In this lesson we cover expressing disagreement to argue effectively in English. By learning 38 different phrases and expressions to express disagreement you'll know how to stand up for yourself in any argument you have in English.
It can be a bit frustrating to have an argument but also frustrating if you don’t have the words or phrases to express that frustration and disagreement. These 38 phrases will help you!
1. That is patently false…
You use this when someone makes a bold accusation and it’s simply not true whatsoever. So you’d say “That is patently false” and proceed to show them why.
2. I’d beg to differ
This is a polite way to say you don’t see eye to eye with them on this topic. So after the person makes their point, you can share your own opinion and say that you’d beg to differ.
3. Absolutely not
Self-explanatory. You’d say this when you 100% disagree with someone and also when you are calling their bluff. You’re calling them out on their mistake.
4. I completely disagree with that statement
Also straightforward. This can be used in business situations. Say for instance, you’re in a meeting and you disagree with the popular opinion. You’d say: Well, I completely disagree with that statement.
5. No way
You’d say this in more informal situations. It’s when you really don’t agree with the person and you think there’s not a chance of this. As in “no way is the company selling stock.”
6. I get where you’re coming from but…
This is a nice and kind way of showing empathy. I like this one a lot because you’re validating the person’s opinion but also providing your own counter argument in the hopes that maybe they can eventually see it your way.
7. While I sort of see your point, here’s where you lost me….
This is also a polite way of disagreeing. Again, it’s saying that you are trying to understand their opinion but it’s a bit faulty and you proceed to point out the flaws in their argument. Think of it as you’re giving them a lesson in forming a stronger argument. So in some ways, it’s educational, right?
8. Not a chance that’s right
A longer version of “no way.” It’s a bit direct and you’re basically saying that you don’t believe in the credibility of their argument. You’re challenging them on its validity. And as a rebuttal, they might provide data and evidence to say why they have an argument.
9. It’s not necessarily that way…
You’re being open to the possibility that it might not be the way they say it is but you’re not convinced.
10. Not quite you see….
This can be formal or informal. It’s a polite way of refuting their statement and telling them why.
11. I am diametrically opposed to that viewpoint…here’s why
To be diametrically opposed to something is just a fancy way of saying to be in complete disagreement with something. So you’re telling them that and you’re ready to back up your statement with evidence.
12. I can’t agree with that
Pretty direct way of saying that you disagree. And it’s rather straightforward, right?
13. We don’t see eye to eye here
This is a great expression here and it’s wonderful to use in disagreements. It means that you recognize that you’re both going to disagree with each other and that’s just the fact. When you see eye to eye on something you agree, so not seeing eye to eye is that you disagree with them.
14. I don’t think we’re on the same page with this
To be on the same page as someone else means that you agree with them. But if you’re not on the same page then you can’t agree.
15. I wholeheartedly disagree
This shows just how much you are in disagreement. You are wholeheartedly, will the entirety of your heart and fully disagreeing with them.
16. That’s not a valid argument
The followup to that would be to say why it’s not a valid argument. The listener and fellow debater would expect you to back up your statement as to why the other person’s argument is invalid.
17. Can you back that statement up?
Here you’re challenging the person to provide data, facts, any kind of evidence to support their argument.
18. That doesn’t seem right
You’re basing it on a hunch on your gut feeling or intuition that something doesn’t add up. This might encourage them to speak up and say something to make you change your mind.
19. One of us has got it all wrong
Here you’re contending that one person is right and the other is wrong. As the two of you flesh out your individual arguments, you’ll discover that one of you has the correct idea and the other does not.
20. Must we agree on this?
This is pointing out a very realistic part of arguing - that you don’t have to come to an agreement if it’s not necessary.
21. Clearly, we have different perspectives on this
This is a polite way to say that you and they are not going to change your opinions. So for the sake of everyone’s sanity, move on and cut your losses.
22. Let’s take a time out and circle back later
You’d most likely hear this in a business setting. It could even be something someone says during a meeting when several people start to disagree with one another and the tension is rising. To prevent the situation from heating up any further, someone says “let’s take a time-out and circle back later” meaning we’ll revisit this when everyone’s cooled their jets and calmed down.
23. Let’s agree to disagree
Friends might say this to one another. It’s the idea that their friendship is way more important to them than winning any argument could ever be. So it’s a nice expression because it’s about rising above the argument. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with the other person, you have to treasure your friendship or relationship and just call it at that.
