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Top 10 Tips For Winning An Argument

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

We all love to argue (as is evidenced by the comments on some of the topics on Listverse) but oftentimes an argument ends in a yelling match with insults flying and no conclusion being drawn. Therefore, I have put together this list of tips to help all of us in our future debates – on the site and off. If you take heed of all of my suggestions here, you will be in a much stronger position in future arguments. If you find this list useful, I also recommend you read the book How to Argue & Win Every Time, by Gerry Spence.


Soft and Steady


When debating you should never raise your voice. You should remain calm at all times. The louder you talk, the louder your opponent talks – and the end result is a yelling match. And of course, it goes without saying that you should definitely not resort to violence. You can even try to talk quieter than normal – as this can draw people in to you and it can make you appear wise. An argument is not won by the person with the loudest voice, it is won by the person with the most compelling arguments.


Get Your Opponent On Your Side


It is a good idea to try to get your opponent on your side by making statements that you know he agrees with – this puts you in the strong position in the debate. You don’t even need to use a fact relating to your debate – you could, for example, in a debate about the existence of God state “I am sure you agree with me when I say that petrol is overpriced”. As soon as your opponent agrees, you have won a psychological battle. You are no longer the opponent – you are a comrade. This technique is so effective it is used by telemarketers all the time.


Don’t Attack


It is not a good idea to blatantly tell your opponent that he is wrong – instead you should show that he is wrong through good counter-arguments. Telling a person they are wrong merely annoys them and does nothing for your argument as (at least until you can prove it), it is a subjective comment. Be humble in the debate and show good will – not only will it make you look good if you win, it will show that you are a worthy opponent even if you lose.


Don’t Play Dirty

Hilary-Clinton Obama

Never resort to name calling – even if your opponent does. You must attack your opponent’s argument – not their person. As soon as you begin to criticize your opponent, it becomes obvious that you have run out of ways to defend your view. These types of insults (ad hominem) are a sure way to lose a debate. You should be pleased if your opponent resorts to this feeble attempt to escape the real debate as it means you are close to victory.


Define The Fundamentals


When arguing, both parties need to agree on fundamental “truths” to begin with – if you don’t, there can be no debate. What is the point of arguing that the Bible was written by God, when your opponent doesn’t even believe in God? First you should debate the existence of God. If you both agree that He exists, you can then debate the smaller points. If your opponent convinces you that God can not exist, there is little point in arguing about the authorship of the Bible. This is the structure seen in the Summa Theologica by Saint Thomas Aquinas – he starts with the basic points, presents arguments and counter-arguments, and moves on when each point is “proven” by logic.


Stick to the Subject


When a person is beginning to lose an argument, it is quite common to see them try to divert the topic at hand to another – thereby hoping you will not notice their weakness and will get entangled in a whole new debate. When this happens, don’t fall for it. Return to the original topic immediately. Do not give any time to other topics (no matter how tempting it may be) until you have completed the first.


Ask Questions


This is the “socratic method”. When your opponent states a “fact” – probe deeper in to the fact with questions that are designed to expose its flaws – these are usually “tell me more” type questions: “can you give me an example?”, “Another way of looking at this is …, does this seem reasonable?”. These questions will invariably lead your opponent to the truth – and if they are honest, they will concede. Unfortunately this is not always the case – I have seen frustrated people depart the debate in anger because they believe you are “trying to trick” them. But don’t worry – this is a win if it happens.


Be Silent

Caro Silence

After making a strong argument, let your opponent do all the talking – especially if he lacks the facts to oppose you. He will bluster and fumble – giving you a variety of new weapons with which to attack him. This may not lead to him conceding defeat – but it may lead to him walking away from the debate – a clear victory for you. Many an argument has been won by not arguing at all! As an aside, this is an excellent method for getting your own way – make your request, and when it is declined remain silent. This usually makes the other person so nervous (as no one likes silence) that they may give in just to get out of an uncomfortable situation.


Know Your Facts

Truth 000

Do not state that something is “true” unless you absolutely know it is – be prepared to prove it if necessary. It is incredibly annoying to debate a topic with a person who is simply making up their argument on the fly. You wouldn’t like it if people did it to you – so don’t do it to others. Only engage in a debate that you know you can win based on facts.


Know When You’re Beat


If you have all the facts to back you up, you should be able to win your argument if your opponent is honest. But there will always be times when your opponent gets the better of you and they corner you. When this happens, be a gentleman and concede the win. You should always be graceful in defeat. Nothing is worse than a person who argues simply for the sake of it and absolutely will not give in – no matter how obvious their loss.

Contributor: JFrater

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • AshleyLoan

    Oh maximuz04, you should use a better example on facts because just by you saying homosexuality is a choice instead of being biological. Truth is that scientists have argued this for years with both answers being stated as fact. Do we really know the truth? Maybe if you were gay you would understand. I'm not so I can't describe it but my mother was and she said it was just natural.

    • Hatim

      Lets just say if the world was all gay there would be no reproduction..if there would be no reproduction…there would be no continuation of species…no continuation means that biological straight (normal) relationships are the right way not because more people do it but because it is deepset in creation of nature in the law of living things…thats why…human homosexuality is a deviant form of relationship because it goes against several laws that humans did NOT create

      • Robbie

        Are infertile people deviants as well because they can’t procreate?? What about overpopulation?? What if it’s you and your over-breeding masses who are destroying biology and upsetting the balance and homosexuality is merely nature’s means of population control? What if? Maybe you shouldn’t be so sure of everything in the universe. Maybe you should get off your high horse and take a step back and think a bit more about it.

  • Ash

    Thanks for the tips :D
    I hate losing arguments…

  • don sean

    wow you update on the right when its a new day dont you? keep it up

  • Sunshine

    Stated the obvious a little too much, but it was a nice Sunday list I suppose. Keep up the good work, your site is brilliant. :)

  • mike

    don sean, are you the main man or what

  • Stefanie

    Chauvinist, sexist pig

  • Stefanie: is that directed at me?

  • knight_forked

    Nice list Jamie! Having realized that past couple of lists caused uproars, I believe, nobody would be able to argue about the contents on this one ;)

  • jhoyce07


  • ZedroZ

    JFrater: Excellent list as always, maybe a few too many Americanised methods of verbal debate for my liking though…
    Ha ha just kidding, brilliant site, keep up the good work!

  • knight_forked: perhaps we will see some improvement in the comments on future controversial lists now :)

  • lily

    I always win my arguements whether I follow this list or not the key is always having the last word no matter what.

  • lily

    oh sorry about the double post but forgot to mention women are better at arguing than men thats why men tend to fight in order to not show that they dont have anything left to say.

  • Sunshine

    Problem with men is we don’t think alot of the time before we do, and it shows in arguments. We go on gut feeling, and usually gut feelings are wrong.

  • downhighway61

    Needing to have the last word looks desperation to me.
    I just give a look and walk away when people get like that.

  • meiz

    Great tips!! I can use this at home :)

  • lily

    oh downhighway61 I read divorce all over you

  • sugen

    If I should marry I would use these tips

  • Dan

    Best list ever! My best friend is the worst arguer in the world! I can’t wait to try these out in the next debate!

  • ArizonaBay

    Once you insult the other player, the game is up.

  • romerozombie

    Disclaimer: none of this will work on Randall.

  • McSquida

    This list is good if you want to argue well and have clear, coherent discussions.

    If you’re happy to play dirty to win arguments though, this list won’t help. And that’s how I like to play, it’s so much more effective ;)

  • maximuz04

    Sadly people arent honest… Here are some things that annoy me because I actually follow innately everything on his list but people dont.

