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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Elements of an argument


This is the language used when critically analysing a text.

Argument: A key message that a writer wants to convey to the readers. The writer will use language, sentence structure and evidence to try to persuade you to a particular point of view.

Claims: The key points of the argument.

Contention: Point of view or opinion, usually supported by the claims.

Assumption: Information the writer believes the readers will already know. Assumptions are embedded in the arguments. They are seldom explicit and therefore can be difficult to identify.

Evidence: Supports the claims and arguments and can include support for the claim, such as examples, statistics, quotes etc. In academic writing, evidence used from other sources must be referenced.