Let’s eat Grandma! How Punctuation can Save a Life

Grandma-precious-and-sweet-grandma-29072475-371-454

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to most English textbooks and instructors, the omission or misuse of commas is the #1 sentence-level error in writing. Many beginning writers overlook the importance of a correctly used comma, or insert commas as an afterthought where they think they need a pause. Commas, like any punctuation, have rules of use, and failing to follow the rules can lead to, what may appear in your sentence, to be death – or just really awkward and embarrassing sentences!

As the title of this post illustrates, a missing comma can alter the meaning of an otherwise straightforward sentence. With a correctly placed comma,

Let’s eat, Grandma.

it’s understood that we don’t really want to eat Grandma, but that someone is requesting that Grandma eat.

A comma prevents readers from grouping words together in ways that don’t fit your intended meaning, as in the following example:

Did the bear eat John?

44688

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope not! With a comma, we’re asking John if the bear has eaten:

Did the bear eat, John?

In the following example of a missing comma, you can see how it could create a disturbing image:

All those who like to cook and eat my wife just started a new blog.

There must be a lot of people who like to cook and eat this person’s wife!

With comma: All those who like to cook and eat, my wife just started a new blog.

Comma in a List of Items

What’s for Dinner?

Your mother is making broccoli chicken, peas, and carrots for dinner. So is she making one entrée and one side dish? Or is she making one entrée and two side dishes? Or two entrées and two side dishes? Confused? You might have an idea what food you will be eating, but unless you understand how the sentence is punctuated, you might not know how to interpret the menu.

In the example, broccoli chicken has no comma to separate the words, so it is one dish, like they serve at the corner Chinese restaurant. But peas and carrots are separated with a comma, which indicates that instead of one side dish of mixed peas and carrots, you’ll get a side of peas, and a side of carrots. Make sense? Punctuation can change the meaning of your sentences, and if you’re not careful, you might say something you don’t really mean.

While we’re on the subject of eating, the following faux pas was printed on a magazine cover:

Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.

I doubt Rachel Ray has cooked her family or her dog! Once we add the missing commas in this list, we’re relieved:

Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking, her family, and her dog.

That sounds better, doesn’t it?

Below is another example of how failing to place commas in a series can have shocking effects:

Caution! Watch for parasailing horses and buggies on the beach.

I’ve never seen that, have you? But there still seems to be some confusion.

Notice the item – or items – “horses and buggies.” Without a comma to guide us, we don’t know if “horses and buggies” are one unit together like this:

amish_horse_buggy_03

 

 

 

 

amish_horse_buggy_03

 

 

 

or if they are two separate entities, like this:

imagesP5RY6CXY

 

f

 

 

 

 

Commas have rules of usage. There should be no guessing when or where to use any kind of punctuation. Feeling the need to take a breath or pause in a sentence does not necessarily mean you need a comma, but a comma does mean you need to pause.

Now go eat, Grandma!

 

(Some examples from http://www.ucalgary.ca/uofc/eduweb/grammar/course/punctuation/3_4j.htm)

 

 

 

Introduction to MLA

book

MLA stands for Modern Language Association. MLA citation style is generally used in the humanities and liberal arts fields. MLA style, according to MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, ”represents a consensus among teachers, scholars, and librarians in the fields of language and literature on the conventions for documenting research, and those conventions will help you organize your research paper coherently” (xiii).

Did you notice that at the end of the previous quote, some roman numerals were inside parenthesis before the period? This is referred to as an in-text citation. This refers to the page in the text where you can find the quote. In this case, the quote is from the introduction, and often roman numerals are used in intros.

A Little History

According to the editors of the MLA Handbook, MLA published a style sheet in 1951, and since then has been refining the style to help academics and researchers compose their writings and research (xiv). (Note that even though the previous sentence is not a direct quote, but paraphrased, it still includes a parenthetical citation. Credit must be given to ALL information taken from any source, or the writer could be accused of plagiarism.)

imagesCDWD6OQS

 

 

 

 

As you compose your research paper, you’ll be asked to include outside sources on your topic. This research might take the form of print sources, such as books, journals, newspapers, or magazines. You may also want to utilize online or web sources, such as an organization’s website, an online magazine or newspaper, or even Wikipedia. If you are not sure what types of research are permitted, ask your instructor.

