In this podcast, we are going to look at some phrases for agreeing and disagreeing with people’s opinions. If you didn’t listen to the last podcast, why not listen to that now and learn or review some expressions for giving opinions.

Listen to the podcast here

If you want the easy life, then just agree with everything that people say to you. All you have to do is say ‘Yeah’ or nod your head and you won’t have any problems.

Until one day, when people start to find you boring. They think you are just a ‘Yes man or woman’ with no opinion of your own.

Most of us prefer to interact with people who add something extra to the conversation and disagreement is often preferable to complete agreement.

So, let me begin with a few statements. Listen to them and decide if you agree or disagree. Also, think about whether you completely agree, partly agree, partly disagree or completely disagree.

The only good English teachers are native speakers, teachers whose first language is English.
British English is superior (better than) American English.
Correct grammar is more important than good pronunciation.
The only way to truly learn a second language is to go to that country where it is spoken.
Adults cannot become fluent speakers of a second language.

Now, I hope some of those statements made you think. I know I would find it difficult to completely agree with any of them.

But, agreeing or disagreeing is something that you are expected to do when you speak English. If you are taking a test, an interview, or even just socialising, you will be expected to respond to opinions.

Of course, there are cultural factors we have to consider and maybe you feel uncomfortable disagreeing with certain people in specific situations in your culture. Maybe, you shouldn’t disagree with your boss or your teacher or your parents.

However, if you are communicating with most native speakers of English, disagreeing is expected but there are ways to disagree indirectly which reduce the risk of argument or confrontation.

So, let’s look at some phrases for agreeing.

When we agree strongly, we can say:

You’re absolutely right.
I couldn’t agree more.
That’s exactly what I think.
Absolutely
Exactly.

Partial agreement is a little more difficult.

Yes, OK, but perhaps..
I see what you mean but have you thought about..
I hear what you’re saying but..
I accept what you’re saying but…
I see your point but…
I agree to some extent but..
True enough but….
On the whole, I agree with you but…

As I’m sure you have noticed, we often show we are in general agreement and then say ‘but’ to introduce a reservation or a different point of view.

As well as partial agreement, we can also express doubt or weak disagreement.

Yeah, I’m not really sure about that.
Maybe, but isn’t it more a question of …
That’s not really how I see it, I’m afraid.
I’m not really with you on that one.
Mmm, but don’t you think…?

And then of course, sometimes we just have to disagree

I can’t agree. I really think…
I have to disagree there..
No, I disagree. What about….?
No way! I completely disagree with you
Come on! How can you say that….
Absolutely not!
You’re talking rubbish.
You don’t know what you’re saying.
That’s absolute nonsense.

You get the idea. If I continue with stronger phrases to express disagreement, I will have to put a parental warning on this podcast and restrict it to people over 18.

There is also a great phrase in English when we know we will never agree with somebody so there is no point continuing with the argument.

OK, let’s agree to disagree.

So, to end, I’d like to repeat the statements I read out earlier and I’d like you to try to respond using some of the phrases we’ve looked at in this podcast.

The only good English teachers are native speakers, teachers whose first language is English.
British English is superior (better than) American English.
Correct grammar is more important than good pronunciation.
The only way to truly learn a second language is to go to that country where it is spoken.
Adults cannot become fluent speakers of a second language.

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