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Concession Assertion Essay

Definition of Concession

Concession is a literary device used in argumentative writing, where one acknowledges a point made by one’s opponent. It allows for different opinions and approaches toward an issue, indicating an understanding of what causes the actual debate or controversy. It demonstrates that the writer is a mature thinker, and has considered the issue from all angles.

Concession writing style also shows that the writer is a logical and fair-minded person, able to realize that every argument has several sides to consider before it is presented. This type of writing can be considered strong as it finds common ground between the writer and his opponent.

Concession Examples

Example #1:

“Dad, I know taking a trip to another country with my friends may be expensive and unsafe, but I have studied so hard the past year and I think I deserve a vacation. You already know how responsible I have been all my life; I don’t think there will be any problem.”

The above statement is an example of concession writing. It demonstrates the negative aspects of traveling as a young group of boys, but argues against this with the fact that this particular boy has always been a responsible person and is not likely to get into trouble.

Example #2:

“I agree that many students act and lie about being sick, so that they can avoid school for whatever reason. However, most students who do not come to school are actually sick. Being sick, they should be focusing on getting better, not worrying about school and grades just because some students take advantage of the absentee policy.”

This statement also shows the concession form of writing where the writer agrees that some students do lie about being sick, and that the writer is able to understand this issue. At the same time, the writer argues as to why students who are actually sick suffer because of those irresponsible students.

Example #3:

“An individual does have his own right to freedom, but medical evidence proves that second-hand smoke is harmful. Nobody has the right to harm the health of another, and smoking does just that.”

Using concession, the writer has noted that everybody has freedom rights, but argues about the fact that nobody has the right to harm another person’s health, no matter what the case is.

Example #4:

“It is true that issues may sometimes become polarized and debated heatedly. Certainly, there is a need for matters of public concern to be discussed rationally. But that does not mean that such concerns should not be expressed and investigated. After all, improper interference with academic freedom was found to have taken place. And the allegations raised by doctors are ones which deserve further inquiry.”

The above statement demonstrates the concession writing technique, where the writer agrees that debating on issues can turn into a heated argument, but that does not mean the issues should stop being discussed and investigated. Using concession, the writer has considered the different viewpoints of the issue, and then stated his argument.

Example #5: Politics and the English Language (By George Orwell)

“I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words or constructions. So far as the general tone or spirit of language goes, this may be true, but it is not true in detail.”

This is another example of concession writing showing that the writer is a fair person who has thought about the issue before giving his opinion. The writer agrees with the fact that we cannot do anything to develop the language. However it is not true if we go into details, Orwell says, because writers influence it too.

Function of Concession

Concession writing acknowledges that there are many different views to a story. This type of writing allows for different opinions that can or could be made toward an issue. It also shows that all points, positive as well as negative, have been considered before an argument is put forward. Presenting the other side and then arguing against it with valid points can make it a very strong piece of writing. Acknowledging the other side demonstrates respect for the other opinion. The concession writing technique is also known used as a method of persuasion and reasoning.

2 Sample Refutation Paragraphs
(Each these samples have 2-paragraph refutation; some essays may only have a 1 paragraph refutation while other essays, like research papers, may require a much longer refutation)

Charter Schools Vs. Public Schools (School Choice)
By Mark Liles

Thesis: School choice turns out to not only be a bad idea; it’s also a violation of our constitution.

Refutation: ...[Introduce Opposing Arguments] Considering the many challenges facing public schools, it’s understandable that many people would be eager to pursue new options. Supporters of school choice point out that under the current public school system, parents with economic means already exercise school choice by moving from areas with failing or dangerous schools to neighborhoods with better, safer schools. Their argument is that school choice would allow all parents the freedom, regardless of income level, to select the school that provides the best education (Chub and Moe). Schools would then have to compete for students by offering higher academic results and greater safety. Schools unable to measure up to the standards of successful schools would fail and possibly close. [Acknowledge Valid Parts] Activists within the school choice movement can be applauded for seeking to improve public education, but the changes they propose would in fact seriously damage public education as a whole.

[Counter Arguments] One of the biggest dangers of school choice is the power behind large corporations specializing in opening and operating charter schools. Two notable companies are Green Dot, which is the leading public school operator in Los Angeles (Green Dot), and KIPP, which operates 65 schools in 19 different states [KIPP]. These companies represent a growing trend of privatization of public schools by large corporations. It is feared that these corporations could grow to a point that public control of education would be lost. Education policy would be left in the hands of entrepreneurial think tanks, corporate boards of directors, and lobbyists who are more interested in profit than educating students [Miller and Gerson]. [Begin Concluding] Education should be left in the hands of professional educators and not business people with MBAs. To do otherwise is not only dangerous, it defies common sense.

What I liked about this refutation: The writer calmly and clearly outlines the true concerns and reasons why people oppose the opinion. He makes sure the reader knows that he is outlining opposing viewpoints because he gives hints like "Supporters of school choice point out that..." or "Their argument is that...". This is a nice way for readers to be aware of what others think.

Also, towards the end of the first paragraph, and throughout the second paragraph, the writer spends time clearly attacking these opposing views. He helps the reader feel like the opposing views might SEEM good on the surface, but they are indeed not good enough. He helps the reader see this with hints like "One of the biggest dangers of school choice is..." or "It is feared that...". This paragraph particularly draws in any hostile readers; the writer cunningly draws them in by complimenting their views when he says "Activists within the school choice movement can be applauded for seeking to improve public education," but he immediately points out the flaws, saying that " the changes they propose would in fact seriously damage public education as a whole." Complimenting the opposing argument really invites all your hesitant readers; they’re not threatened, and they’re now more willing to listen to the arguments.

Finally, at the end of the refutation, there is a clear conclusion.

Safe Traveler Cards
Taken from College Writers pg. 733-734

........[Introduce Opposing Arguments] As attractive as Safe Traveler Cards or national ID cards are, they are not without drawbacks. For one thing, as Easterbrook notes, these cards would expedite security procedures only for travelers who do not mind volunteering such information to obtain a card. Moreover they would not prevent passengers with "clean" backgrounds from bringing weapons or explosives on board, as was the case in the September 11 attacks. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that some people believe that these cards would deprive people of their privacy and that for this reason, their disadvantages outweigh their advantages (168).

........However, there are many who disagree with these contentions. [Acknowledge Valid Parts] While national ID cards could lessen a person's anonymity and privacy, [Counter Argument] this is a small loss that would be offset by a great increase in personal security. To Dershowitz--a self proclaimed civil libertarian--this tradeoff would be well worth it. According to Dershowitz, the national ID card would be only a little more intrusive than a photo ID card or social security card. Best of all, it would reduce or eliminate the need for racial profiling: "Anyone who had the [national ID] card could be allowed to pass through airports or building security more expeditiously, and anyone who opted out could be examined much more closely" (590). Such cards would enable airport security officials to do instant background checks on everyone. [Begin Concluding] The personal information in the system would stay in the system and never be made public. The only information on the card would be a person's "name, address, photo, and [finger]print" (Dershowitz 591).