4 Types of Central Claims | Writing

October 19, 2015 thetasctest

4 Types of Central Claims | Writing

In persuasive and argumentative writing, like in the essay section of the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™, you must begin with a debatable claim. In other words, your central claim must have an opposing viewpoint. If you’re claiming something that is “generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people,” according to Purdue’s Online Writing Lab.

Developing a strong central claim is an important skill to learn for the TASC Writing subtest. But before you begin developing your main claim, you need to understand what type of claim is right for your argument.

Review the types of central claims and their examples below. Understanding the four different types will allow you to develop a central claim in a debatable, specific way.

  1. Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that an event, person, or thing caused something to occur.

Example: The popularity of Toyota® Prius’ in America has caused pollution to decrease.

We know that car emissions pollute the air, but one could debate whether or not the increased use of an eco-friendly vehicle, such as the Toyota Prius, has caused the rate of car pollution to decrease.

  1. Claims about value: These claims argue the worth of something.

Example: The UFC® (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is a degrading sport.

Claims of value challenge the significance of something in a negative or positive way. One could counter this claim by highlighting the extensive martial arts and boxing-based training UFC fighters undergo, therefore validating the UFC’s athletic worth.

  1. Claims of fact or definition. These claims argue the definition of something or dispute something as fact.

Example: Nicotine is not an addictive drug.

This claim is disputing scientific fact in nicotine’s addictiveness. An opposing viewpoint would highlight that tobacco kills more people than all other addictions combined, according to the American Journal of Public Health, and is responsible for more than one in four cigarette smokers dying prematurely due to their addiction.

  1. Claims about policies. These claims argue for or against an established policy.

Example: Private ownership of automatic and semi-automatic guns should be banned in America.

Since U.S. citizens are granted the right to bear arms through the second amendment, one could counter this argument by providing specific examples of gun owners saving lives through self-defense or stopping an armed shooter from attacking. 

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