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Writing Debate Speech Arguments (+ Sample)

A debate speech is a structured and formal presentation given during a debate. It is an opportunity for individuals or teams to present their arguments and persuade the audience or judges to support their position on a specific topic or issue.

In a debate setting, participants present their arguments and counterarguments on a specific topic. Rebuttal arguments play a crucial role in challenging and refuting the opposing arguments while strengthening one’s own position.

Format – Outlining your Debate Speech

Typically, a debate speech essay follows a specific format and time limit, which may vary depending on the debating style or competition rules. Here is a common structure for a debate speech:

  1. Introduction:
    • Begin with a strong opening statement that includes a salutation and an attention-grabbing hook to engage the audience.
    • Clearly state the topic or motion being debated.
    • Present your main argument or thesis statement: Clearly state your position and the reasons why you believe it is valid.
  2. Body of the Speech:
    • Present a series of points or arguments that support your main thesis.
    • Clearly state each point: Use persuasive language and provide any supporting evidence, facts, statistics, or examples to back up your claims.
    • Use logical reasoning and sound arguments to make your case.
    • Structure your points in a coherent and organized manner.
  3. Rebuttal: Anticipate and address potential counterarguments or opposing viewpoints
    • Respond to the arguments made by the opposing side.
    • Highlight any weaknesses or flaws in their arguments.
    • Counter their points with evidence and logical reasoning.
    • Maintain a respectful tone and address the opposing arguments directly.
  4. Conclusion:
    • Summarize your main arguments and restate your position.
    • Emphasize the key points that support your stance.
    • Leave a lasting impression by delivering a strong closing statement.
    • Thank the audience or judges and encourage them to support your position.
  • Remember, in a debate speech, it is important to speak clearly, confidently, and passionately.
  • Supporting your arguments with evidence and addressing opposing viewpoints effectively will strengthen your speech and increase your chances of persuading the audience or winning the debate.
  • Rebuttal arguments in debates are typically concise and targeted, focusing on specific weaknesses or flaws in the opposing arguments. They aim to discredit the opposing viewpoint, highlight inconsistencies, present counter-evidence, or offer alternative interpretations.

Dos and Don’ts Before Crafting a Debate Speech

By adhering to these dos and don’ts, you can craft a compelling and persuasive debate speech that effectively communicates your position and engages your audience or judges:

  1. Dos:

    • Understand the Topic: Read and understand the topic or motion being debated. Next, identify the main points or issues related to the topic. Finally, determine your position or stance on the topic (for/against).
    • Thoroughly research the topic: Gather sufficient information and evidence to support your arguments. Use credible sources and ensure the accuracy of the information you present.
    • Structure your speech effectively: Organize your speech with a clear introduction, main arguments, rebuttal, and conclusion. Use logical progression and signposting to guide your audience through your points.
    • Use persuasive language: Use strong, clear, and concise language to convey your arguments effectively. Use rhetorical devices, such as analogies or powerful metaphors, to make your speech more engaging and memorable.
    • Provide evidence: Support your arguments with relevant evidence, such as statistics, facts, quotes, or examples. Cite your sources accurately to enhance the credibility of your speech.
    • Anticipate and address counterarguments: Consider potential opposing viewpoints and address them respectfully. Refute counterarguments with logical reasoning, evidence, and strong rebuttals.
    • Maintain a confident and respectful tone: Project confidence in your delivery and maintain a respectful tone throughout your speech. Be courteous when addressing opponents and the audience.
    • Practice and time your speech: Practice delivering your speech aloud to ensure clarity and coherence. Time yourself to stay within the allocated time limit and make adjustments if needed.
  2. Don’ts:

    • Don’t rely solely on emotional appeals: While emotional appeals can be persuasive, ensure that your arguments are also grounded in logical reasoning and evidence. Strive for a balanced approach.
    • Don’t ignore opposing viewpoints: Acknowledge and address opposing arguments rather than dismissing them outright. Ignoring counterarguments can weaken your position and credibility.
    • Don’t use offensive or disrespectful language: Maintain professionalism and respect in your speech. Avoid personal attacks or derogatory language towards opponents.
    • Don’t present weak or unsupported arguments: Ensure that each of your arguments is backed by solid evidence and reasoning. Weak arguments can undermine your credibility and weaken your overall case.
    • Don’t go over the allocated time limit: Respect the time constraints of the debate. Practice your speech and make necessary adjustments to fit within the given time.
    • Don’t rush through your speech: Speak clearly and pace yourself appropriately. Allow the audience to comprehend your points and follow your line of reasoning.
    • Don’t neglect editing and proofreading: Carefully edit and proofread your speech for grammar, spelling, and clarity. A well-edited speech enhances your credibility and ensures effective communication.

