Develop one of the following topics into an essay of argumentation and/or persuasion, choosing the side you wish to take. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
1. Companies (should/should not) be held liable for their own pollution.
2. Adopted children (should/should not) be told who their “birth parents” are.
3. The government (should/should not) require less foreign programming on television.
4. Compulsory retirement at 65 should be (continued/abolished).
5. Pit bulls should be (legal/illegal).
6. “Streaming” of students in the high schools should be (increased/maintained/reduced/abolished).
7. Canadian foreign aid should be (increased/maintained/decreased).
8. The government (should/should not) require that all plastic containers be biodegradable.
9. The minimum driving age should be (raised/maintained/lowered).
10. Private ownership of handguns should be (allowed/prohibited).
11. Free trade between Canada and the United States will (increase/decrease) opportunities in the career I hope to enter.
12. Racism in Canada is (increasing/decreasing).
13. Canada should (permit/prohibit) irradiation of food.
14. Municipal recycling should be (optional/required).
15. Car insurance (should/should not) cost the same for males and females.
16. There (is/is not) life in outer space.
17. The Canadian Senate should be (maintained/changed/abolished).
18. Public transit (should/should not) be free.
19. Canada should (increase/maintain/decrease) its level of immigration.
20. Chemical additives to food (should/should not) be allowed.
21. The minimum drinking age should be (raised/maintained/lowered).
22. Medical experimentation on animals (should/should not) be permitted.
23. Official censorship of films should be (increased/maintained/decreased/abolished).
24. Canada should (increase/maintain/decrease/abolish) passenger rail service.
25. Stores (should/should not) be required to close on Sundays.
Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of argumentation and/or persuasion.
1. Choose a good topic, then go to either 2 or 3 below.
2. DEDUCTION: Do you already know your point of view because of a moral or intellectual principle you hold? First examine that principle, the foundation of your argument: Is it extreme, or is it reasonable enough (and clear enough) that your AUDIENCE can accept it? If the latter, proceed. Make notes, then write a rapid first draft showing how the principle supports your point.
3. INDUCTION: Did experience or observation teach you the point you wish to make? First generate a page of notes. Then put these experiences or observations into the order that led you to your conclusion. Now transfer this argument to a rapid first draft.
4. You have probably organized your draft through a pattern. Cause and effect is a natural for either deduction or induction, and so is comparison and contrast. You have probably used examples, perhaps narrating or describing them. You might also have classified your subject, or cast your logic in a process analysis. Apart from analogy, which appeals more to emotion than to logic, your approach can serve deduction or induction. Use whatever works. If your first draft makes partial use of a major pattern, consider revising to extend the pattern and strengthen its effect.
5. As you look over your first draft, add any missing examples, especially if your argument is inductive (the more evidence, the better). Heighten your logic with signals such as “however,” “therefore,” “as a result,” and “in conclusion.”
6. Now Judge how argumentative or persuasive your approach has been so far. Does your cold logic need a little colour and life? If so, add it, consulting techniques of persuasion: WORD CHOICE, EXAMPLE, REPETITION, HYPERBOLE, ANALOGY, IRONY, APPEAL TO AUTHORITY, FRIGHT, CLIMAX. Or do your emotional appeals dominate your argument? Do they even encourage the audience not to think? If so, revise towards a more blended stance in your second draft.
7. Now cut all deadwood. Check for details of spelling and grammar. Write your good copy, then proofread it word by word. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revision.