How to Write a Rebuttal Essay

A rebuttal essay, also known as an argument or counter-argument essay, typically responds to specific points made by a person or organization. As in a debate, this type of essay gives you the opportunity to present your opinions on a situation using research and critical thinking to address an argument. Understanding how to approach this type of essay will help you create a complete perspective which could impact another person’s point of view on the topic.

Outline Points

Before you begin writing, outline your argument to help prevent you from feeling stuck or uncertain about the next step in your essay. To begin, list the ideas made by the opposing view point. You should consider any length requirements for your essay, and if you have too many points, highlight the most important items you want to address. This list will provide a starting point for your research. When you have gathered the data you need on each point, decide on the order you will present them. One good option is to begin with the smallest idea on your list and build up to the most important or impactful idea.


The introduction of your rebuttal essay should give some background to the situation you will discuss. This will help any reader unfamiliar with your topic have a starting point to understand your arguments. Once the reader has this information, you will give your thesis statement. Your introduction will not list each point you plan to make. Instead, your thesis will give your general stand on the argument in one sentence. For example, if your argument relates to one person’s opinion that a certain brand of soda tastes better than another, you will simply tell your reader that you have a different opinion. This sets up your paper and your stand on the topic.


Begin by sharing the first claim by the opposing view point. You will then state your ideas, and use your research to back up your opinion on this first claim. This will show the reader why she should stand with you on each particular point. Do not make generalized statements regarding the topic. Instead, stay on the point and then continue by following to the next idea listed on the outline you made before you began writing.


Once you cover each point, you will conclude your essay. This gives you the opportunity to pull all of your information together and show how each point you made should impact the reader’s opinion. You should restate your perspective on the topic, and end your essay with a final sentence that will leave the reader thinking about the subject and your perspective.

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