Monday, February 27, 2017

Month 7 Week 1

Allusion Examples in Shakespeare and Other Literature
Note: You can basically find allusion on every page of Shakespeare. I dare you. Open up a Shakespeare book, point to a random page, and see if you can find the allusion.

Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Toward Phoebus’ lodging. Such a wagoner
As Phaeton would whip you to the west
And bring in cloudy night immediately. – Romeo and Juliet

Allusion Examples in Rap

I’m full strength like a Cyclops‘s eye drops,
I got support like high-tops.
– Ugly Duckling, Left Behind.
“The side lines is lined with casualties
Who sip the life casually, then gradually become worse
Don’t bite the apple, Eve” -Jay-Z
“Now who’s the boss? Not Tony Danza.” -Malik B of the Roots
“Coming from the deep black like the Loch Ness,
now bring apocalypse like the Heart of Darkness.” – Talib Kweli
“My rep grows like the nose of Pinocchio,
Just because I’ve mastered the art of braggadocio.” -Akrobatik
“This is the point of no return and nobody can stop it
Malcolm Little when he knelt before Elijah Muhammad
The comet that killed the dinosaurs, changing the earth” –Immortal Technique
“Tonedeff’s slays giants,
as if my legal name’s David.” -Tonedeff
“But now we’re facing more poverty,
It’s the most we’ve seen since 1993.
We need to turn this thing around: Michael Vick,
But a recession could be headed for a double dip.”

Allusions aren’t just in the realm of words; they can also exist in images. This mural by Diego Rivera makes numerous allusions to the conquistadors’ arrival in Latin America, and the pain that followed. How many allusions can you spot? 

Diego Rivera Mural

Month 7 Week 2

Image result for poem analysis

Poetic Elements

Read through the poem "Luck is not chance" by Emily Dickinson and the analysis of the poetic elements provided. When a writer uses personification, it is usually to make an abstract or difficult concept more relatable and more understandable. Discuss the poetic elements in Lnagston Hughes' poem "Mother to Son".

Mother to Son

Related Poem Content Details

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Month 7 Week 3

I) Internet: MLA Citation 
 • AUTHOR if available (last name, first and middle)____________________________________(period)

. • TITLE (“quotation  marks”)______________________________________________________(period)

. • TITLE OF WEB SITE (underlined) _______________________________________________(period).

 • DATE last updated/publication/copyright date (Day-Month (abbreviated + period.) Year)_________________________(period)

. • DATE of access: (Day Month (abbreviated + period.) Year)________________________(no period). 
• URL (Web site address in )_________________________________________(period). Example: 

“Think College….Learn for a Lifetime.” U.S. Department of Education. 26 July 2000. 11 Nov. 2000.

Your turn, use the above template to cite an internet piece. 

Month 7 Week 4

Academic writing

Image result for academic writing style

After reading the advice on academic writing please discuss how you would complete the following.

Which of the two alternatives in bold do you think is more appropriate in academic writing?

1 The government has made considerable/great progress in solving the problem.
2 We got/obtained excellent results in the experiment.
3 The results of lots of/numerous tests have been pretty good/encouraging.
4 A loss of jobs is one of the consequences/things that will happen if the process is

5 The relationship between the management and workers is extremely/really important.
6 Some suggestions springing up from/arising from the study will be presented.

Use a more formal word or phrase to replace those in bold.

1 The reaction of the officials was sort of negative. _______________________
2 The economic outlook is nice.__________________________
3 Car manufacturers are planning a get together to discuss their strategy.
4 The resulting competition between countries is good._________________
5 The economy is affected by things that happen outside the country.
6 She was given the sack because of her poor record. __________________
7 The examination results were super. _________________

Suggest alternatives to the following to avoid use of personal language.

1 In this essay I will discuss the main differences between the English and
Scottish legal systems.

2 I have divided my report into five sections.
3 I will conclude by proposing that all drugs should be legalized.
4 The opinion of the present author in this essay is that the importance of
the monarchy should be reduced.

