Uploaded by Kathleen Szymborski


Below you will find my preferred method of argument writing. However, there are three OTHER
types of argument you need to know: Aristotelian (also known as Classical), Toulmin, and
Basic Argument Format
1. ANNOTATE the prompt. Underline the TASK.
2. Decide if you want to “agree with, disagree with, or qualify” the prompt
3. Brainstorm “evidence” you can use from your READING, OBSERVATIONS, or
4. Create a quick sideways outline:
a. Thesis
b. Acknowledge opposition and refute it
c. Second best point
d. Third best point
e. Best point
f. Conclusion
5. Write the essay.
6. Read and revise/edit
evidence=supporting detail=support
Kinds of argument:
Arguments of Fact​: state that something is or is not the case.
For example, AP students do better in college or computers enhance learning in the classroom;
media is responsible for the shortening of the attention span; mercury in food chain causes
Arguments of value​: state the something is or is not valuable.
For example, this novel or that film is of significant merit; Bill Clinton was or was not a good
president; health concerns take precedence over profit
Arguments of policy:​ state that something should or should not be done.
For example, the minimum wage should be increased, the designated hitter should be
eliminated from baseball, more students should have access to
SOME VARIATIONS ON PROMPT as seen on AP English Language and Composition
Argue your position on the extent that the claims are valid
Develop your position on the value or function of something
Write to your school board explaining why….
Explain your position on the relationship between…
Take a position on the relationship between…
Examine the extent that …holds true today
Defend, challenge, or qualify someone’s claim
Identify the claim and defend, challenge, or qualify
Evaluate the pros and cons of … and indicate why you find one position more
persuasive than the other
The Aristotelian or classical argument is a style of argument developed by the famous Greek
philosopher and rhetorician, ​Aristotle​. In this style of argument, your goal as a writer is to
convince your audience of something.
The goal is to use a series of strategies to persuade your audience to adopt your side of the
issue. Although ​ethos​, ​pathos​, and ​logos​ play a role in any argument, this style of argument
utilizes them in the most persuasive ways possible.
Of course, your professor may require some variations, but here is the basic format for an
Aristotelian, or classical, argumentative essay:
1. Introduce your issue. At the end of your introduction, most professors will ask you to
present your thesis. The idea is to present your readers with your main point and then
dig into it.
2. Present your case by explaining the issue in detail and why something must be done or
a way of thinking is not working. This will take place over several paragraphs.
3. Address the opposition. Use a few paragraphs to explain the other side. Refute the
opposition one point at a time.
4. Provide your proof. After you address the other side, you’ll want to provide clear
evidence that your side is the best side.
5. Present your conclusion. In your conclusion, you should remind your readers of your
main point or thesis and summarize the key points of your argument. If you are arguing
for some kind of change, this is a good place to give your audience a call to action. Tell
them what they could do to make a change.
TOULMIN Model of argument
ABOUT: ​it is good as an analytic tool and helps students to understand the nature of
sophisticated arguments AND helps students apply that knowledge to their own writing
Basic idea:
Because it is raining​, ​I should take my umbrella.
WARRANT: because it will keep me dry
The main idea with Toulmin is looking at the warrant, or the unspoken assumption. Identifying
this will help the student be able to analyze complex arguments.
To explain it in Toulmin terms:
Data ​(It is raining) --------------------------------------------------- ​Claim ​ (I should take my umbrella)
(​ It will keep me dry.)
(Unless it has a hole in it.)
​ acking
(​ The material is waterproof,)
Toulmin Model
Because _______________________, therefore, _______________________________, since
_________________________________, on account of
Toulmin vocabulary
Claim​: an assertion, or as Toulmin said, a “conclusion whose merits we are seeking to
Support​: consists of the data used as evidence, reasons, or grounds for the claim.
Warrant:​ expresses the assumption necessarily shared by the speaker and the audience.
Backing:​ consists of further assurance or data without which the warrant lacks authority
Qualifier​: restricts the terms of the claim and limits its range (eg. usually, probably, in most
cases, most likely)
Reservation​: explains the terms and conditions necessitated by the qualifier.
Rebuttal:​ gives voice to objections, providing conditions that might refute or rebut warranted clai
(Source: Steve Heller)
Rogerian Argument
Rogerian strategy attempts to do three things:
(1) to convey to the reader that he is understood,
(2) to delineate the area within which he believes the reader's position to be valid
(3) to induce him to believe that he and the writer share similar moral qualities (honesty,
integrity, and good will) and aspirations (the desire to discover a mutually acceptable
These are only ​tasks, not stages​ of the argument.
Rogerian argument has no conventional structure; in fact, users of the strategy
deliberately avoid conventional persuasive structures and techniques because these devices
tend to produce a sense of threat, precisely what the writer seeks to overcome.
Sense of how an Ideal Rogerian Argument Might go
Introduction.​ . . . Try presenting [your topic] as a problem rather than as an issue.
Fair Statement of the Opposing Position​. The goal here is to convince your readers that you
understand their perspective by stating their position in a way they will recognize as fair and
Statement of Contexts in Which That Position May Be Valid​. Here you are trying to convince
your readers that you understand how they could hold their position by suggesting that in certain
contexts it has some ​validity​.
Fair Statement of Your Own Position.​ Although you want to state your position convincingly, you
also want to maintain your image as fair-minded. Your immediate goal is to get your readers to
reciprocate, to understand your position as fairly and thoroughly as you have understood theirs.
Statement of Contexts in Which Your Position Is Valid.​ Here you are trying to induce your
readers to look at the problem from new perspectives and hence to see it in contexts they may
previously have ignored.
Statement of How Readers Would Benefit by Adopting at Least Elements of Your Position.​ Here
you are appealing to your readers' self-interest, at least in the broader, long-term sense. You
are trying to transform your position from a threat to a promise.