Parts of An Argument: Claims, Counterclaims, Reasons, and Evidence

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: How to Support Your Claims in Writing With Reasoning and Evidence

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Parts of an Arguement
  • 0:25 Claims
  • 1:17 Counterclaims
  • 2:10 Reasons
  • 3:08 Evidence
  • 4:43 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Bennett

Kimberly has taught Reading/Language Arts to intermediate and middle school students and holds a Master's Degree.

To effectively write an argument, you need to know the four basic parts. In this lesson, you will learn the definitions of the four basic parts and why you need them in an argument.

Parts of an Argument

How would you like to be able to win any argument? Today we're going to learn about the parts of an argument necessary to win one! The purpose of an argument, whether it's in a paper or a speech, is to convince or persuade. The main parts of an argument are:

  • Claims
  • Counterclaims
  • Reasons
  • Evidence


'Mom, I really need a new cell phone!' If you've ever said this or something like it, you've made a claim. Making a claim is just a fancy way of saying that you're stating your main point. In a formal paper, you might say something like, 'It is necessary for me to obtain a new cell phone.' Claims are not just opinions. A claim tells what you think is true about a topic based on your knowledge and your research. If you're ever going to convince your mom to get that new cell phone that's just perfect for you, you're going to have to move beyond mere opinions. You're going to need to support your claim to get rid of that crummy, old, obsolete phone that's holding you back.


But there are two sides to every argument. In your argument for a new cell phone, your mom stands on the other side. She has something to say against your claim that you need a new cell phone, and it goes something like, 'No, you don't.'

That's your mom's counterclaim. A counterclaim is just the opposite of a claim. In a more formal way, she might say, 'Your current situation does not require a new cell phone.' Counterclaims are also provable and supportable by reasons and evidence. Not just, 'Because I said so.' When you're planning an argument, you need to know what the counterclaim might be so that you can make sure that you disprove it with your reasons and evidence.


After your mom's counterclaim, she'll probably ask, 'Why is that you think you need a new cell phone?'

Then it's time for the reasons you've prepared well in advance, because you know exactly what she'll ask. 'My cell phone doesn't have Internet access.'

That's a reason. A reason tells why. A reason makes someone care and tells the importance of the claim and the argument. 'Because I said so,' doesn't work, and 'Just because,' doesn't work - until you're a parent. In an argument, your, 'My cell phone doesn't have Internet access,' would need to be beefed up a little, to, 'My current cell phone doesn't provide Internet access, which is necessary for me to complete all my homework.' That is provable, because your phone is so old it barely has texting!

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account