24. I’m not convinced
You’re challenging the person to convince you. You want to hear their argument and more importantly how they’re going to provide evidence and support their claims.
25. Actually, here’s my take on this
This is a kind way of showing you disagree with the person and why they should listen to your perspective to understand your side of the argument.
26. I get what you’re saying however…
Another great way of validating your conversation partner or the person you’re in an argument with, while also pointing out what you have to say on the matter.
27. I agreed until you said…
This is similar to the one on “you lost me at…” to say that you might agree with parts of their argument but there are some flaws that you cannot ignore. And you’re simply pointing those out~which actually might help the other person strengthen their argument by bolstering those weaker points.
28. I just can’t get behind your point about / your take on
This shows that try as you may, you cannot agree with their position. And it illustrates that you were hoping to agree with them but you are fundamentally not able to. Hopefully you can point out why that is. It’s also a nice way to say you disagree, because it shows that you are still level headed and find that the relationship to this person is important to you and you want to honor that bond.
29. You have no idea what you’re talking about
This is rather rude. It comes off as aggressive and quite mean. So it’s probably best to steer clear of this one because it might do more harm than good.
30. You have no basis to say that
This one is also a bit rude and menacing. It might spark further conflict. But you’re pointing out that they have insulted you in some way and you’re hurt by it. You’re calling into question their credibility as well.
31. You’re basing your argument on unsolid ground
This is pointing out that the person made a bold claim but their argument doesn’t stand a chance because it’s on unsolid ground. Meaning, it’s a weak argument.
32. That claim is unfounded
Another one to mean that it’s just a claim they’re making without any supporting evidence. So you’re basically asking them for the proof or evidence of what they’re saying.
33. That is a fallacious argument
You’re expressing that you believe this argument to be fake. It’s not a strong enough argument, and could even be completely false.
34. That’s an unsubstantiated argument (you’ve got to evidence to back it up)
When you say this, you’re encouraging the person to provide supporting facts. A statement by itself is just a claim, it’s not an argument.
35. That’s a bold claim, are you sure you want to go there?
You’re challenging the person and saying that they have a few seconds to rethink this and perhaps even take back what they said. Someone could very well respond to this with an apology saying “You’re right, I’m completely out of line to be saying that. I’m sorry. I blurted it out without thinking.”
36. “People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones”
Great expression to mean that people who have faults should not criticize other people for having the same faults. You might use this when someone tries to criticize you or point out something negative that they are or do themselves. And you’re gently reminding them they’re not perfect either.
37. “The pot calling the kettle black”
Similar to the one we just heard, this is great to use in a situation in which one person criticizes another for a fault the first person also has. So someone might make a remark about how you quit your accounting program to become an entrepreneur and you say “the pot calling the kettle black” because they did the same thing only that they dropped out of law school to run their own business. Or if someone criticizes a person for being late all the time and unreliable but the other person is also frequently tardy, then you can use this expression to remind them of this.
38. While there might be a kernel of truth here, let’s not forget that…
This is acknowledging that there might be some aspects of truth in the argument that you agree with but there is an important point that cannot be overlooked or forgotten and ultimately it’s why you don’t agree with them.
Whoo, well done for making it through 38 ways of expressing disagreement to argue effectively in English~ The next time you want to stand up for yourself, present a counter argument or you’re just tired of not having the phrases you need to argue effectively in English, now you know what to say! Try to argue in a way that remains polite and respectful because as we say in English, you attract more bees with honey than water. Of course, it might be hard in the moment, when tensions are high but then it might be a good idea to take a quick 10 min break and revisit the topic later. Either way, now you have the language to make your argument as strong as it can be, provided that you have supporting evidence~!
Alright Advanced English learners, thanks for joining me in this lesson.
I encourage you to use these 38 phrases the next time you are in disagreement with someone over something. The more you practice, the more second nature it’ll become.
The full transcript of this lesson can be found on our blog, so be sure to check out advanced english dot co forward slash blog. If you prefer to listen to this lesson, check out our podcast; it's available on our website. And if you love the podcast, be sure to leave us a 5 star review, that really helps us out!
See you in the next one where we’ll continue advancing your English together! Until then, keep up the awesome work.