Writing Argumentative Essays

Using connectives and paragraphs in a larger argumentative text

In this section you will learn how to organise supporting statements or arguments in a paragraph. You will learn that it is important to use connectives to list your arguments and to signal the relations between them.

Read the following text carefully

The government should provide more financial assistance to parents who use childcare. Childcare centres may assist children in their early development. They give children an opportunity to mix with other children and to develop social skills at an early age. Parents and children need to spend some time apart. Children become less dependent on their parents and parents themselves are less stressed and more effective care-givers when there are periods of separation. Parents who cannot go to work because they don't have access to childcare facilities cannot contribute to the national economy. They are not able to utilise their productive skills and do not pay income tax. Government support for childcare services assists individual families and is important for the economic well-being of the whole nation.

Task 1: The main thesis, supporting arguments and conclusion.
This text consists of 1 main thesis, 3 supporting arguments and 1 conclusion.
Print this page out and use a highlighter or pen to answer the following questions:

a.What is the main thesis?

Circle or highlight the main thesis. Then write "main thesis' in the margin next to it.
b.What are the three supporting arguments?

Circle or highlight each of the three supporting arguments. Then write "argument 1", "argument 2" and "argument 3" next to each one. (Note: each of these consists of more than one sentence)
c.What is the conclusion?

Circle or highlight the conclusion and write "conclusion" in the margin next to it

Check your answers here

Task 2: Adding information to relevant arguments
The following three sentences each add further information to the three supporting arguments. Your task is to add the sentences to the text. You will first need to work out which of the three supporting arguments they relate to.

a. Recent studies indicate that the parent-child relationship can be improved by the use of high-quality childcare facilities.
b. A whole range of learning occurs in childcare centres.
c. Non-working parents can become a drain on the tax system through dependent spouse and other rebates.

Check your answers here

Task 3: Connectives for listing arguments.
You have seen that we can use different connectives to list the supporting arguments in the text. These listing connectives are:

Firstly This can be used for the first supporting argument
Secondly These can be used for any further supporting arguments (except, of course, for "Secondly" which can only be used for the second)
In addition
Finally This can be used for the last supporting argument. Note: this is not a concluding connective and also you can use "Furthermore", "Moreover" or "In addition" for the last argument if you wish

Mark the beginning of the three supporting arguments with connectives from the above list

Check your answer here

Task 4: Concluding connectives
Three common concluding connectives are:

In conclusion These all carry roughly the same meaning. They should be used to indicate that you are making final statements that cover all the supporting arguments in a very general way
In summary

Mark the conclusion of your argument with a concluding connective.

Check your answer here

Task 5: In fact / Indeed
These connectives have almost the same meaning and both can be used in the following situations:

1.To connect a more detailed statement with a preceding general statement

Example: Today is very warm. In fact (or Indeed) it is 35 degrees Celsius

2. To connect a statement which is more factual and exact with a preceding statement that is more debatable and general

Example: The internet is very popular in Australia. Indeed (or In fact), Australia has the highest proportion of Internet users per head of population of any country in the world.

Find three places in the text where you could use "In fact" or "Indeed".

Check your answers here.

For more practice on using "In fact" and "Indeed", click here.

Task 6 Paragraphs
The structure of the text is now well marked by connectives so that the reader can clearly identify the main thesis, supporting arguments and conclusions.

You can also use paragraphs to mark the structure of the text so that it is even more clear and easy to read.

Mark the places in the text where you would start a new paragraph with a large (NP) which stands for "new paragraph"

Then check your answer here.

Then finally write out a final draft of the text on childcare. It should look like this.

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