Examples of Good Topics and Outlines for a Debate Essay

Below are examples of good debate topics, along with a sample opening statement, a brief explanation of what the speech will cover (for or against), a rebuttal, and a closing statement for each:

  1. Should genetically modified organisms (GMOs) be banned in agriculture?

    1. Opening statement: Ladies and gentlemen, today I stand before you to argue in favor of banning genetically modified organisms in agriculture. GMOs pose serious risks to human health, the environment, and biodiversity.
    2. What to Include (for): In my speech, I will present evidence highlighting the potential health hazards associated with GMO consumption, the environmental implications of GMO cultivation, and the detrimental effects on natural ecosystems. By focusing on these aspects, I aim to demonstrate the urgent need for a ban on GMOs in agriculture.
    3. Rebuttal: While opponents argue that GMOs can help address global food shortages and increase crop yields, we must prioritize the long-term health and environmental consequences. The potential risks far outweigh the short-term benefits, and it is our responsibility to protect our health and preserve our planet for future generations.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, the potential dangers posed by GMOs cannot be ignored. It is essential that we take a precautionary approach and implement a ban on GMOs in agriculture. By doing so, we can prioritize the well-being of our communities, safeguard the environment, and ensure a sustainable future for all.
  2. Should schools implement mandatory drug testing for students?

    1. Opening statement: Honorable judges, today I will argue in favor of implementing mandatory drug testing for students in schools. By doing so, we can create a safe and conducive learning environment while addressing the pressing issue of substance abuse among students.
    2. What to Include (for): In my speech, I will present evidence demonstrating the prevalence of drug use among students and the detrimental effects it has on academic performance and overall well-being. Additionally, I will highlight successful case studies where mandatory drug testing has effectively deterred substance abuse and helped students receive the necessary support.
    3. Rebuttal: Opponents argue that mandatory drug testing infringes upon students’ privacy and creates a hostile environment. However, the benefits of ensuring a drug-free school environment far outweigh the concerns raised. By identifying students in need of assistance and providing them with the necessary resources, we can support their well-being and academic success.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, mandatory drug testing in schools is a proactive measure to protect our students, promote a safe learning environment, and address the pressing issue of substance abuse. By implementing this policy, we demonstrate our commitment to the well-being and future of our students.
  3. Should the use of animals for scientific research be banned?

    1. Opening statement: Ladies and gentlemen, I am here today to argue against the use of animals for scientific research. While scientific advancements are crucial, it is essential that we prioritize ethical considerations and explore alternative methods that can yield reliable results without causing harm to innocent creatures.
    2. What to Include (against): In my speech, I will present compelling arguments highlighting the ethical concerns surrounding animal experimentation. I will also shed light on the limitations of animal models in predicting human responses, emphasizing the need to shift towards more effective and humane alternatives.
    3. Rebuttal: Critics may argue that animal research has led to significant medical breakthroughs. However, we must acknowledge the ethical implications of subjecting sentient beings to pain and suffering. Additionally, advancements in technologies such as in vitro testing, computer simulations, and human tissue models offer viable alternatives that can provide accurate results without animal harm.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, the use of animals for scientific research is ethically problematic and has limitations in predicting human responses accurately. It is imperative that we advocate for the development and implementation of innovative and cruelty-free alternatives. By doing so, we can achieve scientific progress while respecting the rights of animals.
  4. Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

    1. Opening statement: Esteemed judges, today I will argue in favor of lowering the voting age to 16. Granting 16-year-olds the right to vote is not only a matter of fairness and inclusion but also an opportunity to engage young citizens in the democratic process and shape the decisions that impact their lives.
    2. What to Include (for): In my speech, I will present evidence showcasing the political awareness and engagement demonstrated by many 16-year-olds. I will emphasize their ability to contribute valuable perspectives, as well as the positive impacts of expanding the electorate to include younger voices. Lowering the voting age fosters a sense of civic responsibility and prepares young individuals for active participation in society.
    3. Rebuttal: Opponents argue that 16-year-olds lack the necessary maturity and understanding to make informed decisions. However, we must recognize that many responsibilities and rights are already bestowed upon individuals at this age. By empowering young voters, we foster a sense of civic duty and encourage lifelong engagement in the democratic process.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, lowering the voting age to 16 is a progressive step towards a more inclusive democracy. By giving young citizens the right to vote, we affirm their importance as stakeholders in shaping the future. It is our duty to provide them with a platform to express their views, contributing to a stronger, more representative democracy.
  5. Should the use of plastic bags be banned?

