Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

5.10: Language Toolkit

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Language for Concession/Counterargument

    When you write a concession or counterargument, you need to clearly show whose perspective you are talking about, and signal to your reader when you are switching back and forth from one perspective to another. Table 5.10.1 provides some useful language for these tasks. Note: this assumes you are writing an entire paragraph addressing another perspective, but you can also use this concept and this language in smaller bits.

    Table 5.10.1: Language for Concession/Counterargument
      Part of the paragraph What to write Possible language

    Part 1

    Topic sentence/point that names the other perspective:

    1+ sentences

    Start with connecting words and, if logical, reporting words to make clear that you are switching to a perspective that is not your own opinion.


    • an opposite idea
    • a question about, concern about, or problem with your idea
    • an exception to your idea
    • the inherency (if your idea/plan is so great, why isn’t everyone already doing it?)
    If this is not your first concession/counterargument paragraph, make that clear with connecting words that add ideas (Another. . ., ...also . . ., In addition, . . .)
    • However,
    • One objection to [my idea] is that . . .
    • Some argue that...
    • Opponents of [my idea] argue that . . .
    • Supporters of [opposite idea] note/point out that...
    • Proponents of [opposite idea] believe...
    • Those against [my idea] disagree with [part of my idea]
    • Skeptics of [my idea] contend that. . .
    • Critics of [my idea] accuse [someone] of verbing . . .
    • Not everyone agrees with/that. . . [my idea]. Some point out that...
    • Here’s another perspective: . . .
    • It’s true that…
    • Granted, . . .
    • Of course, . . .
    • Still, . . .
    • That said, . . .

    Part 2

    Evidence/specific information

    that supports the other perspective:

    2+ sentences

    Give evidence/specifics of this other perspective:

    • why do they think this?
    • how many think this?
    • quote/paraphrase from someone who thinks this
    • give specific details about the point (e.g. if the problem is that your idea is expensive, how much money will it cost?)
    and explain their point of view, being careful to sound fair and balanced.
    • For example, . . .
    • In fact, . . .
    • To illustrate, . . .
    • Indeed, . . .
    • According to. . .
    • They cite research showing that . . .
    • A study from the University of Chicago found that . . .
    • Because of this, many feel. . .
    • They indeed have a point that. . .
    • It’s understandable that people worry about. . .
    Part 3

    Response that defends and explains your position:

    2+ sentences

    Start with connecting words and, if logical, reporting words to make clear that we are now back to your own position, explain why the other perspective

    • is not true
    • is biased
    • is using a logical fallacy
    • is true but not that important, worth the cost, etc.
    • is true, but the evidence actually proves your side

    or otherwise respond in a way that shows your position is still stronger.

    • However, . . .
    • Nevertheless, . . .
    • Still,
    • Yet
    • That said, . . .
    • This may be true, but . . .
    • Even if this is true, . . .
    • On the other hand, . . .
    • Despite this disadvantage/side effect/risk/problem . . .
    • Although X is a concern, overall/ ultimately . . .
    • Just because X doesn’t mean Y
    • If X were true, Y wouldn’t verb (present/general)
    • If X were true, Y wouldn’t have verbed (past)

    Naming and Refuting Logical Fallacies

    Table 5.10.2 provides language for naming, explaining, and refuting common logical fallacies.

    Table 5.10.2 Language for Responding to Logical Fallacies
    Part of your sentence suggested language patterns

    Sentence 1:

    source of the fallacy

    • The author/researchers etc.
    • The advertisers
    • Marketers of X
    • Some people
    • Those who agree with X
    • Those who disagree with X
    • People who think X
    • Proponents/advocates of X
    • Opponents/critics of X
    • Author's name
    special reporting verb phrase
    • imply(ies) that
    • seem(s) to imply that
    • seem(s) to think that
    • would have us believe that
    • want(s) us to believe that
    • wrongly suppose(s) that
    • claim(s) that
    • try(ies) to show that
    • want(s) to convince us that
    • insist(s) that
    paraphrase/summary of their argument
    • X caused Y.
    • Y because X.
    • because X, Y.
    • X, therefore Y.
    • based on X, Y.
    • X proves Y.
    • we must choose between X and Y.
    • we should/shouldn’t X, because Y might result.
    • X will lead to Y.
    • if we X, Y will happen.

