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Argumentative Essay: Basic Content Outline

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Claim
Cause (Premise)
Circumstantiation
Connection
Conclusion

1. Claim: Jack Madison shot and killed Joyce Benson most likely as an act of wrathful
vengeance---concluded on x-y-z premises (Thesis is summary starting from conclusions)
2. Cause or Premise(s):
a. Family history
b. Diary Journal Entries
c. No evidence provided that gives any other explanation
3. Circumstantiation:
a. Family History
i. Joyce cheated (evidenced)
ii. Joyce left with another man (evidenced)
iii. Joyce took children (evidenced)
iv. Joyce took money and some possessions (evidenced)
b. Diary Journal Entries
i. Found in house study
ii. Content demonstrated strong feelings against Joyce (evidenced)
iii. Strong feelings demonstrated to be because of Joyce past actions
(Evidenced)
iv. Content was up to date (evidenced)
c. Lack of Evidence for any other reason
i. Thus far there is no evidence for anything that would indicate any other
reason besides revenge
4. Connection:
a. All that is known is that she did indeed do offensive things against him and that
he did in deed express that offence and his strong feelings against her, and that
the next time they had an encounter after these things, he shot and killed her.
b. This explanation is not only possible but plausible because of the evidence
known, past cases, and past human experience.
c. Since there is no other evidence that might incline us otherwise, this is the best
explanation we can give.
5. Conclusion (Summary starting from the premises):
a. The premises (stated) lead to the conclusion that it is most likely that Jack
Madison shot and killed Joyce Benson as an act of wrathful vengeance.

Argumentative Essay: Format


1. Introduction: Tell em what youre gonna tell em
2. Body: Tell it to them
3. Conclusion/Closing: Tell em what you told em
1. Introduction:
a. Optional: Set the stage with non-central topic relevant to target
audience and/or topic you will write about (central topic)
i. Example with topic more directly relevant to target audience:
Statistics show that crime rates have boosted in America since
(year) and many Americans want an explanation. According to
ii. Example with topic more directly relevant to central topic:
Crime investigation is a science of its own. Although much of its
inquiry is centered on the phenomenal aspect of the incident,
mental, emotional, philosophical, and spiritual factors can be
overlooked by a causal spectator
iii. Example with topic more equally relevant to both: Someone
once said that crime gives rise to vengeance but vengeance can
make a criminal
b. Introduce issue/debate/inquiry at hand:
i. State incident
ii. Because both Joyce and Jack were found with a gun in her hand
as well as Jack, investigators have debated whether Jack was
defending himself from Joyce or whether Joyce was defending
herself from Jack. Different explanations have been given for the
incident: x, y, and z. While these explanations are possible, after a
careful analysis of the situation, it is reasonable to conclude that
[thesis]...
c. State the Thesis: Claim followed by Cause (Premises)
2. Body: Circumstantiation together with Connection
a. Could be Circumstantiation first followed by Connection (recommended as
default)
b. Could be mixed
c. Could be the mix from (b) followed by summary of (b)
d. Better choice depends on the nature of the premises
3. Conclusion/Closing: Flip the introduction
a. Thesis restatement: see Conclusion (Summary Starting from the premises)
b. Tie it in to issue/debate/inquiry at hand to demonstrate why it is a
better proposal
c. Optional: Tie it in to non-central but relevant topic from intro (if
used)