Life skills tip of the week: expressing personal opinions in writing

Posted by on June 17, 2014

Express-Yourself-MEDO-Web-232x300pxAs part of this year’s pragmatics series, we bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself.

The previous language tip looked at ways of being polite.

This week’s tip gives some ways of expressing personal opinions in writing:

In our recent post on ways of giving your opinion we looked at some phrases that are used when saying what you think. Expressing your opinion in writing involves the use of some different expressions. 

In informal writing you can use I think and I believe to say what your opinion is. Phrases such as in my opinion and in my view can also be used to express your opinions explicitly:
I think that a sense of humour is a very important quality.
A partnership can, I believe, be temporary and for a fixed purpose.
In my opinion, America continues to set an example for women around the world.
The most obvious implication of the single market is, in my view, the abolition of trade and customs barriers.

In academic writing and other formal types of writing such as professional reports it is usual to give your opinion implicitly. One way of doing this is by using an impersonal structure:
It is worth noting that some writers on business strategy are well aware of this problem.
It is reasonable to  assume that such changes have significant social and economic effects.
It is essential to have good professional advice and to review your insurance cover from time to time.
It seems that  education is not even essential to happiness.
It would seem that  the date of the invention of the mechanical clock is some time between 1280 and 1300.

You can also use adverbs as a way of giving your opinion, especially when you want to qualify or evaluate the content of your message:
Interestingly, virtually all published studies from around the world have reported similar findings.
Significantly, leading Japanese  computer makers have adopted export strategies similar in some respects to those of the car industry.
There is, surprisingly, still a good deal of uncertainty about whether animals can solve problems of this kind.

You can use the phrase according to when talking about someone else’s opinions, but not when giving your own. Use in my view or in my opinion instead:
According to Freud, our dreams represent our hidden desires.
According to me/to my opinion, women and men are equal.

In my opinion, women and men are equal.

Would you like to learn more about pragmatics? Keep a close eye on our pragmatics page where the fifth of our life skills lesson plans was published last week. For more information about Life Skills, visit the Macmillan Life Skills page.

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