Essays are one of the greatest forms of debate. Whether it’s that one anonymous commenter who makes you want to hire a reddit essay writing service to defend the honor of your favorite fictional character, or considering dropping out of the college class where that one professor insists that your essays can’t just permanently sit on the fence, constructing arguments isn’t something that comes easily to most. But in a world consistently dominated by debates great and small, it’s important to be able to present our views in a clear, coherent and convincing fashion. However, unless you either had a really good English teacher, or were privy to your school’s debate team’s training, most people barely know how to structure an argument, let alone how to come up with a good one on the spot.
However whether it’s on a twitter thread declaring your right to have pineapple on pizza, or having to argue about climate change with your relatives at the dining table, there are a few key things to keep in mind if you want to make an impactful argument:
Research The Topic Whenever Possible
There are few debates that have never been debated before. Whether it’s a matter of human rights or whether or not you should make your bed in the morning, there’s a good chance that people have gotten together to discuss it before.
Research is important for several reasons: firstly, it allows us to explore other’s viewpoints on a topic and see how they present their opinions. Secondly, because if it’s done well, it can lead to the discovery of compelling evidence that will convince even the most hard headed of opponents.
Evidence can come in all shapes and sizes, from personal experience to historical basis and scientific findings. Most of the time, when we are confronted with impromptu arguments, we have to rely on our own anecdotes or hope that we are remembering the facts correctly. While your opponent may wrongly assume that you are conceding defeat, by excusing yourself for a moment to pull out your phone and do a quick google search, it is far more likely that you will be able to find case studies and statistics to support your opinion and possibly even find expert opinion on the topic.
Know Thine Enemy
While it may seem counterintuitive at first to try and understand your opponents arguments, doing so is actually one of the best ways to refine your points and ensure that your argument is water tight.
Many of us don’t bother to do this since we tend to be uncomfortable with the idea of possibly having to re-examine and re-evaluate our opinions, however studying your opponents doesn’t mean having to compromise your opinions. Studying your opponents gives you the chance to learn the line of logic that their argument takes and makes it easier for you to be able to deconstruct it and find faults with it. Furthermore, by acknowledging your opponent’s arguments and taking them into account when crafting a rebuttal or a point, it makes it harder for them to take down your argument by claiming that you’ve never considered a particular viewpoint. In addition to this, it allows you to be better prepared since you can also see how your opponent may rebut your points and vice-versa.
Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and most arguments are born from what someone perceives to be a logical train of thought. By learning what your opponent may be about to say, it makes it easier for you to prepare a strong rebuttal.
Beware The Fallacy
Logical fallacies are the kryptonite of an argument. A logical fallacy is essentially a flaw in the logical reasoning of an argument and is actually far more common than you think. Usually, we accidentally use logical fallacies because on a surface level, they often sound convincing, easy to buy into and ‘simplify’ complex issues. However, as its name implies, an argument built upon a logical fallacy has a shaky foundation to begin with and all it takes to completely rip it apart is for an astute opponent to be able to spot it.
In order to avoid making logical fallacies in our arguments, it is important to be willing to be critical of our evidence and how we present our case. For example, if you find yourself going “Well surely, everybody likes sweets..,” then you have to stop yourself and examine whether or not this is actually the case.
While you may not personally know a person who openly dislikes sweet things, it’s possible that there may be someone out there who for some inexplicable reason does. And if your opponent points that out, the premise for your argument falls apart. Once you realize this, you can revise your argument to become “Well, most people like sweets…”.
Congratulations! Not only is it now harder for your opponent to critique you, but you’ve also avoided using the ‘Blanket Statement’ logical fallacy.
Sometimes arguments are inevitable. It can be a matter of passion, pride or even playfulness, but who can deny the feeling of pride that comes with having the last word in any discussion and having your opponent concede defeat. However, in order to do that, we also have to be willing to make the necessary preparations and be willing to be critical of our own ideas. By adding the above techniques to crafting your arguments and honing your skills, you are a step closer to becoming a better debater and a deeper thinker.