Here is a true-false quiz on which your score should be perfect
|| The purpose of newspaper and magazine advertisements for jogging shoes is not to sell more of the shoes
|| Candy manufacturers advertise because they want to inform people about health food
|| Candidates for political office give speeches just to provide entertainment for the public
|| Debates in the United States Congress have no influence on what happens to you or me
|| You never try to get family or friends to agree with you about some point
The answer to all of the questions above is, of course, "false" Most advertisements—for jogging shoes, candy, cameras eras, dishwashing or laundry detergent, diapers, hamburgers, hotels, markets, or mowers—are intended to persuade people to buy products or services. And candidates for political office give speeches to persuade voters. The debates in Congress are meant to persuade members to vote for this bill or to support that program; therefore, these debates often have a great influence on what happens to you and me. Finally, of course, you have tried to persuade family members or friends with you on some point.
As the quiz shows, we live in a world of persuasion; others attempt to influence us, and we attempt to influence others.
Persuasive and Expository Writing
You learned in Writing Compositions, that expository writing is meant to inform. Typical examples of expository writing are instructions (for example, how to make tamale pie), scientific reports, newspaper reports of current events, and explanations of ideas and concepts (for example, the reasons for your political beliefs). Textbooks contain primarily expository writing.
Persuasive writing also gives information, but its main purpose is to cause people to change an opinion and to take an action.
Exposition and Persuasion
The first selection that follows is exposition; it is a report about whaling. The second selection is persuasion; it urges readers to take action to save whales from being hunted to extinction. Exposition:
The Development of Whaling
The Basques were probably the first to hunt whales, possibly as early as the tenth century. However, a large-scale representative in Congress and your senator, urging them to take action on this problem.
Join the fight to save the whales before there are no more whales to save.
Becoming an Effective Persuader
To be an effective persuader, you must use sound reasoning,, and data, and appropriate language.
Think about why the second one of each of the following pairs of passages is more persuasive than the first one.
a. Several members of the school chess club are on the honor roll. Join the chess club so that you can get on honor roll.
b. Several members of the school chess club are on the honor roll. If you join the chess club, you will have chance to associate with outstanding students and perhaps learn some of their study methods. I urge you to join the chess club.
a. Super Sludge, a new breakfast cereal, is a better value than Corny Creepers, another breakfast cereal. You should buy Super Sludge, not Corny Creepers.
b. Super Sludge, a new breakfast cereal, costs nine cents per ounce. It contains the daily minimum requirement of vitamins A, C, E, B-l, B-2, B-6, B-12, folic acid, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Corny Creepers costs nine and a half cents per ounce. It contains the minimum daily requirements of vitamins A, C, E, B-l, B-2, B-6, and B-12 but not folic acid, niacin, or pantothenic acid. Super Sludge is the better value.
a. Lisa Quaid, candidate for student council president, said, "Vote for me. I'll do a lot to make kids at this school happier. You know that I'm a live wire, full of good ideas."
b. Lester Quilty, candidate for student council president, said, "Vote for me. I believe that lunch periods could be staggered to eliminate the mob scene every day in the cafeteria. I will propose my plan to the principal.
"I also think that this school needs an active intramural sports program. I will support tennis, handball, volleyball, and pingpong matches and will petition the school board to provide money for playoff trophies to be awarded every year."
Buy the Daypacker's Economy Outfit. Now on sale. Includes daypack, canteen, first aid kit, and high-energy food.
b. Buy the Daypacker's Economy Outfit. Now on sale. Includes
sturdy, waterproof daypack with padded shoulder straps
plastic, one-quart canteen with belt loop for carrying
first aid kit, including assortment of bandages, mole skin, merthiolate, and elastic wrappings for sprains
high-energy food, including dried fruit and nut mix and date-nut bars
a. Don't vote for that wimp Lester Quilty. If you vote for
that jerk, you'll just be showing your own ignorance.
b. Think carefully before you vote for Lester Quilty. He made several promises that he probably won't be able fulfill. If you vote for him, you may regret your decision later.
The second passage in each of the above pairs uses sound reasoning, facts and data, and/or persuasive language. In the sections that follow you will learn more about those devices.
In sound reasoning, conclusions follow naturally from premises. Here are some examples of sound reasoning:
Premise: All members of the Drama Club at Lincoln Junior High School will attend a performance of Man and Superman.
Conclusion: If you are a member of the Drama Club, you will attend a performance of Man and Superman.
Premise: To participate in intermural athletics, students in Los Angeles schools must have a grade point average of at least C.
Premise: Alfonso, a Los Angeles student, has a grade point average of B.
Conclusion: Alfonso is eligible to participate in intermural athletics.
The science of sound reasoning is called logic, but a writer does not need to be a logician in order to use sound reasons to persuade.
When you write persuasion, use your common sense to check your reasoning. Ask yourself frequently, "Does this make sense? Does it add up?"
Facts and Opinions
A fact is a statement that can be proven to be true. For example, it is a fact that 100 divided by 5 equals 20; the laws of mathematics prove that calculation. It is a fact that English is a Germanic language; research by language scholars has proved this. It is a fact that Queen Elizabeth I ruled England from 1558 until her death in the year 1603; historical evidence supports the statement.
An opinion is a personal view about something. Opinions cannot be proven. For example, it is a fact that Bryce Canyon National Park is in southwestern Utah . A person may hold the opinion that Bryce is the most beautiful of the national parks. Here are some other examples of facts and opinions.
| Chewing gum with sugar
contributes to the development of cavities
|| Chewing gum in class is rude
| Both the bald eagle and the
wild turkey are native
|| The wild turkey would be a
better national symbol than
the bald eagle
| Mark Twain is the author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
|| Huckleberry Finn is the greatestAmerican novel.
The Language of Persuasion
In "Feral Horses and Burros," John Hart says that the horses are "romantic" and the burros are "cute." These words help explain why people don't want to shoot or otherwise harm the animals. These are descriptive words which are important to the argument.
When you read an advertisement for orange juice, you see such words as "the sunshine drink," "refreshing," "ice cold," and "thirst quencher." An automobile advertisement might include "powerful," "quiet," and "stylish." Words that have motional or other types of appeal are effective persuasive tools
Which group of verbs below might be used by a conservative (a person who upholds tradition), and which might be used by a radical (a person who wants extreme changes)?
| save, keep, defend, maintain, protect,
|| reform, change, improve,
get better, get more,
reduce, stop, get rid of
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