Argument Pointers: Some Basics. . .

Argument Pointers—What am I leaving out?

Let’s anticipate (derived from the Latin anticipare, “to take before”) what you’ll be doing.

How can I argue without the “I” being important?
Use sources to show what you mean; let your writing voice be heard best as you interpret the meaning of the cited material for the reader. Be sure you reason in your paper.Readers will know if the argument logically “holds” or not, yet you must prove and provide setup for your argument. Remind the reader where they have been, and show them how your points relate to the argument.  This is difficult.

In an argument, when do I know “enough is enough”?
Strike a balance between sketchy, inadequate development and uncontrolled detail. Tell it quickly—do not be wordy.
Often, you need to restate the point within a quote before getting on to proving something about it.  Think of the quotes as excuses to argue your thesis. Don’t leave them”hanging.”
You will get better at recognizing areas needing more proof if you read your work aloud. Read it through repeatedly.

When arguing, what is “fair play”?

  • Show both sides with an even tone, and reason through the ways one side is superior to the other.  Readers reject one-sided arguers.
  • Attempt to be as objective as possible.
  • Think out a strategy for appealing to those readers in your audience who are neutral.
  • Strategize how you will deal with those opposing your point of view.
  • Do not rely on one source for too much.
  • Recognize bias in your sources.

“Police yourself.”
When in doubt about whether to cite, cite! You’ll cover yourself against unintentional plagiarism.
Break up any long areas of paraphrase. I’ll consider the citation good for the sentence holdingit, not for the last three–or six–sentence before the ( ).
Any plagiarism is a failed paper (and then some. . .).