    1) TOO many people dont know when to admit they have lost. This is ok if theres multiple people because I poke fun at how they cant admit and someone backs me up but when its 1on1 it can get ridiculous.

    2) Some people… smart people I am sad to say… base their arguments in something like “well… I am traditional and I think homosexuality is a choice” They seem to think they have an opinion on something that is in reality a fact which destroys their argument. YOU CANT HAVE AN OPINION THAT CONTRADICTS A FACT!

    3) People tend to think that if they dont answer a question I posed… it doesnt hurt their argument… lol

    4) I dont agree with dont play dirty. If you are trying to make a serious point… sure. However sometimes you are trying to win over a crowd and sad to say… there is no better way then to destroy your opponents credibility.

    5) Soft and steady is my style… but my brother in particular raises his voice and thinks he won by yelling. This is irritating… especially when no other smart people are around to notice how moronic this is.

    And for the person that said you always have the last word… this doesnt make you the winner.. if could if you have something to add but its very obvious when you do it just to have the last word and like it was mentioned… its a desperate move and smart people pick up on this and dont take you seriously.

  • maximuz04

    Lily… how are women better at arguing than men? can you give me an example? You have made groundless claims and have used faulty evidence.

  • Jessy

    This is good for people who are prone to going overboard while arguing- but is there anything for people like me who are too far in the other direction? It seems as soon as someone challenges me on something I sputter and don’t know what to say (it tends to come to me at 3am). I never come off looking very intelligent in debates.

  • Ash

    Hah that Stefanie needs to shut up.

  • Ash

    God, so does Lily

  • lily

    Maximus04 the guy who thinks he is the smartest guy in a room well “smart people” should know that going about correcting every1’s mistakes doesnt make u smart just annoying. Ur littie critic on list was an desperate attempt to outshine jfrater but its his list not urs so shh and as far as women being better at arguing well lets see how men have had an arguement with their wife/girlfriend and lost? How many times have they won? And even if they have won do they pay for it later? I rest my case.

  • foohy

    I use everyone of these when arguing actually. But I guess having a dad that was a cop will do that to you. haha great list! I love it!

  • Ash

    Sexism works both ways…
    You can’t say women are better at something than men anymore than you can say men are better at something than women.
    If a guy came on here and said how much better men were at arguing you would have blown your lid.
    You are the sexist one.

  • warrrreagl

    Enjoyed it, Jamie. Now I need to go watch the Monty Python clip and critique it.

    Lily, your comment toward downhighway61 was inappropriate.

  • foohy

    I can see we agree about people not being able to admit when they’ve lost but your thing about opinions just doesn’t make any sence! Something so hotly debated is usually such a conflict because it IS an opinion. There is no facts to back up if homosexuality is right or wrong because each person has their own idea of what right and wrong is. You should read #6 on this list again, it seems.
    Also playing dirty pay win you the support of the onlookers but it won’t win you the argument. I know it’s a cliche` but doing that makes you look as dumb as them.

  • ali hayat

    lovely list… great many ways to win debates, i never wondered !

  • astraya


  • astraya

    whoops, I forgot the (tongue-in-cheek) bit!

  • Maelstrom

    Lily, Making sexist and making snide remarks is not at all witty or clever and such things have no value in any argument, especially the ones you’re purposefully trying to start on here

    theres two kinds of people, people who argue and then theres people who are complete and utter bitches, guess which one you are

  • downhighway61

    My spouse and I love each other very much, and rarely fight. I really doubt that me walking away if my spouse was going on and on would be the cause of our relationship’s demise.

    Thanks Warrr :)

  • scarlet_tears

    i’m a debater in my university..

    here’s what we do:

    first we define the terms

    then set up the parameters (e.g. what country is the setting and such)

    convince the adjudicator to listen to your arguments

    convince the adjudicator that the opponents argument is wrong and your’s is right..

    and to support one’s argument, one should give example..

    one will say “hear, hear” if one agrees to the argument, while “shame, shame” is what you hear when one disagrees..

    the truth to “hear, hear” – “our argument is not that good but it will do”

    “shame, shame” – they’re arguments is right, but we want it to come out as wrong..


  • scarlet_tears

    actually, in the debating society.. men and women are equal..

    however, women tends to be emotional sometimes during debates while men gets to be emotional after the debate.

    you won’t believe how debater takes debating seriously..

  • lily

    sorry guys, didnt mean to be so harsh

    being an active lesbian i tend to get fairly sexist over such things

    and yes, i was pretty harsh on the person that i abused with the topic of divorce, when i have a bad day i usually take my anger out on youtube video’s or open forums

  • Maelstrom

    thank you for the apology

  • downhighway61


    Did you just go and assume I’m a man? Out of curiosity.

  • downhighway61

    and yes, thank you.

  • Natalie

    This is a really good list, thanks! :)

  • carpe_noctem

    Personally, I’m finding it funny to see how long it’ll take before someone starts a pointless argument here deliberately for the purposes of holding it here…

    And lily, i’m actually very interested in your response to dh’s question.

  • LeeJH
  • downhighway61

    carpe! i missed you!

  • Ghidoran

    Nice! This should help me on Gamefaqs

  • lily

    i didnt post 39 but downhighway61 i admit i got a bit carried away so im sorry but all u other bitches r really giving me a hard time 4 ur info i made the first few remarks to see how all u men would react im using the comments on this page n the extreme case of gender inequality list on my research paper which is due after the holidays just to see how both women n men feel abt sexism k im not a bitch. hope thats okay listverse im going cite u n im not putting any urernames in it. Plz

  • Mom424

    Good list Jamie. Not going to help with some folks. See comment #31 if you don’t believe me. Yes foohy, maximus never claimed an opinion on whether homosexuality is right or wrong. Just that it is NOT a choice. I’m pretty sure Jamie said something on this list about keeping to topic when debating. Gads.

  • Mom424

    Well once I figured out what the hell you were saying lily it actually got worse. Pissing folks off for a research paper? Not cool. By the way, pretty much guaranteed you’re going to fail if you don’t do something to improve your writing style. I’m thinking we shouldn’t need a translator for a 6 line comment. So in answer to your plz – NO.

  • warrrreagl

    lily, try this website:

    Your standard of comments and text-speak might be more seemly over there.

  • Maelstrom

    lily, you are so full of it, as if you’re writing a paper, admit you fucked up and apologise, dont try and act as if you had to and all the cruel remarks you have made are in the name of education because that is total bollocks

  • JwJwBean

    Great Tips.

  • DiscHuker

    romerozombie: (#20) that made me laugh out loud.

    a great bit of advice i heard concerning number #3 on the list “be silent”, and it works in life just to not appear like you are the brilliant person that we all think we are…

    “find the wisest person in the room and shut up accordingly”

  • lily

    ok watever i said n did be4 was just for my research paper but dont call me things im not this is a comment page u no nothing abt me except my name so dont go on judging me cuz really i dont want to stoop to ur level n do the same to u.

  • Kyran Wray

    yeah great list, i’m glad there’s a list on this topic so i can refer to it every time i lost an argument to see where i go wrong.
    i can see in these comments people got excited reading the list and couldn’t wait to try out the techniques with the oldest argument of all, men vs woman which is silly because everybody knows men are the better arguers! ok i’m kidding lets not restart this…

  • renton

    I needed this. Thanks! :)

  • Kreachure

    So it seems people here have already done the complete opposite of what each of the 10 tips on this list say with their comments on the list. Oh, the irony! :P

    Very nice list, by the way. I’m sure I’d do much better in arguments if I was able to remember all 10 of these tips…

  • Peri

    My motto is, “Never have a battle of the wits with an unarmed person.” It has kept me out of numerous arguments.

