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The Three Moves of Countering

What is Countering?
This argumentative move involves acknowledging or even conceding an opposing view to your own, and then countering that view by presenting your different way of thinking about the evidence. Countering means "pushing back" against the text or opposing argument. This pushing back may be disagreeing, challenging something said, or interpreting the facts differently. Countering means not simply negating--it can be that--but suggesting a different way of thinking about the subject. In classical rhetoric, this move is called "concession and refutation" or we might more simply call is "point-counterpoint." See more about Argumentative Techniques.

Move #1:  First, acknowledge a claim in opposition to our own.
More on Concession Used in Rhetoric

Example:
Others will argue that our school our school should not change its menu options.

Move #2: Next, present or summarize a piece of evidence supporting that opposing claim.

Example:
Those who are against further menu changes refer to the large number of complaints about our new menu options. These opponents suggest we give students additional time to adjust to the changes, rather than causing more confusion with new changes.

Be sure that your representation of this opposing argument is "fair." Don't misrepresent this opposing view.

Move #3: Then, push back against this evidence, suggesting a different way of thinking about this evidence. Include supporting evidence to back up your argument in this refutation section.
More on Refutation in Argument

Example:
This position is misguided. Students are extremely resilient. Making additional menu changes that provide both tasty and nutritious options should lead to more satisfaction, not more confusion.

Note: For shorter papers of 2-5 pages, put all three moves together to form a single paragraph in your draft.

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Sentence Stems for Acknowledging Opposing Views

            Some believe that ____                     Others will argue that ____
            Those opposed to ____ state that ____
            People against this view believe that ____


Sentence Stems for Countering the Opposing View

            However, this view is incorrect because ___
            But ____                    This position is misguided. …
            Those who support this view may have a point, but I disagree because ___

Example Countering Paragraph:

Michael Boczek makes the claim that his way of biometric security using ears is "stable and enduring." He argues that because the ear changes very little over the course of someone's life the ear is secure to use. Although it is true that the ear changes little through someone's life, risks still exist to using this type of biometric security. No matter which body part is used for biometric security, there will still be risks that cannot be avoided. According to Woodrow Hartzog, and Associate Professor of Law at Stamford University, "if biometrics are compromised, you're done. You can't get another ear." His point is that once the body part used as a security system is compromised it can't be undone. The consequences of this compromise are permanent since you can't change your biometric information.

Example Countering Paragraph Color-coded and Annotated:

Michael Boczek makes the claim that his way of biometric security using ears is "stable and enduring." He argues that because the ear changes very little over the course of someone's life the ear is secure to use. Although it is true that the ear changes little through someone's life, risks still exist to using this type of biometric security. No matter which body part is used for biometric security, there will still be risks that cannot be avoided. According to Woodrow Hartzog, and Associate Professor of Law at Stamford University, "if biometrics are compromised, you're done. You can't get another ear." His point is that once the body part used as a security system is compromised it can't be undone. The consequences of this compromise are permanent since you can't change your biometric information.

Acknowledging opposing claim
Summarizing some evidence supporting that claim

Countering the opposing claim
--presenting evidence to support the counterargument

... this paragraph could present more evidence to support its counterargument

Example Countering Paragraph within a Larger Argument

Essay Question: Did Eveline make the right decision in staying and not leaving with Frank?

Thesis/Claim: Eveline made the wrong decision when she refused to get on the boat with Frank.

Body Paragraph #1 (Reason #1): Eveline should have left with Frank because she was in love.

Body Paragraph #2 (Reason #2): Eveline mistakenly stayed because marriage and a new life with Frank offered her opportunities she did not have at home.

Countering Paragraph (Counterargument vs Reason #3): Although Eveline had made a promise to her mother to stay, she was wrong to keep that promise and refuse to leave with Frank because she lives in the same abusive situation that killed her mother and she must escape it.

Some may argue that Eveline made the correct decision because by staying she kept the promise to take care of her family she made to her dying mother. As Eveline sits debating what to do, she remembers the promise she made: "Strange that it should come to her that very night to remind her of the promise to her mother, her promise to keep the house together as long as she could." Certainly, a promise made to a dying relative has a great deal of power, and Eveline obviously feels a strong obligation to her mother's memory. However, Eveline should have left because she lives in the same abusive situation that killed her mother, and she must escape it. Dreaming about the respect she would have once she was married, Eveline stops short as she contemplates the abuse she faces from her father: "She would not be treated as her mother had been. Even now, though she was over nineteen, she sometimes felt herself in danger of her father's violence. She knew it was that that had given her the palpatations." Eveline now fears that her father would beat her just as he had beaten her mother, and she is terrified. She also paints a domestic picture of being in essence a slave to a raging alcoholic: "He said she used to squander the money, that she had no head, that he wasn't going to give her his hard-earned money to throw about the streets, and much more, for he was usually fairly bad on Saturday night." Eveline now lives in the same world of "commonplace sacrifices" that drove her mother crazy and killed her. Her mother's promise was a death sentence that Eveline, now that she is older and can make her own decisions, can chose to ignore, but at the time of this story, she was unable to make the right choice and leave the abuse and be free.

Acknowledging opposing claim
Summarizing some evidence supporting that claim

 

 

 

Refutation: Countering the opposing claim
--presenting evidence to support the counterargument

--inclusion of multiple instances of textual support for the refuting reason

 

 

 

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