Week 3

OPINION ESSAY PART 1: Writing a strong, clear thesis

The opinion essay questions are perhaps the most daunting because they seem longer and more involved. With a bit of organization though, these questions can be the most interesting because you get to actually write what you think. There are no wrong answers to these questions. As long as you follow proper organizational format, clearly state your ideas, provide support and use accurate grammar, you can have fun with the content you write. The best way to approach these questions is to:
  • Read the question very carefully and make sure you understand what is being asked.
  • Brainstorm your ideas BEFORE you begin writing.
    Decide what you REALLY think about the question for best results.
    This may seem to take a lot of your time, but it will actually save you time in the end.
  • Plan your essay. Before you write, create an outline and group each idea with at least one supporting example or explanation. A good rule of thumb is to come up with 3 ideas per essay.
  • Introduce your THESIS (one sentence that clearly states your main opinion in regards to the question) in the first paragraph (introduction).
  • Include only ONE idea and its support in each paragraph (body).
  • Use connecting words and phrases in between paragraphs to show how your ideas are related.
  • Restate your thesis and summarize your ideas in the last paragraph (conclusion).
    It is better to use familiar language and structures accurately than to use unfamiliar vocabulary or complex structures incorrectly. To convey clear meaning, it is best to keep it simple. If you confuse the reader, you will not be successful. Being concise is much more impactful than using too many words or awkward expressions.
  • Vary your word choices. Find different ways to express the same idea or word without repeating words too often.
  • Vary your sentence length. Your sentences should be different lengths for maximum impact.
    Write some short ones for emphasis, some medium ones for explanation and some longer ones to show your ability to write subordinate clauses.

YOUR THESIS: The most important sentence you will write

Writing a clear, relevant thesis statement is crucial. This is perhaps the most important sentence in your entire essay because it sets the tone for the reader, and serves as a point of reference to all the points you will make in the body of your essay. The reader will remember your main opinion and will use it to draw relevance and meaning from your ideas. Your thesis should appear at the end of your first paragraph (introduction).


Here are some phrases you can use to write your thesis statement:

Expressing Opinions I (firmly, strongly)believe
I agree with
In my opinion
I disagree with
It is clear that In my view
If I had to choose, I would say
I (strongly) feel
I would prefer to
From my
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Here are some exercises you can do to practice writing a strong, clear thesis. Use the phrases listed in the chart above. First, think about the question and reflect on your honest opinion. Make your sentence as long or as short as you like, but make sure it is clear and direct.

  • Is it better to live in the country or the city?
  • Do you prefer exercising outdoors or in a gym?
  • Some people think Korean food is healthier than Western food. What is your opinion?
  • It is best for children to start learning English as early as possible. Do you agree or disagree?
  • Some people believe that a positive attitude can cure disease and make you live longer. Do you agree or disagree with this?
  • Participating in a live event is much more entertaining than watching from home. How do you feel about this?
  • All politicians are corrupt. What are your thoughts on this statement?
  • China is the most influential country in the world right now. Do you agree or disagree?
  • Working from home is much more rewarding than working out of an office. What is your opinion?
  • Traveling is a waste of time and money. Do you agree or disagree with this?

Writing Topic

1. Picture Description
2. Email Response
From Suzanne Dacosta
To Flight Center Travel Agency
Subject Travel plans
Sent June 11th, 10: 50pm
Hello there

I just visited your website and found this contact address for further inquiry. I am interested in traveling to Costa Rica for my honeymoon between December 15th and 31st. My fiance and I are also planning to bring a group of 10 people (friends and family) on the trip with us. Could you please give us more information about flight schedules, hotel bookings, car rentals and a possible group rate that you can offer us?

Thank you in advance for your time.

Suzanne Dacosta
Respond to Suzanne’s email as a member of staff from the Flight Center Travel Agency. Offer her some information in regards to her inquiries, ask TWO questions and make ONE suggestion.
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