    I also must add, tip 10 has worked for me many times. Whenever people start shouting, I simply start talking in a soft voice. It doesn’t matter what I’m saying, I just start talking softly. Eventually, both sides will shut up so they can hear what I’m saying. Once I have their attention, I usually start laughing (because it diffuses tension and I’m dumbfounded that it always works). At that point, both parties have calmed down and can resume the “discussion” and not the “argument”.

  • DiscHuker

    lily: your comments prove that you have already judged those you are speaking with. when you were speaking to them and you said “i don’t want to stoop to your level”, you have placed them lower than yourself. this is exactly what you are saying they shouldn’t do.

    btw, you seem to be new to the list verse. welcome. please use proper english, to the best of your ability. all of the text message talk gets pretty tedious trying to decipher.

  • Callie

    Disc took the words out of my mouth. Also, and I’m really not trying to be mean and I’m absolutely not judging, but is there such a thing as an inactive lesbian? It just seems a strange way to phrase it. I don’t consider myself actively straight.

    Anyway, these will work for all of us on the next “your view.” You can post a particularly contentious one now, Jamie!

    Also, I love the pictures, especially the “don’t attack” one.

  • 827kevin

    aaaaah, school is going to be fun today!

  • copperdragon

    I second the motion that these will not work on Randall.

    The picture for #8 is the best!

  • Brickhouse

    This is very helpful and much of it I do, thankfully. I just need to learn to shut up. :)

  • psychosurfer

    Lily, trying to understand you here.
    So, according to your self-alleged sex supremacy on discussions, and noticing you are lesbian:
    Who wins the debates over at home?
    (just curious)

  • JOHNY!

    psychosurfer, i know you hate it when people are full of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not trying to get away from this argument. What i mean to say is that i know how you feel. My answer to you is simple: when you prove your facts through statistic evidence, people will go for it… 92.6% of the time.

  • Blogball

    Good suggestions all around. What made this list even more entertaining are the pictures. My favorite is the Don’t Attack one like Callie noted . I also liked the fist one which could also be used in a list about two guys winning the lottery or a list about dental students.

  • Brickhouse

    lily: For your paper… I am a woman and was offended by the statement “women are better at arguing than men” because that’s simply not true, nor are men better at arguing than women. We each have our own ways of approaching the situation.

    Secondly, which part are you upset about? When you tried “fooling” everyone by starting an argument or when you half apologized and it was only half accepted?

    If you aren’t here to add anything helpful, then please stay off the site.

  • Cedestra

    Lily said she didn’t post #39, meaning she never apologized for anything and did not admit to being an active lesbian (although she still could be, I guess).
    She’s just hear to stir things up. Best to ignore her and move on. She’s obviously not adhering to anything Jamie said in his list, meaning she’s an idiot or she’s trying to be ironic. I think the latter is giving her too much credit, though.
    Great list, Jamie. Very wise choice.

  • smurff

    Great list JFrater I mentioned a couple of weeks back that lists that cause a wee bit of niggling, and mud slinging from the commentators are good for listserve, the list gets longer more people comment, and it snowballs from their, brilliant !

  • Brickhouse

    PS. Great list JF! This will be very helpful. :D

  • FierceGrace

    warrrreagl – I agree. Ebaumsworld is filled with horny, little computer nerds who can be very gross at times.

    LILY just because you’re a lesbian does not mean that you have to bash men or be an extreme feminist. Being a female myself, of course I want equality but I’m not going to go to the extremes of feminism to ensure it gets done. We all have our own part to play in creating equality in all aspects of life. Oh yes, either you’re really young or just have terrible writing skills. “You” is spelled YOU not U, and cuz is because. When debating over the internet it is probably wise to ensure that you use proper spelling and grammar.

  • Hillery

    To me, the pic for #10 looks like they are breaking into song in some well choreographed fight scene. Or maybe that’s the way I like to look at it, because it certainly made me laugh. Great list!

  • dave4248

    Good list, but one addition. It about what some people do when they know they’re beat. They’ll tell you….”you’re a good debater.” DON’T TAKE THAT BAIT. I’ve made that mistake. They’re implying that YOU are the reason you’re winning the argument. Tell them “Thanx, but you’re just as good at this as I am,…I’m winning because my POSITION is stronger.”

  • bigski

    Callie #62 that 1st statement about actively straight cracked me up. I cain`t make a statement good or bad about lily cause i cain`t understand WTF she`s talking about! Anyway loved the list will try to utilize some of the points in the future,espically when you disarm your opponet with humor.

  • Anon

    Lily, (12),

    “… women are better at arguing than men …”

    No. Good arguers are better at arguing than bad arguers. It’s as simple as that. Turning this into a battle of the sexes is violating rule 5 above. Hahaha!

    (Hope this hasn’t been posted above, had to rush off for lunch before getting to the end.)

  • Anon


    Come back from lunch and have continued on down to your 49. My 77 any help in the thesis?


    Sticking to the subject can be a problem, on LV at least, when someone chucks out about half a dozen controversial comments in the same post! Its like having a tennis serving- machine gone mad at you.

  • Anon

    General observation,

    Lily is not, in fact, a real person, she’s an invention of the site to get this topic on the boil. However, if she is real, I think she’s probably been coshed enough now by all and sundry. Generosity in victory should also figure in our skills. Shall I make a list of others in other topics I would love you all to go and practice your newly-honed putting-down skills on? People who’ve really asked for it in a big, big way, far bigger than Lily?

  • santiago

    Great list! (and appropiate I think for this site)
    I think there are some great examples of this list in these comments, along with a few that obviously aren`t! :)

  • dime138

    I’m trying to imagine all the time I would’ve been saved during the course of my life if my friends just would’ve followed #1.

  • G Note

    Why does it “go without saying that you should definitely not resort to violence”?

    I would have put violence at #1

  • Peri: I love the motto – I will use that myself from now on :)

  • warrrreagl

    Anon, I have a different general observation about Lily. I do not believe that our over-swamped mods have the time nor energy to create a fictional poster to stir up trouble.

    Instead, I fear that the first few posts by Lily were from a legit user, and then an imposter got a similar name somehow and created trash posts, which were answered by fire and brimstone. I say “I fear” because I would hate for all of us to have run off a new member who got duped by an idiot.

    I would like to invite the real “Lily” back for a more enlightening discussion.

  • Lewis_RATM

    Quote one:”oh downhighway61 I read divorce all over you”

    Quote Two:”u no nothing abt me except my name so dont go on judging me cuz really i dont want to stoop to ur level n do the same to u.”

    I mean come on, “Don’t go judging me”?

    Tip #11: Don’t contradict yourself by giving out when someone does to you what you did to others.

  • Anon

    As botanist, I can tell you that lilies are subject to Lily beetle, grey mould and virus. Synonymy is indeed also an occasional aspect warrrreagl!

  • miralea

    Number one is something that I think a lot of people have trouble with. I don’t know many people who like admitting that they are either wrong or that they’ve lost. Most tend to revert to number ten instead of accepting defeat gracefully.

  • JayArr

    On #10 – obviously you’ve never argued with my dad…

    #9 – I would argue irrelevance…stick to the topic at hand!

    I think the picture on #7 is inappropriate – the reason for which I cannot say in public, as my wife will hurt me.

    Ah, there we go… #5 contradicts #9… very good!!!

    #4 – and everybody knows if you ask enough questions, your opponent will get pissed and leave; you become the winner without having to actually support your own side with evidencial and logical discourse. SWEET!

    #3 does not work with my co-workers. If I become silent, they assume they have won and go back to ignoring me… curses, foiled again!

    #2 – to the best of my knowledge, everything I state as true is in fact more true than false.

