How to Write a Counterargument


Every paper, speech and debate includes an argument, even if you are not conscious of it. You use research to prove a point, and this is an argument. Instead of restating research, you develop a position and prove it using the research you have gathered. Counterarguments recognize opposing viewpoints and research in an essay or debate. A well-rounded paper has opposing viewpoints. Strong essays always include counterarguments and use research to defuse them.

  • State your point and prove it through your research. Be clear about your main idea or argument. Prove your argument using scholarly research, such as journals and books. Completely explore the topic to prove your understanding and inform your audience of all the aspects of the argument.

  • Prove your argument. Identify every position someone could use to rebut your main idea. Find any challenges to your inferences in the paper. Choose counterarguments that stem directly from your claim. Search through the research to identify any scholarly arguments that may exist. This process tests how persuasive your work is.

  • State the first counterargument. The counterargument could be a disagreement with one part of your main point or with your entire point. Explore the counterargument fully and explain all the parts of it.

  • Search through more research for any scholarly work that disproves the counterargument and reaffirms your point. If you have found research to dispute the counterargument, explain it and make additional inferences based on that research. If you do not find anything to dispute the counterargument, concede your point here; however, prove that your point is more valuable than the counterargument. Show that yours is the better choice, using scholarly research.

  • Transition to your next counterargument, if you have one. Briefly summarize your previous point and introduce the next point.

  • Repeat Steps 2 through 4 for all the counterarguments you find.

  • Keep your audience in mind. Use the research to prove the point; don't tell the audience it is wrong. Persuade your listeners or readers to see your argument.


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