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What Do You Want To Do Before You Die Essay Format

The First WELL of the Excellent Essay:

WELL-STRUCTURED

 

The Importance of Structure

·       Just starting to write as soon as you read the essay prompt is a BAD STRATEGY! Unfortunately, this is how many students approach the test. Why do they do this? Because most students do not realize that THE TEST GRADERS ARE EVALUATING YOUR EFFORTS BASED IN LARGE PART ON THE ORGANIZATION OF YOUR IDEAS.

·       Taking 2 minutes to OUTLINE YOUR ESSAY enables you to CREATE A ROADMAP for your essay.

·       Writing your essay without first creating a general outline is like taking a car trip without first having any sense of the directions you’ll need to follow in order to arrive at your destination.

·       Without a map travelers get lost. Without an outline, student essays ramble.

·       Take the two minutes to create a map of your essay – it is time very well spent. (And NOT, contrary to popular misconception, time wasted.)

 

Success Secret for the Test

ESSAY GRADERS ARE LOOKING FOR

SOLID STRUCTURE

 

QUESTIONS ESSAY GRADERS WILL ASK THEMSELVES:

·       Is there a sensible progression of ideas?

·       Does the student logically move from Point A to Point B?

·        Does the essay have a Beginning, a Middle and an End?

 

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER ABOUT OUTLINING:

·       It creates Focus.

·       It saves time. (Really, it does. When you know where you are going, it’s a lot easier to get there.)

·       It provides an intelligent Road Map that prevents rambling.

 

Reminder:Those who outline tend to succeed in writing focused, well-structured essays. Those who do not, tend to ramble and run out of time.

 

What to do before you write your essay:

·       Understand what the essay prompt is asking of you.

·       THINK before you write. (Thinking is good – just writing is bad. Unfortunately, too many students do NOT think before they begin to write.)

·       TAKE TWO MINUTES TO OUTLINE YOUR THOUGHTS because outlining provides focus, structure, purposefulness and clarity – all of which are elements students will be evaluated on by the Test Graders.

 

How to Create an Outline:

The Four Paragraph SAT Essay of Excellence

 

NOTE:Being that this is a timed test, students WILL NOT HAVE TIME to elaborate upon every possible aspect the question touches upon. Test Makers know this. Test Graders know this. Students who score well know this, too. By coherently and intelligently responding to the essay prompt in four well-written paragraphs students will enable themselves to earn an excellent score on the Essay Writing Section of the SAT.

 

There are Four Main Sections a student wants to outline before they begin to write their essay.

 

·       Paragraph 1The Main Idea (including a Thesis Statement)

·       Paragraph 2Supporting Paragraph #1 (Point A)

·       Paragraph 3Supporting Paragraph #2 (Point B)

·       Paragraph 4The Concrete Conclusion (re-connecting to the Thesis)

 

Outline these four Big Points in two minutes BEFORE YOU BEGIN!!

 

NOTE:Yes, this is a formula - a formula for success on the SAT. With only 25 minutes to complete a well-written essay, strategy is a HUGE factor for success on this test.

 

Put yourself in the shoes of a Test Grader.

If a Test Grader sees that you can write four well-structured paragraphs that progress from Point to Point, including a Thesis Statement and a Conclusion, you are on you way to an excellent score. Remember, all you need to do is write four paragraphs – there is no time for a 33 page doctoral thesis on the essay prompt - so do NOT try to write one.

 

PITFALLS:Watch out!

·       Avoid the temptation to skip the outline process.

·       Avoid the temptation to abandon the outline after taking the time to create it.

 

Samples Outlining Activities:

Sample #1

DIRECTIONS: Please explain the following quote and whether or not you agree or disagree with the statement.

 

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

 

Two-Minute General Outline:

Paragraph 1 - You must care about something in order to really create greatness.

Paragraph 2 - I agree, being negative will never result in producing amazing results.

Paragraph 3 – Examples exist everywhere proving this point.

Paragraph 4 – Without genuine passion, excellence is unattainable.

