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Essay Writing: Point, Proof, Comment

For the Grade 9 Academic Course
by

Patrick Brophy

on 29 March 2014

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Transcript of Essay Writing: Point, Proof, Comment

The Structure of an Argument
Finally! It happened!

You have thought of an argument for your English essay!

Now we just need to organize that thought into a concise and articulate argument!

Here is how to convert those awesome ideas into sound arguments!

In argumentation, the goal is to convince your readers through rational argument or emotional persuasion. In either pursuit, the most important thing is to have a CLEAR point.

Example:

"Due to an increasing number of head injuries in hockey, penalties given for violent hits should be increased."
THE POINT:
Making a solid point is just the start of the process! For an argument to be successful, your point must be backed up by proof.

For example, if your
POINT
is that the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup this year... everyone in the room is going to follow up your statement with:

"HOW DO
YOU
FIGURE?"

Your response is the
PROOF
of that argument. If you don't have
PROOF
, your original
POINT
will be quickly discarded by your audience.
THE PROOF
Most students are proficient at articulating POINTS and PROOFS. The difficulty comes when they must comment on why a PROOF helps their original POINT.

The commentary does two things: explains the validity of your proof, and; links the proof back to your original point (which is the reason you're writing in the first place!).

For Example:

Point:
The government should pass a law banning people under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.

Proof:
Studies have shown that using these UV beds prior to the age of 18 significantly increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

Commentary:
Although we cannot stop youth from getting skin damage, the scientific link between tanning beds and cancer are significant enough that we must protect the youth until they can make mature decisions about their health.
THE
COMMENTARY

Point:
Many faithful fans believe that this is the year that the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup.

Proof:
In the previous year, the GM committed to a number of high-priced talents that will ensure goals are scored and defence is played.

Commentary:
As with all of the top-teams, the Leafs will have the type of talent necessary during the playoffs and it remains the opinion of Leafs-faithful that this strong lineup will put the team in a position to win the Cup.
The Structure:
In Action
Good writing would be equally effective if it were spoken. Therefore, do not write in a style that is significantly different than how you speak.
Use a "voice" that you would likely use when speaking to a parent or teacher (no slang or informal language).
Every word within your writing should be directed toward your intent - to PROVE your opinion/position as true. Keep focused on your point and always work toward proving it!
Do not take yourself too seriously. Readers do not want to be bored... write concisely and with purpose.
Things to Remember
What separates most good writing from bad is the writer's ability to move back and forth between generalizations and specific details.

Details bring generalizations to life by providing concrete, specific illustrations. Your
PROOF
must have specific details.

Remember this:

Reasons
Examples
Names
Numbers
Senses
WITH A PROOF, DETAIL IS IMPORTANT!
You and a partner will be given a number of paper slips with Points, Proofs, and Commentaries.

Your job is to organize these into correct orders.

Good Luck!
Time for Practice
Writing Assignment:
Using the Point-Proof-Commentary format:
Write a single argumentative paragraph where you argue that other people should be passionate about your hobby.
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