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Argumentative Essay Structure

Provides detail on the theory of the structure to the argumentative essay (introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, conclusion) for CEGEP-level essays.
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Jamie Bridge

on 2 November 2016

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Transcript of Argumentative Essay Structure

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The very first sentence of your argumentative essay is called the "lead-in sentence." Its purpose is to grab your reader's attention. Some people call this "the grabber" or "the hook." There are a variety of methods of grabbing someone's attention. For example, you can ask a surprising question, state an amazing fact, provide a quote from a well-known and respected person, give an interesting anecdote, etc.
This is a bad example because it's not engaging. This isn't really a question that people care enough about.
"Have you ever wondered how clean your water is?"


"Teenagers have trouble waking up in the morning"
"Last year there were over 500 CEGEP students either injured or killed due to alcohol-related vehicle accidents."

"Did you know that there is something in your living room that is harming your family?"

Nelson Mandela once stated that, "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."
This is a bad example because it's boring. Everyone already knows this information.
This is a potentially good example because it impacts the reader directly (you, a CEGEP student) and because it's dealing with a topic that grabs people's attention: death.
This is a potentially good example because it impacts the reader directly: there are many people who sit up and take notice when their family's welfare is at stake.
This is a potentially good example because the person being quoted is both well-known and respected.
The sentence(s) situated between the lead-in sentence and the thesis statement are called the "warm-up sentences." Their purpose is to prepare to the reader to receive the thesis statement. The information contained in these sentences should be at least loosely related to the thesis statement. These sentences gradually take the reader from a broad, generalization of the subject to a point that is very close to the thesis statement.
This is a bad example because the author is trying to engage the reader in conversation. Anglophones do not appreciate this in an argumentative essay. Do not ask your reader questions. Instead, make statements, provide information, provide facts.
"How do you feel about technology?"



"This paper will argue that parents should not use corporal punishment on their children."
"Technology has developed immensely in recent history. For example, the television has moved from a black and white box to something people can watch in three dimensions."

"The Cégep system (Collège d'Enseignement Général Et Professionnel) is unique to the Province of Québec. It is an institution for higher learning that students may attend straight after high school. This school paves the way towards admission in a university or to technical trades employment."
This is a bad example because this sentence sounds more like the thesis statement than a warm-up sentence: remember, the warm-up sentences do not give away what your argument will be.
Assuming that this essay's thesis statement will be about television, this is a potentially good example because it provides some background information on the topic. As it turns out, the thesis statement for this essay was, in fact, about television: "For various reasons, television is a negative influence on people."
Assuming that this essay's thesis statement will somehow be related to education, government, or to Cégeps, this is a potentially good example because explains to readers (presumably people that live outside of Quebec) what Cégeps are.
The very last sentence of your introductory paragraph (sometimes it can be two sentences) is called the "thesis statement". This sentence clearly communicates to the reader what the topic of your argumentative essay will be about and which on which side of the argument you will be positioning yourself. There are three rules, or tests, that your thesis statement should adhere to:
This is a bad example because it violates the first test: this thesis statement is an undisputable fact. People cannot argue against this.
"Without the sun, there could be no life on the planet Earth."


"Some people may believe that Canadians should pay more taxes so that they can receive improved health care."

"They should not have to pay for daycare."

"Contributing to an environmental fund is bad."
"For various reasons, television is a negative influence on people."

"Due to moral, financial, and political reasons, governments should aggressively pursue parents that do not make child support payments in the legal system, even when it is at the taxpayer's expense."

"When students start university, they should move into an apartment (with a roommate if necessary) rather than continue living at home."
This is a bad example because it violates the second test: this text is not strongly worded and does not "sell" one side of the argument very well.
This is a potentially good example because it is argumentative (test #1), it's worded strongly (test #2), and the reader knows exactly what the topic will be and where the author stands on this issue (test #3).
GOAL: The thesis statement should "stand on its own". This means that readers should completely understand what the topic of your essay is as well as where you stand on this position, just from this one sentence. The thesis statement uses language that is clear and concise, avoiding vague statements.

