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4.10: Common Assessment Phrases

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    Here are the common phrases discussed in Chapter 4 for writing an assessment of the quality of an argument. Each heading links to the relevant section of the text.


    Lack of clarity

    • What exactly does X mean by _____________?  
    • He seems to imply that _____________, but leaves ambiguous whether or not that means_____________.
    • They fail to clarify what exactly _____________ refers to.
    • He does not define what he means by _____________.
    • She explores _____________, but fails to articulate a clear message.
    • X leaves open the question of _____________.
    • The argument never specifies whether _____________ or _____________.
    • Readers will wonder if they mean_____________ or _____________.
    • Readers may be confused by the shifting meaning of the term “_____________.”
    • Many will interpret _____________ to mean _____________, but some might also take it to mean _____________. 

    Praise for clarity

    • This piece clearly articulates the case that _____________.
    • The argument lays bare the assumptions on which the whole case for _____________ is based. 
    • X has clarified the reasoning that underpins the common opinion that _____________.


    • The argument is based on the idea that _____________, but this is not entirely true because _____________.
    • The reason given is that _____________, but the author has not considered the possibility that, in fact, _____________.
    • The author does not acknowledge that  _____________ might be the case.
    • The argument presents only two possibilities,_____________ and _____________, when in fact it could be the case that _____________
    • The question _____________ assumes that _____________, when, in fact, it could be that_____________.



    • She convincingly supports this claim by _____________.
    • They give many examples of _____________ to support the idea that _____________.
    • His evidence of _____________ ranges from anecdotes to large-scale academic studies to expert testimonials.
    • X refers to credible academic studies of _____________ to bolster their argument that _____________.
    • X refers to a number of credible experts to establish that, in general, _____________.


    • X asserts that _____________ but does not offer any evidence.
    • The argument builds on the premise that _____________, but fails to support that premise.
    • X offers scant evidence for the claim that _____________.
    • The argument gives an example to support the claim that _____________, but gives no evidence that this example is typical.
    • _____________ is not enough to show that _____________.
    • The essay offers only _____________ as evidence when it should also point to _____________ and _____________.
    • The argument presents _____________ as a reason to believe _____________, but this supposed reason is just a rewording of the claim.
    • The writer provides no real justification for the idea that _____________; to convince us they just repeat that idea with different phrasing.



    • The argument claims that _____________ will inevitably lead to _____________, but this is far from certain.  
    • They assume that _____________ will set off a chain reaction leading to _____________; however this is unlikely because _____________.
    • _____________relies on the idea that _____________; however, _____________.
    • The argument assumes that _____________ without providing evidence.
    • _____________takes for granted that _____________, but we may wonder whether this is a justified assumption because_____________.
    • _____________depends on the assumption that_____________. Is this always the case? Some might say that _____________.
    • _____________ depends on a belief in _____________, which may not be shared by all readers because _____________.
    • The underlying idea here is that _____________; however we must ask ourselves whether _____________.
    • The implicit assumption is that _____________ but some may question whether, in fact, _____________.


    • X is correct in their assumption that _____________ because _____________.
    • X rightly assumes that _____________. 



    • The author effectively counters the common view that  _____________ by arguing that, in fact, _____________.
    • The writer acknowledges that  _____________ but explains that this is because  _____________. 
    • The argument responds to the  _____________ critique of their position by noting that  _____________.


    • The argument fails to mention the opposing view that  _____________.
    • The author attempts to respond to critics by claiming that  _____________, but this response is not convincing because  _____________.


    Praise a subsection 

    • Although the argument does not succeed in proving that _____________, it does help us understand _____________.
    • Though the evidence X presents does not prove _____________, it does provide rich material for further discussion.
    • X’s conclusion that _____________ doesn’t seem fully justified, but the evidence does show that _____________.
    • X makes an important point when they note that _____________.
    • X’s insight into _____________ sheds new light on _____________.
    • X clearly outlines the problem of _____________, even though their solution leaves much to be desired.
    • This piece does clarify the nature of _____________ even though it does not _____________.

    Praise for bringing attention

    • X brings much-needed attention to the issue of _____________, which is helpful because_____________.
    • The essay drives home the need for more focus on _____________.
    • This piece highlights the urgent situation of _____________.

    Praise the framing 

    • X’s discussion of _____________ provides a new way to think about _____________.
    • The argument’s biggest contribution lies in its framing of _____________ as _____________.

    Praise for raising a question

    • X’s focus on _____________ helps clarify an important question for further exploration: _____________?
    • The argument points toward the need for further study of _____________ to determine _____________.
    • X’s analysis reveals the gaps in our understanding of _____________.


    This page titled 4.10: Common Assessment Phrases 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) .