5 In the third part of the essay, we will look at the reasons for public
hysteria over the SARS virus

6 Although I am not an expert in the field, I have tried very hard to
understand the main ideas.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Month 6 Week 4

I was looking for some information on Bias for this weeks lesson and ran across this great posting
I could not have said it better so I thank Brooke Perry for her help.

"Over the past few weeks, our Nation has experienced several events that will not soon be forgotten, and will arguably be known as landmark moments in the history of our country. With all news, monumental or less so, I am noticing a growing trend of adults, myself included, consuming news via social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.  As you’ve probably seen with various posts on your social media feeds, often these news story threads lead to high emotion, the sharing of opinions, and both productive and unproductive debates.
This is not the problem. This is not what has been concerning me as I scroll through my feed each day and peek in on what others are saying, and occasionally voice my own thoughts. What is troubling, is the amount of bias I see riddling the articles and blogs that are being posted and shared throughout my news feed. To be fair, it’s not even the fact that these articles are biased. There will always be text with bias, and that’s ok.  It’s more of a nagging wonder of whether or not the people using them to support their claims can identify this partiality. Personally, I love a good-natured, productive debate, but if the evidence I bring to the table is laced with obvious prejudice, my thoughts will most definitely not be taken seriously."
This means something to me as a teacher. Whether my students are reading something to inform themselves or referencing a text to back up their own thinking and opinions, I want them to be able to determine whether or not bias exists, and if it does, identify it within the text and decide how it impacts that text’s validity.
Step 1: “How does the author feel about this subject, and how do I know?”
  • Does the author’s word choice convey a specific feeling or emotion towards the text? For example, “Skittles are the absolute best They are the most delicious choice when looking for a sweet treat.”
  • Best? Most delicious? It’s very clear how this author feels regarding the subject of candy; skittles in particular.
Step 2: “Is there any information that has been left out? If so, was it done on purpose?”
  • When we come across what seems like factual information in a text, we are more likely to comprehend that text as true and reliable. However, all too often, the facts that are NOT being used are more telling than those that are. For example, “Did you know that skittles are healthy, too? You will not find any trans-fat or cholesterol in this tasty snack!”
  • Wow, sounds like a good deal to me. Until I think about the 42 grams of sugar per serving that are missing from this statement… Obviously, the author intentionally left that out, and instead chose to focus only on health facts that had a more positive tone.
Step 3: “Using step 1 and 2, what is the author’s bias?”
  • This one is pretty clear. This author loves Skittles candy and thinks you should to.
Yes, I used an easy example, but this could be a great place to start when first introducing this topic to your students. Another entry point would be using these same steps with commercials that are geared towards kids. This is engaging for the kids (“Mom, we watched commercials in class today!”) and it’s a seamless connection to your students’ day to day lives.
Now check out this Powerpoint BIAS and give us some o your thoughts. 

Month 6 Week 3

After viewing the PowerPoint author's purpose discuss the type of reading you enjoy most and why. For example I enjoy reading information to teach, and inform for the most part especially history. Here is a statement can you guess the purpose?
A story about a family trying to stick together and survive through the Great Depression in the Midwest in the 1930s.
Author’s Purpose: _______________________________________________________
Authors Purpose

Month 6 Week 2

It is almost Super Bowl and we all know we love to watch the commercials. Take a look at the Powerpoint  Propaganda and read over the 7 common types. For the discussion board list a commercial or two that you have seen and give it a name, which of the 7 types are most common in TV ads? 

There are 7 common types of propaganda

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Month 6 Week 1

Speech  Truth at all Costs

Read the Speech by Marie Colvin an American journalist who was killed in a Syrian attack while covering the siege of Homs for a British newspaper. As you read the speech pay attention to the reasons Calvin gives to support her position that the job of a war correspondent is worth the risk. How soon can you identify Colvin's point of view? 
After reading please cite text evidence to answer theses questions:

  •  explain whether or not you agree with Colvin's argument.
  • give reasons for your point of view.
  • cite specific evidence from the text to support your reasons.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Open invitation to all 9th and 10th scholars to attend the 9/10 Language Arts class on Friday's beginning at 10:15-11:30. We will be starting John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Please let me know if you plan on attending...RSVP.
Looking forward as always. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Month 5 Week 4


Selecting Textual Evidence

  • Choose textual evidence to that supports / proves / illustrates your topic.  For a five paragraph essay, select as many quotations as you can find to support your topic; then, narrow down the textual evidence to what best support your thesis.
§  Determine the topic of each body paragraph before selecting textual evidence so that your textual evidence can support that specific topic.
§  Textual evidence should be no longer than one to two sentences.  Shorter text, such as phrases, is appropriate. 
Body paragraph 2 topic- Explaining Tom Robinson as a mockingbird
Quotation: “He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children” (241).
Shorter version: “senseless slaughter” (241).

Citing and Punctuating Textual Evidence

  • If you are introducing a piece of textual evidence, it must have a comma.
Example- When Atticus says, “’remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’” (Lee 90).
  • Quotation marks around the quotation only.
  • Single quotation marks around dialogue
Example- When Atticus says, “’remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Lee 90).
  • Cite the page number and author’s last name: (Raffel 62).
  • Correct punctuation: closing quotation marks, parentheses with author’s last name (NO COMMA) and page number, period.
Example- “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Lee 90).
  • When quoting lines of poetry up to three lines long separate one line of poetry from another with a backslash.  Capitalize the first letter of the word after the backslash.
“Cassio represents not only a political but also a personal threat to Iago: "He hath a daily beauty in his life / That makes me ugly . . ." (5.1.19-20).
  • Commas and periods go inside the closing quotation marks; the other punctuation marks
go outside.
Lawrence insisted that books "are not life"; however, he wrote exultantly about the power of the novel.
Why does Lawrence need to point out that "Books are not life"?

Where and How to Insert Textual Evidence

  • The introduction will open with a piece of textual evidence that relates to the thesis statement.
  • After that, you’ll start every paragraph with your own words (topic sentence).
  • Then, in around the third sentence of each paragraph, you can use a well-integrated piece of textual evidence to illustrate or prove the topic sentence of that paragraph.
  • And finally, you can close off each paragraph with an explanation/reflection of your own showing how that quote worked to support your point.
            King brought the crowd to a cheering roar like the sound of a great cataract when he asserted that the promise of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had not yet been fulfilled. “One hundred years later, the Negro is still anguished in the corners of American Society and finds himself in exile in his own land,” he stated (303). King noted that the purpose of the giant gathering on the Mall was to illustrate the exact conditions across the South that make the Negro feel like exiles.

Patterns for Incorporating Textual Evidence into Sentences

  • An introducing phrase or orienter plus the quotation:
1.      In this poem it is creation, not a hypothetical creator, that is supremely awesome. The speaker asks, "What immortal hand or eye / Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"
2.      Gatsby is not to be regarded as a personal failure. "Gatsby turned out all right at the end" (176), according to Nick.
3.      As Grendel endures the brutality of Hrothgar’s men, he mutters, “They hacked at me, yipping like dogs” (Gardner 2).

  • An assertion of your own and a colon plus the quotation:
1.      Vivian hates the knights for scorning her, and she dreams of achieving glory by destroying Merlin's: "I have made his glory mine" (390).
2.      Fitzgerald gives Nick a muted tribute to the hero: "Gatsby turned out all right at the end" (176).
3.      Cassio represents not only a political but also a personal threat to Iago: "He hath a daily beauty in his life / That makes me ugly . . ." (5.1.19-20).

