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Literature scholars publish their interpretations of different works of literature to enhance understanding and share new views, not necessarily to have one interpretation replace all others. Someone with an opinion asserts a claim that he thinks is true.There may be debates within any field of study, but those debates can be healthy and constructive if they mean even more scholars come together to explore the ideas involved in those debates. Someone with an argument asserts a claim that she thinks is true.
A related definition of argument implies a confrontation, a clash of opinions and personalities, or just a plain verbal fight.
It implies a winner and a loser, a right side and a wrong one.
Many longer essays are structured by the smaller arguments that are a part of and support the main argument.
Sometimes professors, when they say supporting points or supporting arguments, mean the reasons (premises) for the main claim (conclusion) you make in an essay.
An opinion is an assertion, but it is left to stand alone with little to no reasoning or support.
An argument is much stronger because it includes and demonstrates reasons and support for its claim.
For more on the thesis, see Chapter 4, “ Consider this as well: Most formal essays center upon one main claim (the thesis) but then support that main claim with supporting evidence and arguments.
The topic sentence of a body paragraph can be another type of argument, though a supporting one, and, hence, a narrower one.
In other words, facts are “good,” and opinions are “bad,” or if not exactly bad, then fuzzy and thus easy to reject.
However, remember the important distinction between an argument and an opinion stated above: While argument may sound like an opinion, the two are not the same.