Academic Writing II, week 3: October 16th, 2015


  • Write a detailed outline for your “Persuasive” essay.
  • Write the first draft of your essay (complete) and bring it to class next week.

Today’s class

  1. Exchange your arguments and counter-arguments with a classmate and give him/her some feedback.
  2. List your arguments in order of importance.
  3. Textbook p. 99 E: read.
  4. P. 00 Practice 5. Write your answers on a piece of looseleaf paper and hand in at the end of the class.
  5. Start writing your outline and essay.
  6. To be persuasive, an essay in English needs to consider opposing points of view, otherwise it is one-sided and a one-sided essay is not persuasive.  For example, an essay that only talks about the positive side of nuclear power, but not the negative, sounds like propaganda. The writer may be considered ignorant – doesn’t he know about the negative side of nuclear power? Is he stupid? Clearly, the writer has not thought about this matter seriously, or done any research.
  7. Some of the topics chosen by this class are:
    1. the death penalty
    2. global warming
    3. banning pets shops from selling animals
    4. improving cell-phone manners
    5. Whether or not to join a club
    6. Whether or not school uniform is a good idea.
    7. Downloading music without paying: should it be illegal?
  8. To write a good, persuasive essay, you need to know the main arguments both FOR and AGAINST.
  9. E.g.
    1. The death penalty:
      1. FOR: it is a deterrent. It deters criminals from committing violent crimes.
      2. AGAINST: life is a gift given by God. It is not man’s to give or to take away. Also, one of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill.”
    2. Global warming:
      1. FOR: Human beings are responsible for a huge increase in “greenhouse gases” such as CO2, which are making the whole planet warmer. If this is not stopped, the ice caps will melt and the sea levels will rise resulting in much damage and loss of life.
      2. AGAINST: There has been no global warming for the past 18 years. In addition, CO2 levels have been continuously rising, yet global temperatures have not. This shows that CO2 is NOT the cause of global warming.
    3. Banning pet shows from selling animals:
      1. FOR: It is cruel to animals. People do not care for their pets properly and many are abandoned after a short time.
      2. AGAINST: Private property – what business people do is a private matter and the government has no right to interfere. Further, there are serious consequences if the government interferes in private business.
    4. Whether or not school uniform is a good idea:
      1. FOR: It avoids embarrassment for poor students who cannot afford the nice clothes that rich students would wear. In addition, another purpose is to distinguish between different schools.
      2. AGAINST: the original purpose of school uniform in Japan can be clearly seen by the origin for the design – the Prussian military. The differences between school uniforms is minimal (compare that between different British schools, for example), so this argument is weak. If the purpose was to distinguish between schools, why are all uniforms black?
    5. Downloading music from the Internet – should it be illegal?
      1. FOR: Property rights. The creator of the music is the one who should decide whether to give it away for free or to charge for it and how much. The music was created by the musician’s own brain and musical talent and hard work, therefore the rewards (the profits) also belong to that person. Downloading music without paying is stealing.
      2. AGAINST: Digital content cannot be “stolen”. The person downloading is only making a COPY of the original, not STEALING the original.
  10. In addition, if you are recommending some action by the government (as in topics 1, 2, 3 and 7 above), you should be aware of the main purpose of government. In the English-speaking world, the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the citizens.