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How to Write an Opinion Essay | Outline, Structure, Topics, Examples

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Opinion essays are common in high school and college writing. This type of essay presents an opinion on a subject, so the reader expects you to have something to say. It often comes down to just sharing your thoughts on a topic, but it’s important that you do so in an organized manner.

What is an opinion essay?

An opinion essay is a formal piece of writing that requires your opinion on a particular topic. Therefore, the purpose of an opinion essay is to elicit your opinion on a specific topic of discussion.

You are free to air your views throughout your writing and defend them. State your argument clearly and then back it up by relevant examples and explanations.

Generally, there are two types of opinion essays.

  • A one-sided opinion essay
  • A two-sided opinion essay.

As the name suggests, a one-sided opinion essay can either promote or disregard a particular topic. 

On the other hand, a two-sided opinion essay gives the writer a chance to discuss a topic exhaustively, giving both sides of the coin.

What is the Outline of an Opinion Essay?

When writing an outline for an opinion essay, the standard essay outline applies. You need to have an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. 

The outline is as follows:

Title

When writing your title, consider your opinion on the topic. Then write that statement as the title of your essay. For example, if your subject is Female Genital Mutilation, the title could read, “Female Genital Mutilation Should Be Banned.” 

Introduction 

The intro’s primary goal is to prepare your readers to dip into the essay. It should contain two parts, namely:

  • The catchy phrase/sentence – An Exciting phrase that leaves your reader wanting to read the rest of the essay.
  • The thesis statementForms the part that describes your topic. It gives the reader an in-depth understanding of your subject. As such, they will be able to relate to your arguments.

Apply the following techniques to introduce your essay;

  • Address the reader directly.
  • Start with a quote, a provoking thought, or a rhetorical question.
  • Refer to some striking or unusual facts, ideas or situations.

Body

The body of an opinion essay is organized depending on which type you are writing. 

Write several paragraphs, each presenting a separate point of view supported by reasons.

Start every paragraph with a topic sentence. You will back up each first sentence with arguments. 

Begin a new paragraph only when you want to discuss a new idea. 

How to organize the body of a one sided opinion essay

Since a one-sided opinion essay hosts one prominent feeling on the topic. It is pretty straightforward to organize your thoughts. Here we go:

  • Group your points into paragraphs.
  • Let each paragraph begin with the main point, then give your supporting argument stating relevant examples and explanations.
  • Write a linking statement to the next paragraph.

How to organize the body of a two sided opinion essay

While writing a two-sided opinion essay, you give an account of both the pros and cons of the topic.

There are two ways to organize the body.

  • Alternative paragraphs. Here the paragraphs alternate between pros and cons. That is; paragraph 1 stating Pros and Paragraph 2 stating Cons.
  • Grouped paragraphs – Arrange the paragraphs such that all the supportive points come first while the opposing points come last.

Conclusion

A conclusion is a simple summary of the whole paper. The writer uses their own words to express their agreement or disagreement with the main topic. You can restate the thesis statement

How to Start an Opinion Essay

Starting a college essay is almost always difficult, and opinion essays are no exception. Most people have the most trouble getting started with this type of assignment because they aren’t sure what to say or how to do it properly. In order to help you get started thinking about your opinion essay, here is a list of some suggestions on how to start an opinion essay:

  1. State your opinion on the subject.
  2. Explain how you feel about the topic.
  3. State a personal experience that relates to this topic.
  4. Provide an anecdote related to your experience with this topic.

An example of a good way to start an opinion essay is by giving a clear statement of what position you will take, either for or against. In order to ease readers into your thoughts, it’s advisable not to take too firm a stance from the beginning. It can be effective, however, to do so towards the end of the introduction paragraph. Crafting a solid introductory sentence helps establish confidence in your position. For example:

“In my opinion, there are two types of people in this world: those who think the idea of a ‘supermoon’ is stupid and those who don’t.”

Explaining a personal experience that relates to the topic also gives readers a better sense of where you’re coming from. By sharing an anecdote, you give them insight into your life and thought processes. This makes it much more likely that they will understand what you’re going to say next. Mentioning this event can help strengthen your argument, or offer clarity on what type of person you are. In order to avoid confusion, however, it’s important not to have too many digressions, as these can detract from the main point of your essay. It isn’t necessary to tell every little detail about this experience; just give the most important information in order to explain your point.

Another method of starting an opinion essay is by giving one or two personal examples which you can build upon later on in the essay. By doing so, you not only introduce readers to your position up front, but you also create a foundation for your argument that will strengthen it throughout the rest of the paper.

For example:

“There are two types of people in this world; those who think that waiting until age 25 to get married is still reasonable and those who don’t.”

Personal experience should be balanced with facts and statistics which back up your position about any subject matter. It isn’t necessary to provide all kinds of statistics demonstrating how many people feel the same way as you do. If the numbers prove your point or your opinion is not based on anything at all, then you can leave statistics out of it and just stick to personal examples and anecdotes.

Lastly, if you’re having trouble starting an opinion essay, many people find that brainstorming ideas about the topic helps get their thoughts in order. By thinking critically about a subject before writing your paper, you can ensure that each paragraph contains relevant information which contributes to the development of your thesis.

Having done all this work, if you find yourself truly stuck trying to start an opinion essay, a useful tip is to move onto something else for a while. Set your opinion essay aside and come back after a little while with fresh eyes. It often happens that when you put the task of writing off temporarily, an idea springs forth within your mind all of its own, making it easier for you to write well-crafted opinion essay.

Sentence Starters for an Opinion Essay

Here are some starter sentences for an opinion essay:

  1. In my opinion, …
  2. I believe that …
  3. I don’t think it’s …
  4. From my perspective, …
  5. I think that …
  6. Personally, I believe that …
  7. A lot of people believe that …
  8. I have always felt that …
  9. I never thought that …
  10. It doesn’t make sense to me that…
  11. Most people would agree that …
  12. The majority of people who believe that …
  13. Everyone should be aware that …
  14. Many individuals are unaware that …

For anyone who is unsure how to begin an opinion essay, these sentences above can offer some guideposts. Of course, the best way to write this type of essay is by writing your own first sentence after gathering ideas during prewriting. That first sentence will help you focus your thoughts and narrow down what you want to say about a topic. A good first sentence will set up the rest of your essay.

Opinion essay structure and format

The structure of an opinion essay is a sort of inverted pyramid. The most important opinion point or thesis is at the top, and each successive paragraph explains a little more about the topic. The final paragraph might use an analogy to illustrate your opinion.

An opinion essay should have a standard five-paragraph structure:

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Conclusion

Introduction

The introduction should be short and to the point. It explains what your opinion is about, using a rhetorical question or one of the points from the body paragraphs to help get your idea across. For example:

Many people wonder whether it’s true that all self-proclaimed grammar Nazis are secretly compensating for their own poor language skills…

Or:

Do you know anyone who constantly corrects other people’s grammar? Do you think they’re just being mean, or could there be a deeper reason behind their behavior?

Body Paragraph 1

In this paragraph you need to establish two things: why do some people feel this way about something? What might their motivation/illusion/belief be when it comes to this issue?

Body Paragraph 2

The second paragraph needs to establish what you think about this topic. For example, if the first point is that some people feel self-proclaimed grammar Nazis are compensating for poor language skills, then your opinion might be that it’s not true and you need to explain why. Or if someone says two negatives make a positive, you’d disagree and say there’s no way true.

Begin each paragraph with a transition sentence linking it to the previous paragraphs – something like “However” or “On the other hand” will do nicely.

Conclusion

In the conclusion of an opinion essay you reiterate your belief (you don’t necessarily need to use exactly the same words). You should also try to use an analogy or metaphor to make your opinion memorable.

For example:

Just as a bad apple can ruin the bunch, so too can one person’s ignorance affect those around them.

Opinion essays follow the same basic writing structure as any other type of essay . Your essay should have a introduction, several paragraphs dedicated to explaining your ideas and supporting evidence, and a conclusion summarizing the information given in the main body of the text. Each paragraph should introduce a single idea and be limited to five or six sentences. Try to vary sentence length throughout your opinion essay so it’s easier on the eyes for readers who are reading about your opinion on animal rights, factory farms, or mice in laboratories.

Here is an example:

Example Outline for Opinion Essay:

  1. Introduction: This is often one paragraph beginning with an anecdote, but can also be two paragraphs (one about the topic and one introducing the thesis)
  2. Body Paragraph 1: This is often one supporting example paired with a counter-example to show both sides of the issue.
  3. Body Paragraph 2: This is often one supporting example paired with a counter-example to show both sides of the issue.
  4. Body Paragraph 3: This is often one supporting example paired with a counter-example to show both sides of the issue.
  5. Conclusion: This is often just restating your opinion, but some conclusions are more dynamic than others depending on how you want readers to feel when they finish reading.

How to write an opinion essay in 7 Steps

As defined above, an opinion essay is an essay that expresses the author’s personal point of view on a certain topic. The audience finds it easy to relate to this type of writing because they can agree or disagree with the contents. Also, the opinions are often universal enough so that many people would find them acceptable. However, since most ideas are arguable, you should be able to present points in favor and against your topic in order for your readers to consider your opinion valuable despite their possible disagreement with it.

Step 1: Choose a topic

An opinion essay must have an understandable and relatable topic. You can write about your everyday experiences or observations, for example, “I think that the new subway advertising campaign is effective because of its slogan.” If you are writing an argumentative essay, it is best to choose a controversial subject. For instance, “The death penalty should be abolished even if it has deterrent effects on crime rates.”

Step 2: Formulate your point of view

After choosing your topic, you need to formulate what exactly you will express in your opinion essay. A thesis statement does not have to be long but should clearly state the position on this issue.

For example:

  1. I think that the new subway advertising campaign is effective because of its slogan.
  2. A great slogan can help an advertisement be more effective.
  3. The death penalty should be abolished even if it has deterrent effects on crime rates.
  4. Deterrent effects are less serious than taking a human life, so the death penalty should be outlawed despite these results.

Step 3: Support your claims

Once you have clearly stated your position, you need to provide evidence to back up your opinion in the body of the essay. Do not forget to explain how each example relates to your thesis statement and why it supports this point of view.

Step 4: Give counter arguments

After presenting your arguments, you need to anticipate the possible objections that may arise from readers. Think about why these counter arguments are wrong and what information your essay provides to prove them invalid.

In your opinion essay, you need to present both sides of an argument clearly, just as a judge would do in a debate or conversation. Remember that your readers may disagree with you but you have the duty to provide them with valid information so they can make their own decisions on this matter.

Step 5: Conclusion

To conclude an opinion paper, summarize what points were made throughout the essay and reiterate why it is important for people to consider them when thinking about the issue at hand. You can incorporate some rhetorical questions that will make readers think about your topic even after they finish reading your essay.

Your opinion essay should contain detailed explanations and examples so you can convince your readers of your point of view.

Step 6: Check for spelling and grammar errors

You need to double-check if there are mistakes in your essay before handing it in or publishing it. you can either do it yourself or ask someone to proofread your essay. To check for spelling mistakes, try reading the entire text out loud. If the word sounds wrong when you pronounce it, then this is most likely a spelling mistake. For grammar mistakes, read through your text and look if all sentences are logically connected to each other and make sense in this order of ideas from beginning to end. Most of the time there will be at least one sentence that does not make sense by itself or does not fit in with an earlier idea.

Step 7: Editing and proofreading

Before printing or publishing your essay, you need to double-check if there are mistakes in it. The best way to do this is to read it out loud and notice all the spelling errors. If you notice any grammar mistakes, make sure you revise them before you print your essay. Remember that not everyone can perfectly write an informative essay about politics or philosophy right away, thus making mistakes is part of the process of learning how to write well. Always try finding someone who can proofread your work just so these errors can be corrected before other people read it.

Writing an opinion essays takes some practice but following these steps should help beginner writers get familiar with this kind of writing style. Remember that quality writing is not about how many spelling mistakes you make, but rather on the argumentative structure of your texts. Having a thesis is most important when working on persuasive essays because it helps guide readers through your arguments and give them additional information that can be used to support this opinion. Proofreading is also important because it prevents other people from reading your work with spelling mistakes scattered throughout it.

Opinion Essay Examples

Do you need something for reference? Read the following opinion essay to expand your knowledge.

Opinion essay example 1:Homeschooling Should Be Adopted In Our Education System.

The homeschooling systems have a significant contribution to the mental health of most students. I firmly agree that interactions among students are essential and they should be around other mates. However, the emotional mistreatment that occurs among school-going students may create dysfunctional coexistence, which is not easy to identify. Take an example of the rising cases of bullying in schools. This may be difficult to point out and if not well addressed can result to mental illness on the affected child.

Secondly it is easier to develop functional relationships with your when they are constantly around you. Home schooling serves this purpose as time spent at school is now saved. Therefore, I suppose that home schooling be incorporated in our education system.

Opinion essay example 2: The benefits of Facebook

Below is a sample opinion essay from a student regarding the benefits of Facebook. The essay demonstrates one way to approach an opinion piece, including “when” and “where” you can use your opinion as well as a thesis statement that includes a generalization about the topic.

Mark Zuckerberg was a young man in his twenties when he came up with a simple idea: What if every college student had their own website? This would give them another outlet for expressing themselves after high school. Zuckerberg’s idea went from simple to brilliant when he began building this social network for students. In February 2004, at age nineteen, Mark Zuckerberg launched what is now known as Facebook.

When I think back on my middle school years I can’t help wonder where all those people who were such big parts of my life went. However, today I can see many of them on Facebook. For example, when I was in seventh grade and obsessed with the Jonas Brothers, they were all over my Myspace page (yes, this is how long ago we’re talking about). Now there aren’t any JB fans in sight on my Facebook feed because everyone who follows me now knows that one of my favorite childhood bands has grown up and moved into pop music.

People interact with each other through social media more than ever before. According to a recent Pew Research Report 73% of teenagers report using Facebook, which is where its demographic really lies. Although almost every teenager uses Facebook, people from younger generations want to be a part of this phenomenon too. For example, a study showed that 55% of people who use Facebook are between the ages 18 to 29.

Each time I log into Facebook, I feel like my friends and family have an easier way to keep in touch with me. In fact, many studies have been conducted about how much communication has increased since Facebook began. This is good because it means keeping up with distant relatives or old classmates from school becomes less difficult when everyone is accessible through a computer or mobile device. With Facebook you can share jokes and memories in a matter words instead of sending countless texts or wasting time on the phone.

In conclusion, I think Facebook is one of the greatest inventions in American history because it makes communication easier than ever before.

References

  1. An opinion essay | LearnEnglish – British Council
  2. The Opinions Essay – The Washington Post
  3. Opinion Writing for Kids | Episode 1 | What Is It? – YouTube
  4. How We Redesigned the New York Times Opinion Essay

Opinion essay is a form of formal writing which asks the writer to include their thoughts when it comes to a topic. This is then backed by a logical explanation and examples. If you are still struggling with your opinion essay, take advantage of our skilled writers to help you out.

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