THE TEST: to test to see if your thesis statement can stand on its own, copy and paste the thesis statement onto a blank piece of paper (or cover up the other sentences if you're writing on paper). You (or a friend) should be able to perfectly understand what the topic of the essay is about and the position the essay will be taking on the argument.
GOAL: The thesis statement should be "arguable". In other words, the thesis statement should take a binary position on a topic. You should take one side--or the other side--of an argument. You should not explain both sides in an argumentative essay. Your thesis statement should generate conversation.

NOTE: the argumentative thesis statement is NOT written as a question.

THE TEST: to test to see if your thesis statement is arguable, imagine that you read your statement to the entire class. If you think that between 30% to 70% of your classmates would disagree (or agree) with your statement, then you have an arguable thesis statement. If you think that less than 30% of your classmates would agree (or disagree) with your statement, then you do not have an arguable thesis statement.
GOAL: even though your thesis statement should be arguable, you must word it strongly. You should word your thesis statement as if it were a FACT and no other options could be true.

NOTE: the argumentative thesis statement is NOT written as a question.
This is a bad example because it violates the third test: this text is unclear because the reader does not know who the word "they" refers to.
A better way of phrasing this sentence might be to write, "Parents in Quebec should not have to pay for daycare."
PROOF: we know it's arguable because many people would probably disagree and argue that television is, in fact, beneficial (for example, it can be educational and it can assist with the communication of important information in times of crisis and emergency). It's worded so strongly that it appears as if no other option is true. We know that, when it comes to whether or not television is good, that this author believes it is not.
This is a potentially good example because it is argumentative (test #1), it's worded strongly (test #2), and the reader knows exactly what the topic will be and where the author stands on this issue (test #3).
NOTE: notice that in this example, the thesis statement also outlines the three topic sentences that will be used later on in the essay. This is a feature that is often seen in French essays (sujet divisé). Note that English essay can--but are not required to--do this.
This is a potentially good example because it is argumentative (test #1), it's worded strongly (test #2), and the reader knows exactly what the topic will be and where the author stands on this issue (test #3).
PROOF: we know it's arguable because many people would probably disagree and argue that it is better, in fact, to continue living at home during university (for example, it can save a lot of money during a period in life where finances are difficult and family will support the student on a psychological level). It's worded so strongly that it appears as if no other option is true. We know that, when it comes to whether or not students should move out or not, that this author believes students should move out.
Introductory Paragraph
Body Paragraph #1 (of X)
In a CEGEP essay, the first sentence of each body paragraph is called the "topic sentence". This sentence clearly communicates to the reader what the topic of your paragraph will be about. Topic sentences must respect the same three rules that the thesis statement must follow, plus one additional rule:
This is a bad example of a topic sentence because it does not allow anyone to disagree with it: it would be nearly impossible for someone to respond, "No, recent research does not show that television encourages violence.
"Recent research shows that television encourages violence in people."

"It is possible that television incites violence in people."

"The first point I'd like to make is that it encourages violence in people."
"Television induces violence in people."

"Due to various methods of misinformation, television causes consumers to make poor purchase decisions."

"Television diminishes people's social skills."
This is a bad example of a topic sentence because it violates the third test: the reader does not know what the word "it" refers to.
This is a potentially good example of a topic sentence because it responds to all four of the tests that can be applied to a topic sentence.
GOAL: The topic sentence should "stand on its own". This means that readers should completely understand what the main point of your paragraph is going to be about.
GOAL: The topic sentence should be "arguable". In other words, the topic sentence should take a binary position on a topic. You should take one side--or the other side--of a specific point. You should not explain both sides in an argumentative essay.

NOTE: the topic sentence statement is NOT written as a question.

THE TEST: to test to see if your topic sentence is arguable, imagine that you read your sentence to the entire class. If you think that between 30% to 70% of your classmates would disagree (or agree) with your statement, then you have an arguable thesis sentence. If you think that less than 30% of your classmates would agree (or disagree) with your statement, then you do not have an arguable sentence.
GOAL: even though your topic sentence should be arguable, you must word it strongly. You should word your statement as if it were a FACT and no other options could be true.