Types of Sources

sources

A research paper will have two types of sources – primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are original information from an author who has experienced or witnessed what he or she is writing about. They might include original documents or artifacts.

Secondary sources usually analyze and interpret primary sources.  Secondary sources are not original, and are often several steps removed from the event. A journal article that analyzes someone else’s research is an example of a secondary source. Learning how to locate, analyze, and integrate secondary sources into your writing is one of the most important skills you will learn as you write your research paper. You will need to not only learn how to assess other’s research, but you also must articulate your own ideas clearly.

In-text Citations

In MLA, any information you take, whether directly quoted or paraphrased, must be cited in the text of your paper immediately after the information in what is known as a parenthetical citation. What goes in this parenthetical citation depends upon the type of source information used. This parenthetical citation must coincide with the Works Cited page, which is the reference page at the end of your essay. MLA uses what is known as the “author-page” citation, which means you’ll include the author’s last name and the page number where the information came from. If you mention the author in the text, you will omit it from the parenthetical reference.

Example: Human beings have been described by Kenneth Burke as “symbol-using animals” (3).

Since the author’s name is mentioned in the text, only the page number is given.

Example:

Human beings have been described as “symbol-using animals” (Burke 3).

In this example, the author’s name is given in the citation, as it is not mentioned in the text.

Many other sources, though, may not list an author, and most web-based sources list no page number. Refer to the current  MLA Handbook or Purdue Owl for information on different types of citations when lacking an author, page number, or both.

Works Cited

The works cited page is the reference page to your paper. It will alphabetically list every source used in your paper (both primary and secondary), whether you have directly quoted, paraphrased, or summarized. The works cited pages gives publication information on source material so that a reader, if interested, can easily locate the entire source.

All items on the works cited page should correspond with all in-text citations in the paper. This means that each entry should match the way you have cited it in the text of your essay. For example, if the Works Cited has an entry with the last name of “Adams,” the paper should have either an attributive tag to Adams, or Adams should be in the parenthetical citation, with a page number if a print source (online sources often do not have page numbers).

MLA requires specific formatting, so always refer to your handbook or visit Purdue Owl to check your entries.

Never Guess

Learning how to locate, analyze, and integrate research into your compositions can be time-consuming and often confusing. You should never guess how to cite a source. Refer to the MLA Handbook or visit Purdue Owl online for any questions you may have on in-text citations or your works cited page.

 

 

First to Final: How Many Drafts does it Take?

ResumeDraftsWhen assigned to write a paper, many student writers begin their process with their first draft, hope to do a thorough revision, and turn in the final draft for a grade. However, the process of writing a quality college-level essay may take many more revisions than students are prepared for. How many drafts are enough? How many are too many – or is it even possible to have too many drafts?

Students who aren’t familiar with the “writing is a process” model think it possible (and maybe it was in high school) to crank out a quality paper at 2:00am the night before a due date. This effort might get a strong writer a passing grade, but most of us need several drafts to produce the quality of writing needed for more complicated college writing assignments. I have never been able to sit in front of a blank computer screen and churn out anything worth reading on the first try. In fact, it might take me 5, 6, or 10 revisions before a piece is ready to be read by an audience.

The word “essay” derives from the French essayer, “to try” or “to attempt.” First drafts will often be an intro that leads to nothing, a conclusion with no beginning, or a middle with no engine or caboose, or simply some scribbled notes. First drafts are just that – a first attempt. Too many beginning writers believe it possible to compose a full first draft – an essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion – do a little tweaking, and call it done. But does this produce the best possible finished product? Probably not.

If the thought of writing several drafts feels overwhelming, consider breaking the drafting process down into manageable parts. Hopefully, you have an outline of where you want to go with your paper. Consider drafting the introduction first, and take a step back from the essay. Let the paper simmer for a few hours or a day, thinking about how you want to proceed. Come back at another time to flesh out the body paragraphs. Stop and take another step back. Coming to each writing session with a set of fresh eyes (not to mention a fresh brain!) will help you see more clearly.

In these initial draft stages, don’t overwhelm yourself with too many concerns, such as worrying about grammar and punctuation at this point. Trying to correct as you go will only slow your writing process down. Save this for the final stages of the revision process.  Once your first draft is complete, revisit the body paragraphs to consider global concerns, such as if the essay has a thesis, maintains focus, and is organized logically. How many revisions will this take? That’s anybody’s guess. Maybe 3. Maybe 10. Don’t worry so much about the number of revisions it will take. Each draft will get you one step closer to the finished product.

