IELTS Writing, Task 1, Task 2

Expressing Opinions

The IELTS task 2 assignment requires you to give and support opinions, and also to express your feelings. To suitably impress the examiners you need to display a range of vocabulary for these two functions, and not rely on basic ‘ patterns like’ I think…’, ‘I feel…’, ‘I like/dislike…’ etc.

Expressing opinions

Here are some expressions that you can use when giving your opinion:

As I see it

Used to introduce an opinion.

Example – As I see it, reducing bus fares will significantly reduce traffic congestion.

Assume

Used when you think something is true but you have no proof.

Example – I assume that people will use their cars less if the price of petrol is increased.

Attitude

Used to show the way you generally think about something.

Example – I have a pretty tolerant attitude to the question of should old people be allowed to keep their driving licence.

Be in favour of

Used to show your support for something.

Example: I’m in favour of restricting the use of private cars in city centres.

Be of the opinion

Used as a variant to ‘ my opinion is ..’.

Example: I’m of the opinion that more subways need to be built.

Convince / be convinced

Used to express a strong feeling that you are right.

Example: I’m convinced that more should be done to persuade people to use public transport more.

Consider

Used as a more formal version of ‘think’.

Example – I consider the government’s transport policy to be seriously mistaken.

Doubt

Used to show you don’t believe something.

Example: I doubt that driverless cars will become a common sight on our roads in the near future.

Hold (an opinion)

Used to indicate a strong belief.

Example – I hold the view that people caught drink driving should lose their licences.

Idea

Make sure you don’t confuse ‘idea’ and ‘opinion’. They can sometimes be interchanged but the key difference is that ‘opinion’ is used to show what you think about a topic being discussed, whereas ‘idea’ refers to your thoughts on a possible course of action.

Example – One idea that has been tried is to make Sundays ‘no-car’ days in city centres.

Other similar words include:

Concept – general idea or principle

Example – The concept of integrity in public life has been undermined by recent scandals.

Notion – belief, idea

Example – I don’t agree with the notion that car ownership should be protected as a basic human right.

Stance – way of thinking, usually used for groups and institutions

Example – The government’s stance on the matter of improving public transport is offer support but not make any financial commitments.


‘It’ expressions

Impersonal ‘it’ expressions were looked at in a previous article. They are particularly useful when you wish to convey a more objective tone, suitable for academic work.

Examples: It is my opinion that more and more cities are realizing the need to curb transport levels.

It is my belief that there will be a resurgence in the use of bicycles.

Maintain (verb)

Used to convey the fact that you will not change your mind, often despite strong arguments against.

Example: I realize this is not a common view but I maintain that in fifty years’ time, there will be no private cars.

Position

Used in more formal settings as a synonym for ‘opinion’.

Example: My position on this is that local authorities need to take a stricter line on enforcing parking restrictions.

Put forward (a view/ suggestion)

Used to express ideas or suggestions in a slightly more formal way.

Example – I’d like to put forward the view that four wheel drive cars should be banned from cities.

Suspect

Used to show you do not believe something.

Example: I suspect that many motorists don’t give a second thought to the harmful effects of motor vehicles on the environment.

Way of thinking

Used to show the attitude of a person or a group.

Example – People’s way of thinking about public transport differs depending on where they live.

If you are serious about taking your IELTS writing to the next level, sign up for your FREE 3 part IELTS writing video course that takes you through both task 1 and task 2. The video lessons are led by our highly experienced UK native IELTS teacher, Katherine. We also provide you with exercises to test your understanding!

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Exercises


Exercise 1

Rewrite the following with the words in brackets.

a) I doubt that introducing more single sex schools will improve exam results. (suspect)
b) My view is that boys and girls should be educated together in mixed-sex schools. (hold)
c) It is my belief that single sex schools offer a much higher standard of education. (maintain)

Exercise 2

Match sentence beginnings in A with endings in B.

A

B

My position


a different viewpoint on this matter.


I’d like to put forward


that not enough thought has been given to this subject.


I’m very much in favour of


on this topic hasn’t changed.


 

 

Exercise 3

Rearrange the following to make sentences giving opinions on the following Task 2 essay.

Modern lifestyles mean that many parents have little time for their children. Many children suffer because they do not get as much attention from their parents as children did in the past.

a) parents /that/ I / long working hours /convinced / a breakdown in communication/ am/ between/ are leading to / and /their children./

b) has developed / of family life /over / by the long working hours culture/ is being notion/ the last few decades. / that / in many countries / undermined /The whole/

c) is adversely / that children’s emotional development / affected / It is /only see/ my belief/ for a short time/ when parents /during the week./ their children


Answers to Exercises

Exercise 1

a) I suspect that introducing more single sex schools will not improve exam results.
b) I hold the view that that boys and girls should be educated together in mixed-sex schools.
c) I maintain that single sex schools offer a much higher standard of education.


Exercise 2

a) My position on this topic hasn’t changed.
b) I’d like to put forward a different viewpoint on this matter.
c) I’m very much in favour of changing this law.

Exercise 3

Modern lifestyles mean that many parents have little time for their children. Many children suffer because they do not get as much attention from their parents as children did in the past.

g) I am convinced that long working hours are leading to a breakdown in communication between parents and their children.
h) The whole notion of family life is being undermined by the long working hours culture that has developed in many countries over the last few decades.
i) It is my belief that children’s emotional development is adversely affected when parents only see their children for a short time during the week.


Make sure you’re familiar with the different structures the different expressions require, as to get a level 7 mark you need to not only use a variety of expressions but also show that you can use them accurately.


If you are serious about taking your IELTS writing to the next level, sign up for your FREE 3 part IELTS writing video course that takes you through both task 1 and task 2. The video lessons are led by our highly experienced UK native IELTS teacher, Katherine. We also provide you with exercises to test your understanding!

Sign up your FREE IELTS writing video course by clicking here!