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Arts & Letters Daily

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Essay: Justification

Justification

Justification

      Dr. Otto

YouTube Tutorial – click HERE
Text for Tutorial  – click HERE
Sample – scroll down to Sample
Assignment – scroll down to Assignment
Answer Key – scroll down to Answer Key
Practice oral English – click HERE
ASK DR. OTTO – click HERE

Notes

 

Readers are quick to ask the question ‘Is that the right thing to do?’ when a writer advocates a particular course of action. They probably mean ‘fair’ when they use the word ‘right’ because they probably want answers to a number of questions and not only the question ‘Is that the right thing to do?’ before they are prepared to agree with the writer. First, they want to know whether the action is right because it is someone’s duty to do. Second, they want to know whether the action honours the rights of people. Thirdly, they want to know whether the action is done from a motive or commitment to do the right thing. Finally, they want to know whether someone deserves punishment or reward as a consequence of the action taken. This is a tall order that writers must meet when they advocate a particular course of action.

These are difficult questions to answer and readers know that. Readers look for different ways of resolving ‘right and wrong’ issues and writers need to declare which way they have used to resolve these kinds of issues.

Justification raises the question, “What is the fair thing to do?” A response to this question should address the following issues:

  • Duty – doing what is right because it is the right thing to do
  • Rights -having a right to something
  • Motives – acting from a desire to do what is right
  • Desert – deserving punishment of a reward

Sample

Climate Change

In 1988, scientists from 29 countries declared that the threat of climate change was quite real. Consequently, some governments felt obligated to consider policies that address this issue. They recognized that this meant taking steps to control greenhouse gas emissions which, in turn, meant finding ways of reducing the burning of fossil fuels. These governments faced the challenge of weighing industry’s right to produce consumer goods and people’s right to clean air. What action should these governments take to do what is right?


If the governments enact legislation which constrains industry’s ability to produce consumer goods in cost effectives ways, do they deserve compensation for increased production costs? The governments which decided to pursue policies that address the consequences of climate change soon realized the dilemmas they faced. Now they had to determine how they would resolve the dilemmas. Are there any precedents that could shed light on these dilemmas? How might they deal with any universal consequences of their policies? These and many more questions face countries which want to address climate change.

Justification

  • Duty – doing what is the right thing to do

governments felt obligated to consider policies that address this issue

  • Rights – having a right to something

industry’s right to produce consumer goods and people’s right to clean air

  • Motive – acting from a desire to do what is right

What action should these governments take to do what is right?

  • Deserts – deserving punishment or reward

If the governments enact legislation which constrains industry’s ability to produce consumer goods in cost effectives ways, do they deserve compensation for increased production costs?

Assignment

Assignment: Justification

Read the following essay and identify the justification presented in the essay.

Girl Baffles Teacher with SMS Essay

An English essay written by a teenager in text messaging short-hand has re-ignited concern among teachers and parents that literacy standards are under threat. I think they have a point because students have a right to a sound education.

A 13-year-old wrote the following essay:

“My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 : kids FTF. ILNY, it’s a gr8 plc.”

The teenager’s teacher, who could not decipher what the youngster had written, protested to the media by saying, “I could not believe what I was seeing. The page was riddled with hieroglyphics, many of which I simply could not translate.”

The teenager’s essay has triggered a sense of frustration in many teachers and parents, myself included. This example of an essay confirms our suspicion that the use of proper English grammar has been on the decline for years. Some of us attribute the decline to the text-messaging craze reflected in the 13-year-old student’s essay.

We should get back to teaching conventional grammar and writing skills. What could be more basic? Students deserve no less.

Frustrated Parent

P.S. Need a translation of the teenager’s essay?

My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It’s a great place.

Justification

  • Duty – doing what is the right thing to do

_______________________________________________________________________

  1. Rights – having a right to something

_______________________________________________________________________

  • Motive – acting from a desire to do what is right

_______________________________________________________________________

  • Deserts – deserving punishment or reward

_______________________________________________________________________

Assignment

Writing Assignment: Justifying a position

Write a paragraph in which you justify your position on a topic of your choice by addressing the issues related to duties, rights, motives and deserts in your argument. Submit it to your instructor or tutor for feedback on grammar and justifying a position. Then edit your paragraph based on the feedback you received.

Complete the template for  Justification on your paragraph.

Justification

  • Duty – doing what is the right thing to do

_______________________________________________________________________

  • Rights – having a right to something

_______________________________________________________________________

  • Motive – acting from a desire to do what is right

_______________________________________________________________________

  • Deserts – deserving punishment or reward

_______________________________________________________________________

Answer Key

Justification – Girl Baffles Teacher with SMS Essay – page 43

 

  • Duty – doing what is the right thing to do

We should get back to teaching conventional grammar and writing skills

  • Rights – having a right to something

students have a right to a sound education

  • Motive – acting from a desire to do what is right

What could be more basic?

  • Deserts – deserving punishment or reward

Students deserve no less.