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Life skills tip of the week: giving your opinion

Macmillan Life Skills: language is a life skillLearning about pragmatics and how to express yourself successfully is a useful life skillsaid Michael Rundell in January when he introduced the new pragmatics series on Macmillan Dictionary. The series is part of the Macmillan Life Skills campaign, offering free resources for English language students and teachers each month.

As part of the series, we’ll bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself.

This week’s language tip helps with ways of giving your opinion:

I think: the most usual and general way of giving your opinion:
I think if you work hard you’ll do very well in the exam.

I reckon: a more informal way of giving your opinion:
It’ll be cheaper to take the plane, I reckon.

In my opinion/In my view: a more formal way of giving your opinion:
In my view, it was a big mistake not to try to buy the company last year.

It seems to me/All things considered: used for giving your opinion when you have thought carefully about a situation:
It seems to me that John’s plans for the website are very convincing.
All things considered, I think we were wise to cancel our flights.

If you ask me: used for giving an often critical opinion:
If you ask me, both Paul and Simon are being extremely immature.

To be honest/To tell you the truth/To be frank: a way of giving your opinion when you know that that people may not like what you say:
To tell you the truth/To be honest/To be frank, I thought the show was pretty awful.

Personally: used for emphasizing that you are giving your own opinion:
Personally, I think you should apologize to your brother.

To my mind/As far as I’m concerned: used for giving your own opinion, when you realize that other people may not agree with you:
To my mind, the way she behaved was inconsiderate.
As far as I’m concerned, tennis is a much more interesting sport than football.

Would you like to learn more about pragmatics? Keep a close eye on our pragmatics page; we’ll publish the fifth life skills lesson plan next week. For more information about Life Skills, visit the Macmillan Life Skills page.

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  • If I were in your shoes(could be in your place?) is also a common way to give an opinion, or should be reserved to more close friends and only when asked to.?

  • This is a nice expression Sergio. As you suggest, its direct use should probably be kept for people you know well and/or who have asked for your advice; but you can also use it to give your opinion about what other people should do. Here are some examples from the enTenTen corpus:

    If I were in your shoes, I would probably donate a large part, if not all, of it to [a charity].
    If i were in your shoes, i would apologise to him.
    If I were in his shoes — I would not contest this election.
    Note that you can also say “If I was…”
    If I was in your shoes, I would let the issue go now that he’s already been reprimanded.

    “In someone’s shoes” is also used more generally to talk about the situation that someone is in:
    This contest puts college students in the shoes of aerospace industry engineers.
    Put yourself in her shoes – you’re taking part in a historic process which could get you killed.
    Approximately one year ago I was in your shoes.
    Boy I’m glad I’m not in your shoes.

    “If I were in your place” means the same but is less frequent.

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