The Rebuttal Speech

The rebuttal speech is one of the most important in the debate. In the rebuttal speech, the second speaker is tasked with responding to the material brought by the first-speaking team in the constructives. The rebuttalist should respond to all content from the opponent’s case.

How might one go about responding to the material in the case? First, refutation should be as direct as possible. Debaters should refute the materials presented in their opponents case simply and persuasively. High-quality rebuttal arguments usually consist of strong logical reasoning, qualified evidence, and clear implications as to why your response beats the opponent’s case. Additionally, debaters should do their best to ensure that their responses are communicated in an efficient manner. You shouldn’t spend a lot of time on one contention while undercovering different contentions. Arguments should receive coverage proportional to how well developed they were by their opponents.

The second rebuttal has an additional task: frontlining. The term “frontlining” refers to responding to your opponent’s responses to your case. Thus, the second rebuttal has the burden of refuting the materials presented in the first rebuttal & rebuilding their own case. Most of the time, debaters should only try to rebuild some portion of their case rather than trying to answer every single response given by the first rebuttal. Generally speaking, the second rebuttal will spend about one to two minutes frontlining their case, and will spend the rest of the time engaging in direct refutation against their opponents case.