 

Sample #2

DIRECTIONS: Please explain the following quote and whether or not you agree or disagree with the statement.

 

The person who lies for you will lie against you. (Harry Truman)

 

Two-Minute General Outline:

Paragraph 1 – A liar is a liar.

Paragraph 2 – Betrayal will eventually happen.

Paragraph 3 – Honesty is a principle without exception.

Paragraph 4 – People who lie for you reveal their true character so beware.

 

 

Though these are only rough statements, one can see that these essays now have a clear sense of direction – and as a result they will be MUCH EASIER to write because a road map is now in place telling us where to go and what to accomplish.

 

 

TAKE TWO MINUTES TO CREATE AN OUTLINE!!

 

 

The Second WELL of the Excellent Essay:

WELL-SUPPORTED

 

The Importance of Support

·       Test Makers and Test Graders are looking for the strong, solid support of ideas in student essays.

·       An idea without strong, solid support is like a roof without a strong, solid foundation – it is going to collapse.

·       Many students will offer a strong, solid idea but not follow it up -- as a result, they do not earn excellent scores for their efforts.

 

How to Support: Know (and Use) The Umbrella Theory

Think of the four main points of your outline as if each of them were an umbrella.

·       Items properly placed under the umbrella are shielded from a storm of point subtraction.

·       Items not placed properly under the umbrella are at risk of being rained on by a storm of point subtraction.

·       Supporting ideas that are sensible and properly placed will fit nicely underneath the umbrellas of your outline.

·       Rambling statements that shoot off in all sorts of nutty directions will not fit under your umbrella.

 

What to support: Paragraph 1 - THE MAIN IDEA/THESIS STATEMENT

Each Well-Written Essay has a Thesis Statement that needs to be supported.

·       What is a Thesis Statement?

·       A Thesis statement expresses the MAIN IDEA OF THE ENTIRE ESSAY.

·       Why do you need a Thesis Statement?

·       You need a thesis statement because it controls the direction, focus and purpose of the essay.

·       How do you create a Thesis Statement?

·       A great way to create a thesis statement that will ensure you address the question you have been asked is to CONVERT THE QUESTION PROMPT INTO A THESIS STATEMENT.

 

How do you support a Thesis Statement?

·       The well-written thesis statement will be like an umbrella for your entire essay – everything will fit underneath its scope.

·       The TOPIC SENTENCES of Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 will be the specific tent poles of support for your thesis by the time you are finished. (More on that in a bit.)

·       Remember, support for the thesis statement will be found throughout the entire essay. In one sense, the purpose of the entire essay is to support the thesis.

 

Don’t forget…

THE THESIS STATEMENT GUIDES YOUR ESSAY

HOW TO CONVERT A QUESTION PROMPT INTO A THESIS STATEMENT

 

1.     Read the Question Prompt.

2.     Change the Prompt from a question into a firm statement.

Example:

Question Prompt: Why do you like vanilla ice cream?

Thesis: Many reasons exist for me to like vanilla ice cream.

Question Prompt: Do you agree that the United States should avoid raising taxes?

Thesis: I completely disagree with the idea that the United States should avoid raising taxes.

 

3.     Use this converted statement as the basis for your thesis.

 

More examples:

 

Question:Considering that most teenage driving fatalities occur after dark, do you believe that teenage drivers should be banned from driving at night?

Converted to Thesis Statement:Because most teenage driving fatalities occur after dark, I believe teenagers should not be allowed to drive their cars after the sun sets.

 

Question:If at the age of eighteen a person can join the military and die for their country, do you feel that they should then also be allowed to go into a bar and be served an alcoholic beverage?

Converted to Thesis Statement:If a person can join the military and die for their country, they should definitely be able to enter a bar and be served an alcoholic beverage.

 

Tips to Remember about Thesis Statements:

·       They need to be direct and focused.

·       They need to serve as an umbrella which can be used for the entire essay.

·       They must address a specific topic and put forth a clear main idea.

