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Examples as Supporting Details

Examples as Supporting Details

Author: Linda Neuman

Arguments, evidence, and direct examples are all supporting details that will help you make claims and prove your points. Supporting details strenghten the validity of thesis statements, and help persuade the reader to take interest in what you communicate. Learn valuable techniques to add meaningful supporting detalils to enhance your writing skills.

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Lead by Example

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Source: Linda Neuman

Lead By Example

When you see an ad that demonstrates how fast and easy a vacuum cleaner sucks up a big mess, you want to buy that vacuum cleaner.  You might not even need one, but watching it work so well at least has you believing it’s a great vacuum cleaner.

The same is true when you are trying to prove a point in writing. 

Examples are very strong evidence that your claim is valid.  If you can prove it with a direct example, or even better, more than one example, you’ll have your reader convinced.

Let’s say the goal of your paper is to explain why businesses should be basing all their decisions on attaining exponential growth as quickly as possible.

 Your first topic sentence will probably want to address the way exponential growth can lead to astronomical numbers very quickly.

Example:  If you put a grain of rice on one square of a chessboard, then for every square beyond it you got double the amount you had from the square before, you would end up with a pile of rice larger than Mt. Everest.

Example:  Some previously unknown Youtube videos get thousands of hits after a week on the Internet, because Facebook users can post a link for hundreds of friends to see, who can each share it with their hundreds of friends.

Both these examples clearly demonstrate the concept of exponential growth leading to huge numbers in a short time, and you’ve even included a real-life example of how we all experience it whenever a video goes viral on the Internet. 

They don't even have to be real

Examples can be made up, like the rice on the chessboard.  If you do make one up, just be sure your reader won’t find any holes in your fabricated example.  Tell it to a friend first, then ask if it was believable.  If not, ask why; is it something you can fix, or do you just need to try a different example?

Good examples that clearly demonstrate the validity of your thesis are as persuasive as the powerful vacuum cleaner.  They’re your way of saying “See?  It really works!”