How is an argument structured?

How is an argument structured?

Claims, Reasons, and Evidence


Read the terms you’ll use to discuss well-developed arguments.

  • Claim: What do you want your listeners/readers to believe?
  • Reasons:Why should they believe what you tell them?
  • Evidence: Whatfacts andspecific examples prove that your reasons are true? Remember, the more specific and objective your evidence, the more convincing your argument. Your readers or listeners should not be able to doubt that your evidence is true, even if they initially disagree with yourclaim or yourreasons .
  • Counterclaims : What is the opposing argument?

Making a Claim

Work Time

Read the claim your teacher has chosen.

Your teacher will assign you one of the following categories.

  • Reasons this is correct,
  • Evidence that proves this is correct, or
  • Reasons someone might have for disagreeing with the claim.

Remember that reasons are statements explaining why your claim is correct or incorrect. Evidence includes the facts to support your claim.


With your group, brainstorm ideas for your category.

After you look over your classmates’ ideas, discuss with the class how these responses would work together if you were trying to convince someone.

Declaration Argument Structure

Work Time

Return to the Declaration of Independence.

Read it a second time, trying to break down the argument to follow its logic and structure.

As you read, use the following annotations.

  • Mark claims with black.
  • Mark reasons with green.
  • Mark evidence with blue.
  • Mark implied or explicit counterclaims orresponses to counterclaims with red.
  • Highlight any lines that you find particularly convincing.

You Have a Choice

Determine how you will approach the work: you can choose to work independently; work with a partner; work with a group; or confer with the teacher.

Dialectical Journal

Work Time

Determine the most convincing lines in this argument.

  • Look back at what you marked, and choose two to three quotations.
  • Create and complete a Convincing Lines Dialectical Journal entry for each, explaining why you found the quotation particularly convincing.


Declaration Response


Imagine that you are a colonist who disagrees with the Declaration of Independence; you believe that the colonies should remain loyal to the king.

  • Compose a response to the Declaration from the point of view of this colonist. Your response should refer to at least one specific argument from the Declaration. Use your annotations to help you.

Open Notebook

Independent Reading


For homework, do the following.

  1. Finish your Declaration of Independence response.
  2. Continue working on your reading and Independent Reading Dialectical Journal entries for your Independent Reading selection.