    #1 – Oh yeah? I beg to differ!

    Okay, fun list… can’t agree on all of it, but you have beaten me fair and square. I bow to youw supewiow intewect!

  • bucslim

    It just takes all the zest out of life if I can’t raise my voice, lose my temper and assault my adversary with some well chosen insults and punctuate my argument with salty language. Playing dirty is a sign of superior intelligence and wit. Keeping some nugget of illicit information hidden in your trench coat only to whip it out and wield it like a cudgel at the right moment is the best way to pummel your opponent in any verbal joust. The only pitfall is you have to have your own personal skeletons firmly locked away from prying eyes. This assures you won’t be beaten at your own game. Placed right, especially when you are backed into a corner with no way to recover and in danger of being humiliated, you can deflect all criticisms on the current topic and burst out into a full fledged ugly confrontational shouting match.

    Sure it might begin the downswing of any relationship, but at least you won’t have to explain those suspicious hotel receipts and poorly hidden internet history.

    I’m just sayin’ . . .

  • BrotherMan

    Great list, Jamie! I think that all of us on this site can definately learn from this list, especially in light of the latest lists and the comments that went with them.

    I personally have a pet peeve when a friendly debate turns into an angry shouting match which results in abusive language. (Read #7 on the list). It makes people look ignorant.

    I also find that a lot of people interchange the word “argument” with the word “fight” and visa versa. The words are completely different.

    In an argument, there is a healthy level of debate going on. In a fight, there is a level of angst, anger and annoyance which seems to always result in responses like “Well, you’re just a !!!”

  • JayArr

    Please don’t take it out on Lily. She’s only 14, is experimenting with her sexual identity, and spends most of her time texting her friends on her iphone. Give the poor kid a break! ;-)

    Okay, sorry… bad joke. I give up my right to have the last word, because I accept the fact that others have differing opinions from my own, and that we are all different-minded individuals in a diverse world society. If we were all the same and did not have the freedom to speak as freely as we do (even if we stick our foot deeeeeep into our own mouths on occasion), life would be one dreadfully grey boring day after another…

  • Anon

    Anyone remember that delightful, old-fashioned Victorian children’s morality fairy story by Charles Kingsley, ‘The Water Babies’? Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby. Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid. And all that. A bit ironical those memorably articulated names are the complete reverse of lilyspeak!

  • BrotherMan

    that last sentence of mine should have read “Well, you’re just a (insert a series of expletives here)!!!”

    I have been guilty of this in the past, but I refrain from doing so any more these days. If the argument is getting to that point I try to walk away and return later when I have less steam in my system from the debate.

  • Anon

    How about, “You bloody well (or embroider to taste) started it” as a Bonus? It’s a useful one to have up the sleeve yes, buc?

  • Anon


    … as a last resort.

  • unca

    Wow, these are good points. They may help you win an argument but don’t you think they also take the fun out of it?

  • Cyn

    rather interesting IP trackback on ‘Lily’…hhhmm..anyway..

    as we’ve already seen here more than a few times and as anyone who’s been online for more than 5 mins should know..
    you venture forth into cyberspace at your own risk. ;)
    risk your personna, your cyber rep, your comment ‘cred’ here..etc etc etc.

    who you think you are dealing w/ may not be who you think or maybe who you think you are ain’t
    just remember where you are and be mindful of the constraints of not only a comment box but a website.
    and let’s just try to play nice and fair, shall we? life’s too short. the world is already brutal enough as is…….


  • August Grey

    ” never argue with an idiot ”

    thats my motto, and most of you fail

  • aussie pride

    turkey slappp

  • Mendacity

    I believe there’s a point where the maxim “never argue with an idiot” can be applied – some people are not open to change. I believe that the purpose of an open mind is to find some truth and stick to that, that is, close your mind on some subjects (and maybe that can open a debate in itself), but when someone is not arguing from a fact perspective and is arguing from an emotional or irrational perspective (i.e. have closed their mind to everything) it’s time to walk away. This is often VERY hard to do, especially if it’s not just a one on one argument – if everyone is against you and you know you’re right but can’t prove it to the others satisfaction, it can be hard to leave, but it’s really the best choice. So maybe “never argue with an idiot” is too extreme – a little to black and white (nobody is an idiot about everything), but generally, it’s true.
    Now, if we apply this to this internet discussion, I don’t think that “most of you fail” as August Grey put it in comment 98. We simple didn’t know the person was an idiot and had to find out. After sufficient appeals to reason in the Lily case, the point has now come to rest – it has indeed ceased to be argued, and therefore all have upheld August Grey’s motto.
    I know I’m proud of that, and you should be too. Wow, just wow – we are good.

  • Apparently the late chess champ extraordinaire, a young Bobby Fischer, would first belittle opponants, calling them idiots again and again, then , perhaps at his own whim, squash them with fierce blows during match-time, grinding them in the dust for fun.

  • Anon

    To bring in a boring qualification. Let’s never forget winning an argument doesn’t necessarily reveal the truth or arrive at the most just conclusion. Right or wrong, the big bugger with the bulging biceps kicks sand in the nerd’s face, and the guy with most mental muscle wins the war of words. That’s how a good lawyer gets a guilty client off the hook. The truth, or the better case often lose in weaker hands, besides which they need open minds, not always in long supply. Anyway, on LV who givesa, guys? We’re here for the entertainment and we’ve got a ref. to stop really dirty punching. What more?

  • Anon

    Diogenes, (101),

    And Muhammed Ali too?

  • Anon

    “therefore all have upheld August Grey’s motto”

    All bar Lily herself, that is.

  • maximuz04

    27. lily
    People are right… you need to shut up. If you knew how to read you would know I was quite fond of this list. Your inability to notice this is kind of moronic. I wasnt criticizing nor trying to outshine… I was trying to mention how people should stick to these rules

    “Ur littie critic on list was an desperate attempt to outshine jfrater but its his list not urs so shh and as far as women being better at arguing well lets see how men have had an arguement with their wife/girlfriend and lost? How many times have they won? And even if they have won do they pay for it later? I rest my case.”
    (sorry didnt exactly know when this sentence started nor ended.)
    I think the ability to argue has nothing to do with gender. With past girlfriends I hardly ever lost an argument and theres a fine reason for that. Its because I, unlike her, was not stubborn to argue a point when I knew I was wrong. I, unlike her (and past GFs too) am courteous enough to admit when I am wrong. However I have met some good female debaters but the majority of the ones I know are men. However I dont think its gender related.
    “pay for it later?” Thats a threat and threats make you a weak debater… done when you have obviously been humiliated.

    31. foo
    48. AshleyLoan
    You guys are both right… I got lazy and used a bad example. Heres a better one. The same guy I argue with doesnt believe that gravity affects us all. This is a fundamental physics fact. And he says “well thats just my opinion.”
    I think I have just realized I have to carefully think of my examples or ima get grilled LoL… but hopefully you get my point. And thanks 50. Mom424… yeah i didnt claim it was right or wrong.. it is my opinion that it is not wrong… but thats a different subject.

  • maximuz04

    98. August Grey
    oh cmon if we followed this… It would be very difficult to argue. I hardly ever find people who argue well.

  • astraya

    “never argue with an idiot”

    There’s a similar proverb, which runs “Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and the pig enjoys it.”

    And never forget the possibility that oneself might be the idiot in the equation.

  • maximuz04

    oh… I shoulda read the comments before I replied… :) oops anyways good list

  • Mendacity

    Quote from Anon, 102:

    “therefore all have upheld August Grey’s Motto
    All bar Lily herself, that is.”