Share your writing process with us.
How many times do you revise a piece?
When do you know it’s done?

Writing the Response Essay

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
– Kenneth Burke

 

 paper

 

 

 

 

 

 
In college, you will probably be expected to write a paper in response to another text often referred to as a Response Essay. The text could be in the form of a newspaper or magazine article, a government or business report, a book, or even visual texts, such as magazine advertisements. (For our purposes here, we will not be covering responses of literary texts.)

Instructors often assign response essays to not only encourage a deep reading of a text, but also empower students to form critical opinions of their own in response to others’ opinions. Responding to texts requires students to carefully consider how they feel about often controversial issues, perhaps issues students have never considered before. Often, the outcome for students of writing response essays can be a new understanding and appreciation – even a passion – for a topic.

How to Begin

The first step is the obvious – read the text carefully. But this step is often glossed over too rapidly. It’s not enough to read through a text once; read it enough times that you thoroughly understand the topic, the writer’s opinions, the main ideas, the minor details, and can articulate them without re-reading the text. This may take several reads before you fully understand the entirety of the text.

Annotate, Annotate, Annotate

As you read through the text, note in the margins what each paragraph is communicating. Some instructors will ask to see your annotations to make sure you’re taking notes. One way to gain a thorough understanding of the key points as you read is to note what each paragraph is saying, and what each paragraph is doing.

Annotating what the paragraph is saying is to simply summarize briefly the main idea in each paragraph. This helps you to retain the information and aids you in finding key points. Annotating what a paragraph is doing is to take note of what the author’s intention is. Does the writer argue a main point? Does the author prove his point with facts or statistics or other evidence? Does the paragraph cite background and history? Notice that when you annotate what your paragraphs “does,” you’ll use verbs to show action. This will demonstrate what rhetorical strategies the author is using to build his or her argument, and will play a key role in how you analyze the text.

Identify Major and Minor Details

Once you’ve done a thorough read-through and annotated the paragraphs, it’s a good idea to read again and highlight the details. You might use a color marker to highlight the major details of the paragraph, and then use a different color marker to highlight the minor supporting details. Although this sounds easy, this step is where students often fail. It is imperative to be able to identify the key major details that are moving the argument forward, and differentiate them from the minor details that only offer supporting evidence.

Ask Questions

Now that you have read through the text a few times, you might be thinking about some inconsistencies, contradictions, or lapses in information. This is the time to jot down questions you might have. Are you finding holes in the writer’s argument? Does the writer fail to fully communicate the full scope of the problem, or fall short of explaining other key points? Do you feel the writer is fair and unbiased, or leaning heavily toward one side without giving voice to the opposition? Does anything surprise or puzzle you?

What do YOU Think?

The objective of a Response assignment is to respond, so you’ll be asked to communicate what your opinions are. As you carefully consider your response to the text and author, think about how you feel about the text.

Do you agree or disagree?
What exactly do you agree or disagree with?
Can you recall a similar personal experience or do you have prior knowledge of the topic?
What key ideas might you want to evaluate  more closely?

Once you have a clear idea what you think about what you’ve read, now it’s time to put it all together.

Drafting: Organize your Thoughts

If you’ve followed all of these steps to prepare your response, congratulations! If you’ve taken careful notes, annotated the text thoroughly, and have an informed opinion, you may find you have the skeleton of your response paper written.


Putting it all Together

The Intro

Begin the paper by introducing the author and title of the text, as in the following example:

In Victor Frisk’s article, “No Way Out,” the author states that the US should detain all travelers coming into the country from destinations that have been proved to have Ebola cases within the last year.

This first sentence does many things: it introduces the author; introduces the article title, and gives the author’s main argument or idea.

The following sentences in the intro should briefly summarize the text. This should be a very brief summary of what you read. It’s not unusual for instructors to ask you to skip the summary, so follow your guidelines carefully.

The final sentence in the intro will state your thesis, a concise focused opinion of where you stand. Do you agree or disagree with the author’s premise?

