How is debate different from an argument?
Well, it is interesting, when I go to a company, to ask for a sponsorship,and explain it all to them, they look me weird, and often I get the question "Should we give you the money to go and speak with people????".
Well it is not really like that, and let me give you some of the differences about why debate is something else.
1. You do not argue what you believe in Well the debate topic or the debate motion, as we call them is provided to you by the organiser of the tournament or any other debate activity. That means, that you can not influence what you will debate about. And more than that, you will have to argue the side, that you are delegated to. Again, you are not able to choose, witch side you argue. That means, that even if you are strongly against abortion, you will have to debate for abortion. This is sometimes hard, but on the other hand, good debaters will always find ways to argue something, and not to get too much against their own personal believe.
2. You have a time limit The time limits in the British parliamentary debate are 5 or 7 minutes. And no, you can not extend your time. Ok, you can, but only for 15 or maximum, and for real maximum 30 seconds. There will be always someone that will keep your time, and the judge will stop your speaking, if you will go on too long. This normally doesn't happen in real life.
3. You have a role to fulfill Well, the basic role, that you have as a debater is kinda similar to what you should do in a real life (RL) argument. You need to provide some arguments, material why you believe something is true or not. But sadly in RL people mostly do not do that. But in debate you have a judge, that will closely listen to your speech and will examine, if you had any arguments in your debate.
4. You have a judge Well this is kind of similar to a RL situation, because when trying to convince someone in RL, then you also get some feedback, because you will see, if the person is going to agree with you or not. But in the debate the judge won't look only into that, but will look also on other stuff, like other role fulfilment, cooperation with your team partner and other teams, time allocation and maner of your speech.
5. You will learn something from it Well, this is not true for every debate, but I can say, that there are topics, that I learned much about while having a debate. That of course means, that I lost the debate, but gained some knowledge, that I was able to use later in another debate. Also, when you discover a topic, that you don't know much about, you probably will go and start reading about. And will gain knowledge.
And this is good, because, you remember, the best thing that we know is what we do not know 😀
Hey, my name is Peter and I’m the author of this website and all the content on this page. I have been a debater, a debate trainer, debate tournament organizer and everything else with a debate prefix for more than 10 years and I’ve seen it all. I want to help everyone to be a better debater and if you want to help too, please let me know. Keep on debating!