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summary

- Expressing opinion (personal & general)
- Checking if they understand
- Explaining things better
- Asking for an opinion
- Agreeing
- Protesting politely
- Protesting rudely
- Disagreeing politely
- Showing empathy before disagreeing
- Disagreeing in a rude way (colloquial)
- Agreeing strongly (colloquial)


Conversation topics to practise


Sample conversations

- Formal
- Informal

Level: Level: Medium

Expressing opinions

When we are negotiating, expressing opinions or simply chatting with a friend, we often have to agree or disagree with the other person. Also, we don’t want to make a fight out of this, so we must know how to show empathy with different opinions and also disagree without sounding aggressive. It is very difficult to convince when they think you are attacking. We need to express our opinions and, at the same time, show that we are listening, understanding and appreciating the other opinions. If they feel comfortable, they will be more open to our ideas, opinions or suggestions. Here are different ways of doing so in a conversation.

Tip: It is always a good idea to justify your opinions. Don’t just say 'I agree' or 'I disagree', but say 'I agree because I think that ... (explain your reason)', etc.


Use these lists as a reference, don't try to memorize them. Practise dialogues with another student and try to use expressions from here, you will slowly get familiar with them.

EXPRESSING OPINION

Personal:
     In my opinion...
     In my experience...
     Speaking for myself...
     Personally, I think...
     I (strongly) believe that...
     I really feel that...
     If you ask me...
General:
     Some people say that...
     Many/Most people think/believe that...
     Everybody knows that...
     According to scientists...
     The thing is that...
     The point is that...

CHECKING IF THEY UNDERSTAND

     Do you know what I mean?
     Does it make sense?
     I don’t know if I’m explaining it correctly.

EXPLAINING THINGS BETTER

     What I mean is...
     What I’m trying to say is that...

ASKING FOR AN OPINION

     What’s your idea (on...)?
     What do you think about it?
     Do you agree with that?
     Is that what you think?
     Have you got an opinion about it?
     How do you feel about it?
     Do you have anything to say about it?
     And you? What do you think?
     Is that right?

AGREEING

     Of course
     You’re absolutely right
     Yes, I agree.
     I think so too.
     That’s a (very) good point.
     Oh yes, that’s right.
     Exactly.
     I don’t think so either.
     That’s true.
     That’s just what I was thinking.
     I couldn’t agree more.
     That’s exactly what I think.
     I think you’re right.
     I hear you.
     Yes, me too / me neither.

PROTESTING POLITELY

     That’s not what I mean/said.
     No, what I’m trying to say is that...
     You got me wrong.
     I’m probably not making myself very clear.
     That’s not exactly what I was trying to say.

PROTESTING RUDELY

     You’re not listening, are you?
     Did you hear a word I said?
     Can you understand what I say?
     But who said that?

DISAGREEING POLITELY

     I see, but that’s different.
     Sorry, I don’t agree with you.
     I don’t see it that way.
     That’s not entirely true.
     That’s partly true but...
     I see your point but...
     I’m sorry to disagree with you but...
     Yes, but don’t you think...?
     I think that’s not the same thing at all.
     On the contrary...
     Well, I’m not so sure about that.
     Sorry, I think that’s wrong.
     Yeah, but the problem is that...
     Well, I think it’s not as simple as that.

SHOWING EMPATHY BEFORE DISAGREEING

     Yes, I agree with you but...
     I can see your point, but...
     That’s very true, but...
     Of course, you’re right, but...
     I know what you mean but...
     I can understand that but...
     Well, that sounds very good but...
     I partly agree, but...
     Yeah, that’s true, but on the other hand...
     You could be right but I think that...
     You are probably right but...

DISAGREEING IN A RUDE WAY (colloquial)

     Are you crazy or what?
     You must be kidding, right?
     I can’t believe you’re saying that.
     No way!
     I can’t buy that.
     You can’t be serious.
     How can you even say that?
     I think you’re totally wrong.
     Oh, come on, where’s your logic?
     That doesn’t make any sense.
     Absolutely wrong.
     That’s totally B.S.   (=bullshit)

AGREEING STRONGLY
(colloquial)

     Oh yea, you said it.
     But of course!
     Who can disagree with that?
     Now you’re talking.
     Yes, yes, that’s the point!
     I totally agree with you
     You’re so very right!
     You’re reading my mind.


ACTUALLY

In English, this word is very important, and very common, when you want to disagree politely or when you want to correct without offending. Let's see a few examples:

- They want to start using uniforms in my son's school. What a stupid thing!
- Well, actually I think it's a good idea. Social differences won't be so obvious then.

- They're going to build a motorway through New Forest, that's a disaster!
- Actually, it's not through New Forest but around it.
- Oh, that's quite different then.


PRACTICE TOPICS


If you have somebody to practise, you can use this list of topics:

University should be free
We should build more nuclear power stations
Dogs are better pets than cats
Television is increasing violence in our society
Alcohol should be illegal
Spring is much nicer than autumn
A weekend in the mountains is better than on the beach
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Females are better students than males
When learning English, listening is more difficult than speaking
Summer is the best season of the year
Secondary school students should wear uniform
People should be older than 20 to have a driving license
Everybody should go to university



SAMPLE CONVERSATIONS

FORMAL

- The city council is going to build a new parking site under the park over there.
- Oh no, why are they going to do that? It’s terrible.
- You think so? I think it’s a very good idea, actually.
- On the contrary, I think it’s a disaster.
- A disaster? I think we need more parking sites.
- Well, I agree with that, but not under the park.
- Why not? It’s the best place.
- Do you think so? I totally disagree. Why the park?
- Well, you need a big open space for that.
- I see your point, but don’t you think trees are more important than cars?
- Of course I agree, but we all have cars, and we need a place to park them.
- Yes, that’s right. But they can do it near the station.
- Oh no, that’s too far away, we need a parking site in this area.
- Well, that’s true, but maybe walking a bit wouldn’t hurt anyone.
- A bit? The station is at least 10 minutes away. Just imagine, on a rainy day...
- You could be right, but I still think trees are more important than cars.
- You’ve got a point there, but maybe they can plant trees near the station instead.
- Oh, that sounds very good, but we’re talking about very old and big trees.
- Yes, but we have to choose, don’t we? We can’t have everything.
- Yeah, I suppose you’re right, but still, I think it’s a very bad idea.

INFORMAL

- Man, did you hear that? They’re gonna build a parking site under the park over there.
- Are you serious? But that’s crazy, why do they want to do that?
- Why? Well, because there are too many cars in the area. We need more parking space.
- Nonsense! What we need is more trees. Cars should disappear.
- You can’t be serious.
- Yes, I am. They pollute and are too noisy and...
- Come on, man, that’s all B.S. Do you think you could live without a car today?
- Of course I could.
- Oh, come on, where’s your logic? How would you go to work?
- Obviously, I would work near home, and not an hour away. Or I could take the bus.
- Yea, I know what you mean, but we use the car for so many things.
- That’s very true, but we could always find other alternatives.
- Such as...?
- Such as coaches, trains, etc.
- You must be kidding, right? We don’t even have a train here, and coaches don’t go everywhere.
- Yes, you have a point there, but if we didn’t have cars, we would have more and better public transport.
- Yes, I agree. But still, having a car is so comfortable.
- Of course it is, I know. But we can’t have everything, can we?
- Exactly. That’s what I think. We can’t have everything, so I prefer having a car.
- Oh man, you’re impossible.
- I know :)

 
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