Persuasive Text Basic elements of argument by hcj


Basic Elements of Argument
Central Argument
The main idea, thesis,
 or point the author is
Author’s Purpose
 Is it to inform, entertain,
   persuade? Usually in
persuasive text, the author
desires to persuade you to
see his or her point of view.
Target Audience
Who is the text written
for? Who is targeted?
 Who would be most
    affected by this
  Fact vs. Opinion
In persuasive text, the author
  supplies both. Analyze the
   statements to determine
   which he incorporates to
        prove his point.
Fact – statistics, quotes from
  others, provable sources

According to a report published in the New
 Journal of Medicine: 25% of all patients
 who took this drug showed a decrease in
 blood pressure.
 Opinion – cannot be proven

No one should take this blood pressure
 medicine since it causes weight gain and
 nervous tension.
    !!! WARNING !!!
Be careful: some authors word their
     argument so subtly that the
    reader may confuse what is
  actually fact vs. opinion. It takes
   a careful analysis to determine
            the difference.
• Arguments are presented to
  persuade the reader to believe
  the thesis presented.

• These arguments can appear in
  many forms, and a piece of
  writing can incorporate more than
  one of the following techniques:
        Cause and Effect
    These claims argue that one person,
    thing, or event caused another thing
              or event to occur.


The popularity of SUV's in America has caused pollution to increase.
         Cause                                          Effect
• The reader will need to look
  closely for the cause/effect
  relationship; sometimes it is
  not as obvious as this
This is an argument in which a conclusion is
       drawn about a situation based on
  similarities of this situation (analogies) to
   previous situations. It is considered the
        weakest of all of the techniques.


It is not a good idea to invade a foreign country and help solve their
     governmental problems; afterall, look at how disastrous it was for
     US forces in Vietnam.
• We can then proceed to determine
  whether the two situations/things are
  indeed similar in the relevant respects,
  and whether those aspects of similarity
  support the conclusion.

• Did our intervention in Vietnam mirror
  the intervention and problems?

• Is the analogy appropriate?
    Authority (ethos)

Ethos, or the ethical appeal, is based
    on the character, credibility, or
   reliability of the writer. There are
     many ways to establish good
character and credibility as an author.
Dr. Montgomery, Chief Medical Examiner,
 explained the importance of the new found
 medicine for cancer patients. Dr.
 Montgomery has studied medicine for over
 twenty years.
   Emotion (pathos)

Pathos is an appeal based on
   emotion. It appeals to an
audience's needs, values, and
    emotional sensibilities.
A baby turtle breaks free from the leathery shell of its egg,
  catching its first glimpse of its first sunrise. It pauses a
  moment to rest, unaware of the danger that lies so close
  to it. As the tide comes in, approaching the nest, it also
  approaches a small pile of metal - cesium. The water
  draws closer and closer, the turtle unsuspecting of the
  danger. Finally, the water touches the cesium. The nest
  is torn to bits in the resulting explosion, destroying even
  more of an endangered species. We, Americans, can
  prevent this devastation from occurring again.

• What emotional appeal is this attempting to extract
  from the reader?
     Logic (logos)
Logos is appeal based on logic
 or reason. Facts or details are
  given to appeal to the logical
    side of the brain. It is the
     exact opposite of using
By combining cesium and dihydro-oxide in
 laboratory conditions, and capturing the
 released energy, ACME has promised to
 lead the way into the future. Our energy
 source is clean, safe, and powerful. No
 pollutants are released into the
 atmosphere. The world will soon have an
 excellent source of clean energy.
• Can you determine which part(s) of the
  previous example is actually the logos?

• Statements are often made after the
  fact is stated to further persuade the

• Again, no emotion will be used.

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