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what is a counter argument in an essay example

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When you make an argument in an academic essay, you are writing for an audience that may not agree with you. In fact, your argument is worth making in the first place because your thesis will not be obvious—or obviously correct­—to everyone who considers the question you are asking or the topic you’re addressing. Once you figure out what you want to argue—your essay’s thesis—your task in writing the essay will be to share with your readers the evidence you have considered and to explain how that evidence supports your thesis.

But just offering your readers evidence that supports your thesis isn’t enough. You also need to consider potential counterarguments—the arguments that your readers could reasonably raise to challenge either your thesis or any of the other claims that you make in your argument. It can be helpful to think of counterarguments to your thesis as alternative answers to your question. In order to support your thesis effectively, you will need to explain why it is stronger than the alternatives.

A counterargument shouldn’t be something you add to your essay after you’ve finished it just because you know you’re supposed to include one. Instead, as you write your essay, you should always be thinking about points where a thoughtful reader could reasonably disagree with you. In some cases, you will be writing your essay as a counterargument to someone else’s argument because you think that argument is incorrect or misses something important. In other cases, you’ll need to think through—and address—objections that you think readers may have to your argument.

While it may be tempting to ignore counterarguments that challenge your own argument, you should not do this. Your own argument will be stronger if you can explain to your readers why the counterarguments they may pose are not as strong or convincing as your own argument. If you come up with a counterargument that you can’t refute, then you may decide to revise your thesis or some part of your argument. While that could be frustrating in the moment, challenging your own thinking is an important part of the writing process. By considering potential counterarguments, you will figure out if you actually agree with your own argument. In many cases, you will discover that a counterargument complicates your argument, but doesn’t refute it entirely.

Some counterarguments will directly address your thesis, while other counterarguments will challenge an individual point or set of points elsewhere in your argument. For example, a counterargument might identify

  • a problem with a conclusion you’ve drawn from evidence  
  • a problem with an assumption you’ve made  
  • a problem with how you are using a key term  
  • evidence you haven’t considered  
  • a drawback to your proposal  
  • a consequence you haven’t considered  
  • an alternative interpretation of the evidence  

Consider the following thesis for a short paper that analyzes different approaches to stopping climate change:

Climate activism that focuses on personal actions such as recycling obscures the need for systemic change that will be required to slow carbon emissions.

The author of this thesis is promising to make the case that personal actions not only will not solve the climate problem but may actually make the problem more difficult to solve. In order to make a convincing argument, the author will need to consider how thoughtful people might disagree with this claim. In this case, the author might anticipate the following counterarguments:

  • By encouraging personal actions, climate activists may raise awareness of the problem and encourage people to support larger systemic change.  
  • Personal actions on a global level would actually make a difference.  
  • Personal actions may not make a difference, but they will not obscure the need for systemic solutions.  
  • Personal actions cannot be put into one category and must be differentiated.

In order to make a convincing argument, the author of this essay may need to address these potential counterarguments. But you don’t need to address every possible counterargument. Rather, you should engage counterarguments when doing so allows you to strengthen your own argument by explaining how it holds up in relation to other arguments.  

How to address counterarguments  

Once you have considered the potential counterarguments, you will need to figure out how to address them in your essay. In general, to address a counterargument, you’ll need to take the following steps.

  • State the counterargument and explain why a reasonable reader could raise that counterargument.  
  • Counter the counterargument. How you grapple with a counterargument will depend on what you think it means for your argument. You may explain why your argument is still convincing, even in light of this other position. You may point to a flaw in the counterargument. You may concede that the counterargument gets something right but then explain why it does not undermine your argument. You may explain why the counterargument is not relevant. You may refine your own argument in response to the counterargument.  
  • Consider the language you are using to address the counterargument. Words like but or however signal to the reader that you are refuting the counterargument. Words like nevertheless or still signal to the reader that your argument is not diminished by the counterargument.

Here’s an example of a paragraph in which a counterargument is raised and addressed. The two steps are highlighted ( yellow for the counterargument and blue for the “counter” to the counterargument):

But some experts argue that it’s important for individuals to take action to mitigate climate change. In “All That Performative Environmentalism Adds Up,” Annie Lowery argues that personal actions to fight climate change, such as reducing household trash or installing solar panels, matter because change in social behavior can lead to changes in laws. [1] While Lowery may be correct that individual actions can lead to collective action, this focus on individual action can allow corporations to receive positive publicity while continuing to burn fossil fuels at dangerous rates.  

Where to address counterarguments  

There is no one right place for a counterargument—where you raise a particular counterargument will depend on how it fits in with the rest of your argument. The most common spots are the following:

  • Before your conclusion This is a common and effective spot for a counterargument because it’s a chance to address anything that you think a reader might still be concerned about after you’ve made your main argument. Don’t put a counterargument in your conclusion, however. At that point, you won’t have the space to address it, and readers may come away confused—or less convinced by your argument.
  • Before your thesis Often, your thesis will actually be a counterargument to someone else’s argument. In other words, you will be making your argument because someone else has made an argument that you disagree with. In those cases, you may want to offer that counterargument before you state your thesis to show your readers what’s at stake—someone else has made an unconvincing argument, and you are now going to make a better one.
  • After your introduction In some cases, you may want to respond to a counterargument early in your essay, before you get too far into your argument. This is a good option when you think readers may need to understand why the counterargument is not as strong as your argument before you can even launch your own ideas. You might do this in the paragraph right after your thesis.
  • Anywhere that makes sense As you draft an essay, you should always keep your readers in mind and think about where a thoughtful reader might disagree with you or raise an objection to an assertion or interpretation of evidence that you are offering. In those spots, you can introduce that potential objection and explain why it does not change your argument. If you think it does affect your argument, you can acknowledge that and explain why your argument is still strong.

[1] Annie Lowery, “All that Performative Environmentalism Adds Up.” The Atlantic . August 31, 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/your-tote-bag-can-make...

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Argumentative Essays: The Counter-Argument & Refutation

An argumentative essay presents an argument for or against a topic. For example, if your topic is working from home , then your essay would either argue in favor of working from home (this is the for  side) or against working from home.

Like most essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction that ends with the writer's position (or stance) in the thesis statement .

Introduction Paragraph

(Background information....)

  • Thesis statement : Employers should give their workers the option to work from home in order to improve employee well-being and reduce office costs.

This thesis statement shows that the two points I plan to explain in my body paragraphs are 1) working from home improves well-being, and 2) it allows companies to reduce costs. Each topic will have its own paragraph. Here's an example of a very basic essay outline with these ideas:

  • Background information

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence : Workers who work from home have improved well-being .
  • Evidence from academic sources

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic Sentence : Furthermore, companies can reduce their expenses by allowing employees to work at home .
  • Summary of key points
  • Restatement of thesis statement

Does this look like a strong essay? Not really . There are no academic sources (research) used, and also...

You Need to Also Respond to the Counter-Arguments!

The above essay outline is very basic. The argument it presents can be made much stronger if you consider the counter-argument , and then try to respond (refute) its points.

The counter-argument presents the main points on the other side of the debate. Because we are arguing FOR working from home, this means the counter-argument is AGAINST working from home. The best way to find the counter-argument is by reading research on the topic to learn about the other side of the debate. The counter-argument for this topic might include these points:

  • Distractions at home > could make it hard to concentrate
  • Dishonest/lazy people > might work less because no one is watching

Next, we have to try to respond to the counter-argument in the refutation (or rebuttal/response) paragraph .

The Refutation/Response Paragraph

The purpose of this paragraph is to address the points of the counter-argument and to explain why they are false, somewhat false, or unimportant. So how can we respond to the above counter-argument? With research !

