Author Topic: Writing Arguments and Positions (Topic Sentences)  (Read 4360 times)

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Writing Arguments and Positions (Topic Sentences)
« on: March 15, 2007, 04:38:05 PM »
This topic will revolve around writing convincing claims for general use.  I will try to stay away from sounding too  academic, as were are not a bubble in acadamia, but I will try to cover relevant topics.

To make any argument or state any position, it is essential to write good topic sentences.  Topic sentences are focal points used in structuring an entire paragraph.  They generally consist of a claim which the rest of the paragraph revolves around.  Therefore, every other sentence in a paragraph should be spent backing up the topic sentence and giving evidence to support it.

The difference between a good topic sentence and a mediocre one is a subtle difference, but a very important one nonetheless.  Most of us tend to fall into the trap of not being specific enough, leading to claims that are unclear, cannot be supported, or don't seem to say anything.  The reasons for doing this are many, ranging from laziness, fear of making a sentence too long, or because we find something obvious or that we think is implied that the reader may not.

Let us note an example (do not think too much about the validity of the statements, I came up with them just to analyze structure.):

Mediocre topic sentence:
Vampires drink blood.

Better topic sentence:
Vampires in classical literature drink blood from living people to sustain their undead life.

Obviously, you can see that the second sentence is a much better one, simple for the fact that it is clear, concise, and is able to be supported easily with evidence.  The first sentence is not very clear at all.  What vampires are we talking about?  Psi vampires?  Sanguinarian vampires?  Real life vampires? Fictional vampires?  Why do they drink the blood? The reader doesn't know.

If you already wrote that you were writing about vampires in classical literature, you would not have to write that again, but it is still important to make the claim as specific as possible.

We must also steer away from another catchy trap, the generalization.  Often we want to make a bold claim to catch the attention of the reader, but if we cannot support it, it is not a valid statement.  Key words to avoid using relating to generalization are words such as: all, every, always, never, no, no one, and none.

Here are some especially bad examples:

Since the beginning of time, men have drank Coke.

Everywhere in the world, people drink Coke.

All men drink Coke.

Every Man drinks Coke.

Never has a single man enjoyed drinking Coke.

No one enjoys drinking Coke.

None have ever drank Coke and survived.

These are quite silly examples and it is obvious that they are not true.  However, you could replace the end of all of these sentences with something less silly that sounds convincing, and it would not be any more valid.  After all, we don't know what has happened since the beginning of time, we weren't around.  As for all of the others, there is an exception almost all of the time.

Note:  This topic is under construction and will be added to.  I just wanted to get something up that I can work from.  Feel free to comment and ask questions below.


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Re: Writing Arguments and Positions (Topic Sentences)
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 09:39:16 AM »
I have alot of problems in my writing. In my current english class I am working on analysis. It is hard for me to write on one subject my ideas are very broad. I will begin to write on one subject then I will become reminded of something else and feel the topic must be added. What you have written I have tried to use today thank you for this post.

Andrea Warfare

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Re: Writing Arguments and Positions (Topic Sentences)
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2009, 09:12:28 AM »
I commend you for your scholastic efforts,however,I believe it would be less destracting and more efficient in an area of its own away from the free thought. Thanks for your help,I'm sure we'll all use it!
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