The aim of an argument is to create a good overview of a topic and to convince the reader of your opinion. You can find out how you can do this from us. We have the basics, different argument types, an overview of the argument structure, instructions in six steps and numerous examples. We will tell you about writing arguments in 6 steps with examples
Successful reasoning is not only important to convince other people of your opinion. With every decision in life, you have to weigh up for yourself whether you are for or against something. The ability to argue is already practiced in school. In the form of a statement or a discussion , it is important to find arguments and to support your own statement. We’ll show you how to do it.
Basics of reasoning
Table of Contents
- Basics of reasoning
- Serious argument types
- Overview of the argumentation structure
- Writing an argument: Instructions in 6 steps
The foundations of the argument include on the one hand the argument and on the other hand the premise . Premises form the prerequisites for an argument by showing logical conclusions and making it clear to the reader step by step how you build up your argument. Below are some helpful argument types that you can use in your body.
The term “argument” comes from the Latin term “argumentum” and means something like “statement”, “content” or “evidence” . The verb “argue” comes from the Latin “arguere” which means “to claim”, “to prove” or “to show”. The Latin origin already sums up very well what is meant by an argument.
It is important to convince someone of your point of view with meaningful statements. An argument consists of several premises. These premises should produce as many arguments as possible and lead to a conclusion . You will find out exactly what a premise is in the following chapter.
A premise is what underlies a particular plan. It is a prerequisite for a statement from which a logical conclusion (conclusion) can be drawn. For example, if you know that all fish live in water (first premise) and that all carp are fish (second premise), you know that all carp live in water (conclusion).
The two premises together with the conclusion make up an argument . Another example is: All dogs bark. All dachshunds are dogs. All the dachshunds bark. A premise doesn’t always have to be true. The indirect proof, for example, assumes a false assumption in order to refute it and thus build up its argument. You can learn more about this in the chapter on argument types.
What a thesis is
A thesis is an assertion, recommendation, evaluation, or judgment . It is set up to begin your argument. The aim is to convince the reader of its validity. The opposite of a thesis is an antithesis. Theses are not just presented as arguments. They are an important part of every job in school or university. You can find out more in the instructions for your argumentation.
Serious argument types
How strong your thesis is always depends on your arguments. This is where high quality arguments are most effective. Knowing the types of arguments is helpful for both school and university. You don’t need them just for an argument; and presentations , statements, discussions, factual text analysis and speech analysis benefit from successful arguments. We have provided an example for each of the legitimate argument types.
Latin “argumentum ad verecundiam”, translated “proof through awe” , refers to well-known foundations or reputable personalities such as scientists, experts or politicians. It is slightly less effective than the factual argument based on scientific studies, but it is still very informative. The more reputable your source, the stronger your argument.
Example: “According to Stiftung Warentest, only one of these products does really well.”
In the case of an analogizing argument, the topic is linked to another topic and compared. Here, a certain aspect is to be illustrated by the comparison . It is best if the two areas are similar so that they can be compared directly with one another.
Example: “If trams only cost one euro a day in Berlin, as in Vienna, there would be far fewer fare dodgers.”
The factual argument is the strongest argument and should appear at the end of the main part of your argument. It is factual and therefore the least challengeable. The proof can be, for example, a scientific study or a physical law.
Example: “It takes longer to climb the Eiffel Tower than the Cologne Cathedral, since the Eiffel Tower is almost twice as high.”
An indirect argument proves an assertion to the contrary . This type of argument is particularly effective when discussing pros and cons. He benefits from the fact that the other side is debilitated at the same time as your argument is supported.
For example: “Critics claim that books are better suited for learning. The fact is, however, that the grades of the students have improved since the internet came up. “
The plausibility argument is quite convincing, but not based on facts. That’s why you should place it in the middle of your argument and think twice about whether your statement is logical. The aim of such an argument is to be plausible to the reader. Your statement must therefore be formulated in a plausible and comprehensible manner and justified.
For example: “Morning people have more energy in the morning, so it is wiser for them to do difficult tasks right in the morning. Night owls can probably start their workday better with lighter tasks immediately after getting up. “
Normative argument (value argument)
The normative argument is based on social norms and moral values . The validity of this depends on the extent to which this standard can be regarded as generally applicable and whether the reader recognizes it or not.
Example: “Raising children should never be accompanied by violence.”
Avoid these types of arguments:
- Argumentum ad baculum (based on a fear)
- Argumentum ad misericordiam (relies on pity)
- Lastly, Argumentum ad populum (based on the public opinion of a majority or a specific person)
Overview of the argumentation structure
An argument is always guided by a thesis . This can either be an assertion, a recommendation, an evaluation or a judgment about something. In school, factual texts are often given to which you should form an opinion . In the event that you are free to choose your topic, you can also propose a thesis on something that concerns you personally, such as the use of smartphones in class or the menu in the cafeteria.
Your argumentation structure always follows a certain order. We have briefly outlined all the work steps of an argument for you and created an overview. You will find detailed instructions with a few tips and examples in the next chapter.
