We Agree to Disagree: Different Ways of Agreeing/Disagreeing in English

During the course of a conversation when a person is stating their ideas, it can be the case that you, as the other participant in the said conversation, have the same opinion as stated by the speaker and you want to express your agreement.  On the other hand, a contrasting situation might happen – you may have a completely different opinion from the person talking and you want to express your disagreement.

You can either agree or disagree in many ways, but it is always important to respect other person’s opinion.  You can simply state your agreement or disagreement by saying “I agree with you” or “I disagree”; or you can express different levels of agreement/disagreement depending on whether you completely or partially agree/disagree and feel the need to add your own thoughts.  

SEE ALSO: When Prescriptive and Descriptive Grammars Collide: English Double Negatives

Agreeing

You can simply agree with someone by using adverbs “so” and “neither”.  When someone expresses their opinion in a form of a positive sentence, you use “so” and repeat the auxiliary verb.  However, if someone states their opinion in a form of a negative sentence, use “neither” and also repeat the auxiliary verb.

  • “I love reading books.” “So do I!”
  • “I didn’t enjoy this film.” “Neither did I.”
  • “I have always liked Indian food.” “So have I.”
  • “I can’t stand this kind of music.  “Neither can I.”

If you believe that what is being said completely complies with your stands on the matter in question, you can make use of phrases such as “I couldn’t agree more”, “You are 100% right” or “You are absolutely right” to express strong agreement, or simple agree with short expressions, such as “Exactly” or “Absolutely”.

“I think that eBooks will never be able to completely replace paper books.”
“I think you are absolutely right.”

There also might be some instances when you think that a speaker has a valid point and you want to let them know you support their point of view, but you have your own thoughts and ideas you would like to add to the discussion.  To express this degree of agreement, the following phrases might be useful: “I have to side with you on this one, but…”, “I think we are on the same page here.  I would only like to add…”, “I think we are seeing eye to eye on this matter, I would only say …” or “I suppose you are right.  However…”

“In my opinion, I think it’s good to take a year off before college and have a lot of fun and enjoy before all that studying.”
“Well, I have to side with you on this one, but I think you should also do something useful during that year, have some real life experiences, and not just go to parties, for example.”
“I think today’s children have access to everything they want and they are all just so spoiled.”
“I think we are seeing eye to eye on this matter, I would only say that you cannot generalize it like that and say ALL children are spoiled.”

Disagreeing

It is impossible that we all have the same opinion when it comes to discussing certain issues or matters.  It is completely normal that each person views a certain situation from a different angle, thus forming a different opinion.  Furthermore, the exchange of different opinions can be useful as it can lead to constructive discussions where everyone can present their attitude while taking into account other people’s opinions.

When it comes to disagreeing with someone, you may want to point out that what you think is completely different from what the speaker is saying.  To express that you completely disagree with someone, here are the phrases that might help you: “I totally disagree”, “I beg to differ” or “I’d say the exact opposite”.

“I would say that learning a language later in life is almost impossible.”
“I beg to differ.  I think it’s never too late to learn a language.”

In certain situations, you want to express you disagreement in a more mild way by letting the speaker know you understand what is being said, but that is not your opinion.  To state you disagreement in this way, here are some useful phrases: “I see your point.  However…”, “You have a great point, but I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with you.”, “I see where you are going with this, but in my opinion…”, “I hear what you are saying, but…” or “I’m afraid I can’t agree with you because…”.

“Studying grammar is so useless, it’s just important to practice real life conversation.”
“I see your point.  However, in order for communication to run smoothly, you need to have certain knowledge of grammar.”
“Living in a flat is so much better than living in a house.  For one thing, you spend less money on bills.”
“You have a great point, but I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with you.  I think there are much more advantages to living in a house.”

Whether you share someone’s opinion or not, it is important to be a careful listener and hear what other people have to say and take their arguments into consideration before stating if you agree or disagree.  Before making your point, think of arguments that will support your stand and get the conversation going by presenting arguments you believe are valid.

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