In life we’re often asked to give our opinion, or in some cases, we give our opinion even if it hasn’t been asked for!
Sometimes we can be very direct with our opinion and it won’t upset the other person. However, more often than not we need to be careful how we share our thoughts so as not to offend or hurt the other person’s feelings. This can be especially true in business where cultural differences can have a detrimental effect on business dealings.
The British are especially careful when giving their opinion (in business, that is). They often don’t want to cause offence and consequently, will start their sentences using certain expressions to soften the blow. A number of my clients have said that the British are very polite and considerate in their dealings with colleagues and clients. So much so, that the British way of doing business is often admired.
In this post, I’d like to share with your some common expressions we have of giving one’s opinion. I have used Liz Potter’s excellent article for Macmillan Dictionary’s blog as the main structure and made some changes to it.
1. I think
This is the most common and general way of giving an opinion. You can use it both informally and formally: I think if you offer a consistently good service to your clients, they will keep coming back to you.
This is a more informal way of giving your opinion: I reckon it will be much faster to get to London by train.
3. In my opinion (4) In my view
These expressions are more formal and are often used when talking about important issues：
In my view, they made a huge mistake in not selling the company when they had the chance.
In my opinion, the Bank of England should not raise interest rates this year.
5. It seems to me (6) All things considered
When you’ve thought about a situation carefully you could use either of these two expressions：
It seems to me that they are spending more money than they need to to attract new talent into the company.
All things considered, I think we made a wise choice in recruiting James.
7. If you ask me
This is used when your opinion is critical. Sometimes, people say this even when their opinion hasn’t been asked for! – “If you ask me,…..” “But I didn’t ask you….!”
If you ask me, she has spoilt her children far too much.
8. To be honest (9) To tell you the truth (10) To be frank：
All three expressions are a way of giving your opinion when you know that people may not like what you have to say:
To tell you the truth, your father was right when he said that you undersold the company.
To be honest, I preferred it when you were blonde.
To be frank, I thought her acting was simply terrible.
11. Frankly speaking
You would use this expression to give your opinion in a more familiar and forthright way.
Frankly speaking, I don’t know what she sees in him.
This is used to emphasize that you are giving your own opinion:
Personally, I think the CEO should apologize for his appalling behavior at the shareholders’ meeting.
13. To my mind (14) As far as I’m concerned
When you realize that other people may not agree with you, you would use either of these expressions:
To my mind, private education is better than state education.
As far as I’m concerned, tennis is a much more interesting sport than football.
So there you have it! You have 14 ways to give your opinion in English. Which expressions are you likely to use?