Debate Vocabulary Essay

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Accident
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The opposite of a hasty generalization. A fallacy that asserts that something generally considered true applies to all of the examples.
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Adapting
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Trying to debate in a way that pleases the judge.
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Ad hominem attack (Attack on the person)
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An attack on the debater, not the argument. This type of attack can also be used to attack someone for the group she belongs to.
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Advantage
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The part of the affirmative’s policy case that demonstrates the positive effects of the affirmative’s plan.
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Affirmative
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The side or team in a debate that supports the resolution.
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Agent of action
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When explaining a plan of action, this describes who will perform the action.
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Amphiboly
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A statement in which faulty grammar confuses the situation.
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Analogy
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An argument that supports associations between things based on their similarity or dissimilarity.
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Analysis
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When you make statements to show how the facts are connected to the claim or provide the reasoning for your arguments. Also called a warrant.
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Appeal to authority
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A fallacious argument that occurs when a person’s opinion of something is considered the last word without allowing an argument against it.
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Appeal to the people
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A fallacious argument that occurs when a debater uses the popularity of a person, product, or belief to justify a conclusion about that person, product, or belief.
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Appropriate
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What is the most suitable or fitting for the time and place.
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Argument
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A controversial statement, frequently called a claim, supported by grounds (evidence) and a warrant. The standards of a logically good argument are acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency. See also standard of acceptability, standard of relevance, standard of sufficiency.
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Argument construction
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The process of creating an argument that occurs when you are “making” an argument for or against some viewpoint.
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Articulate
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To pronounce or say words clearly and slowly.
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Assertion
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A point in an argument.
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Authority
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An argument that supports a claim with the opinions of experts in the field.
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Ballot
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A sheet of paper on which the judge records the decision (who won the debate), the reasons for the decision (why that team won), and speaker points awarded to each debater.
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Begging the question
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A fallacy of acceptability that occurs when a debater introduces evidence that is the same as the claim.
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Brainstorming
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A process of listing as many ideas on a topic as you can think of.
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Brief
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A legal term for a written, shortened version of an argument; arguments with evidence prepared in advance of a debate for quick reference.
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Burden
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What a team (usually the affirmative but not always) must do to prove its case and win the debate.
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Burden of proof
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The requirement to provide evidence to support a claim.
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Burden of refutation
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The requirement to provide an argument against an argument advanced by the other team.
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Burden of rejoinder
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The requirement to provide the latest argument in a chain of arguments.
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Case
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One or more arguments sufficient to support a proposition.
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Case argument
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When the affirmative presents their arguments to accept the proposition.
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Cause-effect argument
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In a refutation against an off-case argument, this is a type of disadvantage The plan is the cause; the effect is the negative impact of the argument.
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Circular definition
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A definition in which a term is defined by using the same term.
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Claim
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A controversial statement an arguer supports using reason. Claims can be fact claims, policy claims, or value claims.
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Clash
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Directly answering the other team’s argument in a debate.
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Complex statement
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A proposition where more than one thing needs to be proved.
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Con
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The two person negative team in Public Forum debate.
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Constructive criticism
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To make comments about a performance in a positive way to motivate and educate.
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Constructive speech
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A speech that presents a debater’s basic arguments for or against a resolution; new arguments are allowed.
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Contentions
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See observations.
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Context
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The words, phrases, or passages that come before and after a word in a speech that helps to explain its meaning.
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Contextual definition
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The specific definition for the value term considering the time, place, and context of the argument at hand.
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Controversy
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Another term for Public Forum debate. See Public Forum.
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Correlation
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A false cause fallacy is an argument that incorrectly contends that two things are causally related when in fact they are not linked but simply related to a third thing that caused them both.
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Counter-case
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A case presented by the negative to respond to the affirmative.
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Counter-contentions or counter-observations
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The negative’s specific points in their counter-case
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Counter-plan
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A plan proposed by the negative team as an alternative to the affirmative plan.
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Counter-point
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Given when a debater asserts a point without providing evidence and the other side asserts the opposite.
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Credibility
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Something you have when the audience thinks you know what you are talking about.
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Criteria
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Something that must be proven to win; the most important values or standards in a debate.
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Critical listener
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A person who is able to listen carefully to what other people and the other team say and remember necessary bits of information.
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Critical thinking
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A process or skill that involves thinking about how you think. It is the process of asking and answering questions and trying to understand the process and reasons why you came to the conclusions that you did.
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Critique
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A judge’s written comments on a ballot
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Cross-examination
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A period during the debate when a member of one team asks questions of a member of the opposing team.