    I disagree – even Lily upheld it. In Lily’s opinion, as demonstrated by various antagonistic and derogatory comments (example: “I don’t want to stoop to your level”), she showed that she though that we were the idiots, and accordingly stopped arguing with us. How interesting! She upheld the motto, but her opinions were completely opposite to ours (I use the term “our opinions” very broadly). This shows how subjective the correctness of an argument really is, which harkens back to Anon’s comment 102 about the lawyer getting the guilty party pardoned.

    Additionally, we have not dropped the case of Lily (our sacrificial lamb to prove the “idiot” point) as we originally set out to do, and so it may seem that we are disproving our own motto by continuing the argument. However, I propose that we are now discussing with each other, and not with her (the “idiot”), and that the maxim still holds.

    P.S. Lily, I use the term “Idiot” only in response to the immaturity of your comments posted here, which I am sure do not reflect you at all – please come back, reflect on what you want to say, and post again so we can get to know you!


  • Mendacity

    Sorry, a correction – the quote is from Anon, 104.

  • Precision

    An excellent list, with some great tips for winning arguments. Personally I do not like arguments and attempt to avoid them when I can, but if this is not possible I find that remaining calm and using cold hard logic are the two best strategies to winning.

    I believe the following qualities make it difficult to win ANY argument:

    A) Stubbornness – Some people simply cannot be shown that they are wrong, and will continue to defend a faulty argument until their proverbial ‘dying breath’. They will often ignore your attempts to show you the error of their ways.

    B) Ignorance or lack of intelligence – These combatants are likely to spout vast amounts of meaningless information that they no doubt believe supports their points, but in reality is either completely irrelevant or just plain wrong. The fundamental truths that you return fire with will be lost on these people.

    C) Anger – People that get angry do not understand the true meaning of debate. They will raise their voice, cut off your statements, storm out of the room, use CAPS, throw a fridge at you etc. At this stage there is no point continuing as the event is leaving the realms of ‘argument’ and entering ‘fight club’.

    I find that the above 3 qualities (particularly A and B) are often found co-habitating in people. Usually if arguing with such a person it will not be possible to convince them that they are wrong and have lost the argument. In this case hopefully you will have succeeded in making them appear foolish and ignorant to anyone not participating in the argument. However, that leads me to my final point regarding ‘difficult to win’ arguments:

    D) Audience – No matter how sound your case or how ridiculous your opponent’s, if the audience is of a like-mind with your opponent’s opinions (and will not change those opinions) then you have no chance. Attempting to argue in this situation will likely result in the audience joining in to support their elected ‘champion’. In this situation the best you can do is to know that you are right and be satisfied with that.

    Now my experience at LV has led me to believe that occasionally there are ‘A’ and ‘B’ (sometimes even ‘C’) type debaters making comments on some lists. Fortunately though this is a site where the majority of ‘D’ is neither ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘C’ and some truly excellent debate takes place :D

  • Lizzyxo

    What is it my ex use to say .. I think it was “Never argue with an idiot, they will just bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience…” Something like that. He has a superiority complex, and was often the idiot in the debate.

  • Anon

    Iime for some levity.

    There’s a rather drastic way to annul a vital but totally lost argument. It’s infallible, but has three drawbacks. It only works face-to-face, so no good on LV. It’s only good for one shot per opponent. It’s messy.

    Always maintain a tube of shaving soap in your pocket (toothpaste tastes nicer, but is nowhere near so visually effective). When all is lost, spin round and away from your antagonist, as if in angry disagreement, and rapidly ingest some shaving soap without being seen. Turn back, foaming at the mouth and with eyes rolling. Fall kicking on the floor for greater effect. Recover slowly with feigned temporary loss of memory.

    Advice: try to avoid perfumed or minty shaving soap.

  • Kevin

    Of course all great arguers (Is that a word?) know its not something you learn. It’s something your born into. Ha.

  • simuun

    I read somewhere that we are entitled to our feelings but that doesn’t give us the right to be cruel.

    Sometimes I get upset over little or big things, but either way I try to remind myself that no matter how upset or annoyed or whatever it is that I feel, it’s never ok to be cruel.

    There’s been times where someone has made me so upset that I’ll say almost anything to make myself feel better, and that good feeling lasts about as long as it takes me to say it. I hate when people put me down so I usually try to avoid doing the same, too bad the same can’t be said about everyone.

  • Rosa

    Interesting list.. :)
    I consider myself a pretty good arguer (is that even a word..? :) ) but I usually win simply because I am a naturally calm person, so I am able to keep my voice down and speak carefully and effectively, meaning everything I say. . Also, I really think asking questions on which we both agree helps my argument.

  • astraya

    There is anothernother version: Never argue with an idiot. People may not be able to tell the difference.

  • bucslim

    Anon – #94

    Yes a brilliant point. ‘You started it” is another good tactic to employ when you’ve run out of options and your soon to be ex wife. . . uh I mean opponent, is moving in for the kill.

    It reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad walked in on me and my brothers fighting. As soon as my dad opened his mouth, I started pointing fingers at one of my brothers quoting the exact phrase. Of course I would run the risk of the old man rebutting my strategy with “I don’t give a rat’s ass who started it, I’m here to finish it” and then he would kick all of our asses. But it was worth a shot.

    Another good method is to laugh your way through an argument. You might not have anything to defend yourself, but laughing and repeating the other person’s last sentence in a questioning manner is a great way to prove to them that you don’t give a shit about what they are saying.


    Them: I found the disgusting websites you were looking at.
    Me: Hah hah hah, is that what you found?

    Then shake your head and walk away.

    See? It’s an awesome way to prove how really smart you are because there’s no possible way for them to prove you were looking at “” unless they were behind you when you logged on. The laughing and shaking of the head puts doubt in their mind.

    Just a few pearls I heard from a friend.

  • astraya

    Anon: “You started it”. You can add “You invaded Poland”.

    (There’s a forum about “using tv quotes in real life”. I finished a very long, perfectly amicable conversation with that one.)

  • DiscHuker

    the best way to win an argument…

    them: i found the disgusting websites you were looking at.
    me: that sounds like something hitler would say.

    everybody knows that being compared to hitler because of what you have said means that the argument isn’t going so well for you.

  • Anon


    Spot on. Bluffing has to be like lying. You’re only going to stand any chance of getting away with it by sheer nerve, utter conviction and blithe self-confidence. Once, when I wanted to watch a really important mid-week soccer match, I put my cap on neatly, burttoned up my blazer, clamped a document under my arm and walked purposely out in full view through the school main gates, as used by the masters and people on business. The same tactic worked later in services’ training camp when there was something to avoid. I got a dental chit legitimately and then wandered around in the fog with it along the officers’ walkways, showing it if challenged. Who on the skive would dare do that? So no one bothered to read the small print. We knew of an Aussie surgeon doing the Earl’s Court thing who regularly occupied a Royal Box at the Festival Hall with his friends when it was not in use. He would whisper some powerful establishment name confidentially, the stewards would bow, and usher them in.

    Disarming, or sowing doubt can be, as you say, a valuable tactic. We have to go away for longish periods. When we first came here ten years ago, we were desperate to find someone to keep the new garden watered and ticking over. There was this old guy, our Chilean neighbour, don Carlos, nearly 90. Wiry and willing, but … So Anita realised she’d have to spell everything out slowly and carefully, backed up by markers. “Don’t hose water over the seedlings, don Carlos, you’ll wash them out.” “Be careful to dig those out, don Carlos, they’re weeds, and leave those, they’re rare flowers.” He’d eventually repeat all the instructions very carefully by heart with an intelligent gleam in his eyes, and we sank back in relief believing the garden was in safe hands. Then, when we got back, he’d hoed choice bulbs out together with their markers, half of them chopped to bits or missing. And he miraculously managed to do the exact reverse of everything Anita had asked! In desperation, she went round with him groaning, “Oh don Carlos, I asked you not to hose out the seedlings, and you have.” “Yes, señora Anita. You asked me not to hose the seedlings and I have.” “And didn’t I tell you to dig these up and leave those, and you’ve done them the other way round.” “Yes, señora Anita, you told me to dig these up and leave those, and I’ve done them the other way round.” And so on. A word-for-word mantra repetition of everything. What could you say? We kept serious faces until we got indoors and then pissed ourselves laughing. He won, hands down.

