Whether in German lessons, at work or in everyday lifeThere are always occasions when it is necessary to take a stand, either orally or in writing. A thesis statement aims to clarify one’s own position on a topic and explain it in a plausible way.
So it is not just a matter of informing another person of one’s own opinion on the facts of the case. Rather, the person should be able to understand the point of view and be convinced of it. That’s why you need good and logical arguments for a statement.
A written statement can have different forms. This includes, for example, a comment, a request, a suggestion, a complaint, a letter to the editor or the statement after an accident.
An oral statement, on the other hand, is also called a statement. It comes into play in discussions and debates, among other things.
Now it is sometimes quite a while since the last statement had to be written. It may also be the first time the writer is confronted with this task. To make it easier, we provide information and tips on writing an opinion in a two-part guide.
Let’s start with part 1!:
What exactly is a statement?
As soon as someone takes a certain position on an issue, they are already taking a stand. Even if he only expresses whether he finds something good or not, he already gives his opinion. And in principle this is a first statement.
In German lessons, however, the statement is intended as a preliminary stage to the discussion. It should help to practice the use of arguments. For this reason, it is also not enough to simply state your own opinion in a statement. Instead, the opinion must be backed up with arguments.
So, first of all, the writer needs a thesis (assertion). The thesis statement should express his point of view. Then he has to look for arguments for his thesis.
The arguments should clarify the writer’s point of view, describe the facts from his point of view and make his reasoning comprehensible.
The goal is to justify one’s own view so conclusively that a third party agrees with the writer’s opinion or an assertion that the writer believes to be false is invalidated.
What is the best approach to writing an opinion piece?
A statement can have many different forms. Therefore, there is no universal patent remedy. After all, the writer will write a commentary on a newspaper article differently from a complaint, a letter to the editor, a statement to the insurance company, or a school essay.
On the other hand, an opinion, like almost any other essay, consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Therefore, the writer can follow this basic scheme and then adapt his statement to the context at hand.
And it has proven itself, if the writer proceeds in four steps:
First of all, the writer should keep in mind why he is writing the statement and for whom it is intended. For he must neither miss the point and purpose of the essay nor lose sight of the addressee.
If the statement is based on a text, the writer should read the text carefully. What does the text say?? What is its main message? What arguments does the author use?? If the writer has completely grasped the text and understood everything, he can pick out the statement or passage on which he wishes to comment.
If there is no text, the writer must deal with the facts of the case. What comes to his mind about the topic? How he sees the whole? What views does he hold? Once the writer has found his/her position, he/she should gather information. This works best if he answers the W-questions – i.e. what, who, when, where, how and why.
After that, it is necessary to find arguments for one’s own point of view. Since an opinion is a personal opinion, the arguments should and may reflect one’s own position. The author does not have to leave it at data and facts, but can definitely evaluate from his point of view.
The writer should then also arrange his arguments in order of strength. The weakest argument comes first and the strongest argument follows last. We will talk about the different types of arguments.
In any case, the writer can still make a note of his or her experience with the subject matter. These thoughts are well suited for the concluding part.
Once the preliminaries are done and the notes are organized, the writer can turn to writing the statement. It starts with the introduction.
The introduction should get the reader in the mood for the text and convey what the statement is about. Therefore, the writer states here all the information that the reader needs to know in order to understand and correctly classify the following text.
So the writer explains what issue he is taking a stand on, why he is doing it, and from what position he is doing it. If the writer refers to a text template, he also lists the key data on the text.
In addition, the writer states his thesis already in the introduction. But he does not elaborate them yet. Instead, he makes only his assertion in order to convey his position to the reader in a short and compact form.
The main part
The main part is about explaining the point of view to the reader. For this the writer now goes into his thesis in more detail. In order to clarify them and support his opinion, the writer brings his arguments into play.
When arguing, two things are important. The first point is that the writer starts with his weakest argument. Then he increases the argumentation until he finally comes to his strongest argument.
The other point is that the writer should support each argument with a good, tangible example. This makes the argumentation more vivid and comprehensible.
As a rule of thumb, the writer should give three arguments. Of course, he can also give more or less arguments. However, if he has only one or two arguments, his reasoning may come across as a bit too thin.
Conversely, if he lists too many arguments, the reader may feel run over.
In addition, a statement should not be a page-long treatise. The goal is rather to convey the opinion on the topic in a coherent and to the point way. Therefore, few, but good and convincing arguments are sufficient.
The conclusion brings the essay to a close and rounds it off at the same time. For this, the writer takes up his thesis once again and briefly summarizes his argumentation. On this basis, he then draws a conclusion.
In his conclusion, the writer can indicate how he himself would treat the topic or solve the question. Depending on the context, the writer can make a suggestion, appeal to the reader, or make a specific request.
A good trick is also to end the statement with a rhetorical question. Because in this way, the reader is encouraged to think about the topic or to become active.
In Part 2, we’ll take a look at the different types of arguments and reveal a few tips.