- Select and analyze a topic, develop a thesis
- Collect texts (such as articles, interviews, text passages from specialist books, studies, press releases) that support your thesis
2. Order of the material and structure of the analysis
- Collect text passages for your arguments and quotes
- Bullet-point structure , sort arguments, structure the process
- Introduction of topic and thesis
- for example personal experience, event (report) or statistics
4. main part
- The three Bs: assertion, reason, example
- the weakest argument first, the strongest last
- Arguments are either for and against or only refer to one side
- Summary and personal conclusion (only part with your own opinion)
- Final sentence
6. Revision / correction
- Check text for errors ( proofreading )
- Add paragraphs
- Language should be factual and understandable ( learn to write better )
- Argumentation should be understandable
- Connections should be conclusive
Writing an argument: Instructions in 6 steps
In this chapter you will find a guide for an argument in six steps. We went through each point and provided a few tips. In general, you should make sure to remain objective and factual until the end . At the end you can then add your own opinion to a personal conclusion. Also, use paragraphs to structure your reasoning so the reader doesn’t get stuck.
To illustrate this, we have provided the instructions with examples . The topic is the debate on the two school systems G8 and G9. We represent the possible point of view that argues for a standardization of G9 in schools . The aim is to find as many arguments as possible for the G9 or against the G8 in order to convince the reader of this opinion.
If you haven’t given a topic, the first step is to come up with a topic. It is always easier to refer to your own experiences and areas of interest . In schools, factual texts are also often made available, which should be analyzed for their advantages and disadvantages with regard to a topic. If you can choose the topic yourself, you can also choose one side: Are you for or against?
Having a thesis in your head right away will help you to collect the right texts for you from the start. Research articles, press releases or studies that can support your thesis in your argument. One topic could be:
“The nationwide introduction of G9 in high schools.”
2. Order and structure
The most important thing in your argument is a successful structure . This is the only way for the reader to understand your train of thought. From the introduction to the end, everything should best be planned in advance. To do this, you can create a small overview and record in note form what you want to write and where.
In the introduction you present your topic and note what goal you are pursuing with your argument. Try to make the reader curious about your topic and encourage them to read on.
“The two school systems G8 and G9 have been a topical issue for a long time. While Saxony and Thuringia have consistently operated the abbreviated form in their schools since 1949, the rest of Germany tends to disagree. Since the year 2000 there have been changes again and again that not only cause confusion for parents and students, but also prevent equal opportunities for students. For this reason there should be a nationwide standardization of the school systems on the G9. “
4. main part
The main part is the core of your reasoning. This is where you start by making your arguments . You build these up according to the usual pattern of the three Bs: assertion, reason and example . Start with your weakest argument and then work your way up. When discussed, the arguments are also broken down into pros and cons. Make sure to include direct or indirect quotations so that you can substantiate your statements.
Normative argument (weakest argument):
“The intermediate level will be shortened at G8. This means that children are confronted with the abbreviated system from the age of 15 and have to do more than children with G9. But at this age children shouldn’t have to keep an appointment calendar like adults and have to structure their day meticulously. They should still be able to enjoy their childhood. “
Plausibility argument (middle argument):
“As“ Die Zeit ”(No. 43/2016) reports, the widespread changeover to G8 pursued the goal of letting the students work faster and thus relieving the burden on the social systems. They should pay taxes longer and secure their pensions earlier. But this leaves less time for personal development and private interests, because these can later be important for the career choice and the duration of the activity. If the students choose the wrong profession due to a lack of personal interests or if they retire earlier due to stressful stress, nothing is gained with this system. “
Fact argument (strongest argument):
“The German opinion research institute Emnid also confirmed that eight out of ten parents (79 percent) with school-age children prefer G9 to the shortened G8 system. In order to allow German democracy to rule at school level, all federal states should therefore be standardized on the G9. In this way, all children would have the same opportunities to prepare for their career choice and to consolidate their personality. “
At the end you summarize everything that has been said so far briefly and concisely. Then you give your result a personal conclusion and conclude your argument with a final sentence.
The summary and conclusion should not consist of mere repetitions of the previous formulations. Try to add some variety and describe your concern in other words. This way your text is even more haunting and you demonstrate eloquence. In addition, you can create important relationships between the individual arguments so that everything fits together more coherently and makes sense to the reader.
“In conclusion, it can be said that the development of children should be in the foreground in our education system and that they should not be responsible for supporting the German social system at such a young age. Moreover, in a performance society in which burnout is no longer a foreign concept, the system should work to protect teachers and students so that they can work through to retirement at all. “
The final sentence should encourage the reader to think about your reasoning and possibly to deal with the topic even more intensively. As a rule, it is a sentence, but sometimes another sentence can lead to the final sentence. In relation to our example topic, it could look like this:
“Many federal states have returned to the G9, which has already proven itself over a long period of time. In order to offer pupils, parents and teachers security again and so that every pupil has the same chance to prepare for their working life, it is high time to introduce G9 uniformly in all federal states. “
6. Revision and correction
The revision of your reasoning is important so that your sentences are coherent and the reader can understand your trains of thought. Also check here what your argumentation ‘looks like’: Are there enough paragraphs and is your text attractive? The correction is intended to eliminate careless mistakes . Especially if your argument is being evaluated, it is worth revising and correcting it. You can decide on one or the other grade point.