How Counterclaim Your Position in an Argumentative Essay

April 7, 2022


When it comes to an argumentative essay, you have to consider both sides of the argument.

Sure, the goal of the assignment is to take a side on an issue and give evidence to support your stand.

However, if you fail to focus on both sides of the argument, you’ll appear narrowly minded and your essay will be less effective.

So to write a good argumentative essay that can convince your audience or instructor to keep reading to learn more about the issue under investigation, you should include a counterclaim in the paper.

A counterclaim is one of the elements of an argument that shows you invested your time and effort to investigate the two sides of an issue before taking your own stand on the topic.

What is a Counterclaim in an Argumentative Essay?

A counterclaim is simply one or more arguments that oppose the thesis statement of your argument. 

Before you arrive at a counterclaim, you need to make sure your thesis explains what you claim you want to prove and how you’d like to do it.

You don’t include a counterclaim in the thesis part. Rather, the thesis should explicitly explain that you’ve done your research and you're convinced that the viewpoint of the opposing side is either invalid or weak.

By including a counterclaim in your essay, you create for yourself an opportunity to give a solid response to a reader’s arguments even before they finish reading the paper.

You end up with an essay that’s not only interesting to read but also one that strengthen your position.

How to Deal With Counterclaims in Your Essay

Counterclaims can be quite challenging to write.

On the one hand, you have your position to defend and you have to do so using all the evidences that you can use.

On the other hand, you have the opposing view to consider and include in the essay.

The question is, how do you consider the counterclaims without weakening your position?

You can do so in two ways.

The first option is to note and point out the obvious flaws in the opposing arguments. This will show that, while you recognize the opposing views, they have a weakness that your point of view is trying to address.

By identifying the obvious flaws in a counterclaim, you’ll strengthen your own point of view on the issue. 

The second option is where you agree with the counter argument, but you take this a step further by providing a new evidence that can either weaken or contradict the counterargument.

Again, this will go a long way to strengthen your position and convince your audience to agree with you even if the subject in question is sensitive or controversial. 

The Common Types of Counter Arguments in Argumentative Essays

There are 5 types of counterclaims that you’ll encounter as you work on your argumentative essay.

It’s important to understand each before we look at how you can respond to the counter claims.

  • Your audience (your reader) may come up with an evidence that could potentially weaken your position. Find out what the evidence can be. Cite and examine the evidence and then conclude by responding to it.
  • You can have a situation where an audience draws a different conclusion from the examples you present. If so, you should find a unique conclusion and then respond to it accordingly.
  • Sometimes a reader is highly likely to question the claim of your argument. In such a situation, it’s best to identify those claims, explain, and then give a solid response.
  • You can have an instance where someone disagrees with your claim. If this is the case, you should explain their perspective in your argument and then give a reasonable response.
  • If a reader can give a different explanation for an issue, you should figure out what that explanation might be and then give a completely different explanation yourself.

With that out of the way, let us look at how you can respond to a counterclaim in a way that makes your essay stand a chance to win an argument.

How to Respond to Counterclaims

There are a few response strategies that you can use to respond to counterclaims, but you don’t have to use all of them in the same paper.

The most important thing to do is to choose a strategy that makes the most sense for a particular counterargument.

  • If you find yourself nodding in agreement with some of the arguments that your reader or audience present, present their points and then give a challenge to oppose their points.
  • There may be an instance where a counterclaim provides an evidence different from what you have in your own argument. In such a case, it would be best if you give the reader a reason not to accept the evidence that the counter argument presents.
  • Some arguers will come up with counterclaims that threaten to weaken your argument. In this case, you need to give a thorough explanation on the how or why the evidence they’ve presented doesn’t interfere with or invalidate your claim.

Hire Our Team to Write Your Argumentative Essay

While counterclaims are expected in an argument, responding to them can be quite challenging. So if you feel like the task is too overwhelming to handle even after reading this guide, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll help you write a high quality argumentative essay fast.

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Part of contributing to that vision is by helping you write essays that grab attention, spike reading interest, and earn you the grades that you deserve. 

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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