THESIS STATEMENTS HELP for ARGUMENT PAPERS
1. The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable. Argumentative writing must begin with a debatable thesis, something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something everyone already agrees with, then there is no reason to argue the point.
Bad example of a thesis statement: Pollution is bad for the environment.
(This is not debatable. Everyone knows that pollution is bad. They might disagree on the solution or the seriousness of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is good.)
Good example of a debatable thesis statement:
Twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.
(This is a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree. Others could argue that corporations, not the government, should pay for limiting pollution since they cause much of it.)
Even better example of a debatable thesis statement:
At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping
business use cleaner technologies, research renewable energy sources, and
plant more trees in order to control pollution.
2. The thesis needs to be narrow. The more narrow your focus of your thesis, the better your argument will probably be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right. Don’t narrow the thesis too much, though, of you won’t have much to argue….
Bad example of a narrowed thesis: Drug use destroys society.
(This statement is too broad. Is the author talking about illegal or recreational drug use (including alcohol and cigarettes) or medication? In what ways are drugs detrimental? Is the author referring only to American society or to the global population?
Better example: Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence.
REMEMBER: YOU NEED A RATIONAL, LOGICAL ARGUMENT BASED ON EVIDENCE!
TRANSITION WORDS AND PHRASES
Agreement / Addition / Similarity
The transition words like also, in addition, and, likewise, add information, reinforce ideas, and express agreement with preceding material.
in the first place likewise comparatively correspondingly similarly
furthermore additionally not only ... but also as a matter of fact in like manner
in addition coupled with in the same fashion / way first, second, third in the light of
not to mention to say nothing of equally important by the same token again
to and also then equally
identically uniquely like as too
moreover as well as together with of course
Opposition / Limitation / Contradiction
Transition phrases like but, rather and or, express that there is evidence to the contrary or point out alternatives, and thus introduce a change the line of reasoning (contrast).
although this may be true in contrast different from of course ..., but on the other hand
on the contrary at the same time in spite of even so / though be that as it may
then again above all in reality after all but
(and) still unlike or (and) yet while
albeit besides as much as even though although
instead whereas despite conversely otherwise
however rather nevertheless nonetheless regardless
Cause / Condition / Purpose
These transitional phrases present specific conditions or intentions.
in the event that granted (that) as / so long as on (the) condition (that) for the purpose of
with this intention for fear that in order to seeing / being that in view of
If…then when whenever while because of
as since while lest in case
provided that given that only / even if so that so as to
owing to inasmuch as due to with this in mind unless
in the hope that
Examples / Support / Emphasis
These transitional devices (like especially) are used to introduce examples as support, to indicate importance or as an illustration so that an idea is cued to the reader.
in other words to put it differently for one thing as an illustration in this case
for this reason to put it another way that is to say with attention to by all means
important to realize another key point first thing to remember most compelling evidence must be remembered
point often overlooked to point out on the positive side on the negative side with this in mind
notably including like to be sure namely
chiefly truly indeed certainly surely
markedly such as especially explicitly specifically
expressly surprisingly frequently significantly particularly
in fact in general in particular in detail for example
for instance to demonstrate to emphasize to repeat to clarify
to explain to enumerate
Effect / Consequence / Result
Some of these transition words (thus, then, accordingly, consequently, therefore, henceforth) are time words that are used to show that after a particular time there was a consequence or an effect.
Note that for and because are placed before the cause/reason. The other devices are placed before the consequences or effects.
as a result under those circumstances in that case for this reason in effect
for thus because the then hence
consequentlyn therefore thereupon forthwith accordingly
Conclusion / Summary / Restatement
These transition words and phrases conclude, summarize and / or restate ideas, or indicate a final general statement. Also some words (like therefore) from the Effect / Consequence category can be used to summarize.
as can be seen generally speaking in the final analysis all things considered as shown above
in the long run given these points as has been noted in a word for the most part
after all in fact in summary in conclusion in short
in brief in essence to summarize on balance altogether
overall ordinarily usually by and large to sum up
on the whole in any event in either case all in all obviously
Time / Chronology / Sequence
These transitional words (like finally) have the function of limiting, restricting, and defining time. They can be used either alone or as part of adverbial expressions.
at the present time from time to time sooner or later at the same time up to the present time
to begin with in due time as soon as as long as in the meantime
in a moment without delay in the first place all of a sudden at this instant
first, second immediately quickly finally after
later last until till since
then before hence since when
once about next now formerly
suddenly shortly henceforth whenever eventually
meanwhile further during in time prior to
forthwith straightaway by the time whenever until now
now that instantly presently occasionally
Space / Location / Place
These transition words are often used as part of adverbial expressions and have the function to restrict, limit or qualify space. Quite a few of these are also found in the Time category and can be used to describe spatial order or spatial reference.
in the middle to the left/right in front of on this side in the distance here and there
in the foreground in the background in the center of adjacent to opposite of here
there next where from over near
above below down up under further
beyond nearby wherever around between before
alongside amid among beneath beside behind
SIMPLIFIED TRANSITION WORDS AND PHRASES
To show comparison
as also likewise like similarly
To show contrast
yet but however although even though
To show location
above below beside under between
To show summary
in conclusion in summary to sum up finally to conclude
To show time
yesterday afterward immediately next soon
To show result
therefore due to consequently hence accordingly
after although as as if as long as because before
how (only) if in case in order that provided that now that once
rather than since so that than that though till
unless until what when where whereas whether
which while who whom whose why
just as …so either…or not…but not only…but also both…and neither…nor whether…or
for and nor but or yet so
S- show rational, logical reasons
P- point out good in opposing argument
O- opinions of experts!
C- convince audience that your view is best!
K- know what the opposing side would argue
1. Read/Research- get expert opinions about your topic that support your side (Sally Sue, a Harvard graduate, has research that says less homework is better for students), and opinions that support the opposing side (Daniel David, a top Yale scientist, explained that when students have homework, they learn better).
2. Decide on the best arguments for both sides- after you have read several articles for both sides of your topic, choose the arguments that best support both sides of your topic. Make sure to use expert evidence! Your opinion has no place in this paper.
3. List the three best arguments IN SUPPORT OF TOPIC (No homework lessens the stress on students.) and the three best arguments IN SUPPORT OF THE OPPOSING SIDE (Homework increases academic performance). **These are NOT pros and cons!**
4. Choose which side you will argue for- After finding evidence supporting both sides of
the topic, decide which side of the issue has the best evidence supporting it. The side with
the strongest supported arguments should be the stance you take for this paper. Now you may
look at the negative side of each argument for both sides (the cons).
5. Develop your thesis statement- indirectly state your stance and list the best arguments
you found in #3.
(NO: I think homework is good because….) (YES: Homework is beneficial because….)
6. Organize your paper- You will have one body paragraph for each of your three main
arguments, You also need to refute and concede some points:
- admit to the weaker parts of your argument, but show how your side is still better overall. You must anticipate what the opposing side would argue! (Some say that reducing homework reduces student’s stress, but that does not mean it should be taken away.)
- admit that the other side has good points, but show with evidence why yours is better. (Refute the other side’s argument either in a separate paragraph, or include in your body paragraphs if the arguments are directly opposed.)
Topic selected: _________________________________________________________________
Side in Support
3 Best Arguments Expert Opinion any cons/negatives?
3 Best Arguments Expert Opinion any cons/negatives?