John Stuart Mill was a member of British Parliament between 1865 and 1868. He is perhaps most famous for his controversial essay titled ‘On Liberty’, in which he says...
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind”.
For those of you who don’t speak ‘politician’, (which is another language entirely, made up of 10% English, 40% media-friendly doublespeak, and 50% waffle), here’s the translation:
“You can have an opinion if you want one”.
And that’s where the problem begins. Because people are basically... well... people, the fact that it is within my rights to have an opinion means that I’m jolly well going to have one whether I do have one (an opinion) or not.
So, in a world of people firing out opinions left, right and centre, how do I go about getting mine heard? And here, once again, is a list of useful sentence starters that will immediately convey your attitude, get others to listen, and prepare them for what comes next...
Finally, I’d just like to say that the negative of ‘I think he does...’ sounds more natural as ‘I don’t think he does...’ rather than ‘I think he doesn’t...’ The latter is not necessarily wrong, it just sounds less natural, in my opinion.
By Danny, teacher at EC Malta English school