Your paper’s due date is rapidly approaching, and along with it, so is that desperate feeling in the pit of your stomach. You have done the research, you have a stack of printed material on your desk that you have read, but the paper is just not taking shape in your mind.
This is why you need a formula to follow. Think of a good paper-writing formula as a recipe. If you have the same ingredients and recipe as the chef at a great restaurant, you can cook the same dish and it will taste just as good at home as it does when you go out to eat.
Below is a formula I used for undergraduate English papers, argumentative essays in philosophy, history, and other subjects I can no longer remember.
I also used this same formula in law school on my legal briefs and my essay exams. And when I graduated from law school, I used it on ever single legal brief I wrote as a practicing attorney.
This formula sets up an argument form, acknowledges the other side’s main point, and then proceeds to show why your point is stronger.
Here it is:
First, you write, “Although _____” or “Even Though _____.” This is where you acknowledge the counter argument to your thesis, or main point. You don’t act as if another point of view doesn’t exist, you face it head on and give it a fair chance (before you blow it apart).
Second, you write, “Nevertheless _____” or “However ______.” This is your thesis statement and your argument. You have given the other side a fair hearing, now you present your argument and state a better way.
Third, you write, “Because _____.” This is where you prove your thesis statement and show why it is stronger than the counter argument. Assemble all the proof you can muster to blow down the other argument and build up your thesis.
Look for ways to use this formula no matter what type of paper you have been assigned. You will be surprised at how often a paper can be improved if you simply take a stand or a position and argue for a certain position.
In the next article, we will look for examples of ways this formula can be applied.