Argumentative commentaries are a part of analytical writing styles, highly common in editorials, magazines, blogs, articles, essays, etc. It requires investigation, evidence generation and collection and analysis of the same to establish a position on the topic.
In colleges, students are expected to write commentaries without sometimes explaining what makes a good argument and what mistakes to avoid. If you are looking to perfect your commentary then you must know these mistakes to avoid.
1. Not Having A Thesis Statement
Most college students are taught how to make a thesis statement in their early semesters. Yet, it’s not taken very seriously and then students suffer later.
Pay attention to creating the right thesis statement as it provides the easiest way to formulate the idea upon which your essay will be based and also help you create a structure.
The thesis statement is the main idea of your writing. When your arguments fall in line with your main idea, automatically the essay has a flow of thought that the reader can follow.
2. Unstructured Essay
Once you have the main idea and what you wish to prove/examine through your essay, you need to have a structure. The structure is essential because students often don’t know which argument is more important and relevant and therefore should be addressed first.
The structure indicates clarity of thought and understanding of the topic which is the first step to writing anything well. Depending on your school or university, there might be an expected structure or you can create your own structure for the essay, either way, it should include the essential format which is:
Argument > Context/Reasoning > Evidence > Analysis > Confirmation of Argument
3. Average Research
Anyone can go on google and look up information on a topic. The real deal is understanding it. Your research should not just be random articles on the internet but structured to what you want to know or prove. To research better, make use of different forms of resources – books, articles, scholarly papers, interviews by experts, editorials, etc.
This will provide you with multiple perspectives and minimize your work. Half-hearted research shows in a person’s work and can make you lose marks.
4. Not Being Original
The biggest mistake is not having original work. Whether that is plagiarism or borrowing too much from others and not putting in your own thoughts.
Argumentative commentaries need you to present your opinion. Without this effort, the point is defeated. Introduce original arguments or something you noticed from your secondary literature reading. Then, find evidence or statistics to support your arguments. This highlights genuineness.
In case you really can’t think of ways to present your thoughts in an original manner, make use of essay writing services that can provide a writer or original discount essay just for your needs. This way, at least you will not lose marks on plagiarism.
5. Forgetting Rebuttal / Counter Arguments
The word ‘argumentative’ implies there is another side to a certain topic. Students while writing fixate on only their arguments and don’t acknowledge the logic that might be present on the other side. Such commentaries are not a debate that you need to win. The aim is to present multiple sides and then take a stand.
Don’t avoid addressing counter-arguments or any possible rebuttals you can think of to your arguments. Explain why they might be irrelevant or why they may not be logically compared to your argument. Engagement is the key to a good argumentative commentary.
The reader should be left with a ‘hmmm, interesting…’ when they read your paper.
6. Incorrect Citations
Citations can seem tedious. However, credit must be given where it’s due. Citations give credibility to your work since they prove there are no assumptions in your arguments and rather, actual facts. This also saves you from plagiarism and copyright license issues. Therefore, cite all your sources.
Follow a standard format, whether that is MLA, bluebook, OSCOLA, or any other.
7. Complicated language
Students tend to write flowery language or complex writing, as it may seem more prestigious. However, the idea is not to make the language complicated but pleasant and clear. Try not to string long sentences together. Don’t glorify a concept or argument when it’s not required.
Instead, use good vocabulary and the right terminology. To deal with the fear that your paper might seem average, try to find alternatives to the regular words you’ve used. A thesaurus can go a long way. Another good writing tip is using conjunctions. Don’t blindly write sentence after sentence. Connect them using the bridgers to make your paper more cohesive.
8. Not Using Illustrations And Examples
A lot of times you might have an idea or an explanation for your argument but no statistic or fact to back it up. In those cases and in general make use of illustrations and examples. Create the right example and explain it in your paper to supplement an argument.
Don’t just make speculations and leave your arguments there. Use your imagination just as much as your opinion and facts.
9. Introducing New Ideas In Conclusion
One of the most common mistakes students make is introducing new concepts or arguments in their conclusion. The purpose of the conclusion is to wrap up what you already said in the main body of your paper and not use it as another paragraph to discuss your ideas.
Don’t just copy-paste sentences from your main paragraphs in your conclusion. Whatever position you reached after discussing each argument is what you need to frame in your conclusion. Don’t make your conclusion too long. Keep it concise. It should connect the paper to your main idea.
10. Not Proofreading
In writing, drafting, then redrafting is a constant process. After you’ve finished writing your paper, make sure to go through all of it and edit whatever requires changing. Proofreading is a crucial part of writing well. It can help you realize what you could have done better before you actually submit your paper.
Go through it as many times as you can and then when you start to get some sense out of your work, do the finishing touches and voila!
Analytical writing skills improve gradually. The more you practice critical thinking and writing the better you’ll get at it. Feel free to take help from your peers or professors or writing centers available at your school and have fun while doing your commentary.
Go through your old drafts regularly to see what you did and could have done better and you’ll be great at writing argumentative commentaries in no time.