    I’m sure the D.C. technique must be applicable to arguing!

  • Anon


    That must be such a prime source of real life quotes.

    Every recalcitrant piece of machinery has been told by me, “I’m giving you one last chance.” followed by, “Right, I warned you. You’ve asked for it” and a thrashing, or a kick, failing a suitable branch or stick to hand. My first wife treasures an episode with a defunct lawnmower and an extremely sore toe. (But not as much as when her husband mowed over a wasps’ nest in short shorts. She slammed the door on me with, “Don’t you dare bring those things in here!” I did say FIRST wife!) I have to admit Fawlty probably kept us together for as long as we were. “I mentioned the war once and I think I got away with it”, was one of our favourites from the same episode you quoted.

  • good list, funny pictures

  • bigski

    maximuzO4 Whatever your doing I want some ! Precision im not sure but I think you insulted me somewhere with your list with #111. Anon @ 113 who told you my debating strategy ? Yall behave out there.

  • bucslim

    Disc – didn’t think of your clever reply, but yeah, that’s true. I’ll try to be quicker with the comeback with the next woman that occupies my life.

    Anon – That picture of the old guy in my head is making me snigger. Good thing you didn’t ask him to clean up the dog crap or take the garbage to the curb.

    After all the crapola we slung at each other in the Black President question, I’m beginning to think you’re okeedokee.

  • bucslim

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Since when do my comments warrant ‘moderation?’

    I’m going to use the age old quip “Don’t you know who I am?”

    I’m so offended.

  • Cyn

    buc –
    chill dude. ‘snigger’ probably tripped the filter. or maybe something else did.

    yup. was ‘snigger’ cuz put mine into mod too. anyway…all comments onsite now.

  • Cyn

    alternative word choice could be ‘snicker’

  • bucslim

    Snigger? A sort of half giggling, half guffaw response to something that one might find humorous or witty?

    Or is it something more devious, perhaps a person with a well trained vocabulary and sharp observational skills is being discriminated against?

    What if I had chortled or snorted or all out ROTFLOL’ed? What then? A total ban?

    Besides, I’m a charter member of this site with a long history of never using inflamatory or incendiary comments or hurled insults at lessor commentators.

    Well . . . maybe once or twice.

    JK Cyn.

  • Because of recent unsavory comments, the word “nigger” now gets put in to moderation – I am not banning the word (or words that contain it) – I just want to make sure the word is not being used offensively. I believe it can be used inoffensively. :)

  • Oh – and bucslim: I am unable to configure the site to allow registered users to avoid moderation – that is why you got caught – even though you are an old timer on the site :)

  • Cyn

    buc –
    uh..yeah. for this i delay bedtime…*yawn*

  • Dante


  • bucslim

    JF – I completely agree, I just enjoy being a pain in the ass.

    Nighty night Cyn, and by the way, ‘snicker’ has peanuts and nooogaut and it satisfies, but it doesn’t make me laugh.

  • astraya

    Time for a Sniggers Bar, perhaps? CHOCOLATE!

  • astraya

    BTW, there is a forum about “words that sound rude but aren’t”.

  • Anon

    buc, (125),

    Well you know its not just us. It brought out the worst between you and Randall too, inter alia! Hahaha.

    You’ve got a point there. Just as well Anita didn’t instruct D.C. to put the dog crap in the outside bin and the sausages in the fridge. That’s nearly not funny. During another absence we had a massive multi-day power failure, a heat wave and a side of lamb unfrozen in the freezer. Anita’s family came along for a check, had to fight their way through the flies, nearly went arse over tit on the pool of blood and thought we’d maybe taken up a bit of quiet serial killing as a relaxing hobby (Silence of the lamb?). They went back, got gas masks and cleared it all up, which was pretty noble and way beyond the call of duty.

  • Anon

    My comment is in for mmoderation Don’t tell me, I know.


    Snickers are Anita’s favourite fattening food. I’ve rather wickedly got her a bit confused over the words snickers and knickers. So it makes me laugh: I have to get my cheap laughs somehow.

    Jfr, presumably that old traditional colour description, nigger brown, frequently used for shoe polish, would still classify as innocent. My 1956 vintage dictionary gives a range of descriptions for *the word*, mostly racial, but also quite rightly qualified with “(usu. derog.)” There are a couple of once innocent phrases I would imagine are no longer acceptable and so redundant. I’m particularly smitten though by the “black turnip caterpillar” Ugh!

  • Mortivore

    If you find yourself losing, you can always hit them with a well-placed trout and vanish into a ninja smokescreen. Although I’ve found that mace tends to stop your great escape… XD

  • yo

    homosexuality is a choice maximuz04,

    just like choosing to steal

    you may have the urge to steal, as most have sometime in their life, but acting on it…that is your choice

  • yo

    but i suppose my last comment is for another list, another time

  • ABrutalKind

    I think that someone should inform Bill O Reilly about number 10.

  • kiki

    this will be very a very helpful material when coaching debate. i am also a university debater. But since graduating, i’ve been adjudicating and coaching more often. am a woman, have discovered that a better way to deal with frustration during matches is to seduce adjes. little cleavage will go a long way and hey, if you cant use your goodies, i always say, use your partner’s. ;)

  • foohy

    Just out of curiosity where did I go off topic? I just used what he/she said as an example. Maximus basically said that ‘homosexuality not being a choice’ is a fact. When it is, in fact, an opinion. It’s a fact based on opinion…it’s upside down, really.

  • DiscHuker

    so, if you become proficient at the skills listed above, will you be a “master debater”?

  • JayArr

    Anon(138) I tried eating knickers one time – had a hell of a time getting them out of my braces. Now I just stick to snickers and phosphates. ;-)

  • psychosurfer

    Ok how about this one:
    them: i found the disgusting websites you were looking at.
    me: i was trying to avoid VD.

  • foohy

    maximuz04 (105):
    Yeah haha I guess this list just got me in the arguing mood.

  • bucslim

    Disc – you really destroyed my next post. I was gonna weave that into a reply to kiki. (masterdebater) You are a genius, but now my mortal enemy for stealing my thunder.

    Anon – I can’t tell you how I reacted to your “Silence of the Lamb” comment without moderation. That was damn funny though.

    psychosurfer – you can get out of that question by saying it came up in a pop up. (in more ways than one)

  • Callie

    not a master debater, Disc

    …a cunning linguist.

  • Jake

    when i lose they state a fact but when i win they think they won even though they dont even make sence.Wat can i do to make them now they lost?

  • Mom424

    Foohy; You choose to be attracted to the opposite sex? Sorry dear but who you choose to have sex with isn’t what determines your sexual orientation, it’s who you WANT to have sex with. That is hardwired. Ask the millions of men in the 50’s who because of societal restraints pretended to be straight and just had anonymous homosexual sex at every opportunity. Pretending to be something you aren’t doesn’t change who you really are. You’re mistaken.

  • Anon

    Callie and Disc,

    … or a fella to reckon with?