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Crossfire
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A part of Public Forum debate when both teams are allowed to question each other in a brief period of time.
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Debate
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The process of arguing about claims in situations where a judge must decide the outcome.
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Debate format
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The arrangement of a debate with rules establishing time limits, speaking order, and manner in which a debate will be conducted. Various formats of debate exist, each with its own way of debating.
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Decision
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The win or loss given by a judge in a debate; speaker points for each debate may also be part of the decision.
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Decision rule
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To provide for the judge a way to weigh the round and decide who won the debate.
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Direct quotation
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To read evidence word for word to support a claim.
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Direct refutation
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A refutation in which you point out the flaws in the opponent’s argument.
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Disadvantage
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The harm that will come from a plan.
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Disclaimer
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A statement in which the speaker denies responsibility or connection.
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Discourse
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Discussion.
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Divisions
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Categories in a competition such as novice, junior, or open.
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e.g.
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For example
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Enforcement
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In describing a plan, the person or agent who will make sure the plan is carried out.
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Equivocation
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A fallacy of language that occurs when a word is used in two different ways and the meaning of the word shifts during the argument.
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Evidence
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Different types of information (facts, statistics, theories, opinions, or narratives) that are used to support arguments; evidence can be divided into two categories: that relating to reality (facts, theories, and presumptions) and that relating to preference (values, value hierarchies, and value categories).
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Expert opinion
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Evidence given to support a claim from a source that has credibility because of education, study, research, or experience in the field.
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Facts (evidence)
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Observed or observable data.
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Fair ground
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When the proposition has enough arguments on both sides so that the debate is fair.
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Fallacy
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An argument that does not have good reasoning and that fails to meet any one of the standards of acceptability, relevance, or sufficiency.
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False analogy
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All analogies are false analogies, as they provide no warrants or evidence to support a claim.
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False cause
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A fallacy involving warrants; includes post-hoc fallacies and correlations. See post-hoc fallacies; correlations.
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Fight or flight response
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A response dating from our ancestors who had to protect themselves from wild animals by fighting or running away. In modern times your brain thinks a speaking situation is a dangerous situation, so your body tries to find a way to increase your strength through a faster heartbeat, increased oxygen in the body, and anxious movements.
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Financing
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The method of paying for a proposed plan.
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Flow/Flowing
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When you write down the arguments in a debate.
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Flow sheet
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Notes taken during a debate, usually written in columns so that arguments from each team can be written next to each other and can flow across the page.
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Format
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The speaking positions and times in a debate.
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Funding
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See Financing.
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Gives a win
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The process of a judge deciding who did a better job of debating.
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Government
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The proposition or opposition side of a debate, Is also referred to as gov
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Government team
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The team affirming the resolution in a Parliamentary Debate. Also called the gov.
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Grounds
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See evidence.
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Grouping
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To answer a set of arguments with one or more arguments rather than a line-by-line refutation.
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Harm
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A problem that currently exists in the status quo because of attitudes or laws that permit it.
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Hasty generalization
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A fallacy of reasoning whereby a conclusion is based on one or a few examples that may be too few or not like the rest of the larger group being discussed.
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Highest Value
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The minimal value at which a condition is acceptable.
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i.e.
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That is. (in other words)
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Impact
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To explain why an argument is important.
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Implied warrant
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Unstated reasoning process that explains the relationship between the evidence and the claim.
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Impromptu speaking
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When you speak with little to no preparation time.
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Inherency
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Attitudes or laws that allow a condition (harm) to exist; the cause of the problem.
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Invalid
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A wrong statement of measurement.
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Invitational tournaments
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Tournaments in which debate teams participate by invitation.
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Judge
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An observer of a debate who has the responsibility of deciding which team has done a better job of debating.
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Junior
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An experienced debater who is no longer a novice but has not won at the junior level.
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Jurisdiction
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Authority.
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Karl Popper Debate
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A debate format that matches two three-person teams against each other: one team affirming the proposition and the other team opposing it; each team has one constructive speech presenting its basic arguments for and against the proposition and two constructive speeches refuting the opposing team’s arguments and summarizing its own.
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Last shot
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The final one-minute speech allowed by both sides in a Public Forum debate.
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Lay judge
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A judge who has never seen a debate before or is not an expert debate judge.
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Leader of the opposition
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The first oppositional speaker in Parliamentary Debate.
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Lincoln-Douglas Debate
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This debate format has only one person on a team (affirmative or negative). The same topic can be debated throughout the year. In college, a policy topic is used, whereas in high school a separate value topic is debated.