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What to support: Paragraph 2 - THE TOPIC SENTENCE

·       Paragraph 2 will begin with a TOPIC SENTENCE.

·       This topic sentence will have been generated from your outline.

·       This topic sentence will need to be supported by the paragraph that follows.

 

·       What is a Topic Sentence?

The topic sentence will directly state the focus, direction and purpose of the paragraph.

·       Why do you need a Topic Sentence?

A Topic Sentence is needed for two distinct reasons:

1.     So that the point of the paragraph is clear and precise.

2.     So that the thesis statement is provide with solid support.

·       How do you create a Topic Sentence?

Since you will know what the focus and purpose of Paragraph 2 needs to be (because you did an outline that sketched out the main idea of this paragraph before you started writing this essay… remember section 1, Well-Structured?) you will know what you are going to be writing about and why. Take your topic sentence from your outline. 

·       How do you support a Topic Sentence?

There are 3 Major Types of Support in the Excellent Essay:

1.  Logical reasoning.

EX: If THIS happens, then THAT will be the result.

2. Personal Examples.

EX: Once, when I was younger, I learned THIS the hard way.

3.     Specific, vivid details.

EX: Green slime oozed from the nostril of the dead gazelle.

Remember, topic sentences are also like an umbrella.

·       Use logical reasoning, personal examples and specific, vivid details to support your topic sentences.

 

Students will want to include all three types of support for their topic sentences in order to score well on the SAT Essay Writing Section.

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What to support: Paragraph 3 - THE DIFFERENT/OPPOSITE PERSPECTIVE

·       Paragraph 3 will begin with a TOPIC SENTENCE.

·       This topic sentence will have been generated from your outline.

·       This topic sentence will need to be supported by the paragraph that follows.

 

NOTE:For an effective, excellent essay the topic sentence of Paragraph 3 will address A DIFFERENT/OPPOSITE PERSPECTIVE from the one addressed by Paragraph 2.

 

ESSAY GRADERS ARE LOOKING FOR A MULTIPLE OF PERSPECTIVES ON THE SAME ISSUE IN THE HIGH-SCORING SAT ESSAY.

MAKE SURE THE PERSPECTIVE OF PARAGRAPH 3 IS DIFFERENT/OPPOSITE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PARAGRAPH 2.

 

Students encounter problems when they do not address a different/opposite perspective in Paragraph 3:

·       Students who only look at the question from one perspective do not demonstrate the sophisticated thought process test graders like to see.

·       Students who only look at the question from one perspective tend to be repetitive in their thoughts and ideas.

·       Students who only look at the question from only one angle tend to not score as high as those who view the question from a different/opposite perspective.

 

How to Create a Different/Opposite Perspective for Paragraph 3:

·       Think in terms of, “The Other Side of the Coin.”

·       Take the other side of the argument.

·       Play “Devil’s Advocate.”

·       Change sides for a minute to consider all angles.

For example…

·       If paragraph 2 is discussing the need for teenage drivers to stay off the road at night, paragraph 3 can address why teenage drivers might argue that they deserve to be able to drive on the road at night.

·       If paragraph 2 is arguing that being able to fight and die as a soldier in the military has nothing to do with being able to responsibly handle being served an alcoholic beverage in a bar, then paragraph 3 can talk about how silly it is that being served alcohol requires more maturity than being asked to handle a weapon in the army.

 

ADDRESSING A DIFFERENT/OPPOSITE PERSPECTIVE IN PARAGRAPH 3 ADDS DEPTH, SOPHISTICATION AND COMPLEXITY TO YOUR ESSAY IN AN EASY-TO-IMPLEMENT MANNER.

Good phrases to incorporate in Paragraph 3:

·       However…

·       On the other hand…

·       Another way of looking at this is…

·       Opponents might say…

·       While most may agree, there are others who feel…

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 What to support: THE CONCLUSION

 

Each Well-Written SAT Essay has a Concrete Conclusion!

 

Paragraph 1 + Paragraph 2 + Paragraph 3 add up to Paragraph 4 (The Conclusion)

 

What is a Conclusion?

