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Developing and Argumentative or Persuasive Essay Senior English Ms. Hooper.

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1 Developing and Argumentative or Persuasive Essay Senior English Ms. Hooper

2 Getting Started Choose something you have some knowledge of from your own experience or observations, from class discussions, or from reading, although you will need to do further research. The topic should be limited to something you can treat thoroughly in the space and time available to you. The topic should be something that you feel strongly about so that you can make a convincing case; however, you must be able to maintain some objectivity to avoid bias and close-mindedness.

3 Things to consider: What is the purpose of your argument? Do you want the audience to agree with you? Are you simply trying to when it over? Are expecting audience members to take an action? Write a congressman? Boycott a product? Contribute funds? Volunteer time? Etc. Who is your audience? This will affect your diction, sentence structure, formality, etc. For this class, you will be writing a formal argument. Assume your audience is a group of intelligent professionals.

4 After you’ve choses a subject you need to find evidence: Facts – verifiable through more than one source. Wikipedia, blogs, personal webpages, chat rooms, social media WILL NOT be acceptable. Statistics – like facts these must be verifiable Examples Expert testimony – remember to consider credentials/credibility of the expert Personal experience – anecdotes, personal testimony

5 Forming your thesis/stating your claim Clear and specific preliminary thesis statement can help clarify your ideas Examples of the ugly, the bad, and the good: – VAGUE: Computer instruction is important. – NONDEBATABLE: Our school’s investment in computer instruction is less than the average investment in the nation’s public schools. – PRECISE: Money designated for new athletic facilities should be diverted to constructing computer facilities and hiring first-rate computer staff.

6 Another example: VAGUE: Cloning research is promising. NONDEBATABLE: Scientists have been experimenting with cloning procedures for many years. PRECISE: Those who oppose cloning research should consider its potentially valuable medical applications.

7 Organizing Introduction Should draw readers in Frame your argument Include thesis statement (if using deduction) May include an anecdote, interested catching quote or startling statistic Body Present evidence to support your claim Acknowledge and refute counter-claims Conclusion May summarize main point Included thesis statement (if using induction) Use an effective quotation An appropriate emotional appeal A call to action

8 Drafting Outline – will help organize your notes (you will be required to use note cards and complete an outline) Remember topic sentences, transitions Define specialized terms or those you use in a special sense You may choose to compare/contrast or present a cause and effect format Find what works for you and your subject

9 Revising & Editing Ask the following: 1.Is the thesis debatable, precise and clear? 2.Is the argument unified (does it hold together)? 3.Is the structure of the argument clear and compelling? 4.Is the evidence specific, representative and adequate? 5.Are any logical fallacies present?

10 Next: Let’s talk TONE Audiences are most likely to be persuaded by an argument that is Reasonable Trustworthy Sincere To do this the argument needs Rational appeal Strong evidence Acknowledgement of opposing views but TONE, the attitude implied by the word choice and sentence structure is just as important.

11 State opinions and facts calmly OVEREXCITED One clueless administrator was quoted in the newspaper as saying she thought many students who claim learning disabilities are “faking” their difficulties to obtain special treatment! Has she never heard of dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and other well-established disabilities? CALM Particularly worrisome was one administrator’s statement, quoted in the newspaper, that many students who claim learning disabilities may be “faking” their difficulties to obtain special treatment.

12 Replace arrogance with deference ARROGANT I happen to know that many parents would rather relax or just bury their heads in the sand than get involved in a serious, worthy campaign against the district’s unjust learning- disabled policies. DEFERENTIAL Time pressures and lack of information about the issues may be what prevent parents from joining the campaign against the district’s unjust learning-disabled policies.

13 Replace sarcasm with plain speaking* SARCASTIC Of course, the administration knows even without meeting students what is best for every one of them. PLAIN SPEAKING The administration should agree to meet with each learning-disabled student to understand his or her needs.

14 Convey Reasonableness instead of Hostility HOSTILE The administration coerced some parents into dropping their lawsuits. [coerced implies the use of threats or violence] REASONABLE The administration convinced some parents to drop their lawsuits. [convinced implies the use of reason]

15 Works Cited Cooley, Thomas. Back to the Lake: A Reader for Writers. New York: W. W. Norton, Repetto, Ellen Kuhl and Jane E. Aaron. Common Threads: Core Readings by Method and Theme. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014.


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