We all have ideas about how things should be done. Sometimes our ideas differ from others and that’s ok! What’s important is that we have effective ways of exchanging ideas in English.
Do you have some ideas that you’d like to communicate (express yourself, talk) to people? Do you like someone else’s idea? Or do you disagree with someone, perhaps? Here are some phrases that can help you say what you think in a positive, constructive (helpful for everyone) way.
I Couldn’t Agree More
Did someone propose (suggest) a great idea in a meeting? Or did a friend come up with a fantastic (great, wonderful) plan for the weekend? Then you can use the phrase “I couldn’t agree more” to communicate how much you like their idea.
- “I think we should go to the movies on Saturday afternoon and then go for dinner after.” “I couldn’t agree more!”
- “We should start looking at expanding our business to the Asian market.” “I couldn’t agree more.”
That’s a Great Idea
If someone proposed a good idea and you want to let them know you like it, you can use the phrase “That’s a great idea.” It’s not as strong as saying that you couldn’t agree more, but it still shows that you appreciate (value, think it is important) the other person’s idea.
- “Should we go to the sauna on Sunday?” “Sure, that’s a great idea!”
- “Should we have a meeting about this on Tuesday?” “Absolutely. That’s a great idea.”
You Have a Point, But…
You don’t always have to agree with people’s ideas, that’s why you are exchanging ideas in English. Sometimes you may see another aspect (perspective, side, angle) or agree with certain things but not all. In a case like this, you can use the phrase, “You have a point, but…”
This phrase shows that you agree with something that has been said, but not the whole statement (sentence, idea). Then you have an opportunity to present (discuss, bring up) your own idea.
- “I think we can still find more participants in this age group.” “You have a point, but why don’t we look for participants in other age groups, as well?”
- “We should look to expand into another country.” “You have a point, but why don’t we focus on our business here for a while longer?”
I Agree With You to an Extent, However…
If you don’t completely agree with someone’s idea, then this may be the phrase you’re looking for. “I agree with you to an extent, however…” gives you room to expand on (talk in more detail) the other person’s idea, or allows you to present an idea of your own. At the same time, this phrase shows that you agree with them a little bit.
- “I think that the movie left a lot to be desired.” “I agree with you to an extent, however, I really enjoyed it!”
- “We should definitely move offices.” “I agree with you to a (certain) extent, but that would be rather expensive.”
That Doesn’t Make Sense to Me
Not all ideas make sense (are logical to you, seem correct, uncomplicated). Once in a while, you’ll hear an idea that doesn’t sound right or well-thought-out. In situations like this, it’s ok to tell the person that their idea doesn’t make sense.
- “We should put more people in the offices. Right now we have two people per office, and we should put four people in each office. “That doesn’t make sense to me. Could you explain further?”
- “Can we go rock climbing this weekend?” “That doesn’t make sense to me. We don’t know how to rock climb!”
When you’re exchanging ideas in English, there are times when you’ll hear something that you flat-out disagree with. You can definitely tell people that you disagree with them, which can lead to a productive (fruitful, helpful, getting work done) discussion with creative solutions.
- “I think we should expand to Asia.” “I disagree. Why not look at Africa instead?”
- “We should go to the movies on Saturday!” “I disagree. How about we go to the pool instead?”
Why Do You Think That?
When having a discussion and exchanging ideas in English, knowing why someone thinks or believes something can provide (give) some context for their ideas. This simple question can help provide clarity (clearness) as to why someone thinks what they think. If you don’t know if you agree with them or not, why not ask this question?
- “I think we should move offices.” “Why do you think that?”
- “We should learn how to rock climb.” “Why do you think that?”
Exchanging ideas in English is a great way to learn new things. If you don’t fully agree with people or want to learn more information, there are phrases to help you out. What phrases do you use when exchanging ideas? Share them with us in the comments below!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and believes that when we all contribute to exchanging our best ideas, everyone wins!