Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Develop a Compelling Argument Using the Modes of Persuasion

 A writer who presents an argument, or counterargument, tries to convince readers that his/her proposed solution or claim is better, if not the best, compared with others.

In one way or the other, whether spoken or written, you will have to present and discuss an argument. It may be in school or in the workplace. In whichever case, your argument must be compelling, calling readers or members of the audience to action.

ielts cebu

If you are eyeing for various opportunities abroad, regardless of your purpose, knowing how to develop a compelling argument will come in handy as you take the IELTS exam, especially the Writing test.  The IELTS Academic Writing test aims to assess the test taker’s ability to interpret visual information (Task 1) and to express opinions and develop arguments (Task 2). The IELTS General Training Writing test, on the other hand, assesses a test taker’s ability to conform to English letter writing and discursive writing conventions and to use the English language precisely and to arrange ideas in a cohesive manner.

Both tasks are graded based on the following criteria: Task achievement/response, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource and grammatical range and accuracy. IELTS review center, in case you are planning to join one, discuss the exam’s coverage and criteria in detail.

Considering the purposes of each test type, argument development is more essential in the IELTS Academic Writing exam than in General Training. Then again, it is entirely up to you whether to enroll in an IELTS review center in Cebu or to study on your own. Whatever option you prefer, here are the modes of persuasion that you can use to develop a compelling argument.

1.    Ethos or appeal to character – When a writer uses ethos to persuade his/her readers, he/she establishes himself/herself as a credible source of information. For instance, the writer is an expert or a specialist in a certain field he/she is discussing. In addition, he/she cites credible sources, related to the field, to support his/her claims. There are also instances when other writers, like scholars, who challenge another expert’s claims. However, instead of insulting or attacking the person, he/she presents factual information and evidence to support his/her points.

Examples:
•    “U.S.-trained surgeons recommended this kind of procedure for the brain.”
•    “My decades of experience as a public servant makes me qualified for a post in a higher office.”
•    “In my years of practice as a dermatologist, it is best to hydrate your skin by drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.”

2.    Logos or appeal to logic/reason – A writer who uses logos to convince readers appeals to a rational thinking of understanding issues. He/She employs an objective and formal style of writing, and his/her works is usually free from personal opinions. Arguments developed using logos present their conclusions either in a general to specific (deductive or top-down) or specific to general (inductive or bottom-up) reasoning.

For example:
•    “Everyone has a weakness. Look at Achilles. Even if he was a skilled warrior, Paris wounded his heel with an arrow, which later caused his death.” (Deductive)
•    “Even if Achilles was a skilled warrior, Paris wounded his heel with an arrow, which later caused his death. Thus, it shows that everyone has a weakness.” (Inductive)

Moreover, a writer commonly may also use “if-then” statements to appeal to reason.

3.    Pathos or appeal to emotions – A writer who uses pathos evokes an emotional response among his/her readers or audience. He/She focuses on the audience’s values and beliefs; he/she uses these aspects to manipulate them. Furthermore, this type of reasoning is subjective compared to logos and ethos. A writer tries to connect with the audience on a personal level.

Examples:
•    “If only her hands were made of steel… she can do that bulk of laundry for you.” (This statement evokes pity among members of the audience.
•    “Just like you, I also grew up in the slums. I know how it feels like during typhoons, when my family and I would evacuate our house to transfer somewhere safe.”

The IELTS Writing exam has two types: Academic and General Training. Considering the presented information above and the test formats of the two types of IELTS exam, a test taker may use ethos or logos in the IELTS Academic Writing test or pathos in the IELTS General Training Writing exam.

IELTS review centers in Cebu, Davao, Makati, Manila and more conduct writing exercises to gauge a test taker’s writing skills, especially when it comes to developing topics, presenting and supporting claims/counterclaims, expressing opinions, etc. Instructors provide feedback and tips on how you can hone your abilities that can guarantee a high band score in the IELTS Writing exam. These coaching facilities not only offer classroom-based training but also IELTS reviews online for those who have a hectic schedule.

Moreover, knowing how to develop a compelling argument is not only beneficial to the IELTS exam but also to your future endeavors. In work, you are required to submit reports and/or proposals that need further justification and persuasion among your superiors.


The author works at an IELTS review center in Cebu City at the moment. She was once a computer instructor in CA. She likes to travel in numerous nations and loves photography.

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