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The Enthymeme

A basic explanation of enthymemes, with thanks to Professor Grant Boswell.
by

Meridith Reed

on 19 March 2013

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Transcript of The Enthymeme

THE ENTHYMEME Part 1: The Consequential Issue Question A + v1 + B because A + v2 + C
[And we all know that
whatever v2 + C also v1 + B] YOU PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND . . . WATCO A on B? The CLAIM: LET'S GET CONTROVERSIAL A + B = CLAIM The REASON: IT'S ABOUT SUPPORT A + C = REASON The WARRANT: WHAT YOU DON'T SAY whatever v2 + C also v1 + B Arguments START with questions that matter.
Questions that matter are timely and relevant.
Consequential questions look like this: What are the consequences of [WATCO] A on B?
A term = policy idea, action, proposal
e.g. flipped classrooms
B term = audience values, beliefs, assumptions
e.g. student comprehension
What are the consequences of flipping classrooms on student comprehension of complex material? Claims should be initially unacceptable to your audience. If everyone agrees with you, you have no reason to write an argument.

The claim consists of A term (some sort of policy, action, proposal) + active, transitive verb [time for a grammar review?] + B term (audience values, beliefs, assumptions)

e.g. Flipping classrooms increases student comprehension of complex material. The reason should be reasonable (go figure!), probable, likely, and meet the STAR criteria:
Sufficient (you have ENOUGH to support weighty claims)
Typical (your reasoning is typical of the kind of logic your average, intelligent person could accept)
Accurate (your information is reliable and properly attributed)
Relevant (your reason relates clearly to your claim) The REASON: CONTINUED more on how A + C = REASON The reason can be the trickiest part of the argument, so think it through carefully! e. g.
flipping the classroom enables professors to spend more time working individually with students at their own levels and rates of learning. STOP AND PROCESS English is math?! Claim: A + verb 1 + B

in English: Flipping classrooms [A] increases [v1] student comprehension of complex material [B]

BECAUSE

Reason: A + verb 2 + C

in English: flipping classrooms [A] enables [v2] professors to spend more time working individually with students at their own levels and rates of learning. [C] This is the unstated assumption or underlying logic of your argument; it glues it all together. Whatever enables [v2] professors to spend more time working individually with students at their own levels and rates of learning [C] also increases [v1] student comprehension of complex content. [B] Do you agree with the above statement?

Reasonable people should find the assumption to be initially acceptable. It should feel like common sense. . . . IN ENGLISH Flipping classrooms [A] increases [v1] student comprehension of complex content [B]
b/c
flipping classrooms [A] enables [v2] professors to spend more time working individually with students at their own levels and rates of learning. [C]

Whatever enables [v2] professors to spend more time working individually with students at their own levels and rates of learning [C] also increases [v1] student comprehension of complex content. [B] An Introduction
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