NOTE: the topic sentence is NOT written as a question.
This is a bad example of a topic sentence because of the use of the word "possible": it violates the second test. That is, the text is not strongly worded.
A better way of phrasing this sentence might be to write, "Parents in Quebec should not have to pay for daycare."
PROOF: Test #1, we know this topic sentence is arguable because many people would probably disagree and argue that television in and of itself does not incite violence (for example, people that watch television and then do violent things were already psychologically predisposed to performing violent acts). Test #2, the sentence is worded so strongly that it appears as if no other option is true. Test #3, the author is choosing a binary side here (inciting violence versus a lack of this encouragement). Test #4, readers know that violence is generally considered to be a negative thing in society; therefore this sentence connects directly with the author's thesis statement (their main claim) that television is a negative thing.
NOTE: in CEGEP essays, each topic sentence is responsible for one (1) body paragraph. However, once you go to university, each topic sentence becomes responsible for several body paragraphs.
+
GOAL: The topic sentence for each body paragraph must directly connect with the overall essay's thesis statement.

THE TEST: to test to see if your topic sentence connects directly with the thesis statement, try placing the invisible word "because" in front of your topic sentence. For example:

Thesis Statement: "For various reasons, television is a negative influence on people."

Potential Topic Sentences:
"Television induces violence in people."
"A lot of research has been done on television."
This is a bad example of a topic sentence because it does not connect directly with the thesis statement. It may look like it does because they both mention the word "television"; however, the topic sentence does not respond to the thesis statement's claim.
A better way of phrasing this sentence might be to write, "Parents in Quebec should not have to pay for daycare."
This is a potentially good example of a topic sentence because it connects directly with the thesis statement.
PROOF: we know that this sentence connects directly with the thesis statement because, if we place the invisible word "because" in front of the topic sentence, it answers the question "why" the thesis statement is valid. For example:

"Television is a negative influence on people. (Because) television induces violence in people."
Assuming that the thesis statement is "For various reasons, television is a negative influence on people," the following topic sentences are poor choices:
A better way of phrasing this sentence might be to write, "Television induces violence in people. ", because people can disagree with that statement.
The word "it" was actually referring to the word "television" in the preceding paragraph; however, writers cannot use pronouns to refer to nouns in preceding paragraphs.
Assuming that the thesis statement is "For various reasons, television is a negative influence on people," the following topic sentences are potentially good choices:
This is a potentially good example of a topic sentence because it responds to all four of the tests that can be applied to a topic sentence.
PROOF: Test #1, we know this topic sentence is arguable because many people would probably disagree and argue that people are aware of the pitfalls involved with television marketing (for example, laws exist to protect people from false advertising, and people know to conduct further research before buying a product). Test #2, the sentence is worded so strongly that it appears as if no other option is true. Test #3, the author is choosing a binary side here (television marketing hinders people in their purchase decisions, rather than helping them). Test #4, preventing consumers from making good product choices is obviously considered to be a negative thing in society; therefore this sentence connects directly with the author's thesis statement (their main claim) that television is a negative thing.
This is a potentially good example of a topic sentence because it responds to all four of the tests that can be applied to a topic sentence.
PROOF: Test #1, we know this topic sentence is arguable because many people would probably disagree and argue that television actually helps some people improve their social skills (for example, people living in low population areas can observe social exchanges and people intending to visit another culture can learn the social customs of the target culture). Test #2, the sentence is worded so strongly that it appears as if no other option is true. Test #3, the author is choosing a binary side here (television as the anti-social versus the social). Test #4, being antisocial (or being the means toward anti-social behaviour) is generally considered to be a negative thing in society; therefore this sentence connects directly with the author's thesis statement (their main claim) that television is a negative thing.
Lead-In Sentence
Warm-Up Sentence(s)
Thesis Statement
Topic Sentence
Supporting Idea #1 (step 1)
Supporting Idea #1 (step 2)
In a CEGEP body paragraph, the topic sentence is followed by two (2) supporting ideas. The purpose of a supporting idea is to reinforce the validity of the paragraph's topic sentence. In other words, each supporting idea tells the reader why the topic sentence is logical and makes sense. EACH supporting idea is composed of three (3) steps:
Step 1: "the mini-claim"
Step 2: "the proof"
Step 3: "the clarification"

The first step, the claim, is similar in nature to the thesis statement or to the topic sentence in that it is a statement. It must logically and reasonably connect with the paragraph's topic sentence.
"A recent study by John Smith in 2012 revealed that, when exposed to continuous acts of violence on television, viewers themselves tend to engage in violent acts."

