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Writing Argument

How to write an interesting, meaty, meaningful argument essay
by

Laura Walker

on 22 March 2013

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Transcript of Writing Argument

Steps to a Successful Essay The introduction will accomplish these tasks:
Include the thesis statement (claim)
Catch the reader's attention
Give background information on the issue Body Paragraphs Conclusion Revision and Editing The purpose of the rubric is:
To itemize (list) parts of the essay
To tell you how to present your finished essay
To remind you of the importance of proper spelling and grammar
To help you organize your writing (include transitions and topic sentences) Each body paragraph will address one reason
Each reason needs to be supported by evidence that is AAA and avoids faulty reasoning
Each body paragraph will also need:
Topic sentences, or main ideas
Appropriate transitions to create flow
Quotations from the text to support your evidence A conclusion should leave readers with a strong final impression! You need someone else to read your paper!!

Do you have someone else's paper? Good!
Read the whole thing all the way through
Don't stop and start! Just read!!

Now carefully read each item on the checklist
ONLY CHECK OFF ITEMS THAT ARE IN THE ESSAY!
(Unchecked items need to be added or fixed!)

Use your red pen to
Mark spelling and grammar mistakes
Mark any sentences that sound weird even when you read them out loud
Circle incorrect or lacking citations (quotes) Tips for Reading a Rubric Writing Argument 1. Start with your issue:
Look over your notes and ask yourself questions
What do you agree with?
What makes sense as logical to you based on what you already knew about the topic?
What information can you throw out as faulty or inadequate or simply opinionated? Building a Thesis Introduction Building a Thesis 2. Form your opinion:
Based on your answers, decide from which side you will write your issue
Write down your opinion, this is the framework for your thesis statement.

Example:

The issue is school uniforms

Opinion: I think we should have school uniforms Building a Thesis Wait! Your opinion is only the skeleton of your thesis statement!
Let's flesh it out a bit!
Going back to your notes, write down the reasons that support your opinion
(Remember that your reasons will need to be supported by evidence, so throw out reasons that you cannot support!)
From your list, pick at least three that you will be able to prove with evidence and write them in your organizer (you can list some evidence, too!) Building a Thesis What's your side? Before you even begin writing you will need to organize your information
Look over your notes and articles
Highlight important points and meaningful evidence
Cross out anything unnecessary or redundant (that means repeated) You should!! Building a Thesis Building a Thesis Avoid writing thesis statements like:
My paper will be about why school uniforms are a good idea.
I am writing about the issue of school uniforms and why they are necessary.
I think we should have school uniforms.

Instead, just cut out the unnecessary parts:
School uniforms are a good idea.
School uniforms are necessary.
We should have school uniforms. Building a Thesis Remember that your thesis is going to tell the reader exactly what they're getting ready to read about.

It's your table of contents, so make your reader aware of either your main reason or all of your reasons in the order you are writing about them in your essay. Example:
I think we should have school uniforms

Reasons:
Decrease in bullying and disciplinary problems
Increased focus on school work
Cost efficient
Example:
School uniforms are a good idea because they have been shown to improve disciplinary issues.

OR

School uniforms are a good idea because they improve disciplinary problems, help students focus better on their school work, and are affordable for parents. Building a Thesis Put it all together in one or two sentences:
State your opinion
Avoid phrases like "my paper will be about..."
Include some mention of your main reasons or all reasons in the order you will write them in the body paragraphs. Building a Thesis Read over your accountabilibuddy's thesis statement and point out any weaknesses.
Ask questions like:
Can I tell what their opinion is?
Is their thesis not self-aware?
Did they include any details or reasons to keep it from being too simple?
Does it make sense?

