Following an Argument

This handy will tackle you through the nuts and crannies of following an argument.

(c) Copyright Jake Popple


Following an argument is a key skill in reading non-fiction texts. It requires you to pick out the main points of any piece of writing and summarise them.

The best way to revise this skill is to well just practise many times!

So, a typical question might be:

Read the article and summarise the main points of the writer's argument.

After reading, see if you can identify the sections of the text which outline Julie Miles' argument.

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An example of an argument......

For once we must blame the parents

"Teacher Julie Miles analyses why so many youngsters are injured on our roads and explains that schools are not to blame. Whatever happens, schools are usually the scapegoat. After all, they are in charge of the country's young people, aren't they? They should do better at everything, shouldn't they?"

"Well, yes, we all want to do better. Yet when it comes to poor road safety, we need to look elsewhere for those responsible. Schools do all they can to teach pupils how to behave and how to avoid accidents: but it's parents who set the example, parents who are on the streets with the children and parents who need to take a long hard look at their performance."

"Recent research carried out by Daphne Evans at the University of Wales received a great deal of coverage in the press. Or, rather, part of it did. News programmes told the country she had found that road safety lessons in schools need to be changed. Classroom talks, we learnt, need to be replaced by drama exercises that reflect real-time situations. SHort plays will teach the children more."

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The outcome of the argument

Quote: 'Schools are usually the scapegoat'.

Argument: Schools are too often blamed for any problems with young people.

Quote: 'When it comes to poor road safety we need to look elsewhere'.

Argument: But in the case of road safety schools cannot do everything.

Quote: 'It's parents who set the example'

Argument: Parents have a more significant role than do schools.

Quote: '(Parents) need to take a long hard look at their performance'.

Argument: Parents are not doing enough or taking enough responsibility.

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