• You will know how to attack a case using various types of clash

Key Learning:

The final part of CASE is

  • E - the process of exposing, which is also know as clash, is the process of breaking or deconstructing an opponent's argument.

Remember that different types of clash are effective for different types of deconstructing:

Type Definition Use
Direct Clash
- a type of attack where one argument is specifically refuted using another (example) To attack a particularly vulnerable argument

- a type of refutation where several points in an opponent's case are attacked through one point that strikes at assumptions (example)

To attack the underlying philosophy of an argument

To attack groups of arguments with one clash point

Case Clash

- a type of refutation where the case construction of one side is designed so that it automatically disagrees with the case construction of the other

- For example, imagine the resolution is about legalizing abortion, and the affirmative case line is that we must protect the rights of the unborn. A negative case line that we must protect the reproductive rights of women will automatically clash with the affirmative case

To attack the philosophy of an opponents case

To be a good at clash you must be able to:

  • decide which of your opponents' points are most important
  • select the most effective method of clash
  • use that method well

Clashing with opponents is a lot like
attacking a tree.

  • Direct clash cuts of one branch
  • Global clash cuts several branches that extend from the same assumption
  • Case line clash destroys the roots of the argument, and the tree will fall even when the branches are still attached
clash tree

To Do:

To work on your clash, try some quizzes to see what underlying skills you have, then listen to a debate speech and create the flow chart to match. If you can't see the quizzes, you may have pop-ups blocked on your Internet browser. Check your settings and allow pop-ups for this site - don't worry no ads here! If you are using Internet Explorer, you may see a yellow bar at the top of the window. Right click on that bar to allow the blocked content.

Can you determine the most important argument to clash with?

  • Drag the statements on the right to the statements on the left so you can match the point to the type of clash.

Can you identify the type of clash each statement is?

  • Read the affirmative statement and the corresponding negative clash, then select the correct term for the type of clash used. Return to this page by clicking the link at the top of the quiz.

Can you tell which method of clash to use?

  • Read the affirmative statement and then select the most beneficial type of clash to use from the options. Return to this page by clicking the link at the top of the quiz.

After completing the clash tests, recall that CASE has four parts:

  • C - the case statement
  • A - the arguments
  • S - the strategy
  • E - the process of exposing (not the fun kind)

E is the process of exposing - it occurs in clash and final speeches. We will be looking at using all the parts of CASE in the next section on final speeches.

Apply the Learning:

Listen to a speech and try the types of clash
1. Listen to the speech and keep a flow chart of the arguments.

2. Record the arguments in the them category, and write your suggested clash in the us category.

3. When you are done, look at the chart you created. Label the clash you planned to use as direct, global or case line.


speech (.mp3)
5:08, 1.7 MB

flow chart in .doc

Key Questions:

  1. What type of clash do you use most often and why?
  2. What forms of clash should be used most often?
  3. Why is deconstruction essential to a debate?


Clash can be direct, global or imbedded in the case line. Each type of clash has a specific purpose. If the Negative has a constructive case, good case line clash happens automatically and makes the job of the Affirmative much more difficult. In any debate, the primary form of deconstruction should be global clash because it is the most efficient and shows higher level skills than direct clash. A good debater does not use direct clash as the default method of clashing.

View next page - Final Speeches

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