The First Negative Constructive (1NC)

The second speech in the debate is the First Negative Constructive (1NC).

This is an eight minute speech delivered by the first negative speaker.

The speech is more difficult than the 1AC, as it cannot be entirely prepared in advance, but it is not that difficult.

In order to give an effective 1NC at your first tournament, it is important that you prepare some generic, off-case positions in advance that will likely apply to most cases that you debate. This way you will have something prepared no matter what the other team argues.

Types of off-case positions include topicality, disadvantages, counterplans, and kritiks.

What specific types of off-case positions you have for your first tournament will depend on what is best for your area (rules/expectations), what your coach thinks is best, and what your varsity debaters are prepared to teach you.  And since it is your first tournament, you need to strike a balance between having a diversity of arguments and being prepared to debate the arguments you have.

At a minimum, I would suggest being prepared with at least one generic disadvantage, such as federalism. Most (but not all) cases will call for the federal government regulate water and federal regulations in the environmental area arguably undermine state authority.

Disadvantages are the easiest of the off-case arguments for new students to understand, so I suggest starting with those.

I also suggest including a topicality argument, even a basic one.”  If you make a topicality argument in a debate and the other team drops it (and you point out that they dropped it), you will win the debate. So, sometimes it is good to make topicality arguments even if those arguments are a bit weak, because they are all or nothing for the affirmative team.

Beyond a disadvantage and topicality, I suggest consulting your coach and varsity debaters as to whether or not you should start your first tournament(s) with a counterplan and/or kritik. As you can see from those first essays, those arguments are more complicated. If you do add a counterplan, I suggest the states counterplan. If you add a kritik, I suggest the capitalism kritik.

After you present your off-case arguments (which will probably take at least four minutes of your speech), you should move on to tackling your opponents’ case.

The easiest way to do this at your first tournament is have a set of arguments against common advantages (water pollution, economy) and some solvency arguments against popular cases (lead regulations fail, reducing agriculture subsidies doesn’t help).  For now, keep these arguments to a minimum, as you have a lot to do before your first tournament.

The 1NC is harder than the 1NC, because you cannot entirely write it out in advance. That said, there is a lot you can do in advance to prepare what will likely go in your speech.

So, to outline, a 1NC at your first tournament would be something like:

Topicality argument (1 minute)
Disadvantage 1 (2 minutes)
Disadvantage 2 (2 minutes)
Attack case advantages (2 minutes)
Attack solvency (1 minute)

After you gain some experience, a 1NC will look like

Topicality argument (30 seconds)
Disadvantage 1 (90 seconds)
Disadvantage 2 (90 seconds)
Counterplan (30 seconds)
Kritik (90 seconds)
Attack case advantages (2 minutes)
Attack solvency (30 seconds)