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5.3: “Yes, if…”- Suggest a way to limit the argument

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    Maybe, in our assessment of the argument, we found exceptions to it or a whole set of circumstances under which it doesn’t hold up. We can advance the conversation by qualifying or limiting the original argument.  One way to do so is to state that the argument only applies in a certain set of cases.  Another way is to acknowledge one or more individual exceptions to it.  Limiting an argument often helps to defend it against a counterargument.

    Here are a few phrases for suggesting limits:

    • We should recognize that this pattern is limited to cases where _____________.
    • The argument holds true in situations where _____________.
    • It is important to note that this claim only applies to _____________.
    • _____________ is a notable exception because _____________.
    • We should note that this claim is certainly not true of _____________.


    "This is where I draw the line" scrawled in red on the side of a building.
    "This Is Where I Draw the Line" by Thomas Hawk on Flickr is licensed CC BY NC 2.0.


    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    How would you suggest limiting each of the following arguments?  Can you point out an exception? Does the claim only apply under specific circumstances?

    • People are more comfortable with video meetings now than they were before the pandemic.

    • Education should be free.

    • Love is a force for good.

    • People should not share videos of others without permission.

    This page titled 5.3: “Yes, if…”- Suggest a way to limit the argument is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Anna Mills (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .