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What is a Counterargument? - Definition & Examples

What is a Counterargument? - Definition & Examples
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  • 0:01 Definition of Counterargument
  • 0:29 Examples of Counterarguments
  • 2:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Find out what counterarguments are and how to use them in your persuasive writing. Learn about the importance of counterarguments and how to refute them. Read the lesson and then take a quiz to test your knowledge.

Definition of Counterargument

A counterargument is a viewpoint that opposes your main argument. Counterarguments are part of good persuasive writing and speaking strategy because they show that you've considered other points of view. They also set up the chance to refute the opposition and show why your position is the right one to have. Placing a counterargument in your persuasive essay increases your ethos (credibility) because it shows fairness.

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 topics are a good choice for persuasive essays). You might proceed with examples of places (such as states or countries) where gun laws have reduced crime. A counterargument might be that people need guns to protect themselves against intruders and government tyranny. After you've provided the counterargument, your job is to refute it in a balanced and reasonable way and prove your thesis statement correct.

Another example of a thesis statement might be a claim that raising the driving age to 18 on a national level is important for highway safety. Again, a good approach for supporting this claim would be to find examples of states and countries where there's a direct correlation between older drivers and fewer accidents. A counterargument might be that many 16-year-olds need jobs, and without driver's licenses they may not be able to get to those jobs. You would then refute this argument.

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