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Arguments ENC 1101 An argument is frequently imagined as two or more people in a fist fight or shouting match. Boxing matches are clear-cut: there are two opponents and one always has to win. The winner takes the trophy and fame while the loser squirms in a corner with a nosebleed. Picture: Muhammed Ali punching his opponent in a 1960s boxing match. But in the writing world, arguments have more to do with a person’s head than with his or her fists. When you write an argument, you have to think clearly. You cannot get mad at the reader and you cannot think the reader is mad at you. Your reader is neither your enemy nor your friend. He or she is a stranger that you do not know. However, you should do the following when writing an argument: 1. Apologize for your views: “why Example: “I may not be an expert, would you punch yourself in the but I think that spanking children is face?” sort of bad.” 2. Say your view is right and the Example: “There’s no question that reader’s view is wrong: it’s not a spanking is a horrible way to abuse winning and losing game children. Anyone who thinks otherwise is out of their mind.” 3. Insult your reader: “no fighting Example: “Parents who spank below the belt” please! their kids are a bunch of violent idiots.” What you need to consider when Writing an Argument Purpose Audience Why are you writing this Who are you writing to argument? and why do you think they should care? One of the most annoying If you knew you were right in an situations is having argument, who would you yell at? someone pick a fight with you for no reason. a. Your spouse b. Your boss c. A judge d. A police officer Strategies for Arguments 1. Use tactful, 2. Point out courteous language Common Ground 3. Acknowledge 4. Grant merits of differing viewpoints differing views 5. Rebut differing views USE COURTEOUS, TACTFUL LANGUAGE 1. Stay away from sweeping “People with any intelligence agree that…” statements Or “Everybody knows that…” Be nice Not a witch! 2. Don’t label people who “My opponents say that orphanages think differently than you cost less than foster care.” POINT OUT COMMON GROUND Find points on which people on all sides of the argument can agree on. What opinions do you think you and your readers, regardless of their views, share? What does the reader believe? Acknowledge Differing Views: Strengthens your position in three ways It helps you spot flaws in the opposing position It gives the impression that you are a reasonable person, willing to look at the issue from all sides. Readers will be ready to hear what you have to say Acknowledge opposing views either in the thesis statement, as 2-3 sentences in the intro, or in a paragraph in the body of the essay. Grant Merits of Differing Views What do you do when an Admit that it is a valid point, but opposing view clearly that your view is still stronger and makes sense? PROVE it! Differing View: Johnson’s statement that students Example: should be able to protest is true. No one should take that right away from young people. Your View: However, using school grounds for protests pulls students away from receiving their education. Protests should be done before and after school. Rebut Differing Views Rebut: to show where the opposing argument breaks down; show other side’s weaknesses A Rebuttal can Take Two Forms: 1. Mention all the points of the other side, and then mention your counterargument to each of those points or 2. Present the first point raised by the opposition and rebut that point, them move on to the second opposing point and rebut that, and so on.
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