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An Argument for Valentine's Day
A Sample with Explanations of Function & Purpose



Function / Purpose













The first sentence is a "hook" to catch the reader's attention/interest and lure him/her into reading the rest.

The middle section of the first paragraph explains the topic, giving history, context, etc…, but NOT explicitly stating the writer's own opinion. Giving your opinion too early in an argument is like jumping up and down with excitement in a game of poker when you've been dealt a wonderful hand.

Clearly distinguish your own opinion from a different view.

In the 1960s, the singers "Sonny and Cher" had a

popular song, "I've Got You, Babe," whose main

message was that money wasn't as important as

love. Several years later, after Sonny and Cher had

become very famous, had a T.V. show and all that,

they split up. Musicians are always singing about

love as if it were absolutely the most important thing

in the world. But there are other people who act like

money is the only thing that matters; sometimes they

sacrifice friendship and romance in their quest for it.

Even though some people say that money is more

important than love, I believe the opposite is true.
















 Introduce one legitimate reason which could be given in support of the other opinion, explain this reasoning and then proceed to disprove it with examples, evidence and logic. The goal of this paragraph is to sow doubt in the reader's mind concerning the view which is different from yours. Rhetorically, this leaves the reader in a state of open-mindedness regarding what he/she is about to encounter--your argument for your thesis.






The main reason people often give to support their

opinion that money is more important than love is

because the basic necessities of life--food and shelter,

for example--carry a real cost. Love won't do you much

good at the supermarket counter when you need

potatoes, rice, vegetables and fruit. If you send a little

love note instead of your check for rent one month, you

will see it doesn't do any good. But why do we eat and

why do we care about having a roof over our heads? Think

about sitting at the kitchen table eating alone, just looking

at the walls or, if you're lucky, out the window. Is that

really living? Aren't human beings created to share

something together, learn from each other, communicate

and express their feelings? Money means nothing without


First Proof

 In this paragraph, you present the first reason in support of your view, and proceed to explain, justify and prove the validity of that reason, using examples, evidence and logic.

The first reason why I believe love trumps money is that

love will get you through times of no money better than

money will get you through times of no love. Imagine a

situation in which you and another person are deeply

in love. One of you or both of you lose your jobs, a few

months go by and soon your savings are gone. But every

day, you greet each other with expressions of your love.

As the amount of food in the refrigerator decreases, your

love for each other grows. It feeds you, spiritually and

physically. When you make yourself a cup of coffee or

tea, you naturally make another for the person you love.

You encourage each other every moment of every day,

and because of this mutual support you are able to

survive until the next paycheck comes.

Second Proof

 In this paragraph, you want to present the strongest reason in favor of your opinion, and support that reason with examples, evidence and logic.

The second reason why love is more important than

money is that love can sustain and heal the human spirit.

Imagine a very, very rich person who is slowly dying

of some disease. Can a busy doctor heal him or her?

Not completely. It always requires some form of love, too.

Nurses often supply this crucial ingredient of basic human

love when they gently speak to the patient, clean him or

her, administer medicine and simply show they care. Family

members also are very important in the healing process for

someone who is recovering from, for example, cancer. Love

is the best medicine in the world. It gives everyone a reason

to live, a reason to work, a reason to keep going.


This is the enthusiastic conclusion. Many writers lose their readers because they give such strongly opinionated ideas too early in their compositions. The place for this confident expression of your values and beliefs is here at the end, after you have demonstrated in a fair argument the superiority of your own view. This final paragraph is the place to make proposals and recommend actions to the reader, who at this point is inclined to follow your suggestions.

Without love, there is nothing. We need to remember this

as we go through our lives. We should never take love

for granted. We should always nurture the feeling, so that

it grows forever. Maybe this means smiling a little more

often, or offering a helping hand when we see a need. Maybe

we ought to get more involved in our communities, working

together with fellow human beings to improve the environment,

our schools and the overall quality of life for everyone. If we

look at the world through eyes of love, then our actions will

be less selfish and the results will be more satisfying. Money

is part of life, but love has the power to change our lives.

This essay was written to illustrate the functions of different parts of a short argument essay. The parts and functions are derived from the 8-part "Classical Essay Form," based on Aristotilean logic, as taught by Prof. Peter Casagrande, of the University of Kansas. Instruction in the use of this form, it is argued, will engage students--including ESL learners--in a challenging and satisfying intellectual activity which at the same time gives the teacher a feedback channel for improving vocabulary, syntax and discourse-level awareness. "Love and Money" is an original essay by Robb Scott.