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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

Chapter 9 - Language, Style, and Presentation


Except for the realms of symbolic logic and mathematics, where content-free symbols are often employed, argumentation usually is expressed in language. In fact, arguments typically cannot be separated from the language in which they are cast. This means that language is not just “added on” to an argument for ornamentation, but is an intrinsic part of the argument’s substance, shaping what the argument “means” to people and how they will respond to it. But language is inexact. Its meanings and uses cannot be fixed with precision, and it does not completely match the thinking of either arguer or audience. Understanding how language works is a critical aspect of knowing how an argument will proceed.