Some useful expressions to express your views.
Whether you’re taking an English Speaking exam like FCE, CAE or CPE or using English in the workplace or at university, you will often find yourself having to give an opinion.
Avoid using ‘I think’ again and again by learning some alternative phrases. The video below is part of our ‘5 Minute Functions’ series of videos written for IELTS students but just as useful for you if this is an area you’d like to work at.
Transcript for ‘How to Express an Opinion’
When they’re giving their opinion about an issue, native speakers will use ‘I think’ all the time in conversation, so you shouldn’t be too self-critical if you only use this verb yourself. However, you’ll want to impress the examiner with your breadth of vocabulary in the Speaking exam, so let’s look at some alternatives you might like to learn when giving your opinion. As you’ll see, in many cases there’s nothing to stop you using ‘I think’ with some of these phrases.
And here’s a tip to help you learn them. After each phrase you’ll see a question and hear an example answer. Before moving on to the next phrase, stop the video each time and try giving your own answer to each question.
‘Speaking for myself‘ or ‘Personally speaking‘. Use these phrases to highlight the fact that you’re giving a personal opinion. For example,
‘Do we watch too much TV?’
Speaking for myself, as long as we choose what we watch rather than staring blankly at it all day long, there’s no problem.’
‘In my view‘ or ‘For my part‘. Again, this is used to show you’re giving a personal opinion. For example:
Should we do more as individuals to protect the environment?
In my view I think the government should take the lead and set regulations both for individuals but also companies and industry.
‘As I see it’ or ‘It seems to me‘. Use these phrases to mean ‘As I understand the situation’. For example:
What do you think are the causes of personal debt?
Well, as I see it, some people don’t have enough money to get by and have to borrow to pay bills. Other people might overspend and get into debt that way.
‘As far as I’m concerned‘ or ‘If you ask me‘. We often use these phrases when we’re being slightly critical of a situation or an issue. For example:
Why do people drop litter?
If you ask me it’s simply a lack of concern for other people. They don’t care about the environment we all have to live in.
‘Frankly speaking‘ or ‘To be frank‘. Use phrases like these to give an honest opinion on a subject or issue when your response might be seen as slightly controversial. For example:
Are parents too protective of their children?
Well, to be frank, I think we try to protect them too much. We worry about letting them out of our sight when we should be giving them more independence.
Occasionally, you’ll be asked a question that you really haven’t thought about before or have an opinion of. In his case, use one of these phrases (‘I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other’/’It’s not something I’ve given much thought to‘.) But try no to leave it at that. Give a reason why you haven’t thought about it before or try to imagine what your opinion might be. For example:
Should we be trying to land a man or woman on Mars?
It’s not something I’ve given much thought to actually. I suppose it would be very exciting to see it happen but there are other things we should be spending our money on.
So there are several phrases you can use to give your opinion when responding to questions. Try to use some of them in your speaking practice.