Giving opinions is a very common part of English Communication. In this article there are some useful phrases and strategies that you can use:
There are two important strategies in answering this type of question:
|1. State how strongly you agree/ disagree.||You either:
Strongly Agree/ Disagree. Use adverbs to communicate your commeitment. For example:
I utterly disagree
I totally agree.
I completely disagree.
I absolutely agree.
Or you partially agree (a weak opinion). Use ‘hedging’ phrases to communicate your opinion:
To some extent I agree, but…
It is true to a certain extent, but…
I think it is probably not true.
I am not completely sure about that.
In general I agree with this idea most of the time.
|2. Give reasons for your opinion.||Strong opinions:
You only need to take one side.
Give examples as support.
Tell a story as support.
You need to cover both sides. This is because a weak opinion can see the benefits of both sides. Give examples and tell stories as support.
Let’s look at some sample answers to see how these strategies can be applied:
|Some people think that watching TV is a waste of time. Do you agree?||Strong Opinion:
“I utterly disagree with that. In my opinion, there are some really great programmes on television. For example, children can watch Sesame street or the Muppets. Adults can watch documentaries and other informative shows. What’s more, we have HD, video on demand, and hundreds of channels to choose from at any time. The choice is staggering. No, I do not think watching TV is a waste of time.”
“In general, I think that it is probably true. There are some useful programmes on television, but a lot of it is rubbish. I think it is good to watch a documentary, or an educational programme like Sesame Street, if you have children. The problem is that people spend too much time in front of the TV, and choose music videos or soap operas rather than then the good content. I think that overall the negative outweighs the positive.”
|Some people spend a lot of money to celebrate a wedding. How do you feel about this?||Strong Opinion (agree)
“I completely understand why so much money is spent on weddings. It is one of the most important days of your life. Something that will probably only happen once. Therefore the money is worth investing to give you an everlasting memory. A second reason is to strengthen the standing and reputation of your family. If you hold a lavish wedding, your guests will appreciate the hospitality and have a positive view of your family.”
Strong opinion (disagree)
“I am completely against this attitude. Money is hard to get, and it seems totally foolish just to waste it on one day. The cost of weddings is skyrocketing into the thousands of dollars. In fact, I have heard of families going into debt, just to pay for a wedding. I think it is much better to keep the money and invest it, or use it as a down payment for a home.”
|Do you agree that universities prepare a person well for the world of work?||Weak opinion.
“I am not completely convinced that this is true, but it varies according to the course that you take. The main problem is that a lot of lecturers are still old fashioned, and still like to present theoretical knowledge that cannot be applied to the real world. These complaints have even been raised against supposedly practical courses like an MBA. Having said that, universities are coming under more pressure to be relevant, and have begun to offer more career oriented courses, so I think the trend is changing a little.”
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