This video lesson gives you some very useful opinion vocabulary for IELTS speaking. There are two main ideas
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
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?
Eg Talk about your favourite teacher
This can include saying why you think that person was a good teacher
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
Video – some variations of I think
Take a look at this video. In it I show some basic variations of “I think” for
- personal opinions
- strong opinions
- weak opinions
- using adverbs
You’ll find more ideas and words further down the lesson.
The opinion vocabulary
giving personal opinions
As I see it
If you ask me
From my point of view
In my opinion
My view is
The way I see it is
My belief is
giving strong opinions
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
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.
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 fact, doubt 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.
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:
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