  • Precision

    Bigski (124) – Sorry if my 111 insulted you…I wasn’t directing it at any particular person, animal, vegetable, or mineral. Just some general observsations with no malice intended :)

    Another tactic that works quite well when in a losing argument…yell “look out behind you” then run off when the person turns around :)

  • Seanithan

    Better yet, don’t argue. It’s usually pointless.

  • Anon

    The recent spate of wordplay brings to mind another good arguing or debating tactic of a marginally ad hom. variety.

    If you call your opponent a dickhead, you are unlikely to gain the sympathy of onlookers unless he (sex asuumed!) has thoroughly convinced them, or you have thoroughly convinced them of the fact. It won’t gain you extra brownie points under any circumstances. But if you use words to unpick some weak point of your opponent, you may well have your audience in stitches and your opponent with your figurative rapier at his throat. The subtle, witty, ad hom put down.

    A politician called Foot or Foote managed to get on the wrong side of a sharp columnist. He therefore found himself written up publicly as *a leg-end in his own time*.

    Churchill was a past master at this tactic (his examples probably belong in quotes topics, if not there already). Heckled by a ardent but tedious gangling adolescent with zits, he held up his hand for silence and intoned something like. “I admire a manly man. I adore a wonanly woman. But one thing I simply cannot stand. A boily boy.”

    An opposition member called Wilfred Paling stood up in the House of Commons and called Churchill, then Prime Minister, “You dirty dog.” Now Winston could probably have called the rules down on him. But he paused for timing and effect, looked around the expectant House over the top of his glasses, and replied in that famous voice, “Yes. And the Honorable Member should bear in mind what dirty dogs do to palings!”

    Churchill is rumoured to have Spoonerised the name of the rigidly uptight, austere Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps, as Sir Stifford Crapps. But I believe that’s unconfirmed. What a wickedly wonderful ad hom. though!

  • Pingback: Top 10 Tips For Winning An Argument « Living in a world of lists()

  • orenj21

    i shall use this for my future wife LOL

  • GTT

    Anon (121)- you seriously cracked me up!!I think I might just have a good day after that…

  • Aoede

    Ad hominem irks me to no end, as does blatant illogicity. Unfortunately, that tends to render me incoherent with indignant outrage, which is no help to anybody. …well, except for my opponent.


    1) There is absolutely nothing wrong with criticizing or suggesting additions or revisions to a list, as long as it’s done in a genuinely polite manner. It’s a free internet, and I don’t think jfrater has objected to polite criticisms.

    2) Lily, your sweeping generalizations based on anecdotal “evidence” serve only to smear our collective reputation.

    3) An opinion is an opinion. Now, opinions can be WRONG. But it’s still an opinion. It is only bad form, debate-wise, to attempt to pass opinion off as fact.

  • Amanda

    These truths should pop up on an internet users screen every time they type in the words “fail” and “moron”.

  • Not getting into an argument in the first place is a guaranteed winner, barring that, keeping your facts straight and truthful, and your voice low, are remarkably effective. Having the truth on your side is a major plus, and keeping your cool, at all costs, really, really annoys your opponent.

  • Anon

    segue, et al.,

    I’ve found that no matter how reasonably one person conducts their case, the only civilized arguments with fair and acceptable conclusions result from exchanges between two (or more) equally civilized and respectful opponents. All the rest almost invariable either end in open rage, humiliation, insoluble disagreement, silent frustration, tears, alienation … or all six! How far will you have to look in LV to find classic examples of each? Hahaha.

    Of course, a lot also depends how seriously the contestants are taking the subject and each other. Just take a look at this basically good-humoured discussion (given that we dig up Lily first) and the customary heavy stuff going on right now in the more recent Worst Invention topic.

  • astraya

    Anon: Very true. I’ll jot down those six so I can respond in future –

    (silent frustration)

    for example!

  • 162. Anon: I’ve found that no matter how reasonably one person conducts their case…
    Hence, my first suggestion! “Not getting into an argument in the first place” lol!

  • Anon

    astraya (and segue),

    Ah, but I forgot (bonus) number seven, the best one of all to end on under those distressing circumstances, which I’m going out on now …

    (enigmatic silence)

  • Walks away in an aura of serene silence, a small smile playing at the corners of my lips.

  • hoperdoper

    the no. 1 was truly no. one nice . great once again. Carry on

  • master

    Great minds. Listverse is awesome since then. Keep it up.

  • Panic

    This list was okay. Okay in a very okay way, though most of this stuff is kind of common sense.

    Why don’t you try speaking with someone who is a homosexual before you go and make yourself look like a complete asshole, eh?

  • dr. Hannibal Lecter

    Hah, what an educational list.

    Although I’m sure it will have little or absolutely no effect on some. Attacking is always the easiest way..

  • Anon

    Having the last word.

    Check out the *last posts* on older LV lists, and you’ll get a good education on that, and will be able to classify them all as follows:

    Harmless, non-controversial topics just tend to splutter out with an odd remark or two when no one else has anything to add, and everyone has moved on.

    Some lists are killed off by an irrelevant, nonsensical or other *end stop* that nobody is interested in following up. That may be final, or a more or less prolonged pause, when someone either comes in with a similar end stop, or revitalises the topic. Other such bored endings result from long filibustering posts that no one can be bothered to read through (your poster pleads guilty as charged on occasions!). Long, tedious personal spats also drive others away, but they will actually end as one of the following.

    The abusive, angry, biased, offensive, aggressive, warped, usually ad hominem last word. However many of those elements it contains, this is almost invariably aimed at one or more fellow LVers, who may have been responding in kind, or have been trying to remain restrained. Occasionally it may be simply a rant against some group or philosophy. Please note how, when not answered, this rapidly loses all its force. The longer it stands, the more irrelevant it appears, and the more vividly it shows up it’s auther for the person he or she is.

    The intelligent, well thought out and argued last word, expressed in restrained language. This may simply say virtually all there is to say on the subject, or may be an unanswerable conclusion (often based on professional knowledge or personal experience). It may relate to the topic or some other point raised during the thread, or may be a call to order. Whatever it is, it will not lose force or validity to any degree with time, and will stand as a dignified ending both for its author and the topic.

    Please bear all this in mind.

  • Anon

    typo – author

  • Ant-LOX

    I used this tactic about 5 months earlier arguing with a drunk friend at work.

    He nearly caused an accident that could have injured me, then reached for headphones that I was wearing.

    I told him to chill out, then he got all defensive and wanted to fight me.

    He called me all kinds of names and I responded with “Well, What do you want me to do now? Should I be effected by your words?”

    This got him angry, :) then I simply stated that I was just trying to work, and you nearly injured me.

    Then he called me some more names, and I remained calm. Then I told him that I could call him 10 names that could get him angrier but that I wouldn’t. Then he got even angrier because I refused to call him a name.

    Then he called me another name while he walked away, because he realized that I wasn’t going to fight him.

  • Number 1 and 2 aere the most important. It’s funny because I have allways used these rules but usely lose lol.

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  • bigski

    Precision-you didn`t hurt my feelings it`s that iv`e been accused of a few of those alphabets you listed.I said it with tongue in cheek. OK Anon you got me perplexed. (What dirty dogs do to palings) Whats that mean ? I love Churchill`s quotes.I think the funniest one was when some lady told him if they were married she would poison his food and he replied if she was his wife he would take the poison on his own.Im sure I didn`t quote him correctly (redneck translation) but you know what I mean.

  • Anon


    I wondered what a paling might mean outside the UK, if anything; and so whether that quote would make sense. Presumably the meaning of paling is the problem (as in, I say pavement, you say sidewalk, etc.)?

    A pale is a pointed length of wood to be used for fencing or as a stake. Palings are the same joined together to form a fence.

    I guess the rest of the joke should *comes naturally* now!

