Writers write for a specific purpose. Read your question carefully to make sure you understand the type of writing you need to complete for your task.
Is the main purpose of your task to share your opinion so you can convince others to agree with your point of view?
The following information from MakeMyNewspaper.com lists key points on how to write a persuasive or opinion piece. You might like to watch the video Editorial Writing from MakeMyNewspaper.com. In this seven minute video, Thuan Elston from the USA TODAY editorial staff, explains the difference between news and opinions.
LAYING OUT YOUR ARGUMENT
Your argument needs to be persuasive and entertaining. If your writing is not entertaining, who will want to read it? So being with arguments or a stance that might be somewhat controversial or outrageous, and then, as you get deeper into the argument, you clarify your position and why it is not so outrageous.
Make sure you have a catchy title that causes someone to pause, question, or become curious. But once you’ve drawn the reader in, there are several things you need to focus on:
- Explain your position in one sentence. This should be right at the beginning of your piece…or very near the beginning. It can be, as mentioned, outrageous, controversial, or even humorous. It should grab the reader’s attention. For example:
- Teachers should break the rules more.
- Our football team is the best team in the nation.
- The new school policy violates student’s free speech rights.
- The dress code isn’t strict enough!
- Facts. Your argument means nothing without facts. You can’t just make things up. It needs to be clear and your arguments should interpret the facts in a way that makes sense. But without facts, you are going nowhere.
- Tell the other side’s view. This gives you credibility. It says that you know what you are talking about, have listened, but have found fault with their perspective. However, conceding to at least one point of the opposition’s view shows that you can be objective, fair, and balanced.
- Give realistic solutions. This is important. Your credibility and influence may hinge on this. It is not enough to say someone or something is wrong. You need to offer a better alternative. If you just say why someone is wrong, but you never give a realistic solution to the problem, then your arguments will seem petty. What is your solution and why is it better than the opposition’s? Is it realistic? I mean stating that the solution is replacing the School Board with twelve-year-olds is probably not realistic, and unless you intend it to be a satire, will probably turn readers off.
- Don’t get too wordy. Make every word matter and you will be more convincing.
Some writers recommend saving your best arguments for last because what a person reads last will stick in their minds longer. But if you do that, then your other arguments need to be engaging or you may lose readers.
Conclude with a reiteration of your argument and why you hold to the particular solution you presented. (MakeMyNewspaper.com)
- DO NOT REPEAT YOUR ARGUMENT. Check that you are NOT saying the exact same thing in different paragraphs. Make sure you present different arguments to back your opinion.
- Academic honesty matters even for opinion pieces. Do NOT plagiarize text or other’s ideas. Cite your sources.
- Do you need help planning your persuasive piece of writing, then click HERE for a persuasion map (or graphic organizer) from ReadWriteThink.org. This map has room for three reasons. Check your rubric to see if that will be enough. You might need more than three reasons.
Examples of persuasive writing:
- Article written by two writers showing with different opinions from Newsela
- Opinion page from New York Times
- Opinion page from Wall Street Journal
- Opinion page from Los Angeles Times
- Opinion page from Chicago Tribune