Definition of Concession
Concession is a literary device used in argumentative writing, where one acknowledges a point made by one’s opponent. It allows for different opinions and approaches toward an issue, indicating an understanding of what causes the actual debate or controversy. It demonstrates that the writer is a mature thinker, and has considered the issue from all angles.
Concession writing style also shows that the writer is a logical and fair-minded person, able to realize that every argument has several sides to consider before it is presented. This type of writing can be considered strong as it finds common ground between the writer and his opponent.
“Dad, I know taking a trip to another country with my friends may be expensive and unsafe, but I have studied so hard the past year and I think I deserve a vacation. You already know how responsible I have been all my life; I don’t think there will be any problem.”
The above statement is an example of concession writing. It demonstrates the negative aspects of traveling as a young group of boys, but argues against this with the fact that this particular boy has always been a responsible person and is not likely to get into trouble.
“I agree that many students act and lie about being sick, so that they can avoid school for whatever reason. However, most students who do not come to school are actually sick. Being sick, they should be focusing on getting better, not worrying about school and grades just because some students take advantage of the absentee policy.”
This statement also shows the concession form of writing where the writer agrees that some students do lie about being sick, and that the writer is able to understand this issue. At the same time, the writer argues as to why students who are actually sick suffer because of those irresponsible students.
“An individual does have his own right to freedom, but medical evidence proves that second-hand smoke is harmful. Nobody has the right to harm the health of another, and smoking does just that.”
Using concession, the writer has noted that everybody has freedom rights, but argues about the fact that nobody has the right to harm another person’s health, no matter what the case is.
“It is true that issues may sometimes become polarized and debated heatedly. Certainly, there is a need for matters of public concern to be discussed rationally. But that does not mean that such concerns should not be expressed and investigated. After all, improper interference with academic freedom was found to have taken place. And the allegations raised by doctors are ones which deserve further inquiry.”
The above statement demonstrates the concession writing technique, where the writer agrees that debating on issues can turn into a heated argument, but that does not mean the issues should stop being discussed and investigated. Using concession, the writer has considered the different viewpoints of the issue, and then stated his argument.
Example #5: Politics and the English Language (By George Orwell)
“I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words or constructions. So far as the general tone or spirit of language goes, this may be true, but it is not true in detail.”
This is another example of concession writing showing that the writer is a fair person who has thought about the issue before giving his opinion. The writer agrees with the fact that we cannot do anything to develop the language. However it is not true if we go into details, Orwell says, because writers influence it too.
Function of Concession
Concession writing acknowledges that there are many different views to a story. This type of writing allows for different opinions that can or could be made toward an issue. It also shows that all points, positive as well as negative, have been considered before an argument is put forward. Presenting the other side and then arguing against it with valid points can make it a very strong piece of writing. Acknowledging the other side demonstrates respect for the other opinion. The concession writing technique is also known used as a method of persuasion and reasoning.