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Session 69

Sian explains how to be polite while expressing opinions or talking about mistakes in this English In A Minute.

Activity 1

Being polite: giving opinions and talking about mistakes

Have you ever wanted to know how to sound polite when giving opinions and talking about mistakes? Learn how with Sian in this English In A Minute.

Watch the video and complete the activity

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Sian

It's okay to be direct with people you know, but sometimes in more formal situations, like at work, it's important to be polite.

You can give your opinion in a direct way.

Your presentation is too long.

But to make your opinion less direct use verbs like reckon, feel, believe ...

and also vague expressions like sort of, kind of, a little.

I reckon your presentation is a little long.

Or, turn it into a question to make it even less direct:

Don't you think your presentation is kind of long?

You can tell someone they've made a mistake in a very direct way:

You've sent the wrong reports.

But to be less direct add softer verbs like seem to or appear to:

You seem to have sent the wrong reports.

You see, it's easy to be polite.

Being polite: giving opinions and talking about mistakes

Giving opinions

1) To be less direct when giving your opinion use verbs like reckon, feel, or believe.

  • I reckon you need to re-write the essay.
  • I feel that presentation could have been better.

2) You can also vague expressions like sort of, kind of, or a little to be less direct.

  • It was sort of OK, but maybe you need to re-write the essay.
  • That presentation was kind of good, but it could have been better.

3) You can turn an opinion into a question to make it even less direct.

  • Do you think you need to re-write the essay?
  • Do you feel the presentation could have been better?

Talking about mistakes

To be less direct when talking about mistakes use softer verbs like seem to or appear to.

  • You appear to have written about the wrong subject.
  • You seem to have misunderstood the topic of the presentation.

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