Is So! Is Not! Why Counterarguments Matter

When writing an argument you cannot ignore the arguments against your position.  You should seek out to identify the most obvious counterarguments and then address those objections in order to convince your readers that your position is valid.

In addition, addressing counterarguments adds ethos to your argument by showing that you have thought about other positions and aren't attempting to ignore them. 

According to, "one can acknowledge and even concede a point in counterargument without directly refuting it. For example, in an argument that girls should play competitive sports you might concede a point to an alternative perspective by saying
Of course, participation in sports is not the answer for all young women. Competitive sports can be cruel -- the losing, jealousy, raw competition, and intense personal criticism of one's performance. All athletes must learn to deal with these issues.
 There are some basic rules when constructing a counterargument:
  • Acknowledge and represent accurately other interpretations
  • Grant the validity of certain opposing points, even when they support an unacceptable conclusion
  • Identify shared ground (when present)
  • Indicate where you have enlarged your views to accommodate alternatives
  • Use a respectful tone. (You defeat your purpose if you call those who oppose you "ignoramuses" or if you use belittling language.)"
Example thesis:  At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.
Counterargument:  While some may say that spending 25 percent of the federal budget is too high considering the many social problems we currently face in the United States, if we don't limit pollution it may cause widespread serious health problems and could lead to even more social problems like declining property values, the creation of ghettos because poor people who would be forced to live in polluted areas, and limited access to health care. 
Now you practice.  Pick one of these thesis statements and write a counterargument.

1. America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars.

2. Hybrid cars that use both gasoline and electricity would decrease our country's dependence on foreign oil.

3. Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence.

4. The habit of bullying is caused by parental neglect.


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  2. 2. Hybrid cars that use both gasoline and electricity would decrease our country's dependence on foreign oil.
    Many people state that it is hard for them to buy hybrid cars and that they do not have enough money to purchase a hybrid car. However, in reality people who drive hybrid cars ultimately save on gas and other expenses making it affordable for them to purchase a hybrid car.

  3. Many say that switching from a regular gasoline car to a hybrid car is unnecessary, however, if you consider how much gas is used from cars everyday, it is essential to limit our country's dependence on foreign oil. Although switching to a hybrid does stop the use of gas completely, it reduces it to half, which is a lot better than keeping our dependence how it is and allowing it to get worse. Creating a less gas dependent life starts with how the people choose to live daily living. Many believe that one person cant make a difference, but if everyone lives by this, we will be unable to get to a better tomorrow. Imagine how much money our country spends on foreign gasoline that could go toward things, such as health care, schools, the economy. Although you may only be one person, the little things you do to help our country actually helps us in the long run.

  4. Some say that the habit of bullying is caused by parental neglect. While this can sometimes be true, parental neglect does not always cause children to bully others. Parents who are the most loving, nurturing, and caring parents to their children can raise them to be sweet, obedient, respectful children. However, there comes a point when the child is going to make their own decisions, come high school or even before, where their parents influence may not make a difference. Quite frankly, who the child chooses to hang out with will have a bigger influence on them than their parents. On the opposite side of the spectrum, children of negligent parent who get no attention whatsoever may grow up to become murderers, but they may also grow up to become the opposite of what their parents were. Overall, parental figures have a huge amount of influence of their children, but their does come a certain point when the child makes decisions of their own, regardless of how they were raised.

  5. Parental neglect is not the main cause of children bullying. Parents can be extremely attentive, loving and their child can still take up the habit of bullying. Bullying is a child's own decision and no reflection of the parents, children will do what they please regardless of parental guidance. However, children who are neglected can often bully to gain their parents attention. They feel by bullying another child, their parents will need to pay them more attention to tend to and resolve these "issues." Overall, parental figures have little influence on a child's decisions and actions. A child at some point will become a reflection of their own decisions and not of how they were raised.

  6. 4. The habit of bullying is caused by parental neglect.
    Although there are many people that may argue that children pick up negative and violent behaviors from their parents due to neglect, children follow social norms in order to fit in with others, while doing that it may cause them to bully in order to be consider a "cool cat".

  7. While most say the habit of bullying is caused by parental neglect, in fact it can come from multiple things such as video games, street violence, and psychological violence due to their surrounding/neighborhood.The habit of bullying comes from mostly teen and young adults looking to find their own way in the world, lost at sea that some call society, trying to figure out where to go. Some people choose video games. The excitement and glorification of violence in video games are something that is a big issue today in kids and young adults. They play these videos games thinking that when the exit into society there will be a man waiting to strike when they least expect it. This could essentially mess up the logical thought process of young adults and kids into thinking that everyone is "out to get them." Street violence is also a big contribution to bullying because they will look at how people on the streets treat people who are different from them and take that with them to schools, teams, etc. This also ties into the physiological damage from their surroundings. If you surround your child in a dangerous or threatening environment such as a bad school or neighborhood the likely hood of your child becoming a product of their surroundings are higher than someone who is more sheltered, not saying keep your child sheltered but keep them in a good area with good people and you will have a good child.

