according to my opinion

Discussion in 'English Only' started by easychen, May 11, 2009.

  1. easychen Senior Member


    Can anyone help confirm the following:

    (1) according to my opinion= in my opinion. But it seems that "according to my opinion" is rarely used.

    (2) "according to me" is not correct in the sense "expressing opinions," but it's OK to mean "in accordance with my desire," as in "the world according to me."
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    To say "according to my opinion" is redundant. "According to" in this context means "on the authority of" or "as stated or reported by" ( ie:

    A: "Well, I think that we should have the party at John's house this weekend. According to John, his parents will be out of town."

    To say "On my authority, my opinion is..." or "As reported by myself, my opinion is..." is illogical.

    "The world according to me" is different in that it is the condition of the world "as reported by" me.
  3. easychen Senior Member

    Hi Dimcl,

    I don't see why "according to my opinion" is redundant. My understanding is that people use it to avoid the incorrect "according to me," if they do not choose "in my opinion."
    And I'm very interested in knowing "my opinion is..." is illogical while "in my opinion" is perfectly correct.
  4. EnchiladaJack Senior Member

    USA, English
    I've never heard any native AE speaker use the phrase "according to my opinion." It would always be "in my opinion."

    I've heard people say "according to me," but it's usually in response to the question, "Oh, yeah, according to who?"
  5. Zainyx Senior Member

    Bilingual: UK English - Italian
    Both of these definitely also apply in British English.

    'My opinion is that...' is also correct, but people would never put in the "on my authority" bit.

    As for 'according to my opinion', while it's logically sound I've never heard it said or read it written. It just sounds odd. 'In my opinion' is always the phrase of choice, I think.
  6. easychen Senior Member

    The Random House Webster's College Dictionary explains the idiom "for my money" as "according to my opinion."
  7. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Hi, Easychen.

    I'll work through your question in reverse.

    I don't think "the world according to me" can mean "the world in accordance with my desire". To me it means "the world from my point of view" (= "the world as I see it").

    In my experience, when a prepositional phrase beginning with "according to" is used as a sentence adverb, it is used to introduce a statement and connect it with a source. "According to me" as a sentence adverb seems tautologous to me since my making the statement introduces it and I am the obvious source. It is not wrong to use, but it means something like "with myself as source, I say ...."

    To me, "according to my opinion" means essentially "in my opinion's opinion", so I would not use it. Except in the case of a legal "opinion", which can be a particular type of document, an opinion is not a "source" of information like a person, a book, or a document (at least according to me :)).
  8. Zainyx Senior Member

    Bilingual: UK English - Italian
    I think Forero's bang on the money here, whatever The Random House Webster's College Dictionary says ;)
  9. easychen Senior Member

    Yeah, I agree. But still, what has been perplexing me is that such a common mistake (if not a blunder) can be found in The Random House Webster's College Dictionary whose authority I've never questioned before!
  10. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Dictionary writing is an art, not a science.

    I think the dictionary entry writer was "translating" the expression "for my money" by equating "for" with "according to" and "money" with "opinion". It is not a perfect correspondence, but I think it gets the point across. Dictionary entries, especially the "run-on" ones, tend to be terse. We don't expect them to fully explain idiomatic expressions. (That may require a forum. :))

    "According to my opinion" can make sense with one of the less common meanings of opinion, such as a formal expression by an expert or a legal document.
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Why is "according to me" incorrect?
    According to Bill is perfectly OK.
    According to my dictionary is perfectly OK.
    According to me should also be perfectly OK.
    It introduces a statement of my opinion.

    The topic phrase sounds to me the equivalent of "In the opinion of my opinion ...". That does not make sense.
  12. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree.

    That said ...

    I don't think "according to me" works. I think it should be "in my opinion". I'm sure I've seen previous threads on this.
  13. easychen Senior Member

    I know, Loob. But this one is somewhat different. Ultimately, I'd like to know why an authoritative dictionary would use "according to my opinion" instead of "in my opinion" to explain "for my money." (did the dictionary writer not think of the term "in my opinion" at that time? Or is "according to my opinion" perfectly correct according to his opinion?:D)
  14. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I would not say "according to my opinion" as the writer of that little run-on entry did, but I forgive him or her for it.

    There is nothing wrong with "according to me", and I prefer it to "according to myself". Whether it is useful depends on the context.

    In my opinion, "according to me" is not as useful as "according to <somebody else>". It does fit after "Oh, yeah, according to who?", and I suspect there is another context where it would fit well.

    Unfortunately no proper context has come to my mind just yet.
  15. easychen Senior Member

  16. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  17. Diego Rimar Member

    I agree with Dimcl and Forero.

    If I start by saying that my own view is a source with which I agree, it seems that psychologically I have to reinforce my own views twice.
    This may even be grammatically correct, but I see no sense​
  18. johndot Senior Member

    English - England
    Unless it’s been mentioned elsewhere, we seem to be forgetting the aspect of politeness: the sort of politeness that’s apparent in such expressions as “my friend and I” where the personal pronoun ‘I’ comes second (or last).

    Likewise, I think, it’s impolite to accord authority to oneself; you should only say “according to a third party” as in

    according to the Law
    according to Webster’s
    according to the guy down the road who’s a past master and world expert on the subject
    or even “yeah, right, according to you...”

    But not ‘according to me’ (unless of course you do have authority—but even so, the expression has an air of petulance about it).

    So, to return to the thread title, and assuming the above is accepted (that you shouldn’t ‘accord’ to yourself because it’s rude, but you should accord to an authority [however fatuous]), how can you commit the double sin of ‘according to your own opinion’? What kind of authority does an opinion have? None whatsoever, surely?
  19. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    As I see it:

    • "According to me" can occur naturally in the context of parallel constructions, and not necessarily facetiously.
    • There is nothing odd about "According to Bob, Amy, and me, ...."
    • Otherwise, "according to me" or "according to us" alone as a sentence adverb seems tautologous, but something like "according to us as native speakers" in the right context is fine.
    • There is nothing odd about "Let's play this according to my rules."
    • It does not seem to be a politeness issue.
    Despite what I said about the opinion of an opinion, "according to xxx" and "in xxx's opinion" are not really exact synonyms. Perhaps if we can find the right paraphrase of "according to xxx", it might be evident why "according to me" does not directly translate its apparent equivalents in other languages.

    In terms of origins, the forms in some languages suggest "following" or "seconding" someone or something, and our according suggests agreement. Can I second myself or follow myself?

    I do try to agree with myself, but it is sometimes quite an exercise. :)
  20. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Perhaps my mistake is in not giving some sense of authority to the expression "according to".
    In my mind, this is a simple attribution with no hint of endorsement.
    According to Bill the earth is a large sausage, carried through the aether by fourteen million flying pigs.
    That kind of thing.
  21. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with you, panj, that according to is attribution rather than endorsement; indeed it may even convey a hint of doubt.

    I suspect that's why "according to me" is - in my experience - seldom used in the sense of "in my opinion". (Many of the google hits are for "Life according to me", "The World according to me" and so on.)

    Here's how Michael Swan's Practical English Usage explains it:
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  22. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thank you.
    I can live with We do not usually give our own opinions with according to.
    I was having a lot more difficulty with "according to me" is not correct in the sense "expressing opinions".

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