Second Negative Rebuttal (2NR)

This is the Second Negative Rebuttal (“2NR” or “NR). It is 6 minutes long.

Here, the Neg needs to defeat the 1AR, rebuild their own positions, and also crystallize the round for the judge (it is their final speech).


First, the 2NR has to collapse. It’s virtually impossible for a 2NR to go for multiple positions while also having any degree of depth and explanation. This choice should be made based on the quality of the original argument, as well as the quality of the 1AR’s arguments. Given that the 2NR needs to extend the position, answer the 1AR, and preempt the 2AR, time is required. As a result, the strongest 2NRs go for a single position with a high level of depth.

Second, remember your three jobs – extending the argument, answering the 1AR, and preempting the 2AR. The one that most often gets neglected is preempting the 2AR. Too many debaters focus just on answering how an argument was framed in the 1AR, failing to track how it could possibly be developed differently in the 2AR. While the 2AR cannot make new arguments, there’s a gray zone where the argument can be an extrapolation from the 1AR without being totally new. The 2NR needs to predict those.

Third, the 2NR should crystallize and frame the round. The 2NR isn’t like a 1AR; it doesn’t have a later speech to summarize and make the round clear. If something is unclear after the 2NR, it’s going to remain unclear (or be resolved on terms favorable to the Aff). Make an effort to summarize and clarify key points in the 2NR.

Fourth, don’t neglect the 1AC. Unless the 2NR is going for a strategy that completely obviates the case (a procedural, a process counterplan or Word PIC, etc.) you should make sure to extend at least some case defense. Otherwise, you run a risk of the positional 2AR going for the case and that the case outweighs.