It can be tempting to say “I think” or “I believe” in an essay, especially when writing a personal narrative or opinion-based essay. The issue with this phrase is they tend to read as informal and weak. This article will explore some stronger alternatives that are worth considering.
What Can I Say Instead Of “I Think” And “I Believe”?
There are many different ways to express that what you’re saying is an opinion or a conclusion you have drawn using stronger wording than “I think” and “I believe.” Here are some options:
- In my opinion
- It could be argued
- Many believe
- This suggests
- It can be concluded
- It makes sense
- This proves
- This supports the idea
- X makes a strong case
- In my mind
The preferred option is “in my opinion.” “In my opinion” is clear and direct, and sounds more formal than “I believe” and “I think.” It’s a good way to make it clear that what you’re saying is your personal opinion while still sounding credible.
In My Opinion
“In my opinion” is a good choice when you’re writing a first-person essay. “Opinion” implies more fact-based consideration than “believe” and more depth than “think.” “Opinion” also comes off as more confident than both “think” and “believe.”
“In my opinion” sounds formal enough to be appropriate in an essay, but can still maintain the conversational tone that is typically expected in first-person essays.
Here’s what “in my opinion” looks like in context:
- In my opinion, every public school student should be offered a free lunch option.
- Reading through this book was challenging not for the content but for the dull writing style. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be upheld as a classic.
- In my opinion, neither argument was particularly convincing.
It Could Be Argued
This sort of hypothetical phrasing isn’t always considered strong, but “it could be argued” is still a solid choice for third-person essays that require you to explore various arguments.
“It could be argued” is useful when you need to analyze multiple arguments or look at something from multiple angles. It allows you to point out some arguments or thoughts people might have in general to develop your argument.
Here are some ways you can use “it could be argued”:
- It could be argued that teaching Shakespeare in school only serves to confuse students due to the extremely antiquated language.
- It could be argued that the color blue represents sadness, but there are many examples in the text that point to blue instead representing loneliness.
- The bird could be a representation of her fear. Conversely, it could be argued that the bird is there simply because the lead character loves birds.
“Many believe” is useful when you want to discuss widely held beliefs and the fact that these beliefs are widely held is common knowledge. You can also use “many believe” when you have a statistic to back up the claim.
“Many believe” is better than “I think” and “I believe” in those sorts of situations because it creates a less personal statement. That helps it feel more formal and makes the argument feel more expansive.
Here’s how you can use “many believe”:
- Many believe that eating any kind of fat is unhealthy, but nutritionists disagree.
- According to the poll, many believe that doing yoga and drinking enough water will cure certain mental illnesses.
“This suggests” is a great choice for drawing a conclusion based on the evidence you’ve presented. It’s stronger than “I think” and “I believe” because it explicitly ties your ideas to other ideas.
You’ll typically use “this suggests” after presenting some evidence or an argument. “This suggests” introduces your analysis and often your argument.
- The flowers in the vase didn’t die until after Ashley fought with her mother. This suggests that the state of the perpetually near-death flowers was serving as a metaphor for the state of Ashley’s relationship with her mother.
- Jodi’s favorite color was green. This suggests some part of her was tied to everything green represented in the novel, even if she denied it.
It Can Be Concluded
“It can be concluded” is a good replacement for “I think” and “I believe” in third-person writing. It emphasizes the conclusions you’re drawing based on previously detailed evidence.
Like “this suggests,” “it can be concluded” comes after you present some evidence or ideas. It directly connects your thinking to the evidence, which supports a strong argument.
Here are some examples:
- As such, it can be concluded that the core message of the story is the real reward was the friendships we made on the journey.
- It can be concluded that he never knew what happened to his father and was simply making up different versions of the story as the subject was too difficult for him to discuss directly.
It Makes Sense
“It makes sense” is a phrase can use to introduce a thought or insight you have. It’s subtly persuasive and can fit into both formal and informal essay styles.
“It makes sense” is deceptively strong wording. While it may seem soft at first, it can be used to make some really strong statements.
Here’s how that could look in practice:
- It makes sense that the school wouldn’t provide free lunches for students. It’s a costly plan, and the school district has a long track record of investing in administration before investing in student welfare.
- It makes sense that the play’s love story ended tragically. The playwright was newly divorced when she penned it, and her poetry from this time shows a similar disillusionment with romantic relationships.
“This proves” is a strong way to connect your conclusions and arguments to previously presented evidence. This phrase is a good choice when you’re confident in your evidence and your argument, as using it after shaky evidence can harm your credibility.
Here’s what this might look like in context:
- The students who got more recess time did better on tests than children who had more quiet study time. This proves that children need more playtime throughout the day.
- This proves my original hypothesis, though not in the way I expected.
This Supports The Idea
This is another useful phrase for directly tying previously stated evidence to your arguments and conclusions. Once you provide your evidence, you can go into your argument by saying “this supports the idea that…”
“This supports the idea” is a deeply academic phrase. It doesn’t come off too strong, nor does it read as personal or informal. It reads as objective, which can support your credibility in the eyes of the reader.
Here are some examples:
- Lisa ultimately gave the flower to Joan. This supports the idea that the flower was representative of trust.
- In this scene, the characters’ loyalties are made clear by where they are standing in relation to the protagonist. John is standing next to the protagonist. This supports the idea that, despite what he says, he truly was loyal to the protagonist.
X Makes A Strong Case
“X makes a strong case” is a phrase when you want to specifically tie in an argument someone else has made. It emphasizes the person who made the argument rather than what you think about the argument.
For example, if you wanted to say “I think Rodney is right about the dress code,” a stronger way to word that in an essay would be “Rodney makes a strong case about the dress code.”
Both sentences communicate that you think Rodney’s argument has merit, but using the “X makes a strong case” format emphasizes Rodney’s arguments rather than your evaluation of them.
This less-personal writing is generally considered to be more formal and thus more appropriate for academic writing.
Here are some more examples of how to use this phrase:
- The author makes a strong case in favor of the motion.
- In the novel, Susie’s father makes a strong case against the idea of Susie marrying a stranger.
In My Mind
“In my mind” is a strong phrase that is perfect for first-person narrative essays. It’s engaging, conversational wording that still maintains the formality expected in essays.
“In my mind” is a good way to word more personally held thoughts and beliefs without saying “I think” or “I believe.”
Here are some ways you could use “in my mind”:
- In my mind, nothing mattered more than the championship.
- In my mind, there was no way any of this could have a good outcome. I just didn’t see how it would work out.
Sometimes the best alternative to “I believe” and “I think” is simply to cut the phrase without providing a replacement. This makes your writing more succinct and straightforward and less informal.
Replacing “I think” and “I believe” can support the style and flow of your writing, but deleting the lead-in entirely is common advice. The argument is that since you wrote the essay, “I think” and “I believe” are implied. It’s redundant to include them.
Take a look at these sentences:
- I think the power outage was caused by the wind storm.
- I believe students should have mentors throughout their time in school.
Here’s what they look like if you remove the lead-in:
- The power outage was caused by the wind storm.
- Students should have mentors throughout their time in school.
In these instances, removing the phrases entirely without replacing them made for stronger statements.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.