The Argumentative Essay. Tales Round the Campfire.
These topics are one of my favourite compositions, apart from the narrative ones.
The argumentative essay is my last post about writing tips to help writers improve their skills.
An argumentative essay is in many ways similar to an abstract one in that it is concerned almost entirely with ideas. But it differs in one important respect: as you are required to discuss a particular problem, you are not free to interpret a subject in any way you wish. An ability to reason and a capacity for arranging ideas in logical order are the important requirements of an argumentative essay. In addition to this you must draw largely on your general knowledge: what you know is far more important than what you imagine or observe.
AIMS: 1) To argue for or against a proposition without necessarily attempting to persuade the reader to agree with you. Your aim here is simply to present a viewpoint.
2) To argue in such a way as to persuade the reader to agree with you.
3) To attempt to solve a problem.
4) To discuss a problem without necessarily arriving at a solution.
DEFINING AN ATTITUDE. Before attempting to make a plan, you must define your attitude, that is to say that you must decide on the way you intend to argue. Argumentative topics are often deliberately provocative, taking the form of a challenging quotation. For example:
"Do humans have the right to destroy our beautiful natural environment?..."
SUBJECT-MATTER. The ability to write a good argumentative essay depends not only on what you know, but on how well you can use what you know.
Students who have a wide general knowledge should guard against a tendency to write purely factual prose so that their essays read like articles in an encyclopaedia. Facts should provide nothing more than the framework for ideas, speculations, theories, or opinions. The correct presentation of facts is as important as the facts themselves.
When referring to facts you should take great care to be accurate.
TREATMENT. There are two main forms of argument: Inductive and Deductive.
In "inductive" argument, you begin with a general statement and then produce facts to prove it. In "deductive" argument, you infer one statement from another, beginning with a general idea and arriving at a particular one.
Whichever way you choose to argue, you must ensure that your essay is balanced and that you deal with both sides of the argument. This is especially important when you have a definite viewpoint of your own. As a general rule, you should begin by considering the other side of the case first. In this way it is possible to anticipate probable objections to what you have to say. This technique will invariably enable you to present your case in the best way.
Each paragraph should contain a central idea and the sentences should be closely related to each other. Transitions between paragraphs will be smooth if you warn the reader beforehand that you are going to deal with another aspect. Your essay must be a well-organized and balanced whole.
It is easy to understand the function of the Introduction, Development, and Conclusion if you think of an argumentative essay in terms of a geometrical theorem.
You begin with something to prove or to explain; you have a "given" amount of information (facts); using this information, you go on to your "proof" either by using facts to prove one or a number of general statements (induction), or by a process of reasoning: inferring one idea from another (deduction). In this way you arrive at a final conclusion which has evolved from the foregoing argument.
INTRODUCTION. A clear indication of the way you intend to define your attitude should be given to the reader. The whole argument that is to follow will be built on the initial premise which is contained in the introduction.
DEVELOPMENT. Devote the first one or two paragraphs to a consideration of the other side of the case before amplifying your views. From then on, each paragraph you write must add something new and important to your argument.
CONCLUSION. Here you may in some way re-state your initial premise.
ILLUSTRATION. An abstract idea will always become clear if a definite example is given to illustrate it. Supposing, for example, that you are arguing that more progress has been made in Astronomy in the last 100 years than at any other time in History. You could illustrate this idea by referring the findings of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, etc. Radio telescopes and radio satellites indicate what have been discovered in our own times. Once you have given an illustration, it is easier to draw a conclusion.
CONTRAST. If you are presenting both ideas of a case, contrast is embodied in the very framework of your essay. The wider the range of reference, the more interesting your essay becomes.
STYLE. Keep your English as simple and direct as possible. A sure way to do this is to write on subjects you are sure you can handle well. If your ideas are vague, muddled and undigested, this will be reflected in your writing: it will soon be apparent to the reader that you do not really know what you want to say. Clear thinking and a knowledge of your subject will enable you to write in a straight forward, readable style. It is best to avoid the first person except in cases where you are specifically asked to give your own opinions.
PLANNING. How you will order your ideas is for you to decide. In any case, it is essential to make out a full plan before attempting to write your essay. You may depart from your original scheme if you have second thoughts in the course of writing. A sound plan will enable you to build up an argument in the most effective way.
Each paragraph-outline should consist of a central thought and a few subsidiary ideas related to it. As you become more and more proficient, it will become less and less necessary to make out a very detailed plan. Then, your ideas will come out more natural when you write.
MY NATURE BLOG is an example of MY ARGUMENTS BASED ON REAL EVIDENCE.
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HAVE A BLESSED TIME!
POET STARRY DAWN.