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Questions And Exercises: Chapter XX. Business Argument

§ 96. Write a paragraph of five sentences, summarizing the five paragraphs of the section. Do not allow the sentences to compete in length with the paragraphs; let every word count; remember that participles and adjectives will often do the work of sentences.

§97. Choose an audience - whether of youths, business men, or women. Then select a proposition and write a brief. Make it as long as you please. Observe carefully the method of arrangement described in the text. This brief is to serve as a basis for an argument later on; therefore make it as full as possible and keep a copy of it. Every reason and proof that you are to present in the completed argument must appear in the brief. The actual work of composition later on will be merely a matter of weaving the finished paragraphs.

As to choice of subject, everything will depend on the age and experience of the student. If you are young, inexperienced, and still in the high school, you will find quite enough to prove in such titles as these: I should go through a college course in mechanical engineering; I should take a college course in commerce and administration; I should quit study at the end of this year; I should sell my motor cycle and buy a launch; I should give up my paper route and devote my whole time to school.

If on the other hand you are more mature, and have had some experience with affairs, you may be able to argue that advertisers should use the farm papers more; or that the United States should establish an age-pension; or that railroad pooling should be legalized; or that employers are justified in refusing recognition to labor unions; or that the tax on the issues of state banks should be repealed; or that sugar should be free of duty.

Whatever subject you choose, let it be worthy of your steel.

Let it be something that yon are interested in, and desire to grasp as a whole and in its parts. Few exercises will be of more valne to yon in the long run.

§ 98. 1. [For yonng students], (a) Explain the difference between evidence and testimony, as these terms are used in law. Any good dictionary will give you the distinction, and you should form what we may call a dictionary habit.

2. [For college students.] Study the chapter on evidence in Baker's Principles of Argumentation, or Pattee's Practical Argumentation, or Alden's Art of Debate. Then decide in your own mind as to which form of evidence is the strongest, and write a short argument to defend your position.

3. [For adult students now engaged in business.] Secure a copy of Greenleaf or Starkey on Evidence, and having devoted to it all the time you can spare, write a paper. In this paper give illustrations of the different kinds of evidence from your own experience as a business man. Then write an argument as to which kind has proved the strongest in your own experience.

§ 99. Write other illustrations for each of the four errors explained in the text.

§ 100. A. Write your long argument and revise it most carefully with reference to all preceding sections.

B. Having read the text and examples of § 100, examine your argument and see if you can make it more persuasive. Perhaps it needs a few changes here and there, and an earnest paragraph at the end. In short, having written in cold blood to be sure that your work will bear critical inspection, go over it again and add a certain warmth of appeal. You chose your audience when you wrote the brief; now try and get a little closer to that audience.


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