21. Agreement and disagreement

A. Agreement

The simplest way to express agreement with a statement is, for example:

Yes, it is/ does/ can, etc.

Yes, he is/ does/ can, etc.

Yes, they are/ do/ can, etc.

To agree with a negative statement we say, for example:

No, it isn’t/ doesn’t/ can’t, etc.

No, he isn’t/ doesn’t/ can’t, etc.

No, they aren’t/ don’t/ can’t, etc.

To make the agreement more friendly, a question tag may be added.

Certainly may be included for emphatic.

I (quite) agree (with) you.

I think so too.

So do I.

You are (quite) right there.

Exactly. - formal

Quite so. - formal

I couldn’t agree more. - emphatic

I should say so. - emphatic

That’s just I think. - emphatic

You can say it again – emphatic, colloquial

You are telling me. – emphatic, colloquial

Hear! Hear! At meetings

So it is/ I have/ he did, etc - surprised agreement

I suppose so. - reluctant or half - hearted agreement

I suppose it is/ he does, etc - reluctant or half - hearted agreement

Partial agreement may be expressed by the following phrases:

I agree with you | up to a point (but…)

| in a sense (but…)

| in a way (but…)

I see what you mean, but…

That may be true, but (on other hand)…

(Oh) yes, but…

B. Disagreement

The simplest way to express disagreement with a statement is, for example:

No, it isn’t/ doesn’t/ can’t, etc.

No, he isn’t/ doesn’t/ can’t, etc.

No, they aren’t/ don’t/ can’t, etc.

To disagree with a negative statement we say:

Yes, it is/ does/ can, etc.

Yes, he is/ does/ can, etc.

Yes, they are/ do/ can, etc.

To express stronger disagreement we can introduce the sentences with oh, which is stressed.

The above forms are used mainly to disagree with statements of fact. To disagree with an opinion, one of the following phrases is generally to be preferred:

I don’t agree (with you) (there).

I disagree (with you) (there).

I’m afraid I can’t agree (with you) (there). – milder, more tactful.

I’m afraid you are mistaken (here).

I think you are mistaken (here).

Direct, sometimes abrupt:

Not at all.

Nothing of the kind.

On the contrary. - formal

Very abrupt, possibly rude:

Nonsense.

Rubbish.

(That’s) ridiculous.

Now here are some ways of softening disagreement:

Well,…

Personally,…

As a matter of fact,…

To disagree tactfully we may also use such expressions as:

Oh, I don’t know. – usually in response to critical remarks.

I wouldn’t say that.

I wouldn’t call it/him… (exactly)

Do you (really) think so?

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