Sometimes, you want to say something that you're not 100% sure of. In these situations, here are five expressions you can use instead of "I think."
"I'd say" is short for "I would say." It means "Based on what I know, I think ... ." When we say "I'd say," we do not know something for sure, but we think we have a good reason for our opinion or guess.
For example, here is a dialogue from one of our IELTS lessons that uses "I'd say."
In this dialogue, Jessica uses "I'd say" because she is not 100% sure how many of her friends have cats and dogs. She is making an estimate based on her memory. In other words, she is saying "From what I know, it seems that most of my friends have cats, and one or two have dogs."
Here are some more examples that use "I'd say."
"I'd imagine" (or "I would imagine") means "I don't have proof, but I think ... ."
Here is a dialogue from an IELTS lesson that uses "I'd imagine." Zach has just told the examiner that he would like to become an actor.
Because Zach is not an actor (and he does not seem to know anyone who is), there is no way for him to know how much actors work each week. So when he says "I'd imagine the hours would be quite flexible," he means "(While I don't actually have an idea), I think it's likely that actors have flexible work hours."
Here are some example sentences where "I'd imagine" is used to make guesses about things the speaker doesn't know much about.
"I like to think that ... " means "I'm not sure if other people agree, but I think ... ." When we say "I like to think that," we express something between an opinion and a hope.
Check out the following dialogue from an IELTS lesson that uses "I like to think that."
In this dialogue, Liam says "I like to think that I get along well with most of my family" because he cannot be sure that his family feels the same way. However, he thinks and hopes that they agree with his statement.
Here are some more examples that use "I like to think that."
"I can see" means "I don't know for sure, but I think ... ." Here is a dialogue from an IELTS lesson that uses this phrase.
Here, Ling is making a guess about the future. She does not know for sure what will happen, but she thinks AI will probably be used in the classroom. To her, this makes sense and seems likely, which is why she uses the phrase "I can definitely see ... ."
Here are some more example sentences that use this phrase.
Note that the verb after "I can see" must be in the -ing form.
"My understanding is that ... " means "Based on what I've learned, it seems that ... ." This is a good way to say "I think" without saying "I."
When Zach says "my understanding is that ... ," he hints that he does not know for sure, but he remembers learning somewhere that 90% of start-ups fail. He may have read this in news reports or heard this from friends who work at start-ups. Even if he is not 100% sure of himself, he sounds knowledgeable when he uses this phrase.
Here are some more examples that use "my understanding is that ... ."
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