English Usage Topics > Opinions
People often use expressions that show their attitude to what they are saying.
If you want to show how certain you are that what you are saying is true, you can use a modal:
There are many adverbs which are used to show your attitude to what you are saying. These adverbs, which are sometimes called sentence adverbials, are explained below. Most of them are usually put first in a clause. They can also come at the end of a clause, or within a clause.
Showing type of opinion
There are many sentence adverbials that you can use to show your opinion of the fact or event you are talking about, for example whether you think it is surprising or is a good thing or not. The following adverbs are commonly used in this way:
- of course
Luckily, I had seen the play before so I knew what it was about.
It is fortunately not a bad bump, and Henry is only slightly hurt.
A small number of adverbs are often used in front of enough.
Funnily enough, lots of people seem to love bingo.
Interestingly enough, this proportion has not increased.
You can show what you think of someone's action using one of the following adverbs:
She very kindly arranged a beautiful lunch.
Paul Gayner is rightly famed for his menu for vegetarians.
Foolishly, we had said we would do the decorating.
These adverbs typically come after the subject or the first auxiliary of the clause. They can be put in other positions for emphasis.
You can use one of the following adverbials to show that you are making a general, basic, or approximate statement:
- all in all
- all things considered
- as a rule
- at a rough estimate
- by and large
- for the most part
- in essence
- in general
- on average
- on balance
- on the whole
Basically, the more craters a surface has, the older it is.
I think on the whole we did a good job.
You can also use the expressions broadly speaking, generally speaking, and roughly speaking.
We are all, broadly speaking, in favour of the idea.
Roughly speaking, the problem appears to be confined to the tropics.
You can use one of the following adverbials to show that your statement is not completely true, or only true in some ways:
- in a manner of speaking
- in a way
- in effect
- more or less
- so to speak
- to all intents and purposes
- to some extent
- up to a point
It was almost a relief when the race was over.
In a way I liked her better than Mark.
Rats eat practically anything.
Almost, practically, and virtually are not used at the beginning of a clause, unless they relate to a subject beginning with a word like all, any, or every.
Practically all schools make pupils take examinations.
Showing degree of certainty
You can show how certain or definite you are about what you are saying by using one of the following adverbials. They are arranged from 'least certain' to 'most certain'.
- perhaps, maybe
- almost certainly
- no doubt, doubtless, undoubtedly
- definitely, surely
She is probably right.
Perhaps they looked in the wrong place.
He knew that if he didn't study, he would surely fail.
Maybe is normally used at the beginning of a sentence.
Maybe you ought to try a different approach.
Definitely is hardly ever used at the beginning of a sentence.
I'm definitely going to get in touch with these people.
You can imply that you do not have personal knowledge of something, or responsibility for it, by using it seems that or it appears that.
I'm so sorry. It seems that we're fully booked tonight.
It appears that he followed my advice.
You can also use the adverb apparently.
Apparently they had a row.
Showing that something is obvious
You can use the following adverbials to show that you think it is obvious that what you are saying is right:
- of course
Obviously I can't do the whole lot myself.
Price, of course, is a critical factor.
You can emphasize the truth of your statement using the following adverbials:
- believe me
I was so bored I actually fell asleep.
Believe me, if you get robbed, the best thing to do is forget about it.
I don't mind, honestly.
I really am sorry.
Use indeed at the end of a clause only when you have used very in front of an adjective or adverb.
I think she is a very stupid person indeed.
You can use exactly, just, and precisely to emphasize the correctness of your statement.
They'd always treated her exactly as if she were their own daughter.
I know just how you feel.
It is precisely his originality that makes his work unpopular.
Showing personal opinion
If you want to emphasize that you are expressing an opinion, you can use one of the following adverbials:
- as far as I'm concerned
- for my money (informal)
- in my opinion
- in my view
- to my mind
The city itself is brilliant. For my money, it's better than Manchester.
In my opinion it was probably a mistake.
There hasn't, in my view, been enough research done on mob violence.
Personally, I don't think we should hire him.
She succeeded, to my mind, in living up to her legend.
As far as I'm concerned, it would be a moral duty.
You can show that you are making an honest statement using frankly or in all honesty.
Frankly, the more I hear about him, the less I like him.
In all honesty, I would prefer to stay at home.
Another way of showing this is to use to be followed by frank, honest, or truthful.
I don't really know, to be honest.
To be perfectly honest, he was a tiny bit frightened of them.
'How do you rate him as a photographer?' – 'Not particularly highly, to be frank.'
These types of adverbial often act as a kind of warning or apology that you are going to say something rather impolite or controversial.
Showing form of statement
You can use to put it followed by an adverb to draw attention to the fact that you are making your statement in a particular way.
To put it crudely, all unions have got the responsibility of looking after their members.
Other social classes, to put it simply, are either not there or are only in process of formation.
You can use to put it mildly or to say the least to show that what you are saying is an understatement.
Most students have, to put it mildly, concerns about the plans.
The history of these decisions is, to say the least, worrying.
Explicitly labelling a thought
You can use I with a verb that refers to having an opinion or belief in order to show how strongly you hold an opinion. If you just say I think or I reckon, this often has the effect of softening your statement and making it less definite. By using I suppose, you often imply that you are not really convinced about what you are saying. If you use I trust, you mean that you quite strongly believe what you are saying. The following verbs are used like this:
A lot of that goes on, I imagine.
He was, I think, in his early sixties when I first met him.
I reckon you're right.
I suppose she might have done it, but I don't really see why.
You can use I'm with the following adjectives to show that you strongly hold an opinion.
I'm sure he'll win.
I'm convinced that it is the best way of teaching.
I'm quite certain they would have made a search and found him.
Explicitly labelling a statement
You can explicitly show what kind of thing you are saying by using I and one of the following verbs:
I admit there are problems about removing these safeguards.
It was all in order, I assure you.
I guarantee you'll like my work.
I can't deny and I don't deny are used much more often than I deny.
I can't deny that you're upsetting me.
People often use say, for example with modals, to show that they are thinking carefully about what they are saying, or to show that they are only giving a personal opinion.
I must say I have a good deal of sympathy with Dr Pyke.
All I can say is that it's extraordinary how similar they are.
What I'm really saying is, I'm delighted they've got it.
I would even go so far as to say that we are on the brink of a revolution.
Let me, May I, and I would like are used with various verbs to introduce explicitly a point or question.
Let me give you an example.
May I make one other point.
I would like to ask you one question.
Drawing attention to what you are about to say
You can use a structure consisting of the, a noun (or adjective and noun), and is to classify what you are about to say, in a way that draws attention to it and shows that you think it is important. The nouns most commonly used in this structure are:
The fact is they were probably right.
The point is, why should we let these people do this to us?
The only trouble is it's rather noisy.
Well, you see, the thing is she's gone away.
The crazy thing is, most of us were here with him on that day.
Note that that can be used after is, unless the next clause is a question.
The important thing is that she's eating normally.
The problem is that the demand for health care is unlimited.
You can also use a clause beginning with what as the subject.
What's particularly impressive, though, is that they use electronics so well.
But what's happening is that each year our old machinery becomes less adequate.
Get all volumes of in paperback or eBook.