·       A conclusion is a definite ending whereby the reader of the essay will feel that the ideas are tied together and that the essay has been completed.

Why do you need a Conclusion?

·       Essays need endings. Including a conclusion shows the reader you understand the proper structure for the SAT essay and have implemented it successfully.

How do you create a conclusion?

·       Think of your essay as if it were a circle. You started at one point and now (in the conclusion) you need to bring everything back around again to complete the loop.

 

Techniques a student can use to craft a strong conclusion.

·       Restate and re-affirm your position.

·       Offer a solution to a problem.

·       Make a recommendation for a course of action.

·       Summarize your major points.

·       Restate your thesis.

 

Conclusion examples:

1)         In conclusion, teenage drivers are dangerous after dark and should be prohibited from taking the wheel at night. Too many pieces of evidence demonstrate that their general recklessness presents real peril after the sun has set. Stopping them from taking the road doesn’t just protect them, it protects all of us.

           

2)         Of all the crazy laws in our country, the one that says an eighteen year old can die for the American flag but not have a beer in a bar before doing so is the dumbest. Sure, people can argue about how the drinking age being set at twenty-one has some advantages but all in all, if I were thinking about serving my country, I’d find it ridiculous that Uncle Sam will permit me to shoot a man before sharing a glass of wine with him.

 

Keep in mind…

·       The conclusion is the final say.

·       The purpose of the conclusion is to hammer home an idea and make a point.

·       This is no time for wishy-washy language nor unclear positions. Take a side and assert your belief. Strength counts.

 

DO’s for the conclusion…

·       Tie up the major points of the essay.

·       Use strong, forceful language that MAKES A POINT.

·       Give the reader a sense that the essay is completely finished.

·       Hammer home an idea and let the reader know precisely the position the author of the essay has taken on the subject matter being discussed.

·       

European Grey Wolf

Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress.... –John Muir

Argument Essay Assignment Objectives
Why an argumentative essay?

Most of the papers students write in college are arguments. This should not be surprising. We are surrounded by them. Every time we watch television, surf the Internet or read a magazine, we are bombarded with ads. Ads are persuasive arguments trying to get consumers to buy or do something. Here are a couple of ads that use interesting twists to make their argument: Kleenex Tissue Ad 1990- "Teach Them Not To Share"

  • Irony is "theuseofwordstoconvey one meaningthatistheoppositeofitsliteralmeaning" ("Irony").
  • What is ironic about this ad?
  • What is the main argument of the Kleenex ad?

Save America's Forests

    • What is ironic about this ad?
    • What is the main argument of the "Save America's Forests" ad?
    • Is irony an effective way to make an argument?
Elements of argument

When writing or analyzing arguments, we begin by examining how the argument appeals to the reader.  There are three types of appeals utilized in arguments: logos or logical, pathos or emotional, and ethos or ethical appeals.

