9487 ACADEMIC ENGLISH
TUTORIAL WEEK 3: ARGUMENTS, REASONS AND CONCLUSIONS
Activity 1: Identifying arguments and conclusions
For each of the following passages, decide whether it is an argument; and if it is, say what the conclusion is:
1. Studies have shown that children who are good at spelling usually have a good visual memory. Poor spellers have not learnt to look at words carefully. Practice in reading however does not necessarily help poor spellers. (not an argument)
2. Some social historians have claimed that the 1914-18 war enhanced the status of women in Britain, because they were able to leave demeaning jobs in domestic service to work in munitions factories, thus gaining independence and a sense of self-worth. However, the work in these factories was unskilled, repetitive and dangerous—not at all the environment to encourage self-belief. Furthermore, after the war, women workers were told to give up their jobs to returning soldiers. Many simply returned to domestic service. The reality was thus quite different from what some social historians claim. (argument therefore, in conclusion, suggest)
3. In the Victorian era, cannabis was used to treat all kinds of conditions, such as muscle spasms, menstrual cramps and rheumatism. Now its use even for medicinal purposes, is illegal. This despite the fact that it has been found to be helpful in relieving the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. (not an argument)
No conclusion = no argument
Activity 2: Identifying reasons
This activity gives you practice in assessing what could count as a reason for a given “conclusion”. For each of the following, pick the option that could be a reason for the conclusion, and explain why this is the right answer, and why the other options are wrong. Note that you are not to worry about whether the reason is true. You must just consider whether, if it were true, it would support the conclusion.
1. Conclusion: When choosing someone for a job, employers should base their decision on the applicants’ personalities, rather than on their skills.
(a) Personalities may change over time, and skills go out of date.
(b) Skills can easily be taught, but personalities are difficult to change.
(c) Some skills cannot be acquired by everyone, but everyone can develop a good personality.
2. Conclusion: In order to reduce crime, we should not use imprisonment as a punishment for young offenders....