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Argument and Analysis Parallelism • 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 readability. • Compare the following examples: – Lacking parallelism: She likes cooking, jogging, and to read. – 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 response. • 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 speaker. • 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. Argument • 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 argument). • A thesis will usually do one of three things: make a judgment about something, offer a solution or recommendation, or explain something. 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 arguments. • 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 courses. – 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 stand. • But an argument requires more than a good thesis. You also need to provide supporting ideas and evidence.
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