="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512">

A Brief Guide to the Art of Persuasion and Argument

14.2 Strengthening Your Argument

14.2.1 Phrasing

It is important to clearly state and support your position. However, it is just as important to present all of the information that you’ve gathered in an objective manner. Using language that is demeaning or non-objective will undermine the strength of your argument. This destroys your credibility and will reduce your audience on the spot. For example, a student writing an argument about why a particular football team has a good chance of “going all the way” is making a strategic error by stating that “anyone who doesn’t think that the Minnesota Vikings deserve to win the Super Bowl is a total idiot.” Not only has the writer risked alienating any number of her readers, she has also made her argument seem shallow and poorly researched. In addition, she has committed a third mistake: making a sweeping generalization that cannot be supported.

Use phrasing that does not:Alienate any part of your audience

Make an argument that is poorly researched or shallow

Make an unsupported generalization

Mistakes that could ruin your Argument

 

14.2.2 Objective Language

You should avoid using “I” and “My” (subjective) statements in your argument. You should only use “I” or “My” if you are an expert in your field (on a given topic). Instead choose more objective language to get your point across. Consider the following:

I believe that the United States Government is failing to meet the needs of today’s average college student through the under-funding of need-based grants, increasingly restrictive financial aid eligibility requirements, and a lack of flexible student loan options.

“Great,” your reader thinks, “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”

Now let’s look at this sentence again, but without the “I” at the beginning. Does the same sentence becomes a strong statement of fact without your “I” tacked to the front?

The United States Government is failing to meet the needs of today’s average college student through the underfunding of need-based grants, increasingly restrictive financial aid eligibility requirements, and a lack of flexible student loan options.

“Wow,” your reader thinks, “that really sounds like a problem.”

A small change like the removal of your “I”s and “my”s can make all the difference in how a reader perceives your argument– as such, it’s always good to proof read your rough draft and look for places where you could use objective rather than subjective language.

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Expression and Inquiry by Chris Manning, Sally Pierce, and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

css.php