Top Tips for IELTS

More opinion vocabulary in speaking

This video lesson gives you some very useful opinion vocabulary for IELTS speaking. There are two main ideas

vary your vocabulary – do not say I think all the time
think about meaning – not all opinions are the same – some are weak and others stronger

opinion vocabulary

Seeing the problem

The problem is the word “think”.

It is a very common word and we do use it lots but if you use all the time, you are not showing range of vocabulary. You need some variation.

Opinion vocabulary – when do you need it?

In all the parts of the speaking test. You should note that you can give an opinion even when the question doesn’t say “think”. Look at this quick examples to see different ways you might need to use opinion vocabulary in IELTS speaking

part 1

Sometimes you are asked for your opinion directly

Eg Do you think your job is important?

Sometimes you are asked about your likes and dislikes and you can use opinion vocabulary to explain why you like something as you expand your answer:

Eg Do you prefer to travel by train or car?

part 2

Eg Talk about your favourite teacher

This can include saying why you think that person was a good teacher

part 3

Eg How will education change in the future?

Here you are being asked to speculate about the future. This can involve using personal opinion words such as I imagine and also modal verbs and adverbs such as will undoubtedly

you can use opinion vocabulary even when the question doesn’t ask “what do you think?”

Video – some variations of I think

Take a look at this video. In it I show some basic variations of “I think” for

  1. personal opinions
  2. strong opinions
  3. weak opinions
  4. using adverbs

You’ll find more ideas and words further down the lesson.

The opinion vocabulary

giving personal opinions

I’d say

As I see it

If you ask me

From my point of view

In my opinion

Personally speaking

My view is

The way I see it is 

I believe

My belief is

giving strong opinions

I’m sure 

I’m certain 

I’m convinced

I’m positive

Note that you can make these stronger by adding adverbs such as perfectly, absolutely and quite

I’m perfectly sure

I’m quite certain

I’m absolutely convinced

You can also weaken them with adverbs such as fairly and reasonably

I’m reasonably sure 

I’m fairly certain

giving weaker opinions

I guess 

I suppose

I imagine

I reckon

I doubt

adverbs of probability

These words also help you to make your opinions clear. If you say “perhaps” for example you are showing a weak opinion.




of course 

modal verbs of probability 

These are words such as may and might. They work in the same way as the adverbs above. If you say something may happen, you are giving an opinion about it’s probability





longer phrases using fact, doubt and true

Sometimes when we speak we use longer phrases to give opinions. Key words here include factdoubt and truth. These phrases express stronger opinions

There’s not a doubt in my mind that

There’s no doubt that

It’s unquestionably true

The truth of the matter is

The fact is

Some idioms for when you don’t know what to say

These idioms are also useful as opinion vocabulary. They work for when you don’t know what to think!

I’m in two minds about this = you are uncertain about two options

I don’t have a clue about.. = you don’t know what to say at all

It’s hard to say = you are uncertain


Having the words and phrases is good but how can you learn to use them? In my regular classes, I do something very simple: I tell my students that they are not allowed to think. The word “think” is banned and they have to use other words instead: it works very well.

If you are working alone, you can try something similar.

IELTS version

Go to my speaking questions pages look for questions that ask for opinions and then give your opinion in as many different ways as possible without saying I think:

part 1 questions

[I’ll be updating these questions shortly]

General English version

  • Go to Words in the News,
  • Read a story that looks interesting to you
  • Then say what you think about it
  • The one rule is you can’t use the word think

It may take a little time, but not too much normally. If you do practise enough like this, you will find that these opinion words come naturally to you without “thinking”. Try it.

Get more help with speaking


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13 Responses to More opinion vocabulary in speaking

  1. C.R. Nurdin February 3, 2010 at 2:02 am #

    So, writing is easy and nice. Thank you very much.

  2. julia robert April 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    Helpful information…Keep it up.

  3. Ghayour April 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    Thank you for your such excellent job or providing all most important information provided by you. thank you once again it is very helpful I hope that you can do more and more.

  4. vava August 27, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    thank you~~~””In my Opinion”” ~~~~~~ lol 🙂

  5. vocabexperts December 14, 2010 at 9:37 am #

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  6. jimmy July 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    All of your posts are great but gotta say this ”opinion vocabulary” one is THE BEST. coz its so simple and as you previously said in other post ” SOMETIMES THE SIMPLE THINGS ARE BEST ”

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