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Argument Writing Samples89篇(15)










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发表于 2019-5-9 10:13:49 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
83.          This editorial asserts that West Cambria should not change its highway speed
limits because such changes adversely affect driver alertness and are therefore
dangerous. To support this claim, the editorial cites statistics indicating that whenever
East Cambria changed its speed limits, an average of 3 percent more automobile
accidents occurred during the week after the change than during the week preceding it,
even when the speed limit was lowered. As it stands, this argument suffers from three
critical flaws.
        First, it is unlikely that the brief one-week periods under comparison are
representative of longer time periods. A difference of only 3 percent during one
particular week can easily be accounted for by other factors, such as heavy holiday
traffic or bad weather, or by problems with reporting or sampling. Had the editorial
indicated that several speed-limit changes in East Cambria contributed to the statistic,
the argument would be more convincing; but for all we know, the statistic is based on
only one such change. In any event, a one-week period is too brief to be representative
because it is likely that accidents will occur more frequently immediately following the
change, while people adjust to the new limit, than over the longer term when drivers
have become accustomed to the change.
        Secondly, the editorial fails to acknowledge possible differences in the types of
accidents occurring before and after the change. It is possible that the accidents during
the week before the change all involved fatalities, while those during the week after the
change were minor fender-benders. If so, even though 3 percent more accidents
occurred after the change, the author's argument that changing the speed limit increases
danger for drivers would be seriously weakened.
        Thirdly, the editorial fails to take into account possible differences between East
and West Cambria that are relevant to how drivers react to speed-limit changes. Factors
such as the condition of roads, average age and typical driving habits of residents, and
weather patterns, would probably affect how well or how quickly drivers adapt to
speed-limit changes. Thus, changing speed limits in East Cambria might be more
dangerous than changing them in West Cambria.
        In conclusion, the statistical evidence cited to support the argument is
insignificant and probably unrepresentative. To better evaluate the argument, we need to
know how many speed-limit changes contributed to the statistic and when the speed-
limit changes were made. Finally, to strengthen the argument the author should show
that East and West Cambria would be similarly affected by speed-limit changes.
84.          The vice president of Nostrum argues that implementing an increase in health and
retirement benefits for employees is not a good idea at this time. His main line of
reasoning s that an increase in benefits is both financially unjustified and unnecessary—
financially unjustified because last year's profits were lower than the preceding year's,
and unnecessary because Nostrum's chief competitor offers lower benefits to its
employees and because a recent Nostrum employee survey indicates that two-thirds of
the respondents viewed the current benefits package favorably While the argument has
some merit, it is not completely convincing.
        Admittedly the vice president's reasoning linking employee benefits with
company profits seems reasonable on its face. Companies that are not profitable are ill-
advised to take on additional costs such as increased employee benefits. However, the
fact that Nostrum's profits last year were lower than the preceding year does not imply
that Nostrum is experiencing financial difficulties that preclude it from increasing
employee benefits at this time. Perhaps the previous year's profits were extremely large;
whereas last year's profits, albeit lower, were sufficient to fund an increase in the
benefits package without threatening the company's bottom line.
        Also, the fact that Nostrum's chief competitor provides lower benefits to its
employees is not a good reason for Nostrum to deny an increase to its employees.
Employee loyalty is an important asset to any company, and providing good pay and
good benefits are among the best ways to acquire it. Nostrum would be well advised to
assure that its employees have little reason to seek employment elsewhere, and
especially from its chief competitor.
        Finally, one can infer from the survey's results that a full one-third of the
respondents may have viewed the current benefits package unfavorably. If so, such
widespread satisfaction would weaken the vice president's argument. Lacking more
specific information about how these other employees responded, it is impossible to
assess the reliability of the survey's results or to make an informed recommendation.
        In conclusion the vice president's argument against implementing a benefits
increase is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument, he must provide evidence that the
increase in benefits would have a negative impact on the company's overall profitability.
Additionally, he must provide more information about the manner in which the survey
was conducted before we can determine the degree of employee satisfaction of the
current benefits
85.          This article concludes that businesses using commercial television to promote
their products will achieve the greatest advertising success by sponsoring only highly-
rated programs—preferably, programs resembling the highly-rated non-commercial
programs on public channels. Supporting this claim is a recent study indicating that
many programs judged by viewers to be high in quality appeared on noncommercial
networks, and that the most popular shows on commercial television are typically
sponsored by the best-selling products. This argument is weak because it depends on
three questionable assumptions.
