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Unformatted text preview: 290 You Know This Whenever you try to convince some- one to do or avoid doing something, you use argument. You persuade a friend to lend you some money. You understand the argument being made in a public-service ad. 18 Argument Writing That Persuades Understand What Argument Is Argument is writing that takes a position on an issue and offers reasons and supporting evidence to convince someone else to accept, or at least consider, that position. Argument is also used to persuade someone to take an action (or not to take an action). FOUR BASICS OF GOOD ARGUMENT 1. It takes a strong and defi nite position on an issue or advises a particular action. 2. It gives good reasons and supporting evidence to defend the position or recommended action. 3. It considers opposing views. 4. It has enthusiasm and energy from start to fi nish. In the following paragraph, each number corresponds to one of the four basics of good argument. 1 The drinking age should be lowered from twenty-one to eighteen. 2 The government gives eighteen-year-olds the right to vote. If they are adult enough to vote for the people and policies that run this country, they should be mature enough to have a drink. 2 The U.S. penal system IDEA JOURNAL Write about a time that you got some- thing you wanted by giving someone good reasons and making a good case. WRITING ESSAYS Chapter 18 Argument 291 also regards eighteen-year-olds as adults. If an eighteen-year-old commits a crime and goes to trial, he or she is tried and sentenced as an adult, not as a minor. That means that if the crime is murder, an eighteen-year-old could receive the death penalty. Eighteen-year-olds are not given spe- cial treatment. Most important is the fact that at eighteen, individuals can enlist in the armed forces and go to war. The government considers them old enough to die for their country but not old enough to have a drink? This makes no sense. 3 Opponents to lowering the drinking age justify their position by saying that if the age is lowered, teenagers will start drinking even earlier. However, there is no evidence to show that legal age is a major in uence on teenage drinking. Other factors involved, such as peer pressure and the availability of fake IDs, have more impact on whether teenagers drink. While the government does need to address the issue of teenage drinking, forbidding eighteen-year-olds to drink while granting them other, more important rights and responsibilities at the same age is neither consistent nor reasonable. Putting together a good argument is one of the most useful skills you can learn. Knowing how to argue well will equip you to defend effectively what you believe and to convince others to agree with you. We present an argument to persuade someone to give us a job, to buy something were selling, or to give us more time to fi nish a task. And we argue when something important is at stake, like keeping a job or protecting our rights....
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- Winter '10