IELTS & TOEFL - How to give your opinion

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Hello everyone. My name is Emma, and in today's lesson we are going to look at ways to give

your opinion. So this video is very useful for anyone who will be writing the IELTS exam,

the TOEFL exam, as well as anyone who wants to become a better speaker or a better writer.

Okay, so in this video we will first look at some common expressions we use to give

our opinion, and we will look at ways to strengthen these expressions to make them stronger and

to show that we feel very strongly or not so strong about something.

Okay, so let's begin. I have here the most common way to give your opinion: "I think…"

So why do I have an "x" here? Well the problem is students overuse "I think…" "I think

this, I think that, I think this, I think that." It gets very boring. And so if you're

doing the TOEFL or the IELTS, the problem with using "I think…" is you're going to

get a lower mark because that's considered basic English usage. So in order to get a

higher mark or if you're just interested in becoming a better speaker or writer, I've

listed some expressions that will really help aid you in expressing your opinion. So let's

look at some other expressions you can use. And these all pretty much mean "I think…"

So the first expression: "As far as I'm concerned," okay? "As far as I'm concerned,…". Okay,

one question you often get on IELTS, on TOEFL is: "Should boys and girls go to the same

school or should they go to different schools?" What I could say or I could write: "As far

as I'm concerned, boys and girls should go to separate schools." Okay? One thing that's

important to note: there's a comma. "As far as I'm concerned," and then you write your

opinion. Okay? Our next expression: "In my opinion,…" This

is better than "I think" — it's still a bit overused though. So I would recommend using

some of these other expressions. But "In my opinion,…" is still okay to use, just don't

use it too often. "In my opinion, in my opinion," — I guess if we use the same example as before

— , "boys and girls should go to separate schools." Okay?

Our next expression, again, it means the same thing as "I think…", it's just a nicer way

to say it. I've given you two options. You can say: "It seems to me that…" or "It appears

to me that…" These are excellent to use in writing. So if you're doing the TOEFL essay

where you give your opinion on something, agree or disagree essay, or the IELTS essay

this is a good one to use. One question that's often asked in the TOEFL

and I think also the IELTS: "Do parents make the best teachers? Do you agree or disagree?"

So I could say: "It seems to me that parents do make the best teachers.", "It seems to

me that parents do not make the best teachers." Notice one other thing about this expression,

whereas we have a comma here and here, "It seems to me that…" there's no comma. Okay?

So any time we have "that", you don't have to worry about a comma.

Okay, our next expression: "I would argue that…" So again, we have "that", no comma.

"I would argue that the death penalty is not a good form of punishment." Often times, the

TOEFL may ask you if you agree or disagree with the death penalty. You could use: "I

would argue that the death penalty is the best way to deal with criminals." So it all

depends on your opinion, but you can either agree or disagree with this statement.

Another way to say "I think…": "From my point of view," or "From my perspective,"

Okay? Notice we have a comma for both of these. "From my point of view," okay, so now I'm

not going to use an IELTS or TOEFL example, I'm going to use a superhero example. "From

my point of view, Cyclops is a horrible superhero." So again, just for anyone who likes to argue,

this is a good one to use. The last one is a very high formal way of

saying your opinion. "I am inclined to believe that…" So you wouldn't use this with your

friends. If you have an argument with your friends, maybe you're talking about the best

place to live in the world or the best place to travel to, if you said: "I'm inclined to

believe that France is a great place to visit." Your friends would find your language too

formal. But you can use this in writing, in formal writing. If you're writing the TOEFL

or the IELTS, you can use this expression. And again, at the end we have "that", we don't

have a comma. Okay? So be aware that if you use any of these expressions with "that",

when you write them you do not need a comma whereas for the other ones that don't have

"that", use a comma and then write if you agree, or disagree, or what you think.

Okay, so now we're going to look at some commonly spoken expressions. These were written expressions

or you can speak them — , now we're just going to look at some spoken expressions.

Okay, so in the IELTS there is a speaking section where you talk to an examiner and

what they're looking for is normal language use. So they want you to use everyday language,

everyday expressions when you speak and give your opinion. They don't really want you to

use very high academic, high level, pompous language; I don't know a better way to put

it. They don't want you to use complicated language. They want you to use everyday language

when you talk to the examiner. So I have here four expressions. So whether

you want to improve your speaking and become a better conversationalist with your friends

or do well on the IELTS speaking section, these four expressions are really good for

giving your opinion when you say it, not when you write it.

