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Useful expressions for debating

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Presenting arguments, welcoming the audience, stating the issue, phrases to present the most important point, conceding an argument, sequencing a list of arguments, adding an argument to strengthen your point, related pages, quick links, awesome links you may like.

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Debate Structure

Formal section phrases, informal debate phrases.


Useful Phrases for Discussion and Debate in English

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Useful Phrases for Discussion and Debate! The following lesson introduces the list of useful phrases for discussing and debating in English with ESL image.

Learn more about how to express your opinion in English. 

Useful Phrases for Discussion and Debate

1. Introducing a point

2. Enumeration of points

3. Expressing a personal opinion

4. Expressing pros and cons

5. Expressing doubt

Useful Phrases for Discussion and Debate

6. Expressing disagreement

7. Expressing support

Useful Phrases for Discussion and Debate

8. Keeping to the point

9. Filers in conversation (used only in speaking)

At the beginning of a sentence

In the middle of a sentence (usually)

At the end of a sentence

Though: This is going to be hard, though. Right?: This is going to be easy, right?

Phrases for Discussing and Debating | Image

Useful Phrases for Discussion and Debate

Useful Phrases for Discussion and Debate in English.

Tuesday 15th of March 2022


Wednesday 9th of March 2022

find phases useful

Edgard Motobe

Saturday 28th of August 2021

I really want be a member how can join it

Saturday 10th of July 2021

Monday 31st of May 2021

well,at the end of the day we will speak english fluently or to improve


Resources for Students

Don't understand all of these terms not sure where to go.

Resources for Students FAQs

Persuasive Language and Debate Words

When debaters are equally matched in argumentation and refutation, sometimes a speaker's style can be the tiebreaker. Using powerful language is one of the ways to improve your style. Many debaters who are in intermediate and open, can now talk confidently and smoothly without as many filler words. However, language is another area where those debaters can improve their style winning them points with judges, and making it easier for them to win. 

There are three categories of words that are key in debate rounds:

Persuasive Words

Persuasive words are the easiest of the three to incorporate into your style. Simply expanding your vocabulary will assist you in any round, but there are times when it is critical to move your judges. The goal of persuasive language is to move someone past what your argument would have done naturally. This is most effective, in rounds that are discussing individuals. When you are in those rounds, there should always be a discussion about the impacts to the individual. When you are impacting, the goal is to show accurate outcomes for that person, but make them seem important. Read the following sentences and see which one you find most persuasive.

It is important that there are special washrooms for gender non-conforming students in schools so that they do not face discrimination. It is critical that we have an accepting, and safe environment for gender non-conforming students so that schools can become a secure place to learn for everyone to learn. 

Those two sentences are roughly the same length, but one is far more persuasive than the other. The second sentence has words and phrases that build audience connection. All parents and judges want students to feel accepted and learn, so using these words helps them relate to and have compassion for whatever student you are discussing. 

Loaded Words

Loaded words can be useful in almost every debate, especially with experienced judges. Loaded words, is a concept used to describe words that have a lot of meaning associated with them. These words allow people to fill in analysis for you. 

What does that mean?

Sometimes you don’t have enough time to say everything you want to. There may be a complex piece of economic analysis, or a principle in law that is difficult to explain. Loaded words allow judges to remember those things, without you having to explain each piece fully. The loaded words you use will depend on the specific round you are in, so doing lots of reading before a tournament can be extremely helpful. 

Examples of loaded words and phrases: global warming, glass ceiling, and poverty cycle

Debate Words

Especially in higher levels of debate, debaters will use words or phrases that can be confusing to those who haven’t encountered them. Here are some important debater words, and appropriate times to use them. 

Analysis is a word used to describe the ideas that prove your point. When you have complex ideas in LEET for example, that is analysis. Analysis is a good word to use instead of points, or arguments. 

For example, instead of saying: we gave you a lot of different reasons as to why there would be war , you could say: our analysis demonstrated why there would be war. It makes it sound more professional, and it allows you to say more with fewer words.

Nuance means very detailed analysis. It can also be used to refer to parts of your analysis that are super specific to either the resolution or a specific actor. It implies elegance or sophistication in your argument. 

An area where debaters commonly use the word nuance is when rebuilding. They might say something like: my opponents didn’t deal with the nuance of our arguments … which just means that they are saying you didn’t deal with all the parts of their argument, or the full analysis. 

False Dichotomy

False Dichotomy is a word that means “false choice”. Your opponents try to paint you into a corner by giving you two choices, when there are many more than two. Saying so, in your clash, helps your judges realize that your opponents weren’t giving you a fair choice or an accurate characterization.

