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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A List is Not an Argument

A list is not argument--but making a list of ideas might be the first step in creating an argument. In other words, if you jot down a list of 10 unrelated ideas about a particular topic, you might then put them in a logical order, subordinating some to others, eliminating those that aren't as relevant and come up with an argument.

1 comment:

Andrew Shields said...

This distinction is one of the keys to teaching academic writing. Students tend to be very good at lists of points that all show that something is the case, but not good at creating a hierarchy of ideas that makes an argument out of a list.

There's a simple test: if the order of ideas doesn't matter, it's a list. If it does, it's an argument.