Instructions about Writing an Essay

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Some useful exercises

Tips on how to write an opinion essay

Title:

Titles are not always necessary in an essay but:

  1. A good title grabs the reader's attention. As your examiner has to read your essay, it is not a good strategy bore her from the beginning.
  2. It provides a sense of what your essay is about, and in this sense, it makes it easier to follow.

Audience:

Essays are usually written for a teacher, perhaps as a follow up of a class activity.

Structure

  • Thesis
  • Arguments
  • Conclusion

Register:

Because essays are written for teachers, the register should be formal.

Purpose:

Their purpose is that students present an argument/thesis and develop ideas and concepts that support it. Students are expected to use little more than their own thoughts. That is what separates essays from reports and research papers.

For some tips to help you to justify your opinions in writing go to Writing_Justify your opinions

You need to:

  • Give opinions and show critical thinking
  • Agree and disagree in a formal or neutral register.
  • Choose whether to agree or disagree with the statement provided in the task, or discuss both sides.
  • Plan your paragraphs carefully.
  • Get some practice in writing appropriate opening and closing paragraphs, that sum up your opinion.

Content:

basic phrases to justify an opinion in English:

  • because...
  • the reason is...
  • the reason I believe that is...
  • the facts suggest...
  • the evidence shows...
  • However,
  • To my mind, ...
  • In my opinion, ...

You can justify your opinion more effectively by being more specific. Try some intermediate phrases like these:

  • The first reason I believe this is...
  • The main reason I feel this way is...
  • There are several reasons I believe this. The first one is...

When you are not completely certain, you can try one of these more advanced English phrases:

  • I don't have any special reason for believing this. It just seems right to me.
  • I could be wrong as I have no special reason for believing this. I just feel it is right.

When you ARE certain, try one of these phrases:

  • There is a lot of evidence to support my point of view. For example...
  • There are many facts in favour of my opinion. One such fact is...

Essays can be [narrative], [expository], [descriptive] and [argumentative].

An essay challenges the student's capacity to synthesize her knowledge, opinions, experience and argument.

Format:

Essays need to be:

  • Concise
  • Clear in purpose and direction

Essays have an introduction and conclusion format. The main content, findings, analysis etc. come in between.