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The Writer's Argument

Second Edition

Kurt Schick and Laura Schubert

Publication Date - November 2016

ISBN: 9780190297404

320 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $24.95

A brief guide that provides students with the tools needed to write compelling arguments


So What? The Writer's Argument, Second Edition, teaches students how to write compelling arguments and explains why practicing argumentation is essential to learning and communicating with others. Practical exercises throughout each chapter reinforce this broader academic aim by focusing on the key issue of significance--helping writers answer the "So What?" question for themselves and their audiences. By showing students how their writing fits within the broader context of academic inquiry, So What?, Second Edition, encourages them to emulate and adapt the authentic academic styles, foundational organizing structures, and helpful rhetorical moves to their college classes and beyond.

New to this Edition

  • Simplified terminology and expanded explanations of rhetoric and argumentation elements
  • Additional examples and exercises to further illustrate concepts
  • Annotated readings and sample rhetorical analyses with peer-review commentary
  • Original illustrations to aid in visualizing key concepts


  • Chapter Checklists forecast key concepts for each chapter
  • "Consider This" activities embedded in each chapter provide opportunities for students to reflect on issues of content, style, and overall craft
  • "Try This" exercises allow students to practice or investigate what they learn immediately via short exercises
  • "What's Next" features conclude each chapter with activities and assignments that help students apply what they've learned to other classes and beyond school
  • Appendices at the end of the book provide quick guides for peer review and collaboration

About the Author(s)

Kurt Schick is Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication at James Madison University.

Laura Schubert is Instructor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication at James Madison University. She is also a faculty member in James Madison University's Writing Center.

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2013


"As I was reviewing this text, I kept imaging how well the "Consider This," "Try This," and "What's Next" exercises would work. They are relevant and practical. Many composition texts suggest exercises, but more often than not these suggestions are tantamount to college-level busy work. So What?'s exercises are ready-made for the college composition course." --Eloise A. Whisenhunt, Young Harris College

"The accessible and fun style is compelling, as are the overall structure and range of topics that initiate students into academic culture." --Greg Winston, Husson University

"The book's versatility is important. This is a text that Biology, Business, and English majors alike can not only can learn from but apply in their studies and in their everyday lives." --Tyler Fleming, University of Louisville

"I mistakenly thought that this text would be just like They Say I Say, but I was wrong. This text is more engaging, more provocative, and more comprehensive." --Kristi Costello, Arkansas State University

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1 - What's the Purpose of Scholarly Writing
    Chapter 2 - How Do Scholars Read and Write
    Chapter 3 - How Do We Select and Use Sources Responsibly
    Chapter 4 - How Do Arguments Work
    Chapter 5 - How Do We Analyze Arguments
    Chapter 6 - How Do We Support Arguments
    Chapter 7 - How Can We Create a Compelling Thesis
    Chapter 8 - How Do We Organize and Develop Arguments
    Chapter 9 - How Can We Find Faults and Gaps in Arguments
    Chapter 10 - What about Style
    Appendix A - How to Benefit from Peer Review and Collaboration
    Appendix B - Templates for Organizing Arguments

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