To understand an argument, it is useful to put it into standard form.this is done simply by writing down the numbered prem- ises, drawing a line, adding “ ” followed by the conclusion, and indicating which premises are supposed to be reasons for the conclusion. That is all we write down in standard form, but there is often a lot more in the passage that includes the argument. It is not uncommon for the stated argument to stretch over several pages, whereas the basic argument has only a few prem- ises and a single conclusion.

One reason for this is that people often go off on tangents. They start to argue for one claim, but that reminds them of something else, so they talk about that for a while; then they finally return to their original topic. One ex- ample occurred during the Republican presidential candidates’ debate on October 9, 2007, when Governor Mitt Romney said,

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

. . . We’re also going to have to get serious about treating Ahmadinejad [the President of Iran] like the rogue and buffoon that he is. And it was outrageous for the United Nations to invite him to come to this country. It was outrageous for Columbia to invite him to speak at their university. This is a person who denied the Holocaust, a person who has spoken about genocide, is seeking the means to carry it out. And it is unacceptable to this country to allow that individ- ual to have control of launching a nuclear weapon. And so we will take the action necessary to keep that from happening . . .


and taste our undisputed quality.