A study by Bloom (2013) followed workers at a call center in China who tried working from home for nine months. Its key results were as follows:

  • The performance of people who worked from home increased by 13%
  • These workers took fewer breaks and sick-days
  • They also worked more minutes per shift

In other words, this study shows that the counter-argument might be false. (Note: To have an even stronger essay, present data from more than one study.) Now we have a refutation.

Where Do We Put the Counter-Argument and Refutation?

Commonly, these sections can go at the beginning of the essay (after the introduction), or at the end of the essay (before the conclusion). Let's put it at the beginning. Now our essay looks like this:

Counter-argument Paragraph

  • Dishonest/lazy people might work less because no one is watching

Refutation/Response Paragraph

  • Study: Productivity  increased by 14%
  • (+ other details)

Body Paragraph 3

  • Topic Sentence : In addition, people who work from home have improved well-being .

Body Paragraph 4

The outline is stronger now because it includes the counter-argument and refutation. Note that the essay still needs more details and research to become more convincing.

Working from home

Working from home may increase productivity.

Extra Advice on Argumentative Essays

It's not a compare and contrast essay.

An argumentative essay focuses on one topic (e.g. cats) and argues for or against it. An argumentative essay should not have two topics (e.g. cats vs dogs). When you compare two ideas, you are writing a compare and contrast essay. An argumentative essay has one topic (cats). If you are FOR cats as pets, a simplistic outline for an argumentative essay could look something like this:

  • Thesis: Cats are the best pet.
  • are unloving
  • cause allergy issues
  • This is a benefit >  Many working people do not have time for a needy pet
  • If you have an allergy, do not buy a cat.
  • But for most people (without allergies), cats are great
  • Supporting Details

Use Language in Counter-Argument That Shows Its Not Your Position

The counter-argument is not your position. To make this clear, use language such as this in your counter-argument:

  • Opponents might argue that cats are unloving.
  • People who dislike cats would argue that cats are unloving.
  • Critics of cats could argue that cats are unloving.
  • It could be argued that cats are unloving.

These  underlined phrases make it clear that you are presenting  someone else's argument , not your own.

Choose the Side with the Strongest Support

Do not choose your side based on your own personal opinion. Instead, do some research and learn the truth about the topic. After you have read the arguments for and against, choose the side with the strongest support as your position.

Do Not Include Too Many Counter-arguments

Include the main (two or three) points in the counter-argument. If you include too many points, refuting these points becomes quite difficult.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

- Matthew Barton / Creator of Englishcurrent.com

Additional Resources :

  • Writing a Counter-Argument & Refutation (Richland College)
  • Language for Counter-Argument and Refutation Paragraphs (Brown's Student Learning Tools)

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13 comments on “ Argumentative Essays: The Counter-Argument & Refutation ”

Thank you professor. It is really helpful.

Can you also put the counter argument in the third paragraph

It depends on what your instructor wants. Generally, a good argumentative essay needs to have a counter-argument and refutation somewhere. Most teachers will probably let you put them anywhere (e.g. in the start, middle, or end) and be happy as long as they are present. But ask your teacher to be sure.

Thank you for the information Professor

how could I address a counter argument for “plastic bags and its consumption should be banned”?

For what reasons do they say they should be banned? You need to address the reasons themselves and show that these reasons are invalid/weak.

Thank you for this useful article. I understand very well.

Thank you for the useful article, this helps me a lot!

Thank you for this useful article which helps me in my study.

Thank you, professor Mylene 102-04

it was very useful for writing essay

Very useful reference body support to began writing a good essay. Thank you!

Really very helpful. Thanks Regards Mayank

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A counterargument involves acknowledging standpoints that go against your argument and then re-affirming your argument. This is typically done by stating the opposing side’s argument, and then ultimately presenting your argument as the most logical solution. The counterargument is a standard academic move that is used in argumentative essays because it shows the reader that you are capable of understanding and respecting multiple sides of an argument.

Counterargument in two steps

Respectfully acknowledge evidence or standpoints that differ from your argument.

Refute the stance of opposing arguments, typically utilizing words like “although” or “however.”

In the refutation, you want to show the reader why your position is more correct than the opposing idea.

Where to put a counterargument

Can be placed within the introductory paragraph to create a contrast for the thesis statement.

May consist of a whole paragraph that acknowledges the opposing view and then refutes it.

  • Can be one sentence acknowledgements of other opinions followed by a refutation.

Why use a counterargument?

Some students worry that using a counterargument will take away from their overall argument, but a counterargument may make an essay more persuasive because it shows that the writer has considered multiple sides of the issue. Barnet and Bedau (2005) propose that critical thinking is enhanced through imagining both sides of an argument. Ultimately, an argument is strengthened through a counterargument.

Examples of the counterargument structure

  • Argument against smoking on campus:  Admittedly, many students would like to smoke on campus. Some people may rightly argue that if smoking on campus is not illegal, then it should be permitted; however, second-hand smoke may cause harm to those who have health issues like asthma, possibly putting them at risk.
  • Argument against animal testing:  Some people argue that using animals as test subjects for health products is justifiable. To be fair, animal testing has been used in the past to aid the development of several vaccines, such as small pox and rabies. However, animal testing for beauty products causes unneeded pain to animals. There are alternatives to animal testing. Instead of using animals, it is possible to use human volunteers. Additionally, Carl Westmoreland (2006) suggests that alternative methods to animal research are being developed; for example, researchers are able to use skin constructed from cells to test cosmetics. If alternatives to animal testing exist, then the practice causes unnecessary animal suffering and should not be used.

Harvey, G. (1999). Counterargument. Retrieved from writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/counter- argument

Westmoreland, C. (2006; 2007). “Alternative Tests and the 7th Amendment to the Cosmetics Directive.” Hester, R. E., & Harrison, R. M. (Ed.) Alternatives to animal testing (1st Ed.). Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.

Barnet, S., Bedau, H. (Eds.). (2006). Critical thinking, reading, and writing . Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Contributor: Nathan Lachner

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Chapter 8: Making Academic Arguments

8.4 Counterargument and Response

Robin Jeffrey

Almost anything you can argue or claim in a persuasive paper can be refuted – and that is a good thing when you are writing an argument. Opposing points of view exist in every good debate, and it’s important to anticipate possible objections to your arguments and to discuss them in your paper.

At the end of this chapter, in the Deeper Reading: Counterargument “On the Other Hand: The Role of Antithetical Writing Writing in First Year Writing Courses,”   Steven Krause offers an extended explanation of what counterarguments are and, more importantly, why it is important to examine them as a way to strengthen your own arguments. If you are struggling to articulate a counterargument, if you are unsure of how counterarguments fit into to a larger persuasive work, or if you are struggling to respond to counterarguments, Krause can offer you a lot of useful information.

Below, however, is a brief overview of what counterarguments are and how you might respond to them in your arguments.

Types of counterarguments

  • Could someone disagree with your claim? If so, why? Explain this opposing perspective in your own argument, and then respond to it.
  • Could someone draw a different conclusion from any of the facts or examples you present?  If so, what is that different conclusion? Explain this different conclusion and then respond to it.
  • Could a reader question any of your assumptions or claims?  If so, which ones would they question? Explain and then respond.
  • Could a reader offer a different explanation of an issue?  If so, what might their explanation be? Describe this different explanation, and then respond to it.
  • Is there any evidence out there that could weaken your position? If so, what is it? Cite and discuss this evidence and then respond to it.

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, that does not necessarily mean that you have a weak argument. It means, ideally and as long as your argument is logical and valid, that you have a counterargument. Good arguments can and do have counterarguments; it is important to discuss them. But you must also discuss and then respond to those counterarguments.

Responding to counterarguments

You do not need to attempt to do all of these things as a way to respond; instead, choose the response strategy that makes the most sense to you, for the counterargument that you have.