  • Logos or the logical appeal relies upon well-developed, well-organized and well-reasoned arguments supported by evidence from reliable, authoritative sources. When writing argumentative essays and papers, we rely heavily upon the logical appeal to make our case.
    • The evidence utilized in the logical appeal is usually research-based evidence: statistics, clinical studies, any empirical evidence collected carefully and methodically.
    • This is also why we write in third person. We let the evidence drive our arguments, so readers do not think our work is based upon our biased viewpoint.
  • Pathos or emotional appeal recognizes that humans are emotional beings. The key to using the emotional appeal successfully in papers is to provide an opportunity for an emotional response and not to try and orchestrate an emotional response.
    • An example of the wrong use of an emotional appeal are infomercials for organizations like Care. While there is no doubt their work and message is important, they try to manipulate the audience with the use of emotional music, manipulative photographs, with an emotional narrative running beneath the music and images. While this may be okay for non-profit organizations, it does not work in college papers. Do not try to manipulate your audience this way.
    • Also, do not try to use emotionally charged language. Stay in third person and avoid sounding biased, accusatory or self-righteous. As a writer, the people you are trying to persuade are the people who either disagree with you or are not sure. By sounding accusatory or self-righteous, you will put the opposition on the defensive, and you have already lost your argument.
    • The proper use of emotions is through narrative case studies. Case studies provide the opportunity to appeal to readers' emotions. The key is not to tell the readers what to feel or to try and manipulate the readers to feel a specific emotion. Instead, writers tell the story and allow the readers to decide how they want to respond. Readers can become emotionally involved with the topic or not. It is up to them. This works well for social issues like hunger and homelessness, bullying, child abuse, or illegal immigration.  The blending of specific case studies with empirical evidence creates a deeply meaningful approach to argument. If I am talking about homeless children in America, by providing the statistics on the large number of children effected by this issue along with stories of the struggles of specific children, this drives the point home. We have a name and face to go with those numbers making the argument very human.
  • Ethos or the ethical appeal relates to the writer's personna being projected through the work. By using an unbiased tone and unbiased language, we project an image of trustworthiness and credibility. That is also why we use credible sources. We, as writers of college papers, do not have any credibility yet with our audience. By using authoritative, reliable sources, we borrow their credibility to help persuade readers to adopt our point of view. We are effectively saying, it is not just me that thinks this way. Here is a testimonial from Dr. So and So and his research that supports it. The research, surveys or clinical studies provides the evidence that supports the argument.
  • Looking back at the ads above, what types of appeals did those ads use?

Beyond the use of these appeals, there are some other elements to consider when analyzing or writing arguments: audience,purpose, a well defined issue, compelling evidence, refutation, and persona.

  • Audience: What audience does the writer have in mind? Who is the target audience the writer is trying to persuade?
    • As a writer, your audience is the first consideration. This determines the language you will use, the sources you will cite, and the approach you will take.
    • For example, if I were writing an anti-abortion paper, I would address a panel of scientists much differently than a church congregation. Some of my sources would change, and my language use would probably change. For scientists, I would sound more clinical. For the church congregation, I would sound more emotional.
    • My evidence would change, too. For scientists, I would use clinical evidence. For a church congregation. I would use sacred text.
    • What if my target audience were children instead of adults? Once again, some of my sources would change and my approach would be different.
  • Purpose/Thesis: Why are you writing it? What are you trying to prove?
    • The purpose is the thesis statement.
    • As a writer, you need to know why you are writing the paper.
    • It cannot be just to fulfill a requirement.
    • It is imperative that your position is clear. What exactly are you arguing? It should be very apparent which side you are on and why.
    • Provide the reasoning behind your position.
    • Remember: do not state it overtly like this: The purpose of this essay is to prove that potential dog owners must research breeds in order to choose dogs that best suit their lifestyles and opt to spay or neuter them if the overcrowded dog population is ever going to be solved.
    • This is considered weak.
    • That said, I do have a good thesis statement if I drop the initial part: Potential dog owners must research breeds in order to choose dogs that best suit their lifestyles and then spay or neuter them if the overcrowded dog population is ever going to be solved.
    • Here is an example from a student paper. Although the American flag is worthy of great esteem, the government cannot take away the right to desecrate the flag without taking away all that it stands for–freedom.
  • A Well-Defined issue: What exactly is being argued in the paper? What is included or not included?
    • As a writer, it is your job to set parameters around your argument. Be sure to clearly explain the main argument of the paper. For example, if I were writing an anti-abortion paper, I might set the parameters around third trimester. This defines exactly what will be included and what will not be included. In this example, the paper is against third trimester abortions only, not abortion in general.
  • Compelling evidence: What kinds of evidence are utilized in the paper? Is the evidence sound? Does it come from authoritative sources?
    • Be sure to use reliable sources. Do not just Google the topic and grab the random information that may pop up. Google Advanced and Google Scholar help you filter some of the information, but be sure to evaluate the sources you choose.
    • Use journal articles when possible because they are usually written by authorities in a specific field. They will provide multiple sources for their information because they must cite their sources.
    • Remember to include a variety of evidence, including facts, data, examples and subject matter expert opinion.
    • When using Internet sources, pay attention to the URL. What is the domain name? Is it a .edu, .net, .com, .org, .gov, .mil? How does this influence the information being provided?
    • Who is the author? What is the author's background?
    • A part of what makes your argument compelling is the variety of sources that you use and the credibility of those sources. You cannot win an argument with random information.
    • Do not rely heavily upon a single source to carry your paper. A variety of sources shows that you have done your diligence as a writer and increases your credibility.
  • Refutation: Does the author anticipate the opposition's main arguments? Is the author prepared with counterarguments and compelling evidence that can persuade the opposition to adopt a different view?
    • Refutation or rebuttal is incredibly important to your argument. You cannot write a one-sided argument.
    • You must first briefly identify an opposition's point. Then immediately address it with counterarguments and compelling evidence.
    • As stated earlier, it is the opposition that you are trying to convince. So, how well you handle this section of your paper will determine its effectiveness as an argument.
  • Persona: What is the author's attitude toward the topic? It is hostile, sarcastic, irate, or reasonable? What kind of language and tone are being used?
    • We touched on this when we talked about the ethical appeal.
    • Your tone needs to be calm and reasonable.
    • Your language needs to be honest, clear and respectful.
    • Avoid aggressive, confrontational or biased language and tone.
How to write the argument . . .

