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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Writing argumentative essays (part I)

An argumentative essay is an essay in which you are going to write about a statement or "premise" with which your readers may or may not agree.
When you are writing this kind of essay your aim is to make those readers agree with your statement or premise. To persuade them to take your side, you need to support your ideas with pertinent examples and logical cases in point.

Example:

Premise: Students shouldn't wear a uniform.
Supporting statement 1: Parents will have to pay for the uniforms.
Supporting statement 2: Students feel they are not free.

Let's practice!
Think about two supporting statements to the following premises.

Premise: Killing animals for their fur or skin must be banned.
Supporting statement 1:
Supporting statement 2:
Premise: Children should be allowed to use cell phones.
Supporting statement 1:
Supporting statement 2:
Premise: Celebrities' private lives should remain private.
Supporting statement 1:
Supporting statement 2:

Possible answers

Premise: Killing animals for their fur or skin must be banned.
Supporting statement 1: It is immoral. We don't have the right to kill animals.
Supporting statement 2: We can use fibers to make synthetic products.
Premise: Children should be allowed to use cell phones.
Supporting statement 1: They can use them in case of emergencies.
Supporting statement 2: Parents know about where their kids are.
Premise: Celebrities' private lives should remain private.
Supporting statement 1: They are human beings. They need to live in peace.
Supporting statement 2: Opening their lives to the public can be disastrous.

Now, that we have our ideas jotted down we need to organize them in a paragraph by using connectives like: Firstly (used to say we are going to mention our first supporting idea/statement), moreover, furthermore, besides, in addition (to add other supporting statements) and finally (to tell the reader that it is going to be our last supporting statement).

Example:
Students shouldn't wear a uniform. Firstly, parents have to pay for uniforms.
In addition, students feel they are not free.

It is often more attention-grabbing to add specific details and illustrate our supporting statements with examples. Let us study the following example:

Students shouldn't wear a uniform. Firstly, parents have to pay for uniforms. Indeed, school uniforms can be very expensive. In addition, students feel they are not free. In fact, they feel they are not treated like free individuals who can decide about personal matters like what they choose to wear.

Let's practice!
Part One:
The following statements have one supporting statement. Add one or two other supporting statements and use connectives:

Premise: Mass media is doing nothing to help teenagers give up smoking.
Supporting statement 1: they are showing celebrities who are smoking in a positive way.
Supporting statement 2:
Premise: Vehicles using gasoline should be replaced with ecological vehicles.
Supporting statement 1: Petroleum fuels create harmful emissions like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides that pollute the environment.
Supporting statement 2:

Possible answers:

Premise: Mass media is doing nothing to help teenagers give up smoking.
Supporting statement 1: they are showing celebrities who are smoking in a positive way.
Supporting statement 2: they don't put on view strong messages that show the dangers of smoking.
Premise: Vehicles using gasoline should be replaced with ecological vehicles.
Supporting statement 1: Petroleum fuels create harmful emissions like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides that pollute the environment.
Supporting statement 2: Home refueling of electric and natural gas cars can save time and be rather cost effective.
Mass media is doing nothing to help teenagers give up smoking. Firstly, they are showing celebrities who are smoking in a positive way. Moreover, they don't put on view strong messages that show the dangers of smoking.
Vehicles using gasoline should be replaced with ecological vehicles. Firstly, Petroleum fuels create harmful emissions like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides that pollute the environment. Moreover, Home refueling of electric and natural gas cars can save time and be rather cost effective.

Part Two: Now think of some examples you can add to further illustrate or explain the following supporting statements using "indeed" and "in fact".

Premise: Cell phone use should be banned while driving an automobile
Supporting statement 1: while using the cell phone, drivers tend to concentrate less on what is happening on the road.
Supporting statement 2: if they hear bad news on the phone, drivers may get panicked.

Possible answers:

Premise: Cell phone use should be banned while driving an automobile
Supporting statement 1: while using the cell phone, drivers tend to concentrate less on what is happening on the road. Indeed, many studies have proven that talking on a cell phone while driving results in the same accident rate as if you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.'
Supporting statement 2: if they hear bad news on the phone, drivers may get panicked.In fact, even after the conversation is over, drivers may still think about it and may forget about traffic signs or safety rules.

Part Three: Now write the whole paragraph using connectives (Firstly, moreover, besides, etc…):
Possible answers:

Cell phone use should be banned while driving an automobile. Firstly, while using the cell phone, drivers tend to concentrate less on what is happening on the road. Indeed, many studies have proven that talking on a cell phone while driving results in the same accident rate as if you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Besides, if they hear bad news on the phone, drivers may get panicked. In fact, even after the conversation is over, drivers may still think about it and may forget about traffic signs or safety rules.

It is high time for us to add a concluding statement. We use it to indicate that we are making a final statement which usually sums up all the supporting statements in a general way. We can use: In conclusion, in summary, thus, to sum up, etc…

In conclusion, banning the use of phones in automobiles can lead drivers to concentrate more on the road and it can eventually prevent them from getting distracted by phone conversations.

References: Writing Argumentative Essays: http://www.ltn.lv/~markir/essaywriting/frntpage.htm
Italki : http://www.italki.com
http://www.forandagainst.com

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Lotfi Al samali

tarak mohammed Brahmi said...

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Anyway, i am sorry for the long delay! and 1000 thanks dear friends for coming to see me here!
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