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Writing Argumentative Paragraphs

A presentation on writing an argumentative paragraph, designed for eighth-grade ELA support class.
by

Jeph Mitchum

on 21 September 2015

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Transcript of Writing Argumentative Paragraphs

What is a
counterclaim?
A counterclaim is a an
opposing
claim--designed to
contradict
your claim (to show why your claim is wrong)

Counterclaims are made by
someone else
who
disagrees
with your original claim

Just like your claim, it needs to have a
topic
,
opinion
, and
justification
--and it should be related to your claim.

Examples: "Some people argue that JJ Watt should NOT be the NFL MVP because defensive players don't affect the game as much as the offense." "Some say that Katy Perry should not play the Super Bowl halftime show because she is not a singer that football fans will care about watching."
What is a rebuttal?
What makes a good rebuttal?
A rebuttal should connect to and
acknowledge
(respond to) the counterclaim

It should present
reasons
and
evidence
that
refute
(disprove) the counterclaim

Example: "JJ Watt affects the outcome of games much more than the average defensive player. Through the first four weeks this year, he had more quarterback hits by himself than fifteen entire teams." "The NFL shouldn't worry about who football fans want to watch in the halftime show, because those fans are watching the game anyway. They should focus on people who might not watch the game otherwise."
What is a claim?
A claim is your
topic
, your
opinion
on the topic, and your
justification
(an overall reason that supports your opinion)

A claim is where you tell
what

your opinion is
and
why you believe it to be

right

Examples:
"JJ Watt should be the NFL MVP because of dominant defensive performance."
"Katy Perry is the best choice for the Super Bowl halftime show because of her charisma, wide appeal, and catchy songs."
What makes
a good claim?
A claim is a
statement
, not a
question
"JJ Watt should be the NFL MVP", NOT "Should JJ Watt be the NFL MVP?"

A claim is an
opinion
, not a
fact or lie
"Katy Perry is the best choice", NOT "Katy Perry sings 'Firework" or "Katy Perry sings 'Crazy in Love'."

A claim is a
strong, firm
statement
"JJ Watt is the best player in the NFL", NOT "I think JJ Watt is a good player."
What are reasons
and evidence?
Reasons should connect to your justification, and give specifics about it.
Can be given after your justification or as part of it (three-pronged approach)

Evidence supports your reasons, and can be things like facts, statistics, or expert opinions
For example, if you justify your claim about JJ Watt with his dominant defense...
Your reasons can be things like his ability to defend against passing...
And your evidence can be things like the number of sacks, quarterback hits, or swatted passes he has.

If you're going to use outside sources, they need to be from experts
That means use sources like Rolling Stone or Billboard if you want to talk about Katy Perry's show, not Mr. Mitchum's Katy Perry fan blog.
CLAIM + REASON
COUNTERCLAIM + REBUTTAL
WHAT IS AN
ARGUMENT?
An argument
expresses
(tells) a
point of view
and
supports
it with
evidence

Arguments have
four
important parts:
Claim
Reason
Counterclaim
Rebuttal

An argument has two sides--they need to be opinions, not facts!
WRITING ARGUMENTATIVE
ESSAYS

THANK YOU!
A tangential piece of advice: NEVER EVER use the first person ("I" or "Me") when you write an argument. You shouldn't say "I think" in your argument because the reader already KNOWS what you think. After all, you're writing about it!
JJ Watt / Katy Perry = topic
Should be NFL MVP / best choice for show = opinion
Dominant defensive performance / charisma, appeal, songs = justification
JJ Watt / Katy Perry = Topic
Should not be MVP / should not play the show = Opinion
Defense doesn't affect the game enough / Football fans will not want to watch = justification
Remember not to go to deep into your counterclaim--don't provide a lot of reasons
or evidence for it. You don't want to end up arguing against yourself!
A rebuttal
refutes
(disproves) the counterclaim

It is where you tell the counterclaim is
wrong
AND
why
it is wrong.

It should also use
reasons
and
evidence
, to support itself, just like your original claim.
REMEMBER TO WRAP IT ALL UP AT THE END WITH A CONCLUSION SENTENCE!
A GOOD CONCLUSION WILL RESTATE YOUR CLAIM.
AND REMEMBER TO INCLUDE ALL THE PARTS OF THE CLAIM...
THE TOPIC, YOUR OPINION ON THE TOPIC, AND YOUR JUSTIFICATION!

Don't forget to use those
TRANSITION WORDS to guide the reader between the parts of your essay, especially between the counterclaim
and your rebuttal!
Try this out: What transition word would you use in this blank?

"Some people say JJ Watt shouldn't be the MVP because defensive players don't affect the outcome of the game enough. ______ Watt affects games much more than the average defender."
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