One essential skill for writers of any age is learning how to write an opinion essay that shows you know how to back up your opinions with evidence. Whether you’re in 5th grade, middle school, or high school, being able to write a well-organized opinion essay will help you score a great grade and get your point across about important topics.
The first step in writing an opinion essay is to choose a topic you really care about. Pick a topic about which you naturally have an opinion. It should also be something you can research easily.
If you can’t think of an idea right away, try one of these great opinion essay topics:
- Is it morally wrong to use animals for medical testing?
- Is distance education better or worse than regular school?
- Should public schools be open all year round?
- Is it better to be a vegetarian than it is to eat meat?
- Should people have to pay to go to the doctor?
- What kind of animal makes the best pet?
- Should parents be responsible for the consequences of their kids’ behavior?
- What factors cause too much stress for students?
- Who is the best musical performer or band?
- Does homework help kids learn?
Once you have a great topic, you can write your opinion as a sentence. This sentence will become the thesis statement for your opinionated paper. Your thesis statement is the main idea of your essay. In an opinion paper, this statement will be your view on the topic.
There are certain opinion essay phrases you can use to make writing this statement easier. Try starting with one of these:
- “I believe….”
- “I think….”
- “The best….”
- “The worst….”
- “My favorite….”
- “In my opinion….”
You know what your opinion is, and now it’s time to support it. Saying what you think is important, but the point of an opinion essay is to show that you know how to give supporting details to make your opinion more convincing.
For example, imagine your opinion or thesis statement is, “I believe it is better to be a vegetarian than a person who eats meat.” You might choose supporting details like these:
- Eating meat is bad for the planet because it creates more greenhouse gases to feed animals than it does to simply eat plants.
- Eating meat is inhumane because it requires that animals be raised and killed for their meat.
- Eating a vegetarian diet fulfills all the nutritional needs people have.
After you have some supporting details, you may need to find some evidence to support them. Look for journal articles and other good sources to show that your supporting details are true.
Now that you know the main idea for your opinion essay, you can write an outline. An outline is a plan for what your essay will include. You can make it very detailed or keep it simple, but either way, there are a lot of reasons an outline makes your essay better. It helps you stay on topic and makes it easier for the reader to follow your thinking. It also helps you put your ideas in order.
Here’s a basic sample opinion essay outline for you to use:
- Introduction: Get the reader’s attention and state your opinion.
- Body: In about three paragraphs, give the supporting details for your opinion and the evidence you have found to back them up.
- Conclusion: Summarize your opinion.
Your introduction is one of the most important parts of your essay. It needs to capture your reader’s attention right away using a hook. Here are some ideas to help you write a hook for an opinion essay:
- Give a surprising statistic that matches your opinion. For example, you might start an essay about being a vegetarian with the fact that there are 375 million vegetarians worldwide.
- Ask the reader a question that leads into your opinion. For instance, if you’re writing about being a vegetarian, you might ask the reader about the last time he or she ate a meal that was entirely plant-based.
- Tell an anecdote that relates to your opinion. For example, in an essay about vegetarianism, you might share about a time you visited a farm and interacted with the animals.
Your introduction should start with the hook, but it also needs to include your thesis statement. You can write it word-for-word or paraphrase it to make it different. Either way, this part is essential because it clearly tells the reader the topic of your essay.
The body of your opinion essay is made up of your supporting details. Each detail gets its own body paragraph. At the beginning of each paragraph, state how the detail is connected to your opinion. Then talk about the evidence that supports that detail.
For example, in an opinionated paper about vegetarianism, you might include the supporting detail that eating meat creates more greenhouse gases. You would then include a source as evidence to support your claim.
One reason a vegetarian diet is better than eating meat is that it is better for the planet. According to the University of Michigan, a vegetarian diet is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Per calorie, meat is much worse for the planet, since animals require many plant-based calories to grow. If people simply eat these calories in plant form, they can eliminate much of the food-based carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change.
End your essay with a strong conclusion. Your conclusion should relate back to your introduction. If you used an anecdote, talk about that again. If you quoted a statistic, mention that statistic here in a new way. If you asked the reader a question, refer back to it in the conclusion.
You should also clearly state your opinion again. Don’t use the same words you did in the introduction, but do say the same ideas. This sums things up for your reader and helps make your point clear.
Throughout the process of writing an opinion essay, keep these tips in mind.
Use transition words to help make the connection between your supporting details and your opinion. This also helps your essay flow nicely. Some of the transition words and phrases you might use in your opinion essay include the following:
- “For these reasons….”
- “In addition….”
It’s easy to ramble when writing an essay, but staying on topic makes your opinion more powerful. Stick to your outline. If you don’t deviate from the plan you set when writing it, your essay will be on topic.
Keep the tone formal. Avoid slang and informal language as much as possible. Reduce the number of contractions you use and try to choose words that have a more formal feeling.
Consider writing without using first person pronouns. Knowing how to write an opinion essay without using “I” can help you create a more convincing argument. To do this, simply eliminate the first person part of your opinion statement.
Example with first person pronoun: “I believe it is better to be a vegetarian than a person who eats meat.”
Example without first person pronoun: “It is better to be a vegetarian than a person who eats meat.”
Before you turn in your essay, ask a friend or family member to look it over for you. Have them read the entire thing and note any places that are unclear or that feel weak. Then take some time to revise your essay to make it the best it can be.
If you start with a strong opinion, it’s easy to learn how to write an essay based on that opinion. You’ll find that it’s natural to support your beliefs, and the essay will flow well. As long as you stay on topic, you’ll end up with an essay that makes you proud.