Writing an opinion essays starts with thinking. In order to formulate your opinion on the matter, you need to study different sources, look at the issue from each side, and eventually determine what’s your opinion and how you’re going to defend it. Then comes the stage of choosing the structure for your opinion essay, and most students and teachers agree that a traditional five-part essay structure works best for this purpose. The rest of your work on the opinion essay should consist of three stages: pre-writing, writing, and proofreading.
The pre-writing stage of the opinion essay writing process sets the tone for the rest of your work. At this stage you need to find compelling arguments that support your opinion on the subject stated in the topic of your essay. The evidence you find in the form of various sources should support your point of view. A good idea for making this stage of the writing process as effective as possible is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want my audience to know about the matter?
- What is the question I need to answer in my essay?
- What are the most important points my essay needs to convey?
- Are there any inconsistent or contradictory points in my arguments?
- Can I do anything to improve my arguments?
While you’re doing the pre-writing stage of working on your essay, make sure to still write down your ideas. Once you’re ready to move to writing, you can simply arrange these ideas in the order you want them to be featured in your essay – they will serve as a backbone of your work.
A typical opinion essay has three parts: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Think of the introduction part of your opinion essay as a way to get the reader, who doesn’t know anything about the matter. To do this, you need to present the subject behind the essay and clearly state your opinion on the matter. Your essay introduction should also include a thesis statement, and it should be clearly visible for every reader. There are some techniques you can use to make your introduction more compelling to the reader, for example:
- Include a quotation from a reputable source;
- Ask a rhetorical question;
- Address your audience directly.
The body of your essay is used to further expand on the thesis statement from your introduction by listing and describing your arguments. Typically, opinion essays has three arguments, and the number of paragraphs should match the number of arguments. When your paragraph is running too long, you may think it’s time to start a new one, but it’s actually a common mistake – you should only start a new paragraph when you’re ready to move on to a new argument. In this part, your logic and persuasive abilities are as important as proper writing. When working on your opinion essay, keep an eye on the following aspects:
- Linking words demonstrate your logical flow of thoughts and your ability to seamlessly link two different ideas within one body of text.
- The vocabulary you’re using in your writing needs to be very formal: an opinion essay is no place for idioms, colloquial language, and phrasal verbs.
- The punctuation in your opinion essay also needs to be formal: it’s better to avoid using contractions, exclamation marks, and parentheses.
- With just a few exceptions, the only tense you should be using in your writing is present tense.
- All sources you mention in your opinion essay should be properly cited according to the formatting style you’re using.
The conclusion of an opinion essay is usually one paragraph long. Use this part of your work to restate your opinion and briefly summarize your arguments and how they support the thesis statement. This section of the essay shouldn’t contain any new ideas, but you can offer the readers some food for thought: for example, by asking a question or throwing in a controversial sentence that will serve as the base for further discussion.
When you’re done writing and feel like there is nothing you can add to your work, it’s time to proofread your opinion essay. Pay attention to three aspects of the writing:
- Grammar – the tense used in your essay should be the same throughout the whole work.
- Spelling – make sure all words in your essay are spelled and capitalized correctly.
- Vocabulary – check your text to see if it doesn’t contain any slang or other inappropriate language and if proper linking words and phrases are used.
Only when you’ve proofread your work and believe it’s an excellent piece of writing, you can expect your opinion essay to get the highest of the possible grade.