Argument and Analysis

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					Argument and Analysis
• In grammar, parallelism is a balance of two or
  more similar words, phrases, or clauses.
• The application of parallelism in sentence
  construction improves writing style and
• Compare the following examples:
  – Lacking parallelism: She likes cooking, jogging, and to
  – Parallel: She likes cooking, jogging, and reading.
• A rhetorical device is a technique, sometimes
  called a resource of language, used by an
  author or speaker to induce an emotional
• These emotional responses are central to the
  meaning of the work or speech, and should also
  get the listener (or the reader's) attention.
  Parallelism as a Rhetorical Device

• Parallelism means to give two or more parts of
  the sentences a similar form so as to give the
  whole a definite pattern.
  – "In a democracy we are all equal before the law. In a
    dictatorship we are all equal before the police."
  – "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal
    sharing of blessing; the inherent vice of socialism is
    the equal sharing of miseries."
            Rhetorical Appeals
• According to Aristotle, rhetoric is "the ability, in
  each particular case, to see the available means
  of persuasion.“

• He described three main forms of rhetoric:
  Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.
• Ethos is appeal based on the character of the

• An ethos-driven document relies on the
  reputation of the author.
• Pathos is appeal based on emotion.

• Advertisements tend to be pathos-driven.
• Logos is appeal based on logic or reason.

• Documents distributed by companies or
  corporations are logos-driven.

• Scholarly documents are also often logos-driven.
• Any time you take a position and try to explain it,
  you're making an argument.

• Most of the sources you're gathering for your paper
  probably make arguments.

• Some of them will make strong arguments supporting
  the authors' personal opinions while others might make
  more moderate arguments explaining the reasons why
  some event occurred.
• The most important part of any argument is the
  thesis (also called a claim, a position, or a central
• A thesis will usually do one of three things:
  make a judgment about something, offer a
  solution or recommendation, or explain
          Examples of Theses
• Adding a "multiracial" category to the U.S.
  Census would be harmful to the African-
  American community.
• Electronic invasion of privacy endangers
  American families.
• Distance learning is good for students and
  institutions, but it may not be good for faculty.
 Supporting Ideas and Evidence
• A thesis is supported by more specific
  arguments and evidence that will support those
• For instance, you could support an argument
  about the value of distance learning by using the
  following ideas:
  – Today's college students need access to education at
    times and places that are convenient to them, so
    distance learning may work better than traditional
  – Students need to work on school projects at
    different paces since their schedules are not steady.
    Distance learning can allow them to do this.
  – Distance learning could be more affordable for
    schools and students than traditional methods.
Each of these ideas would be supported by
 examples and evidence. Some of the evidence
 could be facts and statistics, but most arguments
 also need other kinds of supporting information.
• Usually, supporting evidence includes facts,
  ideas and quotes from experts, examples of
  cases related to your topic, and quotes from
  people who are affected by it.

• A good argument will explain how each piece of
  evidence relates to the argument and why the
  evidence is valuable and credible.
• For each supporting idea in an argument, the following
  pieces should appear:
   – Supporting idea (Distance learning allows students to fit
     college into their busy schedules).
   – Explanation of the idea (Why are students' lives so busy?
     Why is it easier to fit distance learning into a busy schedule
     than it is to fit traditional courses?)
   – Evidence (quotes from students about their schedules,
     statistics on the number of students working full-time,
     descriptions of how distance learning programs are set up).
• Explanation of the value of the evidence
  (information on the people you're quoting,
  comments about what the increasing number of
  non-traditional students means, explanation of
  how distance learning is more convenient).
         Bias and Logical Errors

• Remember that all arguments reflect the author's
  position in some way.
• We often reject arguments that we think are
  biased, but defining bias is difficult.
• Sometimes, we think that anyone with an
  opinion different from our own is biased.
• Usually, though, having an opinion and even
  feeling strongly about that opinion doesn't make
  someone's argument biased.
• An argument IS biased when the reasons why
  the writer takes a certain position are suspect or
  when they are based on assumptions that aren't
  widely shared.
   – For example, if a writer argues that the President's
     tax plan is a bad idea because he's not trustworthy,
     that's a logical fallacy.
   – The President's trustworthiness has nothing to do
     with whether his tax plan will work.
      Planning Your Argument
• In planning an argument, the first step is to
  define your thesis or central argument.
• Once you know what kind of statement you
  want to make, you need to figure out where you
• But an argument requires more than a good
  thesis. You also need to provide supporting
  ideas and evidence.