Writing Argumentative Essays

Debatable and non-debatable statements

An argumentative essay is built around a specific statement (or main premise) that is debatable within the field in which you are studying. In other words, at the centre of an argumentative essay is a statement with which your readers may disagree. Your essay will need to support that statement in a manner that convinces your readers of its truth.

To begin this unit of work on argumentative essays we will learn the difference between debatable and non-debatable statements

Debatable statements = Statements with which other people might or might not agree . These are sometimes called "arguments", "assertions", "propositions" or "premises".
eg. Solar energy is the best way of meeting Australia's energy needs in the 21st century

Non-debatable statements = Statements with which no-one would normally disagree or argue. These are sometimes called "facts".
eg. Coal and oil are the main sources of energy in Australia in the 20th century

Task 1
Which of the following statements are debatable and which are non-debatable? If the statement is debatable, put a tick in the box next to the word "debatable". If the statement is non-debatable, put a tick in the box next to the word "non-debatable". You will need to print out the page.

1. Computers and automation increase unemployment
A BOXdebatable
A BOXnon-debatable
2. Smoking is harmful to people's health
A BOXdebatable
A BOXnon-debatable

3. Plants produce oxygen that the world needs to sustain life
A BOXdebatable
A BOXnon-debatable
4. Australia has some of the most venomous snakes in the world
A BOXdebatable
A BOXnon-debatable
5. A good education is necessary for a successful and happy life
A BOXdebatable
A BOXnon-debatable

Check your answer here

Task 2
Now write a debatable and a non-debatable statement about each of the following topics:

  1. Alcohol

  2. Television

  3. Public transport

  4. The Australian education system

  5. The Prime Minister
Click here to see some possible answers to this task.

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