  • “However, this information does not apply to our topic because…”
  • For a detailed account of the various ways that evidence can fail in an argument, see Section 8.5,  how evidence fails
  • If the counterargument perspective is one that contains a different interpretation of evidence than you have in your own argument, you can explain why a reader should not accept the interpretation of the evidence that that your opponent (counterarguer) presents
  • If the counterargument is an acknowledgement of evidence that threatens to weaken your argument, you must explain why and how that evidence does not, in fact invalidate your claim.

It is important to use transitional phrases in your paper to alert readers when you’re about to present an counterargument. It’s usually best to put this phrase at the beginning of a paragraph such as:

  • Researchers have challenged these claims with…
  • Critics argue that this view…
  • Some readers may point to…
  • A perspective that challenges the idea that . . .

Transitional phrases will again be useful to highlight your shift from counterargument to response:

  • Indeed, some of those points are valid. However, . . .
  • While I agree that . . . , it is more important to consider . . .
  • These are all compelling points. Still, other information suggests that . .
  • While I understand  . . . , I cannot accept the evidence because . . .

8.4 Counterargument and Response by Robin Jeffrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.


Comments are closed.

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25 Counterargument Examples

counterargument examples and definition, explained below

A counterargument is a response, rebuttal, or refutation of an argument with your own argument. Its purpose is to oppose and disprove a theory that someone else has put forward.

We use counterarguments extensively in debates as well as argumentative essay writing.

When teaching essay writing, I teach my students to always present counterarguments to their opponents’ points of view. This helps them to strengthen their own argument and demonstrate awareness of potential rebuttals.

Below are some methods, with examples, that could be used – be it in essay writing, debates, or any other communication genre.

Counterargument Examples

1. empirical challenges.

An empirical challenge is, simply, a rebuttal that challenges the facts presented by the opponent, showing that their facts are wrong and yours are right.

To undermine your opponent’s set of facts, it will be your job to present facts that show that the opponent’s supposed facts are wrong, perhaps due to misreading data or cherry-picking.

Then, you would need to present concrete information, data, or evidence that negates the claim or conclusion of an opponent’s argument.

The core strength of empirical challenges is in their reliance on hard facts and numbers, which are difficult to refute without equally credible opposing data.

Example of Empirical Challenge: If your opponent argues that global warming isn’t a serious issue, an empirical challenge would be to provide scientific data or research studies showing the increase in global temperatures and the harmful effects.

See Also: Empirical Evidence Examples

2. Challenging the Relevance

Challenging the relevance means questioning whether your opponent’s argument or perspective is applicable to the discussion at hand.

This sort of counter-argument seeks to destabilize your opponent’s view by showing that, while their facts or arguments might be sound in isolation, they do not bear any relation to, or are unfit for, the topic at hand, making them irrelevant.

The power of relevance challenge lays in its ability to destabilize your opponent’s argument without needing to directly dispute the truth of their claims.

Example of Challenging the Relevance: You will often find this argument when comparing the usefulness of various research methodologies for a research project. Multiple research methods may be valid, but there’s likely one that’s best for any given study.

See Also: Relevance Examples

3. Reductio ad absurdum

Reductio ad absurdum is a latin term that means reducing to the absurd . This method involves demonstrating the absurdity of an opponent’s argument by showing its illogical or extreme consequences.

The goal is to show that if the argument were valid, it would inevitably lead to senseless or ridiculous outcomes.

The application of reductio ad absurdum is especially effective in debates or discussions where flawed logic or hyperbolic statements are used to influence the audience’s opinion, as it discredits the credibility of the other person’s argument.

Example of Reductio ad absurdum : Consider a scenario where someone argues for the total removal of all regulations on vehicle speed to improve the efficiency of transportation. You can counter this argument through reductio ad absurdum by stating, “By that logic, let’s allow cars to travel at 200 miles per hour down residential streets. After all, it would make the mail delivery much faster!” It becomes evident that permitting extremely high speeds could lead to dangerous conditions and potential for disastrous accidents.

4. Pointing Out Logical Fallacies

The strategy of pointing out logical fallacies involves identifying and highlighting flaws in your opponent’s reasoning.

In a debate or discussion, logical fallacies are often subtle errors that lead to invalid conclusions or arguments.

By identifying these fallacies, you avoid being swayed by flawed reasoning and instead promote cognizant, logical thought.

Successful use of this strategy requires a good understanding of the different kinds of logical fallacies , such as straw man fallacies, ad hominem attacks, and appeals to ignorance.

Example of Pointing Out Logical Fallacies: Consider an argument where your opponent asserts, “All cats I’ve ever seen have been aloof, so all cats must be aloof.” This is a hasty generalization fallacy, where a conclusion about all members of a group is drawn from inadequate sample size.

5. Counterexamples

A counterexample is an example that opposes or contradicts an argument or theory proposed by another.

The use of a counterexample is a practical and powerful means of rebutting an argument or theory that has been presented as absolute or universally applicable.

When you provide a singular example that contradicts your opponent’s proposed theory, it demonstrates the theory isn’t universally true and therefore, weakens their argument.

However, this tactic requires sound knowledge and a good command of subject matter to be able to identify and present valid exceptions.

Example of Counterexamples: Consider an argument where someone states that “Mammals can’t lay eggs.” A solid counterexample would be the platypus, a mammal that does lay eggs. This single example is sufficient to contradict the universal claim.

6. Using Hypotheticals

Hypothetical situations, in essence, are imagined scenarios used to refute your opponent’s point of view. It’s, in essence, an example that is plausible, but not real.

Using hypotheticals assists in clarifying the ramifications of a particular argument, policy, or theory. When a hypothetical scenario effectively illustrates the flaws or shortcomings of your opponent’s viewpoint, it can completely unsettle their position.

However, care must be taken to frame the hypotheticals reasonably and realistically, lest they distort the argument or derail the conversation.

Example of Using Hypotheticals: If someone argues that raising the minimum wage will lead to job loss, you could counter with a hypothetical that if businesses paid their employees more, those employees would have more spending power, bolstering the economy and creating more jobs.

7. Comparison and Contrast

Comparison and contrast entails directly comparing your argument to your opponent’s, showing the strength of your perspective and the weakness of the opponent’s.

This tool allows you to support your arguments or disprove your opponent’s by using existing examples or situations that illustrate your point clearly.

The technique relies heavily on the logical thinking of comparing two or more entities in a manner that is informative, convincing, and significant to the argument.

Example of Comparison and Contrast: Let’s say, for instance, you are arguing against privatization of public utilities. You could compare the rates and services of private utilities to those of public ones showing that private companies often charge more for the same services, thereby supporting your argument against privatization.

See More: Compare and Contrast Examples

8. Challenging Biases

Challenging biases involves questioning the objectivity of your opponent’s argument by pointing out the predispositions that may influence their perspective.

Biases can greatly affect the validity and reliability of an argument because they can skew the interpretation of information and hinder fair judgement.

By challenging biases, you can expose the partiality in your opponent’s argument, thereby diminishing its credibility and persuasiveness.

However, it’s important to respectfully and tactfully challenge biases to prevent the discussion from turning into a personal attack.

Example of Challenging Biases: If your opponent is a staunch supporter of a political party and they provide an argument that solely favors this party, you could challenge their bias by questioning whether their support for the party is unduly influencing their viewpoint, hence the need for them to consider the opposing perspectives.

See More: List of Different Biases

9. Ethical Dispute

Ethical disputes involve challenging your opponent’s argument based on moral values or principles.

Ethics play a crucial role in shaping people’s beliefs, attitudes, and actions. Therefore, ethical disputes can serve as powerful counterarguments, especially in debates concerning sensitive or controversial topics.

If your opponent’s position contradicts generally accepted ethical norms or values, you can point this out to weaken their argument.

Just remember, ethics can occasionally be subjective and personal, so it’s important to approach ethical disputes with sensitivity and respect.

