Did you know that you can say “I think” without using the pronoun “I”? Doing so can actually help you sound more objective and professional.
So today, we’ll introduce five phrases that do just this.
1. It seems …
If you are on a call with someone and the line starts breaking up, you might say:
- Sorry, but it seems that my line is breaking up.
This means “From what I can tell, I think my line is breaking up.” Here’s another example from our IELTS (test prep) lessons:
“It seems probable” means “From what I can tell, I think it is probable.” As you can see, you can use “It seems (that) + [sentence]” or “It seems + [adjective].”
According to a library of English used online in six English-speaking countries, these are the most common adjectives that follow “It seems”:
Here are some more examples of “It seems + [adjective]” used in real business emails:
- It seems unlikely that there is any link to government agencies.
- It seems clear that it is in Enron's best interest to make those slight changes.
- It seems impossible, but it's not!
In addition to “it seems,” you’ll also hear people say “it appears” (this is slightly more formal), “It seems to me,” and simply ““seems” (in informal speech).
2. It sounds …
“It sounds” is like “It seems” and in many cases, they are interchangeable. However, while “it seems” is used about observations in general, “it sounds” is more limited to observations on things you read or heard about.
For example, let’s say you are talking about a new game. You could say:
- A friend told me about this game. It sounds fun!
- A friend told me about this game. It seems fun!
However, if you directly saw people playing the game, you would say “It seems fun” not “it sounds fun.”
Another difference is that “it sounds” is more often used in short phrases like “It sounds great!” and “It sounds good!” Here are the adjectives it’s most often used with:
3. Judging from …
“Judging from” can be used if you want to share the basis for your observations. For example, if you want to make an observation about history, you’ll most likely need to rely on old texts or artwork, like the woman in the following video.
Here are some more examples:
- Judging from your Facebook posts, it seems like you had some fun in China!
- Judging from the look on her face, I knew that Sally didn’t like the pasta I made her.
- Judging from the questions he asked, he doesn’t seem to know anything about programming.
You probably already know that “perhaps” is another way to say “maybe.” But did you know that it could be used at the start of a sentence as a more gentle “I think”? It’s often used to suggest reasons for something. Here’s an example:
Besides proposing reasons, you can also use “Perhaps” any way you’d use “I think (it’s possible that).”
- Perhaps it would be better if you got another job.
- Perhaps the best solution is to use their strategy against them.
5. It might/could be that
Another way to say “I think it’s possible that” is to say “It might be that” or “It could be that.” These phrases are often used to propose reasons for something that’s a little complicated.
For example, if your phone suddenly stopped working, someone might say the following:
- It might be that it’s low on battery.
- It could be that it’s old. You’ve been using it for six years already!
Or if a friend seems grouchy recently, you might say the following to another friend.
- It could be that he’s burnt out from work.
- It might be that he’s still recovering from his breakup.
And here it is in a discussion about hysteria. You’ll hear a psychiatrist use “It might be that” to provide a reason that hysteria doesn’t seem as common these days.
Judging from your interest in this blog post, you probably want to improve your English conversation skills. In that case, book an online English lesson with one of our tutors.