Counter Argument Writing Tips
One of the best assignments in your students’ time is writing a counter-argument. Why you may ask? Such a task will make any student not only improve his writing skills but also his thinking. This skill will remain with you all during your life and will be very helpful for your future career. This type of assignment will help make your own arguments even stronger. You will be able to participate in any argument and prove your point of view. When you address the counter-argument in your argumentative essay, you exponentially sublimate your essay. Your writing will be more mature, academic, and developed. You show your high-level thinking when you develop the counter-argument to the toughest point of view.
It’s really essential to build a strong case and provide the relevant evidence; and to reach this, you have to be aware of the counter argument within your essay. If your essay is written with no regard to the really obvious counter-argument, it is poor. Instead, when you’re able to create a sound counter-argument, it will influence positively your personal life. Master this skill – and you will be able to see other people’s perspective even if someone’s opinion is different from yours. Thanks to that skill, you will become an emotionally intelligent and compassionate person.
What Is a Counter Argument?
Almost every essay contains an argumentative aspect. As a rule, students provide a thesis and search for arguing in favor of their thesis. Your task is to provide the details, facts, and some research supporting the thesis to show why it is correct. According to Harvey, when you provide a counter-argument in your essay, you show your confidence. When someone has a skeptical attitude, placing a counter argument helps you predict all the objections your reader might have and be ready for them. You present yourself as a person who considers all the alternatives before arguing for one point of view. It means that you don’t avoid difficulties, but confront them, and all this makes you interesting to a reader.
The counter-argument has to disagree with your thesis and is the most obvious point of your essay. For that reason, it has to be worth addressing. So including it to your writing would be a good choice while your teacher would appreciate it if you are able to recognize the points of view which disagree with yours. A solid counterargument is built via three steps:
- A student raises an objection against his argument.
- A student expands on the position of the objection and then rejects it.
- A student reaffirms why his position was correct originally.
The aim of the counter-argument is to convince other people successfully. However, there is no sense to address an argument no one agrees with. When providing your counter-argument, the reader has to reflect that this is really true and become interested in how you are going to refute it. Imagine how this works in court – “objection, your honor” – and the judge gives you few seconds to provide a reason for your objection, and it’s very important, while someone’s fate depends on it. So the counter-argument in your essay has to be as strong as in court.
Steps for Writing a Counter-Argument
- Think of the three most obvious objections to your point of view and write them down. Think which of them is the weakest and which the strongest one. Then you have to select the most convincing objection and use it in your essay as the counter-argument.
- Choose a transitional word/phrase and offer an issue with your argument. For example, someone draws a different conclusion. You can propose a better, alternative solution, for instance.
- Develop your counter-argument. Now write some more sentences and explain why people have to believe your objection, give some daily-life examples.
- Now use a transitional word/phrase to get back to your thesis and show that this counter-argument is not valid. Give explanations, it is very important.
- Reaffirm your thesis more precisely. It’s crucial to do the thesis in a way that makes it more precise and stronger. You have to keep in mind an average reader, persuade him deeply.
Let’s Start a Counter Argument
From the very beginning, your counter argument should slip into your essay. So it’s crucial to use proper transitional words and phrases. This way, you will show your reader that you are able to deviate from the main path in your essay and get back to it in a while. In order to make your counter argument look properly, you shouldn’t sound upset, but your reader has to be redirected from the main argument’s idea. In this case, transition words are crucial for starting your counter-argument.
The success of your counter argument and your essay in total depends on the transition words you use. A transitional phrase has to be strong to help your reader understand your line of thinking and understand it well. And, of course, your mark will be much higher.
Examples of transition words
“Admittedly… (state objection)”
“On the one hand, some experts argue that…”
“Conversely, some argue that…”
“Some might object, claiming…”
You can also use some questions, as:
“However, does that…?”
Try different combinations until you feel comfortable with them.