  • An assertion of your own with quoted material worked in:
1.      For Nick, who remarks that Gatsby "turned out all right" (176), the hero deserves respect but perhaps does not inspire great admiration.
2.      Satan's motion is many things; he "rides" through the air (63), "rattles" (65), and later
explodes, "wanders and hovers" like a fire (293).

  • Signal Phrases to set up quotations:
acknowledges, adds, admits, affirms, agrees, argues, asserts,  believes, claims, comments, compares, confirms, contends, declares,  demonstrates, denies, disputes, emphasizes, endorses, grants,  illustrates, implies, insists, notes, observes, points out, reasons,  refutes, rejects, reports, responds, states, suggests, thinks,  underlines, writes

Your turn, can you post something that will create a discussion based on the information in this post?

Month 5 Week 3

IRONY is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. It may also be a situation that may end up in quite a different way than what is generally anticipated. In simple words, it is a difference between the appearance and the reality. The three types of IRONY are described below. When you have reviewed the three types please find examples of each and post for your peers to comment on. It may be fun for you to put the statement from a piece of work and let your classmates decide what type you posted. If you are taking my LA class please find examples different than what I have presented in class. 

Situational Irony 
     is a literary device that you can easily identify in literary works. Simply, it occurs when incongruity appears between expectations of something to happen, and what actually happens instead. Thus, entirely different happens from what audience may be expecting or the final outcome is opposite to what the audience is expecting. It is also known as irony of situations that generally include sharp contrasts and contradictions. The purpose of ironic situations is to allow the readers to make a distinction between appearances and realities, and eventually associate them to the theme of a story.

The function of situational irony is to lay emphasis on important scenes and make strange and unusual images vivid. It creates an unexpected turn at the end of a story and makes audience laugh or cry. Therefore, situational irony could be tragic or funny. Usually writers employ strong word connections with situational irony and add fresh thoughts, variations and embellishments to their works. It may range from the most comic to the most tragic situations. Its comical use usually creates unexpected turnaround in a plot for the betterment. Sometimes, these forms of ironies occur, because people identify certain events and situations as unfair or odd.

Dramatic irony occurs in a piece of literature when the audience knows something that some characters in the narrative do not. The spectator of a play, or reader of a novel or poem, thus has information that at least some of the characters are unaware of, which affects the way the audience member reacts to the plot. For example, the reader might be aware that a certain trap has been set and feels suspense when an unknowing character is about to walk right into this trap. The tension of the piece therefore depends on the contrast between what the audience and characters know.

Verbal irony occurs when a speaker speaks something contradictory to what he intends to. It is an intentional product of the speaker and is contradictory to his/her emotions and actions. To define it simply, it means when a character uses statement with underlying meanings contrasting with its literal meanings, it shows that the writer has used verbal irony. Writers rely on audience’s intelligence for discerning hidden meanings they intend to convey. Writers also use ironic similes to convey exactly the opposite of what they intend to say, such as “soft like concrete.”

■Functions of Verbal irony are very common in everyday speech, plays, novels, poetry and occurs usually in the form of sarcasm. It depends upon timing and suitable circumstances to achieve its effect. Verbal irony develops funny and dramatic situations. Through verbal irony, writers and poets can convey their bitter messages indirectly in a less bitter and more effective way. It makes a literary piece more effective by provoking readers into analyzing and thinking harder about a situation. By contrasting and comparing suppositions with reality, the readers can better understand the writer’s intent.

Month 5 Week 1

Similies and Metaphores  

Similes and Metaphors in Pop Culture

Similes and Metaphors are everywhere, especially in music. Find a song with some good examples and challenge your classmates to explain. Have fun!

P.S. Please remember to post within the week. Your comments are important.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Month 5 Week 2

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and social activist, who led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. 
In celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday this discussion board is dedicated to your thoughts and dreams for the world. Additionally, what would Dr. King think of our society and the United States today?

