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Discursive essay: How to write a well-developed Body Paragraph ?

Persuasion is a coveted skill, but it is an art we can hone and develop. In one of two writing workshops in May, we covered persuasive writing specifically in the Discursive Essay. This type of essay requires one to discuss both sides of the issue, highlighting points ‘for’ and ‘against’. With COVID-19 dominating our talk and thoughts in recent months, our students had a stab at discussing the topic: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought more harm than good. What are your views?”

While so much can be said, a winning argument is marked by coherence (clarity and logic that holds the paragraph together) and well-chosen supporting evidence. Examine the paragraph below. It follows the PEEL structure that most of you are familiar with. One of my secondary one students had acted on feedback to give more specific examples, and I am happy to share it with you and show how this makes for a more convincing argument.



Discursive essay

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in the human spirit. Mankind is still staying strong and fighting with the help of one another. With this spirit present, it would further encourage others to not give up during tough times. Seeing how humans have been working together hand-in-hand to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus is truly heart-warming. We have placed all our differences aside, and are willing to help one another to get past this tough time. For example, different countries have been donating and sending over medical supplies to the countries that are desperately in need of them. China has donated 600,000 face masks to Singapore, in hopes that the added supply can tide us through this tough period more easily. Many companies have also taken the initiative to freely donate medical supplies, with Pomelo Fashion being one of them. The #PomeloCares initiative has supported frontliners by producing 35,000 masks that were donated to Thammas at University Hospital and The Thai Red Cross Society. Even by sitting at home, Singaporeans continue to help one another through the SGPaySitForward initiative. Many are voluntarily paying for a healthcare box which will be sent over to the homes of the less fortunate in Singapore. This shows how people all over the world are stepping out to help. Everyone is playing a part to overcome COVID-19, spurring one another on, giving them hope that not all is lost.

By Serena Jiang



Annotations

Point (Against) is succinct is capturing the good that COVID-19 is rousing in humanity.

Elaboration expands on how the best in the human spirit has been brought out in different ways.

A variety of well-chosen Examples are raised to show the range of assistance:

  1. China-Singapore aid
  2. Singapore-Thailand aid
  3. Singapore’s community-based relief

All of this supports the Point about the human value of generosity. (coherence)

Link summarises the paragraph by reiterating (not repeating) the Point about the strong and compassionate human spirit.

This is an ideal paragraph that may be challenging to reproduce for some of you, but it is not impossible if you seize the opportunities during your writing assignments to apply strong and meaningful evidence/examples. Don’t just aim to discuss; aim to persuade. Make your arguments count.

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