Essay Lab Glossary

Advertisement

Counterargument

Definition:

Don’t you hate it when your kitchen counter and bathroom counter simply cannot get along? You both have pretty sinks, guys. Sheesh. There’s no accounting for the moods of those two. They’re so hot and cold.

As you write your essay, it’s important to remember that your readers might not always agree with your point of view or your solution to a particular issue. Even though you are obviously always right.

Counterarguments anticipate and respond to your readers’ objections and concerns. Cut ‘em off at the pass, if you will. By using counterarguments in your paper, you will come across as a thoughtful and considerate writer, rather than a new-age Genghis Khan who writes: “IT’S MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!” (Genghis was famous for always typing in all caps.)

Usually, counterarguments are followed by a refutation or rebuttal that will show readers why their concerns and objections are irrelevant or invalid—all done politely, of course. When used in this manner, the counterargument paired with the refutation can serve to strengthen your original thesis or claim. It can also serve to make your readers hang their heads in shame, become filled with self-doubt, and question whether they really know anything about anything. Bonus.

Example

Thesis: I passed my driving test with flying colors so I should be allowed to drive my father’s BMW.

Counterargument: Now, I know that the last time I took the car out, I ended up scraping its side on an electric pole and breaking off its mirror.

Refutation: However, that was almost a year ago, and I’ve become a much better driver since.