"Did you know that television promotes violence?"



"There are a variety of shows on television with many different themes."
"People often imitate what they see."


"People become desensitized to a stimulus through repeated exposure to it."
This is a potentially good example of the first part of a supporting idea because it's a "claim".
Assuming that the paragraph's topic sentence is "Television encourages violence in people," the following sentences would make for poor initial (step 1) supporting ideas:
This would make for a great "step 2" to a supporting idea; however, it doesn't make for a good step 1 sentence because it is providing too much detail too soon to the reader.
PROOF: at this stage, this statement cannot quite be labelled "proof", in the sense that the author has not provided any sort of detail. This is simply a summary of the evidence that is about to follow.
Assuming that the paragraph's topic sentence is "Television encourages violence in people," the following sentences would potentially make for good initial (step 1) supporting ideas:
This is a potentially good example of the first part of a supporting idea because it's a "claim".
PROOF: at this stage, this statement cannot quite be labelled "proof", in the sense that the author has not provided any sort of detail. This is simply a summary of the evidence that is about to follow.
This is a poor example of the first part of a supporting idea because it's providing "too much information, too soon".
This is a poor example of the first part of a supporting idea because it's "unnecessary interaction with the reader". Anglophone culture is not very tolerant of two-way communication in short argumentative essays.
This is a poor example of the first part of a supporting idea because it's difficult to imagine how this could possibly connect with the paragraph's topic sentence.
The mini-claim (step 1) is followed by unarguable evidence. It is indisputable. This becomes your "proof" (step 2 of the supporting idea) and it must naturally support the mini-claim. Your proof can take on many forms. The following are a few examples; however, there are many synonyms that are equally valid: facts, examples, statistics, quotes, citations, details, personal anecdotal evidence (something that you have personally experienced or witnessed, or a study you conducted), generally accepted knowledge, a solid synthesis of logic or ethics, etc.
"I think that everyone imitates what they are seeing around themselves."


"Haven't you ever noticed that you tend to imitate things that other people do?"


"The Prime Minister of Canada recently declared that corporate taxes are too high."
Assuming that the the mini-claim (step 1) was "People often imitate what they see," the following sentences would make for poor statements of unarguable proof (step 2):
This is a poor example of the second part of a supporting idea because it's an opinion. This isn't "proof".
This is a poor example of the second part of a supporting idea because it's "unnecessary interaction with the reader". Anglophone culture is not very tolerant of two-way communication in short argumentative essays.
This is a poor example of the second part of a supporting idea because, while it may be an undisputable fact that the Prime Minister really did make this statement, it is irrelevant to the mini-claim (step 1).
Furthermore, this statement is not quite "undisputable"; that is, readers could respond to this statement by responding that they have not, in fact, found that they imitate what they see.
"A recent study where researchers showed study participants a series of videos where the actors in the video displayed various forms of unusual body language (specific forms of shrugging, nodding, winking, etc.) resulted in the study participants picking up on this behavior and emulating it themselves at a later date."


