What is Annotating a Text? Remember that a text can take many forms, because a text can be anything that uses a form of communication to convey a message to an audience. That message can be carried using any form of communication, including language or text, visual elements, auditory elements, tactile elements, and beyond. Texts can take the form of traditional print artifacts, such as a newspaper or a chapter in a textbook, but they can also take many other forms such as infographics, billboards, television commercials, or objects (such as t-shirts or water bottles).
Growing as a writer requires developing close reading skills: writers should practice interpreting texts around them to discover how texts are created, how they “work,” and how others might interact with them and understand them. Texts only take on meaning when a reader constructs a meaning through the process of interpretation. To help draw your attention to how you construct meaning as a close reader, you’re expected to annotate many texts in this class. You are expected to complete annotations by hand in this course.
Psychotherapist and journaling expert Maud Purcell suggests (Links to an external site.) that the act of writing helps filter information and focus; Maria Konnikova of The New York Times reports (Links to an external site.) that psychologists and neuroscientists have found that writing longhand improves retention of information, helps generate more ideas, and deepens reading abilities. If you require accommodations for the activity of writing by hand, you may complete annotations in a digital form, perhaps by using Adobe Reader or your preferred platform to create text boxes and other markings that make similar moves that hand-written annotations would.
Annotation is the process of marking on and interacting with a text to construct an interpretation of it as you consume it.
This guide offers some strategies that will help you practice annotating and become a close reader. Annotations can take two main forms: markings and verbal comments.
Markings can include moves such as underlining, circling, highlighting, and other ways of flagging parts of the text. For example, you can:
- Mark any passages that summarize an author’s main argument, theme, or conflict
- Mark any words or phrases that are new to you and investigate them
- Mark any figures of speech or phrases that you find effective or enjoyable Verbal comments can take many forms, but remember that your goal is to “think out loud” to interpret the text as you consume it: capture your comments in the margins of the text, between lines or sections of the text, and even on the back of the pages if necessary.
Especially if the process of annotation is new to you, try this “formula” for constructing comments: simply take notes any time you appreciate, notice, or wonder something by starting comments in one of the following forms:
- “I appreciate…” followed by something that you admire or enjoy in the text, something that you think is done well
- “I notice…” followed by something that gets your attention or that stands out as a pattern throughout the text
- “I wonder…” followed by questions, concerns, or suggestions you have about something in the text
Here are other suggestions for how to verbalize your interpretations as you read:
- Take notes on how the writing seems to work.
- What do you notice about the organization, formatting, and other elements of the text? In what context was this text created?
- How does the writer communicate their argument, use evidence and examples, etc.?
- How does the writer communicate about the purpose of this text? o How does the writer try to reach their intended audience?
- Take notes on your reading experience, such as documenting any emotional reaction you might be having (“The way the author does _____ is making me mad…” or “It’s kind of creepy how this text talks about…”)
- Take notes on any connections you have to the text (“This reminds me a lot of…”) or future applications you might use (“I want to remember this when I…” When asked to annotate a text for this class, complete the following steps to submit your annotations.
Annotation Video Guide
If you’re annotating using pen and PA.PER:
- Print or obtain a printed copy of all texts.
- Complete the meta-analysis/annotation process by hand using a dark-colored pen.
- Use a traditional scanner on a printer or other device to capture images of all pages or sections of all text as a single PDF, OR use a smartphone app for scanning such as CamScanner, TurboScan, or Scannable to capture images of all pages or sections of the texts as a single PDF.
- Email yourself the PDF for easy access and storage. From your preferred device, download the single PDF of the annotated text from your email and then upload it to the Writer Portrait text annotations area in Canvas.
If you’re annotating using a stylus on a tablet or other device:
- Open digital files or images of the texts in your prefered application on the tablet or other device.
- Complete the annotation process by hand using a stylus and any other relevant marking tools (such as a highlighting feature).
- Save your annotated files or images of all the texts as a single PDF.
- Upload the single PDF of the annotated text to the Summary Annotations Assignment area in Canvas.
A Note about the Cover
Is everything really an argument? Seeing the images on the cover of
this book might make you wonder. The “Free Speech Zone” sign, for
example, instantly calls to mind the debates across the United States
about the limits of free expression, especially on college campuses.
The ominous-looking hand coming out of the laptop suggests the ease
with which hackers obtain personal data. Does the image of teens
playing on cell phones in the back seat of a car argue for or against the
ways that technology is shaping how we are communicating with one
another? The polar bear on a shrinking ice floe reminds us of the
scientific fact of climate change but also invites a discussion of how
powerful visuals can sway our opinions and beliefs. As for the “100%
vegan” sticker, what’s your impression? Is it a proud proclamation of
one’s identity or values? A straightforward fact about a food’s origins?