        The first of these assumptions is that non-commercial public television programs
judged by viewers to be high in quality are also popular. However, the study cited by the
author concerns viewer attitudes about the "high quality" of programs on
noncommercial public television, not about their popularity. A program might rate
highly as to quality but not in terms of popularity. Thus, the author unfairly assumes that
highly-rated public television programs are necessarily widely viewed, or popular.
        The argument also assumes that programs resembling popular non-commercial
programs will also be popular on commercial television. However, the audiences for the
two types of programs differ significantly in their tastes. For example, a symphony
series may be popular on public television but not as a prime-time network show,
because public-television viewers tend to be more interested than commercial-television
viewers in the arts and higher culture. Thus, a popular program in one venue may be
decidedly unpopular in the other.
        A third assumption is that products become best-sellers as a result of their being
advertised on popular programs. While this may be true in some cases, it is equally
possible that only companies with products that are already best-sellers can afford the
higher ad rates that popular shows demand. Accordingly, a lesser-known product from a
company on a smaller budget might be better off running repeated but less expensive—
ads on less popular shows than by running just one or two costly ads on a top-rated
        In conclusion, the results of the cited study do not support the author s conclusion.
To better evaluate the argument, we need to know the intended meaning of the phrase
"highly-rated." To strengthen the argument, the author must limit his conclusion by
acknowledging that popularity in public television might not translate to popularity in
commercial television, and that the best advertising strategy for companies with best-
selling products may not be feasible for other businesses.
86.          In this argument the author reasons that the failure of Company B portends a
similar fate for Company A. The grounds for this prediction are similarities that exist
between the two companies. The line of reasoning is that since both companies produce
video-game hardware and software and both enjoy a large share of the market for these
products, the failure of one is a reliable predictor of the failure of the other. This
argument is unconvincing.
        The major problem with the argument is that the stated similarities between
Company A and B are insufficient to support the conclusion that Company A will suffer
a fats similar to Company B's. In fact, the similarities stated are irrelevant to that
conclusion. Company B did not fail because of its market share or because of the
general type of product it produced; it failed because children became bored with its
particular line of products. Consequently, the mere fact that Company A holds a large
share of the video-game hardware and software market does not support the claim that
Company A will also fail.
        An additional problem with the argument is that there might be relevant
differences between Company A and Company B, which further undermine the
conclusion. For example, Company A's line of products may differ from Company B's
in that children do not become bored with them. Another possible difference is that
Company B's share of the market may have been entirely domestic whereas Company
A has a large share of the international market.
        In conclusion this is a weak argument. To strengthen the conclusion the author
would have to show that there are sufficient relevant similarities between Company A
and Company B as well as no relevant differences between them.
87.          The author concludes that photographers who work in color hold a competitive
advantage over those who work in black-and-white. To support this conclusion, the
author claims that the greater realism of color accounts for its predominant use in
magazines and portraits. The author also points Out that newspapers now use color
photographs, and that there are more types of color film than black-and-white film
available today. This argument is problematic in several important respects.
        First, the argument unfairly assumes that working in color is necessary in order to
gain an advantage. The author identifies only two areas—magazine and portrait
photography—where color predominates. It is possible that the overall demand for
black-and-white photography remains high. Moreover, the author provides no evidence
that the realism of color photography is the reason for its predominance. The
predominant use of color may be due to other factors—such as consumer preferences or
relative costs of film—which might change at any time.
        Second, the argument unfairly assumes that a photographer must make an
either/or choice between the two types of photography. This assumption presents a false
dilemma, since the two media are not necessarily mutually exclusive alternatives.
Common sense tells us that a photographer can succeed by working in both media.
        Third, the fact that more kinds of color film are available than black-and-white
film accomplishes little to support the argument. The difference in number might be
insignificant, and the distinctions among the types of color film might be negligible. In
fact, by implying that more choices in film type affords a photographer a competitive
advantage, the author actually undermines his larger argument that working solely in
color is the best way to succeed in the field of photography.