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Linear
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The presentation of something in a straight line. The linear way of organizing means that you present one idea after another in a specific way so that the audience can follow the line of ideas you are using to prove your arguments.
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Line-by-line refutation
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When a team refutes every point in the opponent’s case.
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Mandate
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The specific action a plan requires.
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Member of the government
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The affirmative speaker who speaks after the Leader of the Opposition in Parliamentary Debate.
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Member of the opposition
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The negative speaker who speaks after the Member of the Government in Parliamentary Debate.
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Monotone
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A manner of speaking in which everything sounds the same.
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Moot
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When it is still uncertain who will win the argument.
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Motion
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A topic of argument.
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Narrative
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A way of presenting information by telling a story in your own words.
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Need
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The part of the affirmative case about policies that identifies a certain problem in the status quo that the existing system cannot solve.
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Negative
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The side in a debate that rejects the resolution.
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Non sequitur
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This general term is used when anyone provides an argument in which the claim or conclusion does not follow from the reasoning or grounds provided.
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Novice
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A beginning debater, usually having debated less than 30 rounds or not having won a tournament.
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Objective statement
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A statement involving something that can be proved by observable phenomena or measurable facts.
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Objective verification
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This occurs when we make a statement and then have some agreed measurement to prove the truth of that statement.
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Observations
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Specific points addressed in a debate.
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Off-case argument
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Negative argument against a plan that would have its own organization, usually flowed on separate paper from the case.
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On-Case Argument
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Negative argument against the issues that were defended in the first affirmative speech
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Open debater
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A debater with the highest level of experience in tournaments, separate from the novice and junior divisions. Anyone can compete as an open debater, even a novice, but it is generally harder for a novice to win as an open debater.
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Opponent
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The term used for the other team, regardless of what side you are debating.
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Opposition
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The team negating the propositional team in Parliamentary Debate.
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Oral
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Spoken, not written.
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Oral critique
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The judge’s oral explanation of the decision right after the debate.
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Outlining
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Writing notes in an organized way.
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Oxford-style debate
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A version of policy debate in which no cross-examination is allowed.
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Paraphrasing
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Explaining evidence in your own words.
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Parliamentary Debate—NPDA
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A debate format in which the two teams take on the role of governmental leaders. This format requires a different topic for every round.
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Parliamentary Debate—World’s Style or European/British Parliament)
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A version of Parliamentary Debate in which four teams compete at the same time: two teams on the propositional side and two teams on the oppositional side.
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People skills
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The ability to talk to others with ease.
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Perspective taking
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Role playing to present the best arguments for an issue.
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Plan
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A course of action proposed by the affirmative when debating a proposition of policy intended to solve the problems identified by the “need” or “harm” arguments.
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Planks
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The individual points of a plan, which include the agent of action, the mandates, financing, and enforcement.
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Point
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A significant, outstanding, or effective idea, argument, or suggestion; an assertion.
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Point not well taken
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When a team calls for a point of order and the judge decides to allow the argument to stay in the round.
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Point of information
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To seek permission to interrupt the speaker for the purpose of asking a question or clarifying or making a point during a Parliamentary Debate.
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Point of order
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To interrupt a speaker in a rebuttal speech to ask the judge to make a decision about whether a new argument was offered in a rebuttal speech.
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Point well taken
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When a team calls for a point of order and the judge decides that it is a new argument and does not allow the argument.
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Policy Debate
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A debate format in which opponents debate a policy (usually a governmental policy) currently in effect. Typically debaters have the same topic for the entire school year and read evidence, word for word.
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Post hoc fallacy
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Occurs when a debater assumes that because one thing happens before another, the first must have caused the second.
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Preliminary rounds
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The beginning rounds in a tournament before the elimination rounds. All teams compete in the preliminary rounds. Six preliminary rounds are standard for most tournaments in the United States.
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Preparation time
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The time allotted to each team for preparation during the debate (eight minutes in Karl Popper Debate).
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Presumption
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The assumption that current policies will be maintained until someone makes a case that another policy is a better option.
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Presumption (evidence)
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A statement concerning what people ordinarily expect to happen in the course of normal events.
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Prima facie
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Latin for “on first face”; a requirement of cases presented that means that all necessary issues are present.
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Prime Minister
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The first propositional speaker in Parliamentary Debate.
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Pro
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The two-person affirmative team in Public Forum debate.
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Proposition
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A claim made by a debater and supported by a combination of claims: a statement to be proven (fact, value, or policy).
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Propositional team
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See government team.
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Proposition of fact
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A statement that can be proven with some kind of a measurement.
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Proposition of policy
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A statement that makes a recommendation that a certain action should be taken.
