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Analysing Argument/ Language Analysis Hand-out

Before attempting the question:

1. Read the background information

2. Read the article and highlight/underline key points
3. Identify the authors main contention
4. Identify the authors supporting arguments
5. Identify persuasive techniques used and annotate them


You will need to provide four things in the introduction:

1. Background information: the authors (one or multiple) name, occupation/position,

text-type (newspaper article, transcript, official report, newsletter etc.), where it is
published and its target audience, where applicable.
2. Context: what has recently happened? What prompted the writing of this piece?
3. The main contention(s), i.e. what the author wants to achieve with this piece.
Although sometimes you may find a sentence or two in the article that sums up the
authors contention very clearly, on other occasions it can be more difficult to identify.
Should this happen you will need to make an inference and summarise their
contention in your own words simple and straightforward language is best.
4. Tone: The tone of almost all articles can be classified as aggressive, passionate or

This is a transcript of a speech given by Mrs Elliot, a retired teacher-librarian, at a literacy

forum titled Reading: The future. She addresses the rise in popularity of e-books and how
they are gradually replacing paper books. In a passionate tone, she notes that while e-books
have several advantages when compared to paper books, they also have their shortcomings,
and therefore it is important that we protect both mediums.

Common Techniques:

Can you identify and explain them?

Addressing the opposition Statistics

Appeal to parental concerns Rhetorical questions
Appeal to authenticity Inclusive language
Appeal to fear Emotive language
Financial common sense Anecdotes
Justice and fairness Humour
Body Paragraphs:

Writing a body paragraph for this section is somewhat similar to what you have done for the
text response you should follow a TEE format, and the L is optional. Have a look at this

Topic Sentence Mrs Elliot challenges the appropriateness of using e-books to educate
children by questioning their authenticity.
Elaboration She suggests that reading traditional books leads to genuine learning
because they stimulate the learners imagination, something e-books are
not capable of doing.
Technique 1 To strengthen her point, she uses emotive language to emphasise the
artificiality of experiences presented to children on a tablet device.
Quote She claims that watching computer-generated dinosaurs is not an
exciting activity; rather, it is disturbing to her.
Effect The use of words with negative connotations implies that this learning
activity is fake and something readers should be wary of. She thus
exploits their feelings to cast e-books in a bad light.
Technique 2 Mrs Elliot also uses a simile to convince readers that e-reading is inferior
to reading paper books.
Quote She compares e-books to takeaway meals that are delivered though an
internet connection. Children are passive consumers who do not know
any better.
Effect Takeaway food is commonly thought of as cheap, fast and of poor quality
relative to home-cooked food. Readers making this connection will infer
that e-books are an inferior product, and traditional books superior.
Technique 3 By raising a warning over the damage that exposure to screens can do
to a childrens eyesight, Mrs Eliot further appeals to parental concerns.
Quote She notes that it will be unhealthy for kids to spend hours and hours on
their e-books at school, especially when they already stare at the
computer screen for a considerable amount of time at home.
Effect Responsible parents are thus positioned to view e-books as detrimental to
their childrens health, thus making them more likely to support the
retention of paper books.