When you think of an argument, what comes to mind? Two people heatedly yelling at each other? Hurt feelings and anger? For the essay argument, think differently.
Arguments, in writing and debate, are made up of reasoning and examples.
Reasoning is making logical connections between your analysis or deduction and the facts at hand.
Examples offer the reader concrete evidence to prove the logical connections you made in your reasoning.
Start by listing pros and cons. Or for and against.
For example, if you are writing in support of school uniforms, list why others might not want them.
What are the drawbacks of your position? What are the advantages of your position?
List as many of each as you can, then evaluate their strength. If one side has all of the strong points, you don't have an essay argument. You have a foregone conclusion.
♦ Define - does the textbook definition of your argument support your thesis?
♦ Compare - this is similar to pros and cons. Compare your stand to its opposite or its competition.
♦ Custom - Use dearly held customs to help bolster the emotional power of your argument. Or create contrast by directly comparing the issue to old customs now seen as negative, such as arranged marriages or public hangings.
♦ Values - how does your argument appeal to the values of your audience? Use this to engage their emotions.
♦ Probability - what kind of future is likely if you are right? If you are wrong?
♦ History - is there historical information that backs your position? Or that contradicts it?
Put together the largest list of reasons you can. Once you have done so, select the strongest ones on both sides of your argument. Now, find evidence to support both sides.
You will introduce counter-arguments in your essay, to give balance. However, you will do this carefully, and in a way that doesn't weaken your position.
Examples can come from historical data, anecdotes or statistics. Does the information support your argument when taken in context? If so, use it.
If not, don't bend it to fit your purposes. To do so is to mislead your reader. Or to lose them altogether when they find out you lied.
Search for as many examples as you can find to support your arguments. You won't use them all. It just helps to have a lot to pick from.
Next, you will outline your essay.
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