What it is

Argument is persuasion using the conventions of various forms, modes (visual, spoken, written and performative) and media.  It is made up of a series of observations developed to produce a position or a resolution of different views through the statement of a stance or thematic concerns supported by evidence. Argument can have a range of purposes including clarification of ideas, searching for truth, resolving disputes, defending a point of view or for entertainment.

Argument may recognise other perspectives which may be implied rather than stated, and will draw a conclusion.  Argument may vary in formality, need not be combative and may be built collaboratively in order to solve complex problems. 

Why it is important

Argument is the evidence of the development of logical thinking. Over the years, students move from the statement of personal likes and dislikes to the expression of a supported opinion and a reasoned consideration of other positions and finally to the formulation of a thesis in a sustained argument.

Argument is the basis for a great deal of writing done in English and is the form most highly valued in academic writing. It is used in many forms of communication and types of texts. These texts may include: reviews, poems, satire, essays, narratives, documentaries, posters, speeches, gestures, stand-up comedy, photojournalism and social media. Students practise and analyse argument in all modes and media as a way of developing their cognitive capacities.


Stage 6

Students appreciate the elegance of argument as a scholarly conversation conveying us from familiar knowledge to new perceptions.

They learn that

  • an argument acknowledges and synthesises a range of ideas and perspectives
  • arguments that rely on assumptions are not necessarily well-founded
  • arguments transform concrete details into abstractions
  • arguments, in different forms, modes and media, convince in different ways
  • the narrative may present arguments through its thematic concerns
  • components of argument build on and respond to one another in an act of creativity*
  • argument achieves unity through the interplay of logical development and aesthetic and rhetorical features*.

*Advanced and Extension courses


Stage 5

Students understand that the thrust and shape of argument is influenced by the contexts of composition and reception.
They learn that
• argument is the logical development of a supported thesis with the purpose of bringing audiences to a new intellectual or emotional understanding.
• rhetorical devices are chosen for their effect for particular audiences and purposes
• arguments, despite claims to objectivity, come from a particular perspective.

Stage 4

Students understand that argument is the deliberate staging of ideas and feelings, through spoken, visual and written language, in the development of a thesis to influence a response.
They learn that
• argument can be a projection of the individual voice in an individual style
• judicious choice of evidence and language develop the strength of an argument
• a thesis and supporting evidence of an argument provide the framework on which its conclusions are based.

Stage 3

Students understand that an argument takes into account audience, form and purpose.
They learn that
• arguments can be objectively or subjectively presented
• language choices (visual, spoken and written) can strengthen arguments
• an argument may provide an informed assessment of a range of opinions.

Stage 2

Students understand that opinions should be supported by information and ideas presented in a structured way.
They learn that
• opinions can be refined through negotiation with others.
• paragraphs contain a single idea
• paragraphs are made up of topic sentences and evidence
• certain language (eg. description, modality, aspects of images) carries a persuasive force.

Stage 1

Students understand that ideas, information and images need to be expressed in a clear and organised way.
They learn that
• certain phrases (eg I think that…I know that…) project opinion
• images can reinforce ideas
• arguments are expressed through different types of texts, modes and media.


Students have opinions about texts and issues.