Five useful ways to disagree politely in English
When you disagree with someone, it can often be a challenge to express your point of view without offending that person. At the same time, it’s important to express your honest opinion. Here are five ways to disagree politely without offending the person you are talking to.
Acknowledge the other person’s opinion before you disagree. Make sure you make it clear that you understand what the other person is saying and that it is a valid argument before you disagree. This shows you are listening to the other person and makes your argument stronger. To do this, you can use phrases such as:
“I see what you’re saying but…”
“I understand where you’re coming from, but…”
“That’s a valid point, but…”
Use an apology to introduce your disagreement. This is another way of making your disagreement more polite but can soften the impact of your argument. For example:
“I’m sorry but I disagree with you about this.”
Don’t just say the other person is wrong. Instead, add a reason why another idea may be correct. It hurts to be told you are wrong, but finding out something new and useful is a more positive experience, even if you don’t agree with the answer.
Improve your English grammar, vocabulary and more with EF English Live. Get started for free
Pretend to be unsure about agreeing. This is a common way that people from the UK disagree. Expressions like “I’m not sure I agree with you about this” or “I don’t think I have the same opinion as you” really mean ‘I don’t agree’.
Agree to disagree. This is a useful way to end an argument where you know neither person will ever agree. For example, when you are arguing about politics or even football teams. When you say “Let’s agree to disagree,” you acknowledge that you will never agree with the other person on that particular topic and that you can move on to discussing other issues instead.
So, how do you feel about these methods for disagreeing with a person? Do they work for you or are we going to have to ‘agree to disagree’?