LEARNING THROUGH MNEMONICS – WRITING AN ARGUMENTATIVE OR DISCURSIVE ESSAY

I taught a group of students mainly from UAE at one summer camp in the UK and Miss Rana, an excellent student, messaged sometime later on saying:

“I’d like to tell you that RACPERSEE has taken me a long way in AP English and I owe it all to you!

How sweet, dear folks! All this was in appreciation of a simple trick in a mnemonic: RACPPERSEE. I had applied it during that month-long stay with the group and it did change their writing style. It opened her, like the hundreds of students whom I have taught, to a new and innovative way of approaching her essay writing.

What is in RACPPERSEE?

This mnemonic works well with Discursive, or Argumentative (Persuasive) compositions. This is a transferable mnemonic which when correctly mastered opens doors to a whole lot of other skills in composition and essay writing.

– R –

REPETITION: Repetition is also often used in speech, as a rhetorical device to bring attention to an idea, eg:

  • The team captain reiterated his resolve to win the match, win the tournament, and win the hearts of his people.
  • The general said to his army, “Men — You must fight for the life of your people, your family and your country.”

RHETORICAL QUESTION: Reinforces words and ideas, makes them memorable and leaves a lasting impression, eg:

  • Emphasizing a point: Do you want to be a big failure for the rest of your life?
  • A student fails to bring in his homework assignment. The teacher keeps him after class and says “Can we do better next time?”

– A  – 

ASSERTIVENESS AND IMPERATIVES: These will be using words like, ‘think about the plight of…’ or ‘forget your previous ideas about…’. These are used to push a reader into thinking that the need to agree or is urgent. It suggests that this is something that the reader must act upon.

  • It was surely/certainly/absolutely/thoroughly . . . .
  • In a survey carried out by the SLO in April 2016, it was seen that . . .
  • The Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone, Mr George Soares disputes this . . . .

ANECDOTES: Short accounts of a real event told in the form of a very brief story. Their effect is often to create an emotional or sympathetic response often proposed to support or demonstrate some point, eg:

  • In his book, “Fast Foods Today”, the renowned author and dietician, Ronald Green, argues that . . . .
  • You know, when I was a kid, my dog was my best friend. My childhood was better because of him.

– C –                               

CONNECTIVES: Words that link or ‘connect’ ideas within your writing. They can be used within sentences to link two or more points together, eg but, when, because however, then, therefore, etc.

– Pp –                           

PERSONAL Pronoun: Each of the pronouns in English (I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us, and them) comprising a set that shows contrasts of person, gender, number, and case. They are used for emphasis by the writer to talk directly to the reader.

– E –                                 

EXAGGERATION/HYPERBOLE: This is where a writer will be really over the top, in order to make it seem as if an issue is massive, eg:

  • I had a ton of chores to do.
  • How will you ever live with yourself if you ignore this?
  • He is drowning in his tears.
  • Millions of us need this . . .

– R –                                

RULE OF THREE/TRIPLES: Three related words or points are presented in quick succession for literary effect, eg:

  • In his famous Pulitzer prize winner book, “The Winners”, Dr John Jones demonstrates that . . . .
  • It’s great; it’s brilliant; it’s amazing to find everyone prepared for this trip.

– S –                                 

STATISTICS: Statistics are numbers or facts that are used to provide convincing information. A writer will use these as a tool to convince the reader, eg:

  • An online survey by the UK-based Survey Solutions of December 2015, highlights that . . . .
  • According to the President of the Egyptian Association of Abandoned Children/UNICEF/UNESCO . . . .

– E –                                 

EXAMPLES: Wherever necessary examples make your answer solid and believable. Look at how I am introducing an example . . .

  • An article entitled, “Gender and Its Implications “in Egypt Today, purports that . . .
  • A UK newspaper, The Daily Mail, succinctly argues that . . . .

– E –                                 

EXPERT OPINION AND QUOTATIONS: Quotations are used when a writer brings in some information from another person, sometimes an expert, or from another article and ’quotes’ what is said by someone else. By using quotations from other people to back up what is being said or promoted, it will make the argument seem much more appealing. If other people, particularly experts, believe in something, this is used to convince the reader that it must be right. For example,

  • Dr Aya Tamer from the Faculty of Education, at American University in Cairo, alleges that . . . .
  • The prominent educationist and researcher, Dr Michael Giddings, refutes this stating . . . .

By following and implementing the RACPpERSEE technique, you will be surprised by the world of good it can create for you. Try it and work along these sentences:

17 Sentences Which Can Change Your Writing

  1. Professor John Hawkins from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manchester confirms that . . . .
  2. Dr Aya Tamer from the Faculty of Education, at American University in Cairo, alleges that . . . .
  3. In his book, “Fast Foods Today”, the renowned author and dietician, Ronald Green, argues that . . . .
  4. In his famous Pulitzer Prize winner book, “The Winners”, Dr John Jones demonstrates that . . . .
  5. An online survey by the UK-based Survey Solutions of December 2015, highlights that . . . .
  6. The prominent educationist and researcher, Dr Michael Giddings, refutes this stating . . . .
  7. The Ministry of Education and Children’s Permanent-Secretary, Dr Sarah Refaay, once said . . . .
  8. A prominent psychologist, Mrs Nermeen at ISC challenged this by arguing . .
  9. The Times magazine of 26 May 2016, illustrates this clearly by . . . .
  10. The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr Boutros Ghali, . . . .
  11. An article entitled, “Gender and Its Implications “in Egypt Today, purports that .
  12. A UK newspaper, The Daily Mail, succinctly argues that . . . .
  13. According to the President of the Egyptian Association of Abandoned Children/UNICEF/UNESCO . . . .
  14. The Advertising Agency based in the USA states that . . . . .
  15. The Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone, Mr George Soares disputes this . . . . .
  16. The UK government’s blueprint, Every Child Matters, clearly states that . . .
  17. In a survey carried out by the SLO in April 2016, it was seen that . . .

You are on your way to success in writing an excellent argumentative or discursive essay as well as in approaching your SAT or Advanced Placement English essay questions.

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The Proof Of The Eating Is In Doing

Good luck in your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.

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