Using Aristotle’s topics (or lines of reasoning), you can craft an argument more quickly than you could on your own.
- Use a compelling descriptive example.
- Suggest a possible application or illustration of a principle you hold or advocate.
- Set up or refer to a model for action or behavior that you wish to propose.
- Set up an ideal for action or a principle you wish to promote.
- Show that one event is the cause or effect of another.
- Show that an act or event will have favorable or unfavorable consequences.
- Show that one thing is the means and the other the end.
- Argue that waste would occur if some action already begun is abandoned or if some talent or presence is lost.
- Show the direction of any stage in a long process.
- Show the connection between persons and their actions or lack of connection between them.
- Use the authority of a person, based on his or her creditable actions or experience.
- Use a narrative example to support your focus.
- Use an analogy, showing how a relationship in one sphere that supports your focus resembles a relationship in another sphere.
- Classify someone in a group and show the implications of membership in that group.
- Use comparison or contrast to support your focus.
These techniques come from Four Worlds of Writing 2nd ed. by Janice M. Lauer, et al.