The following appeared in a memo to the board of directors of a company that specializes in the delivery of heating oil.
"Most homes in the northeastern United States, where winters are typically cold, have traditionally used oil as their major fuel for heating. Last heating season, that region experienced 90 days with below-normal temperatures, and climate forecasters predict that this weather pattern will continue for several more years. Furthermore, many new homes are being built in the region in response to recent population growth. Because of these trends, we can safely predict that this region will experience an increased demand for heating oil during the next five years."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
In the preceding statement, the author claims that the demand for heating oil will increase in the northeastern region of the United States. While it may be true that oil would be needed as the main fuel for heating, the author presents a poorly reasoned argument, based on several questionable premises and assumptions. Therefore, based solely on the evidence the author offers, we cannot accept this argument as valid.
The primary issue with the author’s reasoning lies in his unsubstantiated premise. The thesis defended is that demand for heating oil will rise because more homes will need it in order to face the low temperatures in the following winters. It is not clear, however, the validity of the premise. It is more plausible that the new houses the author mentions could have another ways of heating, like natural gas or electric ovens. Besides, the existing homes could switch to other new options since using oil as fuel is conceived dangerous. For this reason, the author’s premise, the basis of his argument, lack substantial support and render his conclusion unacceptable.
In addition, the author makes several assumptions that remain unproven. He presumes that new homes will be built in response to recent population growth, but he does not explain if this growth will persist in the next years. What if the population stops increasing in the following years? The assumption made by the author has no evidence and thus cannot strengthen his argument. Moreover, the author considers the prediction made by the forecasters to be a proven fact that temperatures will remain low for more years, although he does not provide full information about this weather projection. Therefore, these assumptions weaken the author’s argument.
Nevertheless, though the author does have several key issues in his argument’s premise and assumptions, it does not mean that the entire argument is without base. It seems counterintuitive to believe that lower temperatures and more homes would not affect the demand for heating oil.
In sum, though there are several issues with the author’s reasoning, with research and clarification, he could improve his argument significantly. If the author truly hopes to prove that the future will place more demands on oil, he would have to restructure his argument, fix the flaws in his logic and explain his assumptions. Without these things, his poorly reasoned argument will likely convince few people.
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Sentence: It is more plausible that the new houses the author mentions could have another ways of heating, like natural gas or electric ovens.
Description: A determiner/pronoun, singular is not usually followed by a noun, plural, common
Suggestion: Refer to another and ways
Attribute Value Ideal
Score: 4.5 out of 6
Category: Good Excellent
No. of Grammatical Errors: 1 2
No. of Spelling Errors: 0 2
No. of Sentences: 20 15
No. of Words: 394 350
No. of Characters: 2004 1500
No. of Different Words: 194 200
Fourth Root of Number of Words: 4.455 4.7
Average Word Length: 5.086 4.6
Word Length SD: 2.688 2.4
No. of Words greater than 5 chars: 152 100
No. of Words greater than 6 chars: 106 80
No. of Words greater than 7 chars: 74 40
No. of Words greater than 8 chars: 41 20
Use of Passive Voice (%): 0 0
Avg. Sentence Length: 19.7 21.0
Sentence Length SD: 8.032 7.5
Use of Discourse Markers (%): 0.6 0.12
Sentence-Text Coherence: 0.355 0.35
Sentence-Para Coherence: 0.541 0.50
Sentence-Sentence Coherence: 0.142 0.07
Number of Paragraphs: 5 5