The opinion-writing prompts first appear in the school curriculum in 4th grade (or 5th grade in some areas) as the introduction to a persuasive type of writing. This is not a coincidence. At this age, children start putting a special value on their opinions. Preteens want to be heard and their point of view to be respected – and this need stays with us throughout our lives.
At college, you will be asked to write your own opinion in an essay or make a PowerPoint presentation for debates more than once. Even the IELTS exam puts a strong emphasis on the opinion-writing component, as a crucial skill that language speakers need to acquire. This can make you wonder why everybody is so interested in your opinions on animal rights or the legal drinking age.
Of course, your opinions as such are valid. However, the main purpose behind this slew of assignments is to prepare you for a life in a democracy, where citizens need to express their opinions coherently, but also back them up with evidence and be aware and respectful of the opposing side’s point of view. Writing opinion essay is a great training ground for that.
In this post, we’ll show how to write opinion essay fast and easy, even if you never have done this before. However, if you need an essay ready ASAP, we can help you out!
What Is an Opinion Essay?
First, let’s find out how opinion essay is different from other types of essays. An opinion essay is a piece of academic writing where you express your take on a controversial topic and explain your reasons for holding this opinion.
It is different from a persuasive essay because you don’t try to prove your opinion to be the only right one. Instead, you just explain why you think so and leave it up to your audience to make conclusions. As a rule, opinion essays rely more on factual evidence and less on emotional impact than persuasive essays.
Opinion pieces can be very short (a letter to the editor) or long-form (a research paper). For the purpose of this exercise, let’s look into how to write a 5-paragraph opinion essay.
Tips for Writing an Opinion Essay
A classic essay structure suits opinion essays just right. Here is how a 5-paragraph outline should look
First paragraph: the introduction.
The whole point is to express your opinion – that is your thesis. Make your position clear right from the start. Then make a short overview of your essay, listing three main reasons why you believe this to be true.
Second, third, and fourth paragraphs: the body.
Here you develop and explain your reasons in detail. Every paragraph should contain only one main idea that supports your opinion. Three main reasons – three paragraphs.
Fifth paragraph: the conclusion.
Here you return again to your main point to explain and reinforce it in the light of the evidence you have just provided.
Here are some tips for writing an opinion essay:
Do not skip the research
Research is one of the crucial steps for writing every essay. You might think you don’t need to look for evidence – “It’s my opinion essay, I know why I think that!” However, to write an essay, you must know your subject inside out. Your opinion should be informed and you must be aware of all opposing claims to understand where the other side is coming from.
Moreover, some essay prompts require you to express your opinion on topics you haven’t pondered over previously, so you might need some time and additional information to form an opinion.
Build upon previous arguments
Controversial topics are usually widely disputed, so there is a chance many people have already expressed their opinions similar or opposing to yours. In your essay, make an effort to sum up, acknowledge previous debates, and build upon them.
- How is your point of view different from those already expressed?
- Do you have any new reasons that make this opinion more valid?
- Have anything change since the time this topic was last discussed? Why or why not? Do you think it’s good or bad?
When opinion writing is first introduced in school, they teach you to use “opinion words”, such as “I think that”, “I believe”, “I’m convinced”, etc. However, if you want to make your writing really impactful, you should learn how to write an opinion essay without using “I”.
Yes, this essay’s entire point is to convey what you think, but the focus should be not on you, but on the issue that is important to your audience. You can sound more objective by presenting an issue as a problem and your opinion as a proposed solution to this problem. This way you have higher chances of interesting your audience and winning their sympathies.
You can use anecdotes to illustrate your point and humanize abstract arguments; however, do not try to substitute evidence with them. Back up your opinions with facts and numbers – and only then use anecdotes to provide a human aspect.
Use positive tone
Of course, sometimes explaining your point means that you oppose it to someone else’s. However, you don’t want to sound aggressive and resentful. Your task is to state your position and the reasoning behind it. Do it with carefully chosen words and positive assertions.
Respect the other side and don’t bring them down. You may, of course, address some of the opposing arguments and refute them, but keep a neutral tone. Remember, your goal is to explain your position – not to tear down your opponents.
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