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Assignment | INRW Argumentative Essay (Caesar): Writing

ESOL 0310 INRW | Prof. Lorena Caesar (Fall 2022)


Pay careful attention to...

  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
  • Parallel Structure
  • Sentence Variety, Sentence Errors


Your thesis statement is the roadmap for your paper: you're arguing (something) because of (these reasons).


Oatmeal raisin cookies are the best flavor because of their healthy ingredients, how consistent they turn out, and their moist, chewy texture.

Writing Better

Avoid the First Person (I, me, my, us, etc)

As the author of your paper, it's implied that everything you're suggesting is your opinion or conclusion: you don't need to insert yourself even more! For example,

  • Avoid: I find this idea to be really interesting because reasons.
  • Also avoid: One finds this idea to be interesting.
  • Instead: This idea is interesting because reasons.

Quotes vs Italics

Articles are pieces of the larger works (websites, newspapers, and so on) that publish them. Short little sources are marked with the short little lines of the "quotation marks."

The large works that are whole and complete in and of themselves will be marked in italics.

In MLA, both are proper nouns and use title capitalization -- all major* words and the first and last words of the title will be capitalized.

*Major words meaning... not articles, not prepositions, unless they're first or last.

Body Paragraphs: Arguments & Rebuttals

Generally speaking, you want one main (big) idea per paragraph. When you change topics, it's time to change paragraphs. This is where you'll apply your research and use in-text citations that connect to your Works Cited page. Introduce each paragraph with a topic sentence to give your reader a sense of what this paragraph will be about.

In a persuasive or augmentative text, you must give reasons with evidence to support your claim. In this type of essay, it is also important to show that you understand both sides of the topic. When you acknowledge that the other side also has at least one valid counterargument, you make your own side stronger. It shows that you are an expert on the topic, which gives you more credibility as the author. However, it is also important to show why the other side is "wrong." That is called the refutation (rebuttal).

It is very important that your counterargument and your refutation (rebuttal) be on the exact same point. You cannot say "Some people argue that University of Houston has more programs of study" and then say "However, University of Houston does not have a Chef program." The counterargument is about the total number of programs of study, the refutation (rebuttal) is about one specific program (Chef program). Those are not the same.

To make it clear to your reader that you are including a counterargument, use a sentence stem.

Here are some example sentence stems for the counterargument:

It is often argued that...

Opposing views claim that…

Some critics state that…

Some people may argue that…..

A common argument against this position is that….

Here are some example sentence stems for the refutation (rebuttal):

That is an understandable concern, however…

However, this argument is wrong because…

The evidence, however, overwhelmingly supports…

However, the truth is that…

Giving Credit

Give Credit to Your Sources

Credit comes in 2 parts: in-text citations + your Works Cited page. Your Works Cited page comes at the end of your paper and has all the complete details about your sources. In-text or (parenthetical) citations are like abbreviated versions of those long citations: just enough info that someone can figure out which Works Cited source that info goes with.

The article links on the Topics page have both parts ready for you to copy-paste.


Works Cited Page

Here, you will list your sources in alphabetical order by the last name of the author. You must list every source that you use in your paper (a minimum of 3).

Integrating Your Citations to Your Sentences

When You Have an Author:

  • Parenthetical: These are words (Smith).
  • Parenthetical, 2 different sources: These are words and more words (Smith; Jones).
    • A semi-colon   ;   separates the different sources.
  • Narrative: Storyteller Jane Smith says these are words. Smith adds that these are also words.
    • Introduce the person the first time you write their name. After that, you can use just their last name.

When You Don't Have an Author:

  • Parenthetical: These are words ("Article").
  • Narrative: Not really recommended, but you could say:
    • According to the New York Times, these are words ("Article").
    • According to a 2009 article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, these are words ("Article").
    • According to the New York Times article, "Article Title," these are words.
      • But this last way makes you waste a lot of words on information about the article instead of spending time on information from the article.