Speaking Test Strategies 11 Using counterarguments

Balance your answer

This is the first lesson on advanced argumentation techniques. It will show you how to give balanced answers using a main argument and a counterargument. 


Most issues have two sides, and acknowledging them will make you seem more nuanced and mature in your outlook. You do not need to do this with all your answers, but using an argument with a counterargument at least once in your speaking test will generally boost your score.

Warm Up: 

Answer this question quickly: 

Is your hometown a good place to live? 


There are two types of counterarguments: those of opinion, and those of fact. Discuss each with your teacher and think of phrases you can use to introduce them. 

Ending a balanced answer clearly means you have to firmly state which side of your opinion is stronger. Discuss strong endings with your instructor. 


Now practice giving balanced answers to some speaking test questions.

Choose one personal question, and give a balanced answer.

  1. What's the best thing to eat in your city? 

  2. Where is the best place to live? 

  3. What's your dream job? 

Choose a controversial topic and give a balanced answer: 

  1. What is your opinion of nuclear power? 
  2. What do you think of the legalization of casinos? 
  3. What do you think about free trade deals?