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Seventh Grade English


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.



  • Whether you choose to refute the valid points of the other side of the argument in a separate paragraph or within the context of your own body paragraphs will depend on what works best in your particular paper (if the instructions for the assignment don’t specify what you must do.)
  • Use transitional words to help your reader follow your argument.   They are words such as “although,” “however,” “on the other hand,” “in spite of that,” or “at the same time.”
  • Words such as "typically," "generally," "usually," or "on average" can help limit the scope of your claim by allowing for exceptions.

                                        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

ultimately                     definitely

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



subordinating conjunctions

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

correlative conjunctions

just as …so                     either…or                         not…but                      not only…but also                       both…and                      neither…nor                     whether…or

coordinating conjunctions

         for                     and                    nor                     but                     or                     yet                      so











Think SPOCK:

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?










Side Opposing


3 Best Arguments                              Expert Opinion                                     any cons/negatives?