What Is A Warrant In Writing? (Explained + 20 Examples)

Ever wondered how writers make their claims stick?

That’s where warrants come in, bridging the gap between evidence and conclusion.

What is a warrant in writing?

A warrant in writing connects a claim to evidence, serving as the underlying logic, ethical principle, or emotional appeal that makes an argument persuasive. It’s the bridge that ensures an argument’s coherence and strength.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about warrants in writing.

What Is a Warrant in Writing (Long Explanation)?

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Bridge connecting evidence and claims in writing, symbolizing clarity -- What Is a Warrant in Writing
I made this image with AI — What Is a Warrant in Writing?

When we talk about a warrant in writing, we’re diving into the backbone of persuasive and argumentative writing.

It’s not the flashy evidence or the bold claim that gets the spotlight.

Rather, it’s the unsung hero that connects the two, ensuring your argument stands strong and coherent.

Through trial and error, I’ve learned that a well-crafted warrant can turn a skeptical reader into a believer, highlighting the nuanced art of persuasion that goes beyond mere facts.

Imagine you’re building a bridge.

Your claim is on one side, your evidence on the other, and the warrant is what lies beneath, holding it all together.

It answers the silent question of “Why does this evidence support my claim?” without which your argument might just fall into the water.

Warrants are based on logic, ethics, or emotions, tailored to your audience’s beliefs and values.

They’re not always explicitly stated but are crucial for the argument’s acceptability.

Think of them as the glue that binds your argument, making it not just a collection of statements but a coherent, persuasive message.

Types of Warrants in Writing (10 Types)

Warrants come in various forms, each serving a unique purpose in strengthening your argument.

Let’s explore the ten types of warrants that can transform your writing:

  1. Logical Warrants – These are grounded in logic, appealing to the reader’s sense of reason.
  2. Ethical Warrants – These appeal to the reader’s sense of morality and ethics.
  3. Emotional Warrants – Aimed at stirring the reader’s emotions.
  4. Authoritative Warrants – Rely on the credibility of the source or author.
  5. Analogical Warrants – Use analogies to draw parallels between concepts.
  6. Causal Warrants – Establish a cause-effect relationship.
  7. Generalization Warrants – Apply a general principle to a specific case.
  8. Sign Warrants – Use signs or indicators as evidence for the claim.
  9. Analogy Warrants – Similar to analogical but often use metaphors or similes for comparison.
  10. Statistical Warrants – Use statistics and numerical data to support the claim.

Understanding these types is crucial for effectively incorporating warrants into your writing, ensuring your arguments are not only heard but resonate with your audience.

20 Examples of Warrants in Writing

Before we dive into the examples, it’s essential to grasp the significance of each warrant type.

By understanding and applying these warrants, you can enhance the persuasiveness of your writing, making your arguments more compelling and impactful.

Logical Warrants: The Bridge of Reason

Imagine arguing that a well-balanced diet improves academic performance.

The logical warrant here connects the nutritional benefits of a balanced diet to enhanced brain function and, consequently, better academic outcomes.

It’s the reasoning that if your body gets the right nutrients, your brain operates more efficiently.

And that leads to improved academic performance.

Ethical Warrants: The Moral Compass

Consider the claim that companies should adopt more sustainable practices.

The ethical warrant appeals to the moral obligation of preserving the environment for future generations.

It’s the understanding that, as stewards of the planet, companies have a moral duty to minimize environmental harm, making the argument not just logical but morally compelling.

Emotional Warrants: The Heart’s Argument

Take the argument that animal shelters should receive more funding.

The emotional warrant plays on the audience’s compassion for animals, linking the plight of shelter animals to the emotional response of the audience.

It’s the heart-tugging connection that motivates action, not just through logic but through feeling.

Authoritative Warrants: The Voice of Credibility

Arguing that vaccinations are safe and effective might draw on authoritative warrants.

This warrant relies on the credibility of medical institutions and experts, asserting that if trusted sources endorse vaccinations, they must be safe and beneficial.

It’s the trust in authority that bolsters the argument’s weight.

Analogical Warrants: Connecting Dots with Similarity

If arguing for the importance of cybersecurity measures in small businesses, you might use an analogical warrant comparing cyber threats to burglaries.

This analogy highlights the necessity of protective measures, both physical and digital, to safeguard valuable assets.

Analogical warrants make the argument relatable and understandable.

Causal Warrants: Cause and Effect

In arguing that excessive screen time leads to poor sleep patterns, the causal warrant establishes a cause-effect relationship between screen time and sleep quality.

It’s the logical link that prolonged exposure to screens before bedtime disrupts sleep.

Casual warrants ground the argument in a cause-and-effect reality.

Generalization Warrants: The Broad Stroke

When claiming that reading enhances empathy, a generalization warrant might apply the broad principle that exposure to diverse perspectives through literature broadens one’s understanding and acceptance of different life experiences.

This warrant generalizes the benefit of reading to a wider application.

It suggests that engaging with a variety of characters and stories inherently fosters empathy among readers.

