Imagine yourself in a room full of people, where an important discussion is going on.
Suddenly, someone calls you by name, saying, “So, what’s your opinion about this topic?”
Everyone is silent and turns to stare at you, waiting for a response.
You’re so nervous that you get tongue-tied (unable to speak).
Being unable to express oneself is a common fear among language learners.
But don’t worry! In this post, I’m going to teach you exactly how to overcome this fear with tips for expressing your opinion in English and common phrases to use when doing so.
What Is an Opinion?
An opinion is simply how you feel or think about a certain issue. It’s usually a personal viewpoint based on your experiences.
Being asked to express your opinion shouldn’t be scary, because we express opinions all the time.
Whenever we speak, we’re likely either agreeing or disagreeing with someone, or telling them what we think about something.
Don’t believe me?
Let’s take a look at some of the things we say in our day-to-day conversations.
- I really hate the weather. It’s too hot and humid.
- I like coffee more than tea, thanks.
- I didn’t like the latest Star Wars film. What about you?
- I had a bad day at work.
What do these statements all have in common, apart from being in the first person (I, me, mine)?
They’re all personal opinions.
When telling someone our opinions (especially when using formal English), there’s a certain way we do it in order to sound polite.
It’s important to know how to clearly express your thoughts in an organized way so that no one misunderstands you (or gets offended).
By the end of this post, you’ll be able to confidently and politely express your opinions in English like a native speaker would.
So let’s get started, shall we?
Tips for Expressing Your Opinion in English
Before diving into common phrases, here are some tips that’ll help you express your opinion in English as well as improve your speaking and writing skills.
- Keep a diary to talk about your feelings/opinions. Make it a point to write in your diary every day. You can write about what you did that day, your likes and dislikes or use specific prompts to give you ideas.
- Practice listening to other people’s opinions through real-life videos on FluentU. The best way to master something is to observe how others do it. On FluentU, you can immerse yourself in English culture with videos, songs, news clips and more. Every video is spoken by native English speakers and comes with in-text captions, subtitles and practice quizzes that make lessons fun. You can see if this immersive approach works for you by signing up for a free trial.
- Watch an English movie and write about it. You can talk about what you liked and disliked about the movie in your diary!
- Pick a topic and try talking about it. You can practice expressing your opinion by choosing a topic, setting a timer and speaking about it in front of the mirror. Notice your tone and body language. You can also have discussions or “debates” with your friends. A debate is two or more people agreeing or disagreeing with a topic. You can also find online language partners on apps like HelloTalk or Tandem.
Expressing Your Opinion in English: Speak Your Mind with These Quick Phrases
An opinion usually has three parts:
- An opening phrase or statement that clarifies that it’s your opinion being expressed.
- One or more reasons that explain “why” you have that opinion.
- A conclusion that ends the discussion. It can also ask a question, as we’ll see in other examples.
Let’s take talking about the weather, for example:
I really hate summer weather (opening statement).
It’s hot and humid (reason #1).
It makes me feel tired and unproductive (reason #2).
I don’t feel like working or doing anything much (reason #3).
So I don’t look forward to summer (conclusion).
To express your opinion in English, you can always refer to this three-step guide. The conclusion is something we often skip while speaking, but it’s important when we’re writing our opinions in the form of an essay.
Express Your Personal Opinion with These Phrases
Now let’s focus on making our opening statements stronger and more clear.
The listener should know right away that what you’re telling them…
- Is an opinion.
- Is your opinion.
Thankfully, in English, we have several phrases just for this purpose.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
- In my opinion, the government hasn’t done a good job of handling the healthcare crisis.
- I think we need to study more to pass the test.
- I feel like we aren’t doing enough to help her.
- I believe that we should depend less on technology.
- In my experience, men tend to be more immature than women of the same age.
- What I mean is that he isn’t a good politician and we should vote for someone else.
- If you ask me, he’s a fine actor and I enjoyed watching all the plays he was in.