STUDY TIPS for MID-TERM and info

Mid Terms are scheduled for January 17th the three links below may be helpful for you to review prior to your studying. I know the study guides have been posted for all of the courses. Complete the study guides for extra credit and turn them in on the day you take your exam. Each student is allowed a cheat sheet for each test they are completing (I am not sure about math). The cheat sheet is to be one sided  a regular 8 1/2 X 11 hand written.

 The language arts mid terms are very similar to your monthly common assignment. There will be a story you read (hopefully you will receive it before the 17th) and several multiple choice questions based on literary terms and the story. Additionally there will be short answer questions that will ask you to site from the text. There is not study guide that will prepare you for this test other than the to know the Literary Terms in the back of The Language of Literature text book. If you pre read the text before your test and highlight or make notes on it, this will count for your extra credit.

13 Study Tips

How to Overcome Test AnxietyOver Coming Text Anxiety

The Most Powerful Way to Remember

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Month 4 Week 4 Due 12/18

The Starry Night by Anne Sexton

Study the painting note what your eyes are drawn to, locate the images: cypress trees, stars, the moon, and the village.
Study the  quote from van Gogh to his brother

"Looking at the stars always makes me dream. why,  ask myself, shouldn't the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France"? In what ways does van Gogh make the stars accessible? In what wasy do the stars contrast with the village?

That does not keep me from having a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.
 — Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry night! This is how
I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

Discuss the ways Sexton's poem evoke the painting? What parts of the painting does she emphasize? Be sure to Cite Text evidence from the poem and the painting in your response. Additionally, how does Sexton contrast the sky and the town? Support your answers. 

Month 4 week 1 No due date

ENJOY your break and a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours!

Month 4 week 2 Due 12/2

literary analysis is an argumentative analysis about a literary work. Although some summary is needed within the argument of a literary analysis, the objective is not to write a report about a book or story. This type of assignment encourages you to think about how and why a poem, short story, novel, or play was written.  To successfully analyze literature, you’ll need to remember that authors make specific choices for particular reasons.  Your essay should point out the author’s choices and attempt to explain their significance. 
Another way to look at a literary analysis is to consider a piece of literature from your own perspective.  Rather than thinking about the author’s intentions, you can develop an argument based on any single term (or combination of terms). You’ll just need to use the original text to defend and explain your argument to the reader.

Allegory - narrative form in which the characters are representative of some larger humanistic trait (i.e. greed, vanity, or bravery) and attempt to convey some larger lesson or meaning to life. Although allegory was originally and traditionally character based, modern allegories tend to parallel story and theme.
Character - representation of a person, place, or thing performing traditionally human activities or functions in a work of fiction.
Connotation - implied meaning of word. BEWARE! Connotations can change over time.
Denotation - dictionary definition of a word
Diction - word choice that both conveys and emphasizes the meaning or theme of a poem through distinctions in sound, look, rhythm, syllable, letters, and definition  
Figurative language - the use of words to express meaning beyond the literal meaning of the words themselves.
Connotation - implied meaning of word. BEWARE! Connotations can change over time.
Foot - grouping of stressed and unstressed syllables used in line or poem
Imagery- the author’s attempt to create a mental picture (or reference point) in the mind of the reader. Remember, though the most immediate forms of imagery are visual, strong and effective imagery can be used to invoke an emotional, sensational (taste, touch, smell etc) or even physical response.
Plot- the arrangement of ideas and/or incidents that make up a story
Point of View-pertains to who tells the story and how it is told. The point of view of a story can sometimes indirectly establish the author's intentions.
Setting - the place or location of the action.  The setting provides the historical and cultural context for characters. It often can symbolize the emotional state of characters. Example – In Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the crumbling old mansion reflects the decaying state of both the family and the narrator’s mind. We also see this type of emphasis on setting in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice.
Speaker - the person delivering the poem. Remember, a poem does not have to have a speaker, and the speaker and the poet are not necessarily one in the same.
Structure (fiction) - The way that the writer arranges the plot of a story.
Symbolism - when an object is meant to be representative of something or an idea greater than the object itself.

