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Welcome to the DAV Website
The DAV is a non-profit association which exists to promote debate. It is the peak debating body in Victoria and runs large competitions for adults and for schools across Victoria. It provides training and resources for debaters, teachers and adjudicators.

In a nutshell – rebuttal consists of the arguments that your team raises in response to the arguments of your opposition. Every rebuttal should be like a normal argument – it requires more than “Our opposition are wrong, so there!” Rebuttal requires you to analyse what was said and explain why the other team’s arguments should not be supported. Rebuttal must always be consistent with your own case and should support and reinforce your team line.

All speakers should make rebuttal the first thing that you do in your speech!

Rebuttal must be structured!

1) State what the argument to be rebutted is

You should briefly state what the opposition’s argument is in a couple of sentences. It sounds obvious, but many speakers launch straight into their rebuttal without telling us first what point they are rebutting! Doing this helps give your rebuttal more clarity in the mind of the adjudicator.

2) Explain why the argument is wrong

This could be as simple as re-stating an argument that your team has made, or by referring to an example that you will raise later. It will not be enough to say that you disagree – you need to give us an explanation.

3) Give an example

Rebuttal should be treated like any other argument – it needs evidence to support it. If you can’t think of any new examples, then you might like to refer to one that your team has already used.

4) Link to the topic

There is no point in showing that an argument is wrong if you don’t show how it helps your case. If you can’t make a link back to your side of the topic, then maybe you should think more carefully about the rebuttal and consider whether or not it is relevant to the debate..

Preparing for rebuttal

Before your debate, you should be thinking about what points that your opponents might make – set aside time for a “brainstorming” session to put yourselves in the shoes of your opposition. Think about ways that you might rebut that point, or ways in which you could modify your arguments to make them more defensible.

But a word of caution – whilst you may have pre-prepared some rebuttal, you should still listen carefully to the arguments put by the other team – if you misunderstand them you might end up rebutting an argument that they didn’t make! You should also avoid using your pre-prepared rebuttal in the debate before your opposition has actually made that point - pre-emptive strikes on your opposition don’t really work very well.

Ways to rebut an argument
Thematic rebuttal