ARGUMENT ESSAY WRITING

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1 ARGUMENT ESSAY WRITING

2 THESIS STATEMENTS A thesis statement manages to encapsulate an essay s main argument in a one-sentence succinct statement. Writers often find it useful to create a road map thesis, where the thesis briefly lists the areas that will be discussed in the essay. This is called a pronged thesis. A THESIS STATEMENT: Has a clearly stated position, but does not bluntly announce the position ( In this essay I will ) NO PERSONAL PRONOUNS! Is narrow enough to write a focused essay, but is broad enough to write MULTIPLE body paragraphs Is clearly stated in specific terms Is easily recognized as the main idea Is forceful and direct Is not softened with token phrases ( in my opinion or I think ) NO PERSONAL PRONOUNS! Lists all the subtopics (PRONGS) that will be made in the body paragraphs.

3 CONSTRUCTING A STRONG THESIS How do you write a good thesis statement? Topic + belief/claim(using an active verb) + prongs / subtopics = Strong thesis + + = Strong Thesis Teens purchasing violent video games is dangerous because the content may be too mature to fully understand, an increase in aggressive behavior may occur, and players may be desensitized to real-life violence.

4 LET S WRITE A THESIS! Topic: Should teens be able to buy violent video games? Step One: Make a pro and cons chart. Step Two: Use the chart to decide which position you will take. Make your claim - (for or against) Step Three: Group the information into subtopics that support your claim. Step Four: Identify evidence from your T-Charts that you will use in each subtopic. Step Four: Write your thesis statement clearly identifying your subtopics.

5 IDENTIFYING YOUR SUBTOPICS Use your articles and T-Charts to start identifying possible claim sub-topics that support your claim. Create a Tree Map on a separate piece of paper, and identify your claim sub-topics and what evidence from your T-Charts will you use in your claims. Example: Your claim Claim Subtopics Evidence from T- Charts Write your thesis statement underneath the tree map.

6 EXAMPLES Parallel Structure 6

7 INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH INCLUDES: LEAD/ATTENTION GRABBER LEAD INTOTHE THESIS/FOCUS Bridge and background information COUNTER-CLAIM THESIS

8 LEADS/ATTENTION GRABBERS WRITERS CAN BEGIN WITH INTRIGUING STATEMENT SHOCKING STATEMENT OR STATISTIC RHETORICAL QUESTION ANECDOTE STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM PROVERB, QUOTE, OR STRONG STATEMENT SONG LYRIC

9 SAMPLE INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH [LEAD/HOOK/ATTENTION GRABBER] Imagine being blindfolded while watching a new movie you really want to watch; some important visual information is blocked by the blindfold. Such a blindfold in this scenario represents censorship in real life. [LEAD INTO THESIS/FOCUS/BRIDGE] Censorship is the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security. Censorship is a dangerous and unnecessary tool commonly used today. When it comes to censoring, more knowledge is lost in the world than protection is granted. [COUNTERCLAIM/REBUT] Although censorship protects the young mind from being tainted or becoming violent, it is necessary to know a certain degree of this information for it can be important. [THESIS] Censorship should not be allowed because it prohibits the development of crucial skills, distorts society and knowledge, and is against the Constitution of the United States.

10 BODY PARAGRAPHS BODY PARAGRAPHS TYPICALLY HAVE THE SAME STRUCTURE: Topic sentence starting with transition/ transitional phrase introducing first reason ICE Point to Introduce Evidence Cite Evidence/Data (with an internal citation) Explanation your words connecting the evidence to your point Repeat ICE until all credible evidence has been presented Acknowledge Counterclaim and Refute/Rebut Conclusion sentence beginning with transition or transitional phrase summarizing info in paragraph as well as transitioning to next body paragraph Writers should remember to transition between new supporting details/warrants within the paragraph. GOOD TRANSITIONS FOR GIVING EXAMPLES: For instance, Specifically, In particular, Namely, Another, Other, In addition, To illustrate

11 QUOTE PARAPHRASE SUMMARIZE When you present evidence from a source, you have three options: Quote the source by using its exact language with quotation marks or in a block quotation. Paraphrase the source by restating a short passage in your own words. Summarize the source by restating its ideas in fewer words than the original. All 3 options need to be cited!

