Prompt #1 Feedback

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Constructing an Argument
Workshop
ENGLISH 9
Two types of prompts
 Literary Analysis
 Purpose – to analyze
Uses direct quotations from the text as evidence
 Usually done for process pieces

 Argument
 Purpose –to convince
Does not use direct quotations
 May use personal experience, observations, etc. as support
 Will be used for first best drafts/on-demand writing prompts

Tips for Reading the Prompt
 Read the prompt carefully
 Decide what it is asking you to do
 Be sure to address ALL parameters of the prompt
 Common prompt words:
 DEFEND - argument “for”
 REFUTE - argument “against”
 QUALIFY – shows both sides of the argument; “common
ground”
Thesis Creation
 After reading the prompt, create a thesis FIRST!
 Argument essays refer to this as a CLAIM
 If the prompt asks you DEFEND, REFUTE or
QUALIFY, choose one and create your claim.
 Be sure your thesis includes topic, direction and at
least two divisions (elements of support).
 The thesis should be complex, as it is supposed to
express complex ideas.
 Be sure that it comes at the end of your Intro
paragraph.
Thesis Statements
 The last sentence of your introduction should be the
thesis statement.
 All thesis statements should contain the following:
1. TOPIC—what the essay is about
 2. DIRECTION—how the essay will be organized
 Ex-literary analysis, compare/contrast, cause/effect
(this is determined through use of transition words)
 Defense, Refutation, Qualification
 3. DIVISIONS—the elements of support/reasons why
you agree or disagree

Sample Argument Prompt:
 Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You don’t know who is
important to you until you actually lose them.”
 In a well-organized response, defend, refute, or
qualify the above statement regarding love and loss.
Use evidence from “A Christmas Memory” and/or
observations/personal experience to support your
position.
Brainstorm Possible Divisions:
 Defend:
 Refute:
 Qualify:
Sample Thesis Statement

Some people understand and appreciate the impact
that others have on their lives in the present moment
while others often times take for granted these
significant people and do not recognize their influence
until it is too late.
TOPIC—the impact people have on our lives
 DIRECTION— qualification of quote



(shows both sides)
DIVISIONS— 1. argue “against” (body 1)
2. argue “for” (body 2)
How to Construct and Argument
 Introduction: The writer tries to win the attention of
the audience by introducing the subject/problem.
 Statement of Background: The writer tells how this
specific topic has impacted him/her.
 Proposition: This is where you state your
thesis/claim.
How to Construct an Argument
 Proof: The writer offers detailed support/evidence to
support the claim.

Must have two detailed pieces of evidence that support your
divisions
 Refutation: The writer recognizes and refutes
opposing claims or evidence.
 Conclusion: The writer summarizes the claim and
moves the audience/reader’s to take action.
Introduction
 People tend to take the most important things in life
for granted on a daily basis. For example, a beautiful
sunset, a walk of the beach, a heart-to-heart talk with
a close friend, or advice from a parent are just a few
of the things that can have the biggest impact in a
person’s life
Statement of Background
 Throughout my own personal experience, I have
taken the most important people and events for
granted but have learned as the years go by to always
cherish these important moments in the present as
these are moments that we never get back.
Proposition/Thesis
 Some people understand and appreciate the impact
that others have on their lives in the present moment
while others often times take for granted these
significant people and do not recognize their influence
until it is too late.
Proof--#1
 First and foremost, I have been lucky enough to have a
very strong bond with my mother. When I was younger,
I often took her and our bond for granted. I always just
assumed that she would live forever and be around to
give me constant guidance. As I grow older, I have
learned that nothing and no one lasts forever; life as we
know it can be altered at any given moment, so it is
crucial to appreciate and cherish these bonds. For me, I
cherish every day and every experience that I have with
my parents. For example, taking family vacations and
having Sunday dinners together are just two of the ways
that I have learned to spend quality time with my
mother. These are the moments that we never get back.
Proof--#2
 In “A Christmas Memory” Buddy forms a very strong
bond with his elderly relative. Because he is only a
seven-year-old boy at the time, he does not fully realize
the impact that his friend has on his life during these
years. It is not until much later in his life that Buddy
understands the imprint that his cousin left on him.
Even though Buddy has lost his friend on this earth, he is
able to relive the memories that were most important.
Gandhi once said, “You don’t who is important to you
until you lose them.” For Buddy, this was certainly true.
While it is too late to appreciate these moments in the
present, Buddy regains “the irreplaceable part of
himself,” his friend, through the memories of kitemaking and fruitcakes.
Refutation—recognizing the other side
 Some are too young to understand the importance of
cherishing significant people and events while we
have them. Sure, there are those unique individuals
that are wise beyond his/her years and never take
things for granted. However, the majority of people
only realize a person’s impact once he or she is gone.
Conclusion
 Ultimately, in life there are precious moments.
These are moments that we never get back. It is
important to always cherish these moments and the
people that make them memorable. Always make
time for the things and people that matter most
because, like Buddy, one day we will only be left with
the memories.
Stylistic Components
 Avoid the 1st (I, me, my, us, we, ours) and 2nd (you)





person in formal writing. Use the 3rd person
(readers, people, him/her, others)
No contractions: do not instead of don’t
Try not to start sentences like this: “This shows
that…”
Vary your sentence structure
Be conscious of possession and agreement
Word choice counts
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