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     Volume 1 Issue 8 | October 14, 2006 |


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Learner's Club

What do You Think?

In the last issue we discussed some of the ways in which we can express appreciation or sympathies. Today we will discuss the different ways in which we can express opinions, hopes and wishes in English. Let's first see how we can express our opinions.

A. Aysha and Shoma have been shopping for the coming Eid. Shoma has chosen
two dresses for her younger sister, one blue and one yellow. She plans to buy one,
but cannot decide which one to buy. She asks for Aysha's opinion.
Shoma : Aysha, which one do you think I should buy for my sister Lima?
I can't make up my mind.
Aysha : I think you should buy the blue one. I'm sure she'd look gorgeous
in that dress!
Shoma : Do you really think so?
Aysha : I'm positive. That yellow colour looks a little drab.
B. The weather has been too hot and sultry for the last few days. The rain should have
been here by now. You ask your friend with some exasperation what she thinks:
You : Do you think it will rain tomorrow?
Friend : I guess so. According to the weather forecast it should.
You : Ah! I hope it does.
C. Nahar and her husband, Reza had gone to a party at a friend's house. They met the
Alams there. Alam and his wife had just moved in to the neighbourhood. After
coming back home from the party, Nahar asks Reza:
Nahar : Do you think the Alams enjoyed the party?
Reza : Well, I think so. I saw them talking and laughing with
Nina and Shafique.
Nahar : Do you think they knew each other?
Reza : I suppose so. I'm not really sure.
D. Sarah, Naser and you are learning English at a Language Institute. Naser asks
Naser : Are you going to see Sarah tonight?
You : I think so. We have plans to go to Ruby's house.
Naser : Do you think she will mind if I happen to be at Ruby's place at
that time?
You : I don't think so; she enjoys talking to you.

Note: Notice that in English, even when one is quite certain about something, one would say 'I think ...' or 'I don't think so.' When one cannot give an opinion definitely, one would possibly say 'I suppose ...' or 'I guess ...'.
Remember that to express an opinion or hope, you don't use the continuous form of the verbs, i.e. you don't add ing with think and hope or suppose or, guess. One should not say, 'I'm thinking so' (x) or 'I'm hoping so' (x), or I'm guessing/ supposing' to express one's opinion or hope.

Also notice how we agree with someone else's opinion emphatically.

E. : This dress is too big, isn't it?
: Yes, it's much too big.
Or, : Don't you think it's a pretty good idea?
: Yes, it's a wonderful idea!
Or, : The food here is quite good. What do you think?
: Yes, it's excellent; the service is also good.

But when you can't agree with someone that strongly, in what different ways can you express your opinion? Read the following dialogues.

F. Reza : I think the Alams really enjoyed themselves in the party.
Nahar : Well, they were all right.

Or, Masud and Hamida went to a different kind of a function today at the local club.
Shamim Chowdury, an old member of the club who had just returned from a tour
abroad, talked about his experiences. Masud enjoyed the talk very much, while
Hamida liked it but not as much as Masud did.

Masud : Shamim is a fantastic story-teller, isn't he?
Hamida : Yes, he's quite good.

Or, : I thought the movie was terrific! The story was so powerful!
: Well, it wasn't bad.

Or, : I think English is a very difficult language.
: I agree, up to a point. But once you start using it ......

Now, suppose you have a clear negative opinion about something that you want to express. What do you say?

F. : Have you read Naim Ahad's new book?
: Yes, I have.
: What do you think of it?
: If you want my honest opinion, I don't really think much of it.

Note That 'I don't think much of it' here actually means that 'I don't think it's worth much';
or, to be precise, 'I don't like it'. Following are some more examples of how a negative opinion
can be expressed.

G. : How do you like my new hairdo?
: Frankly, my dear, I think it's awful.
Or, Mr. Samad has joined this office recently as its Public Relations Officer.
He has given his secretary, Mr. Ali, some letters to type. Mr. Samad wants them ready by
But you know Mr. Ali well- he takes three days to do a day's work, and usually is unperturbed by
any rebukes.

Mr. Samad : I hope the letters will be ready by tomorrow.
You : If you ask me, sir, they won't be ready even by day after tomorrow.

H. Your neighbour has said that the movie 'My Fair Lady' will be shown on television
tonight. But you want to be sure and ask your younger sister.

You : Neena, I think there is My Fair Lady on T.V. tonight.
Your sister : I don't think so. They have changed it and are now going to show
The Sound of Music instead.

Usually to agree or disagree in English, one would say, 'I think so' or, 'I don't think so'.
However, instead of 'I don't think so', one can also say, 'I think not'.
Let's now see how one can express wishes or hopes.

I. : Look, I've bought this tie for Masud. It's his birthday
: It's very nice.
: I hope he likes it.

Or, : Darling, have you seen my cheque book?
: Yes, I think it's in the drawer.
: I can't find it. Hope I haven't lost it again.
Or, : Hello, Joya, where are you off to?
: To the hospital. My Mum had an operation yesterday.
: I'm sorry to hear that. I do hope she gets well soon.

Note: In the sentence 'I do hope', do has been used to emphasize the sincerity of the speaker. 'Where are you off to' is an informal way of saying, 'Where are you going?' In the above dialogues the speakers are expressing their hopes for things that possibly can happen. We will later see what to say when we wish something to happen which has very little or no possibility of happening.




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