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Answering Objections in Arguments

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Answering Objections in Arguments

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When you build an argument, you can strengthen your position by discussing opposing opinions or viewpoints. Answering objections signals to your audience that you've thoughtfully considered all sides of the topic. It also gives you an opportunity to show why your argument is stronger than opposing ones.

Here are two effective ways to address an objection:  

  • Make a Counterargument: Point out a flaw or weakness in the objection (without belittling the person who is objecting).

Those who support economic sanctions insist that they are preferable to war. However, sanctions themselves tend to bring war closer.

  • Make a Concession: Admit the value of an opposing opinion or viewpoint, but pivot back to your position. (The concession is italicized in the following example.)

Some critics of random drug testing fear a “slippery slope,” saying that the schools are assuming too much control over students. They cite, for example, the town of El Dorado, Kansas, which in 2006 instituted random drug testing not only for high school athletes, but for any high schoolers or middle schoolers involved in any activity—or even attending any activity. Clearly, this level of intrusion is excessive, but most schools that institute a random drug-testing policy do not go to such extremes.

Your Turn Follow the directions to practice responding to objections.

  1. Review the following claims.
    • Gym class should not be graded.
    • Reality TV promotes dangerous stereotypes.
    • The Web filters on school technology are too restrictive.
    • Eating meat is unethical.
    • Metal detectors make schools safer.
  2. Choose one claim and state an objection or opposing view someone might have about it. (That someone may be you.)
  3. Choose one of two ways to respond to the objection:
    • If there is a flaw in the objection, write a one- or two-sentence counterargument.  
    • If the opposing view has value, write a concession that begins with one of the words or phrases in the table below. Then, in the same sentence or a new one, pivot back to the original claim.
even though I agree that I cannot argue with
I realize that admittedly, granted,
clearly of course, I accept the fact that


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