Hello there! It’s konkaz (@konkazuk) here.
With this blog post, we are going to have a look at the ways to express your opinion” which is a fundamental process to start communicating with others.
There are lots of expressions to give your opinion in English, hence I have featured only essential ones here, so that you can start outputting with no daunting feeling!
So, here we go!
Let’s just begin with “I think” for the time being!
I think ~
Right. Starting with “I think” is the most popular way to express your opinion which we hear people saying every 5 seconds.
The fundamentals…, but it’s important to learn the basics as I always say.
We often see the Japanese translation of it with the form of “I 〜 think” because this is how it works with Japanese grammar. However, it’s better to follow the order of “I think 〜”
When it comes to actual conversation, it’s quite common that people begin with “I think umm…” and pose briefly to think what he/she is going to say next.
Regarding the pronunciation…
The sound of “th” with “think” is the headache for most of Japanese people, isn’t it? We usually see it being spelt as “shink” in Katakana, however “shi” and “th” are different sound.
Unfortunately, the sound of “th” does not exist in Japanese language.
However, I have prepared a couple of “tricks” for those who cannot pronounce this “th” sound or those who would like to work on the pronunciation later on and keep reading the article for the time being.
- The first one is to copy African people’s pronunciation. Majority of black people pronounce “I think” as “I tink”, and this pronunciation is globally recognised, therefore we can borrow this!
- And the other “trick” is to pronounce “I think” as “I fink”. Instead of going for “th”, we use “f” sound here, and this is actually a part of “East London accent” in the UK which is also called “Cockney accent”. This is native’s accent therefore you can’t go wrong!
Anyway, enough of preamble! Let’s move on…
Here are some examples. (Make sure you read them aloud!)
“I think she is lying.”
“I think he might need your help.”
“I think you are calling the wrong number.”
“I think you are right.”
“I think I was wrong.”
“I think your sister is waiting for you outside the gate.”
You can also put “I think” at the end of the sentence.
“She has already watched the movie, I think.”
“Graham is away, I think.”
“Sarah is Jane’s sister, I think.”
Now, try to create your own sentences in your head, and say them aloud at the same time!
Well, there is one thing you should know here.
When you say… “I think…”, it just tells what you think and it is merely your opinion. And that means the content of what you are saying cannot be 100% certain.
To put it the other way round…
You can’t start with “I think 〜” when you try to give some information which is 100% certain or something that has been absolutely fixed.
If the security guard who is on duty in a premise where the usage of fire is prohibited, starts saying…
“I think umm… you are not allowed to use fire here…”
or when you ask shop assistant about the opening hours of the shop, he/she goes like…
“I think this shop will be open until…”
they make you feel worried, don’t they? w
Hence, if you are giving a fixed information to someone, you should do it without adding “I think” to make it sounding clear.
I reckon 〜
It works exactly the same as “I think 〜”.
In England, “I reckon 〜” is used as frequently as “I think 〜”, I reckon.
“I reckon this is made of wood.”
“I reckon this door lock is broken.”
If you are at the beginner’s level, I guess it’s better to stick with “I think 〜” until you become comfortable with it, and then gradually include this “I reckon 〜”.
You can also put “I reckon” at the end of the sentence just like how it works with “I think”.
“Joe’s birthday was actually yesterday, I reckon…”
“The keys are in the second drawer, I reckon.”
I’m thinking of 〜
Considering the situation where you use the expression “I think of 〜”, you use it at the time of thinking, therefore the form of present continuous is applied, generally. So, we learn with the shape of “I’m thinking of 〜” here.
And furthermore, the form of “gerund” is frequently applied to the part of “〜”.
“I’m thinking of setting up my own business.”
“I’m thinking of studying abroad.”
“I’m thinking of quitting this job.”
“I’m thinking of buying some beers with this money.”
Now, try to say what you are thinking of aloud!
I don’t think ~
Let’s try some negative forms, too.
Examples could be…
“I don’t think the colour of his jacket is really matching with his trousers.”
“I don’t think he is right.”
“I don’t think Matt is the one who has left the door open.”
“I don’t think Santa Claus will give me a present this year.”
“I don’t think she is really drunk. She is just pretending!”
“I don’t think Daniel will be here on time.”
Right. There is another important thing to note here.
Compared to Japanese, direct and clear expression is often preferred with English language, so you better tell your thought clearly at the beginning of the sentence.
For example, with the last sentence of the examples above, you could also say…
“I think Daniel will not be here on time.”
Nothing is wrong with the sentence grammatically, however, the message doesn’t come to people’s head directly, just like you are drinking lukewarm lager…
If the sentence is like..
“I think Daniel will be late.”
it sounds absolutely fine.
So, rather than creating the sentence that starts with “I think” and subsequently denying the contents of it, make sure you start with “I don’t think 〜”, so that the message can be recognised as negative straightaway.
“I guess 〜 / I suppose 〜”
I guess 〜
The expression “I guess 〜” is also popularly used when you give your opinion just like “I think 〜”. It is said to be regularly used in America, however, it is used in the UK as well.
“I guess” can be used when you speculate something on the spot with no certain evidence, so it’s less reliable than “I think”.
Here are some examples…
“I guess she comes from Uganda.”
“I guess some of the eggs are now broken.”
“I guess he used to be a professional tennis player.”
“I guess she knows how to operate this machine.”
Now, create your own versions in your head and let them go out of your mouth.
I suppose 〜
“I suppose 〜” can be substituted for “I guess 〜”.
It sounds slightly more formal, but don’t be afraid of using it. It is totally fine to use it casually!
“I suppose his plan was a failure.”
“I suppose they will come back again.”
“I suppose everything is in the right position.”
“I suppose you are going to have to pay for it.”
The difference between “I presume 〜” and “I assume 〜”
I suppose many of you might have come across the expression “I assume 〜” but not “I presume 〜”?
They are both used when you speculate about something, however “presume” is used when there is reasonable evidence behind your speculation.Therefore, if you are going to give an opinion which is on a certain basis, and have a bit of confidence about it, try starting with “I presume”.
“I presume something serious has happened in the station, because I see the police everywhere.”
“I presume some of the eggs are now broken.“
You can also create the sentence by using adverb “presumably”.
“Presumably, it wasn’t accident.”
“Becky was presumably taken to the hospital.”
On the other hand, “assume” can be used with no particular evidence, so you can take it just like “I guess” or “I suppose”.
“I assume all the guests have left by now.”
“I assume this battery will last longer.”
Begin with “I believe” when you’ve got a reason for it.
“I believe” can be applied when your opinion is evidence-backed, so… that means its character is similar to “I presume.” And also “I believe” has got a subjective nuance.
I have seen the expression translated into Japanese as “I take 〜 as correct”. I don’t think you can translate all sorts of sentences into this form, however I suppose it has got a point.
If you hear someone saying,
“I guess she is from Russia!”
You can doubt that the person is only judging it from her tall and slender appearance or the colour of her hair. (She could be from any country!)
But if someone says…
“I believe she is from Russia.”
You might think like… OK, I see. Probably the person has got some Russian friends, and he/she can tell it by what he/she has learnt from his/her personal experience.
Anyway, there are some more expressions you can apply when it comes to giving your opinion, however, the ones we have just looked at are, I believe, the essentials you better know about.
You can simply stick with “I think” for some time in the beginning until you get used to it.
The most important thing is to “output” whatever is in your head as many times as possible.
So, let’s keep it up!
👉 * Japanese version of this blog post