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Argument: Simplified

English 3
by

Tracy Catlin

on 3 October 2014

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Transcript of Argument: Simplified

Argument
The elements of argument:
A claim
Evidence
A Warrant
Backing
Qualifications and rebuttals
1. A claim: expressing a point of view.
In essays, we put our claims as your thesis statements.

Perhaps you claim that more people have access to weapons than they do mental health services (for depression and substance abuse). Your thesis statement would be:
The mental-health service industry is in crisis if a United States' citizen has more access in buying a gun than in receiving services in which they need.
What's the Claim?
2. Evidence
Facts, data, statistics, quotes that prove a certain point.
In an essay for English class, we show evidence through our use of quotes from a reading (and then cite those sources). In science, our evidence would be findings from an experiment. In history, our evidence would be facts.
What evidence is in this cartoon?
Get your evidence FIRST and THEN come up with a claim. Only once you have examined the data will you produce a question worthy of arguing.
Take the following steps:
1.) Examine the data
2.) Ask questions based on the data
3.) Reexamine the data
4.) Try to answer the questions
5.) Data that supports our answer = evidence
3.) Warrants
The warrant explains why the data proves the claim.
Example:
Claim: Perhaps you claim that more people have access to weapons than they do mental health services (for depression and substance abuse). Your thesis statement would be:
The mental-health service industry is in crisis if a United States' citizen has more access in buying a gun than in receiving services in which they need.





Warrant: Due to a lack of funding for mental-health services and the ease in buying a gun, more mentally-unstable people could have a greater chance of buying a weapon.
The reader believing you will be entirely based upon whether you have a good warrant or not.
Not these kinds of Warrants
A warrant for search or arrest is almost like a warrant in argument:
You have to have a good reason for the judge to believe you need one.
4.) The Backing
Backing is simply more explanation and possibly more definitions that would support the warrant.
5.) Qualifications and Counter Arguments
Because there are no absolutes in arguments and analysis, you should qualify, meaning you broaden your audience. This also means that you can transition to address the other side of the issue (counter argument). This is useful if your claim is open to doubt. You may use words in the "Qualified" column in the next slide to help you.
ABSOLUTE
Will
Forms of “be” (am, is, are, was, were)
All
Every
None/no

Always

Never
Impossible
QUALIFIED
May, might, could
May be, might have been, may have been
Many, most, some, numerous, countless, a majority
(Same as “all”)
Few, not many, a small number, hardly any, a minority
Often, frequently, commonly, for a long time, usually, sometimes, repeatedly
Rarely, infrequently, sporadically, seldom
Probably, possibly, unlikely, improbable, doubtful
Counter
argument
Basically
Essentially
Generally
Mostly
Rather
Slightly
Somewhat
Various
Virtually
Examples:
President Clinton unlikely resigned as a result of Monica Lewinsky.
President Clinton resigned as a result of Monica Lewinsky.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian probably would have named their baby South East if Kanye's last name was different.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian would have named their baby South East if Kanye's last name was different.
Address the audience's opposing viewpoints to make your own argument even stronger.
Many people [believe/argue/feel/think/suppose/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here]
It is often [thought/imagined/supposed/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here]
[It would be easy to/One could easily] [think/believe/imagine/suppose/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here]
It might [seem/appear/look/etc.] as if [state the counter-argument here]
But isn’t it true that [state the counter-argument here]?
[Doesn’t/Wouldn’t/Isn’t] [state the counter-argument here]?
On the other hand, [author's name] argues that...
However, [author's name] has written, ...
[Author's name] takes the position that...
Now bring it back to your thesis:
What this argument [overlooks/fails to consider/does not take into account] is ...
This view [seems/looks/sounds/etc.] [convincing/plausible/persuasive/etc.] at first, but ...
While this position is popular, it is [not supported by the facts/not logical/impractical/etc.]
Although the core of this claim is valid, it suffers from a flaw in its [reasoning/application/etc.]
Opinions are NOT evidence!
NYT Article: "Texting may be taking a toll"
Read:
What is the claim?
What is the data?
What questions do we have?
Look at the data again.
Answer our questions.
The data that supports our answer is our evidence.

from the 2011 ebook: Teaching Argument Writing: Supporting Evidence with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning by George Hillocks, Jr.
(Evidence): A short statement of fact, quote, statistic, etc., would go after the claim. Then, the warrant:
Evidence:
IN 2008, 44% American population did not have access to mental health care (depression, substance abuse, etc.)
Of the estimated 22.7 million individuals aged 12 or older in
2013 who needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, 2.5 million received treatment at a specialty facility (U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES).

TOTAL Guns: Jan to Nov 2012
SOURCE: FBI
UNITED STATES 156,577,260 applications
Approved: 16,808,538
Full transcript