You want to express your opinion in an argumentative or discursive essay.
But is it appropriate to use the phrase I believe in academic writing?
We’ll discuss the correctness of this phrase below. In addition, we’ll show you 6 alternative phrases that you can use to diversify your papers and avoid personal pronouns as needed.
Is It Okay to Say “I Believe” in an Essay?
It is okay to say I believe in an essay in some circumstances.
There are many differing opinions over whether people should use personal pronouns in their essays, particularly in argumentative essays.
Some academics argue that phrases like I believe are redundant in an argumentative essay.
After all, the point of the essay is to express your opinions on a topic, so there’s no need to state as much.
However, many other academics argue that whether it is correct to say I believe depends greatly on the topic of the article, the style of the writer, and the intent of the paper.
Below, we’ll show you how to say I believe in an essay using two faux essay snippets:
However, I believe, and shall illustrate in this paper, that the Constitution is as malleable as the opinions and biases of those who are granted the power to interpret its content.
It is clear that our current procedures to ensure sustainability do not go far enough, and I believe this will be obvious to anyone privy to the current water crisis affecting several states in the south.
So, we know that there are instances in which you can use I believe in an academic essay.
However, personal pronouns are not preferred by all academics and are a risky choice in general.
Therefore, we’ll show you what to use instead of I believe in an essay to avoid personal pronouns and the repetition of this phrase in your writing.
6 Alternative Ways to Say “I Believe” in an Essay
Below, you’ll find 6 alternative phrases to I believe that you can use in your academic writing:
- It appears
- One might argue
- From my perspective
- This shows
- This illustrates
- It is the author’s opinion
- I would argue
1. It Appears
You can use the phrase it appears when you want to state your opinion about an issue without using the personal pronoun “I.”
This phrase implies that you are about to extrapolate from some data or something you have observed. Therefore, you are expressing what you think that data indicates.
The benefit of this phrase is that it doesn’t state your observation as a hard and clear fact.
Instead, it suggests that you are simply making an observation that the reader can consider and form their own opinion about.
This makes it a good, tentative phrase for when you want to point something out without making any sweeping statements on the topic.
Upon studying the graph above, it appears that the impacts of the pandemic have had a lasting effect on small businesses more so than their larger, corporate counterparts.
2. One Might Argue
One might argue is a great phrase to use in an argumentative essay when you want to set out your opinion on your topic without using any personal pronouns.
The inclusion of “might” makes it clear that you are only suggesting a possible argument based on all the information you have provided in your paper.
See how we’ve used it in an example:
One might argue that the pursuit of a sustainable diet requires more than simply switching to plant-based meals, but rather a greater participation in land reform activism.
3. From My Perspective
From my perspective is another way to say I believe in an essay when you want to clearly and unequivocally state your opinions or beliefs about a topic.
This phrase may be a tad risky since it uses the personal pronoun “my.”
However, it would be perfectly suitable to use this phrase if you have discussed your writing with the marker of your essay.
In addition, it can be just as valuable to base your writing on your perspective if you are a professional or knowledgeable academic in your field.
After all, in this context, you will be providing your expert opinion on the issue.
Thus, stating that you are providing your opinion should be no less compelling to any reader.
Consider the example below:
From my perspective, one must dismantle the lens of Western individualism through which they see the world before they can address the issues caused by colonialism.
4. This Shows
You can use the phrase this shows to come across as more objective in your essay.
After all, you would usually use this phrase to draw a conclusion based on all the evidence you have set out in your paper.
Rather than stating what you as the writer believe, it states what both you and the reader can clearly see from the facts and evidence.
Of course, your conclusion on what certain data shows may differ from someone else. Thus, you can still use this phrase to state what you believe.
However, saying this shows allows you to remove any personal phrasing in the essay. As such, it allows the reader to focus on the facts in front of them.
Therefore, let’s see an essay snippet that includes this phrase:
Many children are given access to social media sites at the age of 13 to 14 on average. It is also around these ages that children report feelings of dread and insecurity. This shows that access to social media is indeed having an impact on the self-worth of pubescents.
5. This Illustrates
This illustrates is essentially a more formal synonym for this shows. Therefore, you can use either one of these phrases interchangeably.
Your choice may depend on the topic and nature of your paper, as well as what you want the prevailing tone of your essay to be.
The phrase this illustrates may come across as a touch more severe due to its formal phrasing. Meanwhile, this shows is more straightforward and accessible to read.
Check out this example to see this phrase in action:
Many respondents expressed distrust in many if not all of the reports from mainstream news stations. This illustrates how faith in the journalistic integrity of our media has decreased over the last decade.
6. It Is the Author’s Opinion
You can say it is the author’s opinion in your essay when you want to make clear that you are expressing your personal opinion on an issue.
Moreover, you can do this while still avoiding the phrase I believe and the use of personal pronouns. This will often suffice even according to stricter academics!
This phrase may be considered a tad verbose and outdated in modern times.
However, many writers prefer it as a stylistic choice.
Additionally, it’s a good way to ramp up your word count if you are struggling to reach your minimum!
See the example below:
Most experts have pointed to food processing procedures as the main culprit. However, it is the author’s opinion that the air quality in the city center plays a far greater role.