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Giving Opinions, Agreeing and Disagreeing

Learn and practice the pronunciation of key phrases for giving opinions, agreeing and disagreeing.

In the video, the students used phrases to give their opinion, ask for opinions, agree and disagree. Here is an example of each:

Asking for opinions
Do you agree?
…I think it’s OK if people don’t know that their data is being used. Do you agree?
Giving opinions
I think…
I think it’s a problem if you’re collecting data about people and people don’t know that you are collecting data.
Agreeing
Yes, I agree.
Yes, I agree Saher. It’s really important to make sure that people consent to their data being used.
Disagreeing
I see what you mean, but…
I see what you mean, but I think it also depends on what the companies are using the data for.

Task 1

Look at the transcript of the discussion below, and see if you can find more examples of phrases for: asking for opinions, giving opinion, agreeing, disagreeing.
When you have finished, you can download the answers here: ANSWERS.
Teacher: Hi everyone, today we’re going to think about ethical issues in data science. As you all know, a big part of data science is collecting the data. What do you think are some of the ethical issues when collecting data?
Saher: I think it’s a problem if you’re collecting data about people and people don’t know that you are collecting data.
Ammar: Yes, I agree Saher. It’s really important to make sure that people consent to their data being used, especially any personal data. Some big companies collect and use people’s data without asking them or telling them. That’s really bad.
Maxine: I see what you mean, but I think it also depends on what the companies are using the data for. If the data is kept confidential and is not used to harm anyone, I think it’s OK if people don’t know that their data is being used. Do you agree?
Saher: No, I don’t agree with that. In my opinion, there need to be clear rules. If we say that some data needs consent and other data collection doesn’t, it’s a grey area. I think it’s better if it’s a clear rule. What do you think?
Ammar: Yes, that’s a good point Saher. I agree that it needs to be clear. And I think there should be rules about how people give consent.
Maxine: What do you mean?
Ammar: For example, people often just take a box without knowing what they’re agreeing to. They don’t know what the data will be used for, or if it will be passed on to third parties.
Saher: Yes, absolutely. I agree with that.
Maxine: I understand your point, but I think it’s the responsibility of individuals to find out what the data is used for. They need to read the Terms and Conditions.

Question to Start or Continue Discussion about Opinions

When you ask someone for an opinion, sometimes it it to start a discussion on a subject. But sometimes it is to continue a discussion. In other words, to check other people opinions after you have given your own opinion. Here are some example of these two types of questions.
Opening Questions (to start talking about a subject) Questions after giving your opinion (to check if others agree)
What do you think…? …What do you think?
In your opinion, what/how/why…? …What do others think?
What are your thoughts about…? …Do you agree?

How can I show how certain I am about my opinion?

When you are expressing your opinion, or agreeing and disagreeing, you can use different phrases to show how certain you are. For example, how strongly do you agree or disagree or how sure are you about your opinion? Here are some examples.

Expressing opinions

Less certain   More certain
I could be wrong but I think… I think… I’m (absolutely) convinced that…
I’m not sure but I think… In my opinion… I’m certain that…
  It seems to me that…  

Disagreeing

To politely disagree with someone, it is common to first use a phrase that acknowledges the other person’s point of view. In other words, something to show that you have listened to them and you respect their opinion.
Here’s an example:
I see what you mean, but…
This first part I see what mean makes the disagreement more polite. Then but introduces the point of disagreement.
Here’s another example:
I take your point, but…

Another phrase for disagreement that is less polite and expresses a stronger disagreement is No, I don’t agree with that.

Here’s an overview:

More certain (often less polite)   Less certain More polite
No, I (definitely) don’t agree with that. Yes, but… I’m not so sure about that. I see what you mean, but…
I can’t agree with you there.   You might be right, but… I understand/take your point, but…
    I don’t think I agree Yes, that’s true, but…

Agreeing

Less certain   More certain
Yes, you might be right there. Yes, I agree (with that). Yes, absolutely.
Yes, that might be right. I agree that… That’s absolutely right.
I think I (probably) agree. Yes, that’s a good point. I couldn’t agree more.

You can download a list of these phrases here: Phrases for opinions, agreeing, and disagreeing.

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