Opinion Marking Signals – Everything You Need to Know About Them

by Laura C. Jones

Do you want to know what opinion-marking signals are?

Personally, I think they come naturally to you. Like, you don’t think of it before using them. You just do it because it feels natural. See that ‘personally’ at the start of my sentence? That’s an opinion marking signal!

When you find out the literal definition of these signals, you’ll realize that you’ve always been using them the whole time without noticing.

I can say the same about countless concepts in our language.

Let’s see what opinions marking signals are, how to identify them, and how to use them!

What Are Opinion Marking Signals?

Opinion marking signals are words used to initiate an opinionated phrase. You use them when you want to express a personal opinion. Or when you want to make it clear that this is your own opinion, not a scientific fact or an official statement.

An opinion marking signal can be any word or phrase you use before you say your opinion. As long as it expresses your need to voice your opinion, it’s a marking signal, even if it’s not officially regarded as one.

The common opinion marking signals are as follows: personally, in my opinion, in my experience, etc. However, other phrases work in the same context as well. So, for example, when you hear a statement and say ‘I beg to differ,’ then start expressing your opinion—that’s considered an opinion marking signal.

The same goes if you say ‘The way I think, ..’ and go on to express your opinion. So, while the concept of opinion marking signals is clear and simple, they don’t have to be limited to common words. Instead, you can use endless words to say that you’re about to express your opinion.

How to Identify Opinion Marking Signals

Identifying opinion marking signals is pretty straightforward. For one, they come right before expressing opinions, but that’s too obvious. On top of that, they come at the beginning of sentences.

You can identify these signals by understanding the concept of opinions. An opinion isn’t a fact, and there’s no way to prove it. It’s just someone’s way of thinking.

In fact, that’s what opinion marking signals are good for—expressing that the upcoming sentence is a mere opinion, not a fact.

For example, when you hear someone saying, ‘Cats are better pets than dogs,’ you know that it’s an opinion. For starters, there’s no way to prove it. How are you going to prove that cats are better pets than dogs? It’s simply uncanny.

Not only that, but it also isn’t a fact. A lot of people think the opposite, preferring dogs over cats. So, that makes the statement a pure opinion and the phrase that comes before it is definitely an opinion marking signal.

On the other hand, when you hear someone saying, ‘I know that celery is good for your health,’ you know it’s not an opinion.

Ask yourself, can you prove it? Yes, proving it is pretty easy. You’ll research the health benefits of celery, find that it’s indeed good for your health, and tada! You proved it.

Still not convinced? Ask yourself, is it a fact? Can someone turn up and say the opposite and still be correct?

The answer is no. If someone turned up and said that celery is bad for your health, they’d simply be wrong.

In this case, the phrase before that sentence, if any, isn’t an opinion marking signal because the sentence is a fact, not an opinion.

Opinion Words and Phrases

Now that we’re done with the technical talk, let’s see the opinion signal markings I’ve been talking about for some time now. Here are opinion words and phrases that people use before expressing what they think:

  • Personally
  • I’m convinced that
  • In my opinion
  • If you ask me
  • I strongly believe
  • I feel like
  • The way I think
  • From my point of view
  • I believe that
  • It’s my belief that
  • I’m confident that
  • Based on what I know
  • I feel like
  • Speaking for myself
  • My favorite
  • My top pick

Scenario Examples of Using Opinion Marking Signals

Okay, now we’ve covered opinion marking signals and some examples of them. But when do you use them?

Well, you use them when you want to express an opinion, no matter if it’s an opinion about a tangible item, about a political issue, or about a specific topic. Let’s see a couple of scenarios and their examples.

Expressing Opinions About Products

Do you prefer Nike or Adidas? Would you go for an iPhone or a Samsung? These are personal preferences, so anything you say about the matter will be a mere opinion. Here are examples of expressing opinions about products or tangible items.

  • I feel like Adidas shoes are more comfortable than Nike
  • I firmly believe that iPhones are more durable than Samsung phones
  • Personally, I prefer this bakery’s croissant to the one down the street
  • From my point of view, a Lenovo laptop will outlive an HP one

Expressing Opinions About General Matters

Do you prefer swimming in a pool or in the ocean? Would you go fishing or hiking?

Here are examples of using opinion marking signals in expressing views about general matters.

  • My favorite outdoor activity is hiking
  • I’m confident that swimming in the ocean is more fun than swimming in a pool
  • I think that dogs are more friendly than cats
  • It’s my belief that running every day improves your mood
  • In my opinion, riding the train is easier than driving to your destination

The Takeaway

Opinion marking signals are used at the beginning of sentences when you’re about to say an idea. You mainly use them to clarify that what you’re saying is a mere opinion, not a definitive fact.

You can use them in any context you prefer, such as expressing an opinion about a product, a general matter, or a problem. In my opinion, these signals can be used anyhow, as long as they’re before an opinion!

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