Arguments are an essential part of life, whether you’re arguing with friends about which movie to watch or debating policy with your senator. If you’ve ever participated in an argument, then you know that they can get heated and confusing very quickly.
In this article, we’ll go over some steps you can take to make sure your arguments stay rational, respectful, and productive—even when emotions run high.
|1. Arguments should follow a clear structure to enhance their persuasiveness.|
|2. Effective argument structuring involves organizing ideas logically.|
|3. Emphasize the importance of a strong thesis statement that encapsulates the main point.|
|4. Supporting evidence should be relevant, credible, and presented coherently.|
|5. Address counterarguments to showcase a well-rounded understanding of the topic.|
|6. Use transitional phrases to guide readers through your argument’s progression.|
|7. Clarity and coherence are essential for making arguments compelling and convincing.|
1. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Sincere
I think it’s important to note that this is not a guide for argument structure. This is a guide for humans, who may or may not be able to do the math. I’ve never been one for math myself, so you should know that I’m writing from personal experience: as we’re all human and make mistakes, you shouldn’t be afraid of being wrong or vulnerable.
Don’t let your fear of looking foolish prevent you from putting your ideas forward and engaging with others!
It’s also important to note that the purpose of this article isn’t to give you rules—it’s merely here to provide some guidance on how you might go about structuring your arguments (or arguments at work). As such, this article will mostly focus on what can go wrong when making arguments instead of what will always work.
Understanding the key elements of persuasive legal writing is crucial for effective communication. Dive into our guide on writing to persuade in the legal field to enhance your skills and craft compelling arguments.
2. Don’t Take The Easy Way Out
You know that one of the ways to get someone to agree with you is by using a cheap shot. It’s also one of the easiest ways to lose an argument.
Cheap shots are anything that is designed to undermine someone’s position without actually addressing it in any meaningful way. Some examples include:
- A false equivalency
- Straw men (in which you misrepresent someone else’s position and then attack them for holding it)
- Red herrings (where you introduce an irrelevant topic into the discussion in an attempt to distract your opponent)
- Slippery slope arguments (where you suggest that if one thing happens, another thing will happen as well)
And finally, there are some rhetorical strategies used frequently by politicians and other people who want others to believe their positions without having to provide evidence or explain themselves rationally: they’re called ad hominem attacks because they’re based on attacking a person rather than their argument or evidence.
3. Don’t Get Too Hung Up On Structure
This is a fairly obvious point, but it bears repeating: the structure of your argument is important, but it’s not what makes or breaks an argument. It may be helpful to think of structure as a tool in your belt that you can use if needed.
If you’re looking to win someone over with an argument, having good content and being familiar with grammar rules will help make sure your ideas are clear and easy to understand. This helps ensure that people will pay attention to what you have to say which gives them the chance to agree with or refute your reasoning behind the claim.
When it comes to legal research, having comprehensive and well-structured guides can greatly aid student attorneys. Explore our collection of legal research guides to navigate through complex legal issues and bolster your research capabilities.
4. Do try to understand where the other person is coming from.
Do try to understand where the other person is coming from.
Understanding someone else’s point of view, or point of departure, helps you communicate with them effectively and understand their needs. For example:
If I want to persuade a friend who doesn’t like cooking about the benefits of cooking for yourself rather than eating out all the time, understanding how my friend feels about cooking will help me tailor my argument and make it relevant for her.
If I want my boss to let me leave work early so that I can cook dinner for my partner on Valentine’s Day but she has a policy against leaving early without prior arrangement (which means no way will she approve this request), knowing why she has such a policy in place helps me come up with an alternative plan (e.g., arrange ahead of time).
5. Do Be Respectful, Even When You Disagree
Being respectful means that you acknowledge the other person’s position and feelings. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but it does mean not discounting their opinions or making fun of their beliefs. It also means not talking down to people who are younger, older, or from a different culture than yours.
A respectful argument gives you credibility and shows that you’re open-minded enough to consider other points of view besides your own. And if nothing else: it’s just nice!
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6. Do listen
As a non-native speaker, you are already aware that listening is the most important part of any conversation.
Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult things to learn. While your brain may not be able to process every word someone says to you at first glance, it would be even more difficult if you were trying to speak and listen at the same time which is what happens when we try too hard to keep up with our non-native friends’ rapid-fire speech patterns.
We have all been there: desperately searching for the right words to contribute something meaningful to a conversation. The key is not simply having an understanding of what they’re saying; it’s being able to respond appropriately while paying attention and making sure that our message comes across clearly as well (i.e., no talking over each other).
Listening requires active participation on your part; don’t just sit back passively while everyone else does all of the talking! This means actively engaging in eye contact not just staring blankly into space without blinking and making sure that your body language matches up with what they’re saying so they can tell if they’ve lost their audience or not (and vice versa).
7. Do Look At The Situation From All Sides Before You Respond
- Do look at the situation from all sides before you respond.
This is general advice, but it’s extremely important when dealing with argumentative writing and life in general. When we’re in an argumentative mindset, it’s easy to oversimplify things and assume that there’s only one right way to think about things.
That’s why it’s helpful to take a step back and consider all of your options before responding:
Look at the situation from the person who wrote or said what you’re arguing against (for example, if someone says something racist or sexist, try asking yourself how they would explain their behavior).
Look at the situation from a different perspective than yours (what if everyone thought like that?)
8. Do Know Your Facts And Use Them To Bolster Your Case
This is a big one. You should know your facts and how to use them to bolster your case. Facts are important to support your case, argument, opinion, position, and view.
When you make an argument or present a point of view it’s okay if the person reading it is not familiar with that information they will be able to understand what you mean even if they don’t know all the details of what happened or why something happened that way.
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9. Do Have A Definitive Opinion
You should have a definitive opinion. Here are some examples of when you should stick to your guns:
Your friend wants to go hiking in the wilderness, but it’s raining and you think it’s too dangerous.
You have an important meeting with your boss and he asks if there is anything else that needs to be discussed at this time; there isn’t, but you still have something on your mind that bothers you about the way things are going at work lately.
Here are some examples of times when being open-minded might help:
Your friend wants to go hiking in the wilderness, even though it’s raining; maybe he/she has done it before and knows how much fun it can be! You think about how nice fresh air would feel after work today so decide that maybe hiking isn’t such a bad idea after all!
10 . Do Be Open-Minded Enough To Change Your Mind If Someone Convinces You They’re Right
Things change. Opinions change. Circumstances change. And, unfortunately, so do minds. The key here is to be open-minded enough to consider these possibilities without getting defensive or angry if you’re convinced that your original position is correct.
If someone convinces you they’re right and you’ve been wrong all along, then it’s time to start listening even if it feels like an insult on some level (it won’t be).
Properly structuring arguments is a foundational aspect of legal writing. Explore our non-grammatical guide to structuring arguments and gain insights into presenting your case logically and persuasively.
I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to follow any of the advice above, or none of it, if that’s what feels right for you! I’d love to hear how your arguments go when using these techniques. Please let me know in the comments below if there are any other tips or tricks that have helped you out in the past.
Explore the principles of research and argumentation with this comprehensive guide. The Craft of Research provides valuable insights into structuring arguments effectively and conducting thorough research.
Dive into the essentials of constructing persuasive arguments. This resource on Basic Argument Components offers a clear breakdown of the key elements that contribute to compelling writing.
Enhance your argumentative writing skills with this guide. Developing Effective Arguments provides strategies and tips for creating well-structured and impactful arguments.
What are the core components of a strong argument?
A strong argument typically comprises three core components: a clear thesis statement, supporting evidence, and a logical progression of ideas.
How can I enhance the persuasiveness of my arguments?
To make your arguments more persuasive, focus on providing credible and relevant evidence, anticipating counterarguments, and using persuasive language.
Are there any common pitfalls to avoid when constructing arguments?
Yes, some common pitfalls include using fallacious reasoning, relying solely on emotional appeals, and failing to address opposing viewpoints.
How do I ensure the coherence of my argumentative writing?
Coherence can be achieved by organizing your ideas logically, using transitional phrases, and ensuring that each paragraph contributes to the overall argument.
How do I effectively refute counterarguments?
When refuting counterarguments, acknowledge valid points, then provide evidence that supports your position and demonstrates why your viewpoint is stronger.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.