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Argument Overview

One of the largest challenges to moving from high school writing to more advanced work is the challenge to write something original. This doesn’t mean you have to invent some whole new theory of life, the universe, and everything. Rather, it means you have to make your reader think.

You can’t just regurgitate a bunch of facts from the internet or your class notes. So how do you turn the general idea of “Holden Caulfield is alienated from his community” into something original? Something that hasn’t been written about hundreds of times already?

Read on Macduff…

Browse Argument Articles:

Analyzing Your Audience – the First Rule of Effective Writing

The first step to effective communication? Understanding your audience - including TEACHERS. Specific help for writing for the teacher audience.

Avoid Logical GOOFS (Logical Fallacies)

Fallacies are statements that sound logical but, if you stop and think, really aren't. Avoid in your own writing and critique in others'.

Define the KEY WORDS that are Crucial to Your Argument

Selecting a few, specific key words then using them throughout your essay will help emphasize your thesis and create flow and continuity.

Establish Your CREDIBLITY

Any writer needs to establish her credibility. Why read someone who you don't believe or trust? Practice these skills to get it done quickly.

Examples of Persuasive and Argumentative Essays

There's nothing like a model! Quick access to solid examples of persuasive essays.

Include COMPETING Evidence into Your Argument

"Many beginning writers, especially when trying to write argumentatively, will include only evidence that supports their thesis. This is a beginner's mistake. Any intelligent reader will think up competing (contradictory) evidence on their own. And even if they don't, they will have to assume that if you ignore all opposing evidence you have either, a) not done a proper research job or are, b) willfully hiding unflattering facts."

ORGANIZE Your Argument

Like pop songs or action movies, arguments have a pattern to them. Learn a pattern and use it to great effect!

Stay Focused on YOUR thesis

You need a great thesis but you also have to focus on it throughout your essay. Learn how!

Strategies for Arguing: Logos, Ethos and Pathos

"The Greek philosopher Aristotle identified three fundamental strategies for persuading an audience—English teachers may call these strategies “rhetorical appeals.” Everyone who reads or writes arguments should be able to recognize these: Logos is the appeal to logic or reason. Ethos is the appeal based on ethics, which establishes the credibility of the author. Pathos is the appeal to the emotions of the audience."

Strengthen Your Argument by Including a COUNTERargument

Including a counterargument is one of the single-most effective strategies for becoming an academic writer. Your writing will be more detailed, dig deeper, and engage more thoroughly with the material - all by attempting one extra paragraph that takes on the primary opposing argument.

Tips for Organizing Your Ideas (Reverse Outlining)

Use this clever strategy to take a bunch of ideas and shape them into a coherent essay.

WIN From the Start: Write an EVOCATIVE Title

One of the fastest strategies to use as a writer? Use a clever title. Read through some examples and avoid calling your work "English Paper."

Write a More ORIGINAL Thesis

One of the largest challenges to moving from middle-school and early high school writing to more advanced work is the challenge to write something original. This doesn't mean you have to invent some whole new theory of life, the universe, and everything. Rather, it means you have to make your reader think.

Write a More SPECIFIC thesis

You will probably receive, or have received, the following feedback at some point: “Try to narrow your thesis.” This may seem odd; a thesis isn’t something you can squeeze and shape. Can a thesis be ‘fat’? The comment is an attempt to explain that you have bitten off more than you can chew."