The Body

There are several ways to organize the body of a response. Most instructors ask students to include textual evidence in the body. You might do this by inserting an author quote, contextualizing the quote, then commenting on the quote with your response. Regardless of how you organize it, the body paragraphs should contain only one idea each, and connect back to your thesis. What you include in the body will be determined by your assignment guidelines, but remember to  always relate back to the thesis as you go.

The Conclusion

The conclusion is a restatement of your thesis and how it fits with the original text’s argument. Reinforce your thesis, but avoid restating it word for word. You might leave the reader with a thoughtful comment or question to consider, or a prediction of future consequences or outcomes. Avoid inserting new information or quotes in the conclusion.

 

Response essays pose special challenges for students, but with several close readings and careful note taking, you’ll be well on your way to a successful paper.

Improving Sentence Style

st

 

 

 

 
Describing good style in writing is one of those things that is hard to explain. Like fashion sense or a winning personality, either you have it or you don’t. But you can learn how to improve your sentence style by following a few easy steps.

Avoid Using Vague Nouns

The words below are examples of vague nouns. Relying on vague nouns often leads to wordy construction, so it’s always best to avoid them if you can:

  • factor
  • aspect
  • area
  • situation
  • consideration
  • case

Examples

Vague: Consumer demand is rising in the area of services.

Precise: Consumers are demanding more services.

Vague: Strong reading skills are an important factor in students’ success in college.

Precise: Students’ success in college depends on their reading skills.

Vague: Photography took on new aspects during the Civil War.

Precise: The Civil War saw the advent of graphic battlefield photography.

As you can see in the examples above, the sentences become wordy and confusing when vague nouns are used. This often can impede rhythm in sentences, which hurts the flow. This means that the reader must slow down to read the sentence, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

Incorporate Absolute Phrases

If you’ve ever felt your essay plodding along in a repetitive “subject/verb/object” order, you probably could use some absolute phrases to enliven your rhythm and sharpen your style.

What exactly is an absolute phrase? An absolute phrase is a group of words that modify an independent clause. Just as an adjective modifies a noun, an absolute phrase modifies an entire clause.

Example:

Her arms folded across her chest, Professor Smith warned the students not to text in class.

In the sentence above, the absolute phrase is at the beginning of the sentence – Her arms folded across her chest.

The clause, Professor Smith warned the students not to text in class, is an independent clause, which means it can stand alone as a sentence. The absolute phrase (a dependent clause) is modifying this entire clause.

Building Sentences with Absolutes

Absolute phrases can be arranged in different positions in a sentence. In the example above, the absolute could be placed after the independent clause:

Professor Smith warned the students not to text in class, her arms folded across her chest.

Absolute phrases can also be placed in the middle of a sentence, between the subject and verb:

(S)                                                                                         (V)
Professor Smith, her arms folded across her chest, warned the students not to text in class.

Note that the absolute phrase is set off in the sentence with a pair of commas.

 

Eliminate Wordiness

Do you ever get your essays back from instructors with such comments as, “tighten,” “condense,” or “wordy”? What this means is that you are trying to communicate your point with more words than necessary. For example, note the difference in

“It is the opinion of our professor that we have failed to meet his expectations.”

and

“We have failed to meet our professor’s expectations.”

The second sentence is tighter, uses fewer words, and is stronger and more direct. Just remember, if you can communicate your point in fewer words, do it. Less is more.

Consider the following redundancies in italics:

Ex. 1:

It is absolutely essential that all students meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

If something isessential,” can it be any more essential withabsolutelyin front of it? Probably not.

Ex. 2:

The advance preview of Transformers scored big at the box office.

You might have seen this one in film reviews, or even on E TV. If a movie is a preview, doesn’t that mean it is in advance of the release?

Ex. 3:

In my personal opinion, everyone could benefit from eating more chocolate.

Everyone, at one time or another, has at least said this, if not written it. So what is wrong with this example? If it is your opinion, isn’t it personal?

Ex. 4:

The final outcome of the Literature exam was better than I expected.

The outcome of something is always final, right?

These are all examples of redundant words that create inflated sentences. Carefully edit your final drafts to make sure you’re not redundant.

Avoid Dangling Modifiers

A modifier is a word (or group of words) that qualifies or adds to the meaning of other parts of the sentence. A dangling modifier is created when the modifier is joined to the wrong words in the sentence.

