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“Big City/Small Town” Persuasive Essay Debrief

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1 “Big City/Small Town” Persuasive Essay Debrief
English II 2015

2 “Give Me Death!” Have your Patrick Henry packet ready on your desk when the tardy bell rings.

3 Don’t: Weak Hooks If you cannot think of a clever, interesting, or thought-provoking way to open your argument, skip the hook and begin with your thesis statement. Do not do this: “Have you ever wondered if it’s better to live in a big city or small town?” “The benefits of living in a large city outweigh the benefits of living a small town.” “Big cities versus small towns has always been a controversial topic.” “Some people think that it would be better to live in a large city while others would prefer to live in a small town.”

4 Do: Strong Hooks “Who wants to wake to the sound of car horns, jackhammers, and all the sounds of a bustling city that never truly sleeps?” “Have you ever gone on a road trip and you're driving through a noisy, busy city and then, BAM! You reach a quiet landscape surrounded by quaint houses, and it seems so peaceful?” “Let’s face it. What’s life without a little excitement? Boring. That’s why living in a big city is great.” “Do you hear that? That’s the sound of magnificent opportunities awaiting your arrival in the big city.” “The concrete jungle where dreams are made of; there’s nothing you can’t do. Living in a big city is more desirable than living in a small town due to the endless opportunities and the exciting vibe.”

5 Don’t: Neutral Thesis “City life is great, but then again, the charm of a small town is also appealing. “Some people prefer a large city while others are drawn to a small town. “Big cities and small towns both have their pros and cons.” “People like to live in small towns and big cities; it just depends on the person’s life style; living in either one has its own perks.”

6 Do: Opinionated Thesis
“Living in a small town is better than living in a big city because it is much more calm and quiet, and it is an ideal place to raise a family.” “It is far better to live in small town where people can take a break to smell the roses and make connections with the people around them.” “It’s better to live in a big city because there is more diversity and a person can enjoy endless experiences without having to go far from home.” “Large cities thrive with opportunities that vary from jobs to fun events to enjoy on the weekend, making the city a wiser place to live.”

7 Don’t: Make BIG Sweeping Claims
Note to all – “Small town” does not necessarily mean rural, “in the middle of nowhereville,” living. “People who live in small towns aren’t locked in their houses they are always outside enjoying nature.” “Due to living in the city, there are less homeless people.” “In big cities people only care about where they're going and give no thought to others they deem beneath them.”

8 Do: Make Reasonable Claims
“Diversity. It’s good. A big city comes with a big population, but that’s not always a bad thing. Different cultures and people bring great exposure to kids. . .” “More job opportunities is the reason why hundreds of families pick up and move from small, secluded suburbs and head to large urban cities.”

9 Do: Make a Brief Concession
If you choose to make a concession, it must be brief, and then get right into your counter-argument. “Of course, living in a big city can offer a chance to meet new people, but when those people turn into thousands, and even millions, life can get pretty overwhelming. Living in a small town eliminates the claustrophobic feeling of not being able to breathe among a mass of people.”

10 Some essays read too neutral, too informational, too expository.
Don’t: Neutral Tone Some essays read too neutral, too informational, too expository.

11 Do have voice and personality, and, most importantly, TONE!
Do: Persuasive Tone Do have voice and personality, and, most importantly, TONE!

12 Don’t: Word Choice Every word matters. When you don’t consider your word choice, you end up using words like these: Things Stuff A lot Kinda, kind of, sort of Gonna Always Never Many Anything Very Everything Everyone You, Your, You’re

13 Miscellaneous Dos Plan and prewrite your essay!
Indent 1” every time you begin a new paragraph. Have a concession if you can counter-argue it. Develop an appropriate TONE using carefully chosen words and phrases. Transition from idea to idea by using transition words and phrases. Explain your reasons and evidence with convincing commentary. YOU already agree with YOU. Now it’s your job to make others agree with you. Carefully plan your final statement, just as you did your hook. Close with something compelling, convincing, clever, captivating 

14 Miscellaneous Don’ts Don’t begin writing on the 26 line page until you PLAN and OUTLINE your essay. Don’t be expository. Don’t neglect structure – paragraphs.  Don’t make lists. Pick your strongest reasons and develop them with specific examples. Don’t have fewer than 200 words. Your target is 225 to 250.

15 Do not leave more than 2 lines blank.
Miscellaneous Don’ts You only have 26 lines. To create a truly convincing argument, you need to use them – all of them. Do not leave more than 2 lines blank.

16 Don’t leave all of this space blank.
Miscellaneous Don’ts Write all the way to the edges, except for the four times you indent. Don’t leave all of this space blank.

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