Using Proverbs as Persuasive Writing Topics

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Once students have been taught the basic ‘writing persuasively formula’, they need lots of practice applying the formula. Proverbs can provide a useful source of topics and at the same time help students develop an in depth understanding of the proverb.

1. Choose a proverb: Too many cooks spoil the broth.

2. Discuss the meaning: The more people who are involved in an activity, the more likely it is to fail.

Perhaps consider the origin:

3. Decide if agree or disagree and develop arguments (3 supporting arguments and 1 alternate argument)

Example arguments agreeing with the proverb

  • People get in each other’s way
  • Everyone has their own ideas and there is no consensus
  • It takes longer and costs more

Example arguments disagreeing with the proverb

  • Everyone contributes unique ideas making a better product
  • Job gets done quickly
  • Job is done better – everyone works on their area of expertise

4. Write the essay

Example Introduction

Too many cooks spoil the broth is an old proverb. It means that if too many people are involved in an activity, it is likely to fail. I don’t believe that too many cooks spoil the broth. Having multiple people means everyone contributes unique ideas, the job is finished quickly and it is completed to a higher standard. However, if you have too many people they might get in each other’s way.

Example Body Paragraph

Too many cooks don’t spoil the broth because each person brings unique ideas to the job. All of the different ideas result in a better finished product which works effectively and has few weaknesses. Last year, all my family worked together to cater for a party of 100 people to celebrate my mother’s 50th birthday. Everyone contributed their favourite recipes resulting in a delicious buffet with many different types of food. If only a few people had been involved, the food would not have been prepared on time and there would have been less variety.