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Friday, April 3, 2009

Why Should You Support Your Opinions?

A main idea provides your essay or paragraph with direction and serves like a compass before you set sail. However, the details and examples you write to support that main idea are just as important. In order to make a good argument, persuade your reader or support an opinion, you must provide the reader with details and examples. Details and examples are not general and vague statements that repeat your position. Details and examples are not reworded sentences that reiterate what you have said previously. Details and examples don't provide an opinion to support another opinion.

If you wish to make a valid and logical argument, then you must provide facts to support your opinions. For example, you can't just write that Peter Pumpernickel is a liar and a drug addict. You must provide specific facts to support your opinion.

  • How do you know he is a liar?
  • Can you tell me a specific story or time he lied to you or someone you know?
  • What did he lie about?
  • When did he lie?
  • How many times has he lied?
  • Why did he lie?
  • What drug is he addicted to?
  • Did you see him doing drugs?
  • Who said he was doing drugs?

Far too often, I see writers make outrageous statements and then proceed to omit the most important ingredients: the facts, the data and the stories. I don't have to agree with your opinion. However, if you want to make a credible and valid argument then you must provide logical and substantive support for your opinion. Otherwise, you are simply reacting to an emotion without a thoughtful "reason." If you don't know why you feel and think the way you do, you cannot possibly expect the reader to believe, understand or respect a word you have written.


  1. I told the same thing to my public speaking students. Every speech had to include at LEAST one example, one statistic, and one quotation--for starters!

  2. Often I find that by writing down the facts that suport my opinion, that helps me clarify and perhaps modify that opinion. In other words, that helps me as much as the reader!


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