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2 Recognizing Arguments

Distinguish arguments from nonarguments

Recognize common types of nonarguments


Factual claim: at least one of the statements claims to

present reasons
Are the reasons true? (not logic)

Inferential claim: it is claimed that these reasons

support something
Made explicit by conclusion indicator word
Does the conclusion follow from the premises? (logic)



Pieces of advice Explanations





Expository passage

Loosely assoc. statements




Noninferential passages warnings (given to avoid harm)

Watch out for my sons. They are a couple of crazed
Take care. Those guns are loaded.

(not statements and/or no evidence given)


pieces of advice (recommendations for acting in some

You should give a baby formula as soon as possible
after birth.
You should beat your children early and often if you
want them to turn out right.

(no evidence intended to prove anything)


statements of belief or opinion (no evidence or reasons

are given for holding this opinion)

I think a person should have all her babies before she

is 25 years old. 37 is awfully old to be having children.

In my personal opinion, doctors dont tell you the

truth and there is no reason to trust em.


loosely associated statements (about the same subject,

but no inferential claim)

Wall-mart has the cutest baby clothesmuch cuter

than Targets. My mama made the sweetest baby
clothes. Well, shes dead now. Ray Charles is dead too.
He probably wore baby clothes. I dont know. Baby
clothes ought to be cute. You know, they aint all that
cute. And, theyve become darn right expensive too


(Possible) Inferential Passages

expository passages (elaboration of a topic sentence without

defending the topic sentence)

It took very little time on the ground in America before I

found myself becoming unrecognizable. I bought an SUV. I
signed my unathletic daughter up for soccer. Other three-yearolds in her class were taking gymnastics, too, and art, and
swimming and music. I signed her up for ballet. I bought a
small library of pre-K skill books. I went around in a state of
quiet panic.


expository passages (elaboration of a topic sentence

defending the topic sentence)

There are many benefits of being an only child. Only

children have higher IQs, do better is school, stay in
school longer, dont have to share toys, resources or
their parents attention with their peers, are more
confident, are more mature, read more, and are more
likely to have their face on the cover of Time magazine
as adults.

Explanation vs Argument

I believe that God exists because that is how I was
raised. It has never occurred to me to question Gods

God exists because there must be an explanation for the
existence of the universe and the best explanation is that
God exists and created it.

Conditional Statement

conditional statement (an If...(antecedent), then...

(consequent) statement, not alone and argument, may be a
premise or conclusion in an argument, may be expressed as
an argument)

If we would spend the money to make bus systems more

convenient, then people would ride them.

If you grew up with siblings, it may be hard for you to

imagine what it would be like to be an only child.

The statement is the antecedent if it follows the if.

Conditional Statements

If today is Thursday, then I drove to school. (If T then


If today is Thursday, I drove to school. (If T then D)

I drove to school if today is Thursday. (D if T) (If T then D)

If I drove to school, then today is Thursday. (If D then T)

(factual claim(s) and an inferential claim)

If we dont lower our birthrates and reduce

immigration our population will rise from its current 260
million to as many as 400 million by the middle of the
century. A child born today could share this nation with
50% more people before she reaches middle age. This
would result is a severe drop in the standard of living by
todays standards. It would be wrong to subject future
generations to this sort of suffering. Thus, we are
morally obligated to do what we can to lower birthrates
and reduce immigration.