Writing an Argument - Mrs. Burns

Writing an Argument Thesis Statement Organization Open Thesis vs. Closed Thesis The thesis is a declarative sentence. It is a clear, specific statement, which states the main point of a the paper, thereby limiting the topic and indicating the authors approach to the topic.

For the following examples, lets say you are writing a paper on the relationship between the United States criminal court system and the media. Open (Implicit) Thesis: If you make an assertion about the broad topic without stating any of the reasoning in your argument, then you have written an open thesis statement. Example of an open (implicit) thesis statement: The media plays too influential a role in criminal court trials. Benefits: It does not limit you as much so that you don't have a specific number of reasons that you must address. Dangers: It's very easy to go off topic or be too vague in your support. Closed (Explicit) Thesis:

If you make an assertion and include the reason(s) which support your assertion, you have written a closed thesis statement. Example of a closed (explicit) thesis: The media plays a very influential role in criminal court trials because of their access to the people, their bias, and because of the special privileges. Benefits: This provides a roadmap for you and your reader that outlines the main reasoning of your argument. Dangers: You can choose reasons that are too narrow and do not

Organization: The logical progression of ideas Effective organization begins with a purposeful lead and moves towards a logical, thoughtful ending. AP readers do not wish to read formulaic writing. They DO NOT want to see this: Introduction Reason 1

Reason 2 Reason 3 Conclusion This will lead to a score of no more than 5 (if you are lucky!). While you can make a tolerable argument in a five-paragraph essay, it is an immature style of writing that limits your ability to fully address all the implications of the argument. Organization through Structure Once you have determined your thesis and your reasoning/evidence, you MUST pick an organizational structure. Compare/Contrast Cause/Effect Problem/Solution Order

of Importance Sequential/Historical Always consider what will be most effective in guiding your audience logically through your reasoning. Dont forget to determine where you will place your counterargument! How do I know when to start a new paragraph? When you begin a new idea or point.

To contrast information or ideas. Separate paragraphs can serve to contrast sides in a debate, different points in an argument, or any other difference. When your readers need a pause. New ideas should always start in new paragraphs. If you have an extended idea that spans multiple paragraphs, each new point within that idea should have its own paragraph. Breaks between paragraphs function as a short "break" for your readersadding these in will help your writing be more readable. You would create a break if the paragraph becomes too long or the material is complex. When you are ending your introduction or starting your conclusion.

Signposts and Transitions Signposts are internal aids to assist readers; they usually consist of several sentences or a paragraph outlining what the piece has covered and where the piece will be going. Transitions are usually one or several sentences that "transition" from one idea to the next. Transitions can be used at the end of most paragraphs to help the paragraphs flow one into the next. Transitional clauses can be used to help establish these transitions and also help create strong topic sentences. Examples: Not only does the penny prevent further economic strain, it stimulates the economy. Aside from its economic benefits, the penny serves in aiding the

preservation of Americas history. Organization: Paragraph Structure And remember, paragraph structures are still important! Just because you arent writing formulaically doesnt mean that you forget everything you know about good writing! Make sure to include a topic sentence for EACH body paragraph. Also, use sentence-leveling to ensure detailed analysis.

Evidence is only a level 2 or 3. You must make sure to expand on the evidence by going deeper in your explanation and connect it back to your claim(s). Homework Respond to the AP 2006 Question 3, an Argument prompt. Write an essay in which you take a position on the value of such public statements of opinion, supporting your views with appropriate evidence. Try to time yourself 40 minutes, including pre-writing. Draw a line at 40 minutes and

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