IB – How to Write A Debate on Paper 2


How to write a debate on paper 2

A debate script is amongst the most complicated text types you could come across in IB Chinese. With its strict formatting rules and argumentation style, many students avoid debate questions like the plague. However, once we break the text type down for you, you’ll find that you’ll need nothing more to succeed than simple memorization and “PEE”.

Structure of debate scripts

Similar to most other text types, debate scripts have formatting rules that you are required to follow (failure to do so could cost you!). A typical structure for a debate speech is shown below:


1       尊敬的主席、平委、对方辩友:

[Honorable chairman, committee members and fellow debaters:]

2               大家好!我是正方的⋯⋯ 我方的观点是:⋯⋯(主题和观点)⋯⋯。

                    [Hello everyone! I am ____ from the proposition team and my team’s stance on the issue is: _____(state your thesis/ main argument)_____.]

3               首先,⋯⋯

                    [First, ____]

4                   其次,⋯⋯

                    [Second, ____]

5                   最后,⋯⋯

                    [Finally, ____]

6               综上所述,⋯⋯。所以,我方坚持认为:⋯⋯(重复主题和观点)⋯⋯。

                    [In summary, ____. Therefore, we insist that _____(state your thesis/ main argument)_____.]

7               谢谢大家!

                    [Thank you all!]


The structure consists of three main components—the address, the body, and the ending.

Line 1 – the address

Line 1 shows a formality that is often used in Chinese debate. Debaters are expected to begin their speeches with a formal address or a greeting to show respect to their facilitators and competitors. The IB also requires that students recognize and use this in their scripts.

Line 2 – firmly state your standpoint

The most crucial aspect of a debate speech is your main thesis. This would be your team’s main stance in on the issue at hand. IB examiners are looking for a clear-cut stance in your script and thus, your thesis statement should be emphasized clearly and concisely. All your points or topic sentences that follow should be directly related to your thesis.

Lines 3 to 5 – body paragraphs

Lines 3 to 5 represent the body paragraphs of the script. This is where you state the subpoints of your main argument, otherwise known as topic sentences. You should aim to have 3 or 4 points in your speech. The hard part now is to ELABORATE on your points. This is the area that most students lose points on. However, there is an effective way to go about doing this, and this may sound all too familiar to some of you – “PEE”. That’s right – Point, Evidence, and Explanation. This may not sound as fancy of a trick as you’d like, but I assure you, it is the MOST effective way to expand on your topic sentences. Examiners also tend to look out for well-supported arguments, so applying this rule would help remind you to substantiate your arguments. In short, each body paragraph should include a topic sentence (the point that you are trying to make), concrete examples, and detailed elaboration.

Line 6 to 7 – conclusion

In the concluding paragraph, summarize the points you made in the body paragraphs and bring attention back to the crux of the argument – your thesis. Don’t forget to thank everyone for listening!

To understand the structure a little better, try this sample exam question at home:



[You are a participant in a debate competition. The topic of the debate is “Students should not pursue the latest technological products”. Please choose your position on this issue and write out a debate script.]


Most questions involving debate scripts will be fairly straightforward – a topic will be given, and you will be asked to write a for or against speech on the given topic.

The first step you should take when attempting this question is to write the address to your competitors and state your team’s thesis. Next, come up with three points and use “PEE” to elaborate on them. All that’s left is to finish up your conclusion paragraph and you’re done, simple as that!

The most important tip you’ll probably need when writing debate scripts is to PLAN YOUR ESSAY. Trust me, you do not want to be 300 words in only to realize your second and third points of your argument don’t make sense.

In summary, examiners are looking for 4 main things in a debate script:

  1.     A clear structure
  2.     A clear-cut stance
  3.     Well supported arguments
  4.     Use of oral expressions

Once you have the format of the debate down, the debate script will feel just as simple as writing a normal essay or diary entry. And who knows, maybe debate scripts will turn into one of your favorite text types!

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