While revising you may look for areas to improve the unity, cohesion, and development of your essay. Furthmore, you can check that all the parts of the essay such as the thesis statement are effective.
You might also check the argument itself does not have any fallacies, and that it uses ethos, pathos, and logos honestly and well. There are many fallacies you learn about in your reading class. These fallacies might also have multiple names (an English name and a Latin name). The practice in this section will focus on some of the most frequent.
These are some of the more common fallacies and some examples of them.
ad hominem: This is a personal attack on your opponent rather than your opponent's argument
- "Don Micheals would be a terrible governor because he hates puppies."
post hoc ergo propter hoc: This is when something happens before something else and so a cause/effect relationship is assumed. It says that because thing A happened before thing B, thing B happened because of thing A. It ignores other possible causes.
- "It rained and I did poorly on my test. Therefore, the rain caused my bad test score."
strawman: This is when you oversimplify your opponent's argument to make it easier to argue against.
- "The mayor wants to redo all the roads and replace room for cars with trees." When really the mayor is working with the city council to replace half the on-street parking with green space to beautify the city, reduce car speeds, and better control storm water runoff.)
ad populum: This is when you say that an argument is right because it is popular. Everyone thinks this or everyone does this, so your reader should think or do it too.
- "Most people these days drive larger hatchback vehicles. Nobody drives smaller sedan cars anymore."
slippery slope: This is when you say that event A leads to event B which leads to event C and so on. Usually, this is a series of events that get progressively worse, but occasionally it can be a series of events that get progressively better.
- "If you don't do the dishes before you go to bed, then they will accumulate in the sink, and then you will get bugs like cockroaches in your apartment. When your girlfriend comes for dinner, she will be grossed out by the cockroaches and break up with you. "
- "If students are given free textbooks, they will be able to study easier and learn more. If they are able to study easier and learn more, they will do better in college. If they do better in college, they will get better jobs and the labor force overall will be more educated. If the labor force is more educated, the nation's economy will be stronger and the country will prosper."
Be aware that writers can use true information, but present it with fallacies. Writers can also use false information and present it with seemingly good rhetoric. Be careful to avoid both fallacies and false information when you are writing your arguments. This is something to look for when you are revising.
|True Information||False Information|
(Ethos, Pathos, Logos)
|*Strong & True||Strong & False|
|Weak & True||Weak & False|
*Your goal is to have a strongly presented, true argument.
Exercise 7.28: Discussion
Discuss the questions below with a partner or group.
- What things can you use to evaluate an argument? How would you decide whether an argument is good or bad?
- Why should you evaluate arguments?
- Do you evaluate arguments as a reader? How does it affect you as a reader?
- Do you evaluate arguments as a writer? How does it affect you as a writer?
Exercise 7.29: Matching
Match the fallacy to its example. Write the letter of the example next to the correct fallacy.
|1. ____ ad hominem||A. If people just recycled, we could solve climate change.|
|2. ____ post hoc ergo propter hoc||B. After AI was invented in the 1950s, there was greater civil unrest in the U.S., so it is clear to see that AI caused the civil unrest.|
|3. ____ slippery slope||C. The critics against schools requiring art classes are all out-of-date boomers.|
|4. ____ ad populum||D. When students eat a good breakfast, they can test better and get into the college of their dreams which will let them get well-paying jobs in the future.|
|5. ____ strawman||E. Nowadays everyone uses social media.|
Exercise 7.30: Revising for Fallacies
Compare the 1st draft and revised drafts of this paragraph from a student's argumentative essay. What fallacies are present in the 1st draft? How is the revised draft improved?
First, studying in college will become people into good citizens. University offers an environment where students and all people who belong these college can learn their studying programs and this environment is clean and inspirational. This impacts them in a positive way where they will want to improve their life and as a result, they will be good citizens. For this reason, one important factor to study a college is that there will be fewer people who do not know how to write and read around the world. Thus, illiteracy will decrease around the world and people will be better citizens.
First, studying in college will become people into good citizens. The university offers an environment where students and all the people who belong to the university can learn their study programs. This clean and inspirational environment may motivate them to become good citizens. According to Perring & Gillis, "One function of undergraduate education is supporting successful citizenship later in life" (2019, para. 1). This means that after college students are capable to be good citizens. Moreover, they may help their neighbors with being better citizens too. This impact can be seen as a waterfall where the college students with all their learned knowledge are able to provide others with enough information to together improve in the values which are needed to be better citizens. Moreover, through the college students' learned the skill of responsibility they can also be better citizens. For example, they become responsible when they did their assignments and when they manage their money to pay their bills and all the necessary things to survive in college. They can use this skill of responsibility to be better citizens after college. Much of what people learn in college can be applied to situations outside of college. As the Quality Improvement Agency stated, "Citizenship education is an important part of the development of young people. By enabling them to learn about their rights and responsibilities, to understand how society works, and develop knowledge and understanding of social and political issues, citizenship prepares them for dealing with the challenges they face in life" (2007, para. 1). Many of these values that a good citizen does in life are learned in college, so many of the things they learn in college will help them convert into better citizens.
