightness of your position.
• Before writing your conclusion, build up
your enthusiasm again. Then, reread what
you have written. As soon as you finish
reading, write a forceful ending.
Organization in Argument

Most arguments are organized by order of


importance, starting with the least important
evidence, and saving the most convincing
reason and evidence for last.
You can use a block pattern or point-by-point
pattern. The outlines in the following chart
show these two possible patterns.
Transition s

Use transitions to move your readers smoothly


from one supporting argument to another.
Common Argument Transitions


• Above all more important
• Also Most important
• Best of all One fact/another fact
• Especially One reason/another
reason
• For example One thins/another
thing
• In addition Remember
• In fact The first (second, third) point
• In particular Worst of all
• In the first (second, third) place
Ways to Use Information from Outside
Sources
• SUMMARY
• One way to use borrowed information is to
summarize it. A summary is the condensed or
shortened version retaining only the most
essential or significant facts of an original text.

In summary, only the main idea and the most


important supporting details are included and
these ideas are put into the writer’s own words.

SUMMARY
• One can write a good summary if he/she has
sufficiently understood the original text. Thus,
it is important to read and understand the text
first before writing the summary.
The following rules will guide you in
writing effective summaries:
• The summary:
• is usually one-fourth to one-third the length of the
original.
• begins with the main idea and proceeds to cover the
major supporting points in the same sequence as the
original.
• changes the wording without changing the idea.
• does not evaluate the content or give an opinion in any
way.
• does not add ideas.
• does not include any personal comments.
Moreover, there are three keys to
writing a good summary:
• Use your own words and your own sentence
structure.
• Remember that a summary is much shorter
than the original. Include only the main point
and main supporting points, leaving out most
specific details.
• Do not change the meaning of the original.
Original Passage

Main Idea
Language is the main means of communication
between people. But so many different languages have
developed that language has often been a barrier
rather than an aid to understanding among people.
For many years, people have dreamed of setting up
and international universal language which all people
could speak and understand. The arguments in favor
of a universal language are simple and obvious. If all
people spoke the same tongue, cultural and economic
ties might be much closer, and good will might increase
between countries.
SUMMARY

People communicate through language; however,


having different languages creates
communication barriers. A universal language
could bring countries together culturally and
economically as well as increase good feelings
among them (Kispert, n.d.)
Parenthetical citation
(acknowledging the source of the information)
PARAPHRASE

• Paraphrasing is another method to use or


borrow information from outside sources.
When you paraphrase, you rewrite or restate
information from an outside source without
changing the meaning. Because you include
in your rewriting all or nearly all of the content
of the original passage, a paraphrase is almost
as long as the original. (A summary, by
contrast, is much shorter than the original.)
There are a number of strategies you
can use when you are paraphrasing:
• Change the sentence structure and the order of major ideas, while
maintaining the logical connections among them. For example, if
the author you are paraphrasing presents a generalization and
backs it up with an example, try using the example as lead-in to the
generalization. For an individual sentence, try to relocate a phrase
from the beginning of the sentence to position near the end, or vice
versa.
• Substitute words in the original with synonyms, making sure the
language in your paraphrase is appropriate for your audience.
• Combine or divide sentences as necessary.
• Weave the paraphrase into your essay.
• Document the paraphrase - give formal credit to the original
writer(s).
Original Passage

Language is the main means of communication


between people. But so many different
languages have developed that language has
often been a barrier rather than an aid to
understanding among people. For many years,
people have dreamed of setting up and
international universal language which all people
could speak and understand. The arguments in
favor of a universal language are simple and
obvious. If all people spoke the same tongue,
cultural and economic ties might be much closer,
and good will might increase between countries.
Paraphrase

Humans communicate through language.


Because there are so many different languages,
however, people around the world have a difficult
time understanding one another. Some people
have wished for a universal international
language that speakers all over the world could
understand. Their reasons are straightforward
and clear. A universal language would build
cultural and economic bonds. It would also
create better feeling among countries (Kispert,
n.d.)