See It in Practice

Although there are many options for organizing your argument, understanding these three basic argumentative types can help you make a good decision about which type of argument would work best given your topic and audience.

Watch as our student writer makes notes and comes to a decision about which type of argument she’ll use as she works with a controversial topic and a potentially difficult audience.

Video Transcript
Student says:

We’ve now learned about three basic argument types, and even though most arguments will use some combination of these structures, my professor wanted us to learn about the Aristotelian, Toulmin, and Rogerian arguments, as our rhetorical situations may lend themselves to one of these more than the others.

I first wanted to think about the Rogerian argument. Since I first thought my audience of Texans might be dead set against my argument, this type of argument would have worked well if I had been right. But, after doing my research and finding that more than 50 percent of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, this type may not be the best suited for my purposes.

I think the classical or Aristotelian would work well for my purposes, as I want to make a strong assertion. I like that this type of argument allows for time to address my opposing views, and I’m going to think about this one.

I think I really like the Toulmin argument, but I’m not sure if I want to focus on structuring each element of my argument like the Toulmin method requires. It feels a little more limiting, so I’m wondering if I could use some elements of the Toulmin argument within a classical argument. My professor said that would actually be great.

So, I think I’m going to go with the classical or Aristotlean argument, but I definitely plan to use some qualifiers from the Toulmin model. I think adding qualifiers to my claim will help build my credibility as I argue for a pretty controversial change in my state.

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