If you’re aiming for a high score on your next essay, you’ll need to be able to put forth your own opinion confidently and effectively. The teachers want to know what you think. They’d like to see that you’ve internalized the material and can express your opinion in a balanced, authoritative way.
But sometimes students get stuck on how to express their opinion in an essay. Is it necessary to start an opinion essay, like any other type of paper, with an outline? Should you start with an introduction? What about supporting statements? What font should you use?
According to Max Malak, an expert in writing articles at Studybay, before delving into specifics, make sure you understand the big picture of how to express your opinion in an essay.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll develop an essay that impresses the teacher.
Understand the task
Sometimes the teacher will provide instructions directly. Sometimes they’ll provide specific questions to answer. Sometimes they won’t give you anything except the text to read. In any of these cases, take a moment to understand exactly what the teacher expects from you.
- If the assignment is to answer a set of questions, jot them down. Consider these as a guide for what information to look for and where to focus your attention.
- If you have a question to answer in your assignment, make sure to write it down.
- If the assignment is to write your own opinion, consider this your paramount goal. Teachers don’t want students to just repeat the author’s ideas verbatim. They want students to demonstrate that they fully understand the text and that they can apply that understanding to other situations and problems.
So, once you understand the task, stop worrying about summarizing the article and start formulating your own opinion.
Question vs Opinion: Which one is your essay going to be?
Question essays ask “wh” questions, such as “What was the most significant aspect of…?”, “Why did…?”, and “What effect did…?”.
Opinion essays express your own conviction based on the information in the text.
Once you understand the task and the type of essay you need to write, it’s time to start looking for answers.
Look for answers
An essay can only score well if you focus on providing answers to the teacher’s questions. If the assignment is to answer a set of wh questions, scan the text for answers. Look for sentences that provide information related to the questions and jot them down.
Boil your essay down to a series of answers to the questions posed in the text. Remember, an essay that can score well will demonstrate that you understand the text and can provide evidence for your assertions. So just let your eyes glide along with the text and jot down answers to the questions.
Fount vs Opinion: Which one is your essay going to be?
An essay can take one of two forms when it comes to expressing an opinion: a fount essay or a trend essay. Both can score well, but the form you choose will depend on how the text is written.
- A fount essay is an analytical essay that focuses on a single example. If you select this type of essay, you will need to write about how a person, place, thing, or event has influenced the author.
- A trend essay analyzes a series of data points that exhibit a common pattern. If you select this type of essay, you will write about how something has changed or developed over time.
Now that you know which format the text is written in, choose which type of essay you’ll write. This will dictate the structure of your text, and therefore, how you’ll present your opinion. Remember that an argumentative essay tries to persuade the reader, whilst an opinion essay simply presents the author’s own thoughts.
Formulate structure of your essay
Once you’ve chosen whether you’ll write a fount or trend essay, it’s time to structure your opinion essay. This can be a little tricky because the text may be written in a way that draws your attention to certain parts more than others. However, the text usually gives clues as to where you should start and end your essay.
Every essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction introduces the topic and states the author’s opinion. The body contains the supporting information that explains why the author holds that opinion. The conclusion reiterates the author’s opinion and provides a sense of closure for the reader.
When deciding where to begin and end your essay, consider the overall tone of the text. Was it written to convince readers of a new idea? Or was it to revise and reinforce knowledge of an existing idea? The tone will help you to identify the key parts of the essay. If the text is written to convince, then the body of the essay should provide evidence to support the author’s argument. If the text is written to revise and reinforce, then the introduction and body should provide examples to illustrate the author’s points.
Enter into the text
Now it’s time to start writing! Consider creating a diagram or pyramid shape that outlines the major points you’d like to make in your essay. You can even write down some introductory words or phrases for each point in your diagram. This will help you to organize your thoughts and create a coherent essay that supports your opinion.
Also, consider how much space you have beneath each heading in your essay. Sometimes there may be several paragraphs or just one. This will help you to identify how much space you have to write your body paragraphs.
Write a concise introduction
The introduction serves as an invitation for readers to explore the author’s opinion and the supporting details that back it up.
The first sentence of the introduction should engage the reader. You can do this by providing a surprising statement, question, or example. After the opening statement, continue with a few sentences that explain why you agree or disagree with the text. End the introduction by reiterating your opinion.
Keep in mind that your first sentence and closing sentence should mirror each other in tone, style, and content.
Write Body paragraphs
A body paragraph describes and provides supporting evidence for an idea, argument, or explanation. Each body paragraph belongs to one of four types:
- Name/define the term and provide an example
- Explain the concept or how something works
- Provide evidence to support your idea
- Explain why something is true or false
After writing four to five body paragraphs, you’ll have completed half of your essay.
Rewrite and refine your paragraphs
At this stage in the process, it’s important to do heavy rewriting and editing. Check for grammar, spelling, and typos. Focus on making your paragraphs interesting, but most importantly, focused on the topic at hand.
Once you’re satisfied with the content and style of your paragraphs, it’s time to combine them into an essay.
Combine your body paragraphs into an essay
The way you combine your body paragraphs into an essay depends on the type of paper you’re writing.
- If you’re writing a reverse outline or an outside-in essay, combine your paragraphs from strongest to weakest.
- If you’re writing an inside-out essay, combine your paragraphs in numerical order.
- If you’re writing a regular outline essay, however, there’s no set rule for which paragraph goes first. It all depends on how you want to organize your ideas.
Add a concluding paragraph
This final paragraph allows you to state the importance of your topic. It also allows you to restate your argument and suggest ways in which the topic can be further explored or discussed.
In conclusion, putting your opinion in an essay can be very helpful in getting a high score. However, it is important to do so in a way that is respectful and constructive. Make sure to back up your opinion with facts and evidence and be open to hearing other points of view. By doing so, you will show that you are intelligent and thoughtful, and will be more likely to get a high score on your essay.
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