    1. Opening statement: Honorable audience, today I will argue in favor of banning the use of plastic bags. The detrimental impact of plastic bags on the environment, wildlife, and human health necessitates immediate action to reduce plastic pollution and promote sustainable alternatives.
    2. What to Include (for): In my speech, I will present evidence showcasing the extensive environmental damage caused by plastic bags, such as pollution of water bodies and harm to marine life. I will also emphasize the benefits of adopting reusable and biodegradable alternatives, promoting responsible consumption, and reducing waste generation.
    3. Rebuttal: Opponents may argue that plastic bags are convenient and cost-effective. However, the convenience of single-use bags comes at a significant environmental cost. We have witnessed successful transitions to reusable bag systems in various regions, demonstrating that alternative options can meet consumer needs while minimizing ecological harm.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, a ban on plastic bags is a necessary step towards protecting our environment and preserving natural ecosystems. By encouraging the adoption of reusable alternatives, we reduce plastic waste, mitigate pollution, and safeguard the well-being of future generations.
  6. Should the use of cell phones be allowed in schools?

    1. Opening statement: Ladies and gentlemen, today I will argue against allowing the use of cell phones in schools. While technology plays a crucial role in education, it is essential to establish clear boundaries within the learning environment to promote focus, engagement, and effective communication.
    2. What to Include (against): In my speech, I will present evidence highlighting the negative impacts of unrestricted cell phone use in schools, such as distraction, reduced academic performance, and social disconnection. I will emphasize the importance of creating a conducive learning environment that prioritizes face-to-face interaction, critical thinking, and deep learning.
    3. Rebuttal: Some may argue that cell phones can enhance learning by providing access to educational resources and facilitating communication. However, the potential benefits must be weighed against the numerous distractions and detrimental effects on attention span and social dynamics. Schools can incorporate technology effectively through controlled and purposeful integration.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, implementing restrictions on cell phone use in schools is vital for cultivating an optimal learning environment. By minimizing distractions and fostering face-to-face interactions, we can enhance students’ focus, engagement, and overall academic performance. Let us prioritize the development of critical thinking skills and meaningful connections, paving the way for a well-rounded education that prepares students for success in both their academic and personal lives.
  7. Should capital punishment (death penalty) be abolished?

    1. Opening statement: Esteemed judges, today I will argue in favor of abolishing capital punishment. The death penalty is an irreversible form of punishment that violates human rights, lacks consistency in its application, and does not effectively deter crime.
    2. What to Include (for): In my speech, I will present evidence demonstrating the fallibility of the justice system and the potential for wrongful convictions in capital cases. I will delve into the ethical implications of state-sanctioned killing and emphasize the importance of promoting rehabilitation, restorative justice, and the preservation of human dignity.
    3. Rebuttal: Opponents argue that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to heinous crimes and provides justice for victims and their families. However, studies have shown that the deterrent effect is questionable, while the risk of executing innocent individuals remains a grave concern. By abolishing the death penalty, we can redirect resources towards crime prevention, victim support, and more effective means of rehabilitation.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, the abolition of the death penalty aligns with principles of justice, humanity, and the recognition of the potential for human error. By embracing alternative forms of punishment that focus on rehabilitation, we can foster a more compassionate and just society that values every individual’s right to life.
  8. Should standardized testing be eliminated in schools?

    1. Opening statement: Honorable audience, today I will argue against the practice of standardized testing in schools. Standardized tests place excessive emphasis on rote memorization, narrow the curriculum, and create undue stress and pressure on students.
    2. What to Include (against): In my speech, I will present evidence highlighting the limitations and shortcomings of standardized testing, including its inability to accurately measure a student’s full range of abilities, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. I will emphasize the importance of adopting comprehensive assessment methods that provide a more holistic view of students’ knowledge and abilities.
    3. Rebuttal: Proponents argue that standardized testing ensures accountability and enables comparison across schools and districts. However, this narrow focus on test scores undermines the development of well-rounded individuals and neglects the diverse talents and strengths of students. By shifting towards alternative assessment strategies, such as project-based evaluations and portfolios, we can foster a more inclusive and meaningful learning experience.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, the elimination of standardized testing is essential to promote a student-centered education that values creativity, critical thinking, and a broader range of skills necessary for success in the 21st century. Let us prioritize comprehensive assessment methods that provide a more accurate and holistic representation of students’ abilities, fostering a love for learning and empowering them to reach their full potential.
  9. Should the use of nuclear energy be expanded?

