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1.5 Use Sentences

When argument mapping, boxes should contain full, grammatical, declarative sentences


Use complete sentences, not words or phrases:



Use declarative sentences, not other kinds of sentences such as questions:




It is very tempting to just use a word or simple phrase instead of a full grammatical sentence.  This saves effort and space, and you feel as if you have the complete claim in your mind; all you need is a few words to indicate what claim belongs in that place.

However this is wrong.  Reasoning is made up of claims, and you can't properly express a claim in anything less than a full grammatical sentence.  Using a word or phrase creates a number of problems:

Generally, using words or phrases rather than full sentences is sloppy thinking.

A declarative sentence is one which states a proposition which can be true or false.  Some kinds of sentences are not declarative; for example, questions don't state propositions.  Reasoning is a matter of the logical or evidential relationships among propositions, so you should always be using declarative sentences to express reasoning.

New Concepts

A declarative sentence is one which states an idea which can be true or false.

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