Agreeing and disagreeing


Agreeing and disagreeing
This entry first explains how to ask someone whether they agree with you or not, and then explains different ways of showing agreement and disagreement.
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asking for agreement
You can ask someone if they agree with your opinion of something or someone by using a question tag. When you do this, you usually expect them to agree with you.

That's an extremely interesting point, isn't it?

It was really good, wasn't it, Andy?

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Note that people sometimes use question tags like this and carry on talking because they think a reply is unnecessary.
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You can also use a question tag to ask someone if they agree that something is a fact.

Property in France is quite expensive, isn't it?

That's right, isn't it?

You don't have a television, do you?

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You can also indicate that you want someone to express agreement by using a negative `yes/no'-question, or by saying a statement as if it were a question.

Wasn't it marvellous?

So there's no way you could go back to work?

He's got a scholarship?

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You can use the tag `don't you?' after a clause in which you say that you like or dislike something, or think it is good or bad. The pronoun `you' is stressed.

I adore it, don't you?

I think this is one of the best things, don't you?

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In formal situations, people sometimes use expressions such as `Don't you agree...?' and `Would you agree...?'

Don't you agree with me that it is rather an impossible thing to do after all this time?

Would you agree with that analysis?

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expressing agreement
When you want to indicate that you agree with someone or something, the simplest way is to say `yes'. People often say something further, especially in more formal discussions.

`It depends where you live.' —-`Yes.'

`It's quite a nice school, isn't it?' —-`Yes, it's well decorated and there's a nice atmosphere there.'

`You also give out information about courses for English teachers, don't you?' —-`Yes; and I also talk to teachers about courses.'

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You can add an appropriate tag such as `I do' or `it is' to `Yes'. This tag is often followed by a question tag.

`That's fantastic!' —-`Yes, it is, isn't it?'

`I was really rude to you at that party.' —-`Yes, you were. But I deserved it.'

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You can also just add a question tag to `Yes', or use a question tag by itself. You do not expect a reply.

`He's a completely changed man.' —-`Yes, isn't he?'

`What a lovely evening!' —-`Isn't it?'

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People often make the sound `Mm' instead of saying `Yes'.

`Strange, isn't it?' —-`Mm.'

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If you want to express agreement with a negative statement, you say `No', not `Yes'.

`She's not an easy person to live with.' —-`No.'

`I don't think it's as good now.' —-`No, it isn't really.'

`That's not very healthy, is it?' —-`No.'

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You can also express agreement using expressions such as `That's right', `That's true', or `True', when agreeing that something is a fact. You say `That's true' or `True' when you think a good point has been made.

`Most teenagers are perfectly all right.' —-`That's right, yes.'

`You don't have to be poor to be lonely.' —-`That's true.'

`I'll have more to spend then.' —-`Yes, that's true.'

`They're a long way away.' —-`True.'

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People sometimes say `Sure' when accepting what someone has said in a discussion.

`You can earn some money as well.' —-`Sure, sure, you can make quite a bit.'

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The expression `I agree' is quite formal.

`It's a catastrophe.' —-`I agree.'

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When someone has made a statement about what they like or think, you can indicate that you share their opinion by saying `So do I' or `I do too'.

`I find that amazing.' —-`So do I.'

`I like baked beans.' —-`Yes, I do too.'

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When you want to indicate that you share someone's negative opinion, you can say `Nor do I', `Neither do I', or `I don't either'.

`I don't like him.' —-`Nor do I.'

`Oh, I don't mind where I go as long as it's a break.' —-`No, I don't either.'

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strong agreement
You can show strong agreement by using expressions such as the ones shown in the examples below. Most of these sound rather formal. `Absolutely' and `Exactly' are less formal.

`I thought June Barry's performance was the performance of the evening.' —-`Absolutely. I thought she was wonderful.'

`It's good practice and it's good fun.' —-`Exactly.'

`I feel I ought to give her a hand.' —-`Oh, quite, quite.'

`I must do something, though.' —-`Yes, I quite agree.'

