Engl121's Blog

Hey All,

As you compose your introductions, here are some useful tips to consider in conjunction with the class notes you took earlier in the semester about introduction paragraphs.

In the beginning of the semester, we talked about styles and parts of introductions (ex: Funnel style, with an anecdotal lead-in, that logically leads us to the thesis).

Composing the opening section of an argument essay will work in a similar way, except that the decisions you make about the information to include will depend heavily on your subject and your audience. If your subject is not well-known to your audience, you might need to supply some background information. If it is well-known, you might have to try and grab the audience’s attention and make them focus on your argument in a specific way. Furthermore, you might want to emphasize the gravity (or seriousness) of your topic; this is especially important when addressing an audience that is opposed to your claim.

Here are some ways to go about it:

Occasional Opening: Often uses a current or recent event as the springboard or platform to launch into the reason (or occasion) for the essay. Ex: “In light of the recent mining accident that occurred in Chile…”

Startling Opening: Is basically the same as the startling lead-in we discussed earlier in the semester. Ex: “While you are reading this sentence, one child will have died from starvation.”

Anecdotal Opening: Is basically the same as an anecdotal style introduction we discussed in class.  It uses a brief story to engage the reader. Ex: An essay arguing that most toxins are found in the home might open up with a story of a child whose mother finds him about to drink a bottle of nailpolish remover.

Analytical Opening: Usually gets straight into the essay by–you guessed it–analyzing some critical aspect of the topic itself.  Ex: An essay beginning with a breakdown of alcohol’s harmful physical effects on the liver might be arguing the harmful physical effects of alcohol.

-adapted from The Well-Crafted Argument

Again, as we saw in class earlier in the semester, you can often match up types of intros with different lead-ins. Likewise, you might be able to use an analytical style introduction with a startling statement lead-in, or you could use a question lead-in with an occasional style introduction.

We will discuss these links together in class.


Looks like most of you voted to extend the due date for the Extended Outline and Intro!

The new due date for both will be THURSDAY. This also means that you may or may not receive the outlines back before you already begin work on your draft.

See you tomorrow!

Here is a useful update on my Induction/Deduction visual. Keep in mind that this is a BASIC visual of these types of reasoning. Both induction and deduction can be very complex, depending on the subject:

INDUCTION: Building a hypothesis or coming to a conclusion based on your observations of certain phenomena.

Example:  My nephew Calvin has observed several incidents of cats meowing. As a result, he has come to the conclusion that all cats meow. He is engaging in inductive reasoning.

Do you think that these examples are sufficient to make the “inductive leap” to the conclusion that all cats meow?  At some point, Calvin decided that he had seen enough to draw a valid conclusion. The same goes for you.

A few weeks later, I took my nephew to the zoo, and this is what happened:

And there you have it. Basic inductive reasoning. If a 2-year-old could do it, so can you.

Next up…DEDUCTION (once I figure out how to create that visual)!

One advantage to keeping the due date on Tuesday is that I will be able to look over your outlines & introductions an return them before you turn in your drafts; otherwise, I will not be able to return them until the day your drafts are due.

Check out Nabil’s Toulmin Analysis on the Gubernatorial Debates. Great job, Nabil!

He clearly states the claim for each candidate on the issue, and then clearly shows how the data supports the claim. Nabil also points out the warrants that are informing the claim/data relationship.

Nicely played, Nabil.

  1. Read: “Making the Grade” and “Bringing Up Adultolescents”; number paragraphs
  2. Analyze the Text, Reader (Audience), and Author.
  3. CHUNK by drawing a line and labeling in the margins each time the subject changes, or a different type of claim is made, or a different type of support used
  4. Determine why the paragraphs/ideas have been ordered that way and analyze the relationship between the paragraphs.

Then, answer the following questions:

A. What are adultolescents?

B. Do they exist?

C. What has caused this situation?

D. Do you think it is a good or bad situation?

E. What should be done about it?

Aside from question #1, post your answers to your blog under “BLOG POST 7: Claims and Supports.” You may have to write out the paragraph number and the claim/support chunk for question #3.

To receive credit, post your response by Thursday, 11/4 at 2:00pm.

Adapted from Perspectives on Argument by Nancy Wood

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