    1. Opening statement: Esteemed judges, today I will argue in favor of expanding the use of nuclear energy. Nuclear power offers a reliable, low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels and has the potential to address the growing energy demands while combating climate change.
    2. What to Include (for): In my speech, I will present evidence showcasing the benefits of nuclear energy, including its low greenhouse gas emissions, high energy output, and long-term sustainability. I will emphasize the technological advancements in reactor safety and waste management, debunking misconceptions and addressing concerns surrounding nuclear power.
    3. Rebuttal: Opponents argue that nuclear energy poses significant risks, such as the potential for accidents and the generation of hazardous radioactive waste. However, it is crucial to recognize that modern reactor designs, stringent safety regulations, and responsible waste disposal methods have mitigated these concerns. By expanding the use of nuclear energy, we can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and accelerate the transition towards a clean and sustainable energy future.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, expanding the use of nuclear energy is a prudent choice that allows us to meet growing energy demands while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With continuous advancements in safety measures and waste management, nuclear power presents a viable and vital component of our efforts to combat climate change and secure a sustainable future for generations to come.
  10. Should professional athletes be role models?

    1. Opening statement: Ladies and gentlemen, today I will argue that professional athletes should be considered role models. As highly visible figures with widespread influence, athletes have the power to inspire and positively impact society, both on and off the field.
    2. What to Include (for): In my speech, I will present evidence demonstrating the positive role professional athletes can play in society. I will highlight the dedication, discipline, and perseverance they exhibit, which can serve as valuable life lessons for individuals of all ages. Moreover, I will showcase the numerous charitable initiatives and community involvement undertaken by athletes, showcasing their commitment to social causes and their potential to effect change.
    3. Rebuttal: Critics argue that athletes should not be held to higher moral standards and that their primary focus should solely be on their athletic performance. However, as public figures who enjoy the benefits of fame and wealth, athletes bear a responsibility to use their platform for good. By being role models, they inspire younger generations and contribute to the betterment of society.
    4. Closing statement: In conclusion, professional athletes possess the ability to serve as role models and inspire positive change. Through their achievements, dedication, and philanthropic efforts, athletes have the potential to uplift communities and instill values of hard work, determination, and compassion. Let us recognize and celebrate the positive impact athletes can have as role models, empowering individuals to strive for excellence both on and off the playing field.
  • Rebuttal arguments in debates require quick thinking, effective communication, and the ability to identify and respond to the key points made by the opponent. They play a crucial role in shaping the overall narrative of the debate and convincing the audience of the validity of one’s own position.
  • Looking for suitable argumentative essay topics? Review our list, including examples of attention-grabbing hooks and well-formulated thesis statements.
  • For a comprehensive guide, refer to our tutorial on how to write an argumentative essay; including outline and sample essays.

Sample Debate Speech on Obesity

Title: “Responsibility on the Menu: Holding Fast Food Companies Accountable for Obesity”


Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished judges, and fellow debaters,
In a world dominated by convenience and instant gratification, fast food has become a ubiquitous presence in our lives. It tantalizes our taste buds, promises quick satisfaction, and often leaves us craving for more. However, as we indulge in these tempting offerings, we must confront a sobering reality: the alarming rise in obesity rates. Today, I stand before you to delve into a thought-provoking debate on whether fast food companies should be held responsible for the troubling surge in obesity rates. Prepare yourselves, for we are about to embark on a journey that uncovers the intricate connection between fast food consumption and this growing health crisis. Ultimately, fast food companies should be held responsible for the alarming rise in obesity rates which now borders a pandemic.

