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How to debate

Explainer Video

Tutor: Sam


How to debate

In a nutshell

A debate is a discussion about an issue in a formal setting where two sides present arguments for or against an issue. In this summary, you will learn more about debates and some tips to help you debate an issue.

What is a debate?

A debate is a competition where two opposing sides present their arguments on a topic or question. Debates can have few rules or be very structured in their standards for research, time limits for speakers and the number of participants per team. 

Teams or individual participants take a stance that is either for or against the presented issue. Sometimes this stance will be chosen and sometimes it will be assigned, so it is important to remember that arguments are based on logic and not emotional attachment to an issue. 


Debate topic

Social media is bad for students' mental health.


Social media has been shown to lower the self-esteem of young people and increase their risk of depression and anxiety.


Social media provides an opportunity for students to connect with each other and share their experiences in a way that traditional media does not.

Tips for debating

There are a few rules and features you must be familiar with before participating in a debate.

  • Listen respectfully and wait for your turn to speak while other participants are speaking. 
  • When presenting your arguments, give priority to the facts and do not involve your feelings.
  • Prepare your arguments in advance, and do not forget to begin with an introduction and close with a conclusion.
  • Remember to prepare for both sides of a debate, so you know what your opponent may bring in their arguments.
  • Rhetorical questions and persuasive language can be helpful to express your ideas and convince the audience of your stance on the argument.
  • Use formal language and express your thoughts clearly.


Debate topic

All schools should have a uniform.

Do not say

You are wrong because I think uniforms are boring and I hate wearing them.

Do say

I understand your point of view, however, it is important to mention that not all students feel comfortable wearing a uniform.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a debate?

What should I prepare before debating?

Are there rules during a debate?


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