Unit 12 Opinion Essays

1. Meaning and purposes of opinion essays

Writing is often used to present an opinion. Some of the written media that people use to express their opinion include books, letters to the press, personal and business correspondence, article in newspapers and magazines, poems, etc. You may be asked to give your opinion about controversial topic or something you have read, seen or heard. 

2. Organization of opinion essay 

The outline below can be used as a guideline for opinion essays.

3. Language useful for the thesis statement of opinion essay

3.1 Modal verbs 

Modal verbs can be used in opinion essays. They are words that add special meaning-possibility, necessity, permission, and so on to the main verbs that follow them.

Modals have two forms: present and past, but the form of the modal does not necessarily express time in the sentence. Modals are always used with the simple form of the verb. 

Gerry might be a witness. (present or future) 

He should tell the truth. (present) 

You can/could attend the trial. (future)

3.2 Quantity Expressions 

In an opinion essay, writers often make general statements about a group or category. It is important to avoid making a statement that is true for some, but not for all members of a group or category. This is called an overgeneralization. Compare the following statements. 

Cats hate water. 

Most cats hate water. 

The first statement suggests that all cats in the world hate the water. It is untrue because some cats, such as tigers, are good swimmers and enjoy being in water. In the second statement, the writer uses the quantity expression most. The quantity expression qualifies, or limited the generalization, so that the statement is true.

The following patterns guide the use of quantity expressions:

- Most, a lot of, and some are used with both plural count nouns and uncountable nouns.

Most children like ice cream. 

Some cafeterias offer healthy alternatives to traditional student food.

- Much and a little are used with uncountable noun. (Much is not usually used in affirmative statements. Use a lot of instead.) 

Some people have a lot of intelligence, but they do not have much common sense. 

She didn’t eat much breakfast. 

I haven’t got much time. 

Students might have a little money left for entertainment after paying expenses. 

- Many, several, and a few are used with plural nouns. 

Many Web sites charge a fee for information. 

A few uncooperative participants can destroy a meeting.

4. Coherence in opinion essays

For opinion essays, the way to achieve coherence is to tell the reader in what order you are discussing your ideas. This can be done by using transition expressions that signal the order of things. The same transition expressions may be used for time order and order of important in order to make essays unified or coherent. Below are some of the examples of transition expressions. 

The first (second, third) reason is… 

The first and most important reason is … 

The second reason is …

Another reason is … 

The final reason is … 

In my opinion,……………(sentence)…………….. 

In my view,……………(sentence)…………….. 

I believe (that)…………(sentence)…………….. 

I think (that)……………(sentence)……………. 

Most important,……………(sentence)……………. 

Most important of all,……………(sentence)…………….

Look at the examples below:

 - In my opinion, everyone should be allowed to own a gun. 

- In my view, no one should be allowed to own a gun. 

- I believe that an Infiniti is better than a Lexus. 

- I think a Lexus is better than an Infiniti. 

In your concluding sentence, you can remind the reader of the number of reasons: 

- The final and most important reason is … 

- For these reasons,…

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Public - 9/23/16, 2:34 PM