A sharp commentary on the influence of advertising on the food
industry? What’s your take?
Everything’s an Argument with Readings
Andrea A. Lunsford
John J. Ruszkiewicz
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY
For Bedford/St. Martin’s
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Cover Images: (laptop) fStop Images/Epoxydude/Getty Images; (polar
bear) dagsjo/Getty Images; (vegan label) Good_Studio/Getty Images;
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Copyright © 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010 by Bedford/St. Martin’s.
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Boston, MA 02116
Text acknowledgments and copyrights appear at the back of the book
on pages 793–94, which constitute an extension of the copyright page.
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art selections they cover.
When we began work on this text in 1996 (the first edition came out in
1998), we couldn’t have anticipated all the events of the next two
tumultuous decades, or all the changes to public and private discourse,
or the current deeply divided state of our nation. But we have tried
hard, over these decades, to track such changes and the ways rhetoric
and argument have evolved and responded to them.
Certainly, we recognized the increasingly important role digital culture
plays in all our lives, and so with each new edition we have included
more on the technologies of communication, particularly those
associated with social media; and we early on recognized that, like
rhetoric itself, social media can be used for good or for ill, to bring
people together or to separate them.
We have also carefully tracked the forms that arguments take today,
from cartoons and graphic narratives to blogs and other postings to
multimodal projects of almost every conceivable kind. While argument
has always surrounded us, today it does so in an amazing array of
genres and forms, including aural and visual components that
strengthen and amplify arguments.
The sheer proliferation of information (not to mention misinformation,
disinformation, and outright lies) that bombards all writers led us to
reaffirm our commitment to studying and teaching style, since (as
Richard Lanham and others argue) in the age of information overload,
style is the tool writers possess to try to capture and keep the attention
of audiences. Attention to style reveals other changes, such as the
increasing use of informal registers and conversational styles even in
Perhaps most important, though, a look back over the last twenty-two
years reaffirms the crucial role that rhetoric can and should play in
personal, work, and school lives. At its best, rhetoric is the art, theory,
and practice of ethical communication, needed more sorely today than
perhaps ever before. Everything’s an Argument with Readings presents
this view of rhetoric and illustrates it with a fair and wide range of
perspectives and views, which we hope will inspire student writers to
think of themselves as rhetors, as Quintilian’s “good person, speaking
Two books in one, neatly linked. Up front is a brief guide to
Aristotelian, Toulmin, and Rogerian argument; common types of
arguments; presenting arguments; and researching arguments. In the
back is a thematically organized anthology of readings in a wide range
of genres. Handy cross-references in the margins allow students to
move easily from the argument chapters to specific examples in the
readings and from the readings to appropriate rhetorical instruction.
Short, relatable excerpts weave in the debates that rage around us.
From #metoo tweets and protest posters to essays and scholarly
writing, boldfaced examples illustrate the arguments happening in
politics, economics, journalism, and media, with brief student-friendly
Five thematic readings chapters that encourage students to explore
complex arguments. Readings on “How Does Popular Culture
Stereotype You?,” “Has the Internet Destroyed Privacy?,” and “How
Free Should Campus Speech Be?” demand that students consider the
many sides of contemporary issues across the political spectrum, going
beyond a simple pro/con stance.
A real-world, full-color design that builds students’ understanding
of visual rhetoric. Presenting readings in the style of their original
publications helps students recognize and think about the effect that
design and visuals have on written and multimodal arguments.
New to This Edition
A new section on rhetorical listening in Chapter 1. The very first
chapter of the eighth edition now emphasizes the importance of
listening rhetorically and respectfully, encouraging readers to move
beyond “echo chambers” and build bridges among all viewpoints.
Eight new full-length models in the guide provide engaging, topical
arguments of fact, definition, evaluation, cause and effect, proposals,
and rhetorical analysis. Legal scholar Stephen L. Carter offers a
Toulmin analysis of whether racial epithets should be considered free
speech, while New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof presents an
op-ed in defense of public wilderness.
Five new annotated student essays address topics students care about,
from millennials’ love of food to breaking a social media addiction.
