…claim to be an expert if you’re not one

Help in overcoming writer's block and a short series of exercises to get you writing.

Playing sports is really good for people.

(10% total):
Students will also complete various shorter in-class writing assignments during the semester, including short summaries, mini-essays, and response papers. Total number of assignments during the semester will determine the point value of each; that is, if 10 assignments are required, each is worth up to one full point.

You MUST choose one side or the other when you write an argument paper!

…provide facts, evidence, and statistics to support your position

For example: while a persuasive paper might claim that cities need to adopt recycling programs, an argument paper on the same topic might be addressed to a particular town. The argument paper would go further, suggesting specific ways that a recycling program should be adopted and utilized in that particular area.

…use weak qualifiers like “I believe,” “I feel,” or “I think”—just tell us!

Discussing a statement of fact is extremely difficult. How will I continue the discussion of something that cannot be disputed? It can easily be proven that George Will did in fact write about equality in the United States, so I don’t really have a strong position because it is simply a fact.

…use strictly moral or religious claims as support for your argument


Playing sports is really good for children.

In this case, you might have a paragraph about growing up in a family of police officers, and another paragraph about how "the law" used to feel like something abstract and solid, thanks to a love of Law & Order and similar shows. Then you could take several paragraphs to explain the injustice mentioned in the brainstorming list, and how it changed your interest and opinion of the law.

By addressing the opposition you achieve the following goals:

Take a break from the essay for a day or two, and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Read it from beginning to end, and ask yourself the following questions:

Tip: In order to be as clear as possible in your writing:

Use your own words in thesis statements; avoid quoting. Crafting an original, insightful, and memorable thesis makes a distinct impression on a reader. You will lose credibility as a writer if you become only a mouthpiece or a copyist; you will gain credibility by grabbing the reader with your own ideas and words.

2) A main idea: playing sports is beneficial for children

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Tip: The point you make in the paper should matter:

Remember those ideas you brainstormed and wrote down? Now that you've decided on an argument, take another look at them. Will they work to support your argument as examples, or as part of a narrative? In the case of our imaginary essay about studying law, several of them could work for this. These will be your paragraphs for the body of the essay.

1. Respond orally and in writing to texts, primarily nonfiction.

4. Self-evaluate using a vocabulary specific to the discipline in order to discuss, revise, and edit one’s own writing and the writing of others.