Say something to me, anything at all
I want you to mean what you say
When preparing an argumentation, you have to keep in mind some some very important points. Weather it’s a speech, an written essay or you’re simply thinking to discuss with your parents or friends and to sustain a point of view, respect the following rules and you’ll have more chances to be successful. Sure, for oral presentation is better to keep in mind what I’ve written here.
But first of all, what is an argumentation? An argumentation is a text or a speech that sustains an idea, that takes sides for something. So the first thing you have to do is to identify the idea you want to affirm. That may seem redundant but it’s a very important step. Write down the main idea and then when you’re building the argument verify if your arguments links with that idea.
The principal idea is also important for rebuilding your argumentation or for refuting the opposite speech (if you’re going to participate to a debate – in front of people or inside your living room, with your friends when deciding where are you going to spend the evening). Do the other arguments are really counterarguments? That means that they confute just your arguments or the main idea? But let’s not be so theoretical and to pick an example.
Let’s say that you are going to talk about the importance of creating some facilities for bikes in your city. One of your main arguments would be that this facilities will increase the number of people riding the bikes and a the level of pollution will decrease, giving the fact that a part of its causes will be gone. If your opponent says that using less pollutant cars and providing filters for big factories will have the same effect, it’s enough to say that you’re not talking about the advantages of filters, but you’re subject is riding the bikes – you should verify only if its advantages justify the costs and if the facilities will really determine a significant growth of bicyclers. An valid way of refuting this idea is that people won’t start using the bikes after introducing the facilities.
So now you know the importance of the main idea. But what is in fact an argument? The argument is a fancier word for reason – the reason that makes your idea to be right. How can you built one? Theoretically, it’s easy – you find a name, an explanation and an evidence. The name should be short, in order to remember easily what you’ve said, the explanation should be about giving a definition for the terms you’ve used in the title and the evidence is the strength of your argument.
For example, if you want to convince your parents to give you permission to spend a night at a fried’s house. “But it’s the safest place on Earth! I mean it, they have an alarm and 2 dogs, nobody can enter during the night. In plus, Ema’s parents will be home, we can’t land into trouble. Dana spent 2 nights there and she’s all right. If you want, you can speak with her parents and they’ll confirm what I’m saying”. Look carefully at the construction: the title – “safest place”, the explanation – what safe means and the evidence – Dana’s example.
Because the evidence is very important, I’ll talk a bit about it. Of course when you have an informal discussion you can use personal examples, but generally the personal example isn’t so strong. It can be easily rejected by a deduction and by simply saying that’s a particular case, therefore an exception. The best evidences are the deductions and the statistics. But again, be careful. It’s not enough to have a strong evidence, you have to link it to the argument.
Now you have the main idea and the arguments. What should you do next? Pay attention to the structure. It has to be very clear and easy to follow. Make sure you don’t forget to respect the parts of a composition – introduction, body, conclusion. Pick just three or four arguments – the strongest, because you want to be easy to follow and to be kept in mind. From time to time resume the ideas you have stated – you’ll be better reminded.
Now let’s do a little exercise – have I respected all the steps until now? I do have an introduction, so I’ve started with the right. Than my main idea is what and how to build an argumentative text. My arguments are the importance of the main idea, the structure of the argument and the strength of evidence. I’ve respected the structure of the argument for each – title, explanation, example. And now I’m resuming what I’ve said.
So, in conclusion, exercise your argumentation and you’ll became very good at it, you just have to follow this steps. And no, the title of this article isn’t a valid argumentation.
P.S. Stay toned! Somewhere in future I’ll talk about common mistakes in argumentation and in refutation and about how to avoid and correct them.