Forming and expressing opinions


  = John: I think Peters a reliable chap.
  = John thought (that) Peter was a reliable person.
  John expressed his opinion that Peter was a reliable person.
  = The speaker: Im convinced that what the country needs is a market economy. Its absolutely necessary for a country like ours. Here are some of the arguments in support of this view.
  = The speaker argued the case for a market economy.
  The speaker argued that their country needed a market economy.




1. John thought /believed / supposed / assumed / presumed (that) Peter was right.  
2. John was   thought believed supposed considered assumed presumed (to be) very clever. (to be) a clever man. to be able to do it. to be planning to go into business. to know the truth. to have done the job properly.  
3. John expressed/presented a/the thought that they would be a success.  
4. John expressed/held a/the belief that Peter would cooperate with them.  
5. John made proceeded on went on was going on acted on the assumption the presumption the supposition that Peter would resign.  
6. John had a good/bad/high/low opinion of Peter/his work.  
7. John had held entertained harboured an opinion a view a firm conviction that no revolution was feasible.  
8. John   expressed offered presented put forward voiced advocated ventured the opinion the view the conviction that no revolution was feasible.  
9. John formed an opinion of all the candidates.  
10. John had strong opinions/views/feelings on/about the issue of war and peace.  
11. John took the view/position that the compromise was unacceptable.  
12. John took a cheerful/optimistic/rosy/dim/pessimistic/ poor view of/point of view about the matter/situation.  
13. John was of the opinion that sweeping reforms were necessary.  
14. John regarded looked at looked on Peter as very clever. Peter as a very clever man. Peter with disapproval/contempt/the greatest admiration.  
15. John guessed Peters age. at Peters age. Peter to be thirty. (that) Peter was thirty. how old Peter was/what Peters weight was.  
16. John conjectured Peters age.    
17. John conjectured Peter to be thirty. that Peter was thirty.  
18. John surmised Peters age. (that) Peter was thirty.  
19. John   made expressed had (BrE) took (AmE) ventured hazarded a guess at Peters age. that Peter would win the match.
20. John   made expressed ventured hazarded a conjecture a surmise a supposition that Peter would be given the job.  



1. John argued soundly/logically. the matter pro and con/for hours on end. for/against the new policy. the case for a market economy. that poverty was a virtue.  
2. It was argued that poverty was a virtue.    
3. John reasoned that poverty was a virtue.    
4. John   presented offered put forward pressed drove home arguments for/against the proposal. for/against accepting the proposal.  
5. John made / presented a convincing / strong argument for/against the new policy/rejecting the proposal.  
6. John refuted confuted rebutted the argument that driving was dangerous.  
7. John countered the bribery allegations.  
8. John countered (his argument) with an even stronger argument.  
9. John countered that his proposal had been ignored.  
10. John weighed (up) / considered (all) the pros and cons / advantages and disadvantages (of the matter).  
11. The minister declined/refused to comment on the rumours of his resignation.  
12. Critics commented favourably on Peters book.  
13. John commented that he was happy to be at work/home.  
14. John observed (that) Peter should take up music.  
15. John made passed dropped shouted out repeated heard complimentary favourable shrewd casual critical rude ironic comments remarks on/about Peter. on/about his story.
16. John made some interesting / keen / penetrating / astute observations on/about the current political scene.  
17. John remarked on Peters absence. (formal)  
18. John made a/the remark that he would prefer to stay at home.  


1. John thought about/of Peter/Peters offer. accepting Peters offer. whether Peter should be invited.  
2. John speculated about/on the worlds future. about/on/as to what might happen. about/on why Peter had done it. (about/on) whether there would be a war. that the two events might be linked.  
3. We dont know all the circumstances, so it would be pointless to speculate.  
4. John reflected on the problem. what to do/how to do it. how it might have happened.  
5. John pondered (on/over) the problem. (on/over) rejecting the offer. whether to reject the offer.  
6. John meditated (on the matter). (revenge). (taking revenge on Peter).  
7. John brooded about/on/over Peter/his misfortunes. how it might have happened. whether it was true.  
8. John considered Peters suggestion. making a trip to London. how to do it/where to go. how it should be done. the fact that Peter might not come back.  
9. John contemplated revenge/sweeping reforms. reforming the health-care system. a great deal of opposition from Peter.  
10. John   was deep absorbed engrossed immersed lost in thought/contemplation. in sad thoughts.  
11. An idea/thought suggested itself to John. came to mind. crossed Johns mind.  
12. The idea/thought went through / flashed across/into/ through his mind (that she could be dead).  
13. An idea/thought suddenly occurred to/struck John.    
14. It struck Peter that it applied to him too.  
15. John had an idea that Peter would phone him the next day.  



1. think (1) to have an opinion or belief about something

(2) to use your mind to solve something, decide something, etc.

2. think about/of to consider the possibility of doing something

3. believe to think that something is true, although you are not completely sure

4. suppose to think that something is probably true, based on what you know

5. assume | presume to think that something is true, although you have no proof of it

6. consider (1) to think about something, especially about whether to accept something or do something

(2) regard to think of someone or something in a particular way

7. look at/on to think about something in a particular way, or as a particular thing

8. guess (1) to try to answer a question or make a judgement about something without having all the necessary facts, so that you are not sure whether you are correct

(2) conjecture (formal) | surmise (formal) to guess something correctly

9. argue to state, giving clear reasons, that something is true, should be done, etc.

10. reason to form a particular judgement about a situation after carefully considering the facts

11. refute (formal) to prove that a statement or idea is wrong or unfair

12. confute (formal) to prove that a person or idea is completely wrong

13. rebut (formal) to prove that a statement or charge made against you is false

14. counter to try to prove that what someone has said is not true


15. comment (on) to express an opinion about someone or something

16. remark on to notice that something has happened and say something about it

17. observe (formal) to say what you have noticed about a situation

18. speculate (about/on) to think or talk about the possible causes or effects of something without knowing all the facts or details; to make guesses

19. reflect on to think carefully about something, or to express your thoughts

20. ponder (on/over) (formal) to think carefully and seriously about something for a long time

21. meditate (on) to think seriously and deeply about something

22. brood about/on/over to think for a long time about something that you are worried, angry, or upset about

23. contemplate (1) to think about something that you intend to do in the future

(2) to think seriously about something for a long time, especially in order to understand it better

24. deep | absorbed | engrossed | immersed | lost in a state in which all your attention is given to something and nothing else is noticed

25. flash across/into/through to suddenly think of or recall something

26. occur to to come suddenly into your mind

27. strike to suddenly realise that a thought or idea is important, interesting, surprising, bad, etc.

28. weigh (up) to consider something carefully so that you can make a decision about it


29. venture to say something although you are afraid of how someone may react to it

30. hazard to say something that is only a suggestion or guess and so might not be correct

31. advocate to publicly support a particular way of doing things



Understanding and misunderstanding


  = John: Oh, I see. Now I understand what Peter meant by saying that.
  = Suddenly John understood what Peter had meant by saying that.
  It suddenly dawned on John what Peters words had meant.
  = John: What does this statement mean? Im completely at a loss.
  = John failed to work out the meaning of the statement.
  John couldnt make head or tail of the statement.




1. John understood Peter/his anger/the problem. about money. (that) Peter was not going to do the job. why Peter was angry/how Peter felt. Peter to say/mean (that) he would do it.
2. John gave Peter to understand (that) he would never return.
3. As John understood it, there was no hope of recovery.
4. John didnt know what Peter understood by that term.
5. John was understood to have raised the required sum of money.
6. John had a clear / better / limited / little understanding of politics/economics/the causes of the tragedy.
7. John realised his mistake/error. (that) he was wrong. how Peter had managed to do the job.
8. John had (a) full realisation of his error/all the difficulties.
9. John came to the realisation that they were doomed to failure.
10. It (suddenly) (gradually) dawned on John that he had left his ticket behind. where he had lost his ticket.
11. The answer dawned on John when he was not thinking about the matter.
12. John made out/figured out Peter.
13. John made out worked out figured out puzzled out the meaning of the statement quickly. what to do next/how to do it. what Peter was trying to say.
14. John worked out that Peter had lied to him.  
15. John couldnt make out/work out whether Peter was right.
16. As far as John could make out, he was the only one left in the house.
17. John got caught Peters meaning/joke/the message/idea. it right/wrong.
18. John didnt get Peter.
19. John grasped Peters meaning/argument/the main points of his speech/the full significance of the events.
20. John had a good/thorough grasp of the subject/problem.
21. Peter spoke so fast that John couldnt/didnt quite follow him/what he was saying.
22. John saw didnt see Peters joke/the point of the story. (that) the idea was excellent.
23. John saw didnt see couldnt see what Peter meant. why Peter was all against it.
24. John was became (fully) (well) (acutely) aware conscious of the gravity of the situation. (of) how risky the investment was. that they would never do it.
25. John was became (fully) (well) (acutely) aware conscious of being watched. of having offended him.
26. It   was became clear apparent evident obvious plain (to John) that Peter wouldnt cooperate.
27. It wasnt yet clear/plain whether everything would turn out well.
28. John was/became clear about/on that point.
29. John made his point clear/plain (to everyone).
30. John made it clear/plain (to Peter) that he would never put up with it.
31. At last the real problem came home to John.
32. At last it came home to John that he was in danger. what the problem was.
33. John brought/drove/got the difficulty home to Peter.
34. John brought drove got home to John what the problem was. where the difficulty lay.
35. John drove his argument/point home with plenty of facts.
36. John asked Peter to repeat his joke, because he hadnt quite caught on/latched on (to it).




1. John misunderstood Peter/Peters words/his statement. what Peter said.  
2. Johns remark caused/led to a misunderstanding (about/ over the matter).  
3. John mistook took Peter for his twin brother. Peters silence for lack of interest.  
4. John was (very much) mistaken about it/ seeing him there.  
5. John made a mistake (about it). (in counting on his help).  
6. John couldnt make head or tail of it.  
7. John was beyond/out of his depth in that argument.  
8. When Peter started talking about geography John was beyond/out of his depth.  



1. understand (1) to know the meaning of what someone is telling you

(2) to know how a process, situation, etc. works, especially through learning or experience

2. realise (1) to know and understand the importance of something

(2) to start to know something that you did not notice before

3. dawn on to realise something for the first time

4. make out to understand something or someone

5. figure out to understand something or someone with difficulty

6. work out (esp. BrE) to think about something and manage to understand it

7. puzzle out to solve a confusing or difficult problem by thinking about it carefully

8. get (informal) to understand someone or something

9. catch to hear and understand what someone says

10. grasp to completely understand a fact or an idea, especially a complicated one

11. follow to understand something such as an explanation or story

12. see to understand or realise something

13. aware | conscious to notice or realise that a problem or a dangerous situation exists

14. clear easy to understand or recognise

15. apparent | evident | obvious | plain very easy to understand or recognise

16. come home to sb. to be clearly understood by someone

17. bring/drive/get sth. home to sb. to make you realise how serious, difficult or dangerous something is

18. catch on | latch on (informal) to begin to understand or realise something


19. misunderstand to understand that something means one thing when in fact it means something different

20. mistake/take sb./sth. for sb./sth. to think that one person or thing is someone or something else

21. be mistaken (about) to be wrong about something

22. not be able to make head or tail of to be unable to understand or to be completely confused by something

23. beyond/out of your depth beyond your ability to understand



Remembering and forgetting


  = John: Yes, now I remember who wrote the letter.
  = John remembered/recalled who had written the letter.
  = John: Do you know where Mary lives?
  Peter: I knew it, but its gone clean out of my mind.
  = John asked Peter where Mary lived. Peter answered that he had known her address but had forgotten it.
  John asked Peter where Mary lived but Peter failed to recall her address.




1. John remembered recalled recollected Peter (as a young man). the first day of the journey. reading/having read the book. Peter(s) being very conscientious. (that) he had read the book. where Peter worked. how to play poker.
2. John searched his memory but couldnt remember the name.
3. John had a vague hazy patchy vivid painful recollection of the events. of meeting Peter. of what had happened.
4. The old photo brought numerous recollections to his mind.
5. John and Peter were reminiscing (about the old days).
6. The scene   aroused awakened evoked stirred memories recollections reminiscences of his youth.
7. John reminded Peter about/of the coming meeting. to take his umbrella. (that) the meeting was to be held in the afternoon.
8. The sight of the wrecked car reminded Peter of the accident /that he should drive more carefully.
9. John failed to call/summon up any ideas on the subject.
10. John couldnt call/bring the mans name to mind.
11. Her name came back (to him) in the long run.
12. It came back to him where they had met before.
13. The story carried/took him back (to his childhood).
14. The letter brought back memories of his childhood. to him his childhood.
15. The melody called up his childhood.
16. His memory went back to his younger days.
17. John recognised the man but couldnt place him.
18. That day was firmly fixed in his memory.
19. John forgot Peter/his face/his name. Peter(s) writing the article. inviting/having invited Peter. how to do it/where to go. (that) he had invited Peter. who had done it/where Peter lived. whether Peter had agreed to do the job.




1. remember (1) to have a picture in your mind of people, events, places, etc. from the past

(2) to bring information that you know into your mind

2. recall | recollect (old-fashioned) to deliberately remember a particular fact, event, or situation from the past, especially in order to tell someone about it

3. reminisce to talk or think about pleasant events in your past

4. remind (1) (about/of) to make someone remember something that they must do

(2) (of) to make someone remember someone that they knew or something that happened in the past

5. call up to bring something such as a memory to your mind

6. summon up to make an effort to bring to mind something such as a memory

7. come back (to) to return to your memory

8. go back (to) to return in time, in your thoughts

9. bring back (to) to make you remember something

10. carry/take back (to) to make you remember a time in the past

11. place (usually in questions and negatives) to be able to remember why you recognise someone, what their name is, etc.

12. forget to be unable to remember facts, information, or something that happened in the past





  = John: I suppose Peter will pass the exam.
  = John expected Peter to pass the exam.
  = John: I feel something disastrous is going to happen.
  = John had a premonition of (a) disaster.




1. John (fully) expected to pass the exam. a letter/cooperation from Peter too much of/from Peter. Peter to pass the exam. (that) Peter would pass the exam.
2. Peters article came/fell short of his expectations.  
3. John was cheated (out) of his expectations.  
4. They thought (that) Peter would pass the exam but against/ contrary to (all) expectation(s) he didnt.  
5. They hoped for a big order. to go to Spain on holiday. (that) the weather would be fine.
6. They hoped against hope that he would come back.
7. John waited for Peter/the news in keen anticipation. their decision with (a great deal of) apprehension.
8. John looked forward to that event (with eager/keen anticipation). seeing her again soon.
9. John anticipated forecast foresaw foretold predicted prophesied trouble/a fall in demand. running into debt. Peter(s) running into debt. that demand would fall. what would happen. when it would happen.
10. John made/gave an accurate / inaccurate / economic / long-range / short-range forecast.  
11. John made a prediction that their team would win the championship.  
12. John   expressed voiced cherished nursed his/the hope that they would be all right.
13. John pinned placed put his hopes on the new coach/Peters arrival.
14. John had a (strange/gloomy) premonition/presentiment of danger/failure.  
15. John had (some/deep/serious) misgivings about their round-the-world journey/going on a round-the-world journey.  
16. John had a premonition a presentiment a foreboding misgivings that there would be a storm.
17. John felt entertained was filled with showed expressed (grave) (some) apprehension(s) of failure. apprehension(s) for her safety.
18. John was looked apprehensive apprehensive about/of further troubles. for Peters safety. that Peter would/might get lost.
19. John was in suspense (over the exam results). (waiting for the exam results).
20. John waited in (great) suspense for the exam results. to hear the exam results.
21. John kept Peter in suspense (over the exam results).




1. expect to think that something will happen because it seems likely or has been planned

2. hope to want something to happen or be true, and to believe it is possible

3. wait (1) not to do something or go somewhere until something else happens, someone arrives, etc.

(2) to expect something to happen that has not happened yet

4. look forward to to expect something with excitement and pleasure

5. anticipate to expect that something will happen and be ready for it

6. foresee to know that something is going to happen before it actually happens

: 2015-09-04; : 301. ; !


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