Thursday, October 5, 2017


Using Counterarguments in Writing

A counterargument is an argument (point/reason/evidence/explanation) that your opponent would make.

A rebuttal is when you respond directly to your opponent’s argument/point to explain/show how/why they are wrong.

Helpful Sentence Starters for Including Counterarguments in Writing 

·      “Some people may argue…but…”
·      “A possible concern is…”
·      A common counterpoint is…”
·      “For example, they [proponents/opponents] contend that…”
·      “Those who believe… claim that …”
·      “That is an understandable concern; however…”
·      “This argument is wrong because…”
·      “Although some people think/believe… others understand…”
·      “The evidence, however, supports/disproves the argument that…”

Example #1
Many people argue that bullying is a natural part of society and that the only way to prevent the more serious effects of bullying is to punish those who do it and help the victims. But  this is only doing something after the fact, when our society should be working toward prevention. Once bullying has started to the point that it has been brought to adults’ attention, a cycle is in place that is hard to get out of. The bully feels in power and sometimes also ashamed. Sometimes there are others involved, spectators that keep the bullying going by laughing or joining in. And often the victim has internalized some of the messages they have gotten, and feels that no one can help them. 

Example #2
E-cigarettes are just as harmful to bystanders' health as regular cigarettes are.  E-cigarette proponents claim that the electronic cigarettes are not toxic to others in the smokers' vicinity because it is just water vapor that is being expelled into the air.  They emphasize the fact that there there is no tobacco or carbon monoxide being released.  Even though this is true, what the proponents fail to mention is the other harmful elements that are in the smoke.  Dr. Glantz, from Prevention magazine, states, "…there are several carcinogens that have been identified so far, and we haven't identified everything that's in these formulas."  Not only does this prove that e-cigarettes expose toxic chemicals to others, but it also shows that e-cigarettes could be even more harmful than is currently known since not all of the carcinogens have been identified.  Why risk the chance of harming others' health by allowing e-cigarettes in buildings?  We should just ban all cigarettes, electronic or not, in order to ensure the safety of innocent bystanders.  

Adapted from

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