Debate Rules and Suggestions
Advice on Debating with Others
1. Avoid the use of Never.
2. Avoid the use of Always.
3. Refrain from saying you are wrong.
4. You can say your idea is mistaken.
5. Don’t disagree with obvious truths.
6. Attack the idea not the person.
7. Use many rather than most.
8. Avoid exaggeration.
9. Use some rather than many.
10. The use of often allows for exceptions.
11. The use of generally allows for exceptions.
12. Quote sources and numbers.
13. If it is just an opinion, admit it.
14. Do not present opinion as facts.
15. Be polite when disagreeing.
16. Stress the positive.
17. You do not need to win every battle to win the war.
18. Concede minor or trivial points.
19. Avoid bickering, quarreling, and wrangling.
20. Watch your tone of voice.
21. Don’t win a debate and lose a friend.
22. Keep your perspective – You’re just debating.
You need to be very polite when disagreeing with someone in English, even someone you know quite well.
With someone you know very well, you can disagree more directly.