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Proposition of value
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A statement that tries to prove an opinion.
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Public Forum
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A debate forum that is audience-oriented usually without expert debate judges allowed. Topics are new each month and are chosen for their balance of evaluative arguments on both sides. Evidence is encouraged but usually not read directly, and should be part of the decision by the judge.
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Qualitative significance
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This statement describes in words why a value is important in a debate.
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Quantitative significance
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This statement provides numerical or statistical evidence of why an issue is important in a debate.
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Question-begging epithet
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When an adjective or adverb is added to a term to form an additional argument.
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Reasoning
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The process used to connect evidence to a claim; providing reasons for something. See also warrant.
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Rebuttal speeches
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The speeches in a debate that challenge and defend arguments introduced in the constructive speeches; no new arguments are allowed.
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Recent, relevant, and reliable
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Three tests for all evidence that examine the age of the evidence, whether the evidence proves a point, and whether the source can be trusted.
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Red herring
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A fallacious argument that shifts the focus from the original argument.
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Refutation
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The process of attacking and defending arguments.
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Refute
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To prove something wrong.
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Rejoinder
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An argument given, regarding the last argument of the other team, about why they are wrong, why you are right, and the impacts of your argument.
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Research
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The process of locating and selecting evidence in preparation for debate.
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Resolution
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A debate topic specifically worded to make for fair debates.
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Resolutional analysis
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An observation that provides the framework for the affirmative’s case; it may include definition of terms, context, criteria, value, and decision rule.
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Roadmap
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A statement at the beginning of a speech letting everyone know the order of a debater’s speech.
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Rounds
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When all of the teams are debating at the same time.
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Shorthand
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A system of writing that uses abbreviated words and symbols to rapidly record what is being said.
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Significance
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An issue that is important.
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Signposting
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To provide the order of the organization of the arguments to be presented.
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Solvency
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Arguments that explain why a plan will cure the harm.
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Speech anxiety
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Nervousness about speaking or giving a speech in public.
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Standards
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Means of evaluating a term or value accepted by all parties.
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State your point
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What a judge says when a team calls out, “point of order.” When a judge calls for a team to state its point, then the team must explain why the argument from the other team was not mentioned in the constructive speeches and is therefore new.
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Statistics
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Evidence expressed in numbers.
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Status quo
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The course of action currently in use (i.e., the present system).
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Stock issues
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The main arguments necessary to prove a case; in Policy Debate the stock issues for the affirmative are need, significance, inherency, plan, and solvency.
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Stop a harm
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To prevent something bad from happening.
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Straw argument
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A fallacy that occurs when an arguer, intentionally or unintentionally, misinterprets an opponent’s argument and then proceeds to refute the misinterpreted argument as if it were the opponent’s actual argument.
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Straw man
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See straw argument.
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Style
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The language, voice, and body language used by a debater.
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Subjective opinion
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A belief or attitude that cannot be proven and that is typically biased.
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Taken under consideration
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When a team calls for a point of order and the judge decides later if the argument is new or not.
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Talking with your hands
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The act of constantly moving your hands when you talk.
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Tautology
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See circular definition.
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Ted Turner Debate
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See Public Forum.
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Term
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Word or phrase
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Testimonial
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A statement in support of a fact or claim. An expert opinion.
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Theory
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A statement that explains other facts or that predicts the occurrence of events.
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Thesis statement
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At the beginning of a debate or speech, a statement given to let the audience know exactly what your speech is about. It consists of only one sentence to tell the audience the purpose: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain.
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Threshold
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The point in an argument at which you have provided enough evidence to prove your argument.
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Tie goes to the negative
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A term that means that it is best to stay with the status quo since the affirmative has not proven that its plan is better.
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Topic
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An area for discussion or debate.
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Topicality
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An instance where the affirmative team does not debate the resolution.
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Toulmin Model
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A model of argument developed by philosopher Stephen Toulmin. The basic model includes claim (statement), ground (evidence), and warrant (analysis).
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Tournaments
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A series of debates in which a number of teams or debaters compete to win.
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Triad
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Three main parts of an argument: claim, grounds, and warrant.
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Valid
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True or legitimate.
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Value
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Evidence based on the audience’s preferred value.
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Value case
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A case supporting a proposition of value; three principal elements of such a case are describing, relating, and evaluating.
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Violations
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Ways that the other team has not met the standard of the topic.
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Voting issue
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An instance when the judge does not have jurisdiction or when a debater will summarize the winning arguments in a rebuttal speech.
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Warrant
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Stated or unstated reasoning process that explains the relationship between the evidence and the claim.

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