Example of Ethical Dispute: If your opponent supports factory farming based on economic benefits, you could challenge their argument by pointing out the ethical issues related to animal welfare and the environment.

10. Challenging the Source

Challenging the source is a tactic used to question the credibility or reliability of the information used by your opponent in their argument.

This technique focuses on examining the origin of the evidence presented, probing whether the source is credible, trusted, and free from bias.

To do this, I recommend using this media literacy framework .

If the source used by your opponent is flawed, biased or unreliable, their argument loses credibility, making your position stronger.

Example of Challenging the Source: If your opponent uses an obscure blog as their primary source of their argument on a scientific topic, you could challenge the source by questioning its credibility and offering information from reputable scientific journals instead.

See More: Good Sources for Essay Writing

A Full List of Methods for Counterargument

  • Empirical challenges
  • Challenging the relevance
  • Reductio ad absurdum
  • Pointing out logical fallacies
  • Counterexamples
  • Using hypotheticals
  • Comparison and contrast
  • Challenging biases
  • Ethical dispute
  • Challenging the source
  • Questioning assumptions
  • Slippery slope argument
  • Challenging a false dichtomy
  • Historical Precedent
  • Anecdotal Evidence
  • Challenging the Definition
  • Socratic Questioning
  • Highlighting Unintended Consequences
  • Appeal to Emotion
  • Challenging the Frame
  • Highlighting Inconsistencies
  • Challenging Completeness
  • Temporal Challenge
  • Offering alternative explanations
  • Exposing oversimplifications
  • Appeal to authority

Counterargument is an essential skill for debaters and essay writers. You need to be able to know and understand strategies for countering the arguments of your opponents to position your argument in the best light possible. To do this, we have to vectors of attack: First, you can undermine their arguments and demonstrate the flaws. Second, you can present your argument as stronger.

The key, however, is to ensure your arguments are as airtight and foolproof as possible to prevent effective rebuttals to your own counterarguments!


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How To Write A Counter Argument In An Essay

Steps of how to effectively design and write a counter argument.

Has your professor asked you to include a counterargument in your next assignment? Are you puzzled about where to start and what to write? If you wonder how to write a counter argument essay, worry not. Many students struggle to come up with the right standpoints in their papers, so we’ve decided to lend you a hand.

Expressing conflicting positions on a hot topic is a critical skill in the academic world. In short, you need a well-grounded contradicting stance with supporting facts to refute the opponent’s opinion. Keep reading to find out how.

What Is A Counterargument In An Essay – The Definition

Counter arguments should clear any doubts readers might have about your positions. Moreover, the purpose of an opposing argument is to offer a reason to disagree with the thesis statement. Whether you include it in the introduction or dedicate an entire paragraph to it, your counter argument shows that you’re aware that various views exist.

Addressing claims against your main standpoints makes you savvier, and your paper well-structured and substantiated. Since your  argument essay outline will urge your readers to agree with your claim, it’s advisable to mention a reason to believe differently.

Why Are Counterarguments Important

By incorporating a contradicting standpoint in your assignment, you demonstrate that:  

  •       You are knowledgeable about the topic and know how to back up your thoughts.
  •       You have researched the subject matter well and can tackle alternative views.
  •       You don’t underestimate opinions that clash with yours.
  •       You don’t stick to your perspectives blindly but are ready to discuss opposing ideas.
  •       You aren’t biased but have come to the ultimate standpoint through reasoning.
  •       You solidify your arguments and give them credibility.

How To Start A Counterargument

This segment will alert readers that a different stand from the thesis follows. So how to write a counterargument paragraph? The beginning of the denial section should explicitly or implicitly tell whoever’s reading to prepare for a contradiction. Omitting hints about the rebuttal in the paper will make it look one-sided and blunt.

So, how do you start the segment containing the counter argument? When you write your argumentative essay , ensure you include relevant starters and transitions. These may be a single word, a phrase, or an entire sentence supporting the overall statement.  

Counter Argument Starters

Let’s discuss the possible phrases you can use to introduce the counter argument. Here are a few starters that inform whoever’s reading to expect a change of direction:

  •       However, yet, but
  •       Even though/although
  •       In spite of/despite the fact that
  •       On the contrary
  •       On the other side/hand
  •       A possible concern/problem is
  •       Conversely, in contrast

Another approach that arouses interest is to use a rhetorical question. For instance, try the following starting phrases:

  •       Wouldn’t it be better if…?
  •       But, what if…?
  •       Nonetheless, how can this be true…?

Similarly, you may take an indirect stance and present the counterviews of others to express your opinion. For example, say this:

  •       However, scientists claim that
  •       Yet, many people believe that
  •       On the other hand, students stand for
  •       Critics say that

Transition Words

Choosing the right counter argument starter is just a part of the equation. A coherently written assignment requires you to use transitions that make the argument flow smooth. Even the best custom essay writing service will fail its purpose if it lacks linking phrases.

Coordinating transitions ease the reading process by linking ideas into a cohesive whole. These phrases show that two things are alike or that you add extra information along the same lines. Here are a few relevant examples:

  •       What is more
  •       Not to mention
  •       Likewise
  •       Then again
  •       On top of that
  •       Not only
  •       Additionally
  •       Furthermore

Why Include A Counterargument In An Argumentative Essay?

Including a counter argument in your essay will make your written piece more convincing. Though you may think this approach will weaken your position or undermine your claim, this isn’t true. On the contrary, by doing so, you respectfully acknowledge evidence or standpoints that differ from your argument.

Some students believe a counter argument will lead the readers away from the main claim. However, any top-notch argumentative essay writer service will include it because it demonstrates the issue was elaborated from multiple perspectives. Finally, you enhance critical thinking by presenting both sides of the problem.

Example Of Counter Argument Paragraph

Below, we share a relevant example of an argument on a specific topic with guidance on avoiding writing an irrelevant counter argument.

The argument:

Many students prefer to smoke on college campuses. They often argue that authorities can’t ban smoking on campus if it isn’t illegal.

Ineffective counter argument:

However, the college management is the ultimate decision-maker and can prohibit whatever they deem harmful on campus.

This counter argument is useless because even if the college management has the right to impose bans, it can’t disregard students’ requirements on all grounds.

So, how to write an argumentative essay with a relevant counter argument? Check the suggestion below.

Effective counter argument:

Yet, second-hand smoke can harm people in the vicinity that suffer from conditions like asthma, thus putting them at risk of health deterioration.

This example will achieve its primary purpose – discuss the other perspective openly. You may disagree with this view but demonstrate you’re aware that some people might take a different standpoint. And they have every right to because no issue is one-sided. In the second example, the reader can see how students smoking on campus might harm those around.

How To Respond To A Counterargument: The Refutation

Among other things, you must address the counterviews in your written piece with a rebuttal . Stating and refuting the contradicting idea is critical if you want to give credence to your standpoint . No matter how and where you incorporate the rebuttal, do it objectively by maintaining a formal and scholarly tone.

The best approach is to oppose the counter opinion logically by considering these questions:

  •       Will you discredit the different perspectives by bringing in contradictory research?
  •       Will you say that the other point is valid but that your argument is more relevant by means of comparison?

Responding to these questions and taking a specific route will refine your stance and clarify the issues considered. Moreover, if you suddenly agree with the counter opinion, revise your statement and main points to reflect your new thinking.

