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Supporting Materials (Hypothetical Example)

Weather brief or extended, example can be either factual or hypothetical. All the example presented up to now have been factual; the incidents they refer to really happened. Sometimes, however, speakers will use a hypothetical example-one that describes an imaginary situation. Usually such examples are brief stories that relate a general principle.

An example that describes an imaginary or fictitious situation is say Hypothetical Example.

Here is how one student used a Hypothetical Example to illustrate the need for college student to protect themselves against crime.

You’re tried; you’re hungry. You’ve just spent a long day at College Library and you can’t wait to get back to your room. Glancing outside, you remember how quickly it becomes dark. You don’t think much of it, though, as you bundle up and head out into the gusty wind. Not until you spy the shadows on the sidewalk or hear the leaves rusting beside you do you wish you weren’t alone. You walk quickly, trying to stop your imagination from thinking of murderers and rapists. Only when you are safely inside your room do you relax and try to stop your heart from pounding out of your chest.

Can you remember a time when you felt this way? I would be surprised if you never have. The FBI reported last year that there were three murders, approximately 430 aggravated assaults, 1,400 burglaries, and 80 raps here in Madison alone. And while there statistics are quite alarming, they don’t compare to the numbers of larger metropolitan areas.

This Hypothetical Example is particularly effective. The speaker creates a realistic scenario, relates it directly to her listeners, and gets them involved in the speech. In addition, she uses figures from the FBI to show that the scenario could really happen to any of her classmates. Whenever you use a Hypothetical Example, it is a good idea to follow it with statistics or testimony to show that the example is not far-fetched.


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