Introduction:

In business meetings and other situations you have to agree and disagree. In English, politeness is important. So when you disagree with somebody, you have to be careful what you say when you do it.

Fortunately, there are ways in which you can disagree without offending people. When you disagree with someone in a business situation, it is polite to give a reason why you disagree. Agreeing is a lot easier.

In this online exercise you will learn phrases in English that are commonly used for both agreeing and disagreeing with people. First, read the below dialogue/conversation and then do the quiz/test at the end to learn which are polite and impolite to use and how to say/pronounce them perfectly.

These phrases can be used in both business and non-business situations.

Click here to see more of our free online exercises on business meeting vocabulary


Exercise: A vote in a meeting

Read the following conversation where the chair of a business meeting is asking the attendees whether they agree or disagree with a proposal.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Chair:'So, Peter has proposed that we increase the budget for the IT project. Now, I'll go round the table and ask if you agree or disagree with it. So, starting with Simon.'

Attendee 1:'Well, I'm afraid that I don't. It's too much money.'

Attendee 2:'At the moment, I doubt that spending more money on the project will improve the situation. So, no.'

Attendee 3:'I completely agree with the proposal. IT is fundamental for the future of our company.'

Attendee 4:'I think the same about this proposal. It's too important not to do.'

Attendee 5:'At the moment, with the current economic situation, It's out of the question. We don't have any extra money.'

Attendee 6:'I understand Peter's point, but at the moment, we need to save and not to spend.'

Attendee 7:'I don't have a problem with the proposal. So, I agree.'

Attendee 8:'It sounds interesting, but I think we should wait before making any decisions.'

Attendee 9:'Yes, don't you think it would be better to wait until June. I can't agree with it, sorry.'

Attendee 10:'To be honest, I believe it's too much money at the moment. So, no.'



Quiz: How to agree & disagree in business situations

Below are ten sentences. Each sentence uses one of the phrases in bold from the above text with one or two words missing. You have to complete the phrase by choosing the missing word(s) from the question's selection box. Only use one option from the selection box once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. I have to say, it interesting, but we should wait.            

It sounds interesting, but:
(phrase) When 'it sounds interesting' is followed by 'but', it is a very polite way to say I disagree. In Spanish: "eso suena interestante".

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It sounds interesting, but:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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2. I'm that I can't agree with you on this suggestion.            

I'm afraid that:
(verb) 'I am afraid that', is a very formal and polite way to announce that you are going tell somebody bad news or to disagree with them. Similar to 'sorry'. In Spanish: "Me temo que".

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I'm afraid that:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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3. What you are asking me to do is against the law. It's the question!            

It's out of the question:
(phrase) 'It's out of the question' is a very direct and rude way of disagreeing. Although when you add 'I'm afraid that' in front ot it, it makes the phrase less rude. In Spanish: "imposible".

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It's out of the question:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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4. Don't you think it better to give the contract to Samsons and not Ptech?            

Don't you think it would be better:
(phrase) 'Don't you think it would be better', is a very polite way of disagreeing and offers an alternative solution at the same time. In Spanish: "no crees que estaria mejor".

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Don't you think it would be better:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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5. That's a good point. But to be , I don't believe that changing the process will work.            

To be honest, I believe:
(phrase) 'To be honest, I believe' is a polite way of disagreeing. In Spanish: "Para ser sincero, creo que".

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To be honest, I believe:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6. I agree with you about the new office. It's an excellent idea.           

I completely agree:
(verb) 'I completely agree' is strong and neutral. You can also say 'I completely disagree', which is very direct and rude. In Spanish: "estoy completamente de acuerdo".

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I completely agree:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7. At the moment, I that we can afford more than €250,000. Sorry.            

At the moment, I doubt that:
(phrase) 'At the moment, I doubt that', is a polite way of disagreeing. It suggests that the thing asked for is not right now, but maybe right in the future. In Spanish: "en este momento, dudo que".

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At the moment, I doubt that:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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8. I understand your . He does seem very intelligent. But we need somebody with more experience than him for the position.           

I understand your point:
(phrase) 'I understand your point,' is a very polite way of disagreeing. It is generally followed by 'but' and then a reason why you disagree or a suggestion. In Spanish: "Entiendo lo que dice, pero".

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I understand your point:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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9. I think the as Sally. As Sally said, we should wait before making a decision.            

I think the same:
(phrase) 'I think the same', can be used for both agreeing and disagreeing. It is followed by "as" when referring to what another person as said, e.g. 'I think the same as John'. And by "about" when referring to a thing, e.g. 'I think the same about the plan.' In Spanish: "creo que el mismo".

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I think the same:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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10. So, you want to have the meeting in Rome? I don't have a with that. I can go there.            

I don't have a problem:
(phrase) 'I don't have a problem', is a polite and neutral way of agreeing. It is followed by 'with' and the subject or suggestion, e.g. 'I don't have a problem with increasing our offer to them'. In Spanish: no tengo nada en contra.

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I don't have a problem:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

Now that you understand the new agreeing and disagreeing vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.