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Address Counterclaims

In both written and spoken arguments, you may come across opinions that differ from your own. Although it is useful to have a strong opinion of your own to guide an argument, it is equally important to address the views of others. This is what we call addressing counterclaims. 

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Address Counterclaims

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In both written and spoken arguments, you may come across opinions that differ from your own. Although it is useful to have a strong opinion of your own to guide an argument, it is equally important to address the views of others. This is what we call addressing counterclaims.

Not sure how to go about addressing counterclaims during your studies? No worries, this article will explore the definition and provide examples of addressing counterclaims, focusing on written communication, such as essays. It will also consider how to address counterclaims in emails.

Address Counterclaims Definition

Although this term may seem confusing, the meaning is actually quite simple! Addressing counterclaims refers to addressing the differing/opposing views of others.

Address Counterclaims Differing opinions StudySmarterFig. 1 - In written and spoken communication, you're likely to come across differing opinions

As an effective communicator, you should be able to show that you are able to respectfully consider opposing perspectives, even if you disagree with them. You should be mindful that essay writing often involves creating a balanced argument, which includes looking at a variety of sources and different viewpoints. Your aim is to prove to the reader that you have a valid opinion and ensure your work is not too biased towards your own point of view!

Address Counterclaims Writing

It is important to mention that addressing counterclaims in written work is not always necessary! It all depends on the purpose of your writing. For example, if you are writing something personal or creative (such as a diary entry or a blog post), you may not need to address opposing opinions as the focus is on your own thoughts/feelings. In writing, addressing counterclaims is only necessary if you are writing to persuade/argue or analyze/explain a topic.

Writing to persuade/argue involves convincing the reader of a particular point of view by creating a solid argument. In order to do this, one thing you can do is discredit other opinions and explain why your own opinion is more credible. If the reader receives enough evidence that other opinions are not as strong as your own, it will be easier to persuade them!

Effectively writing to analyze or explain involves looking at a variety of sources from a more objective (unbiased) perspective. This includes any information that may go against your opinion or the topic you are writing about. It allows you to gain a more balanced understanding of things and deepen your understanding of multiple different perspectives.

Address Counterclaims in an Essay

So, how do you go about addressing counterclaims in an essay?

Here are a few steps to addressing counterclaims:

1. Begin by stating the counterclaim.

Make sure you respectfully acknowledge the differing viewpoint. This shows the reader you understand that other perspectives exist and that you can consider and respond to them in a rational way.

A rational response means using reason and logic - focusing on the factual/objective information instead of being influenced by your own opinion and biased information.

2. Respond to the counterclaim by explaining why it is not credible or has limitations.

Give reasons why you think the opposing view is not believable. Think about the main purpose of your argument and the reasons why the counterclaim goes against it. A counterclaim may not be credible for reasons such as:

  • Flawed methodology

  • Insufficient participants in a study

  • Outdated information

3. Reinforce your own view and give evidence

The last step is to reinforce your own point of view. Make sure the reader knows the purpose of your argument and the stance you take towards it. If your viewpoint is not made clear, the reader may misunderstand the central message of your argument.

Don't forget - when providing evidence from a source, ensure it is appropriately cited and referenced.

Although addressing counterclaims is often necessary, make sure you don't overdo it! Your top priority should be to develop your own argument with evidence and existing knowledge. This can then be backed up by addressing the counterclaim, which will strengthen your own views and persuade the reader. If you focus too much on other viewpoints, the purpose of your own argument may get lost.

Address Counterclaims Two right opinions StudySmarterFig. 2 - Make sure your own opinion is clear and is not overshadowed by differing opinions.

Address Counterclaims Examples

It is important to be aware of different words/phrases to use when addressing and invalidating a counterclaim. Below is a list of sentence starters you could use in both written and spoken communication when offering an opposing viewpoint:

  • But...

  • However...

  • On the other hand...

  • On the contrary...

  • Alternatively...

  • Despite this...

  • In spite of...

  • While this may be true...

  • Although there is truth in this...

Below is an example of addressing a counterclaim:

  • The counterclaim is in blue
  • The evidence of limitation is in pink
  • Reinforcing the main view and giving evidence is in purple

Some people believe that social media has a negative impact on our language. They argue that the constant use of social media amongst younger generations leads to a decline in reading and writing abilities. Although some children may struggle with English, there is no solid evidence to suggest that social media directly contributes to a lack of reading and writing skills. The daily use of language in an online setting - particularly texting and the use of internet slang - does not mean that children are incapable of learning a wide range of vocabulary or improving their reading skills. It is, in fact, often the opposite. According to linguist David Crystal (2008), the more that people text, the more they develop their writing and spelling skills. This is because they are able to concentrate their minds more on the relationship between sounds and words. Therefore, this improves the literacy of people instead of hindering it. He also goes on to say that younger generations are "reading more than ever because they're glued to screens." (Awford, 2015). This shows that social media does not have a negative impact on the language of younger generations; it instead helps people to develop their reading and writing skills.

This example starts by stating the counterclaim. It then goes on to explain why the counterclaim is insufficient and gives evidence to show its limitations. It ends by reinforcing the main argument and showing the main purpose of the argument.

Address Counterclaims Email

Although one of the most common ways to address a counterclaim is through essay writing, it can also be addressed in emails.

When addressing counterclaims in an email, make sure you consider the context and audience, as this will determine the appropriate language to use. For example, if you are addressing the opposing views of a friend, you may respond using more informal language or rude remarks. As you both know each other and have a mutual understanding of the language used, this is acceptable. For example, you may joke around or use sarcasm to respond.

However, if you are addressing the counterclaim of an acquaintance or stranger, you should use more formal language in order to be more respectful.

Address Counterclaims - Key Takeaways

  • Addressing counterclaims refers to addressing the differing/opposing views of others.
  • You should be able to show that you are able to respectfully consider opposing perspectives, even if you do disagree with them.
  • Addressing counterclaims is only necessary if you are writing to persuade, or analyze/explain a topic.
  • To address a counterclaim in an essay, do the following: 1. state the counterclaim, 2. Respond to the counterclaim by explaining why it is not credible or has limitations, 3. State your own argument and explain why it is stronger than the counterclaim.
  • When addressing counterclaims in an email, make sure you consider the context and audience, as this will determine the appropriate language to use (e.g. informal language amongst friends and formal language amongst acquaintances).

Frequently Asked Questions about Address Counterclaims

Addressing a counterclaim involves respectfully considering the differing views of others, but providing reasons why their view may not be as strong as your own argument, or has limitations.

Addressing counterclaims refers to addressing an opposing viewpoint.

To address a counterclaim in an essay, consider the following steps:


1. Begin by stating the counterclaim.

2. Respond to the counterclaim by explaining why it is not credible or has limitations.

3. Reinforce your own view and give evidence.

A counterclaim is one of four parts of an argumentative essay:


1. claim

2. counterclaim

3. reasoning

4. evidence

You should address a counterclaim after writing your main claim; you should focus on strengthening your own argument first. If you make multiple claims, you may decide to include a counterclaim after each claim.

Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

True or false?Addressing counterclaims in written work is not always necessary.

True or false?Creative writing always needs to address counterclaims.

Which of the following words/phrases is not used when trying to disprove a counterclaim?

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