Countering the Counter-Argument

by Lozen Bensen, CAPS Writing Tutor

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One important aspect of writing a strong paper is constructing a counter-argument, this is the part of your paper that offers a critique to the points you are arguing in favor of in your thesis. Counter-arguments are important because they solidify your claims. Generally, this is a brief summary of why one might support an argument that contradicts the main points of your paper.  For example, if you were arguing against nuclear energy (because of the permanence of nuclear waste, the threats posed by nuclear accidents, etc.) your counter-argument should offer reasons why one might be in favor of nuclear energy (because nuclear energy releases less carbon emissions than other broadly used energy productions, etc.). Importantly, after clearly articulating your-counter argument, you will want to address it and contextualize it within your paper. In order to do this you will want to articulate why you think that the argument you endorse is stronger than the counter argument you provide, you can do this by saying that the pros outweigh the cons (that the potential for nuclear incidents and the certainty of nuclear waste is not worth the potential reduction of carbon emissions) or by pointing out why the counter-argument is not valid (for example if there wasn’t actually a reduction in carbon emissions, this isn’t true in this case but something along these lines would suffice). Typically, your counter takes up about one paragraph and should be located near the end of your paper before your conclusion.

If you would like help making a counter-argument come to the CAPS drop-in writing lab located in Education 208! Our hours are Monday-Thursday 9:00am-7:00pm and Friday from Friday from 9:00am-2:30pm. Visit the CTL Website here for more information!

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