Vocabulary: onus

Tutoring English, there’s always another word to mention.

About 35 years ago I was in a debating club, where I would sometimes hear the statement,

The onus of persuasion lies with the affirmative side.

What that means is that the side bringing forth their idea needs to prove it. Therefore, the negative side, by default, is in the advantageous position, since if nothing is proven by either side, negative wins.


Mish, Frederick C (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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