English Book Club: Phrases to Share Your Opinion, Agree & Disagree & More!

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

English Book Clubs are a great way to build your language skills, but what should you say? Learn and Practise expressions to share your opinion, agree and disagree and ask questions about the book!

I’ll give some examples from a book I read recently called ‘Where’d you Go, Bernadette?’ by Maria Semple. I enjoyed the read!

I hope this lesson helps you to practise and feel confident enough to join an English book club… There are so many reasons why you should!
broaden your vocabulary
improve specific conversation skills
practice fluency
meet and practise regularly

Have you ever been part of a book club?

Video Transcript
Section 1
Hey there I’m Emma from mmmEnglish and today I’m gonna teach you to use some simple and very useful phrases to share your opinion to agree and disagree and to ask questions.

All of these things are pretty useful generally but they are perfect if you are part of an English book club. Joining or even starting your own book club is an excellent way to practise your English and there are so many reasons why.

You might be able to practise reading out loud together. You could have fun discussing characters and storylines or even study and learn new words and expressions together as a group.

So I’m really excited about today’s video. I hope that you are too. Let’s get into it.

So I was inspired to make this video by some of the members inside the Hey Lady! community who’ve started their own book club and they’re really enjoying the opportunity to meet regularly, to discuss the books that they’re reading.

Hey Lady! is an online community for women learning English. It’s a wonderful place to learn and to improve your English speaking skills but it’s also a really great place to start or to join a book club.

I hope that by the end of this video you’re going to know what to expect and also what to say at a book club so that you can get out there and join one.

Hey I haven’t even asked you yet. Have you ever been part of a book club? What types of books did you read together? And how regularly did you meet?

Now all book clubs are different but perhaps your book club might meet to discuss each chapter of a book as you go, maybe they meet more regularly. Or a little further apart once everyone’s finished the book, then they meet to discuss the book as a whole.

Either way, it is a really good idea to be taking notes and writing things down as you go. And the things that you might want to take note about include some of the moments in the story that you felt were really significant or moments that you enjoyed.

Perhaps you came across an interesting quote or reflection in the book. You might take note of the character that you respect or admire the most and why you think so.

It’s also really common to think about and to talk about the theme that runs through a story so that might be a common theme about the importance of community or the undying love of family.

So when a theme is like an idea that remains present throughout the whole story so it keeps coming up in different ways throughout the book.

Now the whole point of going to a book club is to share your opinion about the book right, about the storyline or about the characters so let’s practise some of the phrases that will help you to share your opinion in a really clear and concise way.

You might say:

  • I think…
  • I consider…
  • I believe…

These are all really, really great verbs to share an opinion. You could say:

  • In my opinion…
  • As far as I’m concerned…

So when it’s your turn to share your thoughts at the book club, you get to combine your notes that you’ve been taking as you’ve been reading with some of these simple expressions to share your opinions.

I have to jump in with a spoiler alert. I’m going to use the book Where’d You Go Bernadette? By Maria Stemple.

I’ll try not to give too much away in case you haven’t but I will be giving some examples using the characters and the plot as well.

  • I really enjoyed the mother-daughter relationship between the two main characters, Bernadette and Bee.
  • I believe that Bee feels like she can do anything because her mother will always be there to have her back.
  • Well in my opinion, Bernadette is really quite a rude and mean woman. She doesn’t really get along with any of the other school mothers and she’s always saying offensive things about people.
  • As far as I’m concerned, Bernadette’s a great mum. It’s a tough job to have and she does the best that she can considering some of her mental health issues.

“As far as I’m concerned” is a really great way of sharing your opinion if the idea that you’re sharing is different to the other people who are there so it’s a really great way to introduce the fact that you’re quite strong in your opinion and that it might be opposing the other person’s.

Okay now let’s talk about the language that you need to agree and disagree because of course, being part of a book club is about listening to someone’s opinion and their point of view even if you don’t agree with them.

So if someone does say something that you just completely disagree with, you’ve got to hear them out but then you get to continue the discussion by sharing your own different opinion. So you could say:

  • Really? I have a different view.

And then give your reason. Or you might try and find out a little bit more about why they think so differently to you, what part of the book helped them to form that opinion.

  • I see what you’re saying but why do you think that they did that?
  • Why do you think that happened?

You can also agree with someone in a really simple way by saying:

  • I agree with you

but it’s a good idea to back up what you’re saying with an example or something else from the book.

  • I think that Bernadette is an awful, selfish character. She broke a promise to her daughter and walked out on her family.
  • I have a different view entirely. I think that Bernadette is a fun-loving character. She’s got a great relationship with her daughter. She struggles with a mental illness that she hasn’t properly dealt with yet.
  • I agree with you there, even though she doesn’t like leaving the house or being around lots of other people, she still makes plans to go to Antarctica with her family.

Once you’re feeling a little more comfortable, you might even want to ask the group some questions of your own and start leading the discussion or the conversation.

So let’s talk about asking questions and I’ve got a few go-to questions that you can use. Feel free to take them, to use them at your book club if you would like.

  • In your opinion, what was the strongest theme that came through the book?
  • If you could talk to the author, what questions would you ask them?
  • Were there any quotes or passages that really stood out to you?
  • Can you personally relate to the experiences of a character in the story?

Before you bring these questions to the group definitely try and answer them yourself. That way when someone answers the question you can also weigh in with your thoughts or your experiences of the book as well.

I really loved reading this book. It’s funny, it’s quirky.

It’s told through the eyes of many different characters and in different formats but it also deals with mental health issues so it creates a lot of really great opportunities to discuss mental health and you know the challenges of family in lots of different contexts.

You can also find it on Audible as well which is where I listen to the book, the link to Audible is down in the description and if you’re not a member yet, you can even download this book for free and get started.

Make sure you let me know what you think about the book if you read it. Share your thoughts using some of the language that you learned today in this video.

Share an opinion about your favourite character, maybe you agree or disagree with some of my opinions about the characters so you can use the language that you learned in this video.

Do it down in the comments or you can jump over to the mmmEnglish blog where you might even want to pose some questions to the others who are there chatting about the book in the comments below my blog post.

All the links to the blog, to Audible, to the book, to my Facebook, to Instagram, they’re all down in the description below. That is where you can find me and continue the conversation.

I really hope this video has inspired you to think about or to join an English book club and has helped you to feel a bit more comfortable sharing your opinions and your thoughts about books.

Now last time we all did something together, we ran the mmmEnglish community speaking challenge, the lockdown challenge which I’ve linked to right here. It was amazing. I absolutely loved it so I’m looking forward to taking part in this reading challenge with you right now so happy reading friends and I will see you next week.

Links mentioned in the video

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