Jane Schaffer Persuasive Essay Format

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1 Jane Schaffer Format for Persuasive Writing
Slight changes to format for persuasive writing!

2 The Format for Body Paragraphs (for a two chunk paragraph):
Topic Sentence (TS)Counter Argument (CA)Counter-Counter Argument (CCA)Concrete Detail (CDCommentary (CM)REPEAT CD, CM, CM = A second “Chunk”Concluding Sentence (CS)

3 Start with a thesis statement!
Determine which prompt you want to address.Create a list of three arguments for (PRO) or against (CON) your topic.Combine these arguments into a single statement of your topic plus an opinion that reflects your arguments. This is your thesis statement!Be sure that body paragraphs support your thesis statement.

4 Introduction / Conclusion Paragraph
Don’t forget an introduction if you do not construct one at the beginning (You must have a thesis statement as you begin writing your body paragraphs)Be sure that your conclusion has U.M. (A “Universal Message” that makes your topic important beyond your own personal reasons).

5 How to begin:Once you have determined what your topic is, and the three main ideas that will be in favor (PRO) or against (CON) that topic, construct your thesis statement.Create one body paragraph at a time, being sure that each one is 10 sentences minimum and follows the Jane Schaffer persuasive format (with CA’s and CCA’s).Be sure to include a clear introductory paragraph (from general to specific) and a conclusion with U.M. (Universal Message).


Below are two Schaffer-model paragraphs students wrote together as a class. The legend at right is for the abbreviations at the beginnings of sentences.

Example One
  1. Topic Sentence (TS)
  2. Concrete Detail 1 (CD 1)
  3. Commentary (CM 1A)
  4. Commentary (CM 1B)
  5. Concrete Detail 2 (CD 2)
  6. Commentary (CM 2A)
  7. Commentary (CM 2B)
  8. Concrete Detail 3 (CD 3)
  9. Commentary (CM 3A)
  10. Commentary (CM 3B)
  11. Concluding Sentence (CS)

TSSchool lunch at Beck can be gross. CD1For example, I got a piece of cold, slimy pizza the other day. CM1AThe cheese was falling off the pizza. CM1BI absolutely didn’t want to eat it. CD2Another reason lunch is gross is the milk, which is sometimes lumpy and chunky. CM2AWhen you open the milk, it stinks to high heaven. CM2BSometimes, it even looks like butter! CD3Finally, the chili can be so greasy that you see the grease floating. CM3AThere’s no way to eat it like that. CM3BYou have to strain it. CSFrom these examples, it’s clear school lunch can be nasty.

Example Two
  1. Topic Sentence (TS)
  2. Concrete Detail 1 (CD 1)
  3. Commentary (CM 1A)
  4. Commentary (CM 1B)
  5. Concrete Detail 2 (CD 2)
  6. Commentary (CM 2A)
  7. Commentary (CM 2B)
  8. Concrete Detail 3 (CD 3)
  9. Commentary (CM 3A)
  10. Commentary (CM 3B)
  11. Concluding Sentence (CS)

TSAlthough I generally don’t like it, cafeteria food can sometimes be quite good. CD1To begin with, their fries are tasty. CM1AThey’re good and salty like fries should be. CM1BIf you’re lucky enough to be at the end of the line, you could get some really fresh, crunchy fries as well. CD2The best cafeteria food is during Thanksgiving, when they make turkey and ham. CM2AThe turkey is tender and juicy; CM2Bthe ham tastes just like my grandmother’s. CD3Finally, there’s nothing better than baked spaghetti, and the cafeteria makes this perfectly. CM3AThe cheese on top is at least half a mile thick, and the sauce is better than my mom’s! CM3BThat’s saying a lot, because my mom is Italian. CSSo while you might not take your date there, the cafeteria can cook some tasty meals!

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