Critique: Writing and Good Argument

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In the essay, “In Praise of The “F” Word”, by Mary Sherry, she provides a very good argument on the subject of the failure of kids in school. Her argument is supported by her thesis which, which is that kids shouldn’t just be passed through school without learning anything and they should be encouraged to try harder and try to achieve success by threatening them with the word “failure.” Argument elements are very evident in her writing. She identifies the controversy, supports her thesis by examples, uses supported evidence, and even uses only one point of view in the argument.

First of all, Sherry states the controversy that she will be talking about right at the beginning of her writing. She uses the phrases like, “Meaningless diplomas” and “Their validity will be questioned” (Pg. 502) to give evidence that controversy exists. By doing this, she gets the reader’s attention and informs the reader that there are two sides, but only lets the reader know the one side.

Also, the author makes a good argument in the essay by supporting her thesis. She does this by taking her personal experiences and some statistics that she knows of and incorporates it into her essay. For example, the author states that, “Tens of thousands of 18-year-olds will graduate this year and be handed meaningless diplomas.”(Pg. 502) This makes her sound more professional and it also makes her sound more convincing when she uses statistics. She also tweaks the statistics around to put her own opinion into the same statement as the statistics.

Equally important, the author gives supporting evidence to her essay, whether it is a false statement that may seem true, or her own personal experiences. To make her evidence believable, she gives a good example of her own child struggling in school, but is led back on track by failure. For instance, she states that, “Our youngest….did little to develop his intellectual talents but always got by. Until Mrs. Stifter.”(Pg.502) This excerpt...
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