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What Does It Mean to Cite Specific Examples?


The more specific the evidence for an argument, the more convincing the argument will sound. Vague generalizations persuade the reader of little, except perhaps that the writer is not very knowledgeable about his topic. Specific examples, which can take the form of details, facts, explanations, stories, quotes and more, provide compelling support for the major premises in your reasoning, rendering your overall argument more difficult to refute.

Cite Your Own Ideas

If you claim in an persuasive essay that studying in groups is better than studying solo, give the reader a specific example to illustrate what you mean. You might say that students can quiz each other, and then go on to explain exactly how that would play out and why it would benefit students: Students could alternate asking each other study questions, for example, so that all the students interact with the material by teaching it to others and by recalling it themselves. Specific examples such as this one explain how "studying in groups is beneficial." Strive for at least three examples for each major premise of your argument.

Cite Other People's Ideas

You can also reference statistics, studies, profound quotes or simply well-put explanations by other people. A study that suggests people learn more while working in groups could act as a specific example to support your argument that studying in groups is beneficial. If you look elsewhere for evidence, make sure that you properly reference the information to avoid plagiarism, using citation guidelines preferred by your teacher.

About the Author

Nadine Smith has been writing since 2010. She teaches college writing and ESL courses and has several years experience tutoring all ages in English, ESL and literature. Nadine holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where she led seminars as a teaching assistant.

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