Critical Writing (
General structure Thesis/structure/logical development
Argumentation or argumentative essay
Definition: Explore your own ideas about a subject Present your personal opinions or ideas about that subject Take your stand & write as if you are trying to persuade an audience to adopt new beliefs or behavior The primary objective: to persuade people to change beliefs that many of them do not want to change
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Overall structure (close-form writing)
3-5 paragraph essay

  1. Introduction (motivation, thesis statement).
  2. 1st body development (topic sentence, supporting examples).
  3. 2nd body development (topic sentence, supporting examples).
  4. 3rd body development (topic sentence, supporting examples).
  5. Conclusion (thesis restatement & so what)
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Possible organization patterns
Pattern 1: Thesis statement PRO idea 1 PRO idea 2 PRO idea 3 Conclusion
Possible organization patterns
Pattern 2: Thesis statement PRO idea 1 PRO idea 2 CON(s) + Refutation(s) Conclusion
Possible organization patterns
Pattern 3: Thesis statement CON(s) + Refutation(s) PRO idea 1 PRO idea 2 Conclusion
Possible organization patterns
Pattern 4: Thesis statement: CON idea 1 CON idea 2 CON idea 3 Conclusion > Refutation > Refutation > Refutation
Thesis development
Thesis: the main opinion or idea about a subject is called a thesis and presented in a thesis sentence/statement. Thesis development: Elicited by introducing a problem or a phenomenon (a hook) Supported by arguments (topic sentences in the body part; related to the thesis) Supported by a conclusion (restatement of the thesis; so-what)
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Structure (paragraphing) development
Topic sentence (Paraphrase of the TS.) Support/Illustration by examples (facts, others’ opinion, statistics, personal experience etc.) Wrap-up (conclusion)
Logical development
What is logic? Logic is the means by which you know things. Two main paths to logical knowledge induction & deduction Induction: a method of logic that arrived at a general conclusion based on the observation of specific incidents or examples The conclusion reached by induction is a generalization (subject to error) Inductive reasoning provides us with a probability, not certainty
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Logical development
The biggest problem with inductive reasoning occurs when the sample incidents or examples are too small compared to the overall possible number (hasty generalization). e.g.,
  1. Since Seve ate seafood once and fell ill, seafood will always make Seve ill.
  2. Don’t drink beer any more, because you were allergic to beer last time.
  3. ... it is a widely known fact that all adolescents look forward to earning money
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Logical development
Deduction: a method of logic in which a conclusion is drawn from two premises, one major & the other minor. A premise is a statement or assertion that you are already certain is true. Used properly, deductive reasoning can supply certainty.
Logical development
Syllogism 1 (right?)
Major premise: Each person who works for Technotech must have a security clearance. (a general statement) Minor premise: Beth works for Technotech. (a specific example) Conclusion: Beth has a security clearance. (conclusion)
Syllogism 1 (right?)
Major premise: The French love wine. Minor premise: Giselle is French. Conclusion: Giselle loves wine.
Logical development
In syllogism 2, the trouble is with the major premise (hasty generalization in induction) The major premise,The French love wine, based on induction is subject to error because induction can only provide probability. A better major premise: Many French love wine. A correct conclusion: Giselle is likely to love wine.
Logical development
Logical relations used in paragraph development Definition Classification Exemplification Comparison & contrast Cause & effect Logical fallacies
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Analyzing an essay

Read & discuss The general structure The thesis development The structure (paragraphing) development The logical development
Group discussion on: campus on-line matrimonial agency Your opinion Supporting arguments Evidence conclusion Write an argumentative essay on this topic after class Pay special attention to your overall structure
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Write an argumentative essay on the discussed topic in 300500 words. Find information & have a presentation on: The differences between Chinese & English argumentation (group
  3) What are the differences between fact & opinion? How is opinion usually expressed? What can be evidence? (group
  4) Give a list of interesting topics for our argumentative essays (group
  1) Read Chapter 9 of the book: Developing an Argument: College English Composition (
  3). Ding, Yen-Ren, et al.
Peer Review
Is the structure well organized? Is there a clear thesis statement? Are the arguments related to the thesis statement? Is the supporting evidence relevant? Is the material ordered logically? Are that any spelling, grammar, punctuation errors? If you are not completely convinced, please provide better evidence to support the writer’s position.

  1. Review chapters on argumentation
  2. Presentation focusing on: The differences between Chinese & English argumentation (group
  3) What are opinion and fact? How are they expressed? What can be evidence? (group
  3. Write an argumentative essay on the discussed topic in class.
  4. Give a list of interesting topics for our argumentative essays (group
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