Counter Argument Rebuttal
One of the most pleasant parts of the essay is a counter-argument rebuttal. In this part, you discuss why you are right and why your counter argument is wrong, also, you show why your thesis is surpassing. This rebuttal should convince your reader that your thesis is correct and that overall counter argument is absolutely wrong. The best examples of the counter argument essays will show you how to refute properly. The more solid the rebuttal is, the more integral is your argument. Some very confident students can address how some parts of the counter argument provided are valid, however, that this validity doesn’t matter at all, for example, if they are irrelevant, or if they don’t address certain groundwork of the topic. The aim of the rebuttal is to show how the counter-argument isn’t consequent to the entire correctness of your thesis. It’s not necessary to follow a structure in your rebuttal paragraph; however, it might be very helpful. A more concrete structure is more comfortable for many students:
- Create an opening sentence that is strong and sums up the core of the argument you object.
- Admit the claims’ validity.
- Choose the transition to link it to a strong topic sentence, which clearly asserts why the counter-argument is completely wrong.
- Support the topic sentence with the experts’ research in the form of quotation or even paraphrase.
- Explain or expand the evidence of the expert, as well as its importance and significance.
- Provide some example from current events or even history to support your position and make your rebuttal stronger.
- A concluding sentence has to illustrate how exactly counter-argument fails and shows that the main argument was superior.
Examples of Counter Argument
On the one hand, some experts in child development claim that homeschooling has multiple benefits. It is one of the best options for too sensitive or creative children, for those who can’t succeed in traditional school. Besides, children who are trying to reach professional goals, such as athletes or musicians very often can’t attend school and homeschooling is the only alternative for them. Homeschooling allows adjusting the curriculum to the needs of the kid so the kid is able to succeed.
Conversely, some argue that homeschooling might have some advantages, such as more attention on the student or more personalized lessons. However, those obvious “benefits” are liabilities to the development of a child. A unique environment offered by the traditional school forces a child to cope with the challenges, such as mean teachers, bullying, embarrassment, teasing, etc. The traditional school provides various unpleasant experiences. On the other hand, these experiences make the child develop and become stronger. Every successful person becomes successful only through competing against worthy opponents. School environment stimulates students to overcome obstacles and improve themselves. According to Dalien, the traditional school prepares children for the real world by making them interact with different people. During lessons, children learn to work in groups and negotiate the world without parents supervising or intervening them. Homeschooling isn’t able to provide children with social skills which are so important for them to enter the world of adults.
Nonetheless, why a young person can drive at 15 and go to the army at 18? Does it make sense that a person can drive all over the country, lose his or her life for the country, and still can’t order a glass of beer in a bar? America’s European neighbors raise their children with a less serious approach to alcohol. This makes the United States look too puritanical and old-fashioned. It makes the impression that America is raising young people who have an unhealthy attitude toward alcohol.
Admittedly, the drinking age in America is higher than in other countries of the world, and there are certain reasons for that. The American nation has always been individual and not concerned about what other nations were doing. According to statistics, children usually manage to access alcohol drinks at an inappropriate age. Parents believe that a lowered drinking age would cause alcohol abuse among teenagers, and this concern is very essential. In the case the legal age to buy a drink is lowered, teenagers all across the country will drink and even over-drink. This is about human psychology. Moreover, it is necessary to know that 21 is not the random age chosen by Congress. The reason was that the number of young people killed annually in car accidents was twice higher before the 21 law was enacted in 1984. By the end of 2005, the selected drinking age saved about 25,000 lives in America, according to Dean-Mooney, 2008. Nothing can be more important than saving young lives. Thus, other laws related to age or what other nations think of us do not matter. Only keeping young people safe from those substances they can’t cope with because they are not wise enough to use them is important.
Creating a counter argument and refuting it gives you a chance to show your teacher your critical thinking abilities, and how you actually worked on your essay from different points of view. You show yourself as a refined student when admitting the validity of people who have a viewpoint different from your own. You can prove that you understand how your opponents think. And it is the quality of an experienced writer. Ability to add a counter argument and refute it makes you a better person, while you can consider things from others’ viewpoint. As a student, you should give counterargument and rebuttal examples until you are able to write your own ones. It will help you develop your critical thinking skills as well as emotional intelligence.