To correct, make the “doer” of the action the sentence’s subject, as in the example below:

Wrong: Coming over the hill, the barn was seen. Who saw the barn?
Correct: Coming over the hill, we saw the barn.

Wrong: Having arrived late for practice, a written excuse was needed.

Who arrived late? This sentence says that the written excuse arrived late. The possible revision might look like this:

Correct: Having arrived late for practice, the team captain needed a written excuse.

The main clause now names the person (the captain) who did the action in the modifying phrase (arrived late).

 

Choosing the best words to express your ideas in the best possible way sounds easy, but often is more difficult than we think. Improving your writing style may take some time and effort, but by following a few simple rules, your writing will become more readable your style will be the envy of your peers!

 

(Sources: Purdue Owl, Essentials of English Grammar, writing.wisc.edu/Handbook.)

Lasting Impression: Concluding your Argument Essay

1

Introductions and conclusions in persuasive papers often cause the most difficulty and angst for beginning writers. If you’ve spent your essay arguing passionately on a topic, you don’t want to fall flat in the end. The conclusion is your final chance to appeal to your audience and make a strong final impression.

A great conclusion will not only close the essay, but close the sale on your argument. Throughout the paper, you have been selling your audience on your position, and a successful conclusion will tie it all together, leaving your reader at least considering the merits of your argument. Unfortunately, by the time you get to your conclusion, most writers are either exhausted from writing the paper and end it too quickly, or can’t stop arguing their position and backload it with too much new information at the end.

Strategies for Great Conclusions

Generally, conclusions do three things:

  • Reiterates the main idea, re-emphasizing your position
  • Summarizes your argument
  • Provides a warning, explains consequences, poses questions for further study, or delivers a call-to-action – sometimes all of the above.

 

Note, however, that restating, re-emphasizing, and summarizing does not mean repeating word-for-word your thesis statement or other major points. The purpose of the conclusion is to remind the reader of the importance of your argument, synthesizing the information you’ve provided in the body, and show how the points you’ve made throughout your argument all fit together.

Framing Your Argument

If you’ve begun your paper with a scenario or framed it with a story, return to the theme you introduced in the introduction. This frame serves as a thread that ties the two ends (intro & conclusion) together.

An example of a frame for an argument on creating harsher penalties for texting while driving might be beginning the introduction retelling a true story of a car crash caused by texting while driving. The conclusion will come back to that scenario, perhaps completing the story you began telling in the intro, explaining the outcome or consequences. This complete story “frames” the narrative.

Project Outcomes

Another strategy for a successful conclusion might be to ask the reader to consider a future where your proposal has succeeded or your position is the norm. For instance, if your argument was to create more educational funding for job training outside of college, you might project a scenario where previously unemployed and uneducated men and women were now working in occupations with job security and stable wages with benefits.

What’s the “Take-Away”?

When drafting the conclusion, go big and broad. As focused and narrow as the intro should be, the conclusion can provide a larger framework to conclude your essay. Consider the broader implications related to your argument. Elaborate on the consequences of failing to follow through with your proposal or supporting your argument. Leave the audience with a question to ponder or something to think about. This is referred to as a “take-away.” Just as an intro requires a great “hook” to immediately pique the interest of the reader, the conclusion has to leave the audience with something tangible that sticks in their minds, an idea to consider or consequences of failing to act. What’s the take-away for the audience?

Things to Avoid in a Conclusion

In conclusion

I’ve listed this first, as it’s not only the most common, but also the most obnoxious. The most common words used to begin conclusions – that you should never use – are “in conclusion.” This is like putting up a big road sign that we are now reading your conclusion. Although it might be necessary to say the words in a speech, it’s totally unnecessary and almost cliché to use them in an essay. If it isn’t abundantly clear to the audience that we are now reading the conclusion, go back and revise it.

Repeating

You’ve stated your thesis succinctly in the introduction, so avoid repeating it verbatim in the conclusion. This comes across as not only repetitive, but clumsy and awkward.

Research

Hopefully, you’ve laid out your argument in the body of the essay, including strong support with outside sources. Avoid adding more new facts, statistics or quotes in the conclusion. This isn’t the place for more research. If you feel you have more to add to your points, put it in the body of the paper, not the conclusion.

Old Information & Nothing New

I’ll paraphrase an example: “In this paper I argued yada-yada, because of reason 1, 2 and 3. So I hope you’ll agree that you should agree with me. Thank you.”

