Does each part of the paper contribute meaningfully to the idea of the whole paper?

Choose one of the following three arguments: "When Is Thin Too Thin?" pp. 542-544; "Americans Entitled to Cheap Gas–Right?" pp. 401-403; or "Battling Term-Paper Cheats" pp. 569-571. Your main goal in this paper is to determine whether you feel the argument is effective on the basis of the sum of these elements of argument: the quality of its claim, the clarity of its definitions, the soundness of its evidence, the nature of its warrants, its use of language, and its overall credibility. Be sure to refer to specific examples in the article for your evidence, and please make sure you let us know which element you are discussing. A strong analysis will use at least three of the elements of argument.

The two biggest mistakes writers make with this paper are 1) to fail to make a clear claim early enough in the paper to let us know what the point is, and 2) to fail to let us know which element the writer is discussing. Your claim of value should be to state whether you believe the argument is a good, bad or indifferent one, and your essay should be designed to support that claim. To repeat, a big mistake of new writers of arguments is to avoid stating their claim early and clearly. That one problem can make your argument ineffective. This paper is not to be a summary of the article, nor is it to be an argument of the issue. Please understand this. (At the same time, you will notice that many of the essays we read from popular newspapers and magazines avoid stating their claim early and clearly. Unlike academic writing, the popular press is attempting to keep people reading to find out the point. We are writing academic papers where the reader is more interested in gaining information than getting entertained.)

Repeat from Ex. 4: Also, please realize that in newspaper articles and popular magazines, sources of information are usually not mentioned for ease of reading. It is assumed the editor has made sure that the sources do actually exist. That means we cannot expect the writer to give us the sources of written information.

Minimum Length:

Approximately two and a half pages, 750 words.


The final draft of this paper must be typed and double-spaced. Use one inch margins on all sides, and type with size 12 characters. Put your name, class, and date in the upper left hand corner, center your title, and begin writing. Page numbers should be placed with your last name as a header in the upper right hand corner (for help with headers use Word help or the Writing Center). Submit the final draft as an attachment to keep the paper’s format. This is all MLA format, and is required for college-level papers. If you do not have Word, please convert your paper to Rich Text format so I can open it (see instructions in the Syllabus).


Quotes should be used from the article with proper MLA documentation. Be sure to mention the author and article you are discussing, then for material used from the text, cite the page number. Place a Works Cited entry for the article at the end of your paper.

Grading criteria (20 points each): The focus for grading will be on the following concerns:

1. Content: Does the paper exhibit the use of evidence from the essay to back up its observations. Are there sufficient quotes, summaries, and paraphrases to give us a fair sense of the essay itself? Has the writer used the elements of argument to support the analysis (at least three)?

2. Organization: Does each part of the paper contribute meaningfully to the idea of the whole paper? Is there a useful sequence for the material? On what is it based? Does the writer provide transitions to help readers move through the sequence? Do the title, introduction, and conclusion provide an effective frame for the ideas of the paper?

3. Claim: Has the writer made clear, either explicitly or implicitly, his or her overall evaluation of the essay?

4. Editing: Has the writer edited out mechanical errors, checking for correctness in spelling, punctuation, sentence patterns, and proper documentation?

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