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Practical English: Disagreeing with People

How many times have you found yourself disagreeing with someone in a conversation, and not knowing how to respond? It can be tough. Humans are social creatures, but they're also emotional ones.

You don't want to hurt their feelings.

You don't want to get into an argument.

Or sometimes, you just don't have the energy to argue because you know how the conversation is going to go (if this is the situation, it's often better to just nod and smile, or walk away.)

If you do want to continue the conversation by expressing your disagreement, however, consider using one of these useful phrases:

"I'm not so sure about that."

Person A: "The entire situation was Zia's fault."

Person B: "I'm not so sure about that. Did you actually talk to Zia about what happened?"

"Yeah, but don't you think...?"

Person A: "We shouldn't accept more refugees because it's expensive for the country."

Person B: "Yeah, but don't you think we shouldn't send people back to dangerous situations?"

"I agree up to a point, but..."

Person A: "We shouldn't let special interest groups define public policy."

Person B: "I agree up to a point, but their concerns are just as valid as yours or mine."

"I don't see it that way."

Person A: "I think it would be better if the government didn't make masks mandatory."

Person B: "I don't see it that way."

"You don't really believe that, do you?" (strong)

Person A: "Vaccines have done more harm than good."

Person B: "You don't really believe that, do you?"

For strong disagreement, you can also use one of these instant reactions:


"Are you serious?"

"You can't be serious."

"You've got to be kidding me."

"That's nonsense/rubbish."

And if you want to be extra strong--and if you're old enough--you can use the all-time classic:

"That's bullshit."

There you have it. You now have more than 10 ways to disagree with people in English. If you know any others, leave them in the comments.

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