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Contrast and Concession. Reference : Humphrey, S., Love, K., & Droga , L. (2011). Working Grammar: An introduction for secondary English teachers. Victoria: Pearson. Contrast. Contrast is an important tool in persuasive writing.

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Contrast and concession

Contrast and Concession


Humphrey, S., Love, K., & Droga, L. (2011). Working Grammar: An introduction for secondary English teachers. Victoria: Pearson.


Contrast is an important tool in persuasive writing.

  • Arguments within expositions can be strengthened by rebutting positions that have been introduced into the text.

  • An important resource for rebutting positions is to contrast them with positions which are supported.

    e.g. In the extract from his Apology Speech below, Kevin Rudd uses contraststrategically to replace the argument proposed by ‘some’ with information he introduces as ‘the fact’.

    Then we come to the argument of intergenerational responsibility, also used by some to argue against giving an apology today. But let us remember the fact that the forced removal of Aboriginal children was happening as late as the early 1970s.

    (Humphrey et al., 2011, p. 99)


Concession is a related rhetorical tool that is very effective in persuasive writing.

  • Concession concedes part of the alternative argument before challenging it.

  • It positions the writer as open-minded and willing to negotiate, therefore strengthening the effect of the writer’s argument.


    It is clear from the above arguments that while television in moderation has some educational and entertainment value, its benefits are far outweighed by its negative effects.

    In the above extract, the writer strategically uses concession to replace the argument that television has some value, with the argument that its benefits are outweighed by its negative effects.

    (Humphrey et al., 2011, p. 98)

Contrast and concession common grammatical resources
Contrast and Concession – common grammatical resources

(Humphrey et al., 2011, p. 98)

REMEMBER: A conjunction is a joining word. It joins one part of a

sentence to another.

Exercise 1
Exercise 1

Combine the following sentences so they are in a relationship of contrast or concession. (Use language resources from the previous table).

(Humphrey et al., 2011, p. 98)

Exercise 2
Exercise 2

e.g. - Formal schooling teaches you essential skills for the


- Going to school is a waste of time.

  • Write out three statements in the book of the person next to you. Your statements can be serious or outrageous.

  • Write an opposing statement to each of the statements written in your book.

  • Join the statements together with a language resource of concession or contrast.

  • Read your sentences out to your friend.

Exercise 3
Exercise 3

Choose one of the three topics you just created a contrasting or concessive statement for.

Write a persuasive paragraph on that topic, choosing your point of view and making it clear. Use resources of contrast and concession to strengthen your argument.

STEPS: 1. Choose your topic

2. List 3-5 points supporting your viewpoint

3. Create concessive or contrasting statements for

some of those points

4. Put your points in the best order to create a

coherent and convincing argument

5. Decide on a strong concluding statement

6. Write out your paragraph

Read paragraphs to the class.

PRIZES: 1. Most entertaining/engaging

2. Most convincing

Reflection: - Why did you choose those paragraphs?

- Which language resources make arguments entertaining,

engaging or convincing?