Slippery Slope

Slippery slope is a term that is used to describe analysis that is unrealistic. 

For example: When we allow seals to eat as much fish as they want, we will have no more fish, which will cause all other ocean species to die out, resulting in a world famine. 

That is clearly unreasonable analysis, and could be described as a slippery slope. Not all slippery slopes need to be that ridiculous, but if it seems unlikely to occur, and they don’t give you sufficient analysis, then slippery slope is a good word to use in clash. 

A “claim”, is debate lingo for something you have said in argumentation. So if you make an argument, you are making a claim about whatever your argument is centralized on. 

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Expressions for Agreeing and Disagreeing

This page is about words and phrases that we use when we agree or disagree with someone in English.

Stating an opinion

Asking for an opinion

Expressing agreement

Expressing disagreement


Settling an argument


Material 14: Debate vocabulary

(1) When you start saying something / contributing to a conversation First of all, I would like to say/state that To begin with, I In the first line, I

(2)   What can you say instead of "I think"   I would say/think In my opinion To my mind I am of the opinion that I hold the opinion that

(3)   When you want to stress your "personal opinion": Personally I think As far as I am concerned As for me As I take it As far as I can see

(4)   When you "agree" or when you "don't agree": I entirely/quite agree with you. I agree to (with) her plan.     I am of the same opinion. I differ from/with you entirely. I disagree with you: I am sure you're mistaken. I stick to my opinion. Let's agree to differ!

(5)   When you want to say the "opposite" of what someone else said: on the contrary! quite the contrary! just the opposite! That is the very opposite of what I said. That is quite the contrary to what I said. I maintain the contrary. In contrast to what you said, I maintain that...........

(6)   When you are "quite sure" of something: of course! That goes without saying It goes without saying that I contend/maintain that................ It's my conviction that..................

(7)   When you want to "ask a question": May I interrupt you? There arises the question/point whether/if This question raises the whole issue

(8) When you "haven't understood": I beg your pardon. / Pardon? Could you repeat what you've just said? But slower, please./ Could you slow down a bit?

(9) If you should want to "correct a mistake": Excuse me (for interrupting) you should have said:"....."

(10) When you want to distinguish one aspect from the other: on the one hand - on the other hand in general - in particular generally speaking              on the whole taken as a whole at first sight - on second thoughts

(11) When you want to "add" something: In addition Moreover Furthermore Finally

(12) When you want to "emphasize" something: I would like to lay (put) emphasis (stress) on the fact that.. I just want to point out that

(13) When you want to "say the truth": To be frank (with you) Frankly (speaking) To say the truth

(14) And if you are "not sure": I don't know exactly. I don't know for certain.

(A) General phrases: in other words                    in this respect to a certain degree/extent        It depends on your point of view in brief/short To be brief To cut a long story short,......  Let me put it this way:.... I don't know. - I don't know either.   Nor/Neither do I.

Add the following expressions to the given categories I agree with / disagree with you; I see/understand your point but ; You´ve got a point / a case there but; I´m not sure. whether …; I have doubts / reservations about ; I don´t see that working in practice. ; It may work in the short-term / in the long-term. ; I think that´s debatable. ; Prove it! ; Your argument is flawed because... ; What´s that got to do with the issue? ; You´re missing the point. ; It´s ridiculous to suggest that.... ; My feeling is.. ; If you ask me... ; As for me.... ; Bear in mind that … ; You´d better do ... ; Let´s face it.... ; In general... ; On the whole... ; As a rule.... ; It goes without saying that... ; What´s more / in addition / furthermore ; What I´m getting at is... / What I´m trying to say is.. / My point is... ; What is your point? What are you driving at? ; You´re not serious, are you? ;You must be joking! That´s nonsense / rubbish / ridiculous.

Material 14: Debate vocabulary: Herunterladen [doc] [27 KB]


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  1. Useful Expressions for Debating

    Conceding an argument · It's true/obvious/evident that ... However, ... · While you might say that ..., it's important to remember that ... · I agree with you that


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  5. Common Debating Phrases

    Download Worksheets- PDF formatted · I'm sorry to interrupt, but you've misunderstood our point. · Excuse me, but that's not quite correct. · Sorry

  6. Persuasive Language and Debate Words

    Analysis · Nuance · False Dichotomy · Slippery Slope · Claim.

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    Material 14: Debate vocabulary ... (4) When you "agree" or when you "don't agree": I entirely/quite agree with you. I agree to (with) her plan. I am of the same