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February 16, 2005

Modes of Writing – Non Fiction Prose


According to Stephen Parker, the range of arguments is as follows:
Tentative – Consultative – Affirmative – Evangelical

1.Tentative: A reduction of the forcefulness of the argument. ‘This would lead us to believe…’, ‘Probably nothing can be done, but we live in hope.’

2.Consultative: Confiding in the reader e.g. ‘Would this happen to you?’, ‘You probably know the feeling of …’

3.Affirmative: Indicated by positive statements and clear distinctions which make for clear-cut points e.g. ‘What happened was wrong and we intend to take the following steps to put it right.’

4.Evangelical: Indicated by extreme commitment to a point of view expressed in a strongly emotional or highly rhetorical terms e.g. ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar and not praise him.’

Argument = writing in which the writer seeks to persuade the reader via logical reasoning i.e. the writer may be partisan but not emotional.

Assertion = expressing a viewpoint with conviction in order to win the mind. The writer believes that the point of view expressed must be the one who will win. Tone may be aggressive or combative. E.g. ‘It must be’, ‘without doubt’. Rhetorical questions, repetition, declarative statements and an accumulation of concepts which create a particular mood or mental picture.


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