Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Be Argumentative In Your Thesis: don’t worry, its polite if you write well

I blogged recently about having a point in your essay. I argued that your thesis will lead you to write a very strong and succinct essay.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a strong argument. Without it, your paper will fall apart. How can you strengthen your argument?

Most of us have been taught to be polite and accept other people’s opinions. I’ve heard students say countless times, “Sure, he can write that. He has the right to his own opinion.” Of course he does. And you have the right to yours.

I encourage you to develop a strong and confident voice in your writing. Choose an argument and support it with facts. Write your paper in the third person and write with definitive language. By avoiding phrases like, “I think that” or “I believe that” and simply stating the fact directly (without “I” and instead in the third person), your paper’s voice will immediately become stronger. The reader knows that it is “your” opinion; you wrote the paper.

We all know how to convince someone of something small or even something big. You know how to support your argument with facts. Consider the age-old conversation between a teenagers and parents. You want to stay out later than your parents will allow. You immediately come up with reasons why you should be able to stay out later (you’ve never missed curfew, you finished your homework, you are responsible, etc.) You anticipate your parents saying “no” and therefore you strengthen your argument.

Considering the opposing argument is the trick to strengthening your argument. Anticipate what someone who would disagree with you would say in response to your claims. Prove them wrong before they have a chance to do it first. A secret is that this will not only strengthen your argument, but it will likely lengthen your paper, too.

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