Expressing Disagreement in Everyday English with Examples

Expressing Disagreement in Everyday English with Examples

We know that one basic hallmark of language is its functionality. We make use of it daily in human linguistic transactions – conversations and interactions. This post tagged Expressing Disagreement in Everyday English with Examples focuses on how we can express disagreement in English with attendant examples.

When it comes to Expressing Disagreement in English with Examples, there are words and phrases that are suited to formal written contexts and those which are appropriate to informal spoken contexts. It is important to understand these words and expressions used in expressing disagreement in everyday English so that we can acquire more linguistic competence and performance.

Expressing Disagreement in Everyday English with Examples

Find below various ways we can express disagreement in everyday English:

I Don’t Agree/I Disagree

We use this expression above when one does not agree with someone or something; consider the examples below to illustrate this phrase:

  • A: ‘I think art should be about creating beautiful objects.’
  • B: ‘I don’t agree. That’s a very old-fashioned way of looking at art.’
  • I disagree with the idea that boys and girls should attend separate schools.

 No It Isn’t/No She Doesn’t…

This expression is used when saying that something is not true, in a very direct way. See the examples below which exemplify this expression:

  • A: ‘The hotel’s right next to the airport.’
  • B: ‘No it isn’t! It’s miles away!’
  • A: ‘You have much more money than I do.’
  • B: ‘No I don’t! Whatever gave you that idea?’

That’s Not True/That is Not the Case

We use this when saying that something is not true, in a very direct way. For example:

  • A: ‘You were on the phone for hours.’
  • B: ‘That’s not true – it was only about 10 minutes!’
  • Although some people have tried to suggest that global warming is a myth, unfortunately that is not the case.

Expressing Disagreement in Formal English

There are several ways of expressing disagreement in English when it comes to the formal contexts. Let us see the various instances…

I/Someone Would Dispute Something

This expression is used when saying that one disagrees with something. See these examples:

  • I would dispute the idea that violent images on television cause people to commit acts of violence.
  • He is regarded as the finest ever golfer, although there are those who would dispute that.
  • They would dispute the idea that they were not eligible to participate in the competition.

I/Someone Would Take Issue with Someone/Something

When saying that one disagrees with someone or something, this expression is used. Consider these examples:

  • I would take issue with some of the report’s findings.
  • There are many people who would take issue with him on this.
  • We do not expect anyone to take issue with his nomination.

I (would) Beg to Differ

When saying that one has a different opinion about something, especially in formal discussions, one uses this expression. For example::

  • That’s your opinion. I beg to differ. I think the situation is far more complicated than you suggest.
  • It has been said that rising oil prices will not really affect economic growth. Well, I would beg to differ on this.
  • I beg to differ on the assertion that dogs are better pets than cats.

I Don’t/Can’t Accept Something

This expression is used when saying firmly that one does not believe that something is true; for instance:

  • You’re implying that he was being deliberately dishonest, and I really can’t accept that.
  • I’m sorry, but I just do not accept that argument.
  • I simply cannot accept that it is justified to use torture.

Politely Disagreeing

When disagreeing, people sometimes begin by saying I’m afraid… or I’m sorry… This is not an apology, but a way of making their disagreement sound more polite; for example:

  • I’m afraid I don’t agree with you.
  • I’m sorry but that really isn’t the case.

Other Ways of Politely Disagreeing

Let us consider other ways of disagreeing politely. These include the following:

I’m Not So Sure/Are You Sure?

We use this expression when expressing doubt about what someone has just said; for example:

  • A: ‘I think the government’s doing a good job.’
  • B: ‘I’m not so sure – look what’s happened to the economy.’
  • A: ‘The next meeting’s on July 26th.’
  • B: ‘Are you sure? I thought it was on the 25th.’


Expressing doubt or uncertainty is a much more polite way of disagreeing than saying directly that you think the other person is wrong.

I Wouldn’t Say That

This is used when disagreeing with someone in a polite way – used especially when you think someone is exaggerating: for instance:

  • A: ‘She’s much better looking than I am.’
  • B: ‘I wouldn’t say that!’
  • A: ‘It will cost a fortune to get another one.’
  • B: ‘I wouldn’t say that!’

I Take/See Your Point, But …/You May Have a Point, But …

We use this when saying that something else is more important: for example:

  • A: ‘I think that people who carry knives should be severely punished.’
  • B: ‘I take your point, but what if they feel that they have to carry them for their own protection?’

Yes, But …/I Know, But…

This comes up in discussions when one is adding a different opinion instead of directly disagreeing: Examples include:

  • A: ‘I think we should go by plane – it’s much quicker.’
  • B: ‘Yes, but it’s also more expensive.’
  • A: ‘He’s always taking time off work.’
  • B: ‘I know, but there are reasons for that.’

Someone is Mistaken

To say that someone is mistaken is a common expression of disagreement when one thinks that someone has the wrong idea about something, without saying directly that they are ‘wrong’: Examples of this instance include:

  • He is mistaken if he believes that the United States can win the war on terror by military means.
  • I think you’re mistaken about her. She’s just doing her job.
  • Someone is mistaken about the man; he is such a fine gentleman.

Someone/Everyone is Entitled to Their Opinion

I once heard the expression: opinions are noses; everyone has them. We use the expression above when we politely say that we think that someone is wrong, especially when we think most people would disagree with them. For example:

  • Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the facts just don’t support what you’re saying.
  • Of course he’s entitled to his opinion, but I think he is in a minority on this issue.
  • I think you misjudged her on the matter; and mind you, she is entitled to her opinion.

With All (Due) Respect/With the Greatest of Respect

I am certain you have heard this expression or you have even used it yourself. It comes up when you are about to disagree with someone in a polite way in a formal discussion. For instance:

  • With all due respect to Mr Jason, I doubt whether Einstein’s theories are relevant to this question.
  • With the greatest of respect, I disagree with your analysis.
  • I do not agree with your point, sir, with all due respect.

Strongly Disagreeing

It is pertinent to let you know that there are several instances when one does not want to be tactful about strongly disagreeing with someone on an opinion or when the context or situation does not give room for that. At such times, one expressions that strongly convey the sense of disagreement. Such include the following:

I Completely/Totally Disagree Also I Don’t Agree at All

When disagreeing strongly with someone or something, this expression is used:

  • I completely disagree with Professor Leigh’s comments.
  • ‘It’s one of her best books!’ ‘I don’t agree at all. I thought it was very dull.’
  • I don’t agree at all with the senator on the revenue sharing formula.

How can You Say That?/I Can’t Believe That You’ve Just Said That

We use the above expression when we are very surprised by what someone has just said, especially when we think they are completely wrong:

  • ‘I think they should all be taken out and shot.’ ‘I can’t believe you’ve just said that!’
  • How can you say that animals should be left to roam the streets!

Don’t be Ridiculous!/You’ve Got to be Kidding!/Rubbish! (BrE)/No way! (AmE)

This is used in informal spoken English when disagreeing with someone very strongly, and saying that you think they are completely wrong: Example of this instance includes:

  • A: ‘I’m too tired to do the washing up!’
  • B: ‘Rubbish! You haven’t done anything all day!’
  • A: ‘I think she likes you.’
  • B: ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’
  • A: ‘He’s the best player they’ve ever had.’ ‘
  • B:No way! Johnson was.’

Related Posts

You might want to check other related posts as listed below. Kindly share with everyone in your circle of influence and your feedback, comments and questions are welcomed.


Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Fifth Edition (LDOCE5)

© Pearson Education Limited 2009

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *