Most students have heard from teachers that they should include their opinion in essays and research papers. For the most part, this is sound advice except if you’re being asked to write one type of essay – the opinion essay. The opinion essay is the only one where the writer can state their feelings on a topic.
There may be a time when you are asked, or decide to, write an essay based on your opinion about controversial topics. There are a number of different forms that an opinion essay can take, but regardless of the form of the essay, the basic form of the essay is the same.
Opinion essays are like any other essay. Opinion essays should include an introduction, the main body consisting of three paragraphs, and a conclusion. But unlike other essays you may right, your opinion is what matters here. This makes it doubly important that you choose a topic that you find interesting and that you are passionate about.
The basic essay structure will work well for opinion essays. but be ready to determine which of your opinions are strong enough to support with further evidence and which are too weak to support.
Below, you will find some tips to craft a persuasive opinion essay.
Choose the Right Topic
Writing a good essay of any kind begins with choosing the right topic. A good topic is one that you are passionate about and interested in, and one that you can find enough evidence to support that you can keep the reader engaged as they read your essay.
Be mindful about choosing a topic that isn’t really exciting to you. Readers can sense when a writer is not particularly passionate about a topic and will likely not enjoy reading your essay.
Don’t Be Too Argumentative
When you are writing your essay, it may be easy to come across as argumentative and sarcastic. It’s important to make sure that your choice of words don’t diminish the professional tone of your essay.
The reader is already under the impression that you support or do not support the topic that you will present in your thesis statement. Sarcastic and antagonistic statements only serve to make the reader focus more on how the sentence is written rather than what the evidence is trying to say.
Collect Evidence to Support Your Opinion
Before sitting down to start writing your essay, gather the information that supports your argument on the opinion you’ve chosen to write about. Make sure this evidence is solid and from reputable sources. You should also be able to use this information to defend your opinion. This evidence can range from observations to statistics, but they should all demonstrate that you understand your stance.
Remember that this is a persuasive essay and the evidence that you pull together should be able to sway someone’s opinion to match your own or challenge their opinion on your topic.
Organize Your Essay
Once you’ve gathered all of your evidence, begin planning your essay. Get rid of any trivial points and pair ideas that support one another. Look at your ideas and organize them so you can easily connect them in your composition. Decide where the ideas should fall in your essay, whether that be at the beginning, in the body of the essay, or in the conclusion.
Support Your Position with Evidence
Remember to use concrete evidence to support your position. Avoid emotional language or language that can be misconstrued as an accusation. Stick to factual information to use as supporting evidence.
When developing your arguments, start by researching the opposing arguments. This helps you find any gaps in your own argument that you may need additional evidence for.
Find Similar Opinions
Chances are the topic you’ve chosen has been discussed. The more controversial the topic is, the more likely this is to be true. Search for similar opinions to yours that people in the past have shared and see if you agree or disagree with their points. Compare your viewpoints to those and find where they agree and disagree.
Importantly, if something about the argument has changed since then and now, you may need to mention that as part of your opinion to properly present the topic.
Starting Your Essay
Beginning an essay is a bit of a challenge. It goes without saying that your first paragraph should introduce the topic, but how do you go about doing that?
This is an important question to answer because your first paragraph serves as the hook to bring the reader into the essay and convince them to keep reading. Focus on starting strong to keep the reader hooked and convince them to listen to your opinion.
Craft Your Thesis statement in the introduction of your essay, you need to state your opinion. Here you need to present your topic and clearly state whether you agree or disagree with the topic. The introduction gives the reader a glimpse into the topic of the essay. It’s important to write an introductory paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention and gives them a reason to continue reading.
Ensure you have a thesis statement at the end of the introduction. A thesis statement summarizes the main point of your essay and guides the reader as they continue on through your composition. The reader should be able to look at your thesis statement and know where you stand on the topic. Transition to the body once you’ve gotten your introduction and thesis down, it is time to transition to the body of your essay. The body paragraphs are where you are going to lay out your arguments and your evidence for your opinion.
A transition statement could be helpful to show the information that your viewpoint contributes to the topic to show that previous incomplete arguments or flawed logic.
Using a transition statement will also allow you to move from the introduction of your essay to the body paragraphs fluidly.
The Body of Your Essay
Now, it is time to support your argument. The body paragraphs should each present a separate point of view supported by evidence, which you collected prior to beginning to write. The body, or “meat of the essay,” is typically the easiest part of the easy to write as you’ve already given yourself a roadmap for how your ideas should flow based on your research.
State all your ideas and reasons in a convincing manner and that you provide evidence to support your thesis statement. The main pieces of evidence will allow the reader to follow your reasoning and, hopefully, persuade them. Each body paragraph should present a different piece of evidence and should begin with a topic sentence. The sentences which follow should provide supporting evidence to further that argument.
Remember that you should only start a new paragraph if you are ready to present a new topic or piece of evidence. Do not start a new paragraph because you feel that the one you are writing is beginning to get too long.
As you are writing, Pay attention to the tense you are writing in. Normally, opinion essays are written in the present tense. You should also make use of linking words. These words allow the reader to follow your train of thought and links sentences and paragraphs together in a coherent manner. Finally, use formal vocabulary and punctuation and remember to cite sources were necessary.
Writing the Conclusion
Once you’ve written your introduction and your body paragraphs, it’s time to pull the entire essay together. In the conclusion paragraph, restate your opinion in different words. However, avoid introducing new ideas or backing down from your viewpoint.
If you’d like to make your conclusion more engaging for the reader, try incorporating a warning or suggesting consequences to the reader. Another great opinion is to end with a provocative question that the reader can take away to think about.
After You’ve Written Your Essay
Now that you’ve completed your essay, it’s time to take another look at it for editing purposes and to fine-tune your essay.
Check your grammar and ensure that you remained in the same tense throughout your essay. Take another look at your vocabulary for whether you’ve used linked words and formal vocabulary. Finally, check your spelling.It may be helpful to have someone else take a look at your essay as they will be able to present a different viewpoint and help you find any gaps in your reasoning that you may need to strengthen.
As you edit, check that you have not presented your ideas in a list.
Using these tips, your opinion essay will be a piece of writing worthy of swaying opinions. If you are still having trouble crafting your opinion essay, Rapid Essay may be able to help.
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