"I personally witnessed my own behavior when I was a child--on Saturday mornings I had a tendency to be particularly violent (through roughhousing) with my siblings after I watched an entire morning of cartoons (which contained a great deal of violence)."
This is a potentially good example of the second part of a supporting idea because it's an unarguable reference.
PROOF: the test to perform here is to see if someone can come along and disagree with this statement. In fact, they cannot because this was a study that actually occurred.
Assuming that the paragraph's topic sentence is "People often imitate what they see," the following sentences would make for potentially good evidence (step 2):
Think of each of your topic sentences (or each body paragraphs) as being "angles" or "lenses" (points de vue) through which you can defend your thesis statement.
"Unarguable evidence" means facts that people cannot respond to with the statement, "I disagree."
This is a potentially good example of the second part of a supporting idea because it's an unarguable reference.
PROOF: the test to perform here is to see if someone can come along and disagree with this statement. Assuming of course that the author is being honest, no one can disagree with this example.
This is a bad example because it violates the third test: this text is unclear because "bad" is vague and imprecise.
A better way of phrasing this sentence might be to write, "Contributing to an environmental fund provides negligible benefit to the environment."
Often, it is not obvious to readers how your proof (step 2) connects with your mini-claim (step 1) or how both steps 1 and 2 defend the paragraph's topic sentence. For this reason, authors must provide a clarification or a synthesis of how their mini-claim and proof come together to support the topic sentence. This clarification / synthesis becomes step 3 of the supporting idea. Writers can often achieve this by making a connection to their personal experience, another text, or some other knowledge.
For clarity, the second supporting idea should begin with a transition word.
"Secondly, people often imitate what they see."

"Moreover, people become desensitized to a stimulus through repeated exposure to it."
This is a potentially good example of the first part of a supporting idea because it's a "claim". Observe the use of a transition word.
PROOF: at this stage, this statement cannot quite be labelled "proof", in the sense that the author has not provided any sort of detail. This is simply a summary of the evidence that is about to follow.
Assuming that the paragraph's topic sentence is "Television encourages violence in people," the following sentences would potentially make for good initial (step 1) supporting ideas:
This is a potentially good example of the first part of a supporting idea because it's a "claim". Observe the use of the transition word.
PROOF: at this stage, this statement cannot quite be labelled "proof", in the sense that the author has not provided any sort of detail. This is simply a summary of the evidence that is about to follow.
Start your second, third (etc.) body paragraphs with a transition word or with a "bridge" that clearly communicates to readers that your essay is about to take a major new direction.
Supporting Idea #1 (step 3)
Supporting Idea #2 (step 1)
Supporting Idea #2 (step 2)
Supporting Idea #2 (step 3)
Concluding Paragraph
Summary
Closure
Signal that the essay is about to come to a close. Avoid using obvious transitions such as "to conclude", "in conclusion", "to sum up," etc.

Note that the concluding paragraph never provides new information that was not already covered previously in the essay. Never.

Be accurate and avoid using absolute statements which alienate readers who have different opinions from yours. Acknowledge the differences.

Do not be apologetic.
In the concluding paragraph, the author wishing to write a superior ending must synthesize (not summarize) the points in the paper and how they connect with the thesis statement. Remember, the essay is short and readers just read it. They don't need a second go-around. After providing a holistic one-sentence summary, a few closing strategies are to:
Answer the question "so what" and show that the paper was useful
Show how the topic sentences (and their support) fit together to defend the thesis statement
Create new meaning (without giving new information)
Use critical thinking to reflect upon the significance of what you've written
Advanced writers may wish to optionally provide a closing statement. Unlike French essays, with their "ouverture" and philosophic endings that are intended to make readers go on thinking, the English essay's closure wraps the essay up in a tidy package and is intended to bring the reader to a feeling of satisfaction. Readers should feel that the subject has been roundly discussed and leaves them with the opportunity to arrive at their own conclusions about the essay's argument. Some ways of closing are:
provide a connected recommendation or prediction that is not "kitsch" (quétaine)
identify the people or groups that should pay heed to the essay's opinion
a quotation that amplifies the essay's overall point
challenge the reader
evoke a vivid image
complete an anecdote, question, or example that was made in the introduction
Sometimes writers find that they are going over the maximum word count. Two great paragraphs to cut words from are the introduction and the conclusion.
If you don't think that you can write a "superior" ending, use the "summary method" to finish your essay:
Remind the reader of what the essay's overall idea was, but you must word it differently than the thesis statement; and
Touch upon the main topics that were discussed (the topic sentences), without repeating them word for word. A good essay very briefly mentions the support that was provided (1 or 2 words to represent each supporting idea).
The conclusion is a logical ending that integrates the various issues, evidence (etc.), covered in the body of the paper. The conclusion makes comments upon the meaning of these issues and evidence. This includes noting any implications resulting from your discussion of the topic, as well as recommendations, forecasting future trends, etc.
The conclusion should not:
just sum up
end with a long quotation
focus merely on a minor point in your argument
introduce new material
This is a bad example because the author used an ineffective transition word AND simply copied their thesis statement over.
"In conclusion, television is a negative influence on people."

