An opinion essay is a common assignment geared to develop a learner’s persuasive skills. These types of essays call for critical thinking to influence a reader’s perspective on a topic and to dispel various counterarguments. 

Unfortunately, opinionated essays are a far cry from regular academic essays as they require you to express your thoughts and inclinations on a controversial matter. Read on for tips on writing opinion essays and a guide on the structure of opinion essay.

What is an opinion essay?

An opinion essay is a paper geared towards presenting your perspective on a subject. This paper requires you to argue your stance and provide logical arguments and credible support for various claims in your paper.

Opinion essays may also analyse the flaws in opposing arguments to highlight alternative opinions regarding a subject matter. For this, in-depth research and meticulous writing are required to clearly communicate opinions within your essay.

Structure of opinion essay

It is vital to familiarize yourself with the opinion essay outline before tackling other aspects of opinionated papers. The opinion essay follows the standard 5-paragraph essay format. 

This format comprises an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. However, you can adjust your essay length depending on the complexity of the issue and your tutor’s guidelines.

The introduction

This section comprises the hook, a thesis statement, and background information regarding your topic. The hook should bring focus to your topic and highlight relevant considerations that provoked your thoughts toward various ideas.

Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction and highlight your stance on a topic. This prepares your reader for the expected arguments, setting a base for your body paragraphs.

The body

The essay body carries all the arguments you make to develop a logical argument for various opinions on your topic. The body should express your opinions and the relevant facts to convince your reader that your opinions are founded on logical evidence and are thus better than existing counterarguments. 

The conclusion

The conclusion highlights your key assumptions and the pieces of information that provoked this opinion. The conclusion should not cover any new information. Instead, it should echo the key sentiments of your essay to leave a lasting impression on a reader. 

How to state your opinion in an essay

It is crucial to use transition phrases to help a reader differentiate your opinions from facts. These transitional statements also help to bring about flow in your paper and interlink various arguments in your essay.

Some of the commonly used transitional phrases include:

  • In my opinion
  • I believe that
  • Although (an opposing argument) I believe that (express your opinion)
  • It’s believed that
  • Although
  • This suggests that
  • To conclude my statement

We recommend that you peruse some opinion essay samples to familiarize yourself with more phrases, widening your capacity to relate various ideas within your paper. 

Tips for writing an opinion essay

  1. Conduct extensive research before you start writing your essay. This research will shape your opinions and offer you a good grasp of the existing knowledge, helping to show a good understanding of your topic. 

As you conduct your research, take stock of the opposing arguments and critique their weakness within your essay. This approach will show a good grasp of your topic, in turn, convincing your reader of the correctness of your opinions.

  1. Use transition phrasesto relate your arguments to the existing knowledge and also to link your ideas, ensuring flow within your arguments. 
  2. Organize your thoughts in a logical orderto allow your reader to follow your essay without confusion. For instance, employ a cause-effect approach in analysing your topic to guide your reader on your rationale. 
  3. Develop an outlineto gauge the flow and completeness of arguments within your essay. The outline also helps you to avoid veering off topic in pursuit of emotive arguments that could weaken your essay.
  4. Declutter your arguments. Ideally, express your ideas in a precise manner that avoids ambiguity. Also, use simple language that a reader can easily understand to avoid miscommunication and obscuration of ideas.
  5. Start with a relevant hook. When starting your essay, open with a statement that shows the relevance of your analysis and also highlights the controversial aspects of your topic. For this, you may evoke questions or set a stage that provokes questions regarding the opinions you intend to divulge. 
  6. Use a neutral tone. When writing an opinion essay, avoid passionate arguments and sarcastic jabs that might demean opposing arguments. These items may weaken your argument and show unprofessionalism, compromising the overall quality of your essay. 

How to start an opinionated essay

The introduction for opinion essays is crucial in setting the stage for various claims within your paper. This section should bring a reader's focus to your arguments and evoke their curiosity on a controversial subject matter. 

Some approaches for starting your opinion essay include:

  1. Rhetorical questions

These are open-ended questions that evoke thought regarding the pertinent issues within your essay. You can use a string of questions to highlight the key points of your discussion, setting the ground for various claims. 

  1. Facts and statistics

Facts are a great way to highlight the severity of a problem you intend to analyse within your essay. When using facts, be keen to provide relevant references. 

  1. Narration

You may also consider introducing a story to paint a scenario that highlights the weaknesses of various counterarguments and to introduce your opinions regarding a topic.