One of the most common types of writing assignments is an opinion essay. In this case, your teachers will be testing your ability to articulate your views on a particular topic. You’ll need to back your opinion up with specific examples.
At first, this can seem like a challenging task. But, as long as you follow a specific outline, it will be easier than it appears. Keep reading to learn more about the right way to approach an opinion essay.
Start By Doing Research
Before you start writing, there are a few things that you need to do. You should begin by examining the question. Make sure that you understand what the marker is asking you. Then, you can begin to formulate your position.
This is often an area that many people will struggle with. In an opinion essay, you can’t say that you don’t know. If you don’t have a strong view on a topic, you can do some research. Use this information to help you form your thoughts. Alternatively, you can talk about the issue with friends and family. They will often be able to provide some insights that you might not have considered.
Once you know what you will be arguing, you can start to do some research. There are a few things that you should be looking for. First, it’s important to try and find empirical sources. These are indisputable facts and figures.
It’s also important to look at where you are sourcing your information from. Try to pick reputable sites, rather than places like Wikipedia. You also want to try and stick to objective information sources. Steer clear of anything biased, markers will often frown on these places.
You’ll also need to look at some facts that don’t back up your point of view. This can help point out some potential flaws in your argument. While you don’t need to address these cons, it’s a good idea to know what those with an opposing point of view think.
Structure Your Essay
Once you have done some research, you can focus on structuring your essay. In most cases, you will need to stick to the five-paragraph structure. This will look like this;
- Body paragraph 1
- Body paragraph 2
- Body paragraph 3
There are a few things that help set this type of essay apart. For example, you will be able to refer to yourself. Use statements like “I think”, “My beliefs are”, and “I believe”. You will also be able to address the reader directly.
Once you have constructed a good outline, you can move on to the next step. This is where you will start writing your essay.
Write Your Thesis and Introduction
The first thing to write is your thesis. This is the point you want to prove. Everything in the essay will need to back up this statement. To create a good thesis, there are a few elements that you need to include;
- Make sure that addresses the topic the marker assigned.
- Your thesis needs to be a statement that you can argue, rather than a statement of fact.
- It should be contentious, rather than something self-evident.
- Take a clear position. This sentence should make it clear what you will be arguing.
Once you have your thesis, you can begin to structure your introduction. This will only need to be a few sentences. The purpose of this paragraph is to establish the topic of your essay and present some of your main points. The first sentence of your introduction paragraph is the hook, getting your readers excited to learn more information. This can be done by asking a question. Alternatively, you can paraphrase the question.
You’ll then want to introduce your main points. At this point, you don’t want to argue them. You just want to get the reader familiar with what you are going to say. One or two sentences is all that’s required at this point.
At the end of your introduction, you will need to put your thesis statement. Remember, this tells the reader what your opinion is.
Construct Your Body Paragraphs
Once you have the introduction, you can move on to writing the body paragraphs. Often, you will need between two to four of these. They will each have the same structure, which is;
- Topic sentence: This introduces what the paragraph will be about
- This gives the reader more information about the topic.
- Provide Evidence: You need to give at least two factual examples that back up the topic sentence. Remember to make sure that these are coming from a credible source.
- Link: This is a sentence that concludes the discussion and links to the next body paragraph.
The bulk of your marks will come from the body paragraphs. Because of this, you want to make sure that you have the marking criteria in front of you. This tells you what they will be looking for, allowing you to make sure that you are fulfilling your obligations.
It’s also important to remember that this is not a pros and cons essay. While you can acknowledge other points of view, keep the focus on information that backs up your thesis.
When writing, you need to be concise. Make sure that you aren’t repeating yourself. Furthermore, you need to make sure that your ideas flow logically. Check that the evidence you are providing is directly related to the main topic that you are discussing.
Write The Conclusion
This is the last paragraph in your essay. Again, there is a set structure that you want to follow when you are doing this. First, it’s important to restate the thesis. Then, you will need to provide some extra comments. This is intended to wrap up your thoughts on the topic. Make sure that you aren’t presenting any new information in the conclusion, you won’t have time to back it up with facts.
Finally, you’ll need to end with an appeal to look at the bigger picture. This refers to the way that the topic relates to society at large.
Edit For Mistakes
By now, you should have created the first draft of an opinion essay. The only thing left to do is edit it. It’s best to do this in stages. The first thing you want to do is read through the essay with a critical eye. As you’re doing this, look at the way that it flows. Does each point make sense? Are you presenting strong evidence?
It’s also a good idea to get a friend or family member to read it for you. They will often be able to pick up mistakes that you missed.
Now, it’s time to move on to the nitty-gritty. This is more than just looking for spelling and grammar issues. It’s also a chance to make sure that your essay stands out by eliminating some common mistakes. Some of the things to keep an eye out for include;
- You should be using present tense
- Because you are presenting a personal opinion you will be writing in the first person
- Make sure that you aren’t using any jargon. If you need to address technical points make sure that they are explained to the reader first.
- Avoid colloquial expressions
- Don’t use slang words
- Try to use formal language
- Check that all your sources have been cited properly.
- It’s allowed to refer to the reader directly but you can use the phrase “you”
Writing an opinion essay doesn’t need to be a daunting experience. It’s a chance to work on boosting your critical thinking skills and learn how to express your views. As long as you follow a simple formula, it will be easy to write an opinion essay.