Thirty-one engaging new readings on hot-button issues such as free
speech, food, language, privacy, and stereotypes. Selections
represent a range of genres and span the full gamut of social and
political views, including:
excerpts from a recent Gallup poll showing what college students
think about First Amendment issues
visual arguments and a scholarly essay supporting and critiquing
the concept of racial microaggressions
best-selling essayist Roxane Gay on the language we use to
describe sexual violence
an Economist blog post acknowledging that sport shooting can be,
an argument against veganism . . . written by a vegan
A new introduction in the instructor’s notes. Focusing on the
teaching of argument, this new introduction gives experienced and
first-time instructors a strong pedagogical foundation. Sample syllabi
for both semester and quarter courses provide help for pacing all types
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Diagnostics provide opportunities to assess areas for improvement
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reports show performance by topic, class, and student as well as
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Pre-built units—including readings, videos, quizzes, and more—
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mixing them with our high-quality multimedia content and ready-
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quizzing and Exercise Central.
Use LaunchPad on its own or integrate it with your school’s
learning management system so that your class is always on the
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Writer’s Help 2.0 is a powerful online writing resource that helps
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their own or as part of an assignment.
Smart search. Built on research with more than 1,600 student
writers, the smart search in Writer’s Help 2.0 provides reliable
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Trusted content from our best-selling handbooks. Andrea
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Assign diagnostics to identify areas of strength and areas for
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You have a lot to do in your course. We want to make it easy for you to
find the support you need—and to get it quickly.
Instructor’s Notes for Everything’s an Argument with Readings is
available as a PDF that can be downloaded from
macmillanlearning.com. Visit the instructor resources tab for
Everything’s an Argument with Readings. In addition to chapter
overviews and teaching tips, the instructor’s manual offers an
introduction about teaching the argument course, sample syllabi,
correlations to the Council of Writing Program Administrators’
Outcomes Statement, and potential answers to the “Respond” questions
in the book.
We owe a debt of gratitude to many people for making Everything’s an
Argument with Readings possible. Our first thanks must go to the
thousands of people we have taught in our writing courses over nearly
four decades, particularly students at the Ohio State University,
Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Portland
State University. Almost every chapter in this book has been informed
by a classroom encounter with a student whose shrewd observation or
perceptive question sent an ambitious lesson plan spiraling to the
ground. (Anyone who has tried to teach claims and warrants on the fly
to skeptical first-year writers will surely appreciate why we have
qualified our claims in the Toulmin chapter so carefully.) But students
have also provided the motive for writing this book. More than ever,
they need to know how to read and write arguments effectively if they
are to secure a place in a world growing ever smaller and more
We are deeply grateful to the editors at Bedford/St. Martin’s who have
contributed their formidable talents to this book. In particular, we want
to thank the ingenious and efficient Rachel Goldberg for guiding us so
patiently and confidently—helping us locate just the right items
whenever we needed fresh examples and images and gracefully
recasting passage after passage to satisfy permissions mandates. Senior
content project manager Ryan Sullivan was relentlessly upbeat and
kind in all his communications, making the ever-more-complex stages
of production almost a pleasure. We also appreciate the extensive
support and help of Lexi DeConti, who kept us attuned to examples
and readings that might appeal to students today. We are similarly
grateful to senior program manager John Sullivan, whose support was
unfailing; Kalina Ingham, Arthur Johnson, and Tom Wilcox, for text
permissions; Angela Boehler and Krystyna Borgen, for art
permissions; William Boardman, for our cover design; Bridget Leahy,
copyeditor; and William Hwang, editorial assistant. All of you made
editing the eighth edition feel fresh and creative.
We’d also like to thank the astute instructors who reviewed the seventh
edition: Brigitte Anderson, University of Pikeville; Samantha Battrick,
Truman State University; Kathryn Bennett, Old Dominion University;
Jeanne Bohannon, Kennesaw State University; Rebecca Cepek,
Duquesne University; Laura Dumin, University of Central Oklahoma;
Tim Engles, Eastern Illinois University; Karen Feldman, Seminole
State College of Florida; Africa Fine, Palm Beach State College;
Darius Frasure, Mountain View College; Erin Gallagher, Washington
State University; Ben Graydon, Daytona State College; Joseph
Hernandez, Mt. San Jacinto College; Julie Moore-Felux, Northwest
Vista College; Laurie Murray, Anderson University; Kolawole Olaiya,
Anderson University; Leslie Rapparlie, University of Colorado;
Thomas Reynolds, Northwestern State University; Loreen Smith,
Isothermal Community College; Benjamin Syn, University of
Colorado; Gina Szabady, Lane Community College; Amy Walton,
Iowa State University; and Miriam Young, Truman State University.
Thanks, too, to Sherrie Weller of Loyola Chicago University and
Valerie Duff-Stroutmann of Newbury College, who updated the
instructor’s notes for this eighth edition with a new introduction, new
model syllabi, new points for discussion, and new classroom activities.
We hope this resource will be useful as instructors build their courses.
