Whether you are speaking or writing, it is important to learn how to express your opinion on different subjects. If you are thinking about taking an international exam, for example, this could be particularly helpful, since you will be asked to write an essay or record your voice expressing your opinions on a given topic.
Here’s a conversation where two people give their opinion on the police and the use of body cameras, they agree and disagree with each other’s opinions, used expressions for persuading and clarify what was said.
Listen to the audio and identify the new expressions being used in conversation.
A: In my honest opinion cops shouldn’t be able to turn their cameras on and off.
B: Why do you think so?
A: Everybody has seen cases of police brutality and racial discrimination on social media. Many police officers use excess force when they arrest people, so it’s my belief that if their cameras are always on, they would be more accountable for their actions.
B: That may be true but some citizens are also concerned about privacy. Innocent bystanders, including minors, may be videotaped without knowing it. Can you see where I’m coming from?
A: I see your point but, from where I look at it, the police would be more accountable for their conduct if they wear body cameras at all times and I honestly think that’s the biggest concern for citizens, not being videotaped.
B: Put yourself in the shoes of a civilian that may be inadequately dressed or recorded at a location where an officer is rolling the cameras. Don’t you think we have the right to privacy?
A: So, let me get this straight, you think that officers shouldn’t wear body cameras at all, right? Is that way you’re saying?
B: You misunderstood what I said. It’s not black and white, I’m just saying being recorded when you are not aware of it is unfair on civilians.
A: Yeah, I agree with you there but a video footage could be used to solve a crime, maybe in court to back up somebody’s testimony, nobody would be looking at the civilian who wasn’t properly dressed.
B: I guess you’re right.
Why is expressing your opinion important when learning English?
As you can see, A and B disagree on whether the police should wear body cameras and have them on at all times. They, however, have a civilized conversation about it and debated this topic with useful expressions to express their opinions in a strong, assertive way without hurting the other person’s feelings. The ability to express yourself and defend your points of view using proper language is valued highly in conversation and can turn you into a great conversationalist! which is why I recommend learning at least a couple of expressions from each of the categories above (to give an opinion, to agree and disagree, to persuade, to clarify a point, to interrupt someone, etc) to incorporate to your conversations and debates.
More often than not I hear students using the worn-out expressions “in my opinion” or “I think”, but today I want to challenge you to stop using those expressions and start using expressions like In my honest opinion…, It is my belief that…, As far as I am concerned…, To my understanding… These expressions are more advanced and will surely give you extra points in an international exam when you are asked to give your opinion on a given subject.
Do you want to be ready to use these expression in English class? Download and print the document below and have it on hand when doing speaking activities.
How do I practice using these expressions?
You can practice with a classmate, a friend who is interested in improving his/her language skills or you can do it like we do it at WeSpeak Idiomas, in our conversation workshop 🙂 Whichever way you choose, just keep practicing!
Click on the video below to watch a segment of one of our live classes where we discuss this very same topic.