Link for review:
Literary analysis  

Sample Story

Robin Hood

Robin Hood stole goods and money from the rich residents of his town to give to the town’s poorer residents. 

The use of a monarchy or kingdom setting in Robin Hood allowed the author to portray the abuses of power that often occur among the wealthiest members of a community.

Please choose a children's book (Snow White, Cinderella, Three Little Pigs, etc.) and complete the three categories.

Month 4 week 3 Due 12/9

-Analyzing poetry watch please. 

Terms to know when analyzing poetry 

Foot - grouping of stressed and unstressed syllables used in line or poem
  • Iamb - unstressed syllable followed by stressed
    • Made famous by the Shakespearian sonnet, closest to the natural rhythm of human speech
      • How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
  • Spondee - stressed stressed
    • Used to add emphasis and break up monotonous rhythm
      • Blood boil, mind-meld, well- loved
  • Trochee - stressed unstressed
    • Often used in children’s rhymes and to help with memorization, gives poem a hurried feeling
      • While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
  • Anapest - unstressed unstressed stressed
    • Often used in longer poems or “rhymed stories”
      • Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
  • Dactyls - stressed unstressed unstressed
  • Structure (poetry) - The pattern of organization of a poem. For example, a Shakespearean sonnet is a 14-line poem written in iambic pentameter. Because the sonnet is strictly constrained, it is considered a closed or fixed form. An open or free form poem has looser form, or perhaps one of the author’s invention, but it is important to remember that these poems  are not necessarily formless.

A Dream Within a Dream  

Related Poem Content Details

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?  
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
  • Read and discuss this poem based on what you know about analyzing poetry. 

