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Writing a Successful
You're having a fight with your brother over the television remote. You fuss and whine over how he alllways gets to watch the hockey game when you've been waiting all week for the continuation of the love triangle drama on your favourite soap opera. He argues that he never watches television and that chances are the game won't be shown on rerun like your show probably will be. You shoot back that he can get the highlights on the sportscast later on, but there's no sportscast for prime time shows.
You slump back annoyed and frustrated and then you think to yourself, "can I label this an argument? Or is it merely an opinion?"
The difference between argument and opinion is what you used to
back it up. An argument uses evidence, facts, statistics,
testimonials etc. to persuade an audience to a point. An opinion on
the other hand is a personal response using logic and personal
experience and background.
According to rhetoric, persuasion and argumentation are art forms of the written world. It is through persuasive writing that we can use our written word to use evidence and prove a point. In an argumentative essay, it is these facts and background information that persuade an audience to follow in your argument and what you side with.
Socrates was one of the primary writers and speakers who used rhetoric and persuasion in his actions. He once said…
After you have found your information in all sorts of forms and
stating bias and opinions of their own, you must establish your
thesis. Your thesis is where you will state your
position on an issue and what you will show with reasoning and the
evidence you've found to try to argue. This thesis should occur in
the first paragraph of your essay. It needs to be clear, concise
and defined. This means that it relates to the question posed as
well as states how you will go about proving through your
In your introduction, it is important to show why the issue you'll be talking about is significant. You should make it clear to the audience why it is important that they care about the topic. The persuasiveness in your essay should really be shown through the evidence you'll be mentioning. This can be brought into the introduction paragraph briefly to entice the reader into reading your body paragraphs. The introduction is used to bring your audience into the context of your topic, get them interested and state your thesis or argument/perspective on the issue and how you'll use evidence to back it up.
The body paragraphs are where you show the evidence and research you've done. The important thing is to reference correctly in the style you're asked to use or one that you're comfortable using. Most professors are fine with you using any style of referencing as long as you use the same one throughout. Make sure that the evidence you use is always tied back to your thesis. You can even have a body paragraph that shows "on the other hand" evidence that goes against your thesis and argument. This provides a great opportunity for you to create a rebuttal paragraph in which to persuade your audience of your thesis further.
Your conclusion is not merely a summary and restatement of your thesis, but it shows a new light on the topic with the inclusion of the evidence just stated. This is very important because it sums up everything that was mentioned and brings your argument to its fullest form. It is not wise to introduce new information in your conclusion however you can state what further research would help your argument even more.
After writing your argumentative essay, you'll discover that research is central, rather than personal opinion. It really is a skill to be able to pull your research together to support an argument rather than purely arguing as you would with your brother over the remote control.
The OWL at Purdue. Essay Writing: The Argumentative Essay. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/05/>