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How to develop an engulf and devour argument?

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Constructing an Engulf and Devour Argument

 

 

First you must Engulf, or grant the opponent’s argument, clearly showing how it outweighs your own argument.  Another approach is to show how your opponent’s argument is weak in comparison to your argument. 

 

 

Example: 

Opponent’s argument:  The legal drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18 in the United States, because teens are still getting a hold of alcohol and it can lead to binge drinking. 

I engulf by saying:  In the United States, you are considered to be an adult when you turn 18.  You can legally vote, work, live on your own and do any number of things.  It stands to reason that an adult should be allowed to legally consume alcohol. 

(Please note that in the above engulf example, I offer supporting facts for my opponent’s argument.)

I can also engulf by saying:  Lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 will create more opportunities for younger teens to obtain alcohol.  Some seniors in high school turn 18 long before graduation.  If it were legal for those 18-year-old high schoolers to purchase alcohol, the younger students may have access to it too.  

(Please note that this engulf example supports my argument, but it’s not the strongest argument either.  Readers may go in either direction here, because my argument may or may not be true.)

Next, you must Devour your opponent’s argument.  Here, you’ll show that your opponent’s argument also feeds your own argument, making it stronger.  This is how an engulf and devour argument can really be effective in changing a reader’s mind who was previously on the side of your opponent. 

Example

The frontal lobes are a crucial part of the brain.  They are not fully developed or connected until a person is in their mid-20s.  This portion of the brain is responsible for sound decision-making.  An 18-year-old person does have frontal lobes and they can use them, however, accessing this part of their brain will be slower than someone with fully developed frontal lobes.  This undeveloped part of the brain is also responsible for how an individual views others and it’s often not until it’s fully developed that individuals have the ability to see how their actions affect others.  That being said, lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 would be a big mistake, because kids simply are not developed enough to understand the consequences or exude the self-control necessary to take on the responsibility of drinking alcohol.  In fact, a better argument would be that we need to raise the legal drinking limit to 25, when the frontal lobes are thought to be fully developed.

Putting it all together (the full argument):

In the United States, you are considered to be an adult when you turn 18.  You can legally vote, work, live on your own and do any number of things.  It stands to reason that an adult should be allowed to legally consume alcohol. 

The frontal lobes are a crucial part of the brain.  They are not fully developed or connected until a person is in their mid-20s.  This portion of the brain is responsible for sound decision-making.  An 18-year-old person does have frontal lobes and they can use them, however, accessing this part of their brain will be slower than someone with fully developed frontal lobes.  This undeveloped part of the brain is also responsible for how an individual views others and it’s often not until it’s fully developed that individuals have the ability to see how their actions affect others.  That being said, lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 would be a big mistake, because kids simply are not developed enough to understand the consequences or exude the self-control necessary to take on the responsibility of drinking alcohol.  In fact, a better argument would be that we need to raise the legal drinking limit to 25, when the frontal lobes are thought to be fully developed.

Information provided by Beth Lytle (Visit Transcription Connection at http://www.transcription-connection.com)

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