First, you need to determine what kind of argument you are writing. Are you writing a position paper? Sample topics would include illegal immigration, wolf protection programs, paying college athletes. Or, are you writing a solution paper, solving a problem? Sample topics include bullying, homelessness, pollution. Next, identify what you already know about this topic. Write a brief outline establishing what you want to argue on this topic? Establish the purpose of your argument. Establishing this before you start researching the topic will make it easier for you to determine what you need to cite in your paper. Next choose an appropriate format.

  1. Block
  2. Rebuttal Throughout - only works with position topics

Block:

I. Introduction & Thesis Statement

II. Background information - this section is necessary for solution arguments but sometimes unnecessary for position arguments.

A. Define key words and terms that will help to define the parameters of your argument B. Provide background information. If I want to solve global warming, I first need to explain what it is and how it works, so I can show readers how my solution will fix it. C. Establish the severity of the problem. In real life, solutions cost money. If you want taxpayers to pay for it, you need to clearly establish that the problem is severe and must be addressed.

III. First claim: For death penalty because it will stop overcrowding

A. Give statistics on overcrowding B. Give statistics on future problems if no solution is provided C. Explain how the process will help D. Explain how if appeal process is limited this will further help the situation E. Transition

IV. 2nd claim: For death penalty because it will stop repeat offenders

A. Give statistics on repeat offenders who commit murder B. Give statistics if this is not stopped C. Explain how process would work if implemented D. Explain how this would also stop overcrowding because repeat offenders would not be imprisoned E. Transition

V. 3rd claim: for death penalty because it costs less money

A. Give statistics on the cost of housing B. Compare that to the cost of a limited appeal process C. Explain how this will work if implemented D. Explain how this too relates to previous info E. Transition

VI. Rebuttal: Rebuttal of anti-death penalty arguments

A, List a few of the opposition's counterarguments (three) B. Take each one, one at a time, and supply statistics to prove it wrong, example would be to prove that innocent people won’t be executed C. #2 Rebuttal: No other democracy uses it, their side, your side with statistics to prove them wrong D. #3 Rebuttal: Death penalty cheapens value of life: their side, your side with statistics to back it up. E. Transition

VI. Conclusion

Rebuttal Throughout

I. Introduction and thesis

III. First Rebuttal -Death penalty is barbaric

A. Opposition side B. Your side C. Statistics to support your side and prove them wrong D. Explanation of how this will help society E. Transition

IV. 2nd rebuttal - death penalty no other democracy

A. Opposition side B. Your side C. Statistics to support your side and prove them wrong D. Explanation of how this will help society E. Transition