"This essay has shown that there are a number of reasons why television is not healthy for society."

"After reviewing the aforementioned facts, it is painfully obvious that nothing can be gained by watching television."

"I am sorry if this offends some people." / "I do not know if this proves anything..."
This is a bad example because the author him or herself has proclaimed that they proved their point. Let the reader make that determination.
"I do not claim that television is entirely unwholesome; indeed, it has many benefits."

"Despite some good reasons favoring regular television viewing, there are many sound reasons for avoiding it entirely. "

"Although some people provide good arguments in favour of watching television, I believe the drawbacks outweigh the benefits."
This is a potentially good example in an essay where the thesis was on the negative aspects of television because it brings the reader back to the essay's main idea and away from the topic sentences.
This is a potentially good example in an essay where the thesis was on the negative aspects of television because it brings the reader back to the essay's main idea and away from the topic sentences.
This is a potentially good example in an essay where the thesis was on the negative aspects of television because it brings the reader back to the essay's main idea and away from the topic sentences.
This is a bad example because the author is coming on a bit too strong and will likely alienate some readers.
These are bad examples because the author is being apologetic.
This is a bad because the author has simply summarized their thesis statement along with their three topic sentences.
"So I argued that television has a negative influence on people because it can cause them to become violent, it misleads them, and it undermines their social skills."


"In fact, the Labatt Brewing Company was able to increase its sales because it constantly repeated the same commercial over and over again during a 30-day period."
"In many ways, the points discussed in this essay are a reflection of some of the values that society deems as undesirable."

"This means that people--parents especially--cannot blindly consider television as a way to pass time."

"Television is capable of exercising influence over its watchers in ways that are very human: by repeating until we imitate and by misinforming to achieve a goal."
This is a bad example because the author has just introduced new information. Never do this in a conclusion.
This is a potentially good example of a sentence that could appear in the conclusion because it brings new meaning to the essay without bringing new information. This is a good example of the author's synthesis skills at work.
This is a potentially good example of a sentence that could appear in the conclusion because it answers the question "so what". It suggests one way in which the author's observations are relevant.
This is a potentially good example of a sentence that could appear in the conclusion because the author is demonstrating their critical thinking skills. The author comes to realize a parallel connection between television and people.
"Thus, it stands to reason that if what people are seeing performed repeated on the television are violent acts, they will similarly imitate this behavior."


"In other words, I could see that my behavior was modified and that I became predisposed to violent acts, presumably from watching similar acts that I saw in the cartoons."
This is a potentially good example of the third part of a supporting idea because it is a synthesis of the mini-claim (step 1) and the the proof (step 2).
PROOF: this is more of a synthesis than a clarification because the author must show how it is probable that some imitated behaviors in one study, such as scratching, blinking, (etc.) can be transposed to violence, as a behavior.
Continuing with the example, above, the following sentences would make for potentially good clarification or synthesis (step 3):
This is a potentially good example of the third part of a supporting idea because the author is clarifying how their example fits into the paragraph's claim.
PROOF: this is more of a clarification than a synthesis. Here, the association between cartoons, roughhousing, and imitating violence may not be obvious to some readers. The author is therefore explaining to readers how this association supports the paragraph's claim.
Perhaps the best example of a bad example here is to put nothing. That's exactly what many students do--they completely forget step #3.
"To conclude, the fact that television can incite violence, misleads, and degrades social skills in people make it an unfavorable media outlet."

