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3.5: Describing How the Author Limits the Claim

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    In the course of describing the author’s claims, reasons, and counterarguments, chances are we will already have mentioned some limits or clarified which kinds of cases an author is referring to. It is worth checking, however, to make sure we haven’t left out any key limitations the author has identified.

    A hand holds an empty frame focusing our eyes on a particular part of a bluff and ocean view.
    An argument may focus on particular cases and exclude others, as a frame can direct our attention to one part of a view.
    Photo by pine watt on Unsplash under the Unsplash License.

    Phrases to Describe the Way a Writer Limits an Argument

    • He qualifies his position by_____________.
    • She limits her claim by_____________.
    • They clarify that this only holds if _____________.
    • The author restricts their claim to cases where_____________.
    • He makes an exception for_____________.

    In the case of the border argument, the writer responds to the counterargument about security by clarifying that she does not advocate completely open borders. The sample summary already refers to this when it describes her desire to “regulate” those borders. In addition, when the summary paraphrases her claims and reasons, it uses the phrases “desperate” and “in a desperate position” to show how she limits the focus to migrants who are fleeing an awful situation.

    Practice Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Below are some sample claims that mention limits. Choose one of the phrases above or create another one with a similar purpose to help you summarize each claim and limit. 

    1. Students should embrace coffee to enhance mental functioning unless they are in the minority of people who experience severe side effects of coffee like anxiety, insomnia, tremors, acid reflux, or a compulsion to drink more and more.

    2. Students shouldn’t hesitate to enjoy coffee as long as they keep exercising and sleeping well enough to maintain their mental and physical health.

    3. In moderation, coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

    This page titled 3.5: Describing How the Author Limits the Claim is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Anna Mills (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .