English 104:  Argumentative Writing
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English 104: Argumentative Writing

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Presentation delivered to the English 104 class at Victor Valley College.

Presentation delivered to the English 104 class at Victor Valley College.

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English 104:  Argumentative Writing English 104: Argumentative Writing Presentation Transcript

  • Argumentative Writing
  • What is Argumentative Writing?  Written to persuade the reader to adopt your position, beliefs, or behavior  Purpose is to convince the reader that your opinion is correct  Author assumes the reader already has prior knowledge of the topic  Therefore, do not devote large sections of the essay to simply summarizing the topic, texts, or material.
  • Writing an Argumentative Essay  Choose a topic that is: 1. Narrow and focused 2. Contains an argument 3. Can be adequately supported with evidence (outside sources, statistics, studies, news articles, etc.)
  • Narrow and Focused  Make sure your thesis statement isn’t too broad and unfocused.  Zero in on a particular aspect of the media or text to discuss in-depth  Better to focus on one aspect in-depth than to try to cover a wide range of issues superficially  Example: “Language is important to humanity.” ○ Too general. “Written communication was essential in allowing humans to evolve into a technologically advanced species.” ○ Focused on a particular aspect of language and how it has impacted human life.
  • Contains an Argument  Make sure your thesis statement takes a clear stand  Avoid indecisiveness  Example: “We should learn Chinese or English.” ○ Vague and indecisive. What is the position? Which side is supported? “Although English is currently the international language, Chinese is actually a more useful language to learn.” ○ A clear position is stated (in favor of learning Chinese).
  • Contains an Argument  Make sure your thesis statement takes a clear stand  Avoid expository writing  Example: “Steven Pinker says that language is a way of understanding human nature.”  Merely expository/factual writing that gives the reader information about Pinker’s speech  Facts cannot be arguments “Contrary to Pinker’s assertions, language is less a way of understanding human nature, and more a way of shaping human nature.”  Takes a clear position of disagreement with Pinker’s claim
  • Evidence  Make sure your thesis statement can be adequately supported with evidence (outside sources, statistics, studies, news articles, etc.)  Avoid stating personal feelings  Example: “I feel that Chinese is easier for me to learn than English.” ○ Personal feelings cannot be supported with empirical evidence “Although English is currently the international language, Chinese is actually a more useful language to learn.” ○ Can be substantiated using news and data, such as the high population of Chinese speakers and the rise of China as a superpower
  • Court Room  Argue like a lawyer presenting a case in a court room  A lawyer would: ○ Take a clear position  Ex. Either guilty or not guilty ○ Present concrete evidence  Ex. DNA samples, studies, witnesses, interviews, etc.  A lawyer would NOT: ○ Make an indecisive claim  “Maybe he’s guilty, maybe he’s not… I’m not sure… There’s no point in arguing…” ○ Build a case entirely on hypothetical scenarios or use examples from his/her personal life as evidence  “The dog must not have bitten the plaintiff, because when I was a child, I had a dog who was so friendly…”
  • Writing an Argumentative Essay  Overall steps 1. Choose a topic 2. Consider both sides of the topic and take a position 3. Find evidence to support your position 4. Plan your essay ○ Consider making an outline to gain a clear picture of how you will structure your essay and how you will incorporate the evidence 5. Write your essay
  • Template  Introduction  Thesis statement (clearly stated in 1-3 sentences at the end of the introductory paragraph)  Body  My thesis statement is correct because of [cited quotation/paraphrase from Example #1]. Example #1 supports my thesis statement in the following ways: x, y, z…  My thesis statement is correct because of [cited quotation/paraphrase from Example #2]. Example #2 supports my thesis statement in the following ways: x, y, z…  Counterarguments: Some people do not agree with my thesis statement. For example, [opponent] claims that [cited quotation/paraphrase from opponent]. However, [cited quotation/paraphrase from opponent] is incorrect in the following ways: x, y, z…  Conclusion  Re-establishes the main points of your argument  Brings essay to a feeling of closure