At some point in your education, you’re going to be assigned an essay. Essays are a great way to show your understanding of a new topic as well as any connections you’ve made while studying it in school.
Just like there are different subject areas to learn, there are also different types of essays you may come across—with each having a unique purpose for writing it. So, it’s important to develop a true understanding of which type of essay your teacher is asking you to write before you actually get started.
In this guide, we'll share everything you need to know about writing an opinion essay for the very first time.
What is an opinion essay anyway?
While you can certainly get a hint from its name, writing an opinion essay doesn’t mean that you just keep writing about your own thoughts until you have enough words in your essay to make your teacher happy. In fact, it takes a bit more planning and effort than that.
An opinion essay is a formal piece of writing in which you share your viewpoint on a certain topic while using concrete evidence to explain why you formed this opinion in the first place.
In other words, you will be given a question or assigned a specific topic by your teacher, decide how you would answer that question or what you believe about that topic in general, collect evidence to support your opinion, and then write an essay so you can share all of this information with your reader.
No matter which question or topic you receive, you basically follow the same steps to write your opinion essay. So, once you understand the process, writing an opinion essay is as simple as following that process.
The requirements you’re given for an opinion essay may look very different from one teacher or grade level to the next. Things like word count, pieces of evidence you need, and essay planning worksheets can all vary by assignment.
However, there are certain requirements for all opinion essays that you should keep in mind. By checking your rough draft against this list, you can create a final draft that is sure to receive a good grade.
If you answered yes to all of these questions, it’s pretty likely that you’re on the right track to turning in a great opinion essay.
There’s no limit to the many questions or topics out there that would make a great essay prompt. Basically, any question or topic that really makes you think can be turned into an interesting opinion essay for your reader, and you may even get to pick from a list of topic choices provided by your teacher or create your own.
Here is a list of some popular opinion essay topics:
In essence, you can form an opinion on just about anything. And if you can form an opinion on it, you can easily turn it into an opinion essay just by following a basic opinion essay structure.
While opinion essays can certainly vary based on the essay requirements you have in class, all opinion essays have a basic structure to them. This includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. An example of how you can structure your opinion essay is as follows:
As you can see, the basic opinion essay structure keeps you organized and helps you present your thoughts in a way that makes sense to the reader.
Learning how to write an opinion essay doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. There are plenty of strategies you can use to make the process a whole lot easier, and you’ll end up with a great essay that your teacher is sure to like.
First, you want to read the essay prompt several times to make sure you understand exactly what the question is asking you or the topic you’re being asked to discuss. It’s also a good idea to talk to your teacher about it too, so you can make sure that you’re ready to get started on the assignment and that all of your questions are answered.
The most important thing you can do when learning how to write an opinion essay for the very first time though is to plan it out long before you start writing. Using a graphic organizer is a great way to organize your thoughts and keep all of your evidence organized in one place.
Then, you want to create an outline for your essay. While it may be tempting to skip this step, you definitely don’t want to do that. Creating an outline helps you organize your essay in a thoughtful way and decide the best place to include each piece of evidence you’ve collected. Plus, it stops you from writing an essay that is too short or so long that you sound like you’re rambling on.
Once your outline is created, it’s time to start writing that first draft. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself at this stage. Just follow your outline and keep writing. There will be time to come back to polish the essay later.
After your first draft is done, you’ll want to reread it, make improvements along the way, and fix any grammar mistakes you notice.
Next, it’s always a good idea to have someone else take a look at your writing. This could be one of your classmates, your teacher, or a family member at home. Just ask them to make honest suggestions so that you can improve your writing.
The last step is to complete your final draft. This is the stage where you fix all of the mistakes others have pointed out to you and make sure that your writing is the best it can be.
By following these exact steps in this order, you’ll learn how to write an opinion essay right the first time. And it will make every other opinion essay you write in the future that much easier.
To really understand what is expected of you when you’re about to write an opinion essay, it’s always a good idea to look at a few opinion essay examples first.
That way, you can see exactly what an opinion essay looks like when it’s completed, discover things you like about each opinion essay and those you don’t, and use the good opinion essay examples you find to inspire your own writing. Just be sure not to copy anything directly from the opinion essay examples you look at as that would be considered plagiarism.
When you first get assigned to write an opinion essay, you may feel overwhelmed. But don’t worry. Writing an opinion essay is not as difficult as it sounds. After you learn what an opinion essay actually is and how to write an opinion essay step-by-step, you’ll feel a lot more confident in your own writing abilities. And you’ll be able to show everything you’ve learned about a particular topic while giving your unique opinion on it.
There’s a first time for everything, but in no time, you’ll have a completed opinion essay that you can be proud of.