• Facts and Opinions
• Transition Signals for Opinions sentence structure and grammar
• Adjective Clauses with who, which, and that
• Sentence Fragments (continued)
• Punctuating Adjective Clauses
• Business Letter Form the writing process
Preivriting In everyday life, people have opinions and talk about them. Should abortion be legal or illegal? Are you for or against the death penalty? At what age should a person be allowed to buy and drink alcohol or cigarettes? Should smoking be allowed in public places? These are issues which people talk about and say their opinions.
People also write their opinions. If you look at the "Letters to the Editor" section of any newspaper or magazine, you will find letters from people discussing their points of view. In class, you will often have to defend your opinions. In this unit, you will learn how to do this.
Work with a partner or small group.
1. Read the newspaper story on page 173 several times. Make sure you understand all the words and sentences.
2. Then, look at the grid on page 174 and discuss this question with your partner or group: Should the judge allow Gregory to divorce his parents?
• Make a list of yes reasons if you agree.
• Support each reason. As support, use information from the newspaper story or use information from your own knowledge and experience.
Here are some points to discuss:
• What kind of parent is Rachel Kingsley?
• Does a biological parent have more rights to his or her child than an adoptive parent?
Twelve-year-old Gregory Kingsley is in court asking a judge to give him a divorce from his natural mother and father. He wants his foster parents,1 George and Lizabeth Russ, to adopt2 him.
Gregory's lawyers say that Gregory's natural mother, Rachel Kingsley, has not taken good care of him. They say that she abandoned3 him because she sent him to live with relatives and foster parents.
Gregory has lived for many years as a foster child. Gregory tells the judge that his mother is cold and doesn't seem to care about him. He says that for many years, his mother sent him no cards, no letters, no Christmas gifts, and no birthday presents.
"I thought she forgot about me," he says.
Other people describe Rachel Kingsley as a person who abuses4 drugs and alcohol. They say that she spent more time partying with male visitors than she spent with Gregory and his two younger
brothers. They also say that she sometimes hit the children.
Gregory says that she kept marijuana in a brown box in the living room. He also says, "She stayed out all night and brought her friends home and drank. We never had enough money, and sometimes we didn't have food."
Mrs. Kingsley says she tries to be a good mother. She says she had to send Gregory away for a while because she didn't have enough money to take care of him. At the time, she didn't have a job. Now she has two jobs, and she is living near her parents, who can help her take care of the children.
She thought it would be better for Gregory to live with a foster family while she was having financial problems, but she never wanted him to be away from her and his brothers permanently. She says,"I thought that if I worked hard, he would be returned to me."
Her lawyer says that Rachel Kingsley's problems were temporary and that she is trying to become a responsible parent. He also says that the rights of a natural family to remain together are stronger than the rights of a foster family.
Her father believes that she has learned from her mistakes and should be given a second chance.
'foster parents: parents who are paid by the government to take care of children when their own parents cannot
2adopt: become the legal parents of
3abandoned: left behind
4abuses: uses in a wrong or bad way
Should the judge allow Gregory to divorce his parents?
YES, the judge should allow Gregory to divorce his mother.
NO, the judge should not allow Gregory to divorce his mother.
In this unit, you will express an opinion and then support that opinion with facts. Opinions are statements of someone's belief. When you say, "I believe ..." or "I think that...you are expressing your opinion. Opinions are different from facts. People can disagree with opinions. Facts are true statements that no one can disagree with.
Read these sentences. Which ones are facts, and which ones are opinions?
Facts and Opinions
The sun rises in the east. The sunrise was beautiful this morning.
The temperature of the lake is 55°F. The lake is too cold for swimming.
Women have fewer fatal automobile Women are better drivers than accidents than men. men.
Women could not vote in the Everyone should vote.
United States until 1920.
Mrs. Kingsley said,"I am a good Mrs. Kingsley is a good mother, mother."
The sentences on the left side are facts. They are true. Even the last sentence, "Mrs. Kingsley said, 'I am a good mother,'" is a fact. It is a fact that she said this. What she said—"I am a good mother"—is an opinion, but the fact is that Mrs. Kingsley said something. No one can disagree with the fact that she said something.
The sentences in the right column are opinions. People can disagree with them. They may or may not be true.
When you write an opinion paragraph, your topic sentence is an opinion. You can support your topic sentence with both opinions and facts. It is better to use facts, but it is possible to use opinions. Your paragraph will be stronger if you use more facts, however.
Read the model on the next page and study its organization.
In my opinion, capital punishment is wrong. First of all, I believe that it is wrong to kill. Only God has the right to take away life. Human beings should not kill human beings. Even if a criminal has committed horrible crimes, the government does not have the right to execute2 him or her. Second, the threat of going to the electric chair or to the gas chamber does not stop criminals. When people commit a violent crime such as murder, they are not thinking about their punishment. In fact, many murders happen when people are angry. They are not thinking about the consequences of their actions. According to a report in the New York Times, the State of Louisiana executed eight men in nine weeks in the fall of 1987. During that same time period, the murder rate in Mew Orleans rose 16.4 percent. This shows that the threat of capital punishment does not stop crime. The third and most important reason for abolishing3 the death penalty is that the government sometimes makes mistakes and executes innocent people. In fact, this has happened. According to an article in Time magazine, there were twenty-three executions of innocent people in the United States between 1900 and 1991. In my view, this makes the government itself guilty of murder. For these three reasons, I believe that the United States should get rid of capital punishment, which is really just "legal murder."
Capital punishment: the death penalty
2execute: kill legally
3abolishing: getting rid of; canceling questions about the model
Discuss these questions with a partner or with a group.
1. What does the writer say about capital punishment? Where does he say this? Is this a fact or an opinion?
2. How many main reasons does he give? What are the reasons? Are all the reasons facts, or is one or more of them an opinion?
3. Are all the details facts, or is one or more of them an opinion?
Complete the outline for the model paragraph.
1. Criminals don't think about punishment while committing a crime.
Transition Signals for Opinions
When you state an opinion, you should indicate that it is an opinion by using a transition expression.
In my opinion, (sentence).
I believe (that) (sentence).
In my opinion, everyone should be allowed to own a gun. In my view, no one should be allowed to own a gun. I believe that an Infiniti is better than a Lexus. I think a Lexus is better than an Infiniti.
Notice that the first two transitions signals are followed by commas. The second two do not have commas, and you may omit the connecting word that.
To give information from an outside source (a book, a newspaper, another person), use according to with a comma.
According to X, (sentence)
According to Gregory, his mother never wrote to him or sent him birthday cards.
According to Time magazine, violence is increasing in the United States. According to the police, the murder happened at I 1:00 p.m.
H Work by yourself or with a partner.
Transition Signals for Opinions 1 * Draw a circle around the transition signals for opinions in the model paragraph on page 176.
2. Draw a box around the transition signals for giving information from other sources.
Work with a partner.
1. Write an opinion on four different topics. Use a transition signal in every sentence.
2. Then think of at least two supports for your opinion.
3. Finally, show whether each support is a fact or an opinion. Example:
Topic: The minimum age for drinking alcohol in the United States. Opinion: In my opinion, there should be no minimum age for drinking) alcohol. Support: In other countries, there is no minimum age. ( Fact )
Support: Parents, not the government, should decide if their children are mature enough to drink._ ( Opinion )
1. Topic: Smoking in public
2. Topic: Abortion
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