V. 3rd rebuttal - killing innocent people

A. Opposition side B. Your side C. Statistics to support your side and prove them wrong D. Explanation of how this will help society E. Transition

VII. Conclusion

Resources for Writing Arguments:

Argument Rough Draft

  1. Develop a argumentative essay rough draft using block or rebuttal throughout
    • Typed MLA formatted Argumentative essay,
    • Four pages of text
    • Plus MLA formatted Works Cited page
    • Must use 5 sources, two must be database sources
    • Provide copies of the sources used in the paper: web pages, database article pages, xeroxed copies of books,
    • Must include in-text citations that identifies the source for the evidence
    • Papers will not be accepted without these minimal requirements. 
  • Illustrate ability to use third person point of view effectively in an argument.
  • Present a thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph.
  • Support the thesis using RESEARCH MATERIAL and specific details.
  • Illustrate the ability to argue a position or a solution argument.
  • Support the thesis using research material and specific details.
  • Do not list sources in your Works Cited page that are not cited somewhere in the text of your paper.
  • Failure to cite works quoted in your paper is considered plagiarism resulting in a failing grade on this paper. Be careful.
  • Click the "Submit" button and follow the directions for submitting your work..

Remember when using sources, you have the entire article, but the reader only has the quote or paraphrase that you have used in your paper.  Be sure and explain the full implications of your quote.

  • Review your rough draft 
  • Create a final draft with an MLA Works Cited page 
  • Turn in your annotated source material you list in your Works Cited




argumentative essay

Why a argumentative essay? The ability to write a convincing essentially non-biased argumentative research essay is critical in college writing.  

You must use five different sources in this paper.

Note: check the list of taboo topics before you begin writing your paper.


Assignment Information

step one
Choose a topic that you can argue either a position or a solution. For example, to argue a position would be to argue for or against something, like the death penalty. To argue a solution is to argue how to solve something, like how to solve the air pollution problem in Phoenix.

Example: The Effects of PC on Higher Education


step two
On a blank sheet of paper, write your topic down and at least 5 reasons in support of and 5 reasons against your topic.  
Or, if you are writing a solution paper, look at at least five different solutions for the problem.  

step three
See how the pros and cons relate. Decide which you want to write about. Do you want to focus on the pros or the cons. Pick the one you feel offers the most possibilities for exploration.  
Or, choose the solution that seems the most logical, the most doable.  

step four
Freewrite. Look at your diagram for ideas  

step five
Transform your chosen topic into a "Guiding Question" and write it down.  

What is the main question that your essay will answer?  

Example:  

What are three main effects of Political Correctness on Higher Education.  

step six
Find at least three sources to help you answer your guiding question. You must use these sources in your work either in a quote, paraphrase and/or summary. 

  1. source guidelines
  2. Use 5 sources.
  3. Use database sources and web pages. Be sure and turn in copies of your resources with your final paper. I will not accept any paper without the sources turned in to me.  
  4. Create a Works Cited page from your sources.


step seven
Now that you have gathered your information and collected new information, create an outline of your paper.  

step eight
Answer your "Guiding Question" directly with your thesis statement.  

Why are literary works being banned when their overall theme is positive? Because of over-zealous proponents of Political Correctness, once celebrated literary works like Mark Twain's  Huckleberry Finn, William Shakespeare's Hamlet, and Harper Lee's  To Kill a Mockingbird are being banned despite their important universal themes.  

step nine
Check your outline. Place your thesis at the top of the outline followed by the causes or effects: I. II. III. Under each main point, place two main specific points that will support the general topic sentence and the thesis. Use capital letters for the specific points.  

step ten
Write the rough draft.  

step eleven
Revise the rough draft. 

Assignment: Answer the following questions regarding developing the argument.

 1. Describe in one or two sentences the types of evidence you need for a convincing argument essay.

  1. Describe the three types of appeals: rational, emotional and ethical. Why does a good argument use all three?
  2. In your ENG101 Argument Essay, how many sources must you use?


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Lynn McClelland and Marianne Botos.

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