Quick Write


Titles as Metacommentary

Chapter 10 (“But Don’t Get Me Wrong”: The Art of Metacommentary)

Metacommentary is “a way of commenting on your claims and telling others how – and how not – to think about them” (129). Metacommentary is telling the audience how to interpret what has been said. They aid the reader by helping them understand why you are saying what you are saying. They prevent readers from getting confused and lead to a more developed paper.

How can we use titles to tell the readers about your paper?

Let’s look at some examples.

Casso “Worth the Lie”

Take 10-15 minutes to review the article. Work in groups of 2 or 3.

What is Casso’s argument?

How does Casso support the argument he is making? Find examples of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Lance Armstrong crossing the finish line to win the 17th stage of the 2004 Tour de France.CreditCreditWolfgang Rattay/Reuters


  1. Sort of cost-benefit analysis
  2. Measuring praise and blame
  3. Making the weaker argument the stronger one, playing devil’s advocate

Group Presentation

Take 10 minutes to plan your presentation.

Solution Argument Examples

One example of a solution argument essay that we have previously discussed in this class is “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Adichie.

To quote a CNN article on the Danger of a Single Story:

Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie believes in the power of stories, and warns that hearing only one about a people or nation leads to ignorance. She says the truth is revealed by many tales.

She illustrates this with a story about coming to the United States, as a middle-class daughter of a professor and an administrator, and meeting her college roommate. Adichie says that her roommate’s “default position toward me, as an African, was a kind of patronizing, well-meaning, pity. My roommate had a single story of Africa. A single story of catastrophe.”

Adichie also tells how growing up in Nigeria reading only American and English children’s books made her deaf to her authentic voice. As a child, she wrote about such things as blue-eyed white children eating apples, thinking brown skin and mangos had no place in literature. That changed as she discovered African writers, particularly the Nigerian Chinua Achebe.

This is a great quote that highlights some of the moves we need to do in our article. It summarizes her topic, problem she is addressing, and solution; including examples she uses.

Topic: Many people do not realize that they are getting only one story. A single story is incomplete and she says dangerous.

Problem: Having a single story about an issue or group of people leads to stereotypes and incomplete information.

Solution: To look for multiple stories of whatever issue or topic you are hearing. She recommends we get our news and stories from multiple perspectives.

Reasons and evidence: She gives examples from her personal life to highlight that she has a personal connection.

Background: She gives background information, citing quotes and examples that place her issue in a historical context. She also uses current examples to place the issue in a contemporary context.


Who do you think her audience is?

What do they value?

Does she address those values?

Sample Essays

Clicking Originality Away: Social Media’s Effect On Young Female’s Self Esteem

Papers Please! The Illegal Immigration Problem

Creating Structure

Structure is very important to making an argument. It needs to be deliberate and well organized. You cannot come across as being all over the place. An argument needs order in order for the audience to follow along.

Here is one possible outline to use to build your paper:

  1. Position (thesis)
  2. Background
  3. Reason with evidence
  4. Reason with evidence
  5. Reason with evidence
  6. Reason with evidence
  7. Counterargument with refutation
  8. Conclusion with so what question addressing audience