Counter-Arguments and
Add this sheet to your YP, let’s
call its 28.33 and 28.66
What is a counter-argument?
A source that disagrees with you.
 An argument against your thesis or
some aspect of your reasoning.
Why would you use one in your
Your main audience is going to be fence-sitters.
You don’t need to convince people who strongly
agree with you.
People who are strongly against you will never
agree with you.
When you use a counter-argument, you seem
fair and reasonable.
Not addressing the opposition makes you seem
unfair or ill-informed.
What are you looking for?
Who might disagree with your argument?
What reasons might someone have for
disagreeing with you? (Weaknesses in
your argument, ideological differences)
What will my audience respect and think is
But, Ms. Kelley!! What if I can’t find
a counter-argument?!?
If no-one is against you, then your issue or your stance
is not controversial enough.
If you just can’t find one, but you know they’re out
there, then you need to re-evaluate your keywords and
research strategy.
 For example, people who are against hazing probably
aren’t going to call it “hazing.” More likely, they will
say something along the lines of “initiation” rites.
Consider groups or organizations that you know argue
against your points.
See if you can find a classmate that disagrees with you
and ask what they might search to research their
1. Cosmetic surgery is
dangerous and
2. Curfews for teens
encourage responsibility
and help teens stay
1. People have the right
to make decisions about
their bodies.
3. Child beauty pageants
help create a positive
self-image for young
When addressing a counterargument in
writing, it will have three parts:
Acknowledging- letting readers know you
are aware of an opposing position, which is
against the writer’s position. (Concession)
Accommodating- anticipating their
objections to your argument (Setting them
Refuting- Opposing their objections to your
position. (Shooting them down)
Refuting is asserting that your opponent’s
arguments are wrong and arguing against them.
This is where you win!
Effective Concession Terms
Even though
Conceding that  Certainly, but
 It goes without  While it is true
saying that
Perhaps__, yet
BS Example
Concession: Undoubtedly, many Austin High Students would be
happier spending their day at Barton Springs instead of writing an
essay in their English class.
Accommodating: In addition, many teachers understand that
Barton Springs is an enjoyable recreational experience that can offer
valuable exercise and stress relief.
Refuting: However, exercise and stress relief can be had
afterschool or on the weekends just as easily as during the week.
Furthermore, academic success will lead to future career success,
which is one of the biggest factors in a person’s overall life
satisfaction. Therefore, teachers should not sacrifice what is best for
a student in order to give in to what a student wants. In the end,
writing this essay will create infinitely more happiness than spending
an hour and a half at Barton Springs ever could.
Depending on your purpose, mode, and
audience, you may change how you want
to present a counter-argument and make
a concession in order to make your
argument more effective.
Depending on the placement of your
counter-argument within an essay, your
approach may be different
As a middle paragraph:
If a prompt asks you to discuss the pros
and cons of an issue, you may want to put
your first argument in your first body
paragraph, use the second paragraph to
present and accommodate a counterargument, and then refute the counterargument in your last, strongest body
As a first body paragraph:
If the other side has a valid and effective
argument, you may want to present their
side first and use the rest of your paper
refuting it. Be careful about how many
points you choose to
concede/accommodate. You don’t want to
weaken your argument or bite off more
than you can chew.
As a hook:
Especially if you think your reader might
be inclined to disagree with you, you can
hook him by conceding to his side in order
to employ ethos to your advantage.
However, make sure that your reader is
not tricked into think you agree with him.
You want to concede without waffling.
As a part of your So What?:
After you’ve made an argument, you may
want to provide a concession as we look
at the same issue in the future. However,
a conclusion concession should be very
short and limited. You should not be going
back on everything you’ve just said.
Tips and Tricks
Use concessions sparingly. You don’t want to look like a
When you refute, address each of the counterargument’s points you presented. You want to argue the
same issues and make your argument stronger.
As you do rhetorical analysis, look out for concessions. If
you can write with them, you should be able to
recognize and analyze them.
Don’t come across as dismissive. Present the counterargument clearly, but concisely. You don’t want to make
it seem as if you are uniformed or unfair.
Think about this in real life arguments. What are you
willing to give up (concede)?
Do Now…
Revise the counterargument you wrote in
your timed writing
Or, if you didn’t write one the first time,
incorporate a counterargument into your
essay that is effective for your purpose
and consistent with your thesis
Refer to your handout for help
Paper due by Wednesday 9/25 at
All makeup work due by 9/30 4:30pm
No exceptions