English 101

Ways to Deal with Assumptions

Assumptions are essential to all arguments. However, sometimes after examining your assumptions closely, you find you want to make a change. Here are four ways to deal with assumptions in an essay.

  1. Leave them as they are
  2. After looking at your assumptions you may decide they’re fine the way they are. But you can be more confident about this choice if you’ve taken the time to examine them and consider the alternatives.

  3. Explain them in more detail (make them explicit)
  4. You may feel that it’s ok to assume a certain point, but that your paper would be clearer and your reader more likely to agree if you spell it out in detail, though without evidence.

  5. Offer evidence (convert them into supported claims)
  6. Perhaps you suspect that your reader may not accept one of your assumptions without proof. You can convert it into a supported claim by trying to prove it—adding evidence, in other words.

  7. Change them (revise the larger claim)
  8. Sometimes after examining an assumption, and maybe trying to prove it, you decide that it just doesn’t hold up—in other words, you decide you do not believe it after all. In this case you will need to revise the assumption, and probably the larger claim it helps to prove, whether a sub-point or main point or the thesis itself.