…cite experts who agree with you

How can I tell if my topic is debatable? You cannot argue a statement of fact, you must base your paper on a strong position. Ask yourself…

…claim to be an expert if you’re not one

…use weak qualifiers like “I believe,” “I feel,” or “I think”—just tell us!

…provide facts, evidence, and statistics to support your position

For example: while a persuasive paper might claim that cities need to adopt recycling programs, an argument paper on the same topic might be addressed to a particular town. The argument paper would go further, suggesting specific ways that a recycling program should be adopted and utilized in that particular area.

…use strictly moral or religious claims as support for your argument

Controversy in Oregon about the best term to describe how a doctor helps a terminally ill person to die under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act (1994) set me thinking about all the terms we use to describe ways of dying and death. The row in Oregon is between people on the ‘choice’ side who abhor words like suicide, euthanasia, and Hemlock, while on the ‘anti-choice’ side they want the foregoing words to be clearly spelled out because, they think, it helps their opposing case.

…provide reasons to support your claim

9 Geoffrey Brennan and James M.

In this section of Principles of Composition we will explore some of the techniques of argument that might come into play in argumentative essays.

Buchanan, David Gordon, Israel Kirzner, et al

Though there are plenty of times in your life when it’s best to adopt a balanced perspective and try to understand both sides of a debate, this isn’t one of them.

10 Geoffrey Brennan and James M.

Controversial in death as in life, the Hemlock Society USA as a name died suddenly on June 13, 2003, in a boardroom in Denver, Colorado. It was 23 years old. Public relations experts and political strategists – leaning heavily on focus groups – were on hand to usher in the death knell. Months of agonizing debate had preceded the decision because no one could think of a better name!

Born in 1980 in my garage in Santa Monica, California, Hemlock went on to...

…assume the audience will agree with you about any aspect of your argument

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Don’t be afraid to tell others exactly how you think things should go because that’s what we expect from an argument paper. You’re in charge now, what do YOU think?

…attempt to make others look bad (i.e. Mr. Smith is ignorant—don’t listen to him!)

Hayden Boyers, ed.Introduction by Dean Russell

to get the adrenaline flowing and the brain cells clicking. Whether it's you and your brother arguing about the latest pitcher acquisition for the Red Sox or your banker brother-in-law and Aunt Glad (former union organizer and socialist) having a grand set-to about the incredible salaries of American CEOs, arguing is a fundamental and exciting activity. It doesn't exactly set us apart from the other animals — cats and dogs have been arguing for eons — but the allegedly high level of our discourse and our ability to sustain argument and to change our behavior based on what we learn from argument is surely a hallmark of what it means to be human.

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Alternative Views on Monetary Reform" Pamela J.

One stylistic point: it is probably more true of the argumentative essay than it is of the other kinds of essays that we must be very careful of transitions, the devices we use to move from one point to another, to hold ideas together for comparison's sake, to create and organize landmarks along the path of our thinking. Before writing an argumentative essay, it might be a good idea to review the section on . (Later, we will see transitional devices at work in a sample argumentative essay.)