    Sentence 2:

    transition to your rebuttal

    • Clearly,
    • However,
    • When we examine his/her/their logic, however,
    • The problem with this argument is that . . .
    • On closer inspection,
    rename the source (opponent)
    • he/she/they
    • the author/politician/advertiser etc.
    special verb
    • is/are using
    • is/are engaging in
    • falls into the trap of
    • is/are trying to trick us with
    name the fallacy/error
    • the X fallacy
    • a manipulative appeal to Y
    • faulty/flawed reasoning/logic

    Sentence 3:

    explain the error

    • Just because X doesn’t mean Y.
    • There might be another factor that caused Y.
    • It might be true that X means Y, but this doesn’t prove it.
    • There is probably another explanation: Y.
    • X might indeed cause Y, but this evidence doesn’t prove it because…
    • There is no solid proof that if X, Y.
    • We need to show/prove/see more evidence that/substantiate the claim that Y.
    • In fact, there might be a better way to Y.
    • Of course, it may be true that X, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Y.
    • Although X and Y are correlated, this doesn’t necessarily mean that X causes Y.
    • He/she/they fail(s) to consider that. . .
    • He/she/they is/are exaggerating the effect/impact/significance of X.
    • While the individual example is compelling, it alone doesn’t prove Y.

    Argumentation terms

    These are key academic words that are helpful for explaining the structure of arguments and pointing out flaws in reasoning. Keywords are in bold; examples are italicized.

    Disagreement terms

    Table 5.10.3 contains words we use to name or describe an area of disagreement, or which position someone is taking in the disagreement:

    Table 5.10.3 Argumentation Terms for Disagreement
    Term and part of speech Definition(s) and derivative forms  Examples


    (count noun)

    position, point of view, or attitude toward something; the way someone thinks about an idea, problem, or controversy. Sometimes we use this word to indicate that the person's experience or identity helps or causes them to see the situation in a certain way.
    • The local residents were able to provide a historical perspective that the visitors were not aware of.
    • My grandmother has lived long enough to have a broader perspective.
    • The editorial in the Los Angeles Times offered a very different perspective on the new policy.



    causing a debate of strong opinions on different sides; controversy (count or non-count noun)
    • The school board will discuss the controversial issue of whether to allow staff without vaccines to keep working.
    • The subway strike was controversial; most riders supported the workers, but some were angry that they couldn’t get to their own jobs.
    • Wilde was a controversial author; many loved him, but many hated him.


    (count noun)

    someone who supports an idea, plan, or another person; advocate [antonym of opponent]; propose (transitive verb)
    • Proponents of the boycott argue that it will put pressure on the company to improve working conditions.
    • Surprisingly, the worker's rights activist was not a proponent of the boycott.
    • The engineers proposed a different solution to the polluted runoff from the fabric dyeing station.


    (count noun)

    someone who is against an idea, plan, or another person, and is trying to stop them or win against them [antonym of proponent]; oppose (transitive verb); opposition (non-count noun)
    • Opponents of bilingual education may argue that it doesn’t work, but they’re mistaken.
    • During the primary elections, McCain was Bush's leading opponent.
    • Smith is a bitter/vocal/outspoken opponent of gun control.
    • Several members of the city council opposed the new zoning regulations.
    • The garment workers union faced considerable opposition from the company when they began to organize.


    Logical relationship terms

    Table 5.10.4 contains words we use to name how two or more events or facts are related to each other:

    Table 5.10.4 Argumentation Terms for Logical Relationships
    Term and part of speech Definition(s) and derivative forms  Examples


    (usually count but sometimes non-count noun)

    an action or event that is the reason for another action or event; cause (transitive verb); causal (adj.); causation (non-count noun)

    We use causation to emphasize that one event or situation really did cause another event in a way we can prove.-

    • One cause of the rise of fast fashion was the increasing popularity of social media.
    • Coverage of the horrible factory fire caused many to pay attention to working conditions in the garment industry for the first time.
    • There were too many complicated factors for scientists to easily prove a causal relationship between the specific chemicals polluting the water and rising cancer rates. It’s possible that air pollution, poor nutrition, smoking, or something else was causing the increase in cases.
    • Researchers noticed that patients who took the medication had increased rates of arthritis, but there wasn’t enough evidence to show causation.



    matching, making a predictable pattern, making sense together; inconsistent (adj.); consistency/inconsistency (count or non-count noun); consistently/inconsistently (adv.)
    • The workers’ union asked the factory owners to install ventilation systems consistent with the safety plan in the contract.
    • The damage to the building is consistent with the theory that an electrical problem caused the fire.
    • Sales have been inconsistent; sometimes higher than expected, sometimes lower.
    • The investigators noticed inconsistencies in the two suspects’ stories; for example, one said they were traveling to a convention, while the other said they were vacationing.
    • Studies consistently reported better outcomes for girls with more years of education.


    (count or non-count noun)

    two events, actions, or amounts being connected or happening at the same time; correlated (adj.)
    • The study found a strong correlation between urban poverty and poor health.
    • There is a direct correlation between levels of union membership and equal distribution of wealth in a country.
    • Social media use is correlated with low self-esteem.
    • At first, they thought drinking coffee caused lung cancer, but then they realized coffee drinking was correlated with cigarette smoking, which was the actual cause.