Once you are satisfied with your thesis statement, write it in your organizer! Review it!! Catching the Reader's Attention There are many techniques writers use to catch the reader's attention. When picking a technique keep in mind what will be effective on your audience:
Make a surprising statement
"At Howard High School, the number of referrals dropped by 70% after school uniforms were made a requirement."
Provide a description
"Imagine a school with quiet hallways and classrooms full of happy students fully engaged in their learning instead of focusing on what all of their friends are wearing." Catching the Reader's Attention Ask a question
"What could possibly be the cost of requiring school uniforms?"
Relate a brief story
"I once attended a school that required uniforms. I didn't have to worry about what I would wear the next day, or what my friends would think of my clothes. It left me with more time to think about my schoolwork and my hobbies.
Include an interesting quote from the text
""Public schools that require uniforms are considered by many in the field of education as the oases of public schools." (Smith, p. 2)" Background Information Pretend your reader has no idea what your issue is about. Describing your issue should try to answer some of the 5Ws and 1H:
Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
How? Put it all together!! Start with your attention-getter
Order your description and thesis in a way that makes sense and reads smoothly.

Work with your accountabilibuddy to organize your introduction as you write Revision and Editing
Read your accountabilibuddy's completed introduction and provide feedback.
Ask questions like:
Was their attention-getter interesting and relevant?
Did I completely understand their description of the issue?
Did they include their thesis statement?
Did I have to stop more than a few times because I was confused? (point out what parts stopped you)
Did it seem like their introduction was missing something, and if so, what do I think it really needs to make it better? Details to be included in the intro AAA Evidence AAA means Accurate, Adequate, and Appropriate
Accurate means making sure your evidence was recorded from the text exactly as it appeared in the text
Adequate means you have provided enough evidence to fully support your reason (one or two pieces of evidence will never be enough!)
Appropriate means it makes sense to explain your reason and isn't just random nonsense (avoid faulty reasoning!) Types of Faulty Reasoning Either/or fallacy: Falsely assumes there are only two available choices
Either we get school uniforms or the school will fall into chaos
Oversimplification: Explaining something complicated in a way that is too simple
All it takes for schools to implement uniforms is for the principal to send parents a letter telling them to purchase uniforms.
Overgeneralization: Making a statement that is too broad. Uses words like all, always, never, no one, none, everyone, every time
All teachers want students in uniforms. Types of Faulty Reasoning Hasty generalization: A reason is formed with too little evidence or from evidence that is clearly biased
School uniforms are good for students because students like them.
Non sequitur: A reason is formed from proof that doesn't make sense, or logically explain the reason
We need school uniforms because most students' regular clothes are not blue enough. Topic Sentences All writers use main ideas/topic sentences to organize their writing. (this bullet is a main idea)
Your topic sentences will tell the reader what reason each body paragraph will explain with evidence
Be sure that you only talk about the reason you gave in your topic sentence to avoid confusing your reader. *Be specific in the notes you include in your organizer Watch this flocabulary video about thesis statements Non-sequitur it doesn't follow Types of Support A quick review Paragraph Structure If you are unsure of how to present your information in your paragraph, try TEES:
T - Topic Sentence
E - Evidence
E - Explanation of evidence
S - Summarize

*Your "TEES" may end up looking like "TEEEEEES" because you will want to have at least three pieces of evidence! Example:

T - Most importantly, uniforms are cost effective for parents when it comes to buying students new school clothes.
E - "In a recent survey of middle school parents, 86% say they spend too much money on new clothes for their children." (Clarke, p. 1)
E - With students expecting to wear brand name clothes like Adidas apparel and North Face jackets in order to look trendy, parents usually end up paying outrageous prices for a simple t-shirt and jeans outfit combination. Multiply this by five days a week and parents are looking to spend upwards of $500 on only a few outfits. E - However, most public school uniforms are made up of unlabeled polo shirts and khakis,
E - In the requirements for the uniforms, it's usually stated that the shirts and pants must not carry a logo. For the most part, the logo is often what makes the clothing so expensive. Also, because of the strictness of the requirements, it's often better to just go for the cheaper alternative to the name brands to avoid having to really search for that one special polo without a logo on it. E - Finally, schools will typically work with local businesses to offer a special discount on uniforms.
E - Khakis and polo shirts aren't very expensive to begin with, and the school being able to add a discount or special deal on top of that makes uniforms affordable for even the parents who never buy their children name brand clothes. Sometimes schools will even purchase uniforms for families who can't afford any new clothes at all, or typically give their children hand-me-downs at the beginning of the school year.
S - With the cost of uniforms being cheaper than any of the name brand clothes that students crave, there's no reason for parents to disagree with the cost efficiency of school uniforms. Even parents who can't afford new clothes can benefit from uniforms because the school would buy uniforms for them. Statistics
Numbers
Expert opinions
Specialists
Analogies
Comparing two similar things
Correlations
One thing happens at the same time as another
Specific examples
Observations
Primary source (YOU saw it with your own eyes)
Anecdotes
Short story
Quotations from the text
"Make sure you put them in this format." (Walker, p. 12) Watch this flocabulary video about transitions! Transitions Transitions are words that connect your ideas and show how they relate to each other.
Let's look at that example paragraph again

Did you notice that I highlighted the transitions?? Types of Transitions Time or Sequence:
Words like first, second, always, then, next, later, soon, before, finally, after, earlier, afterward, and tomorrow.
Degree of importance:
Words like mainly, strongest, weakest, first, second, most important, least important, worst, and best.
Compare:
Words like similarly, likewise, also, like, as, neither... nor, and either... or. Types of Transitions Contrast:
Words like yet, but, unlike, instead, whereas, and while.
Cause-effect:
Words like since, because, thus, therefore, so, due to, for this reason, and as a result.
Spatial order (you will probably not use this):
Words like in front, behind, next to, along, nearest, lowest, above, below, underneath, on the left, and in the middle. Quotes from the Text Like with the informative essay, you will need quotations/citations in your paper!! "Every good boy does fine." (Mozart, p. 4) copy word-for-word from the text Author's last name page number You need quotation marks around the text.
Then the author's name, comma, page number (in parenthesis)

*Use quotations as evidence, or to explain evidence! Let's Summarize! Body paragraphs should be TEES
T - Topic Sentence
E - Evidence
E - Explanation for Evidence
S - Summary of reason
Evidence needs to be AAA
Transitions join ideas and paragraphs
Quotations from the text can be evidence or part of your explanation *Begin writing your body paragraphs! Revision Read one of your accountabilibuddy's body paragraphs
Ask yourself:
Did they include a topic sentence?
Did they include evidence that was AAA?
Did they use transitions?
Are there any parts that were confusing? If so, point out those parts. Then There Were Three... You may have almost completed one body paragraph in class, but you will finish the other two on your own time.

Remember that your rough draft is due Friday for editing and revising!! An argument conclusion needs to include:
A restatement of the thesis
A brief summary of the argument and its reasons (2-3 sentences)
Opposing viewpoint
Counterargument
Call to action Restating your Argument Reword your thesis and repeat it in the conclusion.
To summarize your body paragraphs, it may be easier to just reword your topic sentences. Opposing viewpoint and Counterargument Remember that the opposing viewpoint is going to be the opposite of your opinion.

Find the strongest piece of evidence from the other side that you can counterargue Example:

Opposing Viewpoint: Naysayers of uniforms point out that in many cases, enrollment dropped as much as 20% after implementing uniforms.

Counterargument: However, at the public school level, the case of enrollment is unimportant because schools receive funding based on the percent of students who meet state standards and not the actual numbers. Also, a lower enrollment means less students for every teacher, which means each student gets more individualized attention. Call to Action This answers the question, "What next?"
It's often your solution to the issue. A few examples:
Prediction: I predict in a few years every school will be requiring uniforms for the sake of positive student learning.
Question: After seeing time and again the amount of proof in support of uniforms, how can anyone deny that they would be great for our students?
Recommendation: I recommend contacting your district's superintendent about uniforms, or bring it up at the next school board meeting, to get people thinking about uniforms!
Quote: (Be careful with this one. If you pick a quote, make sure it fits and is powerful enough to stand on its own at the very end of your paper.)
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