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PARTS OF ARGUMENT

1. Claim Debatable statement that Mr. X was an incredibly lazy


forms the main point of an anthropology teacher.
argument. (Sometimes
called a thesis statement.)
What do you think?
2. Reasons Arguments that help support Most every class, while Mr. X sat at
the main claim. his desk, we watched movies that had
(These allow you to break a very little educational value.
broad claim into smaller,
more precise sections.) Mr. X used old tests that seemed to be
Why do you think so? designed to save him time rather than
to gauge our knowledge of material.
3. Evidence Personal experience, Some of the movies we watched
outside authorities, facts, included Little Big Man and Last of
and statistics that support the Mohicans.
subclaims. (Stands by itself;
the evidence is not During two tests, I had to show him
debatable, though its as many as eight questions that
interpretation may be.) covered material he had never
How do you know you’re assigned. Both times, he told the class
right? to skip those questions.

The three main elements—claims, reasons, and evidence—are the foundation for most
academic arguments. If you at least have a solid claim in you paper, support it up with
insightful reasons, and back up those reasons with sound evidence, you are virtually
guaranteed to generate a reasonably good paper, both in this course and others.
Additional elements:

4. Admission of possible Acknowledgement:


Acknowledgement counterarguments, It’s true that half the class named him
and Response reassertion of your as their favorite teacher.
argument. (Strengthens your
argument by adding Response:
subtleties.) The same half of the class slept
It may be argued that through class every day.
____. However, I’m still
right because ____.
5. Warrants Assumptions that underlie Teachers ought to be engaged,
your argument. (Usually attentive, and hardworking.
left unstated, if you can
assume your reader shares Teachers should only test students on
them). What am I material covered in class.
assuming?