Common Mistakes And Fallacies To Avoid While Writing Opposing Arguments

Keep these things in mind when you write argumentative essays, and avoid them as much as possible:

  •       You haven’t done research on the multiple perspectives on the topic.
  •       You don’t include supporting ideas for the positions against your thesis.
  •       You dedicate too much space and attention to contradicting reasons.
  •       You don’t bring up a different perspective in the introduction but keep to your opinion only.
  •       Your line of thought is incoherent, and you constantly switch standpoints throughout the paper.
  •       You use offensive or biased language to refute the opponent’s viewpoint.
  •       You believe the opponent’s stance is wrong and don’t give it credit.
  •       Besides having a strong argument , you make the counterview weak and ineffective.
  •       You can’t explain how your position responds to the contradicting idea.
  •       If you aren’t a rhetoric expert, avoid using sarcasm and satire.

Bottom Line

When writing your work, you might decide to include a sentence or a whole segment that presents a denial statement. Whatever your choice, use a specific layout to express your views clearly and accurately. It is important to remember that for urgent essay writing , the need for incorporating counterargument examples is even more critical to ensure a well-substantiated and persuasive written piece. Therefore, it is essential to consider both sides of the argument when constructing your response.

Hopefully, this post helps you understand what is a counterargument and how to write a counterargument. Provided you follow the tips outlined above, it won’t take long to polish your work. If you have any concerns about your writing assignment, always ask your teacher for support.

Do Synthesis Essays Need A Counter Argument?

Yes, ensure you include a counter argument and oppose it to justify your viewpoint. It’s best to place it in the first body segment of your synthesis essay. By doing so, you show your capacity to appreciate different opinions than yours.

Does An Argumentative Essay Need A Counter Argument?

Yes, argumentative papers should contain a well-presented contradicting idea than the one expressed in the thesis. Taking a single standpoint doesn’t add value to your work because readers with a different opinion will see it as biased and unfair.

Where Does The Counterargument Go In An Essay?

One idea is to write it in the introduction to create a contrast for the main claim. Alternatively, you may explain the contradictory opinion in one section that acknowledges the idea and then discredit it. It is often better to place it before your opinion to end the paper on a positive note that supports your perspective.

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18 Argument, Counterargument, & Refutation

In academic writing, we often use an Argument essay structure. Argument essays have these familiar components, just like other types of essays:

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraphs

But Argument essays also contain these particular elements:

  • Debatable thesis statement in the Introduction
  • Argument – paragraphs which show support for the author’s thesis (for example: reasons, evidence, data, statistics)
  • Counterargument – at least one paragraph which explains the opposite point of view
  • Concession – a sentence or two acknowledging that there could be some truth to the Counterargument
  • Refutation (also called Rebuttal) – sentences which explain why the Counterargument is not as strong as the original Argument

Consult  Introductions & Titles for more on writing debatable thesis statements and  Paragraphs ~ Developing Support for more about developing your Argument.

Imagine that you are writing about vaping. After reading several articles and talking with friends about vaping, you decide that you are strongly opposed to it.

Which working thesis statement would be better?

  • Vaping should be illegal because it can lead to serious health problems.

Many students do not like vaping.

Because the first option provides a debatable position, it is a better starting point for an Argument essay.

Next, you would need to draft several paragraphs to explain your position. These paragraphs could include facts that you learned in your research, such as statistics about vapers’ health problems, the cost of vaping, its effects on youth, its harmful effects on people nearby, and so on, as an appeal to logos . If you have a personal story about the effects of vaping, you might include that as well, either in a Body Paragraph or in your Introduction, as an appeal to pathos .

A strong Argument essay would not be complete with only your reasons in support of your position. You should also include a Counterargument, which will show your readers that you have carefully researched and considered both sides of your topic. This shows that you are taking a measured, scholarly approach to the topic – not an overly-emotional approach, or an approach which considers only one side. This helps to establish your ethos as the author. It shows your readers that you are thinking clearly and deeply about the topic, and your Concession (“this may be true”) acknowledges that you understand other opinions are possible.

Here are some ways to introduce a Counterargument:

  • Some people believe that vaping is not as harmful as smoking cigarettes.
  • Critics argue that vaping is safer than conventional cigarettes.
  • On the other hand, one study has shown that vaping can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

Your paragraph would then go on to explain more about this position; you would give evidence here from your research about the point of view that opposes your own opinion.

Here are some ways to begin a Concession and Refutation:

  • While this may be true for some adults, the risks of vaping for adolescents outweigh its benefits.
  • Although these critics may have been correct before, new evidence shows that vaping is, in some cases, even more harmful than smoking.
  • This may have been accurate for adults wishing to quit smoking; however, there are other methods available to help people stop using cigarettes.

Your paragraph would then continue your Refutation by explaining more reasons why the Counterargument is weak. This also serves to explain why your original Argument is strong. This is a good opportunity to prove to your readers that your original Argument is the most worthy, and to persuade them to agree with you.

Activity ~ Practice with Counterarguments, Concessions, and Refutations

A. Examine the following thesis statements with a partner. Is each one debatable?

B. Write  your own Counterargument, Concession, and Refutation for each thesis statement.

Thesis Statements:

  • Online classes are a better option than face-to-face classes for college students who have full-time jobs.
  • Students who engage in cyberbullying should be expelled from school.
  • Unvaccinated children pose risks to those around them.
  • Governments should be allowed to regulate internet access within their countries.

Is this chapter:

…too easy, or you would like more detail? Read “ Further Your Understanding: Refutation and Rebuttal ” from Lumen’s Writing Skills Lab.

Note: links open in new tabs.

reasoning, logic

emotion, feeling, beliefs

moral character, credibility, trust, authority

goes against; believes the opposite of something

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How to write a counter argument easy writing tricks.

how to write a counter argument

In the academic world, you should know how to write a counter argument if you wish to express a point that goes against a previously stated point about a topic or question. Essentially, you should express your opposition fairly, thoroughly, and objectively. You should not compose quick sentences and then rebut your opponent immediately. Instead, you should provide reasons for holding an opposing view.

A Brief Guide on How to Write a Counter Argument

When writing an essay or paper, you make your argument. That means you propose your thesis and back it up with some reasoning and evidence. Ideally, you try to explain why your thesis is valid and true.

When writing a counter argument, you go against the suggested thesis. Similarly, you provide some reasoning to support your position. When countering an argument, you should refute the opinion of the opposition. You should also show why the opposition’s opinion is not accurate.

As such, your argument should be persuasive. It should also provide evidence to enhance credibility.

What is a Counter Argument?

The most common counter argument definition describes it as an opposing position of a stated position or argument. For instance, somebody can argue that does are the best pets compared to cats because they are social. A counter argument, in this case, can be that cats are the best pets because they are self-sufficient.

The inclusion of the opposing viewpoints in an academic paper indicates that you understand the existing positions. It shows that you considered the opposing opinions when writing your paper and you have what it takes to respond to any of them. That way, you strengthen your argument while making your paper more credible.

In the cats and dogs counter argument example, each position has some reasoning behind it. However, the goal should be to provide more supporting evidence to convince the readers to take your side.

A widely used counter argument synonym is a rebuttal. However, it’s also called a protestation or disinclination. All these words hint at the counter argument meaning because they describe what it’s all about.

How to Write a Counter Argument Quickly

You probably want to know how you can come up with an argument that opposes the stated position fast. Well, the first step is to know counter argument starters. These are the signs that a writer uses to start a rebuttal. They let the readers know that the writer is expressing a different or opposite view of the thesis. Without the proper use of counter argument sentence starters, the paper appears incoherent and contradictory.

Any argument starts with a word, a phrase, or a sentence. A starter should be used to show that the following statement is not the view of the author. Examples of starters include words like “However”, “But”, and “Similarly”. Although starters can sometimes be complex sentences, the best counter argument examples include some or most of these words.

How to Start a Counter Argument

The first and perhaps, the most important thing is to know how to introduce a counter argument. This should be easy. Start by expressing the opinion that you are refuting. State that it’s a view to subtly hint to your readers that it’s neither a truth nor a fact. Let the readers know that you are stating the views of another person.

