The two basic rules for making a good argument are to (1) construct a reasonable argument and (2) use all types of evidence.
- Construct a reasonable argument that provides a REASON, an UNDERLYING REASON, and EVIDENCE :
Reason: one reason in favor of position/thesis
Underlying reason: connection of reason to thesis
Evidence: support for reason
This model can be used to structure paragraphs in the essay:
Topic sentence = one reason
Body of paragraph = underlying reason and evidence
For example, in an essay with the thesis “Prostitution should be legalized,” one body paragraph might look like this:
Prostitution could be regulated by the government. Regulations such as medical check-us could help decrease sexually transmitted diseases. For example, a bordello in Australia called The Daily Planet requires the women take blood tests once a month to prove their good health before they can go to work (Fleiss).
(2) Use all types of evidence:
- Expert testimony
In the example above, the writer uses facts and an example for evidence.
Remember the audience for the essay is your opponent. The following techniques will help persuade that opponent to consider your argument.
- Address opponents with tact and diplomacy
- Find common ground
- Anticipate objections
- Concede valid points
- Use a reasonable tone (“Critics point out . . . “ “A differing view is that . . .”
- Use persuasive appeals:
- Logos (Logic)
The most convincing arguments are logically constructed. The structure of the argument should be sound and reasonable: causes and effects should be carefully established, and facts and opinions should be carefully delineated. Most importantly, the argument must be soundly supported with evidence.
- Ethos (Ethics)
To be persuasive, you must establish your credibility for the readers so they will trust your arguments. You will engender that trust be being fair: identify your opponent’s argument and give it your full respect; openly admit weaknesses in your own argument, seek common ground with your opponent, cite only trustworthy sources, and show yourself to be someone open to compromise.
- Pathos (Emotions)
Emotion alone is not a sound argument. However, appealing to the readers’ emotions can work effectively with logic as a means to promote action. You can convince them you are right with logic, and then incite them to do something about it by appealing to their emotions.
Addressing the opponents’ concerns and using persuasive appeals can go a long way to convincing them you are right. For example, on the next page you will find see how persuasive techniques expand the previous paragraph:
Prostitution could be regulated by the government. Regulations such as medical check-us could help decrease sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV and AIDS. For example, a bordello in Australia called The Daily Planet requires the women take blood tests once a month to prove their good health before they can go to work (Fleiss). While some critics might view this as government overreach, it is not much different from the requirements of people in the medical industry who follow strict protocols to avoid infection. Not only does this protect the women from being infected, it also protects their customers – and their customers’ other partners – from potentially deadly diseases.