Counterargument (Rebuttal)

Counterargument (also known as rebuttal) can be a convincing tool to defend your thesis in an argumentative essay. The basic idea is that you, the writer, lay out and then dismantle a likely objection to your own thesis. This not only preemptively disarms a skeptical reader, but it also makes your reader feel that you aren’t hiding anything and that you have thoroughly analyzed your argument.

Where to put the counterargument:

  • In the intro, as lead-in to your thesis. You explain that you need to write your essay because some people hold some incorrect belief that you are about to disprove.
  • In a paragraph right after the intro. Here you lay out the mistaken belief or beliefs your essay will disprove.
  • Within body paragraphs, immediately before or after you have analyzed some evidence. These counterarguments can be used to help introduce evidence or to analyze why some evidence matters. Very basically, you would say something like: “some people believe QQQ, but JJJ shows this to be incorrect because…”
  • In a paragraph right before the conclusion paragraph. Here you dismantle the objections or questions that you suspect might have come up in your readers’ minds as they read your essay.

 

Useful outside websites that cover the topic:

Rebbutal Sections – Purdue OWL

Counterargument – Harvard College Writing Center

 

 A short video that exemplifies a failure to appropriately use counterargument: