When reading an argument, audiences have certain expectations: they want to know that your claim expresses a plausible opinion or suggestion, and that you can give evidence to back it up. If you don’t fulfill these expectations, then readers are likely to think your argument is unsuccessful, or worse, ignore it all together.
Watch the following clip from Monty Python’s “Argument Clinic” sketch, in which a man pays to have an argument in an argument clinic. As you watch, consider:
"Argument Clinic." Cleese, John and Eric Idle. "Argument Clinic." Monty Python. YouTube. 14 Nov. 2008. Web. 2 Aug. 2012. Streamed from Monty Python's official YouTube channel.
This conversation is funny because even though these two are arguing, they’re not arguing about anything worthwhile—either “yes it is” or “no it isn’t.” One of them even points out why this is funny: “Look this isn’t an argument!” he says. “It’s just contradiction!” His point is that they aren’t arguing about anything worthwhile, making them both look quite silly. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to make a claim in a way that makes sure you don’t end up looking like someone from the “Argument Clinic.”
Video streamed from Monty Python's official YouTube account, www.youtube.com/user/MontyPython