12What do you think? Giving and Getting Opinions

by Danny K. Howard, EAP Associate Director

At NIC, teachers will often ask you your opinions about many topics. Some of the topics will be easy, and others will be more difficult. For almost 100% of our new students, this is something that is VERY new!! Not many high school students get an opportunity to give their opinions and to hear the opinions of others around them. This activity is fun and it will finally give you a chance to talk with your friends & family about many topics that are important to you! It also gives you a lot of practice for using direct and indirect speech.

First, learn the difference between direct & indirect speech.

Direct speech: This is often done in newspaper stories. This uses a comma after the verb and quotation marks around the original words that the person said. Here’s an example:

My friend said, “Japan is a great country because the people are friendly.”

Indirect speech usually uses a noun clause (“that”) and does not use quotation marks. Here’s an example using the same information:

My friend said that Japan is a great country because the people are friendly.

You may use either one for the Opinion Log below.

The Opinion Log


Absolutely nothing except your opinion and other people’s opinions!!! And oh...maybe a B5 or A4 journal!!


Step 1 :
Choose a topic that is popular in the news or choose one that you are interested in.

Example: Growing Up in Tokyo


Example: The 2004 Olympics

Step 2 :
Change the topic into a question that has 2 viewpoints. For example, if you choose the topics above, change them into questions.

Is Tokyo a good place to raise a child?


Did the 2004 Olympics help to give peace in the world?

Step 3 :
Now, ask at least 2-3 people their opinions about this topic. You can ask your friends, teachers, family or neighbors about this. Write out their answers as either indirect or direct speech (mentioned above). Make sure that they explain their reasons why. This is very important!!
Step 4 :
Now give your opinion about the topic, too. Share your reasons why you feel this way.

You can even decorate the page with photos or pictures related to the topic. Over time, you will have your opinions & those of others around you about many topics. Listening to the opinions of others is an important part of making your own opinions better. Below is an example of the “Opinion Log”:

Question 1: Is Tokyo a good place to raise a child?

Opinion #1

My mother said, “Tokyo is a good place to raise children because there are many fun attractions for them to enjoy.”

Opinion #2

Akiko, my best friend, responded, “I don’t think so because there are not so many parks for children to enjoy here.”

Opinion #3

Miyata-san, my science teacher, stated, “I believe that good parents can raise children in any city.”

My opinion

I think that if I have children in the future, I will want to raise them in Tokyo because there are many fun places to visit here.

Question 2: Did the 2004 Olympics help to give peace in the world?

Opinion #1

Baba-san, my tennis coach, said, “The Olympics did promote peace because each country did its best in the sports.”

Opinion #2

Fumiyo, my cousin, mentioned, “I don’t think sports give countries peace because each country just wants to win against another one.”

Opinion #3

Hanada-san, my neighbor, stated, “I watched the Olympics and I learn a lot about other countries and athletes. I think it was good for countries’ relationships.”

Opinion #4

Eric, my English teacher, said, “There are still a lot of problems and fighting in the world, so I am not sure if the Olympics helped this year.”

My Opinion

I think that the Olympics did support peace a little because when we see other countries athletes, we sometimes hope they will win, and we admire them a little. That’s good!

This is a great way to talk to others about many topics. It’s fun and interesting to do! Fill up your journal with many opinions and topics. Remember, your opinions along with the opinions of people around you are very important! Keep on thinking!