Here are examples of how to start a counter argument sentence:

  • It’s often supposed that…
  • Some people argue that…
  • It might look as if…

Once you’ve started counter argument essay with the above phrases, you can now use your counter argument words.

Another approach is to start with a question. For instance, you can say the following:

  • But, is it not true that…?
  • Wouldn’t…?

You can also use the opposing views of other thinkers or writers to start expressing yours. For instance:

  • However, Socrates argued that…
  • But, Stone wrote that…
  • On the other hand, Matthew stated that…

Use Counter Argument Transitions

Now that you know how to start counter argument, you should learn to use transitions. Using the right transitions will make your argument flow smoothly. Thus, counter argument transition words make it easier for readers to understand your position.

Examples of transitions that you can use in your essay include:

  • Similarly , Also , In the same way – These words show similarity in an argument.
  • However , Notwithstanding , On the other hand , Still yet , In contrast – These words show exception or contrast.
  • Meanwhile , Afterwards , Subsequently – These show time.
  • Indeed and Without question – These words show emphasis.
  • For instance and For example – These are used to show examples.
  • Consequently , Accordingly , and Thus – These indicate cause and effect.
  • In brief , Finally , and In conclusion – Used to conclude.
  • Equally , Additionally and Furthermore – Used to show additional evidence or support.

Any good counter argument essay example will have some of these words. That’s because they make an argument easy to follow and understand.

What to Include in a Counter Argument Paragraph

You can’t claim to know how to write counter argument if you don’t know what should go into every paragraph of your essay. Composing this essay entails more than just identifying and refuting the opposing position. You have to respond to the opposing view or position objectively and with supporting evidence.

Perhaps, you should start by drafting a counter argument paragraph outline to ensure that you do this properly. Here is what your paragraph outline should guide you to do:

  • Identify the opposing argument
  • Respond to an opposing argument by explaining why it is weak, incomplete, or illogical
  • Provide examples or evidence to prove that the opposing argument is weak, incomplete, or illogical
  • Close your paragraph with a statement that your argument superior and emphasizing why it is sound and logical to the opposing one.

When presenting your argument, be as objective as possible. Also, be fair and thorough when explaining why the opposing argument is weak, illogical, and incomplete. Prove that you have considered all options and sides. If you must use satire and sarcasm, master the rhetoric art carefully.

You’re no longer asking, what’s a counter argument at this point. That’s because this guide provides the tips and hints that you need to compose the argument. However, you might want to take a look at a good counter argument example essay to understand what you’re required to do. You can ask your educator to share a good example to guide you. Alternatively, use reliable online resources to find and read a good sample essay. However, don’t copy or present the essay as your work because that would amount to plagiarism. It’s always better to hire a paper writer who will craft a custom project for you.

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Counterargument Examples

When writing an opinion, academic essay, or other paper showing two sides of an issue, it involves the inclusion of an argument. A thesis is proposed, and then evidence is offered suggesting the thesis is true. A counterargument is basically the argument or view of an issue from the other side.

A counterargument is something to be considered against the thesis or a part of the reason behind the thesis. Using a counterargument is an effect method to test content ideas when writing, revising and editing the essay. The completed essay can then contain a persuasive tactic which will often disarm the reader.

The doubts of skeptical readers can be anticipated and their objections can be pre-empted. The writer comes across as a person who has clearly contemplated the issue, weighing all sides of an issue or argument before choosing one of the sides to argue for or against.

In this way, the writer comes across as a person who is more interested in confronting the difficulties enmeshed within the argument and does not simply dismiss them. The writer is more interested in discovering the truth versus winning a point. The counterargument is not a contest or game to defeat the other side.

When using a counterargument, common sense prevails. Every objection does not have to be argued against, and do not include it just to include it. However, imagine other views, whether another person's or your own resistance to the argument. Using counterarguments will sharpen your own thinking as you write the turn against.

As counterarguments are contemplated, some writers discover their own views shifting, which results in an essay or paper being written from the side they originally were against. This is one of the most important reasons to reflect on counterarguments.

1. Littering: It seems like an easy argument to be against littering, but many can also use the counterargument stating littering results in the creation of jobs. People get paid to clean up the litter. Littering, of course, can also be argued as detrimental to the environment.

2. Bullying is often thought of as a natural part of society and when a person is bullied, the offender is to be punished. Without interference it becomes a cycle, bad for the victim and the bully who feels powerful and sometimes ashamed after the fact. A counterargument is to present evidence for the emphasis to be placed on prevention, instead of continuation of the cycle: bully then punish.

3. A child may argue for a dog. The parents remind the child his sister is allergic to dogs. The boy uses the counterargument that she has been around some dogs without any problems. He is ready for each argument against the dog, perhaps stating there are breeds of dogs that are hypoallergenic. He may also argue that a dog will build up the sister's tolerance.

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8 counter argument examples to help you write a strong essay.

By Evans Oct 26, 2020

A one-sided essay is like a beautiful dish with no flavor. Everyone looks at it, but nobody wants to partake of it. An essay presenting one side of a debate shows that you are not reasonable. Instead of persuading your readers, it ends up feeling like you’re just forcing an opinion on them. How do you change this? How do you make your essay interesting and persuasive? Counter argument! You heard me right. Using the counter argument is one of the best ways that you can strengthen your essay.

8 Counter argument examples to help you write a strong essay

Before we proceed further, what exactly is a counter-argument? An academic essay means that you need to come up with a thesis, a strong one at that, and even stronger points that support that particular thesis . You also need to come up with an argument that opposes your thesis. This is what we call a counter-argument. It is basically, an argument that is against your thesis.

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What is the purpose of a counter-argument?

When writing an essay, especially to persuade, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your readers. What are they likely to think about your thesis? How can they possibly argue against it? What questions might they have against the idea you are trying to sell to them? A counter-argument allows you to creatively and wisely respond to these questions. A counter-argument clears any doubts that your reader may have on your argument. It also shows them that you are the bigger person by actually addressing arguments against your thesis.

Counter argument examples

Let’s say your argument is about getting the patient to consent to it, rather than have the doctors decide on it.

A reader might argue: a patient may be too sickly to even consent for euthanasia.

Refutal: you can refute the counter-argument by proving that it is possible to get a patient in the right frame long enough to sign the consent form.

Overprotective parents

Argument: overprotective parents often treat their grown-up children like babies. As a result, these children grow to be very dependent on the parents and unable to make decisions on their own.

Counter-argument: parents have seen more than their children. Protecting them from the problems they encountered saves the children from getting hurt.

Refutal: Though parents think that shielding their grown children protects them from the dangerous world, they only end up protecting children from living. As a result, if such a child makes a mistake, it might be very hard for them to recover from it.

Getting a dog as a pet for young children

Argument: getting a dog as a pet for younger children is not a very good idea as children may not understand how to take care of the dog.

Counter-argument: having a pet teaches the children responsibility.

Rebuttal: While it is true that having a pet can teach kids how to become more responsible, the fact remains that taking care of a pet is a full-time job. A pet is not like a toy that you can discard when tired of it. Young kids may not have the stamina or the time to take care of a pet.

Exposure to technology

Argument: Technology provides children with an amazing learning experience. Children who have been exposed to technology learn pretty first how to deal and respond to different situations better than students who have no exposure to technology.

You may also like: How to write a technology essay: tips, topics, and examples

Counter argument: early exposure to entertainment and violence affects the cognitive skills of a child.

Rebuttal: Although some form of technology may affect the cognitive skills of a child, it doesn’t mean that children should be kept away from technology. There are learning programs that provide a better learning experience as compared to formal education. Doing away with technology is not the answer. The answer is controlling what children are exposed to.

Argument: taking part in elections is not only a right but a responsibility that every citizen should participate in.

Counter-argument: It is better not to vote than vote in a corrupt person.

