The Humble Argument (1e, 2010)

Avoiding the technical jargon for which English professors are known and admired, this down-to-earth textbook:

The Humble Essay by Roy K. Humble, front cover

  • Introduces the college essay and explains how it differs from the report, reflection paper, persuasive paper, and five-paragraph trainer-essay.
  • Guides students through the process of researching and developing their own thoughtful arguments.
  • Shows students how to present their arguments within the conventions of effective college writing.

The Humble Argument presents argumentative writing in everyday language so non-majors are more likely to understand these ideas and then put them to good use.

Table of Contents

Introduction: About This Book — Read It!

Part One: Introducing the College Essay

Chapter 1: The College Essay Is an Argument — Read It!

  • A Brief Introduction to Argument
  • What the College Essay Is Not
  • The College Essay Is Hard Work

Chapter 2: The College Essay Is a Process

  • Start Thinking for Yourself
  • Don’t Be a Knucklehead
  • How to Write the College Essay
  • The Writing Process for You

Part Two: Developing Your Argument

Chapter 3: Ask a Good Question

  • Find a Question that Matters
  • Make Sure Your Question Is a Question
  • The Key to Success: Ask a Smaller Question

Chapter 4: Consider the Evidence

  • Consider Credibility and Objectivity
  • Start with General Sources
  • Use Serious Popular Sources to Explore
  • Rely on Scholarly and Primary Sources
  • Avoid Lousy Evidence
  • Take Some Notes, Too

Chapter 5: Decide on the Best Answer

  • Let the Evidence Guide You
  • Formulate and Refine Your Answer
  • Find Insightful Answers

Part Three: Presenting Your Argument

Chapter 6: Plan the Body of Your Essay

  • A Brief Theory of Paragraphs
  • Use a Topic Sentence Outline
  • Organize Your Paragraphs

Chapter 7: Offer Good Evidence

  • Explain Your Answer
  • Offer Summaries to Present Your Evidence
  • Offer Detailed Evidence to Defend Your Answer
  • Give Credit to Your Sources

Chapter 8: Guide Your Readers

  • Use Topic Sentences and Transitions
  • Give Your Readers an Effective Opening
  • Give Your Readers an Effective Closing
  • Don’t Distract Your Readers

Part Four: Improving Your Argument

Chapter 9: Offer Good Reasons — Read It!

  • When You Don’t Need Reasons
  • How Reasons Work
  • Test Your Reasons
  • Avoid Bad Reasons

Chapter 10: Earn Your Credibility

  • The Key to a Successful Relationship Is You DoingAll the Work
  • Do Credible Work
  • Choose Your Words Carefully
  • Respect the Views of Others
  • Know Your Readers

Chapter 11: Make Better Arguments

  • The Classical Argument
  • The Toulmin Argument
  • The Rogerian Argument

Chapter 12: The Humble Argument

  • The Humble Essay as a Process
  • The Humble Essay as a Product
  • The Actual Meaning of “Essay”