How to Give Your Opinion: Version 2.0

What's Your Opinion

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A few years ago, I wrote a blog post called, “How to Give Your Opinion” which showed the basics of sharing your thoughts with others.

However, the post was mainly written for a Japanese audience and was just an introduction to the topic of giving opinions.

Today, I’d like to update that post to show some new examples and introduce some other ways that you can give your opinion. This is, “How to Give Your Opinion Version 2.0”.

4 Types of Opinions

In the original post, I only looked at one type of opinion—an opinion with an adjective. In most cases, when you use an adjective, you are making a subjective statement, or in other words, something that comes from your mind. Of course, it is very important to use adjectives in your opinion but there are some other types.

Today, I’d like to introduce the comparison, the suggestion, the personal belief and the prediction.

1. Comparison

This is actually a form of the adjective opinion. As the name suggests, we are going to compare two or more things.

Let’s take a look at an example from the original post:

In my opinion, “The Matrix” is a very exciting movie.

That is a fine opinion on its own.

Now, let’s compare “The Matrix” to another movie. How about, “Die Hard”? Here’s an example of a comparative opinion:

In my opinion, “The Matrix” is more exciting than “Die Hard.”

BOOM! Just like that, you have expressed a very clear opinion. When you compare two things, one will always be more or less than the other which means you are automatically giving an opinion.

Example: “The Matrix” is longer than “Die Hard.”

Because this can be objectively measured by a clock, it is a fact and NOT an opinion.

NOTE: This works if the adjective is subjective. If the adjective can be proven by an external measurement, it is a fact.

Another comparative opinion is using the superlative form. This occurs when you are talking about three or more of something.

Here is an example:

“Lanikai Beach in Hawaii is the most beautiful beach in the world.”

The key adjective is “beautiful.” When you make a statement with a superlative phrase, “the most” or “the –est”, you are making a very clear opinion.

Here is an example dialogue:

Ally: I’m thinking of taking a vacation this summer to a nice beach. Have you been to any good beaches?
Ben: Yes, I’ve been to quite a few. But in my view, Lanikai Beach in Hawaii is the most beautiful beach in the world.
Ally: Oh really? Is it better than the beaches in Mexico?
Ben: Well, I’ve only been to Cancun and I strongly feel that Lanikai is better than Cancun.

In this dialogue, Ally is asking for Ben’s opinion about good beaches for her vacation. Ben gives a very clear opinion by making a superlative statement followed by a comparison.

Action Plan: Choose two items (movies, books, restaurants, sports, etc.) and practice comparing them. Use a variety of adjectives and practice making comparisons until you are very comfortable making comparisons.

2. Suggestion

group-sharing-opinionsA suggestion is a very common type of opinion that I’m sure most of us use quite often. To make it simple, it is usually an action that we believe someone should take. It can be for someone else or it can include yourself as well.

Let’s take a look at an example.

In this case, let’s say Paul is leading a meeting at his company on the topic of cost control. Janet is a colleague who is also attending the meeting.

Paul: As you all know, we need to cut some costs here in the department. I’d like to hear some suggestions. What do you think Janet?
Janet: Well, I think we should stop taking so many business trips. We can just have video conferences over the internet.
Paul: I see. Thank you.

In this example, Janet is clearly making a suggestion by using the phrase:

I think we should…

When it comes to cutting costs, there are several possible actions that they could take. This means that Janet’s suggestion is only one possible action and therefore it is her opinion. The other participants might have different suggestions which would be their own opinions.

Janet uses “we” instead of “you.” Since this is a meeting, any suggestion to cut costs will include everyone, including Janet.

Let’s say that Paul and Janet go out for lunch. When deciding what to order at the restaurant, Janet asks Paul for his suggestions.

Janet: I’m not sure what to order for lunch. Do you have any suggestions?
Paul: Well, I think you should order the chicken sandwich. It’s really tasty and I think you’d like it.
Janet: That sounds really good. I think I’ll try it!
Paul: Great!

Again, in this example, Paul could have suggested any item on the menu. It is his own opinion because he chose one item and gave a reason for why he chose it.

Paul uses “you” instead of “we” because he is not included in the suggestion. He is only trying to help Janet.

Suggestions are a very common and natural way of sharing your opinion. Try the following Action Plan to develop your skills.

Action Plan: Think of an important person in your life (friend, family member, co-worker, etc.) and brainstorm some ways that you could help them. Write down ten of your ideas with “I think you should…” or “I think we should…” and if you feel comfortable, practice sharing them with that person.

3. Personal Belief

A personal belief is an idea that you hold as an individual. The idea or concept is true to YOU regardless of other people’s beliefs and possibly any other data or evidence. Here’s an example:

I believe that animals should have the same rights as humans.

In this example, there may not be any immediate or clear way to determine the truth value of this idea. How can we determine whether animals should have the same rights as humans? At the very least, it’s not clear without some more thought and research.

However, regardless of that, the speaker believes it to be true within himself/herself. This is a personal belief and therefore an opinion.

To state a personal belief, of course you can simply say,

I believe that…

You can adjust the level of strength in your opinion as well. To make it stronger, you can say,

I firmly believe that…
I strongly believe that…

To make it weaker, you can say,

I kind of believe that…
It seems to me that…

Let’s look at an example conversation with two people who are sharing their personal beliefs. In this conversation, Melissa and Richard share their views on taxes.

Melissa: I hate filing my income taxes!
Richard: Yeah, but we all have to do it.
Melissa: That’s true, but I don’t think it’s right. I believe that we should get to keep all of our salary.
Richard: I understand your point. But it seems to me that it’s our duty to contribute to society.

Melissa and Richard have very different beliefs about income tax and they are able to share them by stating opinions.

Action Plan: Make a list of some of the important news and political topics that exist in your area. Then, take 2 or 3 and write down your personal belief about each one. If you feel confident, share it with a good friend or even in the “Comments” section below!

4. Prediction

A prediction is basically when you make a guess about the future. For example, like guessing what the weather will be like tomorrow or guessing who the next president of the United States will be.

In my opinion, Hillary Clinton has a good chance to become the next president.

Since no one knows what will happen in the future for sure, there is no way to prove a prediction to be true or false. Therefore, it is an opinion.

Here are some other phrases you can use to make a prediction:

In my opinion,…
The way I see it,…
I predict that…

Here’s how it may look in a natural conversation:

Tom: Hey Jen, do you like soccer?
Jen: Yes, actually I’m a big fan! I used to play when I was in college.
Tom: Really? That’s great! I’m not sure why it’s not that popular to watch in America though.
Jen: Well, now that famous players like Beckham and Henry are playing in the U.S. I predict that soccer will become more popular here in a few years.
Tom: That will be interesting to see. The way I see it, soccer will continue to have a hard time growing in the U.S. because it has to compete against American football and basketball.

In this conversation, we see both Jen and Tom make predictions about the future of soccer in the U.S. Since we don’t know what will happen in the future, both predictions are their own opinions.

Action Plan: Think of a topic that you are interested in. Make a prediction how that topic will change over the next year. Use a phrase we’ve learned and write down one or two sentences to express your opinion about it.

Bottom Line

We have gone over 4 types of opinions today:

  • Comparison
  • Suggestion
  • Personal Belief
  • Prediction

It is a very valuable skill to be able to share your thoughts and ideas with others. When you make one of the statements above, it is also a good idea to provide a reason or example to help support your opinion. We will look at that more closely in a future post.

For now, go out and share your opinions with your family and friends! It will make your conversations more enjoyable and rewarding!

Question: What do you think about the future of English? Do you think English will continue to be the global language in the future? Or will it be something else?

Share your opinions below!

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