    It was Nancy Astor: “Winston, if I were your wife I would put poinson in your coffee.”

    “Nancy, if I were your hsuband I would drink it.”

    LV has done Churchill quotes, but I’d happily see more (hopefully some I don’t know).

  • Anon: Was it Churchill who said, and again I believe to Mrs. Astor, “Madam, you are ugly!”
    She replied, “You, sir, are drunk!”
    “Yes. But in the morning I shall be sober.”

  • bigski

    Anon-OK now I get it.Churchill was a very quick wit and clever also.I wish someone would make a list of more of his quotes.Thanks for the info.Also I think congress made him a U.S citizen.

  • Anon


    It was actually an ENORMOUS Labour (socialist) North of England MP called Bessie Braddock (wonderful name!), and was the other way around.

    Bessie, during a political meeting, “Winston, you’re drunk!”

    Winston, “You are correct, Bessie. I am indeed drunk. But in the morning I shall be sober. You, however, will still be ugly!”


    Churchill’s mother was a U.S. citizen, as a result of which someone once got a rare winner over him, calling him a mongrel!

    I’ll look into whether there are enough of his best quotes left over from the first LV dip.

    I love these witty put downs and aphorisms. I’ll consider doing one by musical composers and conductors. There are some classical (pun intended) beauts.

  • Anon, yes! I remember it now, and it’s *much* funnier the right way about!
    Thank you.

  • bigski

    Churchill was a honorary U.S citizen in 1963,also he was one of very few foreigners to address a U.S joint session of congress.Someone should make a top 10 list of his accomplishments.

  • Anon


    I’ve just been out for an invited meal and come back with a Churchill history volume on loan!

    Great leader, wit, fine author, fair artist, champion cigar smoker … That only leaves another 5!

  • bigski

    Could smell a rat (figured Hitler out very early). Patriotic (would do ANYTHING to protect the U.K).Compassionate (stopped Dresden bombing even after the Blitz.Could coin a prase (Iron Curtin).Had trouble pronouncing the letter ‘S’. That`s my 5.

  • Anon


    The particular point about the Hitler thing was Churchill’s genius of certainty that he would have to be confronted by force of arms. Plenty of others saw Hitler for what he was, but thought his aims were very limited and of no strategic importance to the UK; or he could be appeased; or bought off; or even be rendered harmless/useful by being made a political ally.

    i think we left out one of his most important talents, although it’s implicit in a couple: a magnificient orator.

    Bonus: loved pigs: perhaps his favourite animals. Related point: his interest in, and knowledge of, animals was such that he almost without doubt provides more quotes based on animals than any other famous person.

    Of Charles de Gaulle, “He looks like a female llama who has just been surprised in her bath.”

    I like this tale:
    Once, when Churchill was visiting Aden, he showed interest in the mounts of the camel corps and asked to try one out. He ended up with a particularly bad-tempered beast. Shortly, a Somali camel-boy reported back to headquarters, “Effendi, effendi, camel kick Churchill; Churchill kick camel. Him very good camel now, effendi.”

  • 184. Anon :…“Effendi, effendi, camel kick Churchill; Churchill kick camel. Him very good camel now, effendi.”
    One of the funniest Churchill stories I’ve ever come across!
    Thanks, Anon.

  • bigski

    Very funny Anon !

  • I sent the Churchill/camel story to my husband and he came to me at lunchtime and asked me, “Who was a good camel now? The camel, or Churchill?”
    Of course he was joshing, but it *was* funny.

  • Anon


    I don’t doubt what Churchill’s reply to that would have been,

    “Some camel! Some hump!”

    In fact, when I read that tale it struck me it could have been a bit of unabridged script straight out of a Carry On film.

  • Sounds about right!

  • Cernunnos

    how to debate really depends on what the debate is about, because you do not always have to be right to win a debate, merely convince the opposition that you are. as long as you cannot be proven wrong later on everything will be fine.

    raising ones voice is rather effective, because, as jamie said, it makes your opponent raise his/her voice, eventually winning you the argument. if you manage to lower your voice after the opponent has become so enraged and frustrated he/she is incapable of doing exactly that; you have good odds to play with.

    when debating on “teh intrawebzz” i find proper grammar and english to be the best weapon. without overdoing it of course, being nitpicky will only hurt your cause and make you look like a smart-ass.

  • Gigi

    My acting teacher is very good at winning verbal debates even if he’s usually wrong!He speaks loud, fast and with very much passion. Anyone who hears him talking with so much passion gets the impression that he must be right(even if he is not)!

  • yc

    my dad allways and I repeat always argues simply for the sake of it. its horrible!!

  • Patrick

    Great list!! I suck at arguing, cause I always say their wrong, I’m smarter, and I raise my voice.

  • Mat

    I love number 1 =]
    XD i sometimes win when i keep arguing after ive been proved wrong… and when i win, i just say something like…. “But yeah your right =]”

  • Shaul Talmeed

    I disagree with the whole list! Want to make something of it? LOL!

    Nah, not really! Actually, it’s a pretty good list! In all truth, I learned this set of tricks, tips and techniques a long time ago when I was in Tech School and oddly enough, they generally tend to work! Don’t believe me? Give them a try the next time you and the spouse disagree! LOL!

  • TequilaSunrise502

    There’s a contradiction in this list.
    Number 3 says to be silent so that your opponent will stumble, giving you new ways to attack them. However, number 8 says DON’T attack. which is it?

  • vivalooga

    all my friends told me that i have a bad problem of not conceding arguments. I know i have this problem but i feel like losing arguments is the end of my masculinity even when i am blatantly lambasted.

  • Davy

    Wow dagum I just apperared on a random list!

  • goi

    good advice. I’d love to debate you on why gender neutral language is useful

  • Casper

    thanks, awesome tips.

    i absolutely hate it when i KNOW i’m right and someones just saying: “no, you’re not!” Sometimes I summarize all the things my ‘opponent’ is saying (wich usually makes no sense). And if my ‘opponent’ says: “Yup, absolutely true!” I explode…

  • Cj

    Wow, I’m so glad I knew these! I hate losing arguments…thanks JFrater… :) I won’t tell my hated people about these so that they will NEVER EVER win an argument against me.

  • Beny HaHa

    i really need this i seem to be getting ino arguments a lot!!

  • joe

    if you're in an argument with a friend

    all you gotta say is "Yeah, well I fucked your sister"

    You could be 100% obviously wrong…

    but don't seriously fuck a friends sister, that is screwed up

  • David Hopkins

    I suggest you add, "Never walk away from your opponent, or ignore, or refuse to hear anything more they have to say," no matter how right you think you are or how strong you think your argument is.
    Basically, don't say, "That's final," or do or say anything that implies that point. If your opponent has something more to say, let them speak.
    Feel free to disagree, but never ever shut your opponent out.

  • yoxx

    nice tips….:)

  • Name

    This is an AMAZING article! I feel relieved. I might possibly be going through a divorce & am repersenting myself. My husband feels i do not deserve an attorney and I have no way to afford one. I want to learn how to negotiate well, maintain peace, be heard and toughest of all, be assertive with what I think is best… Thank you =)

  • The_Bert

    By golly, this is a good list.

  • ameena

    i don’t think every time it works

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  • herpderp

    The problem is that a discussion should be a sharing of knowledge to reach an agreed end (truth), not some game to win. Repeatedly pointing out that you “win” an argument by making someone walk away or not saying anything at all is just ridiculous and does not foster open communication.

  • Brent

    I like this weblog and have saved as a favorite it. I‘ll look to go through in details on my holiday

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  • Alyssa Vasquez

    thanks for the tips on arguing,by the way I won.P.S.this is my dads email address.

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