Writing Texts

Organising Your Argument

Organising Your Argument

How to answer the exam question

There are three steps to answering this question.

  • You need to identify writing techniques used in a text.
  • You need to say what effects these techniques have – why are they used?
  • You then need to do the same for another text, saying which techniques and effects are similar and which ones are different.

This means in your answer you will have to write at least four paragraphs describing:

  1. which writing techniques are used
  2. why these techniques are used
  3. how these are similar or different from writing techniques from another text
  4. why these similar or different writing techniques are used in the other text

Your marks will be spread evenly across these four sections.

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Organising your Argument

english languageStart your writing with your strongest argument, written in a short, punchy style. This way your audience should be immediately interested and engaged.

Next you should write all the counter arguments.

These should be presented as positively and strongly as you can, so that they sound convincing to the reader, and so that you are seen to be fair.

A sophisticated approach is to cast a little doubt on the counter arguments by using phrases such as ‘people say’ or ‘according to…’ as this will make these arguments sound more subjective.

Points for

Having set out the counter arguments now you need to advance your side of things. You should argue against and ideally undermine each point of the opposition’s argument.

Once you have done this you can then go on to argue other positive points for your point of view.

Conclusion

You should finish by reinforcing your case with your most compelling argument.

Addressing the reader/audience directly, confronting them with the choice between the two sides is a powerful way to finish.

For example:

‘So everything boils down to whether you have more sympathy for the hunters or the hunted, the rich and the powerful who gallop about the countryside filled with bloodlust, or the innocent, terrified animal their dogs tear to pieces. In the end who would you rather save?’

So the structure of your essay should be:

  • Your strongest argument for
  • Points against
  • Points for
  • Conclusion