Can you express your opinion using passive form in IELTS?

I have a lot of students asking me about using the passive voice in IELTS writing, particularly in writing task 2. They want to know if it is possible to use the passive form to express your own opinion.

For example:

Is it possible to use “it is believed that…” or “it is thought that …” instead of “in my opinion”.

Do you think this is possible?

Post your answers in the comments box below.


The answer is now available on this page:



  1. Yes, it is possible. But it’s better not use the passive form in excess.

  2. in my opinion

  3. Though my teacher said that we can use it,as IELTS want a clear answer so I personally believe that in my opinion or in my views is more satisfactory.

  4. Chantal Pieters says


    I don’t think it’s a good idea to use the passive voice when you express your opinion in WT 2.
    I plan to use the I form, as this is more clear for the examer that you express your opinion and not a general belief.

  5. I think you could use passive voice ,but personally , I prefer in my opinion

  6. vinod kamboj says

    yesss we can use in discussion essay
    ‘ it is commonly beleived that’

  7. Kavitha.ceelam says

    Hi liz,
    Thank you for your wonderful dedication towards us.god bless you.
    In ielts exam it must give our opinion,not others can not use passive form to express our opinion.

  8. Chanuka fernando says

    I really don’t know it’s possible or not,however we have to write part 2 in formal.

  9. Abul Hossain says

    I think it is possible. I prefer it and it will help in getting high score.

  10. in my opinion

  11. I think it’s possible to use passive voice sentences as it is more formal in writing. However, it is acceptable to use such an expression like * In my opinion, I think or I believe* to express your idea.

  12. I think it is better to use…i believed that or in my opinion..

  13. Fabio Radigonda says

    No, in this case we must express our point of view and not other people’s opinion.

  14. Marie Maude Jean-Louis says

    My Liz
    I think that it ‘s always good for IELTS student to show the examiner that you can use complex sentence such as the passive voice. It will increase your band score.


  15. It is believed that is absolutely correct but after one has to add according to me further.

  16. In most Ielts essay,the question should contain some people think that/some people opinion that, some thing like that.My question is that how I start the 3rd sentence of introduction with out some/few people believe that and my opinion is that.

  17. Isn’t passive voice more formal (apart from impersonal)? I think it’s better to use it in the essay (writing task 2) when discussing two opposite views.
    In the speaking part, I’d use “I guess”, “I reckon”, “I believe” or “In my opinion”.
    Thank you, Liz!

  18. No ,we can not use passive form as it should be your opinion only, so you should write ‘ I believe, in my opinion ..’

  19. Hellow everybady
    I don’t know if possible to use or not
    But I think in my opinion is formal way.
    ……just opinion…..

  20. Mohammad Imran says

    Yes, it’s nice n will help in getting good score.

  21. Hello! My name’s Olga.
    I think it’s impossible to express your opinion in passive voice because phrases like “it is believed” express impersonal attitude towards the problem.

  22. I don’t think that ” in my opinion” can be replaced with” It is believed” or “it is thought” since the idea of Task 2 is to give your thought regarding the thesis and not what others think about it.

    • OMG right on the money! The best comment so far! I was just about to write the same thing. It’s like we’re connected somehow! Would you be interested in meeting and discussing passive voice in more details?

  23. It is widely believed that using the passive in an IELTS essay increases your score, however in my opinion it is acceptable only if you also explicitly state your own personal viewpoint (as in this sentence!), assuming of course that you are writing an “opinion” essay.

  24. Why not?! I’m absolutely convinced that it’s better to use passive. P&s IMHO

  25. Why not? I believe it is highly recommended to express your opinion in IELTS writing. For example when you’re giving examples you can use your own experience.

  26. No,I don’t think one can use it when the question asks for a personal opinion.Cause it seems to be a bit general when one writes:”It is believed that …….” It sounds like presenting the opinion of public. Anyway,looking forward to reading your answer tomorrow since not sure whether I’m right or not.)

  27. I am curious about why none of my comments has been approved?

    • There are over 4,000 comments waiting to be approved on my blog. It is not possible for me to answer so many comments. However, try posting again and I’ll take a look.

  28. Pauline Moyo says

    When one says it is” believed that” the statement does not indicate that it is her opinion .when the statement says it is believed that …it means that people believe that

  29. Syed Jafar Ali Shah says

    I think it is better to use “This essay agrees that …. ” instead of saying “in my opinion” or other statements.

  30. Yes

  31. It is absolutely possible but it is strongly recommended by IELTS examiners being used “in my opinion” .

  32. hello
    to my opinion it is ok to use passive
    i do not see any reason to ignore passive voice.
    what is more, using passive leads to the idea that your lg proficiency is high.
    I’ll be glad to get your response
    thank you so much for helping english lg lovers throughout the world.

  33. Sangaralingam Cheagar says

    Passive form is more suitable in essay writing than the active form, as we can avoid first person expressions like “I”, “You” “We” and “They”.

  34. Angry Candidate says

    How do the Mentally Paralyzed manage Quality Control Procedures?!
    Taher Albarbary

    As though they are answer machines immediately turned on, the customer service employees of the british council (purposefully in small initials) would reply to any candidate’s question regarding the unexpected withhold of his/her ielts scores, “…. there are some quality control procedures to be carried out for the security and integrity of the test. Therefor your results are being investigated now. Unfortunately, no time limit for this process.” A sentence which, at first glance, looks practically sufficient and stylistically appropriate and expressive. However, thinking deeply about this sentence, you would inevitably discover that you, as a candidate, is now a victim of unjustified frustration because your future career plans, for example, are wholly and mercilessly at the hands of the reckless organization (the british council) and its equally reckless and indifferent partners.
    The very inquiry/inquiries to be raised after listening carefully to this vicious sentence is/are, what about my deadlines?! What should I do?! Have I got enough time and effort to sit for this tiring language exam again?! If yes, have I got enough money to pay again for the fees which I paid some weeks ago?! And because the only answer to all the above questions is big NO, you will try to negotiate the issue again with the call center belonging to the country where you sat for the exam; regardless the telephone bills as the call center itself is technically money and time consuming. May be the same customer service employee or some identical one would at once turn on the same answer machine into your ears again: “quality control procedures… british council partners… security and integrity of the test… pla, pla, pla….”
    – Yes, yes, I heard the same words before but… err…..
    – So sir how can I help you?
    – I have deadlines. My future plans are exposed to meaningless devastation…err..
    – But sir, excuse me, it’s out of my hand, the policy of Cambridge policy is pla, pla, pla…..
    And the answer machines are on time and again, despite the very fake fact that you are supposed to talk to human beings!! No time limit for the investigation process. If you are some persistent candidate, and angrily ask for an immediate solution for your problem as you are in dire need of your results for which you have paid the decided fees and studied for more 200 continuous stressing hours, the call center may forward your call to another mentally paralyzed answer machine which in turn will rephrase the same recorded message, “analyzing the results, quality control, out of our hands, british council partners, pla…pla…pal.” This mentally paralyzed creature might be conquered by some sudden bout of heavenly human and emotional pulse of sympathy and adds, “we are contacting Cambridge exam team to solve your issue and we do appreciate the risky situation you are facing.” Oh, Almighty God, they are humans and they are able to feel others stances and needs. It is of great significance in fact. However we shouldn’t feel very happy because the bout of human pulse would not serve your purpose and will never resolve the situation.
    Surfing the internet, you will find out the existence of a catastrophe prevailing worldwide. Candidates from all over the world have the same ridiculous complaint. On the eve of the results they receive the same frustrating e-mail informing them of the time-frameless withhold of their ielts scores. The same thing happens whenever the announcement date of the results approaches. And the very suggestion offered by the cold-blooded supporters of the so-called british council is to take the test again.
    It is ridiculous to see those who pretend to be protecting the integrity and security of the test by the implementation of their false quality control procedures, are themselves violating the very meaning and significance of the term QUALITY CONTROL. To the best of intuitive and undisputable knowledge, the primarily recognized and acknowledged aspect of quality control is to be ON TIME. If a physician sacrifices and risks his patients’ lives to guarantee quality control applications to his/her health organization, then what will we call him/ her. Criminal and idiot, don’t we?!

    • You express yourself very clearly but on the wrong page. If you want your voice heard, particularly by IELTS, try posting on this page: IELTS are more likely to find it on that page than this one. At the end of the day, the reason for posting on the link I’ve given you is that hopefully one day IELTS will read on that page about the negative effects their procedures have had on some people who have paid for their test.

  35. Lenilson Silva says

    Of course it is possible. When a student uses passive voice it means he/she really knows passive form, it can show another level of English. What I’ve seen is more you use different structures, huge vocabulary, strong strucutures/forms and arguments a higher score you may get.

    Thank you Liz for you amazing work.

  36. I think it is possible ,however , I prefer to use I , my ……… giving my opinion.

  37. Pankti mahida says

    We can also say ” from my percepective…”

  38. No, I think it’s not possible because they ask you about your opinion.

  39. “It is believed/thought (by someone)”, so you cannot use them instead of “in my opinion”. However, in some academic areas, they tend to avoid using the first person pronoun in an essay. What about “According to the author’s perspective”?

  40. Hi Liz
    Thanks a lot for your kindness to help us in IELTS.

    In fact, we can use passive form in essay task 2 to get a higher score but we cannot use “It is believed that” or “It is thought that” instead of “In my opinion” as these two passive expressions show other peoples` point of views while “In my opinion” directly expresses my own opinion. So we cannot use.

  41. It is suggested that nowaday students are become addicted by social media.
    Plz correct me, if it is wrong.

  42. Abiodun Ayemoba says

    I think the first 2 phrases expresses general opinion and “in my opinion” expresses the writers thoughts or believes or ideas

  43. Qasim Hanif says

    I believe it is perfectly alright to use a passive voice in IELTS Writing Task 2. The reason being, the examiner is interested in your opinion regarding a point of view, opinion or problem. Therefore we have to use passive voice to express ourself clearly.

  44. no,that’s because” it is believed that” means “most of the people hadbeen believing that”.

  45. I think to express my own opinion it is better to writte: In my opinion or I believe that… Rather than use passive which is going to express a general opinion from others.

  46. Sony chacko says

    I think “in my opinion”

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