Writing an OPINION COLUMN Part 1 of English

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Writing an OPINION COLUMN Part 1 of English Exam Writing an OPINION COLUMN Part 1 of English Exam

Step One: Choose an Appropriate Topic • 1) In the context of the Sec Step One: Choose an Appropriate Topic • 1) In the context of the Sec 5 English exam, this is perhaps the most important step. If you get off to a good start here your task becomes much easier and your chances of success much greater.

Step 1 continued… • 2) The key is to read the entire literature booklet Step 1 continued… • 2) The key is to read the entire literature booklet and select a topic that is general enough to incorporate the specific topics of several of the articles in the literature booklet. (e. g. child soldiers or child labour)

Step Two: Make an Outline • 1) The key to a good opinion column Step Two: Make an Outline • 1) The key to a good opinion column is to start with a good plan. Without this, your writing risks appearing random or incoherent. “Plan what you write and write what you plan” is very good advice.

Step 2 continued… • Formulate your MAIN POINT – persuasive writing should always be Step 2 continued… • Formulate your MAIN POINT – persuasive writing should always be focused on persuading the reader of a single point. This is what you want to say about your topic. (THINK THESIS = What do you want to say ABOUT child labour? ) • Your main point/THESIS should be broad enough to incorporate at least SEVERAL (2 -5) supporting reasons. • By replacing the italics in the following statement with specific details one can arrive at the sort of clear strong statement required: “Someone should do something about something”.

Step 2 continued… • Formulate at least 2 -5 REASONS/FACTS in support of your Step 2 continued… • Formulate at least 2 -5 REASONS/FACTS in support of your point – In order for your writing to be persuasive you need to have at least 2 -5 reasons/facts in support of your main point. • We encourage you to use more than 1 article in the literature booklet.

Step 2 continued… • Select the external SOURCES you will cite. Either select quotes Step 2 continued… • Select the external SOURCES you will cite. Either select quotes that will support each reason or make brief notes on the information you will paraphrase.

Quoting vs. Paraphrasing • In either case, because this is not an essay or Quoting vs. Paraphrasing • In either case, because this is not an essay or a research paper, you do not include a bibliography. Instead you acknowledge the source right in the text. • For example: “According to the article Saving the Child Soldiers by Bill Smith…”

Paraphrasing • Paraphrasing should be used when summarizing or describing the central aspect of Paraphrasing • Paraphrasing should be used when summarizing or describing the central aspect of a text. Paraphrasing is more common in opinion column writing. • For example: “In the play An Enemy of the People, Henrik Ibsen explores theme of power vs. truth…”

Quoting • Quotes should only be used when there is something specific about the Quoting • Quotes should only be used when there is something specific about the author’s words you need to reveal to your reader. This could be a precise statistic or a very specific phrase. • For example: One of the most enjoyable aspects of Vonnegut’s writing is the creativity and humour of his figurative language. For example in describing the effects of ‘ethical birth control pills’ in Welcome to the Monkey House, Vonnegut writes, “Most men said their bottom halves felt like cold iron or balsa-wood. Most women said their bottom halves felt like wet cotton or stale ginger ale. ”

Step Three: Write Rough Copy • Use your outline and the sample structure below Step Three: Write Rough Copy • Use your outline and the sample structure below to draft your rough copy.

Step Four: Self-Edit For Spelling • Read your rough draft and circle every word Step Four: Self-Edit For Spelling • Read your rough draft and circle every word about whose spelling you are unsure. Then verify in the dictionary. Watch there/their/they’re.

Step Five: Self-Edit For Punctuation • Reread your article specifically focusing on the punctuation. Step Five: Self-Edit For Punctuation • Reread your article specifically focusing on the punctuation. Check the end of each sentence; check for comma use; check for apostrophes.

Step Six: Self-Edit For Paragraphing • Look at your longer paragraphs. Is there any Step Six: Self-Edit For Paragraphing • Look at your longer paragraphs. Is there any point where you begin on a new topic? If so indicate with an arrow that a new paragraph should start.

Step Seven: Self-Edit For Grammar • Check your verb and tense agreement. Step Seven: Self-Edit For Grammar • Check your verb and tense agreement.

Step Eight: Write Your Good Copy Step Eight: Write Your Good Copy

Sample Structure • Headline (Title) - Try to use some alliteration • By-line – Sample Structure • Headline (Title) - Try to use some alliteration • By-line – your name • Lead (hook) – A shocking stat or a rhetorical question works well. - Creatively introduce your topic - Clearly present your main point (50) • Present your background – facts that establish the main issue. Use resources if possible. (150 -250) Write about YOUR OPINION on the facts you have included (start with a strong stance). Comment on each fact. These are your key arguments. Transition in to a personal experience (optional). (250 -350) • Conclude by creatively restating your main point • Finish with a statement linking to your lead ( a CALL to ACTION works well). (50) • •

Headline / By-line / Lead (50 words) Information/Background (150 -250) Opinion + Personal Experience Headline / By-line / Lead (50 words) Information/Background (150 -250) Opinion + Personal Experience (250 -350) Closing + Call-to- Action (50)

A few other points to consider. . . • Use literary devices (similes, metaphors, A few other points to consider. . . • Use literary devices (similes, metaphors, hyperbole) to emphasize your point and make your voice livelier. • You may choose to use columns in your editorial, if you wish. This makes it look more like a newspaper column. This is OPTIONAL. • Another visual convention of article writing is PULL QUOTES – when you highlight an important quotation in your text by making it bigger, and darker.




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