Inventing and Organizing Arguments or Essays
Sometimes, it is difficult to figure out where to go with your argument. Aristotle in the Ars Rhetorica listed several inventio or “invention techniques.” (The word comes from invenire, a Latin verb meaning “to discover” or “to come upon.”) These techniques can help a writer generate ideas while brainstorming. Frequently, these tools can help students think about an issue and possibly develop individual paragraphs. Be warned that these techniques are not a panacea. Some work better than others in specific essays and arguments. For instance, when discussing whether or not healthcare should cover myofascial massage, it may be important to define what exactly a myofascial massage is, and how particular HMOs categorize it. The reader probably doesn’t know that material. On the other hand, when writing an essay on automobiles, the reader probably doesn’t need the word “car” defined. Use your best judgement concerning when to use each technique, or ask a peer what he or she thinks.Click here to see some examples online.
- Click here for a handy inventio table.
- Click here for an inventio exercise online.
- Click here to download a PDF handout of this material.