Sign Warrants: Reading the Signs

Consider the argument that a thriving local arts scene indicates a city’s economic health.

The sign warrant here uses the vibrancy of the arts community as an indicator or sign of broader economic prosperity.

It’s the interpretation of thriving cultural initiatives as evidence of sufficient disposable income and investment in community well-being, linking cultural vibrancy to economic health.

Analogy Warrants: Seeing in a New Light

In advocating for renewable energy sources, an analogy warrant might compare the transition from fossil fuels to renewables to upgrading from an old, inefficient car to a modern, fuel-efficient model.

This analogy makes the concept more accessible and relatable.

Analogy warrants illustrate the benefits of modernization and efficiency in energy sources through a familiar scenario.

Statistical Warrants: The Power of Numbers

This warrant leans on numerical data to substantiate the claim.

Arguing for the effectiveness of a new teaching method, a statistical warrant could highlight improved test scores in classes where the method was implemented.

These warrants offers concrete evidence that the new teaching approach leads to better academic outcomes.

Generalization Warrants: The Universal Principle

The warrant suggests that the benefits observed in the past are likely to recur under similar systems.

When arguing that democracy is the most effective form of government, a generalization warrant might draw from historical examples where democratic systems led to prosperous and stable societies.

This warrant applies the broad principle that, given the success of democracy across various contexts and times, it can be considered the best form of governance.

It’s a leap from specific historical instances to a universal conclusion.

Sign Warrants: The Indicator

In the debate over economic policies, one might claim that low unemployment rates signal a healthy economy.

The sign warrant here interprets low unemployment as an indicator of economic strength, suggesting that when more people are employed, it reflects well on the economic policies in place.

This warrant relies on the observable condition (employment rates) as a sign of broader economic health.

It makes a case for the effectiveness of current policies.

Analogy Warrants: Visual Metaphors

Advocating for regular breaks from digital devices, an analogy warrant could compare digital consumption to eating junk food.

For example, just as the latter requires moderation to maintain physical health, the former needs limits to preserve mental well-being.

This analogy helps audiences understand the concept of digital detox by relating it to a familiar practice of dietary moderation, enhancing the argument’s relatability and persuasiveness.

Statistical Warrants: Facts and Figures

This approach uses hard numbers to demonstrate the direct consequences of inaction.

Presenting an argument for urgent action on climate change, a statistical warrant might utilize data showing rising global temperatures and increasing frequency of natural disasters.

It aims to convince skeptics through undeniable evidence that climate change is not only real but also an immediate threat.

Logical Warrants: Deductive Reasoning

This warrant connects the dots between individual immunization and community health benefits.

In discussions about public health, arguing that vaccinations prevent widespread outbreaks relies on the logical warrant that vaccines build herd immunity, making it harder for diseases to spread.

Logical warrants employ deductive reasoning to make a case for widespread vaccination programs.

Ethical Warrants: The Right Thing to Do

Arguing for equal access to education, the ethical warrant might stem from the belief that education is a fundamental human right.

This warrant appeals to the sense of fairness and justice, positing that denying anyone access to education is morally wrong.

It’s an argument built on the ethical principle that equality in education is not just beneficial but a moral imperative.

Emotional Warrants: Pathos in Play

When making a case for conservation efforts, an emotional warrant could highlight the plight of endangered species facing extinction.

By evoking empathy for these animals, the warrant seeks to motivate action based on emotional response.

You can leverage the power of pathos to make the argument for conservation not just logical but emotionally compelling.

In my own writing, I’ve discovered that the most compelling arguments are those where the warrant is implicitly understood, yet powerfully resonant with the audience’s core beliefs.

Authoritative Warrants: Expert Endorsements

In advocating for a new health guideline, using authoritative warrants involves citing recommendations from health organizations or experts.

This type of warrant leans on the credibility and expertise of authorities in the field.

The warrant suggests that if such entities endorse a guideline, it is based on solid research and should be followed.

It’s an appeal to authority that lends weight to the argument through expert endorsement.

Causal Warrants: Tracing Effects to Causes

Arguing that social media can result in more loneliness and isolation, a causal warrant examines the effect (loneliness) and traces it back to its cause (social media usage).

This warrant establishes a direct link between the cause and effect.

Casual warrants offer a logical explanation for how too much social media exposure can disrupt and decrease your mental health.

Analogical Warrants: Bridging Concepts

In discussions about governance and policy, comparing the state to a ship and its government to the crew provides an analogical warrant that governance requires cooperation and direction, much like navigating a ship.

This analogy helps illustrate the complexity of governance and the importance of unified direction and teamwork.

Analogical warrants make the argument more accessible and understandable through the comparison.

Here is a good video about warrants in writing:

YouTube Video by The Nature of Writing – What Is a Warrant in Writing?

Final Thoughts: What Is a Warrant in Writing?

Understanding warrants is key to unlocking the full potential of your arguments.

Reflecting on my writing journey, I’ve come to appreciate that mastering the use of warrants is akin to fine-tuning a musical instrument—it’s delicate, requires practice, and when done right, makes your argument sing.

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