Updated on 4. January 2022 by omer Bekar We give you tips on how to write a convincing statement.
The point of writing an opinion piece is to take a stand on a particular issue and, at the same time, to support your opinion with coherent arguments. The goal is not only to inform another person about one’s own point of view. Instead, the person should also be convinced of this point of view, if possible. When writing a statement, it is therefore important that you work with different arguments that are logical, plausible and comprehensible. There are different forms and different occasions for a statement of position.
It is not only in German classes that students sometimes have to write an opinion piece. Even later in your job and in everyday life, it may be necessary from time to time to take a stand in writing or orally. By expressing an opinion, you intend to clarify your position on an issue and explain your views to other people – often outsiders – in a comprehensible and convincing way.
A written opinion comes in different variations. For example, in the form of a comment, a complaint, a statement after an accident, a request, a suggestion or even a letter to the editor. The oral statement, in turn, is also called a statement. It plays an important role, for example, in discussions and debates.
What exactly is a statement??
Whenever you take a certain position on a topic, you are already taking a stand. Even if you only remark that you think something is good or bad, you are already expressing your opinion. This is a first opinion.
In German lessons, however, the statement is understood as a preliminary stage of the discussion. The essay form is designed to help you practice and apply argumentation skills. Therefore, when writing a statement, it is not enough to simply state your opinion. Instead, you first need a thesis (assertion), which you then elaborate on with arguments.
So the first thing to do is to establish a thesis. This statement is intended to express your point of view. In the next step, you need to find arguments for your thesis. Your arguments should clarify your position, describe the facts from your point of view and make your considerations comprehensible. In the end, your goal is to justify your views conclusively in order to convince a third party of your opinion or to invalidate a thesis that you believe is wrong.
What is the best way to proceed when writing an opinion piece??
Since a statement can take various forms, there is no blanket, universal recipe for the best way to proceed. After all, you will write a commentary on an article differently than you would write a letter to the editor, a complaint to a company, or a statement to an insurance company after a claim.
Like almost any other essay, an opinion is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion. Within this basic structure, you can write the opinion as it makes the most sense in the particular context. And in general it has proven to be useful if you orientate yourself by the following steps:
1. The preparation
Before you get down to work, you should clarify for yourself the context in which you are writing your statement. You should also keep in mind for whom your statement is intended. You must not lose sight of the purpose or the reader(s) of your essay while writing it.
If your statement refers to a text, you should read it very carefully. Which statements does the text contain?? What is its core message? How does the author argue? Once you have grasped the text and actually understood everything, pick out the statement or passage on which you want to comment.
Write your essay without a text template, deal with the topic. What comes to your mind? What is your opinion on the matter? How do you see the whole thing?
Once you are clear about your own position, gather as much information as possible. It is best to answer the W-questions about the topic (i.e. what, who, when, where, how and why).
Continue with the search for arguments that support your point of view. Since a statement explains your personal views, the arguments may and should reflect your opinion. You do not have to limit yourself to pure facts and figures, but can also include your own position.
Once you have gathered a few arguments, it is best to sort them by strength right away. Start with the weakest argument and write down the strongest argument at the end. We will come back to the arguments in a moment.
You can also take this opportunity to write down what experience you have on the subject. You can use these considerations later in the conclusion section.
2. Writing the introduction of the opinion
When your preparations are complete and your notes are organized, you can start writing the statement. The introduction is the first step.
In the introduction, you get the reader in the mood for the text and inform them what your essay is about. To do this, you give the reader the essential information they need to understand. This means: you answer why you are taking a stand on which topic and from which position you are doing so.
Refer to a text template, also briefly list the most important information about the template. Who wrote the text, where and when it was published, and what kind of text it is, for example.
3. Write the main part of the statement
In the body of the statement, explain and justify your position. You can describe the thesis in more detail. To clarify your claim and support your opinion at the same time, work with your arguments.
