Writing Counterargument and Rebuttal Paragraphs

WEEK 6

Forum Objective: Learn how to write a counterargument/rebuttal paragraph for the week 7 analysis paper. Learn to analyze both sides of an issue.

In week 7, you will be submitting a problem analysis paper.  Your in-depth analysis may involve your looking at your position on an issue, but also at the opposing position, the view that is the opposite of yours.  This week you will practice looking at the opposing view, recognizing its strengths, and pointing out its weaknesses. One result of this process is that you will most likely feel more confident about your stance, as you have thought about and prepared responses to objections that you might face.

Step 1: Start by reading “On the Other Hand: The Role of Antithetical Writing in First Year Composition Courses,” which is linked here.

Step 2:  Determine which thread you should post in (see thread descriptions below) and make your initial post in that thread.

  • Thread 1 â€“ Student Last Name Beginning with A through F.   If your last name begins with one of these letters, make your initial post as a response to my post here, addressing the items spelled out above. Do not start your own thread.
  • Thread 2 – Student Last Name Beginning with G through K.  If your last name begins with one of these letters, make your initial post as a response to my post here, addressing the items spelled out above. Do not start your own thread.
  • Thread 3 â€“ Student Last Name Beginning with L through Q.  If your last name begins with one of these letters, make your initial post as a response to my post here, addressing the items spelled out above. Do not start your own thread.
  • Thread 4 â€“ Student Last Name Beginning with R through Z.  If your last name begins with one of these letters, make your initial post as a response to my post here, addressing the items spelled out above. Do not start your own thread.

Step 3: Considering the principles explored in this article, as well as lesson materials previously covered, write two (2) paragraphs for the paper you just finished (the week 5 position paper).  First post your thesis statement (a single sentence that is not a question) in bold; then post your counterargument paragraph and rebuttal paragraph for your persuasion paper that you just finished.

  1. One paragraph will be the antithetical paragraph, offering a view that opposes yours. This is your counterargument paragraph.Ease your reader into the paragraph. Maintain your identity as the writer who supports your stance.You might start your counterargument something like this, “There are some who feel this view on ________ is flawed.They say that _________ …”
  2. The second paragraph will be the reinforcement of your thesis, addressing the objections identified in the counterargument paragraph.  This is your rebuttal. Make the transition from counterargument to rebuttal a smooth one. You can use wording like this to get into your rebuttal: “While some objections have been made regarding _________, the case for _________ is still a strong one.”

As you move into the week 7 paper, remember these principles of examining a viewpoint that is the opposite of your own. Your problem analysis paper in week 7 may be stronger by recognizing solutions other than the one you are suggesting. Looking at those solutions and then explaining why yours is preferred is one way to give you more credibility.  

Sample Initial Student Post

Thesis: Food from McDonalds is good for one’s health because McDonalds serves fish sandwiches, chicken sandwiches and nutritious salads.

Counterargument paragraph (state what the other side thinks)

McDonalds serves unhealthy food because McDonalds’ main sales are high calorie drinks, fatty hamburgers, and oily French fries. Only a small minority of total McDonalds’ sales are healthy, such as salads and fish sandwiches. In addition, McDonalds hamburgers are 1,000 calories per serving….

Rebuttal paragraph (refute the counterargument)

It may be true that McDonalds sells unhealthy hamburgers; however, McDonalds’ salads contain lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and other healthy ingredients. Leafy green vegetables have antioxidants that help fight inflammation, heart disease and cancer. Eating McDonalds’ salads is good for one’s health….…

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