    (count noun)

    one part of a cause with more than one part; one event or condition that, along with other events or conditions, leads to an effect
    • Two factors that influence the price of clothing are labor cost and materials cost.
    • The researchers forgot to consider the age of the subjects, which was an important factor in how well they responded to the treatment.
    • The study designers needed to make sure there were no confounding factors, so they made sure the subjects were evenly distributed between the groups in every way.



    not according to any pattern or set of rules; unpredictable

    • Whether you get heads or tails when flipping a coin is purely random.
    • The polling organization conducted a random sample of five hundred American teenagers.

    Reasoning terms

    Table 5.10.5 contains words we use to name how a person made a decision or why they think something:

    Table 5.10.5 Argumentation Terms for Reasoning
    Term and part of speech Definition(s) and derivative forms  Examples



    chosen without a particular reason or pattern; similar to random, but arbitrary is more about a person making a decision without following a consistent or fair rule, so it sometimes has a connotation of “unfair” when used to describe actions of people in power; arbitrarily (adv.)
    • Was there a system for choosing which students were called on? No, it was the teacher’s arbitrary decision.
    • International law protects people from arbitrary imprisonment; a leader cannot just throw someone they don’t like in jail.
    • The factory owner gave an arbitrarily chosen number of workers the day off, but wouldn’t explain his decision.


    (count noun)

    a guess; an idea that someone believes even though they may not have all the information or evidence that it is true; assume (transitive verb)

    • The professor made the assumption that the student didn’t care about the class, but actually, the student was just tired from his night shift.
    • Based on the assumption that infection rates might increase, the company bought stock in masks and hand sanitizer.
    • The factory owners correctly assumed that customers would not boycott the brand even if they kept the workers from unionizing.


    (count noun, usually plural)

    the information or answers someone finds from doing research
    • Nobody was surprised by the findings of a recent study that indicated people living close to factories have increased rates of asthma.
    • We expected that the new medicine would work well, but unfortunately, the findings of the clinical trial contradicted our prediction.

    Evaluation terms

    Table 5.10.6 contains words we use to evaluate someone's decision or explain whether we should believe them:

    Table 5.10.6 Argumentation Terms for Evaluation
    Term and part of speech Definition(s) and derivative forms  Examples


    (count noun)

    two statements or actions by the same person that go against each other or can’t both be true; contradict (transitive verb); contradictory (adj.)
    • She pointed out a contradiction between the government's ideas and its actual policy
    • The writer contradicts his own idea when he says that boycotts are the only solution and also that boycotts are a terrible plan.
    • The safety plan had contradictory rules: it stated that workers were required to stand six feet apart, but also that there could be up to 40 people in a small room.


    (non-count noun)

    deserving to be believed and trusted; credible (adj.)
    • The politician ran ads listing her past accomplishments in order to establish her credibility as a leader.
    • After they were wrong about a major election, the polling organization lost credibility with the public.
    • The report suggesting the chemical was safe came from a company manufacturing that same chemical, so I don’t think that’s a credible source.



    reasonable, sensible, acceptable, logical; validity (non-count noun)
    • The economist made a valid point that a livable minimum wage is a different amount in different countries.
    • She raised a perfectly valid question: do we really need new clothing for every occasion?
    • His argument lacks validity; it’s true that we all need clothing, but that doesn’t mean we all need a new outfit every single time we go out.

    Argumentation terms review

    Let's try out using these terms.

    Try this!

    Read each sentence. In each sentence, a word has been replaced by the letter "X". Decide which of the three choices at the end would be the best replacement for "X". Use the meaning and the grammar pattern to help you decide.

    1. The union was negotiating for a pay raise X with the cost of living for the region. (opponent/consistent/random)
    2. Opponents of a boycott raised a X point, that the boycott might actually hurt the workers it was meant to help. (valid/findings/factor)
    3. After the scientists recorded the amount of pesticides in the runoff from the cotton fields, they presented their X at an environmental health conference. (credibility/random/findings)
    4. The decision to strike was X ; some of the workers were convinced it was the only path forward, but others were afraid to lose their jobs or even face retaliation. (contradiction/controversial/correlation)
    5. The lack of economic opportunities in rural areas is one X driving many women to move to cities in search of factory jobs. (factor/arbitrary/assume)
    6. Research on decision-making shows that when we feel a X between our behavior and our values, such as when we are shopping for unethically-made products, we feel very uncomfortable, and usually change our values to match our behavior. (consistent/credibility/contradiction)

      For suggested answers, see 5.12: Answer Key - Analyzing Arguments Answer Key


    Licenses and attributions

    CC Licensed Content: Original

    Authored by Gabriel Winer, Berkeley City College. License: CC BY NC.

    This page titled 5.10: Language Toolkit is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gabriel Winer & Elizabeth Wadell (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .

    • Was this article helpful?