`There's far too much attention being paid to these hoodlums.' —-`Yes, I couldn't agree more.'

`The public showed that by the way it voted in the General Election.' —-`That's quite true.'

`We reckon that this is what he would have wanted us to do.' —-`I think you're absolutely right.'

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You can show that you agree strongly with someone's description of something by repeating the adjective they have used and using `very' in front of it. You usually use `indeed' after the adjective.

`It was very tragic, wasn't it.' —-`Very tragic indeed.'

`The pacing in all these performances is subtle, isn't it?' —-`Oh, very subtle indeed.'

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partial agreement
If you agree with someone, but not entirely or with reluctance, you can reply `I suppose so'.

`I must have a job.' —-`Yes, I suppose so.'

`That's the way to save lives, and save ourselves a lot of trouble.' —-`I suppose so.'

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If you are replying to a negative statement, you say `I suppose not'.

`Some of these places haven't changed a bit.' —-`I suppose not.'

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expressing ignorance or uncertainty
If you do not know enough to agree or disagree with a statement, you say `I don't know'.

`He was the first four-minute miler, wasn't he?' —-`Perhaps. I don't know.'

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If you are not sure of a particular fact, you say `I'm not sure'.

`He was world champion one year, wasn't he?' —-`I'm not sure.'

`Oh, that'd be nice, wouldn't it?' —-`I'm not sure.'

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expressing disagreement
Rather than simply expressing complete disagreement, people usually try to disagree politely using expressions which soften the contradictory opinion they are giving. `I don't think so' and `Not really' are the commonest of these expressions.

`You'll change your mind one day.' —-`Well, I don't think so. But I won't argue with you.'

`It was a lot of money in those days.' —-`Well, not really.'

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The expressions shown below are also used.

`Don't you know Latin?' —-`Of course he does.' —-`Actually, no, I don't know it very well.'

`It might be — well, someone she'd met by accident.' —-`Oh, do you really think so, Julia?'

`It's a dog's life being a singer. And you have to mix with scum.' —-`I don't know about that.'

`It's all over now, anyway.' —-`No, I'm afraid I can't agree with you there.'

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People often say `Yes' or `I see what you mean', to indicate partial agreement, and then go on to mention a point of disagreement, introduced by `but'.

`You've just said yourself that you got fed up with it after a time.' —-`Yes, but only after three weeks.'

`It's a very clever film.' —-`Yes, perhaps, but I didn't like it.'

`They ruined the whole thing.' —-`I see what you mean, but they didn't know.'

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strong disagreement
The following examples show stronger ways of expressing disagreement. You should be very careful when using them, in order to avoid offending people.

`That's very funny.' —-`No it isn't.'

`It might be a couple of years.' —-`No! Surely not as long as that!'

`He killed himself.' —-`That's not right. I'm sure that's not right. Tell me what happened.'

`You were the one who wanted to buy it.' —-`I'm sorry, dear, but you're wrong.'

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The expressions shown in the following examples are more formal.

`University education does divide families in a way.' —-`I can't go along with that.'

`There would be less of the guilt which characterized societies of earlier generations.' —-`Well, I think I would take issue with that.'

`When it comes to the state of this country, he should keep his mouth shut.' —-`I wholly and totally disagree.'

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In formal situations, you can use `With respect...' to make your disagreement seem more polite.

`We ought to be asking the teachers some tough questions.' —-`With respect, Mr Graveson, you should be asking pupils some questions as well, shouldn't you?'

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When people are angry, they use very strong, impolite words and expressions to disagree.

`He's absolutely right.' —-`Oh, come off it! He doesn't know what he's talking about.'

`They'll be killed.' —-`Nonsense.'

`He wants it, and I suppose he has a right to it.' —-`Rubbish.'

`You're ashamed of me.' —-`Don't talk rubbish.'

`He said you plotted to get him removed.' —-`That's ridiculous!'

`He's very good at his job, isn't he?' —-`You must be joking! He's absolutely useless!'

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With people you know well, you can use expressions like these in a casual, light-hearted way.
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Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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