"In summary, there are a number of reasons why television is detrimental. First, it incites violence through a process of imitation of, and desensitization to, fighting. Secondly, television causes consumers to purchase products that neither want nor need by brainwashing and misinforming viewers. Thirdly, fictitious scenarios and reduction of real-time human interaction as a result of television lead to a degradation of people's social skills."
This is a passable example of a sentence that could appear in the conclusion because it reminds the reader of the thesis statement (television is a negative thing) and the topic sentences (violence, misinformation, social interaction).
This is a better, but still only passable, example of sentences that could appear in the conclusion. Here, the author not only reminds the reader of the thesis statement and the topic sentences, he or she also covers the supporting ideas.
STRUCTURE:
Thesis Statement: "television = bad (detrimental)"
Topic Sentence #1: "incites violence"
"via imitation of fighting"
"via desensitization to violence"
Topic Sentence #2: "invokes bad purchase decisions"
"by brainwashing (repetition of commercials)"
"by misinforming (not giving all the info)"
Topic Sentence #3: "lowers people's social skills"
"by showing unrealistic social situations"
"by taking people away from real-life socialization"
This is a bad example of a closing statement because it is a recommendation that is too "kitsch," too strong.
"So you and your children must stop watching television or you will become violent, recklessly purchase things, and become introverted."

"Do you think that television will become less dangerous to watch, now that online media is accessible to most people?"

"Perhaps if people spent more time on introspective reflection, rather than listening to the opinions of others, they would become more informed citizens."
"The good news is that, as we move forward, the family room television is being replaced by online media that allows users to choose what they would like to watch, rather than being a passive victim."

"Parents seeking to take advantage of the benefits that television has to offer their children should ensure that they educate them on the care that must be taken when viewing shows on this service."
This is a bad example of a closing statement because it does not "put the subject to rest"; instead, it opens up an entirely new discussion.
This is a potentially good example of a closing statement because it connects with a statement that was made in the introductory paragraph: "...something in your living room is harming your family".
This is a potentially good example of a closing statement because it provides a recommendation to the reader that is not "kitsch" (quétaine).
This is a bad example of a closing statement because it is becoming too philosophical, too "preachy", and too "kitsch."
The essay starts off with a title and the name of the author. The title is informative (it is not artistic and it is not a question) and a more compact version of the thesis statement. It should be obvious what the overall topic of the argumentative essay is, and where the author stands on this issue. Since the reader knows the name of the author, there is no reason to use the word "I" when expressing opinion (such as in the thesis statement).

The title also follows some rules for capitalization:
The first letter of the first word in the title is always capitalized.
The first letter in all of the other words in an English title are also capitalized, unless the word is a...
Coordinating conjunction;
Article; or a
Preposition

Tip: the acronym "CAP" can be used to remember this.
This is a bad example of a title because it's artistic, not factual.
"The Negative Effects of Television"


"Governments Must Aggressively Charge Parents in the Justice System When They Do Not Make Child Support Payments"

"Students Should Live on Their Own When Attending University"
"Evil Lurks Silently in Your House, Ready to Pounce at Any Moment!"


"What Dangers Lie in Wait in Your Living Room?"


"The negative effects of television"


The Impact of Television: Good or Bad?
This is a bad example of a title because it's a question.
This is a potentially good example of a title because it informs the reader of the essay's topic and where the author stands on this issue.
This could have been a good example of a title, except the capitalization is incorrect.
This is a bad example of a title because, while the reader knows the topic of the essay, they do not know where the author stands on the issue.
PROOF: the topic is the "impact of television" and the position on this topic is "negative".
This is a potentially good example of a title because it informs the reader of the essay's topic and where the author stands on this issue.
PROOF: the topic is the "degree of energy the government should expend on 'deadbeat parents'" and the position of the author on this topic is that the government should expend "maximal force", as opposed to "minimal force".
This is a potentially good example of a title because it informs the reader of the essay's topic and where the author stands on this issue.
PROOF: the topic is the "where university students should live" and the position on this topic is "not at home".
A commented model argumentative essay that received a high grade is available at
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1U52sgvEUYe5aeHKjyy0MoTZl0xvrpbXrXk7MeiFx4-g/edit
Demonstration of Critical Thinking
A commented model literary essay that received a high grade is available at
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B04pnIe7h1TqakF2V3ZZeEk0aUk/edit?usp=sharing
Full transcript