12 BODY PARAGRAPHS CONTINUED: Acknowledge the Counterclaim and Refute/Rebut: Somewhere within your body paragraph you must acknowledge the other side and then refute or rebut the information to strengthen your argument. You, as the writer, will have to determine where this should be placed in your body paragraph based on the evidence you are presenting. Don t forget to refute/rebut the information prior to concluding the paragraph. You don t want their side to win the argument!

13 Rhetorical Strategies: Don t forget to incorporate elements of ethos, pathos, and logos! 13

14 COUNTERCLAIM/REBUTTAL Counterclaim: A claim that negates or disagrees with the thesis/claim. Rebuttal: Evidence that negates or disagrees with the counterclaim. Don't avoid the opposing side of an argument. Instead, include the opposing side as a counterclaim. Find out what the other side is saying and respond to it within your own argument. This is important so that the audience is not swayed by weak, but unrefuted, arguments. Including counterclaims allows you to find common ground with more of your readers. It also makes you look more credible because you appear to be knowledgeable about the entirety of the debate rather than just being biased or uninformed. You may want to include several counterclaims to show that you have thoroughly researched the topic.

15 Dangarembga takes the position that... COUNTERCLAIM Typical introductory strategies include the following: Many people [believe/argue/feel/think/suppose/etc.] that [state the counterargument here] It is often [thought/imagined/supposed/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here] [It would be easy to/one could easily] [think/believe/imagine/suppose/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here] It might [seem/appear/look/etc.] as if [state the counter-argument here] Another common approach is to use a question: But isn t it true that [state the counter-argument here]? [Doesn t/wouldn t/isn t] [state the counter-argument here]? You can also cite specific writers or thinkers who have expressed a view opposite to your own: On the other hand, Fund argues that... However, Ngugi has written,...

16 Occasion/Position Statements Can be used as Topic Sentences or used to Acknowledge a Counterclaim and refute/rebut An Occasion/Position Statement is a complex (two-part) sentence that begins with one of these words or phrases: After That In order to Since So that Though Unless Until When Whenever Where Wherever Whether While Although As As if As long as As soon as Because Before Even Even if Even though If In order

17 THE OCCASION 1. Is the first part of the sentence 2. Introduce your reason for writing 3. Can be any event, problem, ideas, solution, or circumstance that gives you a reason to write 4. Introduces/acknowledges the counterclaim. 5. Is the dependent clause (dependent meaning a fragment) in the complex sentence THE POSITION 1. Is the second part of the topic sentence/counterclaim. 2. States what you plan to prove or explain in your paragraph/refutes the counterclaim. 3. Is the independent (complete sentence) clause in the complex sentence. Example: Although censorship is a good idea for blocking profanity in media, such as in books or on the Internet, this stops children from learning how to appropriately express emotions which often results in inappropriate actions or words. Example: Before you make the decision to light up a cigarette, consider the problems caused by smoking.

18 BODY PARAGRAPH CONTINUED: CONCLUSION SENTENCE When writing a concluding statement in a paragraph, writers want to flag that they are concluding the paragraph by offering a concluding transition. TRANSITIONS FOR CONCLUDING STATEMENTS: Therefore Thus Consequently As a result AS WELL AS MANY MORE IN THE ELA SURVIVAL GUIDE TRANSITIONS TO SET-UP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: Another is not the only