Express a General Opinion with These Phrases
Sometimes, we share an opinion with someone else (or a group of people). In these cases, it’s common to use third-person pronouns (it, they, everyone and more).
If you want to talk about an opinion shared by others instead of a personal opinion, use the following phrases:
- It seems like the new policy did more harm than good.
- Everyone agrees that she was the worst principal in this school.
- Some think that the movie was brilliant while others find it dull.
- Many believe that aliens have already landed on Earth.
- Everybody knows that movie isn’t going to do well.
- In today’s world, it’s widely accepted that the Earth isn’t flat.
Agree with Someone Using These Phrases
Sometimes, two or more people have the same opinion. In such cases, this is how you express your agreement with them.
- Yes, definitely!
- I feel the same way.
- I agree with you.
- That’s a very valid point.
- I think what you said is true.
- You’re right!
Disagree with Someone Using These Phrases
There may be situations when you disagree with someone on certain topics.
That’s when you have to politely express your disagreement while avoiding an argument or fight.
You have to make the listener realize that while you heard and understood what they said, you don’t agree and have a different opinion.
- I see your point, but…
- That’s a valid point, but…
- But what/how about…
- No offense, but…
- With all due respect…
- Let’s agree to disagree, shall we?
- I understand, but I personally think/feel…
Explain the Reasons for Your Opinion with These Phrases
In several situations, such as in meetings and group discussions, we’re asked to explain our opinions. There are many ways of doing this.
We can simply state or list our reasons (firstly, secondly, thirdly) in a certain way.
- My reasons for quitting the job are being forced to work overtime, poor salary and racist colleagues.
- Firstly, horror movies are scary. Secondly, I don’t believe in ghosts. Thirdly, I can’t sleep after watching scary movies!
We can also use conjunctions (such as because) or other connecting words and phrases to explain our thoughts in a logical manner.
- Moreover, I wasn’t there when they broke up, so it’s none of my business.
- In addition to not liking the taste of seafood, I’m also allergic to it.
- Most importantly, I think my father is a good man.
- Another example of Sheila’s talent is her skill at origami (the Japanese art of paper-folding).
- I miss her for many reasons, but mostly because she was such a nice person to talk to.
Conclude Your Opinion with These Phrases
Finally, you have to sum up your thoughts in the conclusion.
You can repeat the opinion or even ask your listener to share their opinions on the matter, too.
- So, from these reasons, we can conclude that the new policy was a failure.
- To sum up, I think we need a proper investigation.
- In conclusion, she was a very nice person.
- This proves that water is wet.
- What do you think?
- Can you suggest a way to improve this?
- And that’s is why I prefer being a night owl.
Expressing Opinions in English: A Sample Conversation
By now, you have a good idea of how to express your opinion in English.
Let’s look at a sample conversation to better understand how to use the above words and phrases in daily life.
Lily: I think learning a new language has made a huge difference in my life.
Dan: Yes, I agree with you. In my opinion, studying a bit every day has helped me stay on track.
Lily: That’s good, but I don’t think that approach will work for me.
Dan: Really? Why not?
Lily: Because I work two jobs and by the time I get home, I’m too tired to do anything else. I do most of my studying on the weekends when I’m free. But when I have time, I try to watch a film or two with subtitles to have fun and practice my listening skills.
Dan: I understand. We have different learning styles and we lead very different lives. We have to make the best of the time that we have.
Lily: Yes, absolutely!
Well, I hope that made the art of expressing your opinions in English much easier and clearer than before!
You can always follow the three-step guide and practice the common phrases we use when sharing our thoughts and beliefs.
Of course, you’ll make mistakes and that’s an important part of learning. So get some practice, be sincere and try your best. Before you know it, you’ll be a confident and fluent English speaker!
Archita Mittra is a freelance writer, journalist, editor and educator. Feel free to check out her blog or contact her for freelancing/educational inquiries.
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