Elements of Debating eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about Elements of Debating.

He might reply:  “I still do not believe that.”  Then you would say:  “I’ll prove it to you,” or, “I’ll convince you of it.”  You would then have undertaken to do what you are now trying to learn how to do better—­to argue. For argumentation is that form of discourse that we use when we attempt to make some one else believe as we wish him to believe. “Argumentation is the art of producing in the mind of someone else a belief in the ideas which the speaker or writer wishes the hearer or reader to accept."[1]

You made use of argumentation when you urged a friend to take the course in chemistry in your school by trying to make him believe it would be beneficial to him.  You used argumentation when you urged a friend to join the football squad by trying to make him believe, as you believe, that the exercise would do him good.  A minister uses argumentation when he tries to make his congregation believe, as he believes, that ten minutes spent in prayer each morning will make the day’s work easier.  The salesman uses argumentation to sell his goods.  The chance of the merchant to recover a rebate on a bill of goods that he believes are defective depends entirely on his ability to make the seller believe the same thing.  On argumentation the lawyer bases his hope of making the jury believe that his client is innocent of crime.  All of us every day of our lives, in ordinary conversation, in our letters, and in more formal talks, are trying to make others believe as we wish them to believe.  Our success in so doing depends upon our skill in the art of argumentation.


1.  Out of your study or reading of the past week, give an illustration of:  (1) narration; (2) description; (3) exposition; (4) argumentation.

2.  During the past week, on what occasions have you personally made use of:  (1) narration; (2) description; (3) exposition; (4) argumentation?

3.  Explain carefully the distinction between description and exposition.  In explaining this distinction, what form of discourse have you used?

4.  Define argumentation.

5.  Skill in argumentation is a valuable acquisition for: 

(Give three reasons).




  I. The forms of argumentation: 
    1.  Written.
    2.  Oral.

  II.  The forms of oral argumentation: 
    1.  General discussion.
    2.  Debate.

  III.  The qualities of debate: 
    1.  Oral.
    2.  Judges present.
    3.  Prescribed conditions.
    4.  Decision expected.

Now, since we have decided upon a definition of argumentation, let us see what we mean by the term “debate” as it will be used in this work.

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Elements of Debating from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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