Finally, we are grateful to the students whose fine argumentative
essays or materials appear in our chapters: Cameron Hauer, Kate
Beispel, Jenny Kim, Laura Tarrant, Natasha Rodriguez, Caleb Wong,
Juliana Chang, George Chidiac, and Charlotte Geaghan-Breiner. We
hope that Everything’s an Argument with Readings responds to what
students and instructors have said they want and need.
Andrea A. Lunsford
John J. Ruszkiewicz
Correlation to Council of Writing Program
Administrators’ (WPA) Outcomes
Everything’s an Argument with Readings works with the Council of
Writing Program Administrators’ Outcomes Statement for first-year
composition courses (last updated 2014).
Support in Everything’s an Argument with Readings, 8e
Learn and use
variety of texts.
Chapter 1, “Understanding Arguments and Reading
Them Critically” (pp. 3–31), establishes the central
elements of the rhetorical situation and encourages
Chapter 6, “Rhetorical Analysis” (pp. 97–132), further
develops these concepts and teaches students how to
analyze a rhetorical analysis and compose their own.
Each chapter offers dozens of written, visual, and
multimodal texts to analyze, in both the guide portion
and the thematic reader.
several genres to
shape and are
Everything’s an Argument with Readings provides
engaging readings across genres, from academic essays
and newspaper editorials to tweets and infographics.
“Respond” boxes throughout each chapter (e.g., pp.
56–57) invite students to think critically about the
material. For more genre variety, Everything’s an
Argument with Readings also contains a five-chapter
thematic reader with additional multimodal genres,
including an art installation, Web articles, scholarly
essays, and political cartoons.
Each chapter on a specific type of argument features
project ideas (e.g., p. 186), giving students detailed
prompts to write their own arguments of fact,
arguments of definition, evaluations, causal arguments,
in responding to
a variety of
shifts in voice,
tone, level of
Chapter 13, “Style in Arguments” (pp. 321–45),
addresses word choice, tone, sentence structure,
punctuation, and figurative language, with engaging
examples of each.
The “Cultural Contexts for Argument” boxes
throughout the text (e.g., p. 163) address how people
from other cultures might respond to different styles or
structures of argument. This feature offers suggestions
on how to think about argument in an unfamiliar
use a variety of
address a range
Chapter 16, “Multimodal Arguments” (pp. 381–402),
addresses how new media has transformed the array of
choices for making arguments and reaching audiences.
This chapter teaches how to analyze multimodal
arguments as well as how to create them through Web
sites, videos, wikis, blogs, social media, memes, posters,
(e.g., print &
Chapter 14, “Visual Rhetoric” (pp. 346–62), discusses
the power of visual rhetoric and how students can use
visuals in their own work.
Chapter 15, “Presenting Arguments” (pp. 363–80),
includes material on incorporating various media into
presentations and Webcasts.
Chapter 16, “Multimodal Arguments” (pp. 381–402),
analyzes the evolving landscape of argument across
Chapter 17, “Academic Arguments” (pp. 405–37),
covers the conventions of academic arguments.
and reading for
Chapter 1, “Understanding Arguments and Reading
Them Critically” (pp. 3–31), features a section called
“Why Listen to Arguments Rhetorically and
Respectfully” (pp. 7–8). It teaches students to listen
openly and constructively and calls attention to the
need to escape “echo chambers,” respectfully consider
all viewpoints, and find common ground.
Throughout Everything’s an Argument with Readings,
students are invited to delve deeper into current issues
in the world around them, considering the various
arguments presented in tweets, newspapers, scholarly
papers, court rulings, and even bumper stickers.
Everything’s an Argument with Readings guides students
in asking critical questions about these contexts and
learning how to respond to and create their own
compositions. Chapters dedicated to central types of
argument explain how students might best approach
each writing situation. The chapters close with a guide
to writing arguments of that type:
Chapter 8, “Arguments of Fact” (pp. 164–96)
Chapter 9, “Arguments of Definition” (pp. 197–223)
Chapter 10, “Evaluations” (pp. 224–54)
Chapter 11, “Causal Arguments” (pp. 255–85)
Chapter 12, “Proposals” (pp. 286–318)
Chapter 16, “Multimodal Arguments” (pp. 381–402)
Read a diverse
range of texts,
Chapter 7, “Structuring Arguments” (pp. 135–63),
examines making claims and using evidence to support
those claims. It delves into the structure of Rogerian and
Toulmin arguments, showing how different argument
types work for different writing situations.
Each Guide to Writing features sections on
“Formulating a Claim” and “Thinking about
Organization” (e.g., pp. 212 and 214), emphasizing the
use of evidence and the structure of the argument.
Chapter 18, “Finding Evidence” (pp. 438–53), covers
locating evidence from print, electronic, and field