River Recreation–>Analyze an Argument, GRE Style, Part II

5 May

1:45 PM

In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water and the river’s smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is therefore sure to increase. The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities.

Conclusion=The city should devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational activities.


A.  City residents rank water sports among their favorite activities.

I neglect to say that just b/c a sport is a favorite, doesn’t mean a person participates in that sport.

I also neglect to dispute the credibility of the survey–Who sponsored it?  How many people were asked?

B.  The state has resolved to clean up the river because of the citizens’ complaints that it is dirty.


A.  Residents will want to utilize local water for recreation as long as it is clean.

a.  The only reason people do not use the Mason River for water sports is the fact it is unsanitary.

I neglect to say that people with no interest in water sports may have complained about the smell of the river.

b.  There are no other variables such as weather, traffic, cost, or location detouring water recreation.

B.  The river, will in fact, get cleaned to the standards of city dwellers.

1:55 PM finished brainstorming (10 min)

On the argument portion, it’s better to write assumptions on scratch paper so I can easily refer to the list.  I’ll get more and break down the statement in a more meticulous way.

A few faulty assumptions contained in the statement makes this argument weak.  The author of the paragraph assumes a direct causal link to the Mason River’s purity and the likelihood of citizens to utilize it for recreation.  The author also neglects to anticipate other variables besides water quality that might preclude the use of the river for water recreation purposes.  Another major assumption in the statement is the certainty that the water will be cleaned in a certain time frame, and to the standards of the public.  In is not necessarily true that water sports will increase just because the river is cleaned.

After the first sentence, I need to write why we care if the argument is well reasoned–it impacts funding.

A major assumption in the paragraph is that the river is going to be cleaned.  In order to convince the reader that more money should be spent of water sports because the river will get cleaned, the author needs to provide hard evidence that this will happen.  Dates that the water purity will be bettered should be included.  The quantitative improvements to the water should also be stated to help convince the reader that the river will have higher quality water.

Use clear transitions between paragraphs, and build on my argument.

This paragraph leads us to believe the only reason Mason City residents do not pursue water sports in the Mason River is due to water purity issues.  By assuming a cause and effect relationship with water cleanliness and recreation the author has made a major flaw in logic.  The author needs to refute other factors that may cause residents to abstain from water sports in the Mason River such as weather patterns, traffic flow, availability of space near the river, and cost of pursuing water sports at Mason River compared to the average income of Mason City residents.

Use better ordering words for all paragraphs:  First, second, in addition, and so on. . .

Finally the author assumes that the river could support the type of water recreation that the citizens of Mason City covet.  In order to show the reader that the river will indeed become the source of much recreation after it is cleaned, the author should show in what ways the water can and will be used.  Examples of how boating is possible, where the best fishing on the river is located, and how the slow and gentle current enables great swimming should be provided to help convince people to spend more money on river recreation.

Because the author assumes some direct cause and effect relationships in this statement, the article is weak.  To strengthen the assertions in the paragraph, the author should provide facts that the water, will in fact be cleaned to the citizens’s standards during the time period in question.  If the writer could provide facts showing that the other variables would not negate increasing water recreation for Mason River the reader would be more likely to support the extra funds solicited.

Write reasons I think funding should be increased.  Flesh out the author’s conclusion and state why it will not be believed.

2:12 PM finished writing. (17 min)

2:14 PM finished editing (2 min)

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