So, what is the best and simplest answer to this question that might be confusing a lot of students? According to Professor David Oldham of Shoreline Community College “The counter argument can be placed anywhere but the concluding paragraph. The reason behind it as that a counterclaim always has a rebuttal following after. If its in the conclusion then it means an argument has been left incomplete.”
Hence, the professor makes it clear in a very precise manner that counterclaims shouldn’t be included at the end of an essay. If you are familiar with essay writing, you must be aware that conclusions do not contain any new information. The finishing paragraph is only meant to tie the points together that are discussed in the essay. Finding the perfect place to place your counterclaim is similar to a jigsaw puzzle. You need to find the most accurate place where it fits in your argumentative essay.
Another place where you do not usually see counterclaims being introduced are in middle of a paper. It simply does not make any sense when you put it right in the center of your essay. Counterclaims need a context and they must be arranged in a specific manner that doesn’t jilt the flow of writing. They are most often placed in the introduction or the paragraph following exactly after the introduction. A counterclaim can also be integrated after all your points have been argued. From here on we will get further into the details of each placing for counterclaims in an essay.
Counterclaim in the introduction
This option is possibly the most effective to integrate counterclaim in your essay. Stating the counterclaim in the beginning of the essay is quite a successful move. It informs the reader about why you decided to choose that particular topic to write on. Following we have provided an example which gives you an idea how to do it.
“Throughout the world, there are hundreds of dams of various sizes. Dams are used as a defense against flood, irrigation, hydro power and water supplying. In spite of these positive aspects, dams also have their negative side. It is not addressed as often but they have a damaging impact on nature on a global level. They consume valuable natural resources and ruin habitat of wild creatures. Endangered species are effected badly by them and they emit harmful greenhouse gases.”
The author has first introduced the positive points of dams here which are meant to serve as a counterclaim. He then progresses to refute this claim and states the argument that he is going to explore in the essay. Which you must have guesses are the negative elements related to dam building. It can be clearly seen how starting off with the counterclaim makes your own stance stand out powerfully.
Counterclaim after the introduction
We will now focus on how the counterclaim can fit in after the introductory paragraph. This technique proves to be a favorable to the audience as it includes their anticipated response. This will encourage the idea that you are not leading a one-sided discussion. Displaying an openness to counter views allows the readers to be open to your argument in turn. Here is an example how you can attempt that using the same topic mentioned above:
“Throughout the world, there are hundreds of dams of various sizes. It is not addressed as often but they have a damaging impact on nature on a global level. They consume valuable natural resources and ruin habitat of wild creatures. Endangered species are affected badly by them and they emit harmful greenhouse gases.
However, most people believe that dams are extremely beneficial. They are used as a defense against flood, irrigation, generating hydro power and for supplying water. For many individuals these aspects come foremost in comparison to the negative effects. This is due to the reason that they are using the above-mentioned resources in their daily lives.”
This is how you can introduce the counterclaim after putting your view first. The negative affects have been provided before by the writer this time. And then the transition towards the counterclaim has been made. The positive affects are most widely known among people. Therefore, their attention will be automatically reeled in with this controversial beginning.
Integrating counterclaim after stating all the main points
This is the final option from the three we mentioned in the start of our article. This can also prove to be a very impressive placement. The readers have gone through all your arguments by now. Including a counterclaim at this moment just serves to strengthen them. It highlights the gaping hole that you have filled in with your logic.
Here is the example of how this placement can be implemented within an argumentative essay. We have kept the sample topic same as before.
1. Introduction: Give the information about the negative aspects of dams.
2. Body paragraph 1: How dams consume precious natural resources.
3. Body paragraph 2: The way dams ruin habitats of wild animals.
4. Body paragraph 3: How dams cause damage through green-house gas emission.
5. Body paragraph 4: They have a harmful effect on endangered creatures.
6. Fifth paragraph: The counterclaim about the positive aspects of dams.
Placing a counterclaim is not so difficult once you understand the technicalities. Determine the nature of your topic and then play around with the structure to integrate the counterclaim. It will be perfectly suited where its purpose is served most favorably. So, it is up to you to figure out which of our three options fit your requirement.
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