Essay Four

Essay Four: The Editorial

Okay folks—we’re down to the final few weeks. Keep on pressing for excellence. This essay assignment is designed to help you put forth an argument in a logical, well-reasoned fashion. Again, your voice should be professional, using active sentence structures and detailed analysis. This essay is designed to help you learn to think critically about your position—the position you take here is not at issue. Choose a topic that is pertinent to current events. What is at issue is how well you argue your position. Indeed, the entire purpose of the essay is to prepare you for your ENGL 102 course. Therefore, I will be looking for you to demonstrate several skills.

Requirements for the essay (see Grading Criteria for more):

1. Write a well-defined thesis: A thesis statement contains a single idea, clearly focused and specifically stated, that grows out of your exploration of a subject. A thesis statement can be thought of as a central idea phrased in the form of an assertion. It is a claim—that is, it indicates what you claim to be true, interesting, or valuable about your subject.

2. Organize the classic rhetorical argument:

  • Introduction: Introduce your issue and capture the attention of your audience. Try using a short narrative or a strong example.
    Background information: Provide your audience with a history of the situation—state how things currently stand. Define any key terms. Even if you think the facts speak for themselves, draw the attention of your audience to those points that are especially important and explain why they are meaningful.
  • Proposition: Introduce the position you are taking. Frame it as a thesis statement or claim.
  • Proof: Discuss the reasons why you have taken you position. Provide facts, expert testimony, and any other evidence that supports your claim.
  • Refutation: Show why you are not persuaded by the arguments of people who hold a different position. Concede any point that has merit but show why this concession does not damage your own case.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your most important points and appeal to your audience’s feelings.

3. Finally, follow all of the grammar, punctuation, and stylistic rules we’ve studied over the past two months. The essay must be free of run-on sentences and sentence splices. Use active voice. Minimum two outside sources, properly formatted in-text citation and works cited page.

NOTE: Do Not write about religion, abortion, prayer in schools, or other topics which are so controversial and emotionally charged that you can’t be objective. You need to be able to see, appreciate, and even, to some extent, agree with the other side of the argument.