19 SAMPLE BODY PARAGRAPH [TOPIC SENTENCE] Primarily, censorship prohibits crucial skills from developing correctly. [ I ] Such skills include the ability to formulate conclusions and express one s self, and this limits the discussion of new ideas. [C] For example, The First Amendment: Censorship, the author states, censorship prevents youngsters from exploring the world, seeking truth and reason, stretching their intellectual capacities, and becoming critical thinkers. [E] This means that censorship chills creativity in young minds by narrowing the selection of learning resources, resulting in bland lessons and non-relatable information, which ultimately harms both students and teachers. [ I ] Furthermore, The freedom to be exposed to a variety of information and be able to digest said information is essential to the democratic way of life. [C] According to the article, Censorship Undermines Democracy, the authors Driscoll and DiLascio comment that, Censorship deprives individuals to formulate their own conclusions about a work of art, literature, or music. [E] To elaborate, this makes people unable to formulate opinions on material they could possibly feel strongly about, and therefore less enthusiastic in the pursuit of new knowledge. Although censorship is a good idea for blocking profanity in media, such as in books or on the Internet, this stops children from learning how to appropriately express emotions which often results in inappropriate actions or words (Williams). [COUNTERCLAIM/REBUTTAL]. In final consideration, when parents, or adults in general, simply want the best for youth and therefore censor information, in reality the good intention is most likely creating the opposite effect. [CONCLUDING STATEMENT]

20 CONCLUSION PARAGRAPHS THE CONCLUSION PARAGRAPHS TYPICALLY: Restate the thesis Review the main points Leave the reader thinking Writers should remind the reader of the magnitude and timeliness of the issue.

21 CONCLUSION PARAGRAPHS: 1. RESTATE THE THESIS The thesis and the restatement of the thesis are cousins, not identical twins: They share key similarities, but they still look and sound like separate individuals. Make sure the restatement looks and sounds different from the thesis. 2. REVIEW THE MAIN POINTS Beginner writers may have the tendency to sound like they are making a list when they review the main points of the essay. Read and reread this section. Make sure it flows and smoothly fits into the conclusion paragraph without sounding like a list.

22 CONCLUSION PARAGRAPHS: 3. LEAVE THE READER THINKING! Now is not the time to introduce new key arguments; the argument should have properly been addressed in the body paragraphs. Instead, writer might want to extend the reader s understanding on the argument showing new aspects of the big picture. Writers can do this by discussing what the future would look like if the situation remains the same. Referring back to an anecdote or an attention-getter that was used in the introduction paragraph adds a nice stylistic ending. STRATEGIES TO WRAP UP THE CONCLUSION: Clincher: a final sentence that leaves the reader with an intriguing thought, question, or quotation Full Circle Ending: Connect your final thoughts with the grabber in the beginning of your intro paragraph Call to Action: Ask the reader to do something or get involved by doing something

23 SAMPLE CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH: (RESTATE THESIS USING DIFFERENT WORDS)To summarize, censorship should not be allowed because it limits the development of essential skills, misrepresents knowledge, and defies our first amendment rights. [SUMMARIZE MAIN POINTS]. Censorship has been identified in many infamous situations in the past such as during slavery and the Holocaust. Since so many terrible events have occurred, nothing good will come out of censoring in the near or distant future. There is hardly any gain or profit from it, no matter what perspective one looks at censorship from.[leave READER THINKING!] In order to watch that new movie and get all of the details and understanding from it, start by removing the blindfold and enjoy all that the movie has to offer before it might be too late. (Full-Circle Ending)

24 CONCLUSION PARAGRAPHS: IN THE CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH NEVER EVER EVER Use clichés Apologize for the material you are writing Blatantly refer to the actual essay ( this essay shows you ) Introduce new arguments, evidence, or details you might have forgotten Soften your argument by being wishy/washy Identical repetition of words in the thesis

25 PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS ARTICLES & AUTHORS 1. Point: Censorship Undermines Democracy By: Sally Driscoll and Tracey DiLascio 2. Censorship: For the People, or for Controlling the People? By: Jessica McBirney 3. Counterpoint: There is no Need to Create New Censorship Laws Specifically for the Internet. By: Sally Driscoll and Tracey DiLascio 4. Counterpoint: The Value of Censorship By: Brian Wilson 5. Your Article Your Author

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