Mary has taught elementary school for six years and has a master's degree in education.
Expressing an Opinion
Let's pretend your community is considering building a skate park near the downtown area. Most likely, not all residents of the community will agree on whether or not that's a good idea. They will have a variety of different opinions on the matter.
Put simply, opinions are a person's thoughts or views on something. And while there isn't always a right or wrong opinion, people are much likelier to understand and agree with your point of view if you provide strong reasons or facts to support your opinion.
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- 0:04 Expressing an Opinion
- 0:35 Choosing Plausible Reasons
- 1:32 Stating Your Reasons Clearly
- 2:19 Arguing Against Yourself
- 3:11 Lesson Summary
Choosing Plausible Reasons
Something is plausible if it's likely to be real or to actually happen, and when writing an opinion piece it's best to choose at least three plausible reasons. Now let's imagine that you're writing an opinion piece explaining why building the community skate park near the downtown is a good idea. You might use the following plausible reasons:
- It will make sidewalks safer for pedestrians because skateboarders won't be using the same area where people are walking.
- It will bring business to stores and restaurants because kids and parents will shop and eat while they're in the downtown area to skate.
- It will promote good physical health for kids by giving them a safe place to exercise through skating.
An implausible reason is not as strong and might look something like this:
- It will help kids to be rich adults by becoming professional skateboarders.
This might happen to some kids, but it isn't likely for everyone!
Stating Your Reasons Clearly
Communicating clearly is critical when providing reasons for an opinion. The reasons we mentioned are clear and give enough detail to make someone understand why building a downtown skate park is a good idea. In contrast, unclear reasons might look something like this:
- Skaters won't hit people on the sidewalks.
- Stores and businesses will sell more stuff.
- Kids will be safer and healthier.
The problem with these reasons is that they don't make a clear connection between the reason given and the proposed skate park. When evaluating your reasons for clarity, it's best to imagine your readers are aliens who have no concept of how a community or a skate park operates. It's your job to explain all the necessary information so they can understand (and agree with) you!
Arguing Against Yourself
Arguing against yourself might sound like a silly way to provide solid reasons for your opinion. However, if you try to think of arguments against your opinion before someone else has had the chance, you can make sure your reasons are strong enough to hold up.
Take the third plausible reason we listed: a downtown skate park will promote good physical health for kids. If you wanted to argue against that reason you might say, ''That's great, but what do I care about a bunch of kids' health? Nice for them, but that doesn't help me any!''
Now, to make sure your original reason is strong, you have to poke a hole in the counter argument. You could say that improving kids' health will help the whole community by reducing health care costs both now and later. This is something that positively impacts the entire taxpaying community, not just the kids whose health improves.
All right, let's take a moment to review what we've learned. When writing an opinion piece, which involves a person's thoughts or views on something, it's important to come up with clear, plausible reasons, meaning it's likely to be real or to actually happen. Once you've done that, argue against yourself to test your reasons and make sure they can hold up to a little criticism. Follow these easy steps and you'll be expressing your opinion like a champ in no time!
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Providing Reasons in an Opinion Piece: Lesson for Kids
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