Expressing opinions is an essential language function that all students need to learn. Help your students state their ideas with confidence with these common and not-so-common phrases below.
Below, you’ll also find a speaking practice with some debate topics provided by Janie C
Ways to express your opinion
In my opinion…
I think, I believe…
I am in favour of…
I feel that…
To be for/ against something.
‘She is against animal cruelty.’
I reckon… (informal)
‘I reckon that electric cars will become more popular in the coming years as the price of petrol rises.’
Expressing your opinion in academic writing
In my view…
It seems to be that…
I would argue that…
Expressing your honest opinion
To be honest.
To tell the truth.
‘To tell the truth, I don’t like sushi. I just eat it because all my friends like going to Japanese restaurants.’
Expressing how the situation affects you
From my point of view.
As far as I’m concerned.
‘As far as I’m concerned, the CEO can do what she wants. I’m retiring next year.’
Agreeing and disagreeing
To agree/ disagree (verbs).
‘I agree that climate change is a serious issue.’
To be right/ that’s right.
‘That’s right, we’re having another election this year.’
To come to an agreement.
‘The politicians came to an agreement about the amendment to the law.’
Let’s compromise – when two parties find a middle ground.
The argument does not hold water – a way to say you think a person’s reasoning is bad.
‘The argument that climate change isn’t happening doesn’t hold water. There is more and more evidence every year.’
Let’s agree to disagree – a phrase when two parties cannot come to an agreement but respect each other’s views.
‘Let’s agree to disagree: you think Juventus is the best team in Italy, while I think it’s SSC Napoli.’
Expressing advantages and disadvantages of an argument or task
The advantages and disadvantages
The pros and cons.
‘Explain to me the pros and cons of having a diesel car.’
The plus and minus of a situation.
‘One plus to this job is that you get flexible working hours. A minus is that you have to be in the office every Friday for the weekly meeting.’
The upside (s) and the downside (s).
‘The upside of having a diesel is that it is very efficient with fuel. The downside is that it’s worse for the environment.’
On the other side of the coin – the other side of the argument (not, ‘medal’).
‘Going abroad for our holiday would be great. On the other side of the coin, staying in Italy would be cheaper.’
On the flip side – the other side of the argument.
‘Getting a dog would be a lot of work for our family. On the flip side we would get plenty of exercise.’
The drawback(s) – the disadvantage.
‘A major drawback of having a credit card is that you can easily go into debt.’
Explaining your reasons
Due to + noun
‘The house was badly damaged due to the storm.’
Due to the fact + verb
‘The house was badly damaged due to the fact there was a storm.’
Thanks to + noun (only for positive results).
‘Thanks to new funding, the school was able to build a new gym.’
Since / as + verb
‘Since it’s raining, shall we stay in and have some coffee?’
Therefore + verb
‘We’re saving for a deposit for a house; therefore, we can’t afford a holiday this year.’
When you’re not sure of the facts
From the look of things…
It is understood that…
As far as I know…
‘As far as I know, there are European elections every four years.’
To my knowledge…
‘To my knowledge, it was the ancient Greeks who first invented the idea of democracy.’
Let me give you an example.
‘There are many difficult mountains to climb in Europe. For instance, what about Monte Bianco?’
‘He has written articles about many industries in his career, such as finance, IT, medicine and manufacturing.’
Referencing a source
‘Regarding your report, there were lots of good points but you didn’t go into much detail.’
In relation to.
‘According to the latest figures, Netflix is the world’s most popular streaming service.’
Ask your students to make their case with these debate questions. Encourage them to use the vocabulary you’ve taught them and not just answer the question.
- Should parents be allowed to choose if they want their children vaccinated or not?
- Should public universities be free?
- Should the government be allowed to spy on your activities in the name of counter-terrorism?
- Should countries face sanctions if they continue to pollute using outdated technology such as coal?
- Should very thin or morbidly obese women and men be allowed to feature on the covers of magazines?
‘Why you think you’re right, even if you’re wrong,’ is an 11-minute TED talk talking about perspective.