G. Argumentation / Persuasion / Opinion Essays

(Notes by Huifang Peng)
# Like the case of Argumentation / Persuasion / Opinion Paragraphs, Opinion Essays, Persuasive Essays, and Argumentative Essays are just different names that people use to refer to a basically-the-same type of expository essays
# required knowledge: What is an essay?

1. What is an argumentative (persuasive, or opinion) essay?
In this type of essays, writers try to convince readers of a certain viewpoint on a controversial issue.
2. the organization and features
a. Introduction / The Introductory Paragraph--the introductory paragraph of an academic essay contains at least two part: background information and the thesis statement
1) the hook: (Not all essays have hooks.)
a) Usually appearing at the very beginning of the introductory paragraph, the hook serves to attract readers' attention to want to know more about your topic.
b) A hook may be an anecdote, a question, or a surprising statement of fact.
2) background informationsentences after the hook and before the thesis statement
Besides some basic information about the targeted issue, writers often include typical opposing views that people have about it.
3) the thesis statement: Usually the last one or two sentences of the paragraph, the thesis statement shows the reader the topic and the controlling idea of the entire essay.
a) often presenting the writer's opinion or viewpoint with persuasive words or phrases such as 
I strongly believe that . . . 
It is irresponsible / a mistake to . . . 
It is (definitely) a good idea / the right decision to . . .
b) Writers often connect the opposing views in the background section and their points of view (this part / the thesis statement) with transitions such as however and nevertheless to indicate their contrasting positions that are to be developed and supported mainly in the body paragraphs.  
b. The Body / Body Paragraph(s): An essay has at least one body paragraph to develop and support the viewpoint expressed in the thesis statement; and each body paragraph usually (not always) begins with a topic sentence.
1) The topic sentence of a body paragraph: usually including one specific reason that supports your opinion expressed in the thesis statement. The rest of that paragraph develops and supports that reason explanations, example, facts, anecdotes, etc. (Just like the way certain minor supporting sentences do to support one specific major supporting sentence in the typical paragraph organization.)  
2) The opposing views (counter-argument) are usually included for writers to argue against (refutation). 
3)  To make the argument flow and cohesive, transition words are often used to connect ideas not only within one paragraph but also from paragraph to paragraph.  
# Avoiding faulty logic (see GW4, pp. 121-23):  
a) sweeping generalizations: using words such as all, always, and never that are too broad and cannot be supported. 
e.g., All Americans eat fast food. 
b) events related only by sequence (but not by cause and effect) 
c) inappropriate authority figures 
d) hasty generalizations: making quick judgments based o inadequate information. 
d) loaded words with emotional connotations  
e) either/or arguments with only two or three outcome choices
c. Conclusion / Concluding Paragraph: 
1) restatement: Using different words to repeat your opinion expressed in the thesis statement.
2) using a concluding strategy to end the essay in an interesting and/or persuasive way. Three common strategies (from FOW4, p. 47) are listed as follows: 
a) Look to the future of the issue and comment on it.
b) propose an alternative that should have or could have been done and explain what might have happened as a result.
c) Summarize the opposing point of view that you mentioned in your introduction and show again why your point of view is better.  
3) The concluding paragraph shouldn't be too long.
3. writing steps: 

References: (simplified)
Effective Academic Writing 2: Unit 5
Effective Academic Writing 3: Unit 4
Focus on Writing 4: Unit 2
Great Writing 4: Unit 5