Exercise 7.31: Revising for Unity and Development Review
Review this student's paragraph for unity and development.
Marriage has become a very controversial topic discussed and, although its significance, its value has been degraded with ways of thinking that newer generations would as well live is there is not a change of mind and bring back the real purpose of marriage. To illustrate, an idea like cohabitating is one of the examples how people avoid marriage for reasons that are not very well supported. For instance, the people who are cohabitating maintain this way of living to be free from responsibility in the case that things would not work; or because they did not find it necessary in the beginning, they keep it that way so they do not upset the applecart. This is passed onto children who observe the parents' behavior and lack of importance given to marriage. It becomes a tradition that children adopt later on because they did not have their parents' example, and eventually marriage has lost complete meaning in more and more families in the future.
Exercise 7.32: Revise for Cohesion
Review this student's paragraph for cohesion. The paragraph has been broken into groups of two sentences. How would you improve the cohesion between these groups of sentences? Make any feedback or editing markings on the groups of sentences. Then, write the complete revised version of the paragraph on the lines below.
1. The first reason why I prefer to study in group is that a group of people have more than one mind thinking and solving problems for example, if someone of the group during the study session has any questions or ideas, it is easier to share and solve the problems with more people thinking instead of only one.
2. for example, if someone of the group during the study session has any questions or ideas, it is easier to share and solve the problems with more people thinking instead of only one. More people working together makes it easier to obtain more study sources, such as research, lectures, and articles.
3. More people working together makes it easier to obtain more study sources, such as research, lectures, and articles. Studying as a group can have some benefits talking about help each other during study time.
Exercise 7.33: Revise a Paragraph
Revise this student paragraph about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms).
Secondly, GMO cause mutations in DNA, and are closely tied to cancer and other diseases, and thus mutagenic substances can have dire effects on human health (Norris, 2015). These are the conclusions of a study conducted on 200 rats. The researchers suspect that genetically modified organisms can do evil even to humans. A French study in fact, carried out by Gilles-Eric Seralini shows that GMOs have a toxic effect on animals. This research was con- ducted for two years in 200 rats, divided into 3 different groups and evaluated the effects. The conclusions are chilling. The group fed with genetically modified maize produced with Roundup, began to show the thirteenth month of serious illnesses (huge mammary gland tumors in females and diseases of the kidneys and liver in males). At least fifteen years that GMOs are marketed. It really is a crime that so far no health authority has imposed the realization of long-term studies. As for transgenic varieties with the approval of the cultivation in the European Union are only two: MON 810 maize and potato Amflora by BASF although only the first really grown in the EU (80% of the total area it is in Spain). 44 other GMO products have been authorized by Brussels for the marketing, such as maize NK 603, at the study center. For now, however, they are not of own production and are only used to feed livestock such as cattle. On this point, "The cattle are killed too early because you can experience the negative effects of GM foods on the long run. The life expectancy of these animals is between 15 and 20 years, but now are felled to five, three years, 18 months or even earlier. There is thus a 'no' dry to the request, by various governments, to suspend the current authorizations of GMOs in Europe. At this point, it is obvious that GMO's are dangerous for human being.
Exercise 7.34: Peer Review
Read a partner's essay and review its argument.
- Do you see any effective uses of rhetoric?
- Do you see any fallacies?
Mark and label any effective rhetoric or fallacies you find in their writing.
Exercise 7.35: Check your essay
- Does the introduction provide the general information a reader needs in order to understand the topic?
- Does the introduction end with an effective thesis? Does it clearly show your opinion?
- Do each of the body paragraphs begin with an effective topic sentence?
- Are the body paragraphs sequenced in a logical order?
- Look at each body paragraph. Do the supporting sentences support the topic sentence?
- Look at each body paragraph. Are the supporting sentences sequenced in a logical order?
- Look at each body paragraph. Is there enough development? Are there more details or examples that would help the reader?
- Do you acknowledge the opposing viewpoint and have a rebuttal for it?
- Look at each body paragraph. Does the concluding sentence close the paragraph logically?
- Does the conclusion paragraph start by restating the thesis?
- Does the conclusion paragraph have a suggestion, prediction, or opinion at the end?
- Do you have any grammar errors that interfere with the reader understanding your ideas?
- Do you include cited sources accurately? Do you have in-text citations for all summaries, paraphrases, and quotes? Do you list all the sources you used on the reference page?
Quality Improvement Agency for Lifelong Learning. (2007). Post-16 citizenship in colleges - ed. files.eric.ed.gov. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED498608.pdf
Perrin, A. J., & Gillis, A. (2019). How College Makes Citizens: Higher Education Experiences and Political Engagement. Socius, 5. https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023119859708