Pointers on Writing a Similar Introduction Paragraph

  1. Opening statement: salutation and attention-grabbing hook.
  2. State the topic and present background information on the issue of obesity and its connection to fast food consumption.
  3. Depending on your stance (for or against), add a thesis statement presenting the stance on whether fast food companies should be held responsible for the rise in obesity rates

Fast Food Advertising and Marketing Practices:

Fast food companies employ aggressive advertising and marketing tactics that directly target vulnerable populations, particularly children and adolescents. Through captivating commercials, celebrity endorsements, and enticing promotions, these companies create a powerful influence on consumer choices. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between exposure to fast food marketing and unhealthy food preferences and consumption patterns. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children who were exposed to fast food advertisements had a significantly higher likelihood of consuming high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Such persuasive tactics create a demand for fast food, contributing to the rise in obesity rates. By exploiting the vulnerability of young minds, fast food companies play a pivotal role in shaping unhealthy eating habits, and thus, bear responsibility for the consequences that ensue.

Pointers on Writing Paragraph One Above

  1. Explanation of aggressive advertising strategies targeting children and adolescents.
  2. Presentation of evidence linking exposure to fast food marketing with unhealthy food choices and increased consumption.
  3. Arguments supporting the idea that these practices contribute to obesity rates.

Nutritional Content and Ingredient Transparency:

Another critical aspect that underscores the responsibility of fast food companies is their nutritional content and lack of ingredient transparency. Fast food products are often high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and additives, while being deficient in essential nutrients. This combination poses a significant risk to public health. Despite the prevalence of nutrition labeling, fast food chains often fail to provide transparent and comprehensive information about the ingredients and sourcing of their products. This lack of transparency hampers consumers’ ability to make informed choices about their dietary intake. By withholding crucial information, fast food companies contribute to the perpetuation of unhealthy eating patterns and, consequently, the rise in obesity rates. It is their duty to prioritize the health and well-being of their customers by offering healthier options and ensuring ingredient transparency to empower individuals to make informed choices about their dietary intake.

Pointers on Writing Paragraph Two Above

  1. Discussion of the high levels of unhealthy fats, sugars, and additives found in fast food products.
  2. Analysis of the limited nutritional information provided to consumers.
  3. Examination of how the lack of transparency impacts consumer choices and contributes to obesity.


Counterarguments against holding fast food companies responsible for obesity rates often revolve around personal choice and individual responsibility. Critics argue that individuals have agency in making their own dietary decisions and should take accountability for their health. While personal choice certainly plays a role, it is crucial to acknowledge the significant influence that fast food companies have through their aggressive marketing strategies, accessibility, and the addictive nature of certain fast food products. These companies strategically create an environment that encourages overconsumption and dependency. Moreover, not all individuals have equal access to education, resources, and information necessary to make healthy choices. By neglecting the responsibility of fast food companies, we overlook the systemic factors that contribute to the obesity epidemic. Holding these companies accountable is essential in addressing the broader societal impact and working towards meaningful solutions that prioritize public health.

Pointers on Writing This Rebuttal Paragraph

Address counterarguments against holding fast food companies responsible for obesity rates:

  1. Claims that personal choice and individual responsibility play a more significant role in obesity.
  2. Arguments emphasizing the importance of personal education and awareness about healthy eating habits.
  3. Challenges to the effectiveness and feasibility of regulating fast food companies.


In conclusion, the evidence presented strongly supports the notion that fast food companies should indeed be held responsible for the rise in obesity rates. Through aggressive advertising practices and the lack of nutritional transparency, these companies contribute to the development of unhealthy eating habits and the proliferation of obesity. While personal choice and individual responsibility are important factors, they should not overshadow the significant influence that fast food companies wield over consumer behavior. By acknowledging their responsibility, we can encourage these companies to prioritize healthier options, provide greater transparency, and contribute to the overall well-being of society.
Thank you, esteemed judges and distinguished audience, for your attention and engagement in this crucial debate. Together, let us advocate for change and foster a healthier future for generations to come.

Pointers on Writing This Conclusion Paragraph

  1. Recapitulation of main arguments supporting the responsibility of fast food companies for the rise in obesity rates.
  2. Reinforcement of the importance of holding fast food companies accountable for their role in public health.
  3. Thank judges/audience for their time.
  4. Call to action, urging for increased regulations and measures to promote healthier food options and combat obesity.
✍ Table of Contents
  1. Debate Speech Format
  2. Dos and Don’ts
  3. Examples of Good Topics
    • Opening Statements
    • Points For or Against
    • Rebuttal
    • Closing Statements
  4. Sample Debate Speech
    “Responsibility on the Menu: Holding Fast Food Companies Accountable for Obesity”

    1. Intro Par.
    2. Fast Food Advertising and Marketing Practices
    3. Nutritional Content and Ingredient Transparency
    4. Rebuttal Par.
    5. Conclusion Par.
  5. Argumentative Essay Examples