Rebuttal: While you might feel like not taking part in the voting process keeps you from the guilt of choosing the wrong person, the truth is that you only give other people the right to choose for you. This means that if a corrupt person gets in, you’re still responsible for not voting for a better candidate.

Argument: Smoking should not be allowed on campuses.

Counter-argument: smoking is not illegal, especially to someone above 18 years old. Since it is not illegal, students should be allowed to smoke within the campus vicinity.

Rebuttal: indeed, smoking is not illegal. However, smoking on campus can prove to be fatal especially to students with health issues such as asthma. It is widely known that smoking affects not just the person holding the cigar but everyone else around them. Therefore, to keep students safe, smoking should not be allowed on campus.

Animal testing

Argument: animals should not be used as test subjects.

Counter-argument: animals happen to be the best test method for health products

Rebuttal: While it is true that over the years animals have been used as test subjects, it doesn’t change the fact that these tests often subject animals to excruciating pain. Research shows that there are better alternatives that can be used, thereby saving animals from unnecessary pain.


Argument: Cyberbullying is a serious issue and therefore it is very important to understand how to protect yourself from cyberbullies.

Counter-argument: the victims do not need to learn how to protect themselves and use the internet fearfully. The internet should be made secure for every user and all cyberbullying should be put to jail.

Rebuttal: nobody deserves to be afraid while using the internet. However, while it is a very good idea to have all cyberbullies jailed, that remains to be just a dream. This is because almost everyone can be a cyber-bully at one point or another. It, therefore, remains your responsibility to protect yourself and also learn how to handle cyberbullying.

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what is a counter argument in an essay example

Final thoughts

As the examples show, a good persuasive essay should contain your thesis statement , a counter-argument, and a rebuttal of the counter-argument. This makes your essay strong, very persuasive, and with a very good flavor.

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  • How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips

How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

Table of contents

When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

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How To Write A Counter Argument Properly?

how to write counter argument

How to write a counter argument is a bit tricky question as it is a viewpoint that opposes your main argument. In fact the English Cambridge dictionary gives the counter argument definition as an argument against another argument. The counter argument meaning is to understand your own argument better. This type of essay will allow you to think about the problem as a whole rather than just your idea of it.

Counter argument words go against your thesis, but while it may seem that acknowledging your opponent’s argument would undermine your own argument, these counter-arguments can actually fortify your strength of view if done the right way. How to start counter argument requires you to know your topic well so that you can look at both sides of the issue.

Your topic might be dogs, and an example of this might be you arguing that dogs make better pets than cats. This is because they show their feelings more. You argue that cats make better pets because they’re more able to care for themselves. Your take is a counterargument to the fact that dogs make better pets.

What Is A Counter-Argument?

When you’ve got an argument like the one described above, you can make your argument stronger by showing that you respect the other person’s point of view, and that you have actually thought about their argument before coming to your position. You understand the reasons why someone might disagree with you.

Other typical counter argument examples might be making the case that cell phones allowed at school are disruptive. This is because students are responding to the cell phone’s constant rings and messages.

A counter statement might be that cell phones in classrooms can actually be beneficial because then students have instant access to research. This is particularly true in a school where there may not be enough money to buy computers for the students.

If you’re still not convinced about how to write a counter argument essay, don’t stress as we have profesional essay writers that will write you a counter argument example essay and bring in the marks you require to pass well.

They will also show you how to start a counter argument sentence, and the counter argument essay examples will tell you everything you need to know. They’ll explain what’s a counter argument, what counter argument sentence starters to use and also how to prepare a counter argument paragraph outline.

The Counter Argument Paragraph

When writing your counterargument paragraph, how to write counter argument will require you responding to your other position and identifying the opposing argument. You’ll be responding to it by giving the reasons the argument is weak and providing examples to show why the opposing argument is unsound. You can then state your own argument and why it is stronger than the counterargument.

Your counter statement can appear anywhere in your essay, but a counter-argument essay example will show you that it commonly appears as part of your introduction — before proposing your thesis. A counter-argument is essentially an argument that is opposed to your thesis, expressing the view of a person who disagrees with your position. A counter argument synonym might be a rebuttal, counter-attack, disclaimer or counter statement.

There are plenty of counter argument transitions in these essays too – counter argument transition words or phrases that link ideas. These words can be used to show two things are similar to each other, so when you’re adding information you might want to use the following transition words among others:

  • not to mention
  • by the same token

How To Start A Counter Argument

How you start a counter argument will depend on your subject, but in your first sentence you could state the topic you are discussing. For instance, pit bulls are a controversial topic and your argument could be that pit bulls are safe dogs to keep when brought up properly.

The counter argument will be based on stats that prove that they’re aggressive dogs, and your rebuttal would then be that such aggressive behavior from these dogs comes from aggressive dog owners who raise their dogs the wrong way.

Your counter argument will alert the reader that the paper will express a view different from the thesis. The purpose of the paper, together with the counter-argument, is to support the thesis.

How to introduce a counter argument? This should be done in a way that your reader knows that the view you want to convey isn’t one that you’re 100% in agreement with. Simple ways are to start a sentence with are ‘however’ or ‘but’.

You can use the following counter argument starters in your essay to incorporate rebuttals in your writing:

  • Even though
  • In spite of the fact that..
  • A possible concern is ..
  • That is a concern, however…

With an argumentative paper, including a counterargument paragraph shows that you understand that other positions exist. With a persuasive essay you provide a view on your topic and the idea is to persuade your reader to your way of thinking.

By providing counter arguments, you show the professor that you have also considered the flaws in your pro-arguments. With a counter argument example you will see that the first few lines describe your purpose of your persuasive essay – your thesis statement. Once the general idea of the introduction is written down, you move to the body and related counter arguments. With persuasive writing you have to know how to write a counter argument.

A student may well believe that a counterargument would weaken their argument as they’re giving the other side some ammunition, but a counterargument does the opposite and strengthens your argument, showing you’ve done research and have grasped both sides of the argument.

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hich phrase from the sentence gives it a formal tone? With great sorrow and many fond memories, I must leave this important phase of my life and move on to more challenges and new faces. I must leave Move on to more challenges This important phase of my life With great sorrow I think its d, but idk


with great sorrow


took the test

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The correct answer is D.It shifts from matter-of-fact to regretful.

We noticed that in the Story called "A Decade", the person who spoke, began with a recounting of the incidents of his life in a matter-of-fact way. Then, he tells some things that he had experienced; especially the one he had with his teacher. At the end of the text, the tone turned to be of deep regret.

. How might your use of language change between writing an email and writing a persuasive paper for school?

A tale told by a character within a framing fictional narrative is called _____. a cause-and-effect relationship a theme an epiphany a story within a story

The correct answer is D. A story within a story

In literature, a story within a story occurs when the character of a story or narrative, for example, a novel, play or short story introduces and tells a different story which creates an inner story inside the original or outside story, that serves as a framing narrative. This is a literary device mainly used to convey a message, entertain or even introduce background information about the characters or plot of the outside story, which usually makes the original story more complex. Additionally, a story within a story is not exclusive from literature but has been applied in other fields including movies. Considering this it can be concluded a tale told by a character within a framing fictional narrative refers or is called a story within a story.

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Details : In The Lagoon by Joseph Conrad, what motivates Arsat to leave his

the theme of young goodman brown is

The weakness of public morality

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Yet then, and only then, will human beings be ripe for this, when inward and outward freedom for a woman, as much as for man, shall be acknowledged as a right, not yielded as a concession. What does Fuller argue for in this excerpt from "The Great Lawsuit"? atheism conversion equality regulation

In this excerpt from "The Great Lawsuit," Fuller argues for equality .

Equality can be defined as the right of different groups of people to receive the same treatment, to have a similar social position, etc. regardless their race, gender or religion.