  8. 2. Hybrid car is using battery as the main power for the vehicle. Some people tend to think it would lead to more environmental pollution because the battery could seriously pollute the soil and battery is not easy to decompose by our soil. In additional, the life of these batteries is limited that we need to replace them very often. In the same time, it also uses the gasoline for charging the battery in some type of vehicles. So, it is kind of inefficiency.

  9. 4.Of course when parents do not pay attention to their children, the children feel they are not loved by their parents and tend to bully other people. Sometimes those children want to attract people's attention, and sometimes they feel stressful but do not know how to release their stress. However, neglect by parents is not only the reason for bullying, but too much attention by the parents can also lead bullying. This is because their parents' carefulness is too much stressful for the children, for they want to be more independent from their parents as they grow. When they are little kids, children need to rely on their parents; however, as they know what is right and what is wrong in their social life, they want to do it by themselves. If parents care about their children too much, and it would be burden for the children. Finally children have nowhere to release their stress, which is possibly causing bullying.

  10. When the topic of bullying comes up, a lot of accusations go to the parents for neglecting their child, which they believe causes them to become bullies. Although, there are many other problems that can occur, giving children a bigger influence in becoming a bully. Studies have shown that children who have been a victim of abuse, will most likely abuse others when they are older. Especially around the teenage years, most kids will do whatever to try and fit in or be popular. Depending on who the kids hang out with, they can be pushed in the direction of bullying other kids in order to feel power and dominance over everyone else.

    -Matt Muir

  11. According to counterargument against the fourth thesis, I would say "Why on earth is children's bullying related to their parents? If those kids bully others, they should be responsible for that. Simply thinking, since they punch and kick the others on their own, it is completely not their parent's fault." But also I need to add transition from this counterargument. I would say, "But, what if they wanted their parents keep an eyes on them when they were at home all day? they possibly only want to be seen by anyone at the same room. Let me consider why they have grown up to be such boys". Whenever you put counterargument against your thesis into your essay, I think you must not forget to add transitional sentence after that, or you will lose your way in your essay. That is why I am a little bit scared of using counterargument in writing the essay. But I am sure counterargument will be necessary for my essays or treatises in the future.

  12. According to the article, the counter argument against this saying "The habit of bullying is caused by parental neglect' if the kid is bulled, it is his/her fault ,you cant blamer the parents for anything because am pretty sure that the parents in one way or the other, the parent has taught the kid, to stand up for his/her right, when bullied, they should fight back, its the decision of the child, to take the advice or leave not. I see know reason why the parents should be blamed

  13. Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence.

    Of course, some may claim that illegal drugs are not always bad and used in gang-related activities--such as marijuana. Whether marijuana should or should not be legal is not the subject at hand, however. We can not take one small example and say that illegal drugs do not add to gang violence. There is no denying that violence erupts over sales of heroin, cocaine, and meth on the streets.

  14. Illegal drug sales contribute to gang violence much more than illegal drug use. Drug use has a weak correlation with violent crime, while being a drug dealer has an extremely strong correlation with violence. Use of drugs might increase crime overall, surely property crime, but gang violence... no. There are many better correlations to examine like: gang affiliation and drug use. There is going to be more evidence there than drug users committing drive-bys. Stoners are rather non-violent, and hardcore addicts would likely only commit a drive-by when bribed with copious amounts of their choice drug. Who does that?

  15. Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence. Illegal drugs are one of the most popular things that are on the streets today. These drugs are normally in the hands of gangs and gang members.
    Some may say that not all illegal drug users are gang affiliated so it is impossible for them to contribute to gang violence. In reality illegal drugs are closely tied to gangs and the sales of drugs competition among other gangs.Drug sales on the streets are in fact the main competition between different gangs in certain areas. Now lets make a connection. Say that there are a large amount of people using illegal drugs. If these people use illegal drugs where do they get them from? From gang affiliated people selling the drugs to them of course. If one gang produces more sales than the next gang then there will be problems in the streets. When there are problems among gangs, it promotes Gang Violence! Therefor, the use of illegal drugs does and will encourage gang violence in certain areas.

  16. While anti-air pollution campaigns should acknowledge the auto industry's role in the problem, they should also do so proportionately. Transportation accounts for 26% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S(circa 2014). This includes public transportation and air travel, so privately owned vehicles is even lower than that figure. It's not only our vehicles on the road that are polluting our air spaces.

    Most people don't realize that electric generators are powered by fossil fuels and emit 30% of our nation's greenhouse gases. I used to see public service announcements about using less electricity, but I haven't in years. PG&E is doing a study where they're monitoring people's electricity usage in their homes and offering solutions to lower the electricity consumption of their patrons. If there is more public education on this, perhaps more energy conscious folks would make the effort to consume less of it.

    I think that's the answer to a lot of our pollution problems, not just air pollution. Consume less. We do not live in a vacuum and the little bit we affect our environments within our day to day lives adds up quickly, considering the population is inflated. It can be a positive impact, or a negative impact, depending on the choices made by individuals. There are ways to reduce your impact other than buying the most fuel efficient car on the market.


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