Writing an Argumentative Essay Counter-Arguments Objectives

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Writing an Argumentative Essay

  • Counter-Arguments


  • By the end of today’s lesson you will be able to:
  • Make a counter-argument to a view that has been expressed, addressing weaknesses in the argument and offering alternatives.
  • Planning Your Argumentative Essay
  • 1. Clearly state your position. What do you believe about the issue? What are your reasons for believing that way?
  • 2. Consider your audience. What do your readers know about the issue? What are their opinions on it?
  • 3. Gather support for your arguments. Where will you find the information you need? What facts, statistics, examples, anecdotes (personal short story), and quotations support your position? Which evidence is strongest? What support might people who object to your position present? How can you answer those objections?

COUNTER-ARGUMENT Address the opposing viewpoint

  • Every controversial issue has two sides.
  • Once you can support your position with research, you need to explore what others think.


  • Look at the three main reasons for your opinion.
  • What objections would others have to each of your reasons?
  • Write these down under each of your reasons. Now you have three arguments and three counter-arguments.

Steps To Identifying A Counter-Argument

  • What is this argument saying?
  • What are some common things people say against this topic?
  • Who is saying this?

What is an argument?

  • Definition- Presenting and supporting a claim, but also mentioning the opposite opinion


  • Think of your target audience..who are you trying to convince of your position?
  • Think of what your audience would say about YOUR position…remember they are speaking AGAINST what your opinion is!

What is a counter argument?

  • Definition- The opposing view on a topic. The opinion of a person who might argue with you.

The Turn Against..Possible Phrases

  • “One might object here that….”
  • “It’s true that…”
  • “Admittedly…”
  • “One might realize that…”
  • “One could understand you might feel differently about…”
  • “I am aware of….”
  • “Many people may think….”

Counter Argument Example: Bear Hunt

  • Thesis/Claim: The recent Florida bear hunt was an unnecessary measure to reduce the bear population. (My opinion)
  • I realize that the bear population has increased and bears have become a nuisance to populated, residential areas in NJ.”


  • Return to your own argument/opinion
  • Within the same paragraph as the Turn Against
  • Use careful reasoning
  • Show why the opposition is mistaken
  • Acknowledge that the opposing argument is valid, but suggest why it’s less important than your thesis/opinion

The Turn Back Possible Transition Words/Phrases

  • …but
  • …yet
  • …however
  • …nevertheless
  • …still
  • …but I believe
  • …the facts state
  • …I urge you to
  • Even though,

Example of Counter argument with Turn Against and Turn Back

  • Thesis: The recent Florida bear hunt was an unnecessary measure to reduce the bear population.
  • Counter argument with Turn Against and Turn Back:
  • I realize that the bear population has increased and bears have become a nuisance to populated, residential areas in Florida, however, slaughtering hundreds of bears for sport is an act of animal cruelty. Other humane measures such as proper waste disposal would be more effective.”

What’s your counter argument?

  • Schools would be better if we brought back the cane as pupils would be afraid to misbehave…
  • Argument:
  • Counter-argument?
  • However, if schools used violence as a punishment, pupils may come to believe that violence is an acceptable way of behaving and therefore become more violent themselves
  • Argument
  • Mobile phones are a waste of money since landlines are much cheaper
  • Counter-argument
  • Argument
  • Smoking should be banned in all public places because passive smoking damages other people
  • Counter-argument
  • Argument
  • There should be a law to make people recycle bottles and cans in order to cut down on the waste we produce
  • Counter-argument
  • Argument
  • People should be allowed to download as much music as they want from the internet because CDs are overpriced
  • Counter-argument
  • Argument
  • Counter-argument

When you counter argue..

  • You consider a possible argument AGAINST your thesis/opinion
  • You first TURN AGAINST your own opinion
  • You then RETURN to your own argument to defend it
  • This all occurs within the same paragraph

Where should your counter arguments go in your essay?

  • They need to go in your body paragraphs.
  • You can start your body paragraphs with the counter argument or include it with your reasons and evidence.
  • OR
  • You can add a separate paragraph that address the opposing viewpoint.
  • If you have a separate paragraph, your essay will be 6 paragraphs.
  • I suggest you include the counter argument/ address the opposing viewpoint in each body paragraph.

Common Mistakes

  • Some common mistakes when refuting include:
  • Stating an opposing argument without saying why it is less effective.
  • Being too general, like “…and that argument is less effective because it is wrong.”
  • Refuting an argument other than the one you have stated in your essay.

Why Counter-arguments?

  • Addressing the claims of the opposition is an important component in building a convincing argument.
  • It demonstrates your credibility as a writer—you have researched multiple sides of the argument and have come to an informed decision.
  • It shows you have considered other points of view - that other points of view are valid and reasonable.

Why Counter-arguments?

  • Consider your audience when you offer your counterargument:
  • Conceding to some of your opposition’s concerns can demonstrate respect for their opinions.
  • Using rude or deprecating language can cause your audience to reject your position. Remain tactful yet firm.

Cite your Evidence!!!

  • Researched material can aid you in proving the claims of your argument and disproving oppositional claims.
  • Be sure to use your research to support the claims made in your topic sentences—make your research work to prove your argument.

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