In this particular case, Fuller is making reference to the inequalities existing between men and women. He claims that society may overcome this differences the moment it stops thinking about equality as a privileged negotiation among a few and starts thinking of it as an actual right.

Details : Yet then, and only then, will human beings be ripe for this, when

What is the main way a dictionary can help improve the maturity of your writing?

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like tears on a child's dirty face

Figurative language is a language that uses words that deviate from their literal meaning to represent something else and give readers new insights. To achieve this, figurative language relies on figures of speech, such as similes, personification, hyperbole, etc.

The phrase "like tears on a child's dirty face" uses figurative language because its meaning should not be taken literally, and it is also a simile because it compares the way the rain slid down the windshield to the way the tears on a child's dirty face fall, while using the word "like."

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A, C, and E

an example of procatalepsis.

used by Reagan to acknowledge an opposing view.

followed by a counterargument proving Reagan’s point.

The given excerpt from Ronald Reagan’s Address at Moscow State University represents an example of procatalepsis . It is used by him to acknowledge an opposing view. It was followed by a counterargument proving Reagan’s point. Thus, options A, C, and E are correct.

What is a Counterargument?

In literature, a counter-argument may be defined as a type of process that significantly involves recognizing the vantage points that might go against someone's argument followed by re-affirming them.

According to the context of this question, Americans are one of the most religious people on Earth. This is because they know that liberty, just as life itself, is not earned but a gift from God, they seek to share that gift with the world.

Ronald Reagan in his speech deduces some important points, The most potent one is that it represents an example of procatalepsis that is mainly utilized by him in order to acknowledge an opposing view.

To learn more about Counter arguments , refer to the link:


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  1. Counterargument

    For example, a counterargument might identify a problem with a conclusion you've drawn from evidence a problem with an assumption you've made a problem with how you are using a key term evidence you haven't considered a drawback to your proposal a consequence you haven't considered an alternative interpretation of the evidence Example

  2. Writing a Counterargument Paragraph

    Think of it this way: if my argument is that dogs are better pets than cats because they are more social, but you argue that cats are better pets because they are more self-sufficient, your position is a counterargument to my position. Why include a counterargument?

  3. Counter Argument Example: How to Write an Rebuttal

    Counter Argument Example: How to Write an Rebuttal Udemy Editor Share this article Being able to formulate and write an effective counter argument is one of the most important skills anyone can possess. Whether in debate or in an academic thesis, a counter argument can be used to both weaken opposing viewpoints and strengthen your own.

  4. Argumentative Essays: The Counter-Argument & Refutation

    Argumentative Essays: The Counter-Argument & Refutation An argumentative essay presents an argument for or against a topic. For example, if your topic is working from home, then your essay would either argue in favor of working from home (this is the for side) or against working from home.

  5. Counterarguments

    Examples of the counterargument structure Argument against smoking on campus: Admittedly, many students would like to smoke on campus.

  6. The Writing Center

    It may be tempting to just write a sentence or two explaining your opponent's argument and then spend paragraphs refuting that argument, but a good counter-argument is fair in the assessment of the opponent's position. Here are some tips: Provide a few fair reasons why someone could possibly have the perspective of your opposition.


    What is a counter-argument? A counter-argument is an argument opposed to your thesis or part of your thesis. It expresses the view of a person who disagrees with your position (Oldham). Where do I put a counter-argument? A counter-argument can appear anywhere in your essay, but it most commonly appears:

  8. Writing a Paper: Responding to Counterarguments

    When constructing an argument, it is important to consider any counterarguments a reader might make. Acknowledging the opposition shows that you are knowledgeable about the issue and are not simply ignoring other viewpoints. Addressing counterarguments also gives you an opportunity to clarify and strengthen your argument, helping to show how ...

  9. 9.7.3: Counter Argument Paragraphs

    Example Counter-Argument. The following paragraph explains an opposing point of view to the writer's position in almost the whole paragraph. ... If a writer is constructing an entire essay as a counter-argument, then the writer will need to fully develop multiple, well-supported arguments against the other point of view. ...

  10. 8.4 Counterargument and Response

    8.4 Counterargument and Response. Robin Jeffrey. Almost anything you can argue or claim in a persuasive paper can be refuted - and that is a good thing when you are writing an argument. Opposing points of view exist in every good debate, and it's important to anticipate possible objections to your arguments and to discuss them in your paper.

  11. 25 Counterargument Examples (2023)

    A counterargument is a response, rebuttal, or refutation of an argument with your own argument. Its purpose is to oppose and disprove a theory that someone else has put forward. We use counterarguments extensively in debates as well as argumentative essay writing.

  12. What Is a Counterargument in an Argumentative Essay?

    March 26, 2018 A guy walks up to a counter, orders lunch, and immediately starts a political debate with the man seated next to him. The two engage in a full-fledged argument before the server even brings his drink. Given that the two are at a counter arguing, does this mean it's a counterargument? Not exactly. So what is a counterargument?

  13. How to Write Counter Arguments in an Essay: Guide with Examples

    What Is A Counterargument In An Essay - The Definition Counter arguments should clear any doubts readers might have about your positions. Moreover, the purpose of an opposing argument is to offer a reason to disagree with the thesis statement.

  14. Counterargument

    Counterargument Example Lesson Summary Counterargument Definition When writing an argumentative essay, it is important to understand what exactly a counterargument (sometimes referred...

  15. Argument, Counterargument, & Refutation

    Argument - paragraphs which show support for the author's thesis (for example: reasons, evidence, data, statistics) Counterargument - at least one paragraph which explains the opposite point of view. Concession - a sentence or two acknowledging that there could be some truth to the Counterargument. Refutation (also called Rebuttal ...

  16. What is a Counterargument?

    Examples of Counterarguments Let's say you have a persuasive essay assignment and have settled on a thesis statement which claims that gun control laws will make Americans safer (controversial...

  17. Persuasive Essay Examples (With Counterarguments!)

    An example of a persuasive essay and its subsequent counterargument could look like this: Thesis statement: The Government should allow refugees to live in our country if they risked their lives trying to get here and have nowhere else to go. Your Argument: It is a humane and ethical thing to do.

  18. How To Write A Counter Argument

    Easy Writing Tricks! In the academic world, you should know how to write a counter argument if you wish to express a point that goes against a previously stated point about a topic or question. Essentially, you should express your opposition fairly, thoroughly, and objectively.

  19. Counterargument Examples

    A counterargument is basically the argument or view of an issue from the other side. A counterargument is something to be considered against the thesis or a part of the reason behind the thesis. Using a counterargument is an effect method to test content ideas when writing, revising and editing the essay. The completed essay can then contain a ...

  20. What Is a Counter Argument in an Essay?

    Essential Information What is a counter argument? A counter argument is a statement that contradicts the main argument developing evidence that does not agree with what a student has written in the man part. The main purpose of a counter argument is to help a student to justify the main argument by means of providing evidence of why it is wrong.

  21. 8 Counter argument examples to help you write a strong essay

    Counter argument examples Euthanasia Let's say your argument is about getting the patient to consent to it, rather than have the doctors decide on it. A reader might argue: a patient may be too sickly to even consent for euthanasia.

  22. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Make a claim. Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim. Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim) Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives. The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays.

  23. How To Write A Counter Argument In An Essay

    The Counter Argument Paragraph. When writing your counterargument paragraph, how to write counter argument will require you responding to your other position and identifying the opposing argument. You'll be responding to it by giving the reasons the argument is weak and providing examples to show why the opposing argument is unsound.

  24. hich phrase from the sentence gives it a formal tone? With great sorrow

    In literature, a counter-argument may be defined as a type of process that significantly involves recognizing the vantage points that might go against someone's argument followed by re-affirming them. According to the context of this question, Americans are one of the most religious people on Earth.