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Argumentative Strategies

Starting an argument has never been so fun.

Are you ready to take your argument technique to the next level? Screaming stuff at the top of your lungs works really well for professional linebackers and drill sergeants, but everybody else should probably take this course. Here, we introduce you to the thing that started it all—the argument—and five variations on that theme.

Need to explain how your relationship with your iPhone is totally like the hippopotamus's symbiotic relationship with that weird little bird? (Really, who doesn't?) That's in here. So is a way to say "no" to everything someone says without sounding like a two-year-old.

Also in here: disagreeing with someone's point while still sounding open-minded and thoughtful, a magical method for changing the meaning of words, and a formula for explaining how the world works.

So what are you waiting for? Get in here.

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. Argumentative Strategies

This course explores some basic strategies of argumentation, and how to implement them in writing, including: 

  • Cause and Effect
  • Concession and Rebuttal
  • Definition and Reinterpretation
  • Negation
  • Analogy

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 1: What's an Argument, Anyway?

Arguments are useful little buggers. Using nothing more than an argument, you can:

  • Convince your friend, a die-hard Breaking Bad fan, that The Wire is in fact the best TV show of all time.
  • Successfully petition a teacher to extend the deadline on that essay you've been putting off writing because you just had to watch the Breaking Bad finale. (What can we say? Despite ultimately being wrong, your friend made some good points.)
  • Weasel out of doing the dishes on your night because you've just got to write that essay. After all, the teacher's extended the deadline once already!

Sounds good, right? Who doesn't want to get their way and convince everyone that they're right pretty much all of the time?

There's just one little problem with our imagined scenario. It assumes that nobody else in the world knows how to argue. And as anyone who's ever gotten into a fight with a sibling or had to explain less-than-ideal behavior to a parent knows, that's just not true.

Become an argument stickler, get a sticker.

One way other people can crush our hopes of dominating the world through argument is by refusing to accept a claim—a general statement of belief or interpretation of the facts—without a good reason. In fact, really hardcore argumentative types will demand not one but many reasons why they should believe someone's claim to be true. They'll ask for facts, statistics, quotes from experts—the whole nine yards. In short, they want evidence.

Who are these picky argument sticklers? You know them. They're the teachers who ask you fill your English papers with more citations from the text than you can shake a stick at. They're the parents who tell you that "because all my friends are doing it" isn't a good enough reason to get a tattoo. They're anyone who demands that you turn an argument statement into an actual complete argument using the most basic building blocks of the trade: claims and evidence. And after today, you'll be one of them.

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  • Course Length: 3 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • English
    • Writing

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