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Section 3.1 Elements of an Argument

After hours of poring over books and sifting through documents in Collins Memorial Library (and many cups of coffee from Diversions), you finally hit upon an idea. The evidence corroborates it, and the logic is sound; your ideas align to form a stance that is at once distinctive and supportable.

A cup of coffee flanked by two speech bubbles. The first reads, "Coffee keeps me alive," and the second responds, "But how? What’s your argument for that?"

Congrats! You have the beginnings of an argument. But how do you begin to articulate this argument in an effective and logical way? How do you use the evidence or findings to support your argument? How do you address the concerns of potential naysayers? How do you know if your argument is too specific or too broad to be arguable?

Developing your argument to fulfill all of these requirements is a difficult process and may even seem insurmountable at times. But don't despair! Here are some basic things that every argument should have, regardless of writing type or discipline.