IELTS Skills – Offer an Opposing Opinion

There are many essential skills you need to master before taking on the IELTS Speaking exam. One of these skills, which comes in very useful in Speaking Part 2 and 3, is the ability to use linking words to offer a contrasting or opposing opinion.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

In IELTS Speaking Part 2, you will be asked to speak for up to two minutes on a topic chosen by the examiner. Typical questions require students to describe events, places, people, objects, activities, experiences, etc. A common problem for students is that they don’t have enough vocabulary or ideas to speak for two full minutes and as a result, they start to repeat themselves.

One of the best ways to extend your answers in Part 2, is to offer a contrasting view to the opinion

you have just given to the examiner. What do I mean by this? Well, let’s look at a couple of sample

questions and explain everything clearly.

IELTS Question

Describe a place where you like to go on holiday. You should talk about

  • What you like to do there
  • How you get there
  • How much time you spend there
  • and explain why you like this place so much

If students follow the structure that I advise in earlier blog posts, they would start by introducing the topic and then maybe they would use some past tense structures to talk about past experiences in this particular place ( let’s say it’s the South of Spain). They might continue to describe it using words and phrases such as beautiful beaches, golden sand, top-class restaurants, great tourist infrastructure, etc. but then this is where many students run out of things to say. They describe the area really well but then find that they have only been speaking for a minute. At this stage, many students start to repeat themselves and their answers lose coherence.

This is where offering an opposing opinion is really useful. You can use the following words and phrases to offer an opposing opinion. This strategy allows you to extend your answer naturally, use a wider range of adjectives to describe your topic and also enables you to show the examiner that you can use linking words and cohesive devices.

In the following examples, imagine that the speaker has already introduced the topic and described the place in detail. Now they are going to extend their answer by offering an opposing opinion.

Opposing Opinion -Signposting Language

However, on the other hand

… and I have to admit that we really enjoy our time there each year. HOWEVER, ON THE OTHER HAND, sometimes the weather is just too hot and it’s kind of uncomfortable during the afternoon. This makes it a little difficult for my mom, for example, who is in her 60’s now and can’t really handle the heat. It’s just a minor irritation however; I’ll take the sun over the rain any day!

However, in saying that

… some of my favorite childhood memories there. HOWEVER, IN SAYING THAT the area is changing rapidly, and not for the better. More and more famous hotels are being built in the town and the apartment buildings seem to be getting closer and closer to the beach. It’s a shame because if this continues it will be just like any other tourist resort in a few years. DESPITE this issue, it still has a lot of charm at the moment and is well worth a visit.

Although / even though

… and the food is great as well, ALTHOUGH, to be honest, these days the restaurants seem to be getting more and more expensive. Last summer we definitely over-spent EVEN THOUGH we didn’t seem to do anything different to previous years.

Despite / in spite of

So yeah, these days it is more popular and a lot more expensive… but we always make sure to enjoy ourselves DESPITE / IN SPITE OF the crowds and the costs involved.

Need help with your English? Contact PJC English today and book a FREE Trial Consultation!

This is the fourth blog post in the IELTS Speaking Part 2 series. Check out the other blog posts here!

Use these blog posts to prepare for IELTS Speaking Part 2 like a real pro!

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Don’t make these two basic errors!

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Structure + Planning

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Speak about the Past