Some useful expressions for conversations and discussions.
If you’re working with a partner in an English Speaking exam, or taking part in discussions at work or university, you’ll want to be able to agree and disagree effectively.
This short video from our ‘5 Minute Functions’ series of lessons will help you do just this. Written for IELTS students, but ideal for anyone looking to improve in this area.
Transcript for ‘How to Agree and Disagree’
In Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking exam you’ll have the chance to discuss the subject in Part 2 in more detail. The examiner will ask you to give your opinion and you’ll sometimes be invited to agree or disagree. The first thing to remember is that these questions don’t reflect the examiner’s views but are included to give you the chance to show how well you can agree and disagree within the context of a discussion.
In this lesson we’ll look at some of the expressions you can use to agree and disagree.
Let’s start by looking at expressions you can use to agree. The following words or expressions have the same meaning and can be used to show agreement. Try to remember the importance of stress when pronouncing these words and phrases. For example, ‘I TOtally agree’. Where do you think the stress falls in the other examples?
I couldn’t agree more
I COUldn’t agree MORE
You may find yourself partially agreeing with a question the examiner asks but also have reasons to disagree as well. In which case any of the following can be useful.
I see your point …
I go along with that view to a point …
That’s one way of looking at it …
I see what you’re getting at …
I know what people mean when they say that …
I go along with that view to a point … it is always useful to get qualifications as that’s what employers are often looking for … but exams don’t suit everyone and it’s also important to have experience in an area of work …
Adding a ‘but’ or ‘however’ to the end of the same expressions enables you to disagree. This is a very gentle, polite way of disagreeing, It shows you understand there are other views to your own. but that you have an alternative opinion.
That’s one way of looking at it but it doesn’t really help us to understand or deal with the reasons people turn to crime, does it?
Finally, you may wish to show a little more forcefully that you disagree.
I see things rather differently
I’m not so sure about that
I’m not sure I go along with that
I don’t really agree with that idea
I completely disagree
I don’t really agree with that idea … I don’t like the thought of business interests interfering with the type of healthcare people receive …
So there we have lots of different words and expressions you can use during Part 3 to show agreement and disagreement. Practise using these in your English discussions.