Empowering Writers

The Opinion Pillar

The Opinion Pillar

Opinion Writing requires the author to respond to an issue or question with logical reasoning in an organized fashion. The Opinion Pillar mirrors the Expository Pillar with minor shifts in language. Due to the similar structure and expectations for opinion writing, students need to have a firm grasp of informative writing in order to effectively write an opinion piece.

Organization – Opinion writing requires careful organization. In order to deliver an informed, reasoned response in a way in which the reader can easily grasp, information must be arranged and presented in a logical, sequential manner, with like details grouped together. Often times, students, when writing about an issue, simply list details in random order, as they come to mind. This abstract random collection of thoughts does not lend itself to solid elaboration on the part of the author, or clear comprehension on the part of the reader. So how can we best organize opinion writing? The basic organizational plan for an opinion essay, is as follows:

Introduction Paragraph – The first paragraph in which the author grabs the reader’s attention (lead) and tells the reader what the entire piece will be about (topic sentence). Included in this paragraph is an opinion statement that clearly identifies the author’s point of view.

Body of the Piece – A number of paragraphs, each with a broad yet distinct main reason sentence, which explains what the paragraph is about, followed by a variety of supporting details. (Often times teachers require three paragraphs in the body of the piece, however, two well-developed paragraphs, or 4, 5, or 6, paragraphs work equally as well – the key is for the author to write as many paragraphs as needed to fully explore the topic or issue. Requiring three paragraphs can result in a formulaic, one size fits all approach that limits the author.)

Conclusion Paragraph – The final paragraph which creatively reiterates the main reasons and restates the thesis or topic sentence in a general way. This may be accomplished in a straightforward, although not literal repetition, or it may be implied. A final statement that reiterates the author’s point of view finalizes the essay.

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