It is important that you start with your weakest argument. In the further course you increase your argumentation. Save your strongest argument for the end. On the other hand, you should think of a good example for each argument. This will make your arguments more vivid and understandable.
Of course, you can also list more or less arguments. If you have only one or two arguments, however, your argument may seem a bit too thin. If you list too many arguments, the reader may feel overwhelmed by your opinion. In addition, a statement should not be an endless novel, but should present your view on the topic convincingly and to the point.
4. Write the concluding part of the statement
In the conclusion, revisit your point of view from the introduction. You go into your thesis again and briefly summarize your argumentation. On this basis you then draw a conclusion.
You can explain how you personally would approach the issue or solve the problem. You can make a suggestion or appeal to the reader. It is also possible that you formulate a concrete demand. Moreover, a statement has a strong effect if you end with a rhetorical question. Because in this way you motivate the reader to think about his point of view or to become active himself.
Different types of arguments for your statement
A statement lives from its arguments. Because a mere assertion can be made by anyone. But how strong and convincing the claim is depends on how conclusively it can be substantiated.
There are different types of arguments. They are also called argument types. When writing an opinion piece, you can draw on the following types of arguments:
As the name implies, a fact argument is based on a fact. So, to support the thesis, argue with a clear, indisputable and unambiguous fact for which there is evidence and which the reader can check at any time.
Because a fact forms the basis, a factual argument is very strong. It is therefore optimal if you can conclude the argumentation in your statement with a factual argument.
A normative argument draws on a generally accepted norm. Here, norms mean fundamental values or classical patterns. For a strong argument, however, it is important that you choose a standard that is widely accepted and not questioned by the reader. Because if the reader has a completely different set of values, your argument will not convince him or her.
Argument from authority
An authoritative argument can also have a powerful effect. Here you refer to a famous, respected and generally accepted authority. So, you incorporate into your argument the statement of a notable figure. And because such statements are hardly questioned, your argument gains strength.
For an indirect argument, you support your thesis by taking an argument from the opposing side and refuting it. Thus, you leverage the counterargument by refuting its statement about a way of thinking, designing, or behaving with your own argument. The whole thing becomes particularly effective if you can counter with a factual argument.
The basic idea of a plausibility argument is that you argue with an explanation that is logical and conclusive, i.e. plausible, for the reader.
Since you do not rely on facts or other verifiable statements, but primarily on your own opinion or at least common sense, a bit of intuition is required. Because your view must be comprehensible to the reader. Optimal, of course, is if he can find himself in your argument.
The analogy argument transfers the topic of the argument to a different circumstance. This creates a comparison that is comprehensible to the reader and, in the best case, convinces him or her. However, it is important that the topic of comparison fits the content of the argumentation. Otherwise, there is no coherent connection.
Finally, 4 tips for writing the statement
Now you know how to write an opinion piece and what to look out for. Finally, to make sure you don’t make any logical or linguistic mistakes, we’ll give you four tips to keep in mind.
1. Keep your thesis in view.
For a coherent argumentation it is very important that you do not lose sight of your point of view. Make sure that both your arguments and your examples have a clear and distinct relation to your thesis. The best argument and the most beautiful example are of no use if the reader does not see what this statement is supposed to have to do with your point of view.
2. Clearly distinguish your arguments from those of others.
If you take arguments from a text or from a third party, you should put them in the subjunctive mood. Because the reader must be able to clearly recognize by which statements you have taken a stand or reflect your opinion – and what does not come from you.
3. Guide the reader through the text.
To keep your essay clear, you should divide it into paragraphs. However, it is better not to use subheadings when making a statement. Better guide the reader through the text with appropriate sentence transitions.
Possible formulations are, for example, "Another argument is …", "In addition, it can be stated …", "In addition, I would like to point out that …" or "Finally, it remains to say …".
4. Incorporate a text template cleverly.
If you are to write a statement that relates to a given text, you can weave the template into your essay. Go through the template for this, pick up on the arguments from the template and state your position on them.