* As with other sorts of writing, considering audience when writing an argument means that you will be thinking about your particular audience’s age, education, gender, political views, economic status, ethnic background, religious views, and so on. * In addition, you should consider your specific audience in regards to your specific subject. In other words, if you’re writing about singers (or even a particular singer) on American Idol, you should consider your particular audience’s relationship with those singers (or that particular singer).
* As we saw with the Informative essay, you should think about what your purpose is in relation to your particular audience and what the context is. Remember that the context involves both the format of the writing (Are you writing an essay, an email, a brochure, etc?) and the history your audience has with the subject (Is this your audience’s first experience with the subject or do they have a very convoluted history with it?)
Considering Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
* Ethos refers to how you appear to the reader. Do you seem knowledgeable? Do you seem trustworthy? Fair? Likeable? Mean-spirited? Do you seem like you have the readers’ best interests at heart? As you write, consider what you do and can do to affect how you appear to your reader. What is the persona that you are playing? How do you want to come across? * Pathos refers to what emotions your readers bring to the argument already, as well as what emotions you want your readers to feel when they have finished reading your essay.
Pathos appeals to commonly held values. How do your readers feel as they approach the subject? Are they angry? Do you want them to feel pacified? Are they afraid? Do you want them to feel courageous? Are they apathetic? Do you want them to feel energized? Consider what you can say and do in your essay to help your readers feel how you would like them to. Consider what the writers you are reading in your sources are doing to manipulate you. * Logos refers to appeals that use evidence and argument: data, experiments, surveys, statistics, appeals to authority. It also includes the positioning of visual details in visual arguments, as well as the positioning of information within a written argument.
* Remember that any thesis has two parts: the subject (what you’re writing about) and the focus (what you’re saying about the subject). * Remember, too, that your subject of your thesis should be sufficiently narrow for the scope of the paper. (In other words, if you’re writing a very short paper, you probably want a very narrow subject.) * Remember that your focus should also be sharply narrowed.
Avoid broad, vague claims about a big subject (“Television is superior to reading books” has both a subject and a focus that is too large and vague for most writers, and most new writers will not be able to handle it well). * Remember that an argumentative thesis will take a position about its subject. If the argument involves the evaluation of two products, the writer will clearly choose one over the other, after establishing solid criteria and evaluating both.