        Finally, the argument ignores other factors—such as initiative, creativity, technical
skills, and business judgment—that may be more important than choice of medium in
determining success in photography. A poorly skilled photographer may actually be
disadvantaged by working in color insofar as color work requires greater skill, and
insofar as color photographers face keener competition for assignments.
        In conclusion, this argument oversimplifies the conditions for gaining an
advantage in the field of photography. To better evaluate the argument, we need more
precise information as to how large a portion of all photography work today is
accounted for by color work. To strengthen the argument, the author must convince us
that a photographer must choose one medium or the other rather than working in both.
88.          The conclusion of this argument is that 15-year-olds should be eligible to obtain a
driver's license. The author employs two lines of reasoning to reach this conclusion. In
the first the author reasons that since older drivers can retain their driving privileges by
simply renewing their licenses, 15-year-olds should be eligible to obtain a license. In the
second, the author reasons that 15-year-olds are physically more capable than older
drivers of performing the various skills associated with driving s vehicle and thus
should be eligible to get a license. This argument is unconvincing for a couple of
        In the first place, the author assumes that there are no relevant differences
between 15-year-olds and older drivers that would justify treating them differently. This
assumption is dearly mistaken. The major difference between the two groups, and the
major reason 15-year-olds are denied driving privileges, is their relative lack of
emotional maturity and social responsibility. This difference is sufficient to justify the
policy of a owing older drivers to renew their driving privileges while at the same time
denying these privileges to 15-year-olds.
        In the second place, even if it is granted that fifteen year olds possess better night
vision, reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and are less disoriented in unfamiliar
surroundings than older drivers, these abilities do not qualify them to obtain a driver's
license. The author assumes that physical capabilities are the only attributes necessary
to operate a motor vehicle. But this assumption is clearly mistaken. In addition to these
abilities, drivers must be able to exercise good judgment in all types of driving
situations and conditions and must be cognizant of the consequences of their decisions
and actions when driving. It is because 15-year-olds typically lack these latter abilities
that they are denied driving privileges.
        In sum, the author's argument fails to take into consideration important
differences between older drivers and 15-year-olds that justify denying driving
privileges to the younger group while at the same time allowing older drivers to retain
their privileges by simply renewing their license.
89.          This advertisement for "How to Write a Screenplay..." concludes that a writer is
more likely to be successful by writing original screenplays than by writing books. The
ad's reasoning is based on two claims: (1) the average film tends to be more profitable
than even best-selling books, and (2) film producers are more likely to make movies
based on original screenplays than on books because in recent years the films that have
sold the most tickets have usually been based on original screenplays. I find the ad
unconvincing, on three grounds.
        First, the mere fact that ticket sales in recent years for screenplay-based movies
have exceeded those for book-based movies is insufficient evidence to conclude that
writing screenplays now provides greater financial opportunity for writers. Ticket-sale
statistics from only a few recent years are not necessarily a good indicator of future
trends. It is possible that fees paid by movie studios for screenplays might decrease in
the future relative to those for book rights. Moreover. the argument is based on number
of ticket sales, not on movie-studio profits or writer's Sees. It is possible that studio
profits and writer fees have actually been greater recently for book-based movies than
for those based on original screenplays.
        Another problem with the ad is that it assumes a writer must make an either-or
choice from the outset between writing books and writing screenplays. The argument
fails to rule out the possibility that a writer engage in both types of writing as well as
other types. In fact. a writer may be more successful by doing so. Writing in various
genres might improve one's effectiveness in each of them. Also, writing a book may be
an effective first step to producing a screenplay. In any event, the ad provides no
justification for the mutually exclusive choice it imposes on the writer.
        A third problem with the ad is its ambiguous use of the word "successful." The
argument simply equates success with movie ticket sales. However, many writers may
define writing success in other terms, such as intellectual or artistic fulfillment. The ad's
advice that writing screenplays is the best way to achieve writing success ignores other
definitions of success.
        In conclusion, this quick pitch for a book is based on simplistic assumptions about
ticket sales and writer fees, and on an overly narrow definition of success in writing. To
better evaluate this argument, at the very least we would need to know the number of
years the cited statistic was based on, and the extent to which ticket sales reflect movie
studio profits and writer fees.





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