Monash Association of Debaters

Debating lingo

A brief glossary of terms and jargon used within debating

Motion: The statement to be debated over. E.g. “That we increase the income tax in Australia”

Proposition/Government/Affirmative/Aff: The team that argues for the motion.

Opposition/Opp: The team That argues against the motion.

Prep Time: The time allocated for teams to talk about and prepare their points (Typically 30min in 3v3, and 15min in BP)

Analysis: The logic and reasoning that leads to and backs up an argument

Substantive: New arguments and analysis that create a case for or against a motion.

Rebuttal: The response and counter-argument to a teams substantive or analysis

Burden: The responsibility to prove something in a debate. (For example, a team could have the burden to prove that increased police would reduce crime)

Model: The set of mechanisms or policies proposed by a team to get an outcome. Typically used by the affirmative.

Counter-Model: A model proposed by a team on the opposition.

Counterproposal: An alternative proposal made by a team on the oposition

Squirrel: An unreasonable attempt by the affirmative team to restrict a motion, or change it’s definition from the ‘spirit’ or intended meaning of the motion.

This House: Used in motions, essentially a fancy way of saying that we are the actor in the debate.

Regrets motion : A motion where the proposition/side arguing for the motion must argue why something in the current world is bad/why we would regret it.

Adjudicator: The judge of a debate

Panel: A Panel is a set of multiple adjudicators who collectievly judge your debate

Chair : The most senior adjudicator in a debate, who typically has the most influence over the rsepnose.

Chief Adjudicator (CA): The person in charge of ranknig judges and setting motions.

3v3: A debating format where two teams of three will debate. Typically a format of 30min prep time, alternating speakers from each team, and the rule that the third speaker cannot raise new substantive arguments.

Reply speech: A speech given in a variation of the 3v3 format where teams give a ‘biased adjudication’ of the debate tat the end

BP/British parliamentry: A debating format where four teams of two will debate. Typically 15mins prep time, with POIs. A more complicated format than 3v3

POI/Point of Information : A short question or rebuttal asked to the speaker on the opposite side. Used in the British Parliamentry Format

OG/OO/CG/CO: The four teams within a BP debate. Opening government, Opening oposition, Closing Government, Closing opposition

Extension: New material brought in by the closing half of a BP debate.

Knife: When a closing team contradicts the opening team on the same side. I.e CG knifing OG would look like OG supporting something, and CG claiming that that idea wouldn’t work

Worlds: The annual Worlds Universities Debating Championship, held internationally each year

Australs: The Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships. Held annually and internationally for universities in Australia and Asia

Easters: The Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships. A novice tournament held annually in Australia.

Tab: The ranking of speakers, teams and judges in a competition. Used to judge the break.

Bin: A low-ranked room where debates are often messy and poorly adjudicated

Break: To reach the final rounds of a competition where the tournament transitions to an elimination style.

Break/Bubble Room : A room in the final round of the first stage where teams could potentially break

Closed/Secret round: A room where the result of the adjudication is kept secret from teams to build suspense.