16. Name five good subjects for an argument in which you would draw chiefly from your personal experience.
17. Name five subjects in which you would get the material from reading.
18. Name five subjects which would combine your own experience with reading.
19. Find how many words to the page you write on the paper you would use for a written argument. Count the number of words in a page of this book; in the column of the editorial page of a newspaper.
PLANNING THE ARGUMENT
10. Preparations for the Argument. When you have chosen the subject for your argument there is still much to do before you are ready to write it out. In the first place, you must find out by search and reading what is to be said both for and against the view you are supporting; in the second place, with the facts in mind you must analyze both them and the question to see just what is the point that you are arguing; then, in the third place, you must arrange the material you are going to use so that it will be most effective for your purpose. Each of these steps I shall consider in turn in this chapter.
As a practical convenience, each student should start a notebook, in which he can keep together all the notes he makes in the course of his preparations for writing the argument. Number the pages of the notebook, and leave the first two pages blank for a table of contents. A box of cards, such as will be described on page 31, will serve as well as a notebook, and in some ways is more convenient. From time to time, in the course of the chapter I shall mention points that should be entered.
For the sake of convenience in exposition I shall use as an example the preparations for an argument in favor of introducing the commission form of government into an imaginary city, Wytown; and each of the directions for the use of the notebook I shall illustrate by entries appropriate to this argument. The argument, let us suppose, is addressed to the citizens of the place, who know the general facts relating to the city and its government. In creating this imaginary city, let us give it about eight thousand inhabitants, and suppose that it is of small area, and that the inhabitants are chiefly operatives in a number of large shoe factories, of American descent, though foreign-born citizens and their offspring are beginning to gain on the others. And further, let us suppose that this imaginary city of Wytown now has a city government with a mayor of limited powers, a small board of aldermen, and a larger city council. The other necessary facts will appear in the introduction to the brief.
11. Reading for the Argument. The first step in preparing for an argument is to find out what has been already written on the general subject, and what facts are available for your purpose. For this purpose you must go to the best library that is within convenient reach. Just how to look for material there I shall discuss a few pages further on; here I shall make some more general suggestions about reading and taking notes.