Argument/ Opinion Writing

Genre Overview:


Construct a claim about a particular topic, and then support it with quality evidence and explanation, rhetoric, and acknowledgement of counterclaims.


  • To clearly explain your position on an issue to others
  • To argue for or against one side of an issue
  • To be able to provide evidence to back up your beliefs


  • Anyone who is concerned with the issue you are writing about (could be a specific group or the general public)
  • Anyone you are trying to educate on the issue you are writing about


  • More formal, structured writing style; some room for personal voice, but generally objective and dry style
  • Must include a strong claim in which you clearly state your position, usually found at the end of the first paragraph
  • Often follows some variation on the “Claim, Evidence, Reasoning” format – you use strong evidence to back up your claim, and provide reasons why your evidence shows your claim is correct
  • Includes a mix of interesting, relevant, high-quality evidence from accurate and reputable sources
    • Ideas for evidence – Anecdotes (personal stories), statistics, quotes from experts, graphs and charts, personal experience (use this only for color, not as a main source of evidence), research from reputable sources, historical examples, scientific evidence, etc.
  • Uses rhetorical devices to add effect (see examples here)(more examples here)
    • Ethos – Convincing the audience by using the author or speaker’s credibility and authority on the subject; expert opinions, research from reputable sources; scientific evidence
    • Pathos – Appealing to a person’s emotions; anecdotes/ personal stories, hyperbole/ exaggeration, engaging a person’s sense of empathy
    • Logos – Appealing to a person’s logic; facts, statistics, logical reasoning
  • Uses persuasive techniques to add effect (see examples here)(even more examples here)(great examples of appeals)
  • Counterclaim – Present a possible opposing side to your issue, and then use evidence to explain why you’re still right anyway
    • “Some people might argue… however, I still say…” “One could say… however…”
  • Strong Conclusion – put some extra strong evidence, rhetorical devices, or persuasive techniques in your conclusion that will stick in your reader’s head when they walk away.

Ways to Get Started:

  • Pick an issue you’re passionate about. Craft a strong claim that clearly states your position on this issue. Then, do some research to gather strong evidence in support of your claim, and think about the best way to craft your argument with the evidence you gather.

Common Ways to Publish:

  • Essays
  • Editorials
  • Blog Posts
  • Commercials
  • Speeches
  • Political Cartoons/ Art
  • Documentaries
  • Podcasts