Counter-Argument and Rebuttal


Counterargument in an essay has two phases:

First, you turn against your own argument to challenge it.

Then, you turn back to re-argue for it—the Rebuttal.

The Counterargument:

· You introduce your counterargument with phrases like: One might object that… or it might seem that… or some people believe that…

· When you give a counterargument, it must be clear and forceful. Use evidence, if possible, to argue with yourself!

· Remember…a week counterargument does more harm than good!

The Turn Back: The Rebuttal!

· You return to your own argument now—which you announce with a “but,” “yet,” “however,” “nevertheless,” or “still.”

At this time you might:

Show why the counterargument is mistaken.

Acknowledge that the counterargument has some good points, but that in the big picture, it is less important or less likely than your own idea


Racism is a thing of the past; therefore, students don’t need to bother with it.

The factual assumption in this example is that racism is a thing of the past. One response would be to muster facts to show that racism continues to be a problem. (There’s a second assumption, which is that students don’t need to bother with what’s in the past. Another response would be to show that students must understand the past as well as the present “to function adequately in civic life.”)

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