Answers Month 3 Week 4


Example 1
  1. If all dogs are mammals, then all dogs are reptiles.
  2. All dogs are mammals.
  3. Therefore, all dogs are reptiles.
This argument is valid. The fact that the first premise and conclusion are false doesn’t mean the argument form is logically invalid. This same argument form can be used to make good arguments. The argument form is “If A, then B. A. Therefore, B.” A good argument with this argument form is the following:
  1. If all dogs are mammals, then all dogs are animals.
  2. All dogs are mammals.
  3. Therefore, all dogs are animals.
How can we prove the argument is valid? We can show that it’s impossible to form a formal counterexample. We can assume the argument is invalid and prove that such an assumption is impossible because it will lead to self-contradiction.
The easiest way to realize that this argument form is valid is to realize what it means to say “If A, then B.” This statement means “If A is true, then B is true” or “B is true whenever A is true). That also implies that if B is false, then A must be false.
We can prove the argument form is valid using the following reasoning:
  1. The counterexample must have true premises, and a false conclusion.
  2. In that case we assume that “If A, then B” is true because it’s a premise, A is true because it’s a premise, and B is false because it’s our conclusion.
  3. In that case ‘A’ must be false because “if A, then B” is assumed to be true, and ‘B’ is assumed to be false. (Consider the statement, “If dogs are mammals, then dogs are animals.” If we find out that dogs aren’t animals, then they can’t be mammals. If the second part of a conditional statement is false, then the first part must be false.)
  4. Therefore, ‘A’ is true and false. That’s a contradiction.
  5. The assumption that the argument is has true premises and a false conclusion leads to a contradiction.
  6. Therefore, the argument form can’t be invalid.
  7. Therefore, the argument must be valid.
Example 2
  1. If all dogs are mammals, then all dogs are animals.
  2. All dogs are animals.
  3. Therefore, all dogs are mammals.
Although the premises and conclusion are true, the argument form is invalid. The argument form is the following:
  1. If A, then B.
  2. B.
  3. Therefore, A.
We can then replace the variables to create a counterexample that uses this argument form with true premises and a false conclusion. The variables will be replaced with the following statements:
A: All dogs are reptiles.
B: All dogs are mammals.
This leads to the following counterexample:
  1. If all dogs are reptiles, then all dogs are animals.
  2. All dogs are animals.
  3. Therefore, all dogs are reptiles.
Both premises are true, but the conclusion is false. Therefore, the argument form must be invalid.
Example 3
  1. Either it’s wrong to indiscriminately kill people, or it’s not wrong to kill someone just because she has red hair.
  2. It’s wrong to kill someone just because she has red hair.
  3. Therefore, it’s wrong to indiscriminately kill people.
This time the premises are true, the conclusion is true, and the argument form is valid. The argument form is the following:
  1. Either A or not-B. (“Not-B” means “B is false.”)
  2. B (is true).
  3. Therefore A.
An example of a good argument with this argument form is the following:
  1. Either dogs are warm-blooded or dogs aren’t mammals.
  2. Dogs are mammals.
  3. Therefore, dogs are warm-blooded.
Let’s try to prove this argument is valid by proving it’s impossible to provide a counterexample. We can assume it’s invalid only to find out that such an assumption will lead to a contradiction.
  1. We assume the premises are true and the conclusion is false.
  2. We assume ‘A’ is false because it’s the conclusion.
  3. We assume ‘B’ is true because it’s a premise.
  4. We assume “Either A or not-B” is true.
  5. “Either A or not-B” requires that either A is true or not-B is true.
  6. We know A is false, so not-B must be true.
  7. Therefore, B and not-B are both true. That’s a contradiction.
  8. Therefore, the the assumption that the premises are true and conclusion is false leads to a contradiction.
  9. Therefore, the argument form can’t be invalid.
  10. Therefore, the argument form is valid.
Example 4
  1. Either disciplining people is always wrong or it’s not always wrong to discipline people for committing crimes.
  2. Disciplining people hurts them.
  3. Therefore, disciplining people is always wrong.
This argument is invalid, and it’s already a counterexample because the premises are true and the conclusion is false. The argument form is the following:
  1. Either A or not-B.
  2. C
  3. Therefore, B.
Another counterexample is the following:
  1. Either murder is always appropriate or it’s not always appropriate to murder people for making you angry.
  2. Murdering people hurts them.
  3. Therefore, murder is always appropriate.
Example 5
  1. It’s often good to give to charity.
  2. If it’s often good to give to charity, then the Earth is round.
  3. Therefore, the Earth is round.
This argument is logically valid, even though the premises seem to lack relevance. Logical validity doesn’t guarantee relevance.
The argument form is the following:
  1. A.
  2. If A, then B.
  3. Therefore, B.
This is basically the same argument form as the first example, so no further proof of validity is required.
Example 6
  1. The death penalty sometimes leads leads to the death of innocent people.
  2. Therefore, the death penalty sometimes leads to the death of innocent people.
This argument is circular, but it’s still logically valid. The argument structure is the following:
  1. A.
  2. Therefore, A.
We can prove the argument is valid by proving that it’s impossible to have a counterexample. Such an argument looks like the following:
  1. We must assume the premise is true and the conclusion is false.
  2. We assume ‘A’ is false because it’s the conclusion.
  3. We assume ‘A’ is true because it’s the premise.
  4. Therefore, ‘A’ is true and false.
  5. The assumption that the premise is true and conclusion is false leads to a contradiction.
  6. Therefore, the argument form can’t be invalid.
  7. Therefore, the argument form must be vaild.
Example 7
  1. Murder is always wrong.
  2. Sometimes murder isn’t wrong.
  3. Therefore, the death penalty should be illegal.
The premises contradict each other, but the argument is still valid because it’s impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion to be false at the same time. We can tell that both premises can’t be true at the same time, so it’s impossible to make a counterexample because that would require both premises to be true. The argument form looks like the following:
  1. A.
  2. Not-A
  3. Therefore, B.
We can prove this argument to be valid by showing why a counterexample can’t be given:
  1. We assume the premises are true and the conclusion is false.
  2. ‘A’ is assumed to be true.
  3. Not-A is assumed to be true.
  4. ‘B’ is assumed to be false.
  5. Therefore, ‘A’ is true and false.
  6. Therefore, the assumption that the premises are true and conclusion is false leads to a contradiction.
  7. Therefore, the argument form can’t be invalid.
  8. Therefore, the argument form must be valid.
Example 8
  1. It’s wrong to refuse to hire the most qualified applicant due to irrelevant criteria.
  2. Therefore, it’s wrong to refuse to hire the most qualified applicant due to the color of her skin.
This argument might sound like it’s valid, but it’s technically invalid with the following argument form:
  1. A.
  2. Therefore, B.
A counterexample would be the following:
  1. It’s good to help people.
  2. Therefore, it’s good to help prisoners escape from prison.
The reason why the argument might sound valid is because we have an assumption that the color of an applicant’s skin is irrelevant criteria. We could then make the argument valid using the following reasoning:
  1. It’s wrong to refuse to hire the most qualified applicant due to irrelevant criteria.
  2. If it’s wrong to refuse to hire the most qualified applicant due to irrelevant criteria, then it’s wrong to refuse to hire the most qualified applicant due to the color of her skin (because skin color is irrelevant criteria).
  3. Therefore, it’s wrong to refuse to hire the most qualified applicant due to the color of her skin.
The argument form is now:
  1. A.
  2. If A, then B.
  3. Therefore, B.
This argument form is the same as was used in example 1 and has already been proven to be valid.
Example 9
  1. We should try to keep an open mind.
  2. Therefore, either rocks exist or rocks don’t exist.
This argument has a premise that seems irrelevant to the conclusion, but it’s still logically valid because the conclusion will be true no matter what. It can’t be invalid because a counterexample requires the conclusion to be false. The argument form looks like the following:
  1. A.
  2. Therefore, B or not-B.
We can prove this argument is valid by proving that we can’t have a counterexample using the following reasoning:
  1. Let’s assume that we can develop a counterexample, so the premise is assumed to be true and the conclusion is assumed to be false.
  2. We assume ‘A’ is true because it’s a premise.
  3. We assume “B or not-B” to be false because it’s a conclusion.
  4. B or not-B is true. (If ‘B’ is false, then “B or not-B” is true. If ‘B’ is true, then “B or not-B is true.)
  5. Therefore ‘B’ is true and false.
  6. The assumption that the premise is true and conclusion is false leads to a contraction.
  7. Therefor, the argument form can’t be invalid.
  8. Therefore, the argument form is valid.
Example 10
  1. All cats are mammals.
  2. Therefore, some cats are mammals.
This argument is invalid despite the fact that it might look valid. The statement “All cats are mammals” is equivalent to “if something is a cat, then it’s a mammal” and the statement “some cats are mammals” is equivalent to “there is at least one cat and it’s a mammal.” We can then reveal the logical structure as the following:
  1. If X exists then it’s a Y.
  2. Therefore, an X exists and it’s a Y.
The problem here is that it’s the existential fallacy—we can’t assume that something exists in a conclusion when no premise claims something to exist. In this case we can’t assume a cat exists just because all cats are mammals. A counterexample could be the following:
  1. If you are found guilty for killing everyone on Earth in a court of law, then you will go to prison.
  2. Therefore, someone was found guilty for killing everyone on Earth in a court of law, and that person went to prison.
The main difference between these two arguments is that we know that cats exist. That’s the hidden premise that can be used to fix the argument:
  1. If something is a cat, then it’s a mammal.
  2. A cat exists right now.
  3. Therefore, a cat exists and it’s a mammal.
(Updated 11/24/2013)