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Understanding Argument - Claim - Premise - Proof

Overview of an Argument

What is an Argument?

An argument is a structured series of statements designed to persuade someone that a particular claim is true. An argument consists of premises that support a conclusion. The premises provide reasons or evidence, and the conclusion is the main claim that the argument seeks to establish.

Building Blocks of an Argument:

  1. Main Claim (Conclusion): The primary assertion or proposition that the argument aims to prove.
  2. Supporting Claims (Premises): Statements that provide reasons or evidence to support the main claim.
  3. Proofs: Evidence or logical reasoning provided to substantiate the supporting claims (premises).

Examples of Arguments

Example 1: Homework Should Be Banned in Schools

  • Main Claim (Conclusion): Homework should be banned in schools.
  • Supporting Claim 1 (Premise): Excessive homework can lead to student burnout and stress.
    • Proof for Premise 1: Research indicates that students with high homework loads report higher levels of stress and burnout.
  • Supporting Claim 2 (Premise): Homework often reduces the time students have for extracurricular activities and family interaction.
    • Proof for Premise 2: Studies show that students with less homework participate more in extracurricular activities and spend more quality time with family.

Example 2: Public Transportation Should Be Free for All Citizens

  • Main Claim (Conclusion): Public transportation should be free for all citizens.
  • Supporting Claim 1 (Premise): Free public transportation can reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
    • Proof for Premise 1: Studies show that cities with free public transportation have lower traffic congestion and reduced pollution levels.
  • Supporting Claim 2 (Premise): Making public transportation free ensures that everyone, regardless of income, has access to mobility.
    • Proof for Premise 2: Data indicates that public transportation usage increases significantly when it is free, especially among low-income populations.

Example 3: Exercise Improves Mental Health

  • Main Claim (Conclusion): Exercise improves mental health.
  • Supporting Claim 1 (Premise): Regular physical activity increases the production of endorphins, which are known to improve mood.
    • Proof for Premise 1: Scientific studies show that endorphin levels rise after exercise, leading to better mood and reduced symptoms of depression.
  • Supporting Claim 2 (Premise): Exercise reduces stress levels by lowering the body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol.
    • Proof for Premise 2: Research indicates that people who exercise regularly have lower cortisol levels during stressful situations compared to those who do not exercise.


An argument is a reasoned attempt to persuade by presenting supporting claims (premises) backed by evidence or reasoning (proofs) to justify a main claim (conclusion). Understanding the structure and components of arguments helps in analyzing and constructing persuasive communication.

Great distilled summary by Fi

  • Main Claim (Conclusion): This is the primary assertion we want to prove. It’s what we start with as our goal.
  • Supporting Claims (Premises): These are reasons or evidence that support our main claim.
  • Proofs (Evidence): These include data, research, and logical reasoning that substantiate our supporting claims.
  • Argument: This is the entire structure combining the main claim, supporting claims, and proofs.


  • Source ChatGPT conversation
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