This type of conclusion is simply repeating everything you’ve just said in your entire paper, adding nothing new. It’s painfully boring and just a bit condescending, as you are  telling the reader what they have just read, as if they don’t know what they’ve just read. Or you’re not confidant you communicated your argument effectively, and if that’s the case, go back and revise.

2

 

 

 

 

Conclusions can be tricky, and by the time we’re done writing a long research paper, they are usually the last thing we want to spend time writing. By considering what impression you most want to leave the audience with, these decisions will guide you to compose a great lasting impression.

 

Incorporating Opposition into Your Argument Paper

OPPOSITION2-Copyright2002gadiv

 

As you compose an argument essay, you must anticipate your audience’s objections. The ability to refute opposition in an argument essay is a key element in a successful essay.

Some writers make the mistake of introducing a weak or silly opposition to make it easier to refute. But this actually weakens the writer’s argument. Introducing the strongest point of opposition and strongly refuting it with a well thought-out response serves to make the writer’s position stronger.

Who is Your Audience?

The first step for creating a strong opposition section is to thoroughly understand your audience. Who are they? Where are they on the scale of opposition? Are they against your entire argument, or only against a few points?

Will They Oppose Your Argument?

How can you anticipate what the opposition might be? It’s always a good idea at this stage to get some peer feedback, as your peers might be a good source of opposing views. Ask your peers what their responses are to your argument to gain a clearer understanding of differing viewpoints.

As you introduce opposition, take care to be respectful of the other side’s opinions. Put yourself in the other side’s shoes. Coming across as disrespectful or failing to take the opposition seriously is a sure way to make your own argument seem weak.

Example

Let’s consider the argument below and how you might include opposition:

Argument: Schools should move to a year round curriculum

Reason:   because students lose much of the previous year’s information and must be re-taught, wasting precious time and resources.

For the reason stated above, the opposition may disagree the contention that information is lost and must be retaught. In fact, the opposition may state that studies on year-round schools have been inconclusive regarding the academic benefits.

Now that there is a clear statement of opposition, it’s your turn to rebut, or reinforce your point – that schools should move to a year round curriculum because students lose much of the previous year’s information and must be re-taught.

Opposition = Faulty Assumption

If the opposition states that the research in inconclusive, this is your opportunity to show strong, valid research that does support a year-round curriculum on the basis of lost information over the long break. You will argue that the opposition has based their argument on a faulty assumption — that research shows there is no benefit. The opposition/rebuttal paragraph would look something like this:

Those against changing our current 9-month school calendar to year-round,is that there has been no conclusive research that supports that it has any academic benefit. However, this is untrue. Researchers at Chimi-Changa Education Labs have done extensive studies focusing on the effectiveness of year-round schools, and their conclusions show an increase in learning in all areas of study. “The students we have tested in districts who have implemented year-round curriculum show higher test scores in math, reading, and science from those students in traditional 9-month districts,” says Sam Smith, Chair of Curriculum Design at Chimi-Changa.

Note the highlighted transitional cue word, “However.” This is a cue word that indicates that you are now stating your rebuttal, or disagreement with the opposition.

Conceding to Opposition

Often, the opposition has a very valid disagreement against your position, so valid that it might cause you to rethink your position. Instead of changing your thesis, consider conceding the point. By conceding to their point, or agreeing that the opposition has a strong argument, you are positioning yourself as respectful and are more likely to gain the audience’s trust. This is not only respectful, but also a great opportunity to drive home your own points to re-emphasize your argument.

Concession & Rebuttal:

Those against year-round school argue that the costs of running many of the aging buildings year-round are too high. While it is true that keeping schools open throughout the year may cost more, the higher costs could be subsidized by making the buildings available for community rental to offset those costs.

As you can see by the previous example, the opposition has a valid point. By conceding this point is actually true and then responding with a strong rebuttal — an alternative to offset the high costs — the writer’s position becomes even stronger. The cue words, “while it is true” lets the reader know the writer is conceding, but will refute this idea.

 

As you can see, a lot of thought and planning must go into building your argument and considering how the opposition may disagree with you. Consider what points of your argument may garner the strongest debate, and carefully think through how you will counter those who will disagree with you. A respectful and well thought-out response will put you on the path toward a successful argument!