The Argumentative Essay Introducing: Argument, the Counterclaim and Rebuttal What is an Argumentative Essay?

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The Argumentative Essay

What is an Argumentative Essay?

  • The purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to accept—or seriously consider--your opinion on a controversial issue
  • Has three main parts: Claim/Argument/Thesis, Counter Claim, Rebuttal

Consider your Audience

  • Whom are you trying to reach?
  • What do they already know about your topic?
  • What is your relationship with your audience and how does it impact your word choice and tone?



The Opposing Side

  • Ask these questions:
  • 1. Who might disagree with my position? Why?
  • 2. What reasons do people have for disagreeing with me?
  • 3. What evidence would support an opposing argument?

Counter Claim

  • Key phrases to use:
  • One might object that...
  • It might seem that...
  • It's true that...
  • Admittedly...
  • Of course...

REBUTTAL: arguing against opposition

  • Key Phrases to use:
  • but
  • yet
  • however
  • nonetheless
  • still


  • CLAIM: “More Americans are choosing low-carb diets because the media promotes low-carb diets as the new way to a skinnier body.”
  • COUNTER CLAIM: “Some Americans don't watch television commercials because they own a DVR or Tivo, but most Americans are exposed to other forms of advertisement in magazines, newspapers, and highway billboards.

Be Cautious!

An Example from the news

  • If my chosen theme was supporting the total ban of sale of tobacco products in Westminster, Massachusetts, what would be a potential counter claim for my paper?

In our papers

  • If I am arguing that the cost of a college education is not justified given today’s job market, what might the counterclaim be?

In our papers

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