So the first one I have: "If you ask me, _______." "If you ask me,

Star Trek is better than Star Wars." Now of course that's not an academic example; they

would never ask anything like that on the IELTS. They'd probably ask you: "Do you think

books are better than movies?" Or "Do you think living in a city is better than living in a town?"

Another way to give your opinion: "To be honest, _______."

-"To be honest, I think living in a city is better than living in a small town."

-"Personally speaking, I think city life has more to offer than country life."

-"From what I gather, people enjoy living in a city more than they enjoy living in the

country." Okay? So these are all just spoken ways to

give your opinion.

Okay, another way to score high on both the TOEFL and the IELTS, this has to do with both

the written section and the speaking section, is to show contrast with other people's opinions.

Okay? So instead of just saying: "I think that this is good because…", "I think that

is horrible because…" A better thing to do is contrast your opinion with other people's

opinions who you disagree with. So you may say something like: "Some people may disagree

with me, but as far as I'm concernedAs far as I'm concerned…" — what's a good example?

— "Travelling by car is better than travelling by airplane." Okay?

And when you contrast, words that they'll be looking for that will help boost your mark:

"although", "even though". So these are contrast words that can really help you in writing.

So you could say: "Although some people may disagree with me," — you get rid of the "but"

if you use one of these two words. — "Although some people may disagree with me, as far as

I'm concerned watching Lord of the Rings, all three episodes back-to-back is a bad idea.",

"Even though some people may think that making a lot of money is great, I think that there

are other important things to life."

So these are just various opinions. They ask you all sorts of different things on the IELTS

and the TOEFL. But if you can use "although", "even though"… and it's two parts. So the

first part is what other people think, comma if you're writing this, and then you have

an opinion expression: "as far as I'm concerned…", "in my opinion…", "I believe…" and then

you say what you think. So this will really help your IELTS or TOEFL mark.

So sometimes when you're asked your opinion, people want to know if you agree or disagree

with a statement, and they want to know: how much do you agree or disagree? So one question

you will often see on IELTS or TOEFL, they'll say a statement, so for example: "Do you think

people with more money are more successful in life?", "To what extent…" — or sorry,

they'll say: "People in life with more money are more successful." So they'll say a statement,

and then they'll ask: "To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?"

It's a very common essay question in both the TOEFL and IELTS.

So what we're going to look at now is: how can we add a degree to our answer for our

opinion? Okay? So where you see the blue: "somewhat", "partially", "I suppose I _______",

I'll go over those in a minute, but these are all ways to say: "Uh, I kind of agree."

So you're not strong in what you're saying; you're kind of on the fence. Whereas if you

see this red line: "I am confident that…", "absolutely", "totally", "strongly", "completely",

this section is when you're very sure of your opinion; you feel very strongly about something.

Okay? So let me give you some examples. So the example I just gave: "People with more

money are more successful. Do you agree or disagree, and to what extent do you agree

or disagree?" So what I could say is: "I somewhat agree." Meaning not 100%, but I agree a little

bit; I somewhat agree. "I partially agree." Could also say: "I suppose I agree with that

statement." "I suppose I agree that people with more money are more successful." But

again, this shows you're not 100% sure.

Whereas if I say: "I am confident that people with more money are more successful." It means

you're sure. "I absolutely agree that people with more money are more successful." In this

case, with "absolutely", you probably wouldn't write this, but this is a good thing to say

to maybe an IELTS speaker. Same with "totally" — it's not formal English, you wouldn't use

this in an essay, but in speech you might say: "I totally agree with that statement."

"Strongly" can be used in an essay. "I strongly agree that teachers are very important to

the education system." "Completely", again, like "totally" and "absolutely" isyou

wouldn't use it in academic writing so much. You would use it in speech if in the IELTS

exam somebody asked you your opinion, you might use "completely", "totally", or "absolutely".

So the reason I'm telling you that these are goodyou can get higher marks on both the

TOEFL and the IELTS if you add a degree to your opinion. So instead of just saying: "I

think…" it's good to use one of the expressions I taught you. "As far as I'm concerned,",

"If you ask me," these are all great expressions, as well as it's good to give a degree to the

expression. -"How much do you agree?" -"Strongly", "Somewhat", "Completely". Okay? So if you

ask me, anyone who uses these tips, they are going to improve their mark for the IELTS

and the TOEFL. I am confident of that.

If you want practice to make sure that you understand these